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He had the same talent with two-legged creatures as well, even flat on his back in the pitch dark of his truck.

She hugged her knees to either side of his h*ps and he groaned in her ear at the contact. The sound of it, rough and ragged, was foreplay in its own right.

Hearing him rip open the condom was more foreplay. The last time she’d slept with him all the little nerve endings in her body had stood up, done the wave, marched around the room, and then sung the “Hallelujah” chorus.

She could feel that starting to happen again.

By the time he gripped her by the waist and drove himself all the way inside her, she was more than halfway gone. And if his ragged breathing was any indication, so was he.

“Oh fuck, Emily,” he growled, head back, eyes heavy-lidded, throat exposed, enticing her to lean down and lick him there. “So good.” He wrapped one arm low around her back, the other braced on the steering wheel behind her for support as he thrust up hard and deep inside her.

The horn sounded again, tugging a muffled laugh from him. Muffled because his face was buried in her neck now as they moved together in a rhythm that felt all the more intimate for the close proximity, and she supposed, the added danger of possibly getting discovered.

The pleasure built hard and fast, in thick layers. She couldn’t stop herself from whispering his name in need, in desire, in hunger.

His throat worked as his eyes slid shut. His lips were parted, his chest rising and falling with each long exhale. She whispered his name again and he opened his eyes, lifting his head to watch her body engulf his.

“God, Wyatt.”

“Just Wyatt’ll do,” he said, and when she let out a breathless laugh, he fisted a hand in her hair, bringing her eyes and mouth to his.

“Good?” he murmured, lips to hers.

“So good,” she managed. “More, please.”

He thrust into her with just enough force to rock her world. “Ask like that and I’ll give you anything you want.”

Riding his movements, arching into him, she was peaking when the horn went off again. “Dammit!”

He snorted but patiently worked her up again, nothing stopping him this time, not the obnoxious blast of the horn, nor the lack of space, nor the fact that she bumped their noses together trying to kiss him.

He was a man on task, and as she already knew, he was good on task. It took only a few more masterful strokes for him to bring her back to the edge of sanity and then beyond, and as she came, clenching tight around him, she took him right over that edge along with her.

Hot and fast and dirty.

And amazing.

And without a doubt, the most erotic experience of her life.


Wyatt could hear himself still panting for breath when Emily finally lifted her face from where she’d plastered it to his throat.

He tried to see her expression but she was a blur. Reaching down, he searched for and found his glasses, shoving them on. Oh yeah, he thought as his fuzzy world came into sharp focus, revealing the gorgeously tousled woman astride him.

She was utterly beautiful.

And utterly perplexed.

An unexpected surge of affection hit him like a tidal wave, and he stroked her hair from her damp forehead and pressed his lips to her temple.

“What was that?” she demanded, voice hoarse.

“Great sex.”

“Oh my God.” She shifted with a wince. “There’s a gearshift pressing against my ass.”

He found a laugh. He was still buried deep inside her and the movement caused her to shudder. Not from cold, he knew. The aftershocks of great sex.

“I’m not sure this is funny,” she said.

He slid his hands up her warm torso.

“Wyatt—” She inhaled a sharply drawn breath when his thumbs gently grazed the underside of her breasts. Her bare skin was unbelievably soft under his touch, and he bit back a groan at the feel of it on his fingers.

“I think you’re magic,” she said.

He laughed again and she climbed off his lap, treating him to a fantastic view of her bare ass as she crawled back into her seat. There she snatched his shirt and tugged it over her head before she curled up and covered her face with her hands. “I really did totally instigate this.”

“Yeah,” he said with a grin. “I loved it.”

“Oh my God. I took advantage of you.”

“Uh-huh. It was hot.”

“I had to talk you into it,” she reminded him. “You were over there doing your Captain Platonic impression and I . . . I—” She covered her face and moaned miserably.

Leaning over her, he pulled her hands away from her face and waited until she lifted her gaze to his. “You’re too sexy,” she whispered. “You’ve really got to knock that off. I mean it, Wyatt.”

He shook his head on a smile. “You’re the most confusing woman I’ve ever met, and I’ve met lots of them. Hell, I live with the queen and queen-in-waiting of all confusing women.”

“You think you’re confused,” she said, sagging back. “Imagine how confused it is inside my head.” She reached for her panties, pulling them up one leg before apparently remembering he’d torn them. With a noise of frustration, she tossed them aside and went for her jeans, shoving her legs in, wriggling as she pulled them up.


Sexiest thing he’d seen. Well, maybe the second sexiest thing, the first being the way she’d moved over him, her eyes on his as she’d ridden him—

“Okay, that was absolutely our last time,” she said. “I don’t care how much your puppy and kitten tie pulls me in.” She paused. “I’m going to resist you.”

“Maybe you should put it in writing,” he said.

“I realize you’re mocking me, but that’s actually a good idea.” She pulled down the visor mirror and looked at herself. Her hair was wild, her eyes still a little dazed, and she was definitely wearing an I’ve-just-had-an-orgasm look as she groaned. She shoved on her shoes and opened the door.

He caught up with her on the sidewalk just as she stopped short. “What?” he asked.

“Hear that?”

He listened. The nights in Sunshine weren’t quiet. Crickets chirped. Wind rustled through the trees. From a long way off they could hear the sounds of the river, and the very occasional car.

And the unmistakable howl of a coyote.

Emily hugged herself. “Never mind, I hear weird noises out here, I’m not used to the country.” She moved to her door. “This isn’t necessary,” she said as he followed.

Not bothering to disagree, he took her keys from her fingers, unlocked her door for her, and held it open.

She stepped inside and turned back to him. “We’ve got to work on this.”


She sighed. “You’re not taking me seriously.”

His smile faded and he stroked a stray strand of hair along her temple, tucking it behind her ear, wondering what it would be like if they were even halfway suited for each other.

Pretty f**king great, he figured. “On the contrary,” he finally said quietly. “I’m taking you very seriously.”

The weekend was quiet. Emily woke up Saturday morning to Q-Tip sitting on her chest, staring into her face.


This translated to feed me, feed me now.

Knowing from experience that resistance was futile, Emily stumbled out of bed to feed the terminally hungry cat.

On her way to the kitchen, she glanced out the front window and saw her car in the driveway.

Wyatt, of course. She had a text from him telling her where he’d hidden her keys. When she went out to retrieve them, she found on her top step a to-go mug of hot coffee and several donuts from the bakery in town.

Which was almost more of a turn-on than his laugh.

She and Sara spent the weekend settling in, making the place theirs by painting their rooms. Sara went for a bold purple, Emily a muted, warm sea green.

On Sunday night, she called her dad to check in.

“How’s Idaho?” he asked. Same question he’d asked last week.

Not wanting to worry him, she gave him the same answer. “Good,” she said. “Two weeks down. How’re you doing? You eating okay? Did you get the bills paid on time?”

“Two weeks down?” he repeated, ignoring her other questions. “Honey, don’t tell me you’re clock watching.”

No, she was calendar watching.

“You need to enjoy this time in the wild, wild west,” he said. “Go date a cowboy or ride a horse or something. Do what makes you happy.”

This had been his life philosophy. He’d spent most of his career working as a vet at the homeless shelters. He had a drive to help, and she loved that about him, but at the same time, it had made it almost impossible for him to support his family. There were still medical bills from her mom to be paid, and he was making little to no headway there at all. “I’m too busy at work for that, Dad. Did you look at the job apps I e-mailed you? There’re a few openings that you’re perfect for.”

“I like my job at the SPCA.”

“But it hardly pays,” Emily said.

“Honey, some things are bigger than money. And anyway, I manage just fine.”

She had to bite her tongue. There was no gain to pointing out that he managed just fine because she kicked in for rent and groceries and leftover medical bills whenever and wherever she could—after feeding and housing her and Sara, who like Dad, never could quite make ends meet. “You’re eating?” she asked.

“Yes, I’m eating,” he said. “Now will you go do something fun? Try it, you might like it.”

She thought of what she’d done with Wyatt in his truck, how uninhibited and crazy it had been, and felt her pulse kick. She’d already had her fun.


“Love you, Dad.”

“Love you, too, honey. Tell Sara I tried.”

She hung up and turned to Sara. “He tried what?”

“To loosen you up,” Sara said.

Emily blew out her breath and looked at her phone when it rang.

Lilah ran the local doggy day care on the property next to Belle Haven, and as she was close to Dell and the guys, she spent lots of time in the office.

This worked for Emily, as she liked Lilah a lot. “I’m working on a big fund-raiser,” Lilah said when Emily answered the call. “It’s an online auction, with profits going to the local animal rescue shelter.”

“I didn’t know Sunshine had a rescue shelter,” Emily said.

“Yeah, and it’s me. Anyway, everyone from Belle Haven’s donating stuff. Dell’s offered ten free pet checkups. Adam’s offering a free puppy training course, and also S&R classes. Brady’s giving out a one-hour chopper ride.”

Brady was her husband, who was Dell’s brother. He was a pilot for hire, and maintained a helicopter at the small airport across from the animal center, which he often used to fly Dell and Wyatt to the big animal ranch patients.

“And Wyatt?” Emily asked. “What did he donate?”

Lilah was silent for a beat, and Emily cursed her own mouth for revealing her interest.

“Wyatt’s donating a shadow day,” Lilah said. “The highest bidder gets to walk in his shadow all day long at the center. He’s also giving away five home vet visits.”

“Generous,” Emily said, trying to sound not all that interested, also trying not to picture all the single women in the area bidding on him.

He’s not yours . . .

“So,” Lilah said. “You in? How about a night out with the highest bidder?”

“Uh . . .” Emily said.

“Just dinner,” Lilah said.

Sounded harmless enough. “If you really think people will be interested,” she said. “Because let’s face it, the big draw’s going to be the guys of Belle Haven.”

Lilah laughed softly. “I take it you’ve seen the way women react to them.”

“Yes, the Casserole Brigade has been very attentive.”

This cracked Lilah up. “For the most part, the guys don’t even notice,” she said.

“Are you kidding?” Emily asked on a laugh. “Wyatt snags each and every casserole.”

“That’s more because he’s always hungry. And by hungry, I mean his appetite for food,” Lilah said. “He’s actually a little bit shy in the women department.”

Emily couldn’t help it, she burst out laughing.

And in her ear, Lilah chuckled. “Okay, yeah, maybe shy is a bit of a stretch. Wyatt doesn’t really have a shy bone in his body. But he’s not exactly a man ’ho, either. He’s just so damn busy all the time. Poor guy’s got his hands full, what with the crazy growth of the practice these past six months, and trying to take care of his sisters and that big house, and planning the build on his own place. At least he’s finally getting over Caitlin, though he’s still protecting his heart pretty good—not that a man would ever admit to that, and certainly not a man like Wyatt.”

“Who’s Caitlin?”

“Uh . . .” Lilah’s voice suddenly became professional-like. “Hey, I’ve got another call coming in.”

“Okay, but—”

But Lilah was already gone.

By ten o’clock on Monday morning, Wyatt’s ass was dragging. It had been a long weekend rewiring the downstairs bathroom, and an even longer morning. Having been called out to the front desk, his stomach growled like Pavlov’s dog when he saw another casserole dish sitting on the counter.

Gertie hoisted herself to her feet and bounded to Wyatt for some love, leaving only a little slobber on his thigh.