We here at Courtesan Press are happy not only to bring you lovelies a brand new series, but a brand new author as well! Author M.J. Sellers gets down and dirty, rough and rowdy, as she instructs us on The Cowboy Way:
Author: M.J. Sellers
Series: Elegant Little Bites
Elegant Little Bites are perfect 10K jewels of erotic goodness designed specifically for your busy schedule–enjoy them on your lunch break, during your evening soak in the tub, just before bedtime, or anytime you need a quick romantic getaway!
The Cowboy Way
Jesse is proud to run the Circleville Ranch, a rescue and rehabilitation ranch for retired rodeo horses and children with physical and cognitive disabilities, but the recession has taken its toll and he’s in deep financial trouble. When the rich, uber-sexy father of one of his star pupils offers to buy his services as a horseback riding instructor–and part-time fling–Jesse jumps at the chance. After all, Mr. Dunhill is smoking hot, but the shady New York business guru isn’t called “the Park Avenue gangster in a nice Brioni suit” for nothing.
Get ready for one sexy ride, folks!
“Daddy! Mr. Jesse was a clown, did you know that?” Chloe, one of my star pupils at the Circleville Ranch, called as her father ambled toward her across the therapy corral.
I smiled at her enthusiasm, then told her to ease up on Mystic’s reigns. Mystic’s gait immediately evened out. When I called her back, Chloe expertly turned the horse around and trotted him back just in time for me to help her down off her mount.
“You did great, Chloe. I’m super proud of you, kiddo!” I said, giving her back her braces.
Chloe was all wide smiles as she joined her father. She started babbling on about the brand new discovery she’d made about me today, which embarrassed the hell out of me and made me kick some stones around nervously.
Part of my nervousness was being in the presence of a power suit like Alaric Dunhill, CEO of the Dunhill Financial Group, one of the biggest fish in the fishpond called New York City. The other part was more elemental: Dunhill was smoking hot.
He was tall and slim and looked like a New York model in his white polo shirt and snug khaki trousers. His dark hair was slicked back over the tips of his ears, and he had the darkest green eyes I’d ever seen. His goatee was carefully trimmed and his lips full and kissable. I usually liked my guys a little beefier, but there was something about the way Mr. Dunhill lifted and twirled his daughter, the strength of muscle in his arms and his laughter at her delight, that drew me to him. Not that I believed one of the most eligible billionaires in New York would ever deem to look my way, because, duh, I was nothing but a flea in Dunhill’s universe.
I’d also heard stories. That he was shady. That the FBI was watching him. Jeannie—my gossip-addicted partner on the ranch who loved to talk about our more high-profile clients—called him a Park Avenue gangster in a nice Brioni business suit. She said he was a cutthroat who’d no sooner use you than toss you aside. But, damn, if bad boys hadn’t always been my weakness.
Even though Dunhill was one of the richest men in New York, he generally stayed out of the public eye. Something to do with bad business dealings, Jeannie said, though I had a different theory. I figured it had to do with the fact that he’d married his business partner when gay marriage became legal a few years ago, but then divorced him soon afterward.
Another victim chewed up and spat out by the man? I wasn’t sure, but it made me curious as hell.
“What’s all this about a clown?” Mr. Dunhill laughed, gently setting Chloe down on her feet.
“Chloe discovered my costume in the barn. I guess the gig is up,” I said, laughing and tilting my straw cowboy hat back on my head. “I used to work as a rodeo clown back in the day.”
“A clown?” Dunhill said, lifting one arched eyebrow as if he were dubious of my claim.
“It’s not what you think,” I quickly explained. “I didn’t do entertainment like you see clowns do, rubber chickens and exploding garbage cans. I did bullfighting.”
When I saw he still didn’t understand, I quickly added, “I provided an alternative target for the bull to attack when the rider was bucked off.”
Dunhill’s eyebrow arched up a little higher, which was hard to interpret. Either he thought I was lying or he was mildly impressed.
“Do you still do it?” Chloe asked.
“Not anymore. Brahma bull shattered my jaw and broke my neck,” I confessed, and Chloe made a distressed face, so I bent down and chucked her under the chin. “Couldn’t walk for almost a year.”
“But you ride so well now, Mr. Jesse!”
“That’s because I was like you. I wasn’t afraid to get back in the saddle.”
“Me either,” Chloe said with a brave look.
She was eleven and had been an avid horseperson up until a few years ago, when she’d been in a bad car accident that shattered both her legs. The doctors said she would never walk again, but so far, Chloe was beating the odds. Her dad had enrolled her in PATH, the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, and they’d sent her our way. She’d been part of our classes for six months now and I was seeing some major improvements.
“Could I be a rodeo clown for Halloween this year?” Chloe asked, turning toward her dad.
Dunhill smirked. I noticed he only ever smiled where Chloe was concerned. “I don’t see why not, baby. Maybe Mr. Jesse could give you some tips.”
I tipped my hat at her.
Dunhill put his hand on her shoulder. “Nanny said she’d get you some ice cream.”
“That sounds good,” Chloe said and ambled off with her braces and a little effort toward Mr. Dunhill’s car parked in the driveway.
After she was gone, Dunhill gave me a serious look. “Is that true, about being a rodeo clown, or are you just saying that to impress Chloe? You seem awful young to have been through so much.”
“Scout’s honor. Rather, cowboy’s honor. I grew up on the circuit. My grandparents were in the rodeo, and my mom was a trick-rider.”
Dunhill considered that, nodding. He looked me up and down, his expression unreadable. “Is she improving at all?” he asked, switching the conversation back over to his daughter and leaving me feeling a little off guard.
I hooked my thumbs in my belt. “I think so. We’re doing a full range of exercises and she’s kept up, no problem.”
Now I felt more than a twinge of nervousness. That was the type of question clients usually asked just before they pulled their child out of therapy. Considering our mounting ranch bills, and our dwindling classes, I couldn’t afford to lose Mr. Dunhill’s patronage.
Even though I found myself sweating under his scrutiny, I told him what I’d told so many other clients before him. “If you’re thinking about more traditional physical therapy classes, exercise machines only focus on one muscle group at a time, and they don’t use natural body movements like our horses. Riding forces the patient to use their entire body to steer, control and maintain balance on a horse.” I knew it sounded like a pitch, but it was the truth. I knew from firsthand experience. After that Brahma had broken my neck, I’d taken the same classes as Chloe.
He must have recognized my panic. “Don’t worry. I’m not pulling Chloe from class,” he said, indicating the therapy corral. “But I was wondering if you offered regular horseback riding lessons? I just bought a couple of trail-riding horses for me and Chloe, but I don’t know the first thing about riding.”
“I’ll get you mounted and riding in no time,” I blurted out much too fast, then regretted it. It sounded like some cheesy pickup line. I tilted my head down, letting my hat hide any blush that might be lurking in the apples of my cheeks. “I mean, I have no problem giving adult lessons.”
Dunhill smirked. “Excellent.” He whipped out a checkbook and ran me off an advance check like it was nothing.
I had to double check to make sure I was seeing what I was seeing. It seemed like a couple too many zeroes, not that I was complaining. He handed me his business card. When our hands touched, I felt a spark like Mr. Dunhill was conducting an electrical charge. “I want to see you at one o’clock on Saturday for our first lesson.” He gave me a poignant look with those jade-green eyes. “Don’t be late. In fact, come early.”
“I’ll come as early as you like,” I told him.
“Good.” Mr. Dunhill smirked with one corner of his mouth. “I prefer guys that come when I tell them to.”
Then he walked away, leaving Mystic and me gaping after him like idiots.