Katelyn Carter came to rural Texas to lick her wounds and start over after her failed marriage, but a sexy young cowboy seems determined to show her that love is still in the cards for this single librarian. Sheriff's deputy Daniel Bodine answers a 911 call to remove a rattlesnake from his new neighbor's bedroom. What he finds is an embarrassed Katelyn, dressed in little more than her pretty pink blushes. One little omission later, and he's working for the lady as her handyman. Burned once by a man, Katelyn fights her growing attraction but finds Daniel more temptation than she can resist. When he shows her he knows his way around a woman's body as well as he does a hammer and a saw, she takes a walk on the nasty side, vainly hoping she can keep her heart free of entanglement.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Ride a Cowboy by Delilah Devlin
Her hands shook as she punched 911.
"Wendall County Police, how may I help you?" a female voice chimed.
Relief nearly made her weak. "Um...this is Katelyn Carter," she said, rushing to get the words out. "I'm at 118 Amman Road. I'm new here and I have a problem." Her voice trembled with fear as she explained her dilemma to the dispatcher. "Can rattlesnakes climb?"
"We'll send a unit right over, ma'am. You sit tight, now. I don't think that snake's gonna do any climbin'."
"Wait!" For the first time Katelyn realized she stood in the middle of her bed, wearing only a tiny pair of bikini briefs and a thin white camisole that was transparent due to her own perspiration. Embarrassment warred with her fear.
"Yes, ma'am?" The dispatcher interrupted her thoughts.
"Uh...I'm not dressed. Can you send a female officer?"
The woman on the other end of the line chuckled. "Ma'am, we don't have any female officers, but I'll make sure only one fella comes in. You just stay right where you are."
As she powered off her cell phone, Katelyn could already hear sirens in the distance and wondered irritably whether the whole Wendall county police force was responding to the call. It wasn't long before booted footsteps made their way through her house.
One of the officers called out to her, "Miz Carter, you in there?"
Despite her fear, Katelyn cringed inside. The house was a mess--littered with cleaning supplies, wadded packing paper and half-emptied boxes. Worse, total strangers were about to see a whole lot more of her than anyone but her husband ever had. She inched her hand down to pull up the sheet to cover herself, but halted when the snake grew agitated by her slight movement and began to writhe in a tight circle around itself.
Wilting with embarrassment, she replied, "I'm in here."
A broad, amused face peered around the corner of her bedroom door. The officer's gaze widened slightly as it paused on her before seeking out her intruder on the floor. He whistled when he spotted the snake. "It's a big'un alright. We won't come in just yet, ma'am. I can tell that rattler's gettin' annoyed. We've sent for a rattlesnake wrangler to come pick up this bad boy." He gave her a kind smile. "It'll only be a few minutes. You just hang tight--and don't move, ya hear?"
Long moments passed while Katelyn counted the drops of sweat that slid down her face and the brown and black diamonds that criss-crossed the snake's back. She had just begun to wonder what a "rattlesnake wrangler" was when she heard more voices from the living room and heavy footsteps just outside her bedroom door.
"Ma'am, it's Daniel Bodine."
That voice! Warm as whiskey, it poured over her. Katelyn nearly groaned.
"I'm coming in, now. Don't you move a muscle."
A moment later, the cowboy who'd figured in her dreams--hot and sexy dreams--filled the doorway of her bedroom.
As nervous as she was, Katelyn couldn't help but note his broad shoulders nearly spanned the doorframe, and he had to duck to clear his hat beneath it. In one hand he held a long pole with a hook at the end of it, in the other a white sack.
His gaze met hers briefly, and he nodded once in her direction. A flush of red tinted his cheeks as he moved slowly into her bedroom, then all of his concentration focused on the snake.
As he approached it, the whispery rattle grew louder and the snake's attention moved to him. When its head rose with fangs exposed, the man reacted in a blinding whir of movement, pinning the snake's head to the floor with the hook. Then the cowboy placed the toe of his boot just below its head and tossed aside the pole.
Her heart pounded with fear as the snake whipped its body frantically about.
Daniel grabbed the snake just below the head, then straightened and held it up for a moment, letting it relax its full length toward the floor. He whistled appreciatively. "Whoa, he's a big 'un all right." He dropped it into the white sack and pulled the drawstring closed over it. Finally, he turned to her, his gaze flickering over her before sliding politely away. "It's okay, ma'am. You can come down off the bed now," he said softly.
"Thanks," she said, her voice croaking like a bullfrog, "but I think I'll wait until my legs stop trembling before I attempt it." She hated admitting her weakness and flushed, feeling the heat color her cheeks and spread down her neck to her chest. She wanted to raise her hands to hide her breasts, but knew it was a little late to save her modesty.
"Let me help you down." He stepped toward the bed, his hand stretched out.
"N-no," she said, suddenly breathless. Don't let him touch me. After last night, she already felt as though he'd touched her--intimately. She'd come, pretending his fingers stroked her slick flesh.
"It's okay. I swear I don't bite," he said, his voice softer, huskier. His hand closed around hers, and he tugged gently.
Katelyn drew in a sharp breath at the heat of his touch and the calluses that roughened his palms, and let him help her to the floor. When she stood beside him in her underwear and bare feet, she ducked her head and pulled at the cotton camisole that stuck to her skin, aware he could see the dark outline of her nipples through the cloth.
Sure enough, his glance swept down her body and back up.
A warning flashed in the back of her mind, but she couldn't help the slight catch of her breath as his gaze paused on her breasts. But rather than the suggestive comment she expected from the sassy cowboy of yesterday, he tightened his jaw and he looked away.
The telltale sign of awareness and tension had a similar effect on her body and she felt her nipples bead beneath her damp camisole.
He cleared his throat and stepped away. "I'll just put him in the truck and be on my way," he said, his voice now brusque. "I wouldn't want him to scare you again." With a hot glance that said he hadn't really been talking about the snake, he turned on his heels and left the room.
She slumped against the bedpost and wondered what that had been all about and why her heart still pumped madly...and not from fear or embarrassment. She blew out a pent-up breath and moaned. Who the hell was she kidding? The look on his face had held a promise. One she was dying to know.
Katelyn girl, you're in trouble now!