Sweet Cowboy Christmas

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Over breakfast, he’d talked her into letting him come along, then he followed her into the stables. She’d expected him to stand in the doorway and watch her saddle the horses. Instead, he’d strolled past the stalls, checking out each animal as though he were looking to purchase a thoroughbred fit to win the Kentucky Derby. When she went to saddle Rainbow for him, one of their gentlest quarter horse mares, Chase shook his head and pointed toward Zip, the orneriest gelding on the ranch. Usually, Faith or Bull rode the sleek buckskin. But Chase insisted.

Imagining a lawsuit that would pitch her headfirst into the red zone of her financial spreadsheets, she reluctantly gave in to the man’s wishes. Surprise filled every pore in her body when he’d lifted the pad and saddle off the stand, easily slung it over Zip’s back, then proceeded to pull up the cinch strap and put on the bridle just as though he’d done it every day of his life. He even cleaned Zip’s hooves like a pro.

Faith had watched him with her arms folded and her suspicion increasing by the minute.

“I might have ridden a horse a time or two in my day,” he said, tucking the bill of the New York Rangers cap lower over his expressive green eyes.

“Just like you might have worn stacked Wranglers and boots before?”

A smirk tilted those sizzling man lips. “Maybe.”

Since they’d kissed, she’d tried to ignore that funny little flutter in her heart that said Chase Morgan wasn’t just your average high-dollar-earning executive or just a great kisser.

Well, he was that.

On second thought, she’d take that back.

The man wasn’t just a great kisser; he kissed like he meant it. Like she was the only woman in the world, and he wanted to focus on all the details that would make her moan, scream out loud, and beg for more.

She’d surprised herself by walking right into that kiss. It had been a long time since she’d been held in a man’s arms. A long time since she’d felt the sensuous pressure of a man’s mouth on hers. A long time since she’d had that uncontrollable urge to rip off her clothes and jump his incredibly hot body right there in the middle of the kitchen, where anyone could have walked in and caught them.

“Mmmhmm.” She tore her gaze from the way he sat a saddle like he’d been born to it and focused across the field toward their destination. “Well, you might have walking that horse down to an art. But let’s see how good you can really ride.”

With a “Ha!” she kicked Rainbow into a full gallop. Chase not only followed and kept up, he handled Zip with a level of expertise that proved he was full of baloney with his big-city-boy game.

She beat him by a split second and only because she knew the hidden pitfalls to avoid while flying across that field. Rainbow had barely come to a halt before she was off the saddle and charging toward Chase.

“Who the hell are you?” she demanded. “No suit-wearing ad exec from Manhattan rides like that!”

“Damn that was exhilarating.” He came off Zip’s back with ease, then towered over her with a grin. “Watch where you’re pointing that finger, sweet thing.”

She retracted her pointer, then slammed her hands down on her hips. “No more BS, Chase. Who the hell are you?”

He took a step toward her. Then another. Stubborn from the day she was born, she stayed planted. Even as the seductive look in his eyes kicked her heart into overdrive.

“I …” His big hands slid gently over the slope of her shoulders. “Am the man who’s going to kiss you. Right now. Not just because I’ve got too much exhilaration racing through me. But because every time I look at you, I just feel like smiling. And doing this.”

Before she could protest–which hadn’t even entered her mind–Chase pulled her into his arms and pressed his mouth to hers like she was the most important thing in his world, and he hadn’t seen her in forever.

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