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Carson laid his hand over Keely’s. “Darlin’ girl, if you ain’t comfortable goin’, then don’t go. Just

’cause you’re engaged to him don’t mean you gotta do everything he says.”

What the fuck? Jack couldn’t believe Carson was encouraging his daughter to blatantly oppose him.

He was her fiancé for Christsake. Keely had better realize early on that their relationship took precedence over every other relationship in her life.

What relationship? This engagement isn’t real, remember?

Ah hell. With the intensity of the last twenty-four hours, somehow Jack had forgotten that.

Keely squeezed her father’s hand. “It’s okay. I want to go with Jack. This is a big potential client and he’s talked about everything so much I’m looking forward to it. It’s just…the timing caught me off guard.”

Keely smirked at Jack. “My man and I tend to fight first before we figure things out.”

“Sounds like someone else I know,” Carolyn muttered.

Carson’s lips twitched.

“Anyway, I’ll reschedule my Friday clients. No big deal. Daddy, can you ride Rosa for me this week?

Since it doesn’t sound like I’ll be here next Sunday?”

“Sure, punkin, whatever you want.”

“Thanks. You’re the bestest evah.”

Carson grunted, but Jack knew he was pleased.

Jack forced a smile. “Carolyn, thanks for the pie, it was delicious.”

“You’re welcome. You two taking off?”

He said, “Yes” the same time Keely said, “No.”

They looked at each other. Measured each other.

“I have work to finish before tomorrow,” he pointed out.

“So go. We have two cars. I need to redeem myself from the last cribbage game we played, where Daddy skunked me twice, right?”

“You bet, girlie. I’ll get the board and the cards,” Carson said and vanished from the table.

Carolyn and Keely chatted as they picked up the pie plates and headed into the kitchen.

Jack took the shortcut out the back door. He paused on the porch, propping his elbows on the railing to drink in the view. The scenery really was spectacular. No wonder Keely loved it so much.

The porch boards squeaked and Carson appeared in his peripheral vision. Jack felt like a teenage boy about to get “the talk” from his girlfriend’s father. “Nice night.”

“I’m just gonna say this flat out, Donohue. That girl in there means the world to me. She’s been the light of my life since the day she came into this world. I’d do anything to make her happy. I always have, I always will. I trust her judgment, but son, I don’t trust you. And I most definitely don’t trust you with her.

So if you do anything to hurt her? I swear to God I will—”

“—gut me? Yeah, I got this warning five goddamn times last night from your sons,” Jack said curtly.

“I’d expect nothin’ less from my boys and neither should you. But they’re not the ones you oughta worry about.”

“Let me guess. You are.”

“Yep. Guttin’ you would be too easy and not nearly painful enough. Think about it, son, because I guarantee I have been.”

Jack’s stomach muscles involuntarily clenched. Rather than let the threat go unanswered, he faced Keely’s father head on. “I appreciate the warning, Carson.”

“Have a good night, Jack.” The door slammed and Carson was gone.

Engrossed in a new project bid, Jack paid little attention when Keely returned to the apartment a few hours later and headed to the shower.

But his focus was shot to hell when the scent of lilacs drifted from the bathroom. He looked up just as Keely sauntered by in her birthday suit.

She gave him a little finger wave before she shut the bedroom door.

Yeah. He was supposed to get any work done now?

Maybe Keely’s naked stroll was a hint. Maybe she was waiting for him, spread out on the bed, touching herself in anticipation of him coming to her.

The door opened and out she flounced in day-glo plaid pajamas. Flannel pajamas. Pajamas that covered her from head to toe. What a freakin’ waste.

With her body, Keely should wear peek-a-boo nighties crafted from sheer material that showed off her stunning curves. Lace gloves that buttoned at the wrists he could rip off with his teeth. Thongs made of silk. Sky-high heels. Or better yet, boots that came above her knees. In black patent leather. And fishnets.

No, fishnet stockings that hooked to lace garters. Oh, yeah, and leather boy shorts, topped with a blue velvet bustier that matched her eyes. And a collar. Just once he’d like to see how she’d react if he slapped a slave collar on her.

“I oughta slap you, Jack, for the disgusted way you’re eyeballin’ my favorite jammies.”

“I can’t help it. I’m…stunned. More flannel? Really?”

“I’m cold. And I like to be comfy when I’m lounging around. I’m just a simple country girl with simple tastes.” She pointed at his laptop. “You about done working?”

“I could call it a night if I had the right incentive.”

“If incentive is a euphemism for sex, keep right on pecking away on those keys and forget about your pecker. I need some recovery time from your raw thrusting power.”

That admission startled him. “Was I too rough?”

“Yes, but I loved every second of it. I’m just not used to eight instances of sexual contact in less than twenty-four hours, stud.” She expelled a dreamy sigh. “And to think I didn’t believe your claims about not needing Viagra.”

He wanted to toss off a smart comment, but it bugged him that he might’ve taken it too far with her on their first day as lovers.

Like you should be surprised. Everything you do is balls to the wall, full acceleration, no breaks, no prisoners.

“Hey.” Keely climbed onto his lap. “My soreness is because I haven’t been in a steady sexual relationship for a while.”

Jack was absurdly pleased Keely wanted to reassure him. He looped her damp hair around his palm.

“Can’t say I’m sorry for any of it.”

“Me neither.”

“So since your poor pussy needs recovery time, does that mean anal sex is out?”

Keely whapped him on the arm. “Duh. I thought I could distract you from thoughts of raunchy sex by…” She grabbed his chin. “Are you even listening to me?”

He looked in her eyes. “What? I lost any logical train of thought the second you said raunchy sex.”

Keely rolled her eyes. “Sex is off the list of things we can do tonight. Want to play cribbage?”

“I don’t know how to play cribbage. Do you play chess?”

“Nope. Ky and Anton and Hayden are obsessed and keep begging me to learn. But truthfully, they’d whip my ass and that would be totally demoralizing.”


“I used to play Chinese checkers with Carter but that was years ago.”

“We could watch TV.”

She groaned. “Anything but TV.”

“What do you have against television?”

“It’s such a waste of time. I’d rather be hanging out with my family or my friends or doing something fun or interesting instead of sitting alone in front of the TV night after night.”

Yeah, that pretty much described Jack’s life of late. “Indulge me. Let me prove to you there’s something on worth watching.”

“Fine. But you have to indulge me tomorrow night.”

Shit. He’d walked right into that one. “What’s going on tomorrow night?”

“A junior rodeo. My nephews are competing. I promised I’d cheer them on.” She gently smoothed her hand down the side of his face. He had the overwhelming urge to purr. “Besides, it’ll reinforce our ‘cover’ as a newly engaged couple wildly in luurrve, if you go along with me.”

“Will your dad be there?”

“Probably. Why?”

Because he’ll probably try to throw me under a bull. “No reason. Sure I’ll go. Hand me the remote.”

Keely shut off the lights while he powered down his computer. She plopped right beside him. Wasn’t five minutes later and she was asleep, sprawled across his lap. Not that he minded. He stretched out and she curled into his chest, not facing the TV. He didn’t mind that either.

The hell of it was she was absolutely right. There wasn’t a damn thing to watch. So he watched her sleep for the longest time before he carried her to bed.

Chapter Twelve


She attempted to roll away from the deep, sexy, husky morning voice disturbing her sleep.

Tenacious kisses moved down her neck. Her nipples tightened into hard points when her chest was exposed to cool air.

Whoa. How the heck had he unbuttoned her top so fast? A rough, callused hand slid from her lower belly between her breasts. Clever fingers pinched and teased her nipples. Hot breath tickled the fine hairs on her nape.

As amazing as it felt, she’d been happy in dreamland. Maybe if she pretended to sleep…

An impressive erection poked into her lower back.

No rest for the wickedly horny.

Jack whispered, “I know you’re awake. I want you. Just like this. Warm and sleepy and sweet.”

Talk about melting her resistance. She angled her head and blinked at him. “I thought my flannel PJs turned you off.”

“You could wear a burlap sack and I’d be turned on. I was just surprised by your choice of flannel.”

Jack rolled her flat and brushed the hair from her face. “I’m finding many things about you surprise me, cowgirl.”

“I’m glad I’m keeping you on your toes.”

“If I had my way, I’d be keeping you on your back all the damn time.” He scattered kisses down the center of her body. “Are you still sore? We can go slow. I just…want you, like this. First thing.”