Pregnant by the Cowboy CEO

By: Catherine Mann

Prologue

Two months ago

Amie McNair had never considered a one-night stand. Until now.

A champagne fountain gurgled beside her as she stared across the ballroom full of partiers gathered to celebrate her cousin’s engagement. The night had been fun so far, but too similar to so many other glittering events that she attended in her work. She’d been thinking up an excuse to leave soon so she could trade her silky dress for the comfort of cotton pajamas. The jeweled choker at her throat was a gorgeous piece, but the yellow diamond at the base of her throat felt heavy. Tight. Like a collar keeping her neck in check. She liked her longer, bohemian-style pendants.

Those mundane thoughts scattered when he entered the room.

The broad-shouldered man striding confidently through the arched entryway pulled the air from her lungs. The connection was instantaneous. She wasn’t quite certain why, but she forgot all about a desire for cotton pj’s or the need to tug off her necklace. Her nerve endings sat up and paid attention.

Sure, he was tall, dark and hunky. But her world was filled with commanding, powerful men—from the cowboys that worked on her family’s Hidden Gem Hobby Ranch, to the executives who worked in the family’s Diamonds in the Rough jewelry-design empire. This man certainly measured up, from his muscled chest in the custom-tailored tuxedo, to the black Stetson he swept from his head and passed to an attendant near the entrance.

Yes, a Stetson and a tux.

And a boldly handsome face, tanned, with a strong square jaw. A face that had been lived in. His coal-black hair had a sprinkling of silver at the temples. That hint of age shouted wisdom, resolve. Experience.

A shiver tingled through her, gathering in all the right places.

Yet, in spite of all that, she found herself drawn most to his eyes. Even from halfway across the ballroom she could see they were a mesmerizing mix of gold and green that shifted ever so slightly with the chandelier sparkling overhead. She’d worked with amber that color in her jewelry designs and the changeable nature of the hue fascinated her. His gaze swept over her, past, then back again.

Holding.

That shiver inside her turned into a full-fledged fire. Her hand trembled and she set aside her champagne glass, her body already drawn forward in an undeniable magnetic pull. The urge to find out more about him propelled her feet across the room in time with the live band playing a classic Patsy Cline love song. Amie walked beneath the oversize, multicolored paper lanterns that decorated the room, toward the mystery man as he angled past guests in tuxes and formal gowns.

Other women noticed him, too, some of them watching every bit as intently as she did. But his eyes stayed on her as he closed the gap one bold step at a time.

Who was he? She knew most of the guests but didn’t recognize him. Still, enough people nodded in greeting to him for her to know he wasn’t a party crasher.

His gaze stroked over her, his hazel eyes gliding along her body like whispery smoke, confirming the awareness was reciprocated. She let herself relish the feeling, because honest to God, the last year had drained her. The grief over her grandmother’s cancer, over the impending loss of the most important person in her life was heavy. Too heavy. From tip to toe, she hurt over losing her grandmother and, knowing Gran’s legacy, her company was in the process of being handed over to a new CEO. So much change. Not the way her family’s business was meant to be handled.

But right now, for the first time since her grandmother had announced her terminal brain tumor, there was a distraction from that ache in her heart.

A compelling, fascinating distraction.

She stopped in front of him, only a few inches apart. The crowd was so thick around them, the hum of their conversation and the band’s tune created a false bubble of privacy. He held his silence, just looking back at her with a furrowed brow. Nice to know she wasn’t the only one baffled by this moment.

She certainly didn’t believe in love at first sight, but she couldn’t deny the chemistry, the intense attraction, the connection that felt like more than simple lust. She understood physical attraction but considered herself beyond those superficial types of relationships. After all, her mother had trotted her across pageant stage from toddler days. Hair teased. Makeup. Ruffled custom dresses and shiny tap shoes.

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