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“But—”


“Ava. Stop.” Even as Chase’s conscience warned No no no, his body urged him closer with Yes yes yes. He slipped his hand around the back of her neck and angled his head until their lips were barely an inch apart. Kissing her jaw, her chin. Soft, teasing smooches. Dragging out the innocent kisses until the heat kicked in.


When Ava opened her mouth, and the warm flesh of her lips skimmed across his, he lost his mind. His intention to gift her with the most sensual kiss in the history of the world vanished.


Chase inhaled her, keeping her in place as he feasted on her mouth. When her hands inched up his arms, he made a low-pitched warning sound and her fingers curled into his biceps.


He drank in the taste of her. Feeding her hot kisses. Wet kisses. Sliding his tongue deeper to explore her mouth, then retreating to gently smooch her kiss-plumped lips.


During one of those tender, fleeting kisses, she murmured, “Chase?”


He recognized the question in her voice, it was the same one running through his mind: What the hell are you doing? Twining silky strands of her hair around his fingers, he rested his forehead to hers, breathing raggedly. “Dammit, Hollywood. I’m sorry.”


“Are you really?”


“No.”


They stayed like that for several blissful minutes, even when Chase knew he should pull away.


“Are you having second thoughts about hitting the rodeo trail with me? Especially since I just gave you the mother of all mixed signals by layin’ a big, wet kiss on you?”


“My second thoughts had nothing to do with that.” Ava pressed her lips to his. “Besides, one little kiss isn’t gonna scare me off. You and me? We’re friends. Pals. Buddies. Road warriors. Road dogs. We’ll probably be prancing around each other naked by the time our adventure is up. Prancing around totally nude and we won’t even bat an eyelash.”


Not a snowball’s chance in hell of that happening if Ava was nekkid. Chase tipped her face up to gaze into her eyes. “You’ll be all right watching me compete?”


“I think so. It’s gotten better.”


“That’s because my ass didn’t hit the dirt as often,” he said dryly. Chase slid off the bull and held out his hand to help her down. “You comin’ back to the bunkhouse?”


“In a bit. It’s so beautiful here. Almost like I’m on a movie set and it isn’t real. I want to drink it in.”


“Not worried a mountain lion will sneak up behind you and carry you off?”


Was the wind playing tricks on him? Or did he hear her mutter, “I wish you’d sneak up behind me and carry me off.”


Chase said, “Pardon?”


“I said I’ll be fine. Good night, Sundance.”


“Night, Hollywood.”


Ava stretched out on the mechanical bull and stargazed. So peaceful. The profusion of stars reinforced that feeling of insignificance.


Seemed to be a theme in her life.


She’d almost told Chase she was leaving for LA as soon as possible. Ever since his breakthrough on the bulls, she’d been waiting for him to tell her, in that charming cowboy way, that he wouldn’t need her help videotaping his rides. Maybe it was high schoolish that she’d intended to give him the brush off first.


But he hadn’t rescinded his offer. Instead, he’d kissed her.


Had he ever kissed her.


Ava remembered how his hot breath drifted across her cheek. A non-kiss, a tease, but one that raised goose bumps down the entire left side of her body. She’d withheld a shiver, suspecting he’d take her reaction the wrong way.


And she might’ve succeeded in pretending his peck was just a friendly gesture if he hadn’t kept inching those clever lips down her jawline. If he hadn’t made that nearly imperceptible growling noise in the back of his throat. If he hadn’t tenderly smooched the tip of her chin on his way to tenderly smooching her mouth. Once. Twice. The third kiss lingered. No hint of tongue, just a gentle press of lips on lips. Somehow his left hand had curled around her neck. Somehow, her hands ended up clamped onto his biceps.


Ava expected he’d keep the kiss slow and easy. So when Chase kissed the living shit out of her, she understood she didn’t know this Chase at all. The Chase who trapped her face in his big hands. The Chase who ably slipped his tongue past her teeth and fried her circuits with a kiss that stirred something inside her she’d never felt with any man.


Lust with an edge of danger. Lust that had no boundaries.


Just as Ava was about to lose herself in the sensation of surrender, Chase broke the kiss.


And then he’d apologized.


So yeah, she’d had that girlish sense of glee when he admitted he wasn’t sorry. She could work with that.


A clement breeze wafted over her. The warmth of the leather soaked into her back and she was lulled into total relaxation. She sighed and closed her eyes.


“Ava,” he whispered, “Come on.”


“What?” She scrambled up and looked at him.


“Scoot over.” Using the stirrup, Chase vaulted onto the back of the mechanical bull.


Ava watched him get situated; it wasn’t much different than when he readied himself to ride a real bull. He offered his hand and hauled her closer, laughing at her shriek of surprise as he draped her thighs over the top of his.


“I’ve been dying to do this,” Chase murmured, and that sinful mouth lowered to her neck, bestowing hot, sucking kisses that set her blood on fire. His tongue traced her collarbone from her shoulder to her throat. “Put your hands on me, Ava.”


Chase nearly purred when she thrust her hands through is hair. He nuzzled her cleavage while he unbuttoned her blouse and flicked open her bra so her breasts tumbled free. A low groan of male pleasure vibrated through her body as he sucked her nipples with single-minded devotion.


“So sexy.” Chase scattered kisses up to her ear. “You ready to take a real risk?”


Head muzzy from his kisses, she mumbled, “Sure.”


“Good. Hold on to me. I’m gonna turn the machine on slow.”


“What? Oh no.”


“Oh yes.” The back end of mechanical bull lifted, sending Ava sliding forward. Her whole body tensed as her weight rested on Chase fully.


“See, that’s why I’m on the bottom.”


The bull spun to the left and she closed her eyes.


“Look at me.”


Ava blinked at him. Then Chase’s mouth was on hers. His hands were on her. His body moved with the rhythm of the bull, and he urged hers to do the same.


She fell into him, giving herself over to his gracefulness, his athleticism and his sensuality.


“That’s it,” he muttered against her lips. “Relax, baby, trust me.”


The constant swoop of her stomach faded, mostly because Chase distracted her. And what sweet, hot distraction it was. His rough fingertips stroking the inside of her thighs. His blistering kisses. His sexy growl against her skin. The pressure of her clit pressing into the hard muscle of his abdomen with the bull’s every downward drop.


His hot breath flowed over her ear, sending a shiver of anticipation through her when he whispered, “Are you wet for me, Ava Rose?”


“You kiss me once and I’m ready for you.”


The bucking stopped. “Scoot back for a sec.” Keeping his fiery blue eyes on hers, Chase unbuttoned his jeans, unzipped and pulled his cock out. He reached around to bring her back onto his lap. “You ride me. I’ll ride the bull.” He lifted her and all that male hardness filled her in one deep plunge.


After Chase turned the bull back on, he reconnected to the rhythm of sex. Feeling his muscles flow in accord with the machine brought another level of appreciation for his riding abilities.


The spinning apparatus added another dimension. When the bull slanted forward, she shifted her hips side to side, trying to create friction on her clit. Even as she impaled herself on Chase’s cock fully, it wasn’t enough.


“Chase. I’m close. I need…”


“I know baby. Me too.” He stopped the bull at a steep angle. Kissing the upper swells of her breasts, he said, “Lie back.”


When her spine met the hard surface, Chase hooked his feet in the stirrups and stood. His hands slid beneath her butt, raising her so he could thrust into her hard. His gaze winged between her face and the way her breasts bounced with his every thrust.


“Touch yourself,” he panted. “I wanna watch you get yourself off.”


Ava covered her mound with her hand, scissoring her index and middle finger over her clit, before sliding down to where Chase’s cock plunged in and out, performing the same motion.


His molten eyes snared hers. “Teasin’ me?”


She shook her head. “The second I touch my clit I’ll come.”


“Do it.”


She dragged her middle finger up the wet seam of her sex. Once she reached her clit, she rubbed up and down and quickly unraveled. Blood pulsed beneath the pad of her stroking finger, tightening her pussy muscles around Chase’s cock.


He whispered her name, and thrust powerfully, staying buried inside her on the last stroke as he came.


Then Chase angled forward, remaining imbedded in her body, trapping her hand between them, placing his forearms by her head as he kissed her. A kiss unlike any other.


Ava felt weightless. Boneless. Dizzy. Buzzed.


Buzz, buzz, buzz.


She batted away the annoying insect but it kept buzzing around her head. Go away. I’m basking in afterglow. She swatted one more time and her hand connected with a solid object.


Her eyes flew open.


Stars twinkled above her. She was still stretched out on the mechanical bull. But she was alone. No heat and stickiness between her thighs. No weight of Chase’s body on hers as he kissed her sweetly in the aftermath of zealous lovemaking.


It’d just been a damn dream.


The truth was, she knew that for at least the next two weeks, the only place she’d get down and dirty with him was in her dreams.


Chapter Ten


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