Hang tough, p.14
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       Hang Tough, p.14

         Part #8 of Blacktop Cowboys series by Lorelei James
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  sweet tits. He growled in her mouth when he cupped the soft swells and felt her rigid nipples stabbing into his palms.

  She rocked up every time he squeezed the flesh.

  Passion heated her skin, filling his lungs with her scent, making him wild. He wanted the taste of her coating his tongue as he thrust into her. One hand twisted in her hair as he used the other hand relentlessly to tug her stiff nipples or stroke her clit.

  “Tobin,” she said on a soft gasp when he broke the kiss to scrape his teeth down the side of her throat.

  When he sucked on the hollow between her collarbone and her shoulder, she shuddered.

  “You’re so fucking sexy you make me crazy,” he gritted out between openmouthed kisses. He lowered her body slightly, aligning the rigid length of his shaft with the notch between her legs.

  By the second grinding thrust, he heard “yes, yes, yes” even through the whoosh of white noise in his ears.

  Tobin blinked the sweat from his eyes as he flexed his pelvis, his mouth frantic to taste her. To feel her pulse thrumming against his lips in the same fast rhythm as his heart. To yank up her shirt and gorge on the smooth flesh of her chest, feeling her nipples pebble beneath his stroking tongue.

  Every time his voice rumbled nonsensical words of need or he whispered words of worship across her damp skin, she trembled and moaned and writhed against him.

  Fuck. He wanted—needed—her to come apart in his arms like this. Fully clothed, with nothing but his mouth on her skin and his voice in her ear.

  “Jade,” he rasped against her throat. “Spread your knees and press up against me.”

  She gasped when he started to move side to side.

  Tobin fastened his mouth to hers, swallowing her groans when he randomly pinched her nipples, keeping her on edge as he alternated sides and the amount of pressure.

  He kept kissing her in what had become the hottest kiss of his life. Their mouths open, their tongues searching, their breath shared in short damp bursts. Grinding his cock into her, creating friction exactly where she needed it.

  Her body began to shake.

  That’s it. Give it to me.

  When the orgasm hit, Tobin pressed her body so tightly against his that he felt the contractions of her pussy—through her clothes and his—as she came undone.

  With his mouth on hers and that continual rocking motion, he didn’t stand a chance of not following along right behind her.

  “Fuck.” His head fell back when he started to come, each jerk of his cock a hot burst of pleasure despite the pinching sensation in his balls. He had to slam his hand against the wall to keep himself upright.

  Jade’s teeth scraped up and down the cord in his neck as he rode out his climax.

  He was so damn dizzy . . . and sticky. It’d been a long time since he’d dry humped his way into going off in his jeans, but fuck if it wasn’t better than anything he’d had in years.

  Their mouths met in a slow kiss, a sweet aftermath of tenderness that left him just as breathless as the driving passion that had ignited between them.

  Jade spoke first. “What now?”

  “Definitely want more of that.” He nipped her bottom lip. “Next time with fewer clothes on.”

  She nuzzled his ear. “That’s the best orgasm I’ve ever had with or without clothes.”

  Tobin groaned. “Jesus. Don’t tell me shit like that.”

  “Why not?”

  “Because I’ll haul your sexy ass upstairs, we won’t leave my bed for two days and Miz G will definitely get suspicious.”

  She giggled.

  He loved that sound. He kissed her again and lowered her down until her feet touched the floor. “I’ve gotta change clothes.”

  “If you’re going to shower I’ll wash your back.”

  “Tempting offer. But I’ll just take a whore’s bath for now because I have to go back to the Split Rock.”

  Her eyes widened. “What did you say?”

  Tobin laughed. “A whore’s bath—same thing as a sponge bath.”

  “I don’t want to know why it’s called that.” She placed her hands on his cheeks. “Are you going to the Split Rock because of losing the Albuquerque job?”

  “Yeah. Renner’s been great. I hate that I’ve been so damn wishy-washy. I gave my notice and a date I planned to be gone only to change it. Twice. Now I have to tell him the interview fell through and I’ll still be around for a while.”

  Jade looked at him like he should define “a while” but he couldn’t when he didn’t have a clue what might happen next.

  He pressed a kiss to her forehead. “I’ll see you later.”

  Tobin hadn’t actually intended on talking to Renner. He knew no one would be in the offices so he could brood alone.

  He scrolled through the spreadsheet on his computer and counted up the places he’d applied to that he hadn’t heard back from yet.


  But he’d already known that since he’d been gifted—some days he considered it a curse—with a photographic memory. It wasn’t something he talked about. People tended to treat him like a freak or expect him to prove it.

  His buddy Ike strolled in a little after seven.

  “Well, if it ain’t my former pool-playin’ partner and drinking buddy.” Ike spun the chair around in front of the desk and straddled it. “I was out checking the bulls and I saw your truck so I thought I’d stop in.” He cocked his head. “Why are you here? I thought you were headed to Albuquerque for an interview.”

  “It fell through. Today, as a matter of fact.”

  “Shit, man. That sucks. Have you applied other places?”

  “A few.”


  “A lab in Fort Collins. Another one in Colorado Springs. A family operation in Taos and Salt Lake City. Two places in Wyoming: Casper and Powell.”

  “You leaning toward any in particular?”

  “I was intent on Albuquerque.” He shrugged. “Haven’t heard from the others. What about you? You doin’ much traveling for Jackson Stock Contracting 2.0?”

  Ike laughed. “Not yet. Hugh is still getting settled in California. Mostly I think he and Harlow are playin’ grab ass until she starts teaching classes, so I’m takin’ it easy while I can. Sifting through old contracts and contacts, trying to sort through which ones would be better for me to approach and which ones I’ll leave to Hugh.”

  “What’s Riss doin’?”

  “Bein’ a pain in my rear. Calls me every damn day to update the schedule on when she won’t be available because she’s takin’ cattle to market. Like I’m supposed to keep track of that shit?”

  “Aren’t you? How else will you know if you’ve got transport to a rodeo if she’s booked the trailer to go to Sioux City to drop off cattle?”

  Ike scowled. “I’ve kept everything in my head for years and didn’t need to ‘input data’ into a computer program just so she can double-check it like a damn schoolteacher grading my homework.”

  Tobin shook his head. “Dude, don’t be one of those guys, okay?”

  “One of what guys?”

  “One of the old-timers who refuse to change with the times because ‘there ain’t nothin’ wrong with the way we been doin’ it’. You’re familiar with technology; you used it when you were brokering cattle.”

  “There’s just something about Riss demanding that I conform to her way that rubs me the wrong way.” Ike stood. “As soon as you’re done with your paperwork meet me at the Buckeye. First round is on me.”

  But it ended up being more than one round.

  Tobin lost count after eight rounds.

  He kicked Ike’s butt at pool. Four games to one.

  Then they switched to darts. Bastard evened the score there and beat him four games to one.

  There weren’t any more games to bet on at the Buckeye, so they had a drinking contest.

  Bad idea.

  Sherry, the bartender, called in a favor—and a sober driver to haul their
drunken asses home.

  Chapter Twelve

  Jade was still up at eleven p.m. when two vehicles tore up the driveway.

  One pickup was Tobin’s.

  She watched from the porch as two people hauled a body—a big body—out the passenger side.

  Tobin half stumbled between a guy on his left side, and a woman on his right side.

  Seeing Tobin’s arm draped over the woman’s shoulder . . . Jade had a seething moment of jealousy. She wanted to shove the woman aside and warn her to keep her hands off him.

  She’d never been a violent person. Hadn’t understood that feeling of possession, so this overwhelming need to yell, Back off, he’s mine! threw her for a loop. Instead, she curled her hands into fists and dropped them by her sides.

  The woman said, “Up you go. Left foot. Nope, your other left. Good. Now your right. Left. Right. Left. Just twenty-seven more to go, sweetheart.”


  “Pissh off, Rissh. Ain’t that many steps.”

  They reached the top step and the woman said, “Where do you want him?”

  Jade tipped her chin at the chaise. “At least if he gets sick out here I can hose him and the porch off.”

  “I ain’t gonna get shick.”

  “Okay, party hearty, sit down first, then slowly turn your body. Hey, can you make sure the head end is up higher?” the woman said to Jade. “He doesn’t need to be in full recline.”

  “Sure.” Jade slipped behind the chair and adjusted the pegs until they were almost upright.

  “We’re gonna let go now, Tobin. Don’t roll or you will land right on your fool head, got it?”

  “Got it. You’re kinda mean, Rissh.” Tobin grinned. “I kinda like that about you.”

  Another spike of jealousy had Jade seeing red and scrutinizing the interplay between Tobin and the redheaded woman.

  “I kinda like you too, Tobin, when you’re not shitfaced.”

  “Sho you’ll go out on a date with me?” Tobin slurred.

  The woman’s gaze caught Jade’s and she rolled her eyes. “I am so going to love rubbing it in your face that you only asked me out when you were hammered, Hale.” She stepped away from the chaise and offered her hand. “Hey. I’m Riss. A . . . friend of Tobin’s.”

  “Jade Evans. Garnet’s granddaughter.”

  Riss gave her the oddest smile. “Yes, we’ve heard all about the beautiful Jade this evening from Tobin. Haven’t we, Eli?”

  That’s when Jade looked up into the face of the long-haired guy who’d shouldered most of the burden of dragging Tobin up the steps. Eli was tall—what was with all these enormous guys in the West?

  “Yes, we have heard all about you, Jade. My man Tobin didn’t exaggerate.” He offered his hand. “Eli Whirling Cloud. Happy to make your acquaintance.”

  “I’m pleased to meet you also. Thank you for hauling Tobin this far.”

  “Eh. It was nothin’. He’s been DD more often than all of us combined so I owed him. Man’s entitled to tie one on once in a while.” He grinned. “Though I don’t envy him the headache in the mornin’.”

  Two short bursts of the horn sounded from the pickup and Jade jumped. “Someone’s anxious to get going?”

  Riss scowled. “That’s Ike. Tobin’s drinking partner and he can just sit and spin. Why that ornery fucker called me to pick his drunken ass up when he knows I’d just as soon see him—”

  “Shuch a liar you are, Rissh,” Tobin announced. “You know why he called you.”

  “Shut it, drunky,” Riss snarled.

  Eli sighed. “I’ll go sit with Ike.”

  “I’ll be right there,” Riss said. After Eli left, she looked at Jade. “I hope you don’t think this is weird, but I know how hard it is living someplace where you don’t know anyone. So if you get bored and wanna grab a cup of coffee or something, give me a call. Here’s my card.” She pulled it out of the front pocket of her overalls. “Or if you lose it, ask drunky over there for my number.”

  After Jade’s crappy day, this small offer of friendship meant more than she could express. She said, “Got another card?” When Riss handed her one, she wrote her number on the back. “Now we can keep drunky out of it entirely.”

  Riss’s gaze winged between Jade and Tobin and she smirked. “Good luck with that.” At the bottom of the steps she said, “Oh, heads up.”

  Jade had a split second to register the keys flying at her before she caught them one-handed, like a total ninja. She grinned at Riss and said, “Later.”

  After everyone had left and she and Tobin were alone, it felt awkward standing next to him as he sprawled on the chaise. Did she just cover him with a blanket and leave him? Did she stay out here and talk to him to try to sober him up?

  “Shorry you had to shee me like thish.”

  “It doesn’t sound like it’s a frequent thing for you.”

  “It’s not. I mean, I go to the Buckeye ’cause there ain’t anything elsh to do in this town, but I don’t over-imbibe.”

  “I’ve heard GG mention that place several times.”

  “I’ll take you there shometime.” He paused. “Schratch that. I jusht remembered. You and me—we’re not doin’ that shtuff. And I don’t wanna share you. Or have shomeone shteal you away from me.”

  Totally sweet sentiment, even if it was the booze talking. “You really are drunk if you think anyone else would want me.”

  “I want you.” Tobin blindly reached a hand out for her. “I want you like fuckin’ crazy.”

  Jade perched on the edge of the chaise after she threaded her fingers through his. She studied his face. With his eyes closed, she noticed his dark eyelashes for the first time—usually she couldn’t get past his entrancing eyes. His cheeks were flushed. A silly smirk kicked up the right side of his mouth. Before she thought it through, she leaned over for a closer look at the thin white scar above his upper lip.

  “Why can I feel you shtarin’ at me? Do I got shomething on my face?”

  “I’m staring because other times when I look at you too long, you turn away.” She disentangled their joined hands and ran her fingers down the side of his face.

  He sighed and turned into her touch.

  “I like looking at you. Everything you feel is right here on this handsome face.” She swept her thumb between his eyebrows. “You get a few wrinkles here when you’re annoyed. It was a look I knew well those first few days.” She touched the corners of his eyes. “You have laugh lines here, which I’ve seen more and more.” She trailed the back of her knuckles down the hollow of his cheek to the faint lines bracketing his mouth. “You have the greatest smile. It’s infectious. When you aim that dimpled grin my way . . . I just want to bask in it for a few moments and then feel that smile against my own lips.”

  “My mouth is yours anytime you want it.”

  “That’s a dangerous promise to make to a woman who’s grown addicted to your kisses.” Jade followed his scar with the tip of her finger. “What happened here?”

  “A fishhook caught me. Bled like a bitch. Hurt like a bitch too. I forgot about it.”

  “I noticed it right away.” She brushed her top lip over the mark. Once. Twice. “I think it’s sexy.” After softly pressing her lips to his, she eased back to find him watching her with a slumberous gaze.

  “You’re beautiful.” When she opened her mouth to retort, he placed his fingers over her lips. “Not drunk talk, Jade. The truth.”

  She slid his hand to her cheek and kissed the inside of his wrist.

  Tobin closed his eyes and sighed.

  “You’re about to crash, aren’t you?”


  “Sorry I can’t drag you up the stairs, cowboy, so you’ll have to sleep out here tonight.” She stood. “I’ll get you a blanket.”

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