Spun Out

Book 10 of the Blacktop Cowboys® Series

New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James returns for another wild ride in Wyoming with a new Blacktop Cowboys® novel.

Years in the Army equipped Bailey Masterson for many things: target shooting, rappelling off cliffs, dodging grenades. She’s lived through horrors that still give her nightmares. But nothing in Bailey’s life-or-death training prepared her for caring for the tiny terror that is five-year-old Olivia Hale. Or how to control her raging attraction to Olivia’s father, Streeter, the rugged, green-eyed cattle rancher who undermines her every move even when he stars in her dreams.

Streeter Hale has room for only two things in his life: his daughter and his job. He doesn’t date. He doesn’t get attached. Not anymore. So not only is Streeter stunned by Olivia’s improved behavior after just a few days with Bailey, he’s downright floored by his immediate attraction to the woman. But with secrets in her eyes and a body that doesn’t quit, Streeter begins to worry that Bailey Masterson might just be the one woman to heal his fractured family and broken heart.

One thing’s for sure–these two wrecked souls are spinning out of control as they desperately try not to fall in love…

Excerpt »

After Ted closed the door, Streeter flipped on the beat-up boom box that still functioned as a radio. Most people listened to music on their phones, but he rarely had the luxury of popping in a pair of earbuds and tuning out the world—either at work or at home. He preferred the radio, ads and all. Having music always playing in the background kept him from going crazy after Danica died. It’d seemed to soothe Olivia too.

Humming along to Dwight Yoakam’s song “Little Sister,” he got to work.

The timer on his phone went off and he noticed he’d worked for three hours without a break. He’d accomplished more than enough for one day. After locking up, he drove his truck to the other side of the resort. Might seem silly that he drove instead of walked, but he often had to go directly from the Split Rock Ranch to his brother’s place. He spent enough time in the fresh air that he didn’t need to hoof it back and forth between his trailer and the barn a few times a day.

Streeter parked his truck behind his SUV. Just as he was about to get out, a silver Toyota Highlander sped past, kicking up dust. The taillights flashed as the driver hit the brakes. Then the driver’s-side door opened and Sergeant Bailey Masterson hopped out, dark glossy brown hair atop her head in a high ponytail, mirrored shades covering her eyes.

The next thing he noticed were her legs. Her bare, muscular legs that seemed a mile long in those frayed and faded Daisy Dukes. She wore an army green tank top with ARMY STRONG emblazoned across the front and no bra.

Mercy. The musculature in her arms and shoulders indicated strength that he found as sexy as the curves of her hips. The sassy sergeant was a potent package.

After opening the hatch on her SUV, she leaned forward to grab something out of the back. That maneuver gave him a front row seat to the nicest ass he’d ever seen.

Streeter groaned. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from her backside, especially when it wiggled and jiggled as she tugged an enormous laundry basket.

 Maybe you should offer to help her instead of helpin’ yourself to an eyeful of her ass.

Playing fetch and carry would be the neighborly thing to do . . .

Not if it’s in the guise of doin’ her.

She disappeared around the corner.

How the hell had she seen where she was going over that enormous pile of bedding? The woman was gonna fall and bust her very fine ass, and that’d be a damn cryin’ shame.

Streeter jumped out of his truck and followed her, half expecting to see her sprawled on the wooden walkway, but she’d set the load down in front of the trailer on the opposite end of his.

She unlocked the door, picked up the basket and went inside.

He doubled back to her SUV and grabbed the two biggest suitcases. She hadn’t emerged from her trailer yet, so he said, “Knock, knock,” as he walked through the door. “Where do you want these?”

“Set them down anywhere.”

He put them next to the recliner and looked at her.

“You didn’t have to do that, but thank you.”

“Let’s get the rest of it unloaded.” He reached her car before she caught up to him.

“I’ve got this,” she said tersely, practically hip-checking him out of the way.

“Good lord, woman. Me lendin’ a hand ain’t a judgment on your ability to do it yourself.” He sidestepped her, opening the rear passenger door to pick up the cooler wedged in the back seat. Damn thing was heavy. He shot her a look. “Whatcha got in here? Beer?”

“No.” Bailey flashed him a fake smile. “Grenades.”

Jesus. He turned and headed toward her trailer.

And like he expected, the little spitfire was right on his heels.

She’d lugged a big crate filled with pans and other household items, which she half dropped on the floor.

Which she had to bend over to reach.

Which put that perfect heart-shaped backside of hers directly in front of him.

He couldn’t have looked away if he’d wanted to.

When she straightened up and spun around, he made sure his focus was on her face, but somehow it got stuck on her equally sexy mouth.

“Look, Skeeter—”

That redneck name had his annoyed gaze snapping up to hers. “My name isn’t Skeeter, Barley, as you well know.” He fucking hated being called Skeeter. Hated it. And it happened far more often than he liked.

She laughed. “Barley. Good one.”

And Streeter couldn’t think of another thing to say. He wasn’t a witty guy. He’d never done much flirting. Before she realized that he was nearly paralyzed by social interaction, he wheeled around and hoofed it back to her car. Two smallish suitcases, a box of food, a crate of books and a laptop bag piled onto another crate of computer equipment was what remained. He stacked the food on top of the books and passed her on the walkway.

She muttered something about him being lucky he hadn’t stacked anything on her computer equipment.

Her prickly, I-can-do-it-myself attitude amused him, and he smiled despite himself.

After he set the box and crate on the floor, he took a moment to look around. The only difference between this space and his was his big-screen TV. The only room he’d “decorated” was Olivia’s bedroom. Besides the artwork hanging on the fridge and pinned to the bulletin board, their home looked much like this: impersonal as a cheap hotel. Like they’d just moved in—not that they’d lived there for three and a half years.

Streeter had left every physical reminder of their old life behind. Bad juju surrounded those things. He’d kept the photos—although someone else had packed them up and he hadn’t looked at them since shoving them in storage—and Danica’s jewelry, the quilts and afghans his mother and grandmother had made, and a few family heirlooms he’d set aside for Olivia.

Bailey breezed in carrying both suitcases. “Your girlfriend and your daughter are looking for you.”

“Girlfriend?”

“Yeah, you know, the hot little thing with the pink hair prancing around here.”

 The only hot little thing I’ve seen prancing around here is you, baby.

He frowned at that inappropriate thought. “That’s Meghan, Olivia’s babysitter. Which means she’s young enough to be my kid, not my damn girlfriend.”

She smirked.

This woman poked every one of his buttons. He had to leave now before he started poking back. Without saying a word, he walked past her and into the sunshine.

“Daddy!” Olivia shouted from the opposite end of the walkway.

As he started toward her, he heard Bailey yell, “You’re welcome!” from inside her trailer.

Unbelievable. She oughta be thanking him.

All thoughts of his troublesome new neighbor vanished when he saw the happy look on his daughter’s face.

He placed his hand on Olivia’s head after she’d run to him. Then he said, “Everything go all right?” to Meghan.

“Everything went fine. We had a great time. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be Olivia’s regular caretaker, but I’ll be here at least once a week.”

“Sounds good.”

Olivia insisted on walking Meghan to her car. After she drove off, Olivia rested her weight against him. “Daddy, can we go to McDonald’s for supper?”

He caught a glimpse of Bailey’s very fine ass as she rooted around in her back seat for something.

Getting away from here—and her—for a few hours had him herding Olivia to his SUV. “Sounds like a great idea.”

For International Readers »

Penguin Group (USA) LLC
(November 5, 2019)
336 pages

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