4:25 PM | Labels: best friend's little sister, brother's best friend, Contemporary Romance, cowboys, enemies to lovers, new release, romance novel excerpts, Western Romance
THREE WEEKS WITH A BULL RIDER
An Oklahoma Nights Romance
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author
“The Oklahoma Nights series is a must read.”
—New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James
One Broken Man…
Cowboy Jace Mills has suffered fewer injuries from bucking bulls than he has from his ex-girlfriend. Following his best friend Tucker’s advice, Jace is convinced it’s time to move on. But with his ex’s tight rein on him, easier said than done.
One Broken Heart…
Tara Jenkins learned a lot in her sports medicine courses, but not how to fix her broken heart. So when her brother Tucker suggests using her skills on the rodeo, it gives her the perfect opportunity to ride off into the sunset—or at least run away.
Three Weeks Together…
Only problem is, Jace and Tara have had a hate-hate relationship for over a decade, putting up with each other for Tucker’s sake. With their long history as frenemies, they know sparks will fly, they just never expect them to flare into scorching passion…
With a huff, Tara spun on the heel of her cowboy boot, bound for the building. She stepped from behind her car and into the path of a truck going way too fast for a parking lot. It skidded in the gravel and rocked to a stop as she leapt back. After a second, the maniac behind the wheel swung the vehicle into the empty spot next to her car.
The driver's side door opened and that's when Tara recognized both the truck and the man who'd almost flattened her.
Jace Mills. That figured. Chief idiot and number one annoyance from among her brother's roster of friends, and now he'd nearly run her over. "Jesus, Jace. You coulda killed me. Slow the fuck down."
"You kiss your momma with that dirty mouth, Tara?" Jace raised one sandy brow high above his hazel eyes. "And you stepped right out in front of me. Look where you're going from now on."
Tara clenched her jaw and tried to control the string of obscenities she'd love to let loose on him.
"I was distracted, but you should still be more careful. There are families walking around here with kids and stuff." She frowned at the empty cab of Jace's truck. "Tuck's not with you."
"That is an excellent observation, Tara. I always knew you were smarter than you look."
Couldn’t this man cut her even one little break? Every tiny piece of information she got out of him was a struggle. "Why isn't Tuck with you?"
"That is a very good question."
She rolled her eyes in frustration. "Do you have an answer?"
"I do, and it's a doozy." Jace waggled his brows. "Wanna hear?"
"Dammit—yes, Jace. I wanna hear." Tara would need dental work from gritting her teeth if she continued this painful conversation with this obnoxious, frustrating, annoying man who made her want to scream.
A wide grin stretched across Jace's lips. "He's at a wine tasting with Becca, and Emma, and his BFF Logan."
Tara's gut twisted at hearing Logan's name. Having Jace mention it in the same breath as Logan's new wife made it even worse. She'd loved Logan for as long as she could remember, and Becca's sister Emma had swooped in and stolen him from her. She swallowed away the bitter taste in the back of her throat, nauseated all over again by the memories of her last conversation with Logan. It had been on the day of his wedding. He'd told Tara he'd never loved her and never would. That he loved Emma.
She needed to focus on the situation at hand, and not her broken heart. Tuck's sudden interest in wine over rodeo left Tara stuck without a ride. "Crap. I needed Tuck to be here tonight."
"We're going to have to talk about that potty mouth of yours, young lady." Jace folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the truck. "But before we do, why did you need Tuck here? And come to think of it, why are you here?"
"Not that it's any of your business, but I'm working with the sports medicine team to fulfill my internship requirement for graduation."
"Sports medicine? That's what you're going to school for?" Jace frowned. "Hmm. I thought it was veterinary studies."
"You're so observant." Tara rolled her eyes.
Jace's only response was to lift one shoulder in a shrug. Unfortunately, as much of an idiot as Jace was, it looked like he was also her only hope of a ride. Both her parents' house and school were too far away to go there, but if Jace would drive her to Stillwater she could crash for the night at Tuck and Becca's place.
"Can you tow a car with that thing?" Tara eyed the monster behind him. A man with a truck that large must be severely lacking in other areas.
He hooked a thumb at his vehicle. "This thing? Tow a car? Uh, yeah. I could tow a tractor trailer if I had to. Why?"
"My car is dead." She tilted her head in the direction of the piece of crap behind her. "One of the stock contractors took a look at it for me and suggested I tow it to the local scrap yard and junk it."
Jace eyed the vehicle and let out a long slow whistle. "That bad, huh?"
"Apparently. And then, I also kind of need a ride to Tuck's place." She'd play on her brother's sympathies when she got to Stillwater. Maybe she could convince Tuck to loan her his truck for the next few weeks.
It's not like he needed it. He and Becca both worked at the same damn place. They should carpool. Save the environment. Reduce their carbon footprint, and all that good stuff.
A smug smirk appeared on Jace's face. "So what you're saying is, you need my help."
"Forget about it. I'll find another ride." Tara let out a huff. She'd just keep calling Tuck until he answered.
"I didn't say no. Stop pouting. God almighty, you're such a child."
Gasping at the worse insult he could have thrown at her, Tara had no words except to deny it. "I am not a child. You're a—"
"Tara, stop. If you'd shut up one doggone minute and listen you'd hear I'm saying okay. I'll help you. I'll take a look at your car and if it doesn't look fixable, I'll tow it to the scrap yard and drive you back to Stillwater."
This man was so infuriating, she'd love to plant the toe of her cowboy boot right where the sun didn't shine, but he was willing to help so she'd have to play nice. "And what would I have to give you in exchange? I'm warning you. I've got hardly any cash on me. Not even enough to help pay to fill that monster of yours with gas. Seriously, like next to none. I emptied my account for that piece of shit car."
"What's with the Jenkins family that y'all always assume I'm destitute?" Jace scowled. "I don't need your money. I have plenty of my own to pay for gas, thanks."
That comment confused her. She honestly didn't think or care about Jace's finances, but whatever, she still didn't trust him as far as she could throw him. He wouldn't do her a favor for nothing. He must have some ulterior motive. "Then what do you want?"
"Hmm, let's see. What do I want?" Jace stared up at the sky and tapped one forefinger to his chin. "I know. You have to be nice to me. No name calling. No smartass comments. None of your usual bullshit. Think you can do that?"
Not likely. "I don't know. For how long?"
"Until we get to Stillwater. Starting now."
"How about starting the moment we get inside the arena, for until we get in your truck to start the drive to Stillwater?"
"You're unbelievable." Laughing, Jace shook his head. "All right. It's a deal."
Jace extended one big, rough hand and though she'd never willingly touched him before, Tara shook it to seal the deal on this unholy alliance.
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