Chase McKay could barely keep his eyes open. Disoriented, he slowed his truck to a crawl on the gravel road, braking at the cattle guard that denoted the turnoff to his cousin Kane’s place.
He parked by the deck and stumbled out of his truck, taking a moment to stretch his legs and adjust the crick in his neck. But anticipation of falling face-first into a puffy mattress and sleeping a solid twelve hours put a spring in his step.
Once he’d unearthed the key and unlocked the door, he slipped inside the dark trailer and caught a whiff of flowers. Probably from cleaning supplies.
Too tired to shower, Chase stripped to his boxer-briefs in the living room and wandered to the kitchen sink to wash off the worst of the road grime. Rather than flipping on the lights, his fingers trailed along the hallway wall for guidance as he headed toward the back bedroom.
The bedroom door was closed. With as hot as it’d been, the room would be stuffy, but he was too damn whipped to even open a window. He flopped on the mattress and stretched out, but his arm connected with something solid. And warm. And soft.
Chase leapt out of bed the same time the high-pitched shrieking started.
He fumbled with the light, blinking against the sudden brightness. He kept blinking because he didn’t trust what he was seeing. There was a nekkid woman in his bed. A nekkid, pissed-off woman who’d jumped up and struck a Jackie Chan martial arts pose.
“Back off, perv! I have a black belt in taekwondo and I will fuck you up if you take another step toward me.”
Chase raised his hands in surrender, trying really, really hard to keep his eyes on hers. “Whoa, there, crouching tiger. Let’s just take this down a notch.”
“Bet you’d like that, fuckface.”
Fuckface? Christ. Just his luck he’d come across another psychotic woman. “Maybe you oughta tell me why you broke in.”
“I didn’t break in, you moron.”
“Hey, enough with the name-callin’,” he snapped. “Maybe I oughta call the deputy and let him deal with your lyin’ ass.”
“Hey, enough with the name-callin’,” she mimicked flawlessly. “Go ahead and make the call.”
Dammit. He had no guarantee Cam was on duty tonight. And did he really want to try and explain…this?
“Hah! Called your bluff, didn’t I?” she sneered.
“Yeah, honey pie, you sure did. I’m just wondering if the rash of shit I’ll get from my cousin—who is the deputy I’d call—is worth the hassle at two o’clock in the fuckin’ mornin’.”
She dropped her hands and studied him. “Wait a second. Your cousin is a local deputy?”
“What’s his name?”
“Oh fuck me. You’re one of the two hundred McKay men Ginger always talks about.”
That startled Chase. “You know Ginger?”
“Who do you think invited me to stay here?”
“Well, we have a problem because my cousin Kane said I could stay here.” As Chase tried to stay focused on her eyes, he realized something about this woman was very familiar. His gaze wandered. Drool-worthy tits. Tiny waist. Curvy hips. Long legs.
“Eyes up here, buddy.”
He didn’t exactly hurry his gaze as it tracked her curvaceous body from the bottom up. Goddamn, the woman had it going on. “Do I know you?”
“Do I know you?” she shot back sarcastically.
“I’m serious. Were you in Playboy?”
“Is that your idea of flattery?”
“Yes, you’re sporting a helluva centerfold body, sugar t—” Shit. He was supposed to stop saying stuff like that.
Not bothered at all by her total nakedness, she pushed up the pink satin eye mask that kept slipping down. “I don’t remember seeing you at Ginger and Kane’s wedding. Which McKay are you again?”
“Chase. I wasn’t at the wedding. Mind tellin’ me your name?”
“Ava Cooper is my stage name. Ava Dumond is my real name.”
Stage name. With a body like hers and zero modesty she had to be a stripper. “Well, Ava, it appears we’re roomies, at least for tonight.”
Ava didn’t respond. Her gaze was glued to his belly. “What the hell happened to you?”
Chase glanced at his stomach and touched the bruise beneath his rib cage. “That’s what fifteen hundred pounds of pissed-off bull will do to ya.”
“Bull? As in a male cow? Were you doing ranch work or something?”
“No. I was trying to ride the damn thing, but he didn’t wanna be rode. Threw me on my ass and stomped on me for good measure.”
“You do that a lot? Ride bulls?”
“That’s my job.”
Her eyes widened. “Really? That’s an actual job? You get paid and everything?”
He scowled at her. “Really. And look, no offense, but I’m dead on my feet. I’ll take the couch tonight. We’ll talk about the rest of this in the mornin’.”
“How do I know you’re not a serial killer?”
“You don’t.” Chase offered a smug smile. “Sweet dreams.”