Tess Van Pelt doesn’t have time to grieve the loss of her husband, not when the wolves are already at the door. Still, she has a lover that is willing to help save her. He introduces her to his cousin, Reece Bristol Smith.
As a lawyer, Reece can keep the debtors at bay. The problem or solution is he can’t keep his hands off Tess. With her deceased husband accused of murder and the major creditor making unreasonable demands, Reece has to secure Tess’s future in the best way he knows how.
Now, will Tess trust him and his cousin to keep her safe or will he need to teach her a few lessons in handing over control to him?
A Cowboy’s Passion is a hot adult erotic mystery that explores the passion of having multiple partners. MFM
The jarring squeak of the door’s hinges shoved Tess Van Pelt from her titillating dreams. She shifted on the bed and figured her husband had returned from his morning trip downstairs. Normally, he woke early and went downstairs to work for a while, and then returned to bed around eight. The two of them enjoyed starting their days with some arousing fun.
Excited by the thought, she listened for the musical chimes from the clock in
Not hearing the soothing tones, her mind jumped to how Gab would never come back again. Instead, memories of his casket sitting at the front of the church sped through her thoughts. Whispered comments of his crime and the way he’d been shot by their resident Texas Deputy mingled with the faces attending his funeral.
“Tess, how are you feeling today?” John Bristol Smith’s voice had her lifting her head.
“John.” She searched through the shadows and found his solid form beside the bed. “After what Gab did to you, there’s no reason for you to worry about me.
He, uh, wanted you dead.”
A small smile touched John’s lips. He sat next to her. “True, but that’s no reflection on you. Whether he was jealous of the relationship, which we’ve established, or he just needed someone to pin Tobias’ murder on, I’m not letting it come between us.”
She stared at his handsome face, drawn to him like a moth to a flame. He’d been her rock, the only person to stand beside her after Gab’s death. She had initially hired John because she wanted to spice up hers and Gab’s sex life.
Now, she saw him as so much more. “I don’t know. You might need to bail while the gettin’s good. I have a lot of things to straighten out.”
Rolling away from him, she brushed the flannel sheet and thick, cotton quilts aside. The cold air greeting her naked body cleared her head and sharpened her thoughts. “I have to contact all of Gab’s business associates and find a lawyer to handle the legal matters. That’s not counting how I need to talk to his employees. After everything is done, I’m not even sure if they’ll still have their jobs.”
The enormity of the tasks ahead caused her to pause. How would she ever get through this?
John’s hand circled her bicep, and she turned.
“That’s why I came up here. I wanted to let you know my cousin is waiting for you downstairs.” John slipped his fingers enticingly down her arm and captured her palm. “Remember, I told you he is a lawyer. He can help you navigate the legalities regarding Gab’s estate.”
An earlier conversation with him fluttered through her memory. The light brush of fresh air coming in through the window caressed her exposed body and drew her attention to the warmth of his touch. Wanting to crawl back under the covers, she squeezed his hand and dropped her feet to the floor. A chill washed over her. “I, uh, guess I don’t remember.”
She walked over to the chair in the corner by the bed’s metal headboard and scooped up a satin robe. Forcing her arms into the sleeves, she turned and finished tying the belt into a soft knot. “What was his name again?”
“Reece Bristol Smith. His mother and mine are sisters. He studied at the Cumberland Law School in Tennessee. He worked for a while for a business in Nashville, but is now offering his services to whoever wants to hire him.” John rose and walked around the bed to stand in front of her. His hard whipcord body held an appealing strength. Her mouth watered and her nipples tightened with need. She fought the lure of melting into his embrace and escaping into the bliss of a mindless release.
Only by tightening her grip on the ends of the belt did she manage to keep from reaching for him. Silently, she reminded herself he shouldn’t have to deal with her problems. Nor could she use him to feed her desire for sex.
“And how did you get him to agree to help me?” She refused to fool herself into believing the man didn’t expect payment. Hell, with his credentials she’d be lucky if she had any money left after he sifted through the mounds of paperwork to find out what belonged to who. Gab had a number of silent partners. She figured they wouldn’t stay quiet for long. They’d want their cut and demand a portion of Gab’s estate to compensate for their investment dollars.
John dropped his hand over her shoulders and drew her against his chest. “He likes a challenge and has agreed to help you because I asked him too.”
He brushed a kiss onto her forehead. “He also can’t resist a beautiful woman. I told him you are absolutely ravishing.”
Tess couldn’t hold back a small chuckle. “I don’t know how you can say such a thing. I have bags under my eyes from crying. My clothes hang on me because I have no appetite. And worse of all, I’m the wife of a murderer.” The last part had her vision blurring. “How could I’ve—”
“Stop, you had no way of knowing.” John wrapped his arms around her and held her tight against his chest. “Now, why don’t you come downstairs with me? I’ll get you settled in the parlor with Reece and then head into the kitchen to get you some coffee.”
She leaned into him for a moment longer, wanting him to take her back to bed and make love to her. Forcing the seductive idea out of her head, she lifted her gaze to his. His lips twitched in amusement, and he cupped his hands around her face. “You’re regretting your decision to have me sleep in the guest bedroom last night, aren’t you?”
She stiffened, surprised by how easily he’d read her thoughts. Their bond had grown stronger over the last few days, but she didn’t want to admit the truth to him. “I was thinking I should probably dress before meeting your cousin. After all, the man is a stranger.”
“He won’t be for long.” He leaned forward and dropped a quick kiss on her lips.
“One look at you, and he’ll beg for a chance to join us in bed.”
Her fingers curled and dug into the smooth cotton of his shirt. “I’m, uh, not sure that’s wise.”
John smiled and stepped to one side to direct her around the bed. “Sweetheart, we both know you are struggling to keep your hands off me. Wait until you meet Reece.”
“Meaning?” She followed his lead out of the bedroom door without bothering to find her slippers.
“Only that it won’t take you long before you’ll desire him as much as you do me.” He drew her to a stop at the top of the landing and swept her up into his arms. “Now, just relax. I’ll have you settled on the couch in the parlor before I introduce you to Reece before I head off to the kitchen.”
Tess wrapped her arms around his neck and didn’t argue. Since Gab’s funeral a few days ago, she had little to no energy. Thankfully, John had understood and taken care of her. She had tried to convince him to leave, but he’d proven to be much more loyal than she thought any man could ever be.
Entering the parlor, he carried her directly to the couch and set her down without giving her a chance to glance around. He had a pillow behind her back and a blanket over her lap before he stepped away.
“Tess, I’d like you to meet my cousin, Reece Bristol Smith.” John waved to the man, walking toward her from the far end of the room. He must have been gazing out the window that overlooked the front porch. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have missed the solid line of his shoulders in his dark blue suit or the aristocratic glint in his gaze, and most of all his uncanny resemblance to his cousin. The two could almost be twins if not for the slight touch of gray at Reece’s temples.
“It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Van Pelt. John has told me a great deal about you.” Reece paused by the end of the couch and waited for John to step out of the way before approaching. John muttered something and left the room.
Tess stared, fighting the need to stand and walk directly into this stranger’s arms. Could he offer her the same type of pleasure John did? The thought had her shifting restlessly on the couch. The image of them both making love to her at once had her squeezing her hands together.
Tess drew back her shoulders and stiffened her spine. As a new widow, she had a certain decorum she needed to maintain. On the other hand, Gab had only been dead a few days. Wanting sex with a complete stranger didn’t fall on the list of acceptable activities she planned to allow herself.
Hell, she’d managed to keep away from John. She should have the strength to resist his cousin. “He told me you are a lawyer.”
“Yes, and John was kind enough to provide access to your deceased husband’s papers.” Reece sank onto the couch by her feet.
“Well, if that’s true, then you’ve undoubtedly decided you want no part of this mess after all. Gab had a diverse array of business dealings. Some of which I’m not even sure, I’m aware of.” Her gaze ran over the hard line of his jaw and settled on his lower lip. The soft pink flesh had a wet trail from the swipe of his tongue.
Need again washed through her, and she missed his reply. In fact, she must have failed to catch more than she thought when he rose and stepped to her. As if in a dream, he suddenly stood directly above her with one hand on the back of the couch, the other on the armrest. His handsome face
filled her line of sight. Then he moved even closer, and her eyelids fluttered close.
A soft caress brushed her lips, then another and another until she sighed in surrender, only then did Reece set his mouth completely over hers. The warm, moist pressure didn’t demand entrance. No, he nibbled and teased, creating a hunger for so much more. Her hands found their way under his suit’s jacket. The soft beat of his heart played against her palms.
The gentle probing of his tongue sought access inside. Tess opened her mouth. He didn’t require a second invitation and plunged deep, drowning the self-imposed abstinence she had tried to maintain for the last few days. A searing heat
washed through her body, setting her on fire like a shot of stiff whiskey. Her head spun in a mind-numbing vortex of excitement. His kisses drugged her senses and kick-started every nerve ending to tingle with awareness. A hot flame erupted in her core. Need had her fingers diving under his tie and sliding over the buttons of his shirt before her hand paused over the fly of his pants. She cupped his engorged length.
He gasped for air and straightened. “John warned me you were addictive, but I didn’t expect—”
“To meet a woman who would want to ride your cock after only knowing you for less than two minutes.” Tess bit her lip. Instinctively, she realized, she’d shocked him with her answer. Hell, let him bury his spouse and go without sex for days then maybe he’d…
“Are you married?” Tess forced herself to ask. She didn’t play around with other women’s husbands, or at least not since she’d broken out from under her father’s rule.
Reece edged back, yanked the blanket off her lap, and pulled her up beside him. The firm pressure of his hand on her arms revealed his strength. Goosebumps of excitement sprang up on her forearms. “No. And from what I’ve learned, Gab let you fool around more than he should have.”
Once, he’d made sure she had her footing he dropped onto the couch. His hands fell to her waist. He directed her over his lap with her legs positioned on each side of his. “You won’t get by with such antics with me.”
With her robe spread open, her crotch laid nestled against his covered cock. She trembled, not with fear from him taking command but more from the force of her passion. She wanted to feel his stiff length deep inside her pussy. Moisture stained his pants. Her body wept for relief. Fighting to stifle the raw need racing through her, she worked to hide her reaction to his demanding personality. “And how do you plan to control me?”
He toyed with the knot of her robe, untied it, and shoved the garment off her shoulders. His dark gray eyes fell to the heavy swell of her breasts. A wicked grin played on his lips. Slowly, his gaze lifted to meet hers. “I, like you, have my ways.”
She cupped her hands over his shoulders and rose onto her knees. The idea of him trying to bend her to his will enflamed the submissive hunger buried within her soul. Gab had played the part of being a dominant partner at times but never demanded she submit to his will in every aspect of their life. Hell, he had even allowed John to be in charge while they enjoyed each other.
Now, without her husband’s protection, Reece appeared to want the job of setting down the rules of engagement. Tess smiled at the thought of the pleasure they could give each other and moved her rock hard nipples to within easy reach of his mouth. “This could be fun.”
He tilted his head and rubbed his hands over her ass as if warning her to behave. Naughty thoughts raced through her head. Visions of them together tempted her. “Just as long as you understand I call the shots.”
“It might work if you give me what I want.” She tightened her grip on his shoulders and narrowed the distance between their bodies. The glancing blow of her nipple against the rough stubble on his chin had her moaning, “Can you please—”
Reece set his hot lips over her breast and wrapped his tongue around the stiff peak. The suction of his mouth had her wriggling against the coarse fabric that was shielding his cock. A bristly caress swiped against her clit. “Yes, that feels so incredible,” she murmured and leaned into him. The misery she’d suffered from losing Gab was temporarily forgotten. Instead, she bent to the passion and shoved every other thought from her head.
Again and again, he tortured her with light nibbles and teasing nips, only to release one breast and dart to the other. The constant stimulus of his mouth fought with the hunger in her core. Finally, the pressure grew until she ached to have him deep inside her. She rocked seductively against the fly of his pants. “Can you please undo your pants?”
He lifted his head and his heated gaze burned into her. “Sure as long as I’m certain you know who you are making love to.”
Stunned by the comment, she met his eyes and noted the spark of annoyance in their depth. What was his problem? Then she recalled John saying he had told Reece details about her. Maybe, like so many others, he saw her as nothing other than a woman to be enjoyed and then discarded. She eased away from him. The hunger she experienced only seconds ago died quickly under a wash of cold fury.
“Wow, thanks for asking.” She lifted her left leg, rocked her weight to one side, and landed on the couch beside him.
He didn’t resist her attempt to break free of his hold. Instead, he shifted out of her way.
Thoughts of how her father had used her to gain special favors with his business associates and clients had her reaching for her robe. She stood and slipped her arms into the sleeve holes before walking to the fireplace. The welcoming heat pierced the icy memories of her past. Did Reece think of her as nothing but a whore too?
Footsteps hitting the floor had her glancing at the entrance to the room. John walked in carrying a tray with several cups and a decanter. “So how are you two getting along?”
She smiled and strolled to the chair next to the hearth. Dropping onto the soft cushion, she waved a casual hand through the air. “Your cousin, Mr. Reece Bristol Smith is a very smart man. However, he believes me to be a whore. So you might as well show him to the door.”
“What?” John set the tray on the table by the couch and stared at his cousin.
“What the hell did you say to her?”
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