By Maren Smith
Cast out of China, Chin knows all about how hard life in a foreign country can be, especially for a woman on her own. Given the name Jade and a job packing in the crowd as an exotic dancer at the Red Petticoat, Chin thinks she’s finally carved a safe and secure place for herself when, looking out across the dance hall, she spies the son of the man who murdered her family. Panicking, she flees into the night, into the worst storm in living memory.
Struggling on a failing ranch, neither Cullen Drake nor his brother Garrett has any idea how to combat the illness ravaging their herd. But the night Cullen finds himself slogging after sick cows during the worst storm in California’s history, he happens to be in the right place at the right time. At first, he thinks it’s a child he’s rescued from a flashflood. It’s not until he gets her home that he realizes Chin is every inch a woman grown… and a woman on the run.
Chin knows better than anyone the risks of staying too long in one place or letting people get too close. Yet the harder she tries to escape, the worse off she becomes until finally, sick and wounded, she finds herself unable to run and her past is closing in. Fortunately for her, Cullen has a past of his own and a fearsome determination to protect, whether she wants him to or not. Unfortunately, he also knows how to handle young ladies more interested in running than behaving.
“I am not a little girl,” she spat. “I can go where I will, when I will and owe no answers to the likes of you, you… you cow poker!”
“Cow poker?” Garrett and Cullen said in unison, the former surprised at her vehemence while the later growled, low and dangerous.
“I do believe the term is cow poke,” Garrett tried helpfully, but she cut him off.
“Poke by profession; poker by habit!”
“You little—” Cullen started to rise, but for the first time, it was she who moved faster. Exactly where she pulled that ivory-handled dagger from, he had no idea, but he only just caught a glint of light off the blade before he felt the sharp tip tuck right up under his chin. Cullen discovered two things then: one, her knife was as tiny as the rest of her, but it was sharp as hell; and two, she was a whole lot better at hiding her anger than she was at hiding the smug pleasure with which she lorded this win over him.
“I may be small,” she told him, sing-song soft as she dug the tip into the soft skin of his neck, “but even a small woman can carve the guts from a gwailo!”
“Oh, honey,” Garrett breathed, not smiling now though he did chuckle. “That was not very smart.”
Cullen didn’t bother saying even that much. “Now it’s the belt.”
Her black eyes narrowed, but that was all the time he allowed her to react. He grabbed her wrist, but not before he felt the nick of her blade drawing blood. He yanked back, clamping fingers over the sting. They came away tinged in crimson, but the smear wasn’t heavy. Anger held under very tight control, he wiped his fingers on his pants and checked again. Fortunately, the bleeding wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the cut felt.
Relieved, Cullen forgot about his neck and turned his full attention onto the slip of a girl tugging and yanking to free her arm from his grip. “Poker, am I?” he countered.
“Moo,” she lowed, her black eyes sparking pure defiance.
It was a very close approximation to a cow in heat. Cullen acknowledged that with a dry smile and a tsk of regret on her bottom’s behalf. Then he disarmed her, throwing the knife onto the table well out of both their reaches. She dug in with both feet when he grabbed his belt, the clank of the buckle preceding the leathery hiss as he whipped it out of pants loops.
“No!” She braced her legs, her butt going nearly all the way to the floor as she fought his pull. But he was bigger, he was stronger, and he was right. And right always triumphed, particularly over tiny slips of misbehaving young ladies in desperate need of what daddy so obviously didn’t give them enough of.
Fortunate enough to have married my Dominant, I am a wife, administrator at two local BDSM dungeons, resident of the wilds of freakin’ Kansas (still don’t know how I ended up here) and submissive to the love of my life. I have penned more than 120 novels, novellas and short stories, and am the author of the Masters of the Castle series, of which Kaylee’s Keeper reached #1 on all Amazon.
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Don’t miss these exciting titles by Maren Smith and Blushing Books!
Masters of the Castle:
Book 1, Holding Hannah
Book 2, Kaylee’s Keeper
Book 3, Saving Sara
Book 4, Sweet Sinclair
Book 5, Chasing Chelsea
Book 6, Owning O
Book 7, Maddy Mine
Last Dance for Cadence (Season 1, Book 8)
Have Paddle, Will Travel (Season 2, Book 7)
A Few Other Titles:
The Great Prank
Life After Rachel
The Mountain Man
The Next Ex
Something Has To Give