Hang tough, p.21
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       Hang Tough, p.21
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         Part #8 of Blacktop Cowboys series by Lorelei James

  “Riss and Jade are drinking at the Prickly Cactus.”

  “Are you kiddin’ me?”

  “Not even a little.”

  “Hang on.” Ike muffled the phone but Tobin still heard some background noise. “I’ve gotta go, sugar.” Then thirty seconds later, he heard, “On my way.”

  “See you in a few.”

  Tobin had worked himself up pretty good by the time he’d reached Rawlins.

  Ike leaned against the side of the building, looking disheveled. “Hey.”

  “You been in there yet?” Does Jade have some asshole’s hands all over her?

  “Nope. Waiting for you.”

  “Let’s go.”

  “Ah ah ah. Not so fast. You lookin’ for a fight?”

  Tobin shook his head. “Doesn’t mean some dumb fuck won’t give me one.”

  Ike muttered something about dental insurance as Tobin brushed past him.

  The look on Tobin’s face kept the bouncer from stopping either of them.

  The music wasn’t overly loud yet. There weren’t as many people inside as he’d imagined, and most of them waited at the bar. Tobin scanned the tables for a sign of her.


  His elation at seeing Jade didn’t extend to the half dozen guys hanging around the table. If the bar area wasn’t so swamped, he might have ordered a beer and observed the situation for a bit before approaching.

  Instead he marched right up to her, inserting himself between her and the guy about to lose his fucking hand for putting it on her.

  When Jade saw him, she smiled. “Fancy meeting you here.”

  “I was in the neighborhood.”

  “Liar,” she stage-whispered. “We live in the same house and I haven’t seen you in our neighborhood for . . . two days.”

  “I had to go to Nebraska, remember?”

  She licked the rim of her glass.

  Fuck. That tongue. “You look gorgeous.”

  “Riss taught me how to get dolled up cowgirl-style.”

  He ran his knuckles down her cheek. “I can teach you to ride cowgirl-style.”

  She laughed. “You are in rare form tonight.”

  Riss whooped and stepped right between them. “Hey howdy, Tobin. Fancy meeting you here.”

  He snorted.

  “This doesn’t seem like your kind of place.”

  “It’s not.”

  “The ambience is lacking.” She cocked her head. “Are you here to listen to the band?”

  Tobin didn’t look away from Jade. “Nope.”

  “The drink specials end at nine, so maybe you oughta toddle on over there and get us a round.”

  “Sure. You want another one of those?” He pointed at Jade’s glass.

  “I’d love one.”

  “Make it two,” Riss said. “And buy fuckface a beer. He looks annoyed to be here.”

  Ike flashed his teeth at Riss. “Annoyance is my permanent expression around you.”

  “I thought you were just constipated.”

  “Be right back.” In the fifteen minutes it took for drink service, Tobin watched three different losers approach Jade. None of them stuck around, thank fuck.

  Back at the table, when everyone had drinks in hand, Riss raised her glass for a toast. “To friends, lovers and foes; may they not be one person.”

  With each sip of her margarita, Jade inched closer to him.

  He tamped down his impatience over how long before they could get the hell out of here.

  “So, Tobin, dude, I’m afraid I have to put you on the spot a little,” Riss said.

  Fucking awesome. “About what?”

  “Why you aren’t considering coming to work for Jackson Stock Contracting? When I heard you’ve sent out resumes to other places?”

  He felt Jade’s curious gaze on him and Ike avoiding his eyes. “Might be awkward with Renner.”

  “That’s it?”


  “Then what?”

  “I’m looking to do something different. You guys are running on a tight margin and there’s no money to pay me. I’m sorta fond of not livin’ in a homeless shelter and panhandling.”

  “But you do have another commodity, don’t you?” Riss pressed on.

  “Not one that’ll pay me.”

  “So the bulls . . . BB’s offspring. You own them?”

  What was she getting at? “Yeah.”

  “How many?”


  “See? That’s four potential—”

  “There’s the word that means nothin’. Potential,” he complained. “Zero plus potential? Still equals zero.”

  “Semen collection is out?” Riss asked.

  “Without a state-of-the-art facility and the ability to offer buyers something they can’t get anywhere else? Yes. Zero potential for profit. Huge potential for a huge building with . . . oh, an arena in it.”

  Ike laughed and held his bottle up to touch Tobin’s.

  Jade looked confused.

  Tobin nudged her. “Fun stuff, huh?”

  “I have no idea what you guys are talking about.”

  “Funny. Neither does Riss,” Ike said.

  Riss flipped him off. Then she flounced off and Ike followed her.

  Tobin put his arm across the back of Jade’s chair. “I’m happy to see you out having fun.”

  “Riss is hilarious. Vivien tricked me into going to the Beauty Barn and Riss rescued me.” She groaned. “I was so happy to escape that I left GG’s order there.”

  His gaze turned sharp. “Tricked you? How?”

  “I think she followed me to the grocery store. Then she claimed GG’s order was in or something. I called Riss before I left the grocery store so I had a backup plan. And good thing because Bernice had decided to treat me to a makeover—whether I liked it or not.”

  Shit. That was not what he’d asked her to do.

  “How did you know I was here?”

  “Miz G told me when I went home to change. She said you were out havin’ a wild night with Riss.”

  “And you thought you’d check up on me? Or GG sent you to check up on me?”

  “I’m here of my own accord, Jade. I’m pretty sure you know that. But darlin’, if you need proof . . . well, pucker up. That seems to work best for us.”

  Jade’s focus dropped to his mouth. “Maybe later.”

  Oh, definitely later. “You don’t look like you’ve been knocking back shots.”

  “I’ve had four margaritas in three hours. Why would you think I’d be doing shots?”

  “Miz G said it was a pixie dust night. That’s what pixie dust is, darlin’. A very potent shot. After one, you’re dancin’ on the tables. After two, you’re under the table.”

  She wrinkled her nose. “Good thing I haven’t had any.”

  “Very good thing.” He angled his head closer, letting his mouth touch the spot below her jaw, then he moved into her hairline and inhaled the scent of her. He growled, “Christ you smell good.”

  “I can’t think when you whisper in my ear like that.”

  “That’s our problem; we both think too much.”

  Jade’s hand landed on his chest. “Is that what you’ve been doing the past forty-eight hours since our plan for alone time bit the dust? Thinking?”

  “I’m a man of action. I have a plan in place and a place for us since I’ve thought of little else the past forty-eight hours. You can feel how hard my heart is beating. And if you moved that sexy ass closer, you’d feel how hard my cock is.”


  “Would you like to get out of here?” Maybe it made him sound desperate. But fuck, he was damn near desperate for her.

  She pushed his face away with the side of her head. Then she placed a single, soft kiss on the pulse point on the side of his throat. “Yes.”

  Thank fuck.

  When Tobin eased back to kiss her, she pressed her fingers over his lips.

  “Not until we’re truly alone, okay? No interrup
tions this time.”

  He uncurled her fingers from his shirt and kissed the center of her palm before clasping her hand in his and pushing to his feet.

  Riss and Ike were standing by the bar.

  “We’re taking off.”

  “Have fun. Text me later, New York.” Riss scowled at Ike. “Feel free to hit the road too, since you weren’t invited.”

  “Am I scaring away the dirtbags you planned to get down and dirty with, La-riss-a?”

  “Dirt washes off. I’ll take that over your asshole behavior any day, Ike.”

  “Really?” Ike leaned closer to her. “Hate sex can be really fuckin’ hot. Don’t you think?” But he might as well have said, Don’t you remember?

  Riss said, “I don’t think about things I hate, douche bag. Ever.”

  “Do I need to warn security there might be a bloodbath?” Tobin asked.

  Ike said “yes” the same time Riss said “no,” and even Jade rolled her eyes.

  Tobin led Jade through the crowd, forcing himself to take measured steps and not break into a sprint.

  Once they were outside, he spun and hauled her against his body, tilting her head back to get at her mouth.

  The tart and sweet taste of her exploded on his tongue. He kissed her with hunger, greedily swallowing her soft groans.

  Jade broke the kiss first. “I want more than this.”

  “So does that mean you won’t be pissed that I rented a room for tonight before I walked into the bar?”

  Those beautiful eyes locked onto his. “You did?”

  Tobin swept her hair back from her face. “I didn’t want you drinking and driving.”

  “Is that the only reason? You were concerned for my safety?”

  “No.” He laughed. “I’m a nice guy, but not that nice.”

  “But you are prepared like any good Boy Scout would be.”

  He got right in her face. “I’m no Boy Scout.”

  “Prove it.”

  His mind was a maze of lust as he towed her toward his truck. The two-block drive to the motel happened in the blink of an eye, and they stood outside room 118 as he jammed the keycard in the slot and the green light flashed.

  Once they were inside the dark room, he realized they’d lost that urgency.

  Leaving the lights off, he slipped her purse off her shoulder and tossed it aside. He pushed her up against the door, twining one hand in her hair and burying his face in her neck, letting the spicy floral scent of her skin take him back to that moment where desire overruled common sense.

  Jade didn’t wait for him to make the first move. Her mouth found his and she slipped her hands beneath his T-shirt, her cool fingers trailing up, over his abdomen, pausing at the top of his rib cage to stroke the cut of muscle that defined his pectorals.

  Gooseflesh erupted from her erotic caress. He kissed her harder, absolutely on fire for this woman. His hand drifted down the center of her torso, gravitating toward the buttons that kept her bare curves beneath his greedy hands. “Jade,” he panted against her lips, “baby, we’ve gotta lose some clothes.”

  “You first.”

  He retreated only far enough to pull the T-shirt over his head. Then his mouth returned to hers and he fumbled to unbutton her blouse as she trailed her fingertips up and down his sides, from the base of his armpit to the waistband of his jeans.

  That continual, sensual touch kept him on edge more than if she stroked his cock the same way.

  Tobin tugged the tails of her shirt out of her jeans and pulled her away from the door to strip it off her completely, leaving her in just her bra. In the dark, he traced the satin straps down to the lace-edged cups. “I want to see you.” He blindly reached out to the wall until his hand connected with the light switch.

  Fluorescent light flooded the room like they’d stepped into a grocery store at midnight. He quickly shut it off. “How about we go to plan B?”

  “Does it involve us getting naked?”

  “Uh-huh.” He peppered kisses along her collarbone. “And sweaty too.”

  “I’m in.”

  He smiled against her throat and wrapped his fingers around her upper arms. He shuffled backward—almost as if they were dancing. Once his calves hit the bed he sat on the edge. “Stay just like that for a second.” He reached the lamp on the nightstand. One quick twist and softer light illuminated the room. Then his hands were on her again. Jade was so compact he could almost span her waist with his big hands. “Kick your shoes off.”

  After Jade took off her heels, her chest was nearly at his mouth level.

  Tobin slid his hands around her sides and up her back to undo the clasp of her bra.

  She shrugged her shoulders, letting the bra fall halfway down, but with the angle of her head, her hair covered her chest.

  “Jade. Move your hair so I can see you.”

  “There’s not much to see,” she said softly.

  He swept her hair over her shoulder. Her breasts were on the small side, but perfectly shaped. In the center of that gentle rise of smooth caramel-colored skin was a dark brown nipple. “Hell yeah, that’s what I want.” He urged her forward and opened his mouth on her nipple, closed his lips around it and sucked.

  “Oh my god.”

  He used his mouth, his hands, his teeth on those sweet little tits, until she writhed and arched and whimpered.

  Everything he did to her, she said, “Yes, more!” He thought she might’ve had a tiny O with the way she squeezed her thighs together.

  Tobin dragged openmouthed kisses down her belly and unbuttoned her jeans. He murmured, “Off,” and helped her shove them down her legs to her ankles.

  Jade smoothed her hands over his hair and tipped his head back to look into his eyes. “Tobin. Why are you shaking?”

  “Tryin’ to keep myself from tossing you on the bed and fucking you hard enough to break the bedframe.”

  “I’d like to see you try.” She bent down and kissed him. Hungrily. Greedily.

  When he was out of breath and filled with the taste of her, she backed off.

  Keeping her eyes on his, she reached between them and flicked open the button on his jeans. “Off.” She immediately sidestepped him as soon as he stood.

  Tobin watched as she pulled the bedcovers back and stretched out on the white sheets, clearly waiting for him. First he took out his wallet, removed a condom and flicked it at her.

  She caught it, held it between her teeth and waggled her eyebrows.

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