The Billionaire Cowboy

By: Mandy Baxter

Chapter One


“You’re about to have one pissed-off female on your hands, brother.”

Ryder Blackwell looked askance at his younger brother before turning his attention back to the plume of dust rising in a rooster tail behind the Chevy pickup barreling down the road toward his ranch.

“You’re probably right,” he agreed. And that was the point. To get her out here. “She looked pretty pissed at the auction, didn’t she?”

Jason snorted. “She looked like she wanted to take your head off. And while I like a violent streak in a woman, I don’t think you’re prepared for the heat she’s gonna bring. You’ll be lucky if she doesn’t run you over with her truck.”

A smile curved Ryder’s lips as he considered the possibilities. The Chevy rounded the last turn on the ranch road and the back tires drifted to the left before correcting. “You’re a faithless son of a bitch, Jase, betting against your brother like that. I can handle anything she dishes out.”

Jason gave his brother a not-so-gentle nudge, connecting his fist with Ryder’s shoulder. “You keep telling yourself that, big brother. As much as I’d like to stick around and watch you get your ass handed to you, I’ve got to get back to Dallas. The postseason is kicking my ass and I’m not giving Coach McNealy any reason not to start me.”

It was Jase’s third season with the Cowboys and Ryder knew that his brother protected his spot on the team with a ferocity that made a hornet look cuddly. He worked twice as hard as anyone else on the team and never gave anyone—including those asshole ESPN commentators who accused him of buying his way onto the team—any reason to cut him down. “Later, brother. Try to keep your fool head on your shoulders, all right?”

“Please.” Jase sounded almost offended as he climbed into his Maserati. “Ain’t no one gonna catch me.”

The engine of the sports car roared to life and gravel sprayed out from under the tires as Jase took off down the road. When he passed the Chevy, Jase honked his horn a couple of times in a playful rhythm. Ryder snorted. No doubt that’d do a lot to cool Lara’s jets.

As the Chevy skidded to a stop not three feet from where Ryder stood, a burst of adrenaline shot through his veins. There was something about her anger that got his blood up. And didn’t that make him a sick son of a bitch?

“You bastard!” Lara Montgomery propelled herself from the truck like the little rocket she was and rounded on Ryder with the force of a tornado. “You knew I wanted her. I saved up for a year for that horse and you bought her out from under me!”

Something caught in Ryder’s chest as he took in every detail of the woman standing before him: her face flushed with rage, her crystalline blue eyes full of fire. Her dark chestnut hair was wild and wind-tossed, framing her face with loose curls that he longed to smooth away from her cheeks. Goddamn, she was beautiful. And since the day he met her, she was an itch he’d been dying to scratch.

“You were at the auction to buy October Sky?” he asked, jerking his chin toward the corral where the thoroughbred mare cantered and tossed her head. “I had no idea.”

When her eyes widened in disbelief and she blew out an aggravated breath, Ryder had to dig the heels of his boots into the driveway to keep from grabbing her and kissing those full lips of hers until she was breathless and begging for more. For months, he’d thought of nothing but kissing her. Touching and tasting her. He wanted to undress her slowly, like he was unwrapping one of the presents under his Christmas tree, fondle and fuck her until she screamed his name. Pissing her off might have been an unconventional way to get what he wanted, but Ryder liked to be unconventional when the occasion called for it.

“That’s bullshit and you know it.”

The words were spoken with a low edge that made Ryder yearn to have her say his name in the same way right at the moment she came. He was used to getting any woman he fancied. The fact that he couldn’t have Lara Montgomery made him want her that much more and he planned on making sure that by the end of the weekend, she wanted him too.

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