Red RibbonseBook ISBN: 9781419914324Rules of Darkness

Print ISBN: 9781419961830

Beware of the Cowboy Ellora’s Cave

An Excerpt From: BEWAREOFCOWBOY
Copyright © MARI FREEMAN, 2008
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

Still watching the ranch hand, Liza took a steadying breath as the cowboy rode away. All that gorgeous muscle had her rattled. She hadn’t reacted to a man this strongly in a very long time—and wow, what a reaction! The cowboy was stunning, with chaps tightly fitted over sturdy thighs, a faded button-up denim shirt…and that dingy old hat was so cute the way it tilted just to the right. He filled out every inch of the cotton and leather, leaving little to a woman’s imagination. Shoulders, stomach and thighs sculpted from years of throwing hay bales and riding fence lines. Ranch work does wonderful things to a man’s physique. And she had almost lost her ability to bitch when she got a look into those dark brown eyes as he’d held her. She realized with a bit of shock that if the Deans weren’t her biggest clients, she might have let the mess go without a word, sat back and simply admired the man while he caught the colts. She shook herself and assessed the damage.

“Damn, what happened here?” Becky eyed the mess as she walked down the aisle toward Liza. “The runner!” She had spent two days finding someone to paint that thing. “What are you smiling about? The runner is ruined. And what happened to the flowers?” She gestured to the altar.

Liza shook her head to clear her brain of the sexy man. Dark, mysterious cowboy or not, they had some cleaning up to do. She shrugged and motioned to the broken vases. “Spread out the other arrangements so the missing ones aren’t as noticeable. Shorten the runner a bit and cut it off at the tear. No one will ever notice.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yes…why?” Liza asked, puzzled.

Becky eyed Liza for a minute then started to rearrange the huge vases of pink and lavender roses on the right side of the altar while Liza adjusted those on the left. “Because, Miss Perfectionist, you’re not having a fit over this, whatever this is.” She nodded toward the broken vase at her feet.

“Just a small problem with a couple of loose colts. Those cowboys came and got them. They were just a few minutes too late to save the flowers, though. You’d better check the hydrant on the left side too. One of them took a bite out of the rhinestones.”

“Cowboys?” Her head shot up from the mess and scanned the yard, seeing the two men heading around the backside of the barn, leading the colts away. “Cute?”

“Oh yeah!” Liza pointed to a Beware of the Dog sign tacked on the red wooden planks of the barn. “They need to change that sign to, ‘Beware of the Cowboy’, ’cause that one’s a heartbreaker.”

“Wow, you’re checking out the hired hands? He must have been something for you to go all doe-eyed on me.”

Liza collected the last of the big glass pieces on a stray piece of fabric left over from the bows wrapped around the chair backs. “Here, dump it all on here. We’ll get the rental people to come get the rest. I’ll find us some scissors to fix the runner.” She started to head back into the house. “And I’m not doe-eyed, I’m horny.”

“That cute? Sorry I missed them.”
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