Chapter 1 – Spurred

© 2018 by Vanessa Vale




The curse slipped out at the sight of her. There was no other word for it. She was too gorgeous and I was too screwed. I’d hoped the pictures I’d seen of her had been wrong. That her hair wasn’t a fiery shade of red. That the curl in it wouldn’t get wrapped around my fingers when I held her in place for kisses. That she didn’t have a spray of freckles across her nose. Or full breasts, rounded hips. Gorgeous, ripe ass.

No, one look at the pictures my lead investigator had emailed and I’d gone hard as a rock. She was perfect. And when I’d shown them to Riley, he’d nodded in agreement. No words had been needed.

And now, with her standing before me in her floral sundress, her shoulders bare except for two thin, little straps holding it all up, I was completely and totally fucked.

Because she was mine. Mine and Riley’s. This woman, the first Steele daughter to be found and come to Montana, was well and truly claimed. She just didn’t know it yet. And all I’d said to her was “fuck.”

And of course, with the one word, I’d blown it. She startled and looked up at me with surprise and a hint of fear in her eyes. When she took a step back and glanced around the baggage claim area for either an escape or for someone to help her, I clenched my jaw tight.

Yeah, I got that a lot. I was a big fucker, but I wouldn’t hurt her. I’d never hurt her. I’d thought about how the first time we’d meet would go, and it hadn’t been like this.

I’d scared her. Good thing she was looking at my face and missed the way my dick was pressing painfully against the zipper of my jeans. That might have really scared her because I was big. All over. I looked forward to when she learned just how big it was, taking each thick inch of it deep inside her hot little pussy.

She wasn’t a small woman; she came up to my chin in her city-slicker sandals that were useless on a Montana ranch. They were hot as fuck, and I thought about how those little heels would feel as they dug into my back as I tossed up the hem of that flirty dress and fucked her. Yeah, my dick wasn’t going to go down anytime soon. Not until I sank into her, fucked this need right out of me. Like that was possible. This…ache I had for her was not ever going to go away.

So the hard-on remained. If she saw what she did to me, she’d run the other way.

That was the last thing I wanted. I wanted her as close as possible. So close I was balls deep inside her.

I cleared my throat, took off my hat, rested it against my thigh and covered myself with the brim. I tried to get my mind out of the fucking gutter. Yeah, I wanted to do all kinds of dirty things to her, to muss up that lipstick—hell, to see it coat the length of my dick—but that would be later. Now, I had to keep her from running to the nearest airport security officer. I had to be a gentleman, even when I wanted to be anything but.

“Kady Parks?” I asked, lifting my hand in front of me as if I were surrendering to her. Perhaps I was, because pretty much between one heartbeat and the next three weeks ago, I’d gone from contented bachelor to hers. Irrevocably. Seeing her in the investigator’s pictures—of her walking out of her school and talking to a few of her students, carrying a bag of groceries to her car, carrying a yoga mat and heading into the local Y—she’d destroyed me for all others. I had no idea what it was about her, but there was no turning back now.

I wasn’t complaining. Not one bit. I’d wanted to settle down for a while, but had never found the one. But ever since my lead investigator sent me her pictures, my fantasies had been filled with her and only her. No other woman would do ever again. My balls ached to grab her, toss her over my shoulder and take her back to my house and have her in my bed until I could ease the need for her. My brain—which wasn’t getting any blood supply since it was all south of my belt—was trying to tell me to chill the fuck out. She’d be mine. I just had to say more than “fuck.”

“Yes,” she replied. Her voice was soft, melodic and perfect for her. What I’d imagined it would be like. But, it held a quaver of fear, and since I’d put that look in her eye and the sound in her voice, it was my job to fix it.

I gave her a small, and hopefully reassuring, smile. “I’m Cord Connolly.”

The fear melted from her face like snow in July—gone as quickly as it had come. She recognized my name, knew I was part of her welcoming committee.

“You’re big.” Her hand went to cover her mouth, her eyes widening in surprise. “I’m so sorry! Of course, you know that,” she gasped, the words muffled by her fingers. Embarrassment tinged her cheeks a pretty shade of pink.

I laughed then, ran my hand over the back of my neck. “No worries. I am big.”

She dropped her hand but had yet to get over her mortification since her gaze flitted about, everywhere but at mine. “Professional football?”

Slowly, I shook my head. “College. I could have gone pro, but I chose a different path instead.”

She cocked her head to the side, her hair sliding over her bare shoulder. I was mesmerized watching it, jealous of a wayward curl as it brushed her pale skin. I had to wonder if she stayed out of the sun or slathered herself in sunscreen.

And that had my thoughts veering to spreading the lotion all over her body for her. Not missing one bare inch of her. I cleared my throat. “Military.”

“Oh, well. Thank you for your service.”

I offered her a slight nod, not used to being thanked for what I’d done. It had been a job, one I’d done well before I got out, started my own security firm. My background wasn’t all that exciting, so I changed the subject. “Riley Townsend is here, too, parking the truck.” I angled my head toward the sliding doors I’d come through. “I’m sorry we were late to meet you.”

She smiled and I stifled a groan. Her lips were full, a shiny gloss on them. Something red. Or plum. Some color with a girly name. She was so fucking feminine, a stark contrast to me. Delicate. Breakable. At six-four, two-hundred fifty pounds, I was a Neanderthal in comparison. No. A caveman. The basest form of a guy who found a woman and wanted to toss her over his shoulder and carry her back to his cave. To keep her. Claim her. Mark her.

“It’s no problem. My flight arrived early.”

I cleared my throat again, thinking just how I wanted to mark her, my cum dribbling from those lush lips or perhaps coating her belly and breasts. Dripping from her pussy and down her thighs. Or marking the rosette of her virgin ass. Oh yeah, that little hole still had its cherry. Just looking at her, I was sure of it. No way had anyone claimed that gift yet.

I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t. I had no words. No brain function. We stood there, staring. I couldn’t look away. Couldn’t believe she was real. All peaches and cream skin and citrus scent. She was here. She was going to be mine. Ours. I just didn’t need to blow it.

Fuck. This time, I kept the word within. I kept thinking mine, mine, mine, like a chant. A broken record. I curled my fingers into a fist to keep from reaching out, stroking over her silky hair, sliding my fingers down the long line of her neck, over her delicate collarbone that peeked out from beneath the strap of her dress.

Other passengers moved around us. A tired toddler cried from a stroller that was pushed past. The canned security message blared from the hidden speakers. No one felt the electricity that passed between us. The way the air crackled with need. Want. Instant attraction.

She wasn’t immune. Surprised, definitely. If the way her nipples were pressing like two pencil erasers against the thin fabric of her dress was any indication, she liked what she saw, perhaps just a whole lot more of it than expected. I just had to wonder if her pussy was eager for me.

“There you are.”

Riley’s voice broke the spell and Kady turned to look at my approaching friend. At her approaching husband. Yes, we were going to be her husbands. Not just Riley. Both of us. Weird, yes, but I didn’t give a shit. We were claiming her. Not that we were going to mention that at this moment, but if we were going to take her to bed, do all the things I’d thought about—and then some—she’d ultimately have our ring. We wouldn’t disrespect her like that.

Kady watched Riley as he approached. The warm smile on his face was his usual, but as his best friend, I knew the spring in his step was because he was just as eager to meet her as I’d been. But since he’d driven and had to park, I’d gotten lucky and found her first.

“Kady. So glad to finally meet you after all the emails and phone calls. Riley Townsend.”

Riley reached out and took her hand, shook it, then didn’t let it go.

Courteous, she smiled automatically, but I watched her eyes flare when she took him in. Yeah, she was interested. Thank fuck. If Riley and I wanted a relationship that fit the mainstream, I’d be jealous of the way Kady was taking in every inch of him. His blond hair, his blue eyes, quick smile. He was almost as tall as me, but built like a runner, not a linebacker. She wasn’t scared of him.

No, she didn’t even realize he still held her hand.

“You two certainly ate your vegetables as kids,” she commented, humor tingeing her words and curving the corners of her lips. Her eyes sparkled.

“Yes, ma’am,” Riley replied, giving her his wicked grin that made women drop their panties.

“Have the others arrived?” she asked, looking around.

She wasn’t immune to Riley’s good looks, but she was too much of a lady to toss her panties his way. At least here in the airport.

“Your sisters?” I asked, wanting her to look up at me. She did and I swore I could see flecks of gold in her pupils along with the emerald green.

“Half-sisters,” Riley clarified, although I was well aware of the difference. “While we’ve found five of you, five daughters of Aiden Steele who’ve inherited equal shares of his ranch and estate, we’ve only been able to connect with three.”

“That’s my job. To make contact with the other two like I did with you,” I elaborated.

“And as the estate lawyer, I’m the paperwork guy.” Riley patted his chest. “The one who overnighted you the documents for your signature.”

“I still can’t believe this is happening. That I’m here.”

Her fingers fiddled with the shoulder strap on her bag. She was nervous, although she hid it well. Not because of us, but she’d just found out she had a father she’d never known who’d died and left her a large inheritance and had four half-siblings. I’d be a little freaked out, too.

“I was lucky to have summer break from school and was able to come.”

“Lucky for us,” Riley commented, raking his gaze over every inch of her. She flushed again and I watched as the color crept down her neck and beneath the neckline of her dress. How far did it go?

It was then she remembered her hand and pulled it from Riley’s hold.

I frowned. Yeah, I was jealous of him since he’d gotten to touch her. I bet her skin was soft. No callouses on her palm. Her hand was so small, too. She was so damned…breakable.

“I can’t believe I have half-sisters I never knew about. No half-brothers?”

Riley shook his head. “None that we’ve found. Steele”—Riley cleared his throat—“got around.”

Aiden Steele had been a womanizer. Never married, he’d lived a bachelor life. A wild bachelor life. Sure, I wasn’t a monk, but at least I used a fucking condom, every damned time, instead of getting a string of women pregnant all around the country. He’d fucked ‘em and left ‘em. Every single one.

Kady blushed again. I knew from her file—from the information my team had gathered about her—that she was twenty-six. No prim young virgin. But she was a school teacher. Second grade. She didn’t sleep around. Had two past long-term relationships that we’d been able to find. No wild partying. No smoking, no drugs. She was innocent to the underbelly of society that I knew all too well. My hands were dirty from it. From the cruelties of the world. Seeing her smile, her soft nature, I knew none of that had ever touched her. It would be our job now to ensure it stayed that way.

But her father—

“Let’s not stand here,” Riley said, cutting into my thoughts. “You’ve had a long trip and I’m sure are tired. Are these your suitcases?” Riley asked, walking around her to the two big bags behind her. When she confirmed they were hers, he raised the long handles and led us out of the baggage area, pulling them both behind him.

“Here. Let me take your other one,” I said, reaching out to take the carry-on slung over her shoulder. It was heavy; easy for me, but would have been a burden for her. We followed Riley through the sliding doors and out into the bright sunshine.

“Have you ever been to Montana before?” I asked, walking beside her in the crosswalk to the parking lot. When a hotel van didn’t seem to be slowing, I stopped and gave the driver a look as I nudged Kady forward with my hand at the small of her back. That’s right, fucker. I’m watching out for her now.

“No. First time. In fact, I haven’t been out west at all. Philadelphia is a long way from here.” She looked out at the mountains in the distance. “It really is Big Sky country.”

The Bozeman airport was settled in a valley, the Bridger Mountains just to the north, other small ranges were farther off, but offered stunning views, especially for someone who’d never seen anything quite like it before.

Riley had the tailgate of his truck down and was loading her suitcases in as we walked up. I opened the passenger door for her.

“I’ve been to Pennsylvania. Lots of trees,” I commented.

“Yes, lots of trees.” She looked at the seat, then me. Laughed. “How do I get up there?”

For me, the cab of Riley’s truck was just right. I just had to put a foot on the running board and I was in. But for Kady, in a pretty dress and heels and tiny, the double cab was a long way up. Especially with the lift Riley’d had installed. I put my hands on her waist—so fucking tiny the tips of my fingers touched at her spine—and lifted her right up and into the seat. She practically weighed nothing, but she was warm and soft through her thin dress.

Her gasp of surprise had her breasts rising and the soft swells of them over the V-neckline of her dress caught my attention. Slowly, I looked up into her face and realized I’d been caught. Between the rosy hue of her cheeks and the way her eyes darkened, she didn’t seem to mind.

My gaze dropped to her lips which were slightly parted, as if she were breathing through her mouth. Panting. All I had to do was lean in a few inches and we’d be kissing. I wanted it more than my next breath. She wanted it. She wasn’t moving, wasn’t looking away from me. But when Riley opened the driver’s door and climbed in, the spell was broken. Again.

Dammit. He wasn’t supposed to be a cock blocker.

Shaken from my thoughts of how she’d taste, I grabbed hold of the seatbelt, stretched it across her and clicked it into place.

I stepped back, closed the door.

While Riley’s truck was huge, having a full second row with enough room for a team of lumberjacks, or an ex-military security guy the size of a Sherman tank, I’d always refused to sit there. Until now. Now, I wanted to be able to look at Kady as we rode to the ranch as much as I wanted. I could study her profile, see the expressions on her face, the way her breasts swayed over every dip or rut in the road.

“Where are we headed?” she asked as Riley drove out of the lot and onto the highway headed west.

“Steele Ranch. Your new home.”

Not for long. If we had our way, she’d be in our beds, in our house instead. She might have inherited a sizeable chunk of Montana history, but she was still ours.

Vanessa Vale