Home > The Wild Ones (The Wild Ones #1)(8)

The Wild Ones (The Wild Ones #1)(8)
Author: M. Leighton

But why would she be surprised when she came here looking for me?


Jenna mumbles exactly what I’m thinking.

“Holy shit! Will you look at that!”

I know I’m staring. Rudely. Again. But I can’t help it. At the other end of the stable stands Trick. He’s shirtless, hatless, and wet. And I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen anything hotter.

His arms are long and muscular and his shoulders are wide. When I look at them, one word comes to mind—powerful. He’s a lot like the horses in the way his muscles move and bunch under his smooth skin. And his chest! Dear God, those pecs are just begging for my fingers to dig right in.

His stomach completes the perfect package of his upper body. It’s rippled like the surface of the lake when I drop a rock into it, every abdominal well-defined.

His skin is tan, like he spends a lot of time outdoors without his shirt on. And, considering the weapons this boy is packing, I think he’s doing the world a favor when he does it.

My eyes travel to his big hands as he rubs them over Runner’s side.

“What the hell is he doing here?” Jenna whispers, again voicing what is going through my mind.

He’s bathing a horse. One of my father’s horses. What the…?

I had been heading for Firewalker’s stall, but now I veer toward Trick and Runner. As I approach, he looks up, his gray eyes raking me appreciatively from head to toe. He grins up at me. It’s lopsided and just about the sexiest thing ever.

“What are you grinnin’ at?” I ask.

“You are a walking, talking teenage dream in those jeans.” I blush. Of course. His grin turns into a smile. “You sure that’s how you want to start this conversation? Remember how it ended up last time?” My cheeks burn and I know they’re fiery red. He chuckles. “Maybe I just should’ve said ‘hi’ instead.”

I ignore him and come back with my own question. “What are you doing here?”

His smile falters a bit and he frowns. “Isn’t this where you expected me to be?”

“Um, no. Why would I?”

“That’s a good question. You came looking for me. I figured you’d have a reason.”

“No, Jenna and I came out to go for a ride. Why would I look for you here?”

I’m fascinated by the string of emotions that flit across his face. At first he looks confused, but then he looks like he wants to laugh, like it’s a joke. Then he looks more confused and that turns into disbelief, like in his mind he’s saying, “No way!” But then, much to my surprise, he looks aggravated. No, scratch that. He looks downright mad.

“You’re Jack’s daughter.”

It’s a statement, not a question. And he is not happy about it.

“Yes, I am.”

“Damn!” I hear him mutter under his breath.

“But that still doesn’t explain what you’re doing here.”

He pauses, running his fingers through his damp hair.

“I work here.”

“Oh,” I say, dead pan.

There’s a long, very uncomfortable silence that stretches between us. His reaction tells me all I need to know about his position on flirting with the boss’s daughter. I wonder if he’s as disappointed as I am. I don’t even know why I feel that way, but I do.

You have a boyfriend, dummy! Why does it even matter?

“Well, if you need any help getting your horse ready, just let me know,” he says dismissively. He gets right back to spraying down Runner as if Jenna and I aren’t standing two feet away.

I do my best not to stomp off, but it’s hard. I feel like throwing a fit that only a two year-old could be proud of.

Jenna’s scrambling beside me. She looks back and then grins over at me. “He’s totally watching you leave.”

For some reason, that makes me feel a little bit better.


“Man, I haven’t seen a girl get under your skin like this since high school.”

I look at Rusty over the top of my mug. “Who’re you kidding? She’s not under my skin.”

“Riiiiiight,” he says with a grin.

Ignoring him, I glance around the bar for any familiar faces. Lucky’s is the only bar in the area and me and my friends have been coming here since we got our first fake IDs. Since the fairly small town of Greenfield started growing a few years back, I’d begun seeing more and more strangers in the smoke-filled room. But tonight, I’m not looking for a stranger.

My eyes stop on the back of a blond head. I recognize the girl standing at the bar, her curvy figure barely concealed in a pair of tiny shorts and a tank top. It’s ReeAnn Taylor. She’s always been into me. She’s good-looking and, more importantly, she doesn’t have a boyfriend or a father who could fire me.

“Don’t even think about it, Trick.”

“Think about what?”

“ReeAnn. Tappin’ that won’t get the rich girl out of your head. Only one thing will.”


I growl into my beer.

Why does she have to be his daughter?

“Look at it this way, you can always find a job someplace else.”

“Like where? The Hines ranch is the only thoroughbred farm for a hundred miles or more.”

“Well, do something different.”

“Like what? Without my degree, I can’t get a job doing anything else that pays as well as Jack does. And we need the money. I didn’t leave college to come home and get a job because I had nothing better to do. You know I had no choice.”

“Well, maybe you could—”

“Just forget it, Rus,” I interrupt. “It is what it is. I’ll just stay away from her and everything will be fine. It’s not a big deal. She’s just a girl.”

In an effort to prove my point (as much to myself as to Rusty), I get up and walk over to ReeAnn. When I stop beside her, she turns around, almost right into my arms.

She looks up at me with her pretty brown eyes and smiles. “Did you come to ask me to dance?” she asks.

“Would you have said ‘yes’?”

She nods and slips her hand into mine. I lead her out onto the dance floor just in time for a slow song. She plasters her body against mine and winds her arms around my neck. I can feel her br**sts rubbing my chest and her hips swaying suggestively against mine.

It would be too, too easy, wouldn’t it?

I ignore the fact that I don’t want easy and I tighten my arms around ReeAnn’s waist. She tucks her face against my throat and snuggles in, purring like a contented cat. Her perfume smells nice, but it’s a little strong. I try not to notice how it smells nothing like fresh strawberries.

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