Because of You by Kristina O'Grady that includes a little bit of drama, a hot cowboy and an almost kiss!
From the Blurb:
One sizzling night… One life-changing moment!
Beth Copeland has made a terrible mistake. She slept with her long time crush Mark Asher…the man she couldn't get out of her head, the man she dreamed about…the man who recently broke up with her best friend, Kelsey Woods!
Beth is consumed with guilt and is certain she will never let that one night of passion be repeated, but sometimes a gorgeous cowboy is hard to resist…
The second blazing novel in the brand new Copeland Ranch romance trilogy from Kristina O'Grady.
Beth watched from the window as Mark’s jeep went past her house. What was he doing at the ranch so early? Years ago he would be here every weekend, but that was before they all grew up and got their own lives. But now he never made a trip out here unless it was to see Ben after work, or her mom had invited him over for dinner.
Beth shoved the last bit of her toast into her mouth and headed out the door. She could see his jeep pull up in front of Ben’s bunkhouse at the far end of the yard. Ben had called last night to see if she was taking the day off today.
He must have been talking to Helga again to know that the film crew was spending the weekend setting up for next week. Shelia had given her both days off.
So now, instead of getting up early to go into town to the kitchen, she had given up on sleeping in to climb up on a horse and chase cows. It felt like forever since she’d been up in a saddle and she couldn’t wait to catch her horse. She’d asked Helga if she wanted to come too, but she quickly shook her head and murmured something about reading Rebecca Raisin’s latest book.
‘But I thought you were still reading the ones Mom recommended to you.’ Beth had said.
‘I finished those already and they led me to these. Have you read them? I so want a place like the Gingerbread Café. It reminds me of living with you. Freshly baked goodies at my fingertips…yum!’ A dreamy look had crossed Helga’s face.
Beth had laughed and passed her a cinnamon bun. ‘Are you sure you don’t want to come for a ride?’
‘Oh yeah. Quite sure.’ Helga picked up her Kindle and started reading.
Beth couldn’t blame her for not coming; Helga’s one and only riding lesson hadn’t ended well at all.
She smiled at the memory of Helga’s version of events. According to her, Ben tried to kill her by putting her on Burt, the water-loving horse. She hadn’t come to any real harm but she had got very wet and very cold. It did end with Ben and Helga spending more time together, so Beth thought it all happened for the best.
She hurried across the yard towards the barn. The air was still crisp and clear and the sun was just breaking the surface of the horizon. Pinks, oranges and purples painted the sky, transforming the wispy clouds into candyfloss. She loved this time of day, but it wasn’t often she could take the time to enjoy it. She slowed her steps as she gazed up into the sky and took a deep breath of the cool, fresh spring air. The crispness of it bit her throat and burned her lungs. She smiled. It was glorious.
Ben and Mark left the bunkhouse just as she reached the barn. She stopped and watched them make their way to her. Why was Mark wearing chaps?
He smiled nervously at her and tipped his hat in greeting before moving to open the barn door. It had always been tricky to open. It got stuck on the rollers halfway along the track. Beth always had to strain to get the blasted thing open far enough to get her horse inside. The muscles in Mark’s back barely twitched as he pulled the door open with ease. Still, Beth couldn’t take her eyes off his shoulders where his shirt stretched tight across his muscles.
Ben cleared his throat. She jumped and glanced at him. She hadn’t even noticed he’d come up beside her.
‘Nice view this morning is it, Beth?’ he asked with a smirk.
She glared at him but he just grinned wider. ‘Why is he here?’ she asked through gritted teeth.
‘We needed the help moving the cows, you know as well as I do he’s better than anyone else. Have you got a problem with Mark or something?’
‘No,’ she mumbled. There was no way she was sharing details with her brother.
‘Come on, Beth.’ He grabbed her arm and pulled her into the dimness of the interior of the barn.
The mustiness was in sharp contrast to the freshness of prairie grasses and sage brush outside. Horse sweat, manure and hay filled the air, but it was no less pleasant. Even though she’d lived on the ranch her whole life, the smell of the musty barn brought back so many childhood memories every time she came in here.
The problem was that Mark was a big part of those memories. He belonged here on the ranch, just as much as she and Ben did.
She watched him take a halter off the peg and shake it out. She’d seen him do the same thing a hundred times before and yet today it was slightly erotic how he twisted the rope in his hand. His forearm flexed with each tiny movement. She didn’t understand how someone who spent their days behind a desk could be so rippled with muscles.
He’d always been athletic, even as a teenager, but as he got older the more he filled out. He towered over everyone and his chest was so muscular that Beth had never seen him in a shirt that fit properly. The fabric always pulled across his chest and shoulders.
She choked back a moan and shook her head. She turned away and went to get her tack ready. She was supposed to be staying away from Mark, she reminded herself. It was for the best. If she could avoid him, she might be able to resist temptation, but how was she going to do that with him riding a horse and dressed like a cowboy? The way she was drooling over him minutes ago did not bode well with her keeping to her resolution.
‘Beth?’ Ben called. ‘You coming or what?’
She stuck her head out of the tack room. He was standing in the doorway with a bucket of oats in one hand and a halter in the other. She grabbed a halter off the peg behind her and followed him to catch her horse.
Watching Beth on top of a horse was pure sinful torture. With every roll of her hips Mark imagined her straddling him with her strong thighs. He shifted in his saddle. Riding fully aroused was not comfortable.
Mark drew up next to Ben when he pulled his horse, Thunder, to a stop. Beth stayed on the other side of her brother. Away from him.
‘We’ll take the cows through the north gate into the summer field. I opened it up last night, so hopefully some of them have made their way through already. I’ll take the west side if you two want to cover the south and the east. I guess we’ll meet up in the middle somewhere. You remember where you’re going, Mark?’ Ben shifted to look at him.
‘Sure do.’ Mark smiled. He knew this place better than the back of his hand.
‘Alright, I’ll see you later then.’ Ben nudged Thunder in the ribs and took off over the hill.
For a moment Mark and Beth just sat there.
‘I’ll take the far side,’ Beth broke the silence. She turned her horse away from him and started walking off.
‘B, wait,’ he said before she could ride away.
Her saddle leather creaked as she turned to look at him. A strand of her hair pulled loose from her braid and tossed around in the breeze. He nudged his borrowed horse closer to her and caught the hair with his fingers and tucked it behind her ear. Her eyes widened and locked on his. She shivered when his fingers lightly caressed her skin on her neck. He felt her reaction all the way down to his toes. He couldn’t resist pulling her into him. He leaned closer, determined to touch his lips to hers. Just one kiss.
She blinked and jerked back. Her horse, Kernchup; the same one she rode as a teenager, shied sideways out of his reach.
‘I can’t,’ she whispered. She kicked Kernchup into a gallop and rode away.
The wind stung her eyes until tears leaked from the corners. She leaned lower in the saddle and urged Kernchup faster.
She had almost given in. She had almost let him kiss her. She wanted him to. God, how she wanted him to. She’d even leaned in closer to him. His lips had been so close.
She crested a hill and drew Kernchup to a stop, both of them breathing hard.
Was her childhood crush on him so strong she couldn’t resist? She’d spent so many years fantasising about him, now having him want her was messing with her head…and her heart. She’d wanted him for so long and now here he was, offering himself on a plate to her, and she couldn’t have him.
And what right did he have looking so hot? She’d ridden behind him on the way out to the pasture just to admire his denim-clad ass.
In the valley below her, cows and calves milled around a pond. She sat and watched them for a moment, lost in her thoughts. She hadn’t had much of a chance to help out with riding this year. With all the extra work getting ready for the film crew and getting the guest house ready and now with working at the kitchen, she didn’t have any time to appreciate the simplicity of rural life.
She smiled at the calves chasing each other around the valley.
The thought of leaving this place pierced her heart. She was desperate to find an alternative, but with her strong reaction to Mark today she didn’t know what else to do.
She nudged Kernchup down the hill to the cows, telling herself she wouldn’t waste any more time today thinking about it.
She scrubbed her lips with the back of her hand, trying to rub away the ghost of Mark’s almost kiss.
Because Of You by Kristina O'Grady is a contemporary romance, released by Carina UK on August 25, 2015.
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