Melissa MacNeal
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Naughty, Naughty
Tempted by a Cowboy



In LONG HARD RIDE, Michael Whitehorse, a rodeo cowboy whose truck conked out down the road, tells Diana it'll be "no strings, just sex" in a no-tell motel room. But Fate--and the empty desperation in each of their lives--takes them on a hellbent-for-leather ride that lasts long beyond the eight-second buzzer.





WARNING! This is a REALLY HOT book. (Sexually Explicit)

June 2009



Tempted by a Cowboy

Melissa MacNeal


"Raindrops keep fallin' on my head!"

"Oh, enough already!" As she peered through the fogged-over windshield, Diana Grant jabbed the radio button. The wipers could barely keep up with the beating rain that had pelted her since she'd left the bank ten minutes ago, which seemed only fitting. While her previous chats with the bank president hadn't boded well, this one had sounded the death knell for Seven Creeks Ranch.

Diana blinked rapidly. While it devastated her to hear those final pronouncements about the home Garrison had built for them more than twenty years ago, crashing into another car would only make matters worse. She just wanted to crawl into a hole and die.  be

Vision. It all came down to vision. And Jerry Pohlsen--Jerry the polecat Pohlsen--had eyes only for his own interests. Once the bank foreclosed on her ranch, he planned to finance a community of upscale town homes and condos that would make Wolf Point, Montana--and his bank--look a helluva lot more progressive. He didn't seem to care where she would fit in this picture.

Through the loud, constant downpour the sign for the Wel-Come Inn flashed red and then white. Gossip was the last thing she needed on top of unpaid medical bills and this foreclosure crap, but she simply couldn't drive any farther. Diana cranked the wheel in a hard left and took the cafe's last open parking slot.

She turned off the engine. Sat there, numb, surrounded by the roar of the rain and a lonely desperation like she'd never known. Where had she gone wrong? Why had Garrison's liver transplant and medications done nothing other than drain her and their accounts? Why was her life one huge pile of shit right now? One huge wet pile of shit.

God, what she wouldn't give for an escape…a good man who would love her and rescue her and take care of her. All these months of being the strong woman who solved her world's problems had worn her way too thin.

Diana yanked her old shades from her purse. It felt good to hide behind dark sunglasses even on a cloudy day, especially when there wasn't a glimmer of light or hope to be seen anywhere.

She shoved her door open and the cold deluge soaked her. Once inside the cafe, Diana paused on the soggy doormat. The tables were all full with the noon rush, as this was the only place north of town to eat. One empty stool remained at the lunch counter, between a guy absorbed in his newspaper and another one with a set of shoulders the size of Montana. A wet, black ponytail clung to the back of his soaked shirt. A guy like that wouldn't take any crap from Jerry Pohsen. A guy like that would cure what ailed a needy woman...

Like  he'd even look at you.

Diana shoved her shades back in place and hurried toward the empty stool without making eye contact. Everyone knew who she was. No need to rub her nose in what they'd all heard about the fate of Seven Creeks by now, and about her financial setback. Pity got her nowhere.

Get a Coke and go. Sit in the car until this storm lets up. Why open yourself to condolences or speculation?

"What'll it be, hon?" Gladys, the county's oldest and most cantankerous waitress, gazed across the counter at her. She snapped her gum, waiting.

"Diet Coke. In a go cup, please."

"Want pie with that? Today we've got cherry cheesecake and peach and--"

"No. Thank you," Diana added with terse politeness. "Just the drink."

Gladys rolled her eyes and strode to the fountain spigots, filing away this little incident for the local litany about how that Grant woman had no call to be so antisocial or rude.

Diana slumped on the stool. Exhausted as she was, it felt good to remain invisible--or as anonymous as anyone could be here among the locals. The man on her left folded his newspaper and nearly dragged it through the gravy where his meat loaf had been. The guy on her right...

"Is that peach pie you mentioned homemade?" he asked in a low voice. "Peach is my all-time favorite. If it's fresh."

Gladys set Diana's plastic cup in front of her, raising her eyebrows flirtatiously. "Don't even think about me passing off store-bought stuff as real pie!" she teased. "Earl'd shoot me!"

"That's for damn sure! Made that pie myself, just this morning!" the heavyset fellow at the grill called out.

The guy smiled lazily. "How 'bout you give me the biggest piece you've got left? Warmed up, with a scoop of ice cream."

"You got it, hon. Comin' right up."

As Gladys bustled away, Diana glanced sideways at the owner of that velvety voice. He wore a striped western-cut shirt so old it was nearly transparent, and so wet it clung to his muscles like white glue. His jaw rippled with an alluring masculine shadow her fingers itched to caress. Those lips made her hungry--and she suddenly wanted to be the first bite of the pie, sweet and spicy, that made him smile.

Forget about that! And stop staring!

Diana peeled the wrapper from her straw very slowly. The hands at the end of those wet shirt sleeves cradled a coffee mug...long, strong fingers with skin several shades darker than her own. Fingernails clipped short. No rings.

Enough already! Drink your Coke and go!

Her peripheral gaze traveled upward to take in his long midnight hair, tied loosely at his nape with a leather thong. Something about the flex of his neck muscles sent her temperature through the roof...made her clench where her weight met the stool top.

"Thanks, ma'am," he crooned when Gladys topped off his coffee. He sounded...nice. Like the waitress was his grandmother, even though her platinum hair and pale skin had nothing in common with his Native American palette. Gladys must've thought he was nice, too, because after she slid the slice of steaming pie in front of him, she dipped out two generous scoops of vanilla ice cream.

God, that looks good. Diana's stomach rumbled as his fork parted the pastry. Peach goop oozed onto his plate. She'd been too antsy to eat breakfast, and an hour in the bank president's office had tied her insides in knots. But she could use a good, solid--

"Want some?"

Diana's eyes widened behind her shades. What she wanted had nothing to do with food--and you've got no business thinking about sex when...

The guy's lips quirked as he looked at her straight-on. He was maybe thirty. Had the same down-and-out air about him she was feeling these days, yet he exuded a cool, calm control. Smooth, smooth skin the color of coppery walnut. He held the bite of pie up for her, awaiting her reply.

Diana sucked hard on her straw and then went into a panic of strangling. Soda spewed all over the counter and she couldn't stop coughing--couldn't control the spasms that racked her shoulders--couldn't get any air past the fizzy clot of liquid in her windpipe.

"Easy now. Just relax. Stop struggling."

His voice was a silken purr, patient enough to gentle the wildest, most frightened mare. As his ebony eyes drank her in, Diana felt so, so humiliated and stupid. Another sip from her Coke didn't help, and when her next round of coughing kicked up, the tall, dark stranger laid a hand on her back. He placed the other palm lightly against her throat, gazing directly at her.

"Breathe in through your nose and hold it. Gently."

Diana fought the urge to struggle, or to run. Everyone in the cafe was surely watching this lunch counter drama, but all she could focus on was the overtly handsome face in front of eyes that didn't waver...the lips that parted slightly as he softly massaged her throat. His palms felt warm and soothing. A strand of wet, black hair fell beside his eye as he held her loosely--yet with total control--between the flats of his hands.

She did as he said, once her frenetic thoughts allowed his words to sink in. Diana relaxed...didn't swallow or fight. Just held her breath and sat very, very still, to allow the stray cola to drain down her throat on its own.

And then it did.

Diana swallowed tentatively. Opened her mouth to thank him--

"Don't talk yet," he whispered.

If he was some magical, mystical witch doctor, he was very, very good at it. He knew all the right silences, all the right pauses...the perfect touch that allowed his pulse to throb lightly against her throat, where her own pulse answered it and then went into his rhythm.

She let out her breath. "Thank you," she rasped. "I didn't mean to interrupt your dessert."

"Not to worry. Nothing comes between me and my...pie."

Diana desperately wished she were the ice cream melting on his plate, being spooned up--

Like he'd want a worn-down woman who resembles a drowned mouse.

Exhaling carefully, Diana focused on the white plastic lid of her cup. Once again she was aware of the clinking of utensils against plates...the low chatter of voices, mostly male...the hisssss of meat on the griddle and the heavy scents of hamburger and bacon grease. Her wet clothes clung to her, yet she felt anything but cold.

The guy beside her might as well have been making love to that slice of pie. His eyes closed with utter enjoyment as he savored each bite. Long, dark lashes fluttered on the tops of his high cheekbones. When he swallowed, his Adam's apple throbbed suggestively, which sent another wave of heat below Diana's belt.

This was insane, to pay so much attention to some stranger--especially considering the real issues she was dealing with today! Yet she squirmed; felt tingly when his elbow brushed hers as he dug out his billfold. He tossed a couple dollars on the counter and reached beneath the counter for a black broad-brimmed hat. With a quick nod at her, he rose from his stool.

Diana tried not to gawk as he sauntered toward the cash register at the door. His soaked, faded jeans fit his hips like skin...showed off legs that went on forever, to end in square-toed boots that looked saturated. His black hair hung in a thick, wet column down his back--far too blatant to be considered masculine in this town. Yet not a man in the cafe would've challenged his sexual preference, and none of the women would've kicked him out of bed, either.

Where are these thoughts coming from?  They're going nowhere, that's for sure! With a sigh, Diana followed his backside out the door, where the rain still fell in torrents. The bell above the door jingled cheerfully, and she remembered again why she'd come here...and how hanging around would only give somebody a chance to pick at her emotional scabs. They knew her mostly because Garrison had come in for coffee on his way to the farm supply store or the gas station--but that hadn't happened for nearly a year. Maybe they'd let her alone. Maybe her mood remained dark enough to ward off any would-be pity pushers, and that suited her just fine.

She drained her cup and slid off the stool. Dug a wad of bills from her front pocket as she approached the cash register, but then Gladys jammed her ticket down the metal spindle without punching any numbers.

"Your boyfriend picked up your tab," the waitress announced. "Have a nice day now."

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