Series: The Malloys of Montana
On Sale: April 25th, 2017
A new beginning . . .
A fresh start. That’s exactly what Ally Shaw needs and what she’s found in Glacier Ridge, Montana. Creating a simpler life with her young son and reconnecting with her only remaining family-it’s all part of Ally’s plan to chase away the pain of her past. But when a dangerously irresistible cowboy rescues her little boy, Ally can’t deny she’s excited about what else the future might bring.
Reed Malloy was a wild horse who wouldn’t be broken. Devoted to his work on the land at the expense of everything else, he’d never met a woman who could hold his interest . . . until Ally. And now, beautiful Ally and her fearless, freckled child have this cowboy wanting more. This isn’t Ally’s first time at the rodeo, though, and convincing her to trust him isn’t easy. But there isn’t anything he won’t do to keep her safe . . . and make her his.
Ally shook her head. “In case you haven’t noticed, at the kitchen table my son was staring at you with a hunger in his eyes that I’ve never seen before. As though you were that plate of brownies and he wanted to devour you.”
“Yeah. I noticed.” Reed’s smile was quick and dangerous. He reached out and drew her close. “I wish his mother would look at me that way.”
She put a hand to his chest to hold him a little away. “And inflate that giant ego of yours, cowboy?”
“Aw. Come on. Just enough to let me know I was missed. At least a little.”
Her voice lowered. She avoided his eyes. “You were.”
“What was that? Could you say it louder?”
“You were. Missed.”
He lifted her chin, forcing her to look at him. “That wasn’t so hard, was it?”
“A painful admission. So . . . ” She flushed slightly. “Your turn. Did you miss me, too?”
“Way more than I wanted to. I was up there to do a job, and a certain red-haired witch kept getting in my head, messing with my mind.” His tone deepened. “All the time I was up in the hills, I kept worrying that you were just a dream. Tonight, on the way to town, I started thinking I’d show up in Glacier Ridge and find this old building still empty, and you and Kyle were figments of my imagination.”
“That’s some imagination you have, cowboy.”
He lowered his face to press his mouth to the hair at her temple. “Oh lady, you have no idea the things I’ve imagined.”
His hands tightened at her waist and he pulled her against him.
When she lifted her head to protest, he cut off her words with a kiss that rocked them both back on their heels.
She came up for air. “Reed . . .”
“Shh.” He kissed her again, lingering over her mouth. “Oh, baby, how I needed this.”
He slid his hands along her arms and lifted them to his neck. When she didn’t pull away he moved his open palms down her arms, down her back, drawing her even closer. And then, while his mouth moved over hers, taking her on a slow, sensual ride, his hands trailed her sides until they encountered the swell of her breasts. His thumbs found her nipples already hard through the fabric of her dress.
He swallowed her little gasp of surprise. When she stiffened and tried to pull away, his kiss gentled, as did his touch, until she sighed and relaxed in his arms.
She drew in a long, deep breath. “You should probably go.”
“Yeah.” He nuzzled the corner of her eye, her cheek, before lowering his mouth to the sensitive hollow of her neck. “Or I could stay.”
She involuntarily shuddered at the press of his lips to her tender flesh. “That’s not a good—”
“Have mercy. Think of that long drive back to my ranch.” His hands were roaming again, finding all kinds of interesting places to touch. To tease. Until he had her, and himself, thoroughly aroused.
“I’m not ready . . .”
“I am. Red, I’m so hot, I’m practically going up in flames.”
“I know. I am, too. But I’m just not ready for . . . ” She put a hand to his chest and backed up a step. “I need some space. I can’t think when you’re this close.”
“Neither can I. But we don’t need to think. Why can’t we just go with our feelings?”
With her chest heaving, she took another step back, and then another. “I did that once.” Her eyes misted and she blinked furiously. “And I learned a very important lesson. There are always consequences to acting on our feelings without thinking.”
The sight of her fighting tears was a splash of ice water.
He gathered her close and pressed his forehead to hers. “Sorry. I know better. But you’re killing me, Red.”
In response she merely held on and dragged in deep, calming breaths while he did the same.
When the trembling passion had cooled enough, Reed touched a hand to her cheek in an achingly sweet gesture. “You know I want you. That isn’t going to change. But I’m glad you had the brain tonight. I guess one of us needed to be sensible.”
She managed a weak smile. “You don’t make it easy.”
“Good. I’d hate to think this was one-sided.” He plucked his hat from the table. “Since I can’t stay the night, I’d better leave while I can still walk.”
“I’ll go downstairs with you.” She led the way and opened the door to the shop.
In the doorway he turned and gathered her close. Against her ear he whispered, “Whenever you find it in your heart to let me in, I’ll be waiting. Good night, Ally “
He brushed a kiss over her cheek.
She surprised him by drawing him close and giving him a hard, hungry kiss before stepping back.
He shook his head while keeping his eyes steady on hers. “I’ve never been a patient man. Like I said. You’re killing me, Red.”
Without a backward glance he strode away.
As he did, he had the strangest sensation that he was being watched. Not just by Ally, but by another pair of eyes.
He made a slow turn. There seemed to be no one around, but the feeling persisted.
He heard the door to the shop close. Heard the lock being thrown.
Still feeling prickly, he climbed into his truck and drove away.
A Cowboy’s Christmas Eve, #2.5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
New York Times bestselling author R.C. Ryan has written more than ninety novels, both contemporary and historical. Quite an accomplishment for someone who, after her fifth child started school, gave herself the gift of an hour a day to follow her dream to become a writer.
In a career spanning more than twenty years, Ms. Ryan has given dozens of radio, television, and print interviews across the country and Canada, and has been quoted in such diverse publications as the Wall Street Journal and Cosmopolitan. She has also appeared on CNN News, and Good Morning America.
R.C. Ryan is a pseudonym of New York Times bestselling author Ruth Ryan Langan.