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Harlequin
November 8, 2016


Hold Me, Cowboy

Stranded with a cowboy for Christmas…from New York Times bestselling author Maisey Yates! 

Oil and water have nothing on Sam McCormack and Madison West. The wealthy rancher has never met a haughtier—or more appealing—woman in his life. And when they're snowed in, he's forced to admit this ice queen can scorch him with one touch…

Madison had plans for the weekend! Instead she's stranded with a man who drives her wild. A night of no-strings fun leaves both of them wanting more when they return to Copper Ridge. His proposal: twelve days of hot sex before Christmas! But will it ever be enough?

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Excerpt

“Creative photography,” Madison West muttered as she entered the security code on the box that contained the key to the cabin she would be staying in for the weekend.

She looked across the snowy landscape to see another home situated far too close to the place she would be inhabiting for the next couple of days. The photographs on the vacation-rental website hadn’t mentioned that she would be sharing the property with anyone else.

And obviously, the example pictures had been taken from inventive angles.

It didn’t matter. Nothing was going to change her plans. She just hoped the neighbors had earplugs. Because she was having sex this weekend. Nonstop sex.

Ten years celibate, and it was ending tonight. She had finally found the one. Not the one she was going to marry, obviously. Please. Love was for other people. People who hadn’t been tricked, manipulated and humiliated when they were seventeen.

No, she had no interest in love and marriage. But she had abundant interest in orgasms. So much interest. And she had found the perfect man to deliver them.

All day, all night, for the next forty-eight hours.

She was armed with a suitcase full of lingerie and four bottles of wine. Neighbors be damned. She’d been hoping for a little more seclusion, but this was fine. It would be fine.

She unlocked the door and stepped inside, breathing a sigh of relief when she saw that the interior, at least, met with her expectations. But it was a little bit smaller than it had looked online, and she could only hope that wasn’t some sort of dark portent for the rest of her evening.

She shook her head; she was not going to introduce that concern into the mix, thank you very much. There was enough to worry about when you were thinking about breaking ten years of celibacy without adding such concerns.

Christopher was going to arrive soon, so she figured she’d better get upstairs and start setting a scene. She made her way to the bedroom, then opened her suitcase and took out the preselected bit of lace she had chosen for their first time. It was red, which looked very good on her, if a bit obvious. But she was aiming for obvious.

Christopher wasn’t her boyfriend. And he wasn’t going to be. He was a very nice equine-vitamin-supplement salesman she’d met a few weeks ago when he’d come by the West estate. She had bought some products for her horses, and they’d struck up a conversation, which had transitioned into a flirtation.

Typically, when things began to transition into flirtation, Maddy put a stop to them. But she hadn’t with him. Maybe because he was special. Maybe because ten years was just way too long. Either way, she had kept on flirting with him.

They’d gone out for drinks, and she’d allowed him to kiss her. Which had been a lot more than she’d allowed any other guy in recent years. It had reminded her how much she’d enjoyed that sort of thing once upon a time. And once she’d been reminded…well.

He’d asked for another date. She’d stopped him. Because wouldn’t a no-strings physical encounter be way better?

He’d of course agreed. Because he was a man.

But she hadn’t wanted to get involved with anyone in town. She didn’t need anyone seeing her at a hotel or his house or with his car parked at her little home on her parents’ property.

Thus, the cabin-weekend idea had been born.

She shimmied out of her clothes and wiggled into the skintight lace dress that barely covered her backside. Then she set to work fluffing her blond hair and applying some lipstick that matched the lingerie.

She was not answering the door in this outfit, however.

She put her long coat back on over the lingerie, then gave her reflection a critical look. It had been a long time since she had dressed to attract a man. Usually, she was more interested in keeping them at a distance.

“Not tonight,” she said. “Not tonight.”

She padded downstairs, peering out the window and seeing nothing beyond the truck parked at the small house across the way and a vast stretch of snow, falling harder and faster.

Typically, it didn’t snow in Copper Ridge, Oregon. You had to drive up to the mountains—as she’d done today—to get any of the white stuff. So, for her, this was a treat, albeit a chilly one. But that was perfect, since she planned to get her blood all heated and stuff.

She hummed, keeping an eye on the scene outside, waiting for Christopher to pull in. She wondered if she should have brought a condom downstairs with her. Decided that she should have.

She went back upstairs, taking them two at a time, grateful that she was by herself, since there was nothing sexy about her ascent. Then she rifled through her bag, found some protection and curled her fingers around it before heading back down the stairs as quickly as possible.

As soon as she entered the living area, the lights flickered, then died. Suddenly, everything in the house seemed unnaturally quiet, and even though it was probably her imagination, she felt the temperature drop several degrees.

“Are you kidding me?” she asked, into the darkness.

There was on answer. Nothing but a subtle creek from the house. Maybe it was all that heavy snow on the roof. Maybe it was going to collapse. That would figure.

A punishment for her thinking she could be normal and have sex.

A shiver worked its way down her spine, and she jolted.

Suddenly, she had gone from hopeful and buoyant to feeling a bit flat and tragic. That was definitely not the best sign.

No. She wasn’t doing this. She wasn’t sinking into self pity and tragedy. Been there, done that for ten years thank you.

Madison didn’t believe in signs. So there. She believed in fuses blowing in bad weather when overtaxed heaters had to work too hard in ancient houses. Yes, that she believed in. She also believed that she would have to wait for Christopher to arrive to fix the problem.

She sighed and then made her way over to the kitchen counter and grabbed hold of her purse as she deposited the two condoms on the counter. She pulled her phone out and grimaced when she saw that she had no signal.

Too late, she remembered that she had thought the lack of cell service might be an attraction to a place like this. That it would be nice if both she and Christopher could be cut off from the outside world while they indulged themselves.

That notion seemed really freaking stupid right now. Since she couldn’t use the phone in the house thanks to the outage, and that left her cut off from the outside world all alone.

“Oh no,” she said, “I’m the first five minutes of a crime show. I’m going to get ax-murdered. And I’m going to die a born-again virgin.”

She scowled, looking back out at the resolutely blank landscape. Christopher still wasn’t here. But it looked like the house across the way had power.

She pressed her lips together, not happy about the idea of interrupting her neighbor. Or of meeting her neighbor, since the whole point of going out of town was so they could remain anonymous and not see people.

She tightened the belt on her coat and made her way slowly out the front door, bracing herself against the arctic wind.

She muttered darkly about the cold as she made her way across the space between the houses. She paused for a moment in front of the larger cabin, lit up and looking all warm and toasty. Clearly, this was the premium accommodation. While hers was likely beset by rodents that had chewed through relevant cords.

She huffed, clutching her coat tightly as she knocked on the door. She waited, bouncing in place to try to keep her blood flowing. She just needed to call Christopher and find out when he would be arriving and, if he was still a ways out, possibly beg her neighbor for help getting the power going. Or at least help getting a fire started.

The front door swung open and Madison’s heart stopped. The man standing there was large, so tall that she only just came up to the middle of his chest. He was broad, his shoulders well muscled, his waist trim. He had the kind of body that came not from working out but from hard physical labor.

Then she looked up. Straight nose, square jaw, short brown hair and dark eyes that were even harder than his muscles. And far too familiar.

“What are you doing here?”

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