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Knockin' Boots: A Cowboy Romance (Triple K Ranch Book 1) by J.L. Beck, Cassandra Bloom (1)



“Both Barrels”


Brea watched him walk to the parking lot. Darkness helped to cover her presence and her shameful stalking. Rolling her eyes, she knew this was an awful thing to do in the first place. Pitiful is what it was all right. She could just hear her Momma’s voice tisking in that way she had when she was disgusted.

Watching from the corner, she viewed him getting into his truck. His powerful legs just seemed to launch him up and in through the high door. Yeah, a huge Ford F-150. Mighty as Texas trucks go, and just as mighty as he was.

He started the big engine and pulled out in a cloud of Flatonia dust.

Standing in the dark part of the side building, she stared at the large vehicle until it disappeared down the street.

Looking up, she saw the neon flashing sign… ‘Happy Daze Diner’ just as it blipped off. Looking all around to make sure no one had seen her, she hurried over to her Ford. Hers wasn’t the least bit mighty and you could call it meek. It was a Ford Fiesta and it ran all right, but just barely. She tugged at the door handle and it didn’t budge. Dang-it, I’m gonna have to go around and use the passenger door!

She got in, climbed over to the driver’s seat, and started her little tin can of a junk pile. She pulled out of the parking lot with lurch of the engine and a cloud of smoking oil fumes. She’d bought the car because it was priced right. Cheap! She smiled and wiped the dust from her rearview mirror.

It would get to home and back. For four hundred dollars that was a bargain, compared to walking. She dimmed her headlights because she really didn’t want to waste the battery juice as it was like the car itself—on its last cell. The streets were empty, so it didn’t matter anyway.

The car needed all kinds of things that she couldn’t afford, but maybe it needed to be dropped off at the junkyard too. Brea just couldn’t bring herself to do it though; she sort of mixed herself with the beat down car. She sometimes felt like she didn’t match up to the slim modeled woman, but she was loyal and steady as hell. So, she held onto the car out of sympathy.

Night had fallen over the sleepy looking town and the empty streets just added to her somber mood. She needed to stop all this sneaking around and hiding her feelings under a dark, damp rock. Why couldn’t she just be like a modern woman and ask him out? Because you’re too afraid, that’s why, Plushy butt!

The nickname had been tagged on her in high school and she‘d gotten way past feeling bad about it. It matched her name and her behind. I have a great butt and someday, someone else may think that too! But someday was kind of like the word tomorrow…it was always looming but never really here. Her thoughts drifted again. Someone? Well, there was a someone; he just wasn’t her someone.

She parked in her spot at the apartment building and tried her car door handle. It gave way and for once, and she was able to get out of her car the respectable way. Yay! She felt like the bucket of bolts was thanking her for the junkyard reprieve.

Looking around, she knew most of her neighbors were already asleep. Ten o’clock and the streets of Flatonia instantly rolled up. Is this gonna be my life when I’m old? She made her way up the stairs and tried to think of what she could do differently. Well, you could ask that someone out and maybe he would be taken off guard enough to actually say yes. But you just keep puttin’ that off till tomorrow, which you know will never be here.

Brea sighed as she took off her apron and dropped it onto her couch. Her feet hurt and her back was strained. The day had been super long and she just wanted a hot bath. Waitressing was more than hard work—it was a total beat down on some days. She kicked off her shoes and winced. Ten hours on your feet while rushing all over and trying to please everyone was rough. The tips bought the groceries but sometimes, you couldn’t pay the bills.

Yep, sometimes you had all chicken, while other times, all you got was the feathers. Another wise but offbeat proverb her momma was always telling her when the bills couldn’t be paid. Brea stripped away the rest of her well-worn, food-splattered uniform. Chicken, she shuddered. Icky-chicky, she would say after a full week at the diner.

She headed to the bathroom, as was her nightly routine. While running the bath water, she paused and looked in the mirror. Her mom said she had an hourglass figure. Brea turned sideways while gazing at her body and thought, what the hell did that even mean? Hourglass? Like maybe your ass was full of heavy sand?

She unclasped her bra and watched her rosy tipped breasts pop out from the material. Yeah, I’ve got the big boobs, but my hips could bounce someone across a room.

She added rose scented bubbles to the streaming water, then tugged her panties down and away. Stepping into the warm water she sat down, sinking into the tub. Releasing a relieved sigh, she immediately thought about someone she’d love to bounce all right. He was never far from her thoughts, and one of these days someone was gonna catch her watching him.

He wasn’t even interested. She released a heavy breath and closed her eyes. Jet came in every day and he was the finest thing on two legs. He was like sex on two legs, she should say. A cowboy, the cook had said about him. Yeah, I wish he would ride me! Don’t even go there again, Brea. She fought the temptation off. It was like a bad habit that left her shaking for just one more hit.

His smile flashed in her mind as she slipped her fingers lower and rubbed her clit. Yep, she gave in and allowed her imagination to be full of that hot, sexy cowboy. In her mind, he was doing this very thing to her.

She raised her breasts from the water and pretended he was sucking on her nipples. Oh, his mouth would be hot and he would tease her nipples with his teeth. She could hear his husky voice as he tilted his cowboy hat up, so that she could see those blazing blue eyes as he whispered, “Open up for me, Brea…

At the smokin’ sexy vision, she splashed around in the bubble-laced water and her eyes popped open. Dammit! I’m doing it again!

She reached for the shampoo and lathered her hair with a little too much vigor. Like he would actually be in my bubble bath wearing his cowboy hat! I could at least envision some kind of reality with it. I bet his bare body would be a reality to me all right and just the loveliest rose scented piece of man meat I ever saw! I have tried my best to envision what that body would look like bare.

Why, just the other day, she stood at the coffee station and stared at him for no telling how long. Her mind was conjuring up visions of him without his cowboy duds. She then would switch it and have him in just boots and hat. Then all naked. Oh, to be his saddle. Hell, I’d settle for being his anything. Yeah, ride me anytime, baby boy!

I can’t help but to fantasize. He was so hot and he makes me sweat whenever he looks at me. But that wasn’t sexy either, trying to stay dry in your panties and under your arms while you worked. Nope, every time he came in, the panties were shot. Brea released a drift of laughter. Another pair bites the dust!

Thinking naughty thoughts of him always did change her attitude, because it almost made her giddy and that was part of the addiction, probably.

She rinsed her hair and lathered up with conditioner. Laying her head back, she wondered what it would be like to kiss him. He had been coming in for the last three weeks, breakfast, lunch and dinnertime. He’d said that they didn’t have a cook out at the ranch he was working at and he liked the home cooking style at the diner.

Shaking her head, she knew she should stop thinking about this man. There was just no way he was ever gonna ask her out. Sure, he smiled at her and talked to her. But sometimes, he would just eat and leave without talking much. Plus, he’d never even made a play for her.

God, she loved it when he did talk though. That sweet twang of his? It wasn’t heavy, just light enough to make my skin tingle whenever I hear it.

She rinsed out the conditioner and wondered if she should shave her legs? Why? It’s not like I would be wearing a dress anytime soon. Shrugging, she grabbed the razor and soap. Mom always said to keep your ladylike swing going. Again, what the hell did that mean? Good ole mom, she said some pretty wild stuff, but she was a take no nonsense woman and she always got what she was after.

Taking up the razor, Brea wondered why she wasn’t more like her mom. She made neat rows through the soap on her calves with the razor and thought about it. I wish I could just go after what I wanted. I just think it’s because I’m a heavy girl and it’s better to try and stay as invisible as possible, seeing how rejection was always a real sting when it happened.

Still, that was no excuse. Brea’s mom had always been a big woman, and just look how many guys she’d had? She always said, men were like shoes and you never know if they will really fit until you wore them for a while. Brea giggled aloud. My mom, she was something, but she always got her man or her way in the end, and boy, did she ever go through men like they were shoes!

Finishing the shave, she splashed water over her legs. What did I really want and was too scared to go out and get? It used to be that she wanted the hell out of high school, and then out of town and now? She just wanted to get the man of her dreams.

Her resolve built as she thought of her strong willed, happy mother. But I was always trying to be good, so I wouldn’t get branded as a slut and just last week I told mom that. She remembered now what her mom’s response had been. “Good girls go to heaven, Brea, but bad girls go everywhere!” Some Mom she was…telling me things like that. Her Mom never seemed to feel any shame about being the way she was all of her life though. She always said she planned to be in heaven at least a half an hour before the devil knew she was dead.

Well, I sure as hell don’t wanna go to heaven this soon, myself. But maybe I will get a few miles out and reach a heaven filled with cowboy beefcake? Another giggle escaped as Brea shaved her underarms too, while she wondered if those great looking stretch jeans still fit her. She then thought about what blouse to wear and before she knew it, she’d made her decision to go for it. She figured what was the use in sitting around waiting for her life to change and feeling sorry for herself anyway.

“It’s time for Miss Plushy butt to get a new pair of shoes!” Her laughter echoed through the bathroom as she dried herself off.


* * * *


This time, tomorrow did come and Brea was aiming to face it head on. She drove out to the Triple K Ranch while still asking herself if she was nuts and her body literally shook all the way up Lockhart road. The question of what the hell she thought she was doing, kept popping into her head, interrupting her newfound courage.

“I’m gonna ask for the cooks job, that’s what!” she answered aloud and gave a resolute downward head nod while looking into her rearview mirror. As if seeing the reflection of her pink cheeks and the false tough glint in her own green eyes would make her braver.

Her not yet to be junked car was about to earn its keep, but she realized again, that it had certainly seen better days. She looked out at the paint peeled hood, while knowing that the tires were bald and the driver side door had a nice healthy gash where she had scraped it against a cement pylon at the carwash. It would make it out there and back though, right?

She saw the sign, Triple K Drive and turned in, driving over the cattle grate. A loud pop echoed out as her car shifted with a swerve. At first, she thought it was just the grate hitting up against her very bare tires. So, she pressed the brake to slow the car and the pedal went all the way to the floor.

Well, that isn’t good. Brea was sweating it now. Brakes were something you needed to have, right? With a rising dread, she noticed that the road titled downhill. Everything in life seemed to tilt that way eventually and this was no exception.

There were cows lining the road. The big doe eyed animals stared at her and her runaway vehicle from hell. Their great big eyes rounded at the loony woman in her disaster heap as she swerved aimlessly all over the road.

Just stay calm; it’s a barren road and it’s not like there’s heavy traffic and all. Her mind conjured up visions of the car folding like a crushed aluminum can as it hit one of those beefy cows. Fighting the panic, she tried the emergency brake and it didn’t slow the car at all. Did that stupid thing ever work before?

Up ahead, she saw a horse and rider on the dirt road. Fuck—what is that? She hit the horn, and then remembered that had stopped working sometime last winter. “Crap!” She tried to roll her window down to call out to the rider and of course, that button never worked since she’d gotten the damn car. Okay, now I am gonna panic.

The man wearing a cowboy hat looked startled as he hurried his horse across.

Brea could actually see the whites of the horse’s eyes, she was so close to it. The whole thing was like some bad dream, like the time she’d polished off that half a bottle of whiskey and imagined all kinds of freaky things. This whole scene was truly bizarre, as her and probably the horse’s life, passed in front of her eyes.

She screamed and turned the wheel, attempting to go the opposite direction. Oh, shit! The old Ford bucked and swerved as it went into a one eighty; the dust flew and she thought her heart had stopped while the car spun completely around.

Sucking her breath in, the world spun while the car turned into one of those whirling violent rides at a carnival. She fought to hold down the contents of her stomach. Finally, the car halted, jerking her body forward and back with a thump. Dizzy, she placed her head on the steering wheel.

The sound of her gasping for air echoed out through the dust heavy air. With a death grip of her hands on the steering wheel, she wondered if going on an adventure to jump-start your life could actually end your life. I never even got to see the seven or eight wonders of the world, for Christ sake!

“Ma’am?” a voice called.

“Just a minute, I gotta keep my lunch from coming back on me,” she answered with a wheezing.

“Are you okay?” he asked again.

“I’m just having an argument with my sanity is all.” She raised her head to look at this annoying person. “And I’m losing, so could you just wait a—”

Piercing blue eyes looked at her from beneath a dusty cowboy hat.

Brea realized that kneeling next to the car was probably the ninth wonder of the world. It was him! Holy crap, just stay down there, big mac! She willed her lunch to behave.

He rose up from the kneeling position and her bewildered gaze rose with him as she took him all in.

His body stretched out to his full height as he stood all the way up. He was wearing those strange leather chaps the cowboys on the range wore. If ever anything accented male muscular thighs, those pieces of leather did the trick.

Her stunned eyes wanted to resist looking directly at something this magnificent, but eventually they rose to his broad chest. His blue buttoned up shirt was a little dusty, but it matched his eyes like it had been made just for him. The very span of his chest was stretching the cotton fabric of the shirt to its limits.

The breathtaking journey her eyes took, finally ended up at his face.

He gave her a huge grin and was easily able to open that stuck-forever door of hers. Reaching in, he unbuckled her seatbelt. “Let’s give you a look over and see if you have any injuries.”

Brea couldn’t seem to speak, as he stood her upright and pulled at her blouse. Her nipples stood at attention while the rest of her became complete mush. He was passing his big, callused hands all over her body. His warm hands brought a hot tingling everywhere he touched her.

One of those funny old sayings popped into her befuddled head. It’s better to be looked over, than overlooked! Closing her eyes, she wondered just how absorbent her panties were today.

He said something again, but her brain never registered what it was. All she could do was to feel that blaze from his wandering fingers. Nodding like a dummy, she stared at his face.

Kneeling again, he smoothed those large hands gingerly along one thigh.

I sincerely hope the other leg doesn’t get jealous. In all honesty, she thought this whole session was gonna make her pass right out for sure. Oh, I wish I were injured, but only in certain areas! I wonder what he would do if I claimed that my breasts had been smashed up against the steering wheel?

Brea suppressed the nervous giggle that threatened to burst out. Yes, my nipples need medical attention?

As though he may have heard her wicked rambling thoughts, he stood up while wearing a huge grin. At her bewildered expression, he shook his head and took off his hat.

Noticing the way the sun glinted off his raven-hued hair, she simply held her breath and stared. Here stood the reason she was out here in the first place and she’d almost run him down with that damn nightmare on wheels.

Those striking blue eyes roamed over her full figure as he placed his hat back onto his head and pressed his hands along her waist. “Well, now. You look all right. What happened?” he asked, as he seemed to notice her mute state.

What happened? The question rang in her head. You almost made me come just now—is what the hell happened. That look over was hot enough to melt frickin’ candle wax! Trying to keep her breathing steady while being totally dumbstruck, she gulped. One more warm caress and I would have embarrassed myself for sure! “I—um…”

He chuckled and looked around. “Where were you headed?”

Again, her voice box was out of order. Headed? She looked around as though she might be standing on the moon. I was headed to certain vehicular death and now I’ve died and finally found beefcake heaven!

“Hello?” He waved his hand in front of her face.

Brea tried to smile and wondered just how stupid she looked while wearing a goofy grin with her red hair sticking out in every direction. “I was heading to the owner’s place.” There, she finally got more than two words out.

“Oh? Well, I can ride you there, cuz it’s a cinch this—car isn’t going anywhere.”

Still stunned by the leftover tingles from that very hot and thorough look over, she barely caught most of the words except the, ride you part, of course. Brea gazed over at his very large horse.

The animal looked over at her and she could have sworn its big doe eyes had narrowed at her with suspicion. Like he was saying, You almost killed me, you loony bitch!

Shaking her head to try and dispel the surreal feeling, she wondered if she’d banged her head a little too hard or something. “You mean ride—like up on a saddle?”

“Well, there are other kinds, but yeah.” He shook his head with amusement. “Believe me, you don’t wanna try and walk all the way up there.” He took her hand and led her to the large animal.

She’d been around horses, but she wasn’t a cowgirl or anything. The closest she’d ever gotten was when the rodeo came to town, and bleacher seats just didn’t count out here. “Um, wait, Jet, I don’t—”

His steps halted and he turned around. Reaching up, he lifted his hat above his forehead and looked at her.

She knew her cheeks just turned a bright cherry red as he peered closely at her face.

The tall, broad shouldered cowboy was quiet for a full minute.

Brea knew for sure that he’d never looked at her for this long before now and she wondered if maybe she’d finally gotten his attention. Yeah, I had to nearly smash the man and his horse flat with my car to achieve it though.

He let out a loud whistle.

At the unexpected shrilling, Brea nearly jumped out of her skin, as the horse trotted up close.

Chuckling a little at her reaction, he reached out to lift her up. “It’ll be okay.”

With an immediate panic, Brea bit at her lip. He is muscle-bound, but he’s gonna balk at how heavy I am!

With very little effort, he had her up and onto the horse.

Brea was stunned as she watched him swing himself up in front of her. Man, was he strong. Visions of what he could do to her with that strength danced playfully in her naughty brain. Those warm calloused hands spreading out along her soft skin? Why, he could even do me while standing— Snapping herself from her naughty fantasy world, she tried to sit up straighter on the horse.

“Just hold onto me and we’ll be there in a bit, okay?” He tucked his stirrups into the horse’s flanks and it took off with a lurch.

Well, he won’t have to ask that twice! With greedy relish, Brea grabbed a hold of his solid waist and held her breath. She never realized that those leather chaps could look so sexy on a man and she was busy looking down at his chap-covered thighs as they gripped the saddle. Her nipples were rubbing up against his back as the horse moved. Oh wow, this felt good.

Then, the horse traversed into a gallop and her insides jostled from the effect. Well, part of it felt good. Oh my, if my Momma could only see me now! Ridin’ with something tall, yummy and irresistible.

“So, can I ask what you want up at the main house?”

His sudden question startled her out of the enjoyment of the way his back was rubbing against her breasts. Her nipples were hard as rosy diamonds in an ice-cold mine and the effect was beginning to unnerve her. Want? Why, I came shopping for you—Mister Cowboy boots! She rolled her eyes at the way her mom seemed to slip her old jokes into her brain at the worst times.

“Miss?” he called out over his shoulder.

His words seemed to hum through her like bass guitar notes. Did his voice just get warmer every dammed minute she spent with him? Maybe being out here in the open like this made him sound even sexier? Her jostled body almost coiled with want. “Yeah, I was gonna apply for the cook’s job.”

At the reply, he turned his head and looked back at her.

Oh man, now he’s gonna look at me with those smokin’ blue eyes…while he spins that silken voice over me with that hot, hard bod rubbing up against my most sensitive lady parts? I am so not gonna make it through this ride without entirely falling apart.

“So, you can cook too?” he asked.

The amused taunt in his question was evident and she wondered what he was teasing her about. “Too?”

“Yeah, you’ve already proved you can drive like a pro.”

Was this yummy cowboy teasing her with a twinkle in those baby blues of his? Brea was startled. He never flirted with her back at the diner and that was what kept her from chasing him down before.

Chasing him down? Oh wow, you’d think I’d have to injure a man and wreck my heap of a car to get a dammed date in this town! “Yeah, well I just got lucky is all?” After the stupid response left her mouth, she winced. Dumb answer, you big twit!

He let out a chuckle and turned his head back to the trail ahead. “Well, so did I, sweet thing, so did I.”

There! He was flirting! Oh, what do I say? How do I act? She sat up more in the saddle while remembering her momma’s advice. Go straight ahead and give him both barrels. “There are a lot of things I’m good at, I’ll have you know.” She visibly flinched with the words. I’ll have you know? Okay, that was even dumber than the last time you opened your big yap!

“Oh, yeah? So, you can drive like Petty and cook like Chef Ramsey?”

This cowboy was funny too, on top of everything else he was at the top of? Brea wanted to make a smooth and equally as funny reply, but she found that her brain was on freeze.

It was just like the time she tried those funky Jell-O shots at the Flat Top bar, and her brain was just as fuzzy right this minute. Finally, she decided that silence was the better part of not looking stupid. Still, she kept wracking her brain for a pithy response to use. Like, yeah and I can kiss like...? Like who?

“Don’t be so modest. I can truly say after I witnessed the wicked way you drove to a safe stop in that tin can of a car? That I bet your fried chicken melts in my mouth.”

His response halted her list of sexy female movie stars who certainly didn’t match her looks, and Brea swallowed heavily. I would melt in that beautiful mouth too!

Pulling the horse to a halt, he jumped down and grabbed her by the waist.

Being way too occupied with the stud cowboy, she hadn’t even noticed that the big ranch house gate was right in front of them. Suddenly, she realized that she never regretted arriving anywhere as much this.

Tugging her from the horse with ease, he slid her seductively down along his large muscled frame.

Her breath caught in her throat while she felt those leather chaps sliding over her shaky frame. Here’s to hoping my fruit of the looms really are as thick and absorbent as they advertise them to be! Is he trying to burn me or what? Her lower regions were already on fire and it wasn’t from the rub of that stinky horse neither. Don’t pass out, Brea, keep steady!

He gazed down at her face. “I sure hope they hire you.” He gave her a wink just as her sandals touched his leather boots, and then he set her down on the ground.

This man was actually and finally coming on to her? Her head spun with the realization while her mouth had simply shut down altogether. Maybe that was for the better though, considering how she couldn’t seem to string two simple syllables together while around this guy. Maybe back at the diner, he didn’t flirt with her because she was working there, and he didn’t want to be too forward?

At her long silence, he shook his head with a smile. “Okay, well. I’ve got a few things to do, but I sure hope to see you again.” He turned that large muscled frame away, jumped up on his steed and turned it around to gallop out to God knows where.



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