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Mountain Man's Price (Mountain Men Book 3) by Ava Grace (1)



Chapter One





“I’m fat!” Libby declared looking down at the small bulge that was starting to form on her flat stomach.

“You’re not fat, you’re pregnant,” I informed her. “There’s a difference.”

“Does being pregnant require you to eat five donuts and an entire packet of Oreo’s in one sitting?”

“Um…” I wasn’t sure how to answer that question. A good friend would have said something like, “Girlfriend, when you’re pregnant you’re entitled to eat whatever the hell you want,” but I was so shocked that what actually came out of my mouth was, “You ate five donuts?”

She shot me a guilty look and nodded. “And an entire pack of Oreo’s. In fact, I also ate half a packet of sweet and salty popcorn before the melted butter I’d poured over it made me want to barf.”

Just the thought of it made me want to barf. Faith’s eyes were about as wide as mine had to have been, but Andrea took it all in stride.

“When my sister was pregnant,” she informed us, “She once ate an entire chicken before she threw up.”

I winced and put down the menu, my appetite well and truly gone.

“Why don’t we ever go to The Mountain Tavern?”Libby asked. “It’s the only bar in Creede that has a dance floor and I’d really like to throw down some moves before this one comes and completely kills my social life.”

Despite her seemingly harsh words, she looked down at the growing bump in her stomach with fondness.

“We don’t go to The Tavern,” Faith said quietly, avoiding my gaze.

I heaved a sigh. “Look, we don’t have to keep avoiding The Tavern. It’s cool. I’m cool.”

Andrea shot me a dubious look and Libby scrunched her brows together in confusion.

“It’s where I caught my husband cheating on me,” I explained. “It’s his hangout so we usually avoid it like the plague. But you know what? I’m over it and I’m over him so we can go back there. I don’t care. Honestly.”

In actual fact, I didn’t care.

Don’t get me wrong, his betrayal still smarted and I wasn’t proud of the fact that at twenty-six years old, I was soon to be a divorced woman, but I was so over him.

I lifted my glass in a toast and said, “Screw him!”

Three glasses were raised in unison. “Screw him!” they all repeated.

We took a sip of our drinks before falling into a fit of giggles.

I pursed my lips. “I’m free this weekend so why not? Let’s go raise some hell.”

“I guess we’re going to The Tavern,” Andrea said with a melodic giggle.

I nodded at Libby. “Remember to put on your dancing shoes.”

“It’s a date,” she said around a grin.

Coop came over wearing the type of sexy smirk that would have been able to melt a woman’s panties from her body without any effort or intention.

“Ladies,” he greeted, before bending down and kissing Faith full on the mouth.

And what a kiss it was.

Andrea, Libby and I let out a dreamy sigh.

When he finally pulled back, Faith’s cheeks were flushed and I suspected it was less from embarrassment and more from excitement.

She looked dazed. “What were we talking about?” she asked.

Coop chuckled and went over to stand with Mason and Luke who were chatting together at the bar.

Luke. Looked. Fine.

I would never have said that out loud, of course, him being Andrea’s older brother and all, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t look.

And look I did.

At the same time, Luke glanced across, caught my gaze and winked at me.

I swear to God, I had an all over body shudder that started way up high and ended down there.

How did he do that?

The man only had to look at me and he had me panting, but God forbid he grinned at me or actually spoke.

Then I was a goner.

There was rarely anything left of me but a puddle on the floor.

I couldn’t imagine what would happen if he ever kissed me.

I didn’t think I would survive it.

And sex?

I’d probably spontaneously combust just from being so close to his amazing body—not that I’d seen it in all its glory, but I had an imagination. And it was a good one.

The trouble was, Luke didn’t come across as relationship material.

I wouldn’t have called him a womanizer, exactly, but it was fair to say that he’d been around the block a couple of dozen times. Luke’s father was a biker so Luke had practically grown up in The Devil’s Motorcycle club that he was a member of and it was evident how much Luke loved the biker lifestyle. Just like his pop.

I didn’t know a lot about the club, but I had this idea in my mind of the type of place it would be and in my imagination, it wasn’t pretty. I figured that the clubhouse would be filled with half-naked women who, for want of a better expression, knew how to party. The liquor would flow freely and the brothers would nail any piece of ass that happened to be around. Now, that could have been a million miles away from the truth of course, but weren’t all MC clubs basically just a free for all? How did a woman ever go out with a man who was in a club like that and sleep easy at night? There had to be a lot of trust…or the woman just didn’t care what her man was getting up to when her back was turned.

I couldn’t live like that.

No way, no how.

My ex-husband had been a lying, cheating scumbag and the time I’d spent with him had been enough to put me off men who were players, for the rest of my life.

But despite not being able to look at Luke as someone with whom I could form a relationship, I couldn’t not look at him.

He was that hot.

Luke pretty much always wore his leather cut and it looked good on him. He had a long, sexy beard that was the same sandy color of his hair and it had made an appearance in too many of my fantasies to count. His eyes were as bright and blue as the ocean on a sunny day.

Did I mention that he was fine?

He was big and gruff and a hundred percent alpha male.

Even though I didn’t want a relationship, that didn’t mean there weren’t other things that I would have liked to have done with him.

However, fantasies were one thing.

Reality was another thing entirely.

Andrea was my best friend and I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable, aside from the fact that I didn’t want to be just another notch on his bedpost. It had been six months since I’d separated from my husband and I missed the intimacy and, if I was being brutally honest, I missed the sex. Luke was a red-blooded, seriously sexy man who was willing and perfectly able.

What harm would it do to give in to what we both, obviously wanted?

Mason arrived at our table then bent and kissed Libby on her forehead. “You need anything?” he asked.

She shook her head. “I’m good.”

My heart melted.

Mason was such a sweetheart. Libby was so lucky, but then Mason had certainly fallen on his feet, too.

Coincidentally, Mason hadn’t been someone I would have classed as having relationship potential until just a few months ago, either, but now he was the perfect boyfriend, and the perfect soon to be father of her child. He and Libby were deliriously in love and when their daughter or son arrived, I had no doubt it would make them even stronger than ever.

I looked over at Faith who was eyeing Coop with the same adoration that Libby had for Mason. Coop was another prime example. He would have been the last man on earth that I would have expected to settle down, but I’d never seen him happier. Perhaps people could change their ways if they wanted it enough—if they found someone worth changing for.

“Guess where we’re going this weekend?” Libby asked Mason.

He raised an eyebrow, a wry smile on his lips. “Tell me.”

“Dancing at The Tavern,” she informed him with an almost childlike enthusiasm.

He chuckled. “Yeah? It’s been a while since I busted out my dance moves.”

Embarrassment slid into place on her face. “Oh, I didn’t mean...”

“I’m up for dancing,” Coop said from his position behind Mason.

Libby bit her lip. “Um...”

I sighed.

It seemed our girls night out had evolved into Andrea and I watching two couples fawn all over each other on the dance floor. Oh well, at least we could keep each other company and it had been a while since I’d let my hair down.

Andrea rolled her eyes, but there was the trace of a smile on her face which informed me she wasn’t annoyed by the fact we’d have company at The Tavern. Maybe just a little exasperated.

I got up to use the restroom and as I passed by the bar, Luke reached out and grabbed hold of my arm. He pulled me closer until the warmth of his breath blew softly against my neck. The spicy, masculine scent of his aftershave was intoxicating. He loosened his grip and when his fingers began stroking in a light, sensuous caress, a shudder passed through me.

“Save me a dance,” he whispered into my ear.

My breath caught.

It seemed our night at The Tavern was going to be more interesting than I’d first imagined.

I turned my head to look at him and tried not to get lost in his bright blue orbs. “I don’t just dance with anyone, you know. If you want me, you’ll have to work for it.”

His grin turned positively feral. “Be careful what you wish for.” His gaze lowered to take in every inch of me and when he licked his lips, my pussy clenched. “If I work for it, you’re not going to know what hit you.”

I could hardly wait.