Chapter 1 – North

© 2021 Vanessa Vale



I didn’t fuck on command.

I hated being told what to do, even by my boss at the FBI. Go undercover, she’d ordered, in the small corner of Montana where you grew up because no one else could blend in as a cowboy. I sure as hell didn’t blend in as a suit and tie G-Man. But that meant I had to settle into my old community not as the star football quarterback they all remembered but in the false persona of a disgraced FBI agent returning to the homestead.

If that wasn’t enough, being ordered around by the men I was trying to bring down was a pain in my fucking ass. I gritted my teeth and did what they wanted although quitting and being a real disgraced FBI agent was looking better and better.

Because I’d never expected to be told what to do with my dick.

If I was twenty again, I’d have been thrilled with the assignment. Easy pussy.

Now? I was questioning my entire career because it led me to this.

To a wake at Billionaire Ranch. No one around here called it anything but that because the nickname explained it all.

I parked in the field along with everyone else who’d come during calling hours, then hoofed it to the big house. House? Nah. It was a fucking mansion. Log walls and huge windows. River rock and slate roof. No doubt the driveway I walked up was heated to keep off the heavy snow.

The massive front doors were open with people spilling out onto the wide porch and front lawn. They were either dressed in black or in crisp jeans and shirts, the closest thing to mourning-wear for Montanans.

I tipped my hat to a woman who offered me a small smile, as if she was offering me comfort at this difficult time.

She didn’t know I wasn’t here to offer my condolences, but to fuck some answers out of the newly crowned queen of the Wainright family.

North. Fucking. Wainright.

It’d been over ten years since I’d laid eyes on her. At seventeen, she’d been my baby brother’s girlfriend. And jailbait. I’d been the twenty-seven-year-old who’d come home to visit for the Fourth of July weekend and saw her at a family picnic.

I’d kept the fact that I’d thought her gorgeous to myself. Hell, every man who’d ever laid eyes on her would agree with me. She’d been so fucking pretty in a white sundress, her blonde hair long down her back. I hadn’t talked to her. Not once, staying as far away from someone who was too tempting and too illegal. I’d had no intention of poaching my brother’s girl or robbing the cradle for a date. But she’d been… memorable and that made her dangerous.

I’d headed back to DC and she’d dumped Jock a few weeks later. She hadn’t crossed my mind since. Until now. My job was to connect Macon Wainright to corruption, which meant me being a lackey for John Marshall, because Marshall had been his lackey.

To everyone around here, I was now only a bored cowboy with dangerous tendencies.

Marshall had been more than eager to hire me. I wasn’t sure if his middle name was Corrupt or Unethical.

When Wainright died three days ago, he and Marshall had been in the middle of a deal. Marshall had millions to lose so now he had a hard-on to get North Wainright. To ensure the deal would go through. He figured the best way for an ice princess like her to talk was to thaw her out with a big dick and bigger orgasms.

My cell vibrated and I pulled it from my pocket as I stepped into the foyer. “Barnett,” I murmured.

People looked my way, but didn’t pay me any mind, returning to their muted conversations. One woman blotted her eyes with a tissue, the only obvious mourner I could see.


I knew the voice. Marshall was a persistent fuck.

“Macon Wainright’s definitely dead.” That was the only thing I knew for certain. He was lying in a casket ten feet away in a snap shirt and bolo tie, hands folded across his chest. His usually tan complexion was waxy. It seemed the only time I wouldn’t see a sneer on his face was when he’d been pumped full of embalming fluid.

I was sure I wasn’t the only one thinking that.

“That’s all you’ve got for me?”

I was too old to kowtow to the asshole. I wasn’t a yes man. Never had been. I might be doing his bidding. I might be doing it so I could see his ass in prison, but I wasn’t going to make his life easier beforehand.

My attention was snagged on a woman coming down the stairs, a yellow lab following right behind. The place was so fucking fancy it had two stairwells, left and right, that turned and met in the middle. In this case, Macon Wainright in all his dead glory was what was centered instead of perhaps a table with a vase of fresh flowers.

North Wainright. She sure as shit wasn’t seventeen any longer. I remembered the long, blonde hair. The high cheekbones. Full lips. Blue eyes.

But the grown version of North Wainright in the flesh and a black dress that hugged her lush womanly curves… not to mention fuck me stilettos that did exceptional things for her legs—

Fuck me.

Right. I was supposed to do just that. Get her to fuck me.

If one of her brothers had inherited the CEO position of Wainright Holdings at Macon’s death, I doubted Marshall would expect me to fuck one of them for information. I didn’t swing that way. But since Marshall was a sexist fuck, he figured the only way he’d get what he wanted from a woman was if she’d been well satisfied by some D.

My staring made me miss half of what Marshall was saying. “…need to know if she’s keeping the deal.”

“I know,” I replied. “I’m here. I see her.”

I hung up, shoved my cell back in my pocket. The guy wanted a job done. I’d do it, but I wasn’t going to give him a play-by-play.

She approached her brother, nodded to him. Didn’t smile. Didn’t offer him a hug or a pat on the shoulder. She didn’t hold a tissue in her elegant hand. Her eyes weren’t red from crying.

East—yeah, they all had fucked up compass names—leaned toward her, whispered something in her ear. He was two years younger and looked nothing like her. Dark hair but ridiculously pale eyes. He was big and built like a fucking tank.

She glanced at the casket. Nodded in reply to whatever he said.

When I’d first gone undercover with Marshall, I’d learned the family’s stats. While I was going to bring down Marshall, he was collateral. My prime target was Macon Wainright.

Except now he was dead. Massive heart attack while fucking his mistress. I glanced once again at the body, then turned away. The case on him would close along with the lid on his casket.

Since a dead guy couldn’t go to jail, the prime target with the FBI now was North Wainright. She was thirty. Oldest of four kids to Macon Wainright and Kitty Southforth Wainright. Kitty’d been dead for twenty-five years. Macon for five days. Undergrad at Harvard. MBA from Wharton. Second-in-command at Wainright Holdings.

Well, in command now and had all the answers.

When a minister, reverend or whatever hell the guy’s religious title was, sidled up to them and set his hand at North’s elbow and she shifted away, I practically growled.

My gaze narrowed. The man of God was touching her. The action was impersonal, but I didn’t fucking care. She was one gorgeous woman and I wanted to be the one to put my hands on her. She might have been innocent when she was seventeen, but she’d gotten dirty since then, I was sure. I was hard at the thought of being the one to get her dirty now. Of mussing her up. Of getting that lipstick smeared and all over my dick.

I felt my cell vibrate, knew it was Marshall again. He didn’t like to be ignored. But that brought me back to reality. To why I was here for the wake.

It wasn’t to pay my respects. I was here to fuck North Wainright. For Marshall. For stupid-ass pillow talk.

As my dick hardened down my thigh, I knew one thing was for certain. I was going to get her beneath me. I had a new mission now. To fuck her. Not for Marshall or the FBI.

For me.

Hell, for her.

Because once she discovered how I could get her off, she wouldn’t go elsewhere.

Because now that I’d seen her again, no other woman was going to do. Fate? Love at first sight? Serendipity? I didn’t give a shit. All I knew was this woman was mine.

East ditched her with the minister, which made me hate the kid. Brothers, even younger ones, should watch out for their sisters. The minister was speaking, clearly droning on about something. She didn’t smile at him but offered the guy her full attention. At least that was what it looked like. I could tell—how, I had no fucking clue—she was elsewhere in her mind. Her ice castle where she escaped, perhaps.

I strode toward her, the timing perfect. A quick glance at Macon Wainright in the casket and maybe I was stretching it a bit, but I wasn’t turning back now. The wake was the only time the mansion’s front door was flung open to the town. The burial would be later, but that was family only. I couldn’t knock on the door and proposition her.

No, it was now or… sometime when it’d be a hell of a lot harder.

“There you are, princess,” I said, sidling up beside North so our shoulders brushed. She wasn’t a short woman and in those heels, she only had to glance up a few inches to meet my gaze. I took off my hat. “I’ve been looking for you.”

North’s pale brow arched and recognition flared in her eyes. Interesting. She remembered me.

I turned to the minister. “I hope you don’t mind, Reverend, but North’s needed in the study.”

I didn’t know where the hell the study was, or if this house had one, but it was big and fancy enough for the possibility.

The older man offered a kindly smile, one he’d probably practiced for decades to pull out at shindigs like this one.

I took North’s elbow and steered her away from the man, turning to the right and into a huge living room. Animal heads lined the walls and a huge ten or twelve point elk hung over a cold fireplace. I veered around the guests and into the connecting room. Another sitting room. How many did this place have? I saw an open door and led her through, then shut it behind me, only after the dog followed, then dropped down on the rug and promptly went to sleep. We were in an office with a huge desk. Smaller animal heads lined one wall, antique and vintage guns lined the other.

“Jesus, what is this place?” I asked, taking in the carnage.

“My father’s sanctuary,” she stated, crossing her arms over her chest. The neckline of her dress wasn’t flashy, but the motion pushed up her tits and I couldn’t miss the soft swells.

I blinked, then looked away. “You planning on mounting him too?” I asked.

Her eyes widened at the suggestion, then she laughed. Her head tipped back and I couldn’t miss the long column of her neck.

She was so fucking pretty.

“I thought about it over the years, but now’s the time, isn’t it? He’ll be in the ground in a few hours.”

Her voice was deep and husky. Sexy and surprising.

“Say the word, princess, and I’ll have it done.”

She cocked her head to the side, studied me. “I remember you.”

“I remember you, too.”

The smile slipped. “Jock’s older brother.”

“That’s right. Jed Barnett. You and Jock have a history.” She’d dated my brother. Probably gave him her V-card. Then dumped him, which had made her daddy dump a deal to buy my parents’ land.

She glanced away but didn’t look remorseful. She looked… icy. “That was a long time ago. Heard he’s married with two kids now.”

“Three,” I corrected. I might be over ten years older than Jock, but he was the one who’d found someone and settled down. “Had a baby girl in April.”

“I’m glad he found the woman he was supposed to love.”

I frowned at her answer. I was expecting something a little more aloof. Calculating.

“What is it you want?” she asked.

“What makes you think I want something?”

“You lied to a minister and got me in here, Jed Barnett.” She lifted her hand to indicate a room alone together.

“The whole town’s here. Half are to see the inside of this place.” I glanced around at the over-the-top office. “Half are here to see your daddy in a casket.”

“Which one are you?” she asked, cocking her head to the side.


Based on the wide-eyed stare, the answer surprised her. “Then what are you here for?”

“You.” My answer was simple. I didn’t need to say more. It was the truth since I was doing Marshall’s bidding. I could tell him about this private meeting. Keep him satisfied for a stretch.

As for fucking her?

As I’d said, I didn’t fuck on command.

I wanted to satisfy North but doing that was only for me. I didn’t usually get so hot for a woman. Sure, I’d picked up women. What forty-year-old hadn’t? But this was different.

This was North Wainright. She was going to be a challenge.

Or was she? I couldn’t miss the way her pupils dilated. Oh yeah, she liked that answer, but she wasn’t going to let it show. I didn’t want to play poker with this one.


I looked her over. “Dead serious.”

“You’ve had thirteen years to make a move,” she countered. “Why now? Why at my father’s wake?”

I leaned against the door so she couldn’t escape, unless she climbed out the big window in that dress and heels. “Would you have let me onto the property?”

She studied me. “I don’t know. Are you dangerous?”

“To your panties.”

A laugh accompanied an eye roll. “That work with other women?”

I shrugged. I might be undercover and be wrapped up in so many fucking lies, but I was going to be straight with her. She was too smart for anything else.

“I’m not interested in other women’s panties. I’m interested in yours. In my pocket.”

She turned and looked around the room. “You want to get it on in here? Not the most” —she slid her hand along the back of a tufted leather couch— “comfortable of places.”

“You’d like it if I bent you over the arm of that sofa.” I pointed. “That desk’s exactly the right height to lay you on and eat you out. I’d say I could fuck you up against the wall, but it might be a little crowded with a dead deer on one side and a moose on the other.”

Her mouth parted and her breath came in little pants.

“I’m to lift my dress and let you have your way just because you talk dirty?”

I shrugged, taking in the garment that probably cost more than my truck. “Only stating facts.”

“Again, why now? I’d think you wouldn’t want your younger brother’s sloppy seconds. Isn’t that what guys say?”

My jaw clenched. The idea of Jock, or any guy, getting his dick in her had me seeing red. All I could think of was mine.

“Your daddy’s laying in a casket out in the foyer. I haven’t seen your other brothers, but East didn’t seem like the consoling type. Figured you might need a shoulder to cry on.”

She laughed again, although she wasn’t all that amused. “Why should he console me when I have no reason to cry about my father dying? Besides, eating me out is a lot different than offering a shoulder.”

She was blunt. I liked it. I’d think about why she wasn’t mourning her father later.

“Whatever you need, princess,” I offered.

Her eyes narrowed and she studied me. I remained still as she raked her gaze over me, from the tips of my buffed work boots to my dark hair.

“Anyone else ask you what you needed?” I doubted it. She had that cool control thing going for her. Untouchable.

She didn’t respond, but the way her shoulders rolled back, I knew the answer was no. Interesting. She was a princess, but she was in a high tower all alone.

“Typical. A guy thinks a woman could only feel better if she gets laid. You want to what… soften me up with a few orgasms?”

Exactly that.

“The only woman who’d question that is one who doesn’t get laid very much,” I countered.

A flush rose up from the neckline of her dress and traveled up to her cheeks. She spun away.

“What do you really want, Jed?” she asked as I admired her perfect ass. “Money? An in with one of my partners? A job?”

It was my turn to bristle. I wasn’t sure if my down-on-my-luck cover was paying off and she thought I needed something to pay my bills, or she’d been hit up before. “I told you.”

She spun back and wondered how she didn’t tip over in those heels. Women in Montana didn’t often sport business wear and stilts. The state was casual about everything. But the look did it for me. I wanted to get my hands on her and knock some of that shine off her business veneer.

“You came to the wake to pay your respects. You saw me, your dick got hard, and you want to do something about it. No guy comes on this strong.”

“You’re right. I saw you. My dick is definitely hard.” Her gaze dropped to the front of my pants and her eyes flared wide. Yeah, I was big. It pleased me to know she was impressed. “I want you. Want to watch you come screaming my name.”

She frowned, eyed me as if I’d come from another planet, one where men didn’t only think of themselves. “You want to get me off.”

It was my turn to narrow my eyes. “Princess, you say that as if no guy’s ever put you first. I’m not sure if I should beat the shit out of them or thank them.”

“I get off.” She said that, then bit her lip as if the words slipped out. It seemed North didn’t like to give any piece of herself away, even the smallest sliver of truth.

“With a man?”

She shrugged a slim shoulder. Sniffed and looked down her nose at me, even though I was inches taller. “Who needs one when batteries and high-grade silicone can do the job?”

I shook my head, pushed off the door. “Now that’s a crying shame. A princess like you should be riding dick whenever she’s running hot.”

She wasn’t appalled by my words. She hadn’t smacked me. I’d call it a win… so far.

“And you’re here to be that dick?”

“You’re impressed by mine and you’ve only seen it in my jeans.”

She paused, closed her eyes and slowly shook her head. “This is insane. There are probably two hundred emails in my inbox waiting for a reply. My assistant is around here somewhere, hovering and waiting to update me on all the ways things are falling apart at the office since I’ve barely been in since I got the news about Macon. On top of that, I have a house full of people and a dead body in the other room.”

Dead body, not dead father.

I shook my head at her, as if her excuses were petty. I could only imagine the shit she accomplished in a day. In high heels. I stepped close, stroked her cheek. Watched the way her blue eyes went dark. Her skin was like silk beneath my knuckles. My thumb brushed over her lower lip, back and forth. Then, when she didn’t knee me in the balls, I lowered my head and kissed her. Watched her face until the last second when her lids fell closed. For a second she was stiff, then she melted like wax in the hot sun. She tasted like sunshine and sweetness, completely opposite of the image she intentionally offered to the world.

I didn’t linger even though she kissed like a fucking dream.

“You’re North Wainright,” I murmured. “You want my dick, you want it now, make it happen. You remember me and by the way your nipples are poking against your dress, you liked what you saw then and what you see now. You don’t need an assistant to pencil this into your planner.”

She blinked, as if coming out of a trance.

Then she studied me for a minute, her shrewd, blue-eyed gaze raking over every inch of me once again in my jeans and snap shirt, my Stetson in my hand.

Turning, she went to the wall of guns, grabbed a shotgun off the lower mounts. I stepped back, raised my hands in front of me.

Shit, I’d gone about this fucking wrong. I liked my balls attached and it seemed she intended to remove them with a twelve gauge.

But she didn’t even look my way. She opened it to see if there were bullets, then snapped it shut, handling it like she knew what she was doing. Walking past me, she flung open the door and marched out of the room. I followed right on her heels, guests clearing a path for her.

She went over to her daddy’s casket, raised her arm and knocked the lid down with a resounding crack, then went through the open front doors.

Standing on the porch, she raised the shotgun like she was a skeet shooting champion and fired into the air. The boom shook the crystal in the chandelier over my head. There were a few screams, many gasps and some panic.

“Wake’s over,” she called. “Everyone out.”

People scurried out of her house like rats being caught in a spotlight. No one questioned a woman wielding a shotgun at her daddy’s wake.

Hell, no one questioned North Wainright.

She turned and looked over her shoulder, her gaze meeting mine as guests streamed past. “Except you.”








Vanessa Vale