I wear my scars like a badge of honor, intense cravings eating intensely at my soul
Few men can tolerate my power… My influence
Exacting revenge is the only way to survive
Only one woman understands my dark desires…
And I will have her…
Meet the men of the lucrative world of Texas Oil. From billionaires to roughnecks, they are destined to capture your soul with their dominating brand of passion. They also have secrets…
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What are you doing here? Why did you leave everything and everyone you know? He’s not out there. No man will ever understand your needs.
“Dani. Are you dressed yet?”
Danielle Montgomery groaned and glared at her reflection for the fifth time. Her best friend and the woman who’d coerced her into this entire adventure was waiting and Sasha waited for no one. Her little voice was right and she hated the fact. She would never find the kind of man she could trust. Never again. She knew this without a concept of doubt. How could there be? How could any man understand what she craved? She made faces into the mirror, contemplating bagging the night. All she wanted to do was crawl under the covers and hide. Just like you’ve done for months.
The ugly words were true enough.
“Remember, girl. You’re in cowboy country now. Time to kick up your heels, allow a man to lasso you into submission,” Sasha called.
Submission. The single word gave her a moment of utter anxiety. Yes, she longed to submit body and soul. Hell, she’d thought she’d found the right one, a man with a firm hand and a take charge attitude. Boy, had she been wrong. “Time to let go. You’re moving on.” Like the pep talk was going to do her any good.
She had no idea how to dress in cowboy country. Moving from Baltimore had been a culture shock, to say the least. Dallas, Texas was different in more ways than she could count. She had more than a shadow of doubt regarding her decision. “Coming.” No, she wasn’t coming, at least in the way she hungered for.
She tossed the ugly purple dress, grabbing the red, slinky one instead. Scarlet was her color, complementing her raven hair. Who was she kidding? She hadn’t been out to a club in so long, she had no idea if she’d look like a fool. As she slid into the frock, she mumbled under her breath. Men had become her nemesis. The moment they learned she had an engineering degree, they backed away like hot potatoes. She needed a taste of a real man, the kind of rugged he-man who would sweep her off her feet while keeping her in line.
“The President doesn’t take this long. Christ,” the woman chastised from the other room.
“Yeah. Yeah.” She was thankful she had at least one friend in town. Sasha Jameson had been her college roommate, back in the day. They’d kept in touch and when a job opening in her field came about, Dani had been the first person she called. The decision to move had been swift and determined. Maybe foolish. She smoothed down the material, moving from side to side as she studied her reflection.
“Remember, we have reservations.”
“Where are we going anyway?” Dani was happy with the look, a little slutty and extremely sensual. The cowboys wouldn’t know what hit them. With Sasha’s help, she’d been able to secure a small, but well adorned house in a good neighborhood. She had just enough of a backyard that she might be able to keep the grass alive, given the harsh weather conditions. ‘Might’ was the operative word.
“Cattle Ranch,” Sasha said as she eased into the doorway. “Good God, woman. Where do you think you’re going, some fancy dancy party?”
“Cattle Ranch? What in the hell is this kind of place?” So, she wasn’t wearing jeans and cowboy boots, the standard attire from what little she’d seen so far.
Sasha flanked her side, fiddling with Dani’s hair. “The kind where you can find anything and everything you’re looking for.”
Dani gave her a harsh look.
“Just stop. Okay? I’ll have you know that Cattle Ranch is a four-star restaurant that just happens to be connected to the finest boot scootin’ honky-tonk bar in the city.”
“Honky-tonk. Be still my heart.” Rolling her eyes, she made a funny face into the mirror. “Guess I’m a bit overdressed, huh?” She gazed in the mirror at Sasha’s tight skirt and cowboy boots, shivering. She didn’t even own a pair of boots, let alone cowboy style. She was used to suits and heels, conservative attire given her position of authority in Baltimore.
“A wee bit, but I’m certain you’ll be pawed.”
“Perfect. Exactly what I was craving.” Dani selected a silver necklace and watch, determined to bring some sort of flair to the joint.
Sasha leaned in, winking as she puckered her lips. “I know exactly what you need, girlfriend.”
“Oh, you do, do you?” There was no way Sasha had any idea what she craved, even after all the late night, long distance discussions. Discipline. The thought sizzled her senses, making her nipples hard. Tonight, was about fun and meeting new girls, not about considering a man. Her new job was starting in two days. A new state. A new job. Ugh. The same trepidations. She was going to live it up, then retreat as she always did into her cocoon. Safe. Responsible. Monikers for her entire life.
“A hard lay.” Sasha giggled then shook her head. “You need to have some fun. You know the expression, all work and no play, don’t you?”
“You’re such a funny girl. Tell me why did I listen to you and move here again?” Dani grabbed her purse and keys. Texas would take her this way or no way.
Placing her hands on Dani’s shoulders, Sasha’s expression became serious. “Because you found the job of your dreams and because you’re soothing a broken heart. Remember?”
“Thanks, oh so much for reminding me of that second fact.” She spritzed her favorite cologne, pushing away the memories. Being left at the altar wasn’t the finest moment of her life. David didn’t have enough courage to call her ahead of time, giving her the news that he was running away to Cancun with a girl he just met—his soul mate. No, he’d allowed her the embarrassment of the century.
“Fuck David. Fuck Maryland. Texas boys will never do you wrong. Come on. I’m driving.” Sasha swished her long, blonde hair and sauntered out of the bedroom, humming in a far too cheerful lilt.
Dani inhaled, envisioning David on a hot skewer, cutting off his balls for sheer entertainment. Her gruesome visions had kept her dreams from becoming nightmares. Thank God, for something. She held her head high, gave her reflection the finger and turned off the light. Time for a new adventure.
Twenty minutes later, Sasha roared into the parking lot of Cattle Ranch, the entire time singing to some local country station.
Her head aching, Dani rubbed her temples and glanced out the windshield. “You can’t tell me that everyone in this parking lot is inside that building.” The rustic two story was enormous, but certainly not large enough to fit a solid four hundred people inside.
“You’d be surprised, sunshine. Wall to wall. Just the way I like them.” She jerked the keys from the ignition. “Well, big, tall, dumb and sexy. That’s more my style.”
Dani climbed out of the Miata, stretching her long legs and holding her breath. Men and women, alone and in couples, were coming and going. The music was loud, brash and indeed, honky-tonk. She wasn’t going to survive. “I don’t think I fit in.”
Sasha grabbed her by the arm, yanking her past the rear of the car. “I will tan your hide if you don’t stop acting like a teenager. A few margaritas and you’ll fit right in. No matter if you look like a walking, talking billboard advertising sin and sex.”
“I should smack you.”
“Go ahead and try.” Sasha pulled her toward the entrance. “Just relax. This is going to be a fun night.”
“Said the spider to the fly.” When they walked in, Dani was overwhelmed by the crowd, the neon lights accentuating the bar, various pictures and the dance floor. Music, albeit country music, blared from unseen speakers, adding to the festive ambiance. The restaurant was huge, pulsing with energy, and almost immediately she was in a better mood. “Does this happen every weekend?”
“Every night, sugar. Come on. I see the girls.”
She was led to a group of women surrounding a round table.
“Ladies. This is my very best friend in the world, Danielle Montgomery. Go easy on her. She has no idea how to handle a cowboy town.” Sasha laughed as she eased down in a chair.
“This is my best friend, a woman who thinks she has me pegged for a city slicker. Little does she know I’m a tigress in sheep’s clothing,” Dani stated then smiled.
“I like this girl.”
“She’s a keeper.”
“Where have you been hiding this woman?”
Sasha motioned for the approaching waiter. “See? I told you that you’d fit right in. Now, sit your ass down and let’s drink. We are celebrating your new job and our renewed friendship. This is Marcy, Jenny and Randi. Don’t let them fool you either. They are vicious snakes.”
“You are terrible,” Marcy said as she threw a napkin. “Hey cute waiter, margaritas all around.”
“Sounds perfect,” Dani said as she sat down. She glanced around the restaurant, enjoying the view of a few of the men in the room.
“How do you like Dallas so far?” Jenny asked as she licked salt from the rim of her margarita.
The blue-eyed blonde was the epitome of a Texas pageant beauty, complete with the perfect perky boobs and eyelashes longer than her nails. “I haven’t seen much, but from what I can tell it’s hot, large and inviting.”
“Sounds like some of the men we know,” Randi said as she winked. She leaned over, pursing her lips. “I can introduce you to some bull riders. They’re on the National circuit. They have the best moves in the business, especially with their tongues.”
Sasha groaned. “Where are the beverages? If you’re starting out this frisky, I can’t imagine when we start dancing.”
“There’s dancing too?” Dani asked, chagrin in her voice. She loathed dancing, especially in front of people.
“Dancing is more like bump and grind here,” Marcy offered and pointed to a tall man standing at the far end of the bar. “See that guy? He may seem like nothing but a ranch hand, but let me tell you. When you put that man on the floor, look out John Travolta. We partied the entire night last weekend then did our own personal bump and grind until dawn. If you know what I mean,” she cooed as she winked.
Heat rose on Dani’s neck and face. Her girlfriends in Baltimore, the one or two she’d ever spent actual time with, preferred drinking martinis after a long day of shopping. The concept of scoping men on the radar referred to professionals they were hustling for business. This was out of her comfort zone. “I just want to get settled in, figure out what I’m doing in my job.”
“Who are you working for again?” Jenny asked, her voice more of a purr.
“Rush Enterprises,” Dani said casually as the waiter eased the large drink in front of her.
“Ooh la la,” the girls said together.
“What does that mean?” Dani could tell she was going to have more than one cocktail. Thank God, she wasn’t driving.
Randi gave her an evil grin. “The owner is hot and bothered, but a prick and not the right kind. He’s infamous in town. Hasn’t been seen with a woman in over a year. Hell, there are very few pictures of him. He’s like a delicious mystery, a treat you can peel away the layers.”
“Maybe he’s gay,” Dani offered. As soon as she said the words, the entire seven tables surrounding them stopped to gawk. “What did I say?” You bet she was getting intoxicated tonight.
“Remember girls, looks and attitudes can be deceiving,” Sasha chastised.
“First of all, Maxum Rush is perhaps the wealthiest man in town and doesn’t mind allowing everyone he comes into contact with to know that fact. Secondly, he was engaged like umpteen years ago. And third…” Marcy giggled as she looked at the other girls.
“Let me guess, he’s a stripper or has a harem,” Dani said sweetly as she took a gulp of her drink.
The girls laughed and Randi raised her glass. “You fit right in with us.”
Marcy leaned over. “The third is that he is one of the hottest bachelors in Dallas and totally fuckable.”
Fuckable. Not exactly what Dani wanted to hear. She gathered her boss was self-centered and arrogant. Great. Just what she needed. They toasted and she hated that she was already second guessing her decision, which had been made on a whim. She knew she needed to get out of town, preferring to leave David in the dust. Even her job was going nowhere fast, for various sundry reasons. She leaned over to Sasha. “What’s the truth about Mr. Rush?”
Sasha shrugged and crossed her legs, swirling her drink as her eyes twinkled. “Let’s just say he’s the hottest catch in Dallas. Sure, he’s known for being a jerk, but if you listen to the gossip around town, he has a secret or two which derails his personality. From what I’ve heard, he’s not so bad.”
“Let me get this straight. You actually want me to work for a jerk?” Dani asked as she frowned. Why did she have the feeling Sasha knew more than she was telling?
“I know you, girl. If anyone can peel away the layers, pull away his mask, you can.”
Dani closed her eyes, envisioning bartending on a tropical island. Maybe then she wouldn’t have to deal with a political nightmare. “I’m here to do my job and get my life back in order. Nothing more.”
“Sure you are, sugar. We’ll see what happens in a couple of months.”
After an exquisite dinner and spirited conversation, Dani was forced to admit that she adored the Cattle Ranch. Everyone was in a good mood, including the wait-staff. When the dancing began in earnest, she was as mellow as could be. She was also horny as hell. Every man seemed to be a cowboy and ninety percent were good looking. Maybe the pitcher of margaritas was talking, but she was relaxed and would even consider dancing with a tall, rough-hewn hunk, if the right guy asked.
“Come on girls, let’s dance!” Marcy commanded as she rose to her feet.
“Yeah. We’re ready,” Randi added.
“I wouldn’t miss flirting with some sexy guys,” Jenny cooed.
Dani remained planted in her seat. She wasn’t the type to exude sexual innuendoes, especially while dancing to a country song she’d never heard before.
“Come on. Get your ass up out of that chair or I’ll find some cowboy to do so.” Sasha grabbed her arm, yanking. “And trust me, sunshine, he’ll hogtie you without asking any questions.”
“I’ll sit this one out, observing so I know what I’m getting myself into.” Dani shrunk back into the old woman, the boring and soon-to-be-dead woman. “I promise I’ll dance later. Okay?”
“Uh-huh. Then you wait right here.” Sasha winked before sashaying into the crowd.
Suddenly, Dani felt very alone and in truth, lonely. Slinking further into her chair, she gulped another huge swallow of her drink and hunkered down over the table, praying no one would notice her. After a few minutes, she tapped her foot in time to the music. The beat was rockin’ and the band had a damn good singer. His voice was like velvet, smooth and rich, the kind of tone that could make you swoon by hearing him sing alone. Sighing, she looked around the room then slunk down further in her chair. Dancing was absolutely out of the question.
“Dani, I’d like you to meet Mitchell.”
Sasha’s voice held a lilt, a mischievous tone. Dani jerked her head in the direction of her exclamation, fearing the worst. The man flanking Sasha’s side was gorgeous by any standard. Tall with broad shoulders, long dark blond hair and penetrating eyes, she swallowed hard and prayed her libido didn’t show in some wayward manner. Dani stood, aware her nipples were hard. “Dani Montgomery.”
“Very nice to meet you. Sasha says you’re new in town,” Mitchell half spoke, half purred like a tiger in heat.
When she touched his hand, she realized perspiration was trickling down the back of her neck. Electric jolts shot through every cell in her body. She was hot. Wet. Hungry. “Here for a new job. What do you do?”
“I’m a rancher,” Mitchell said as he locked eyes with her.
Sasha swished back and forth. “I found this guy on the dance floor all alone. If you can believe that.” She gave an exaggerated sigh and fanned her face. “I just happened to mention you needed a dance partner.”
“I’m fine,” Dani croaked. Ugh. Her voice sounded contrite, even childlike. He continued to hold her hand, his thumb rubbing back and forth across her skin. She shuddered, her pussy clenching. She casually glanced down at his attire. Skin tight jeans, cowboy boots and a shirt opened all the way down his glorious chest. She was in so much trouble.
“Come on. You have to be introduced the proper way to cowboy country.” Grinning, Mitchell tugged, half yanking her away from the table.
“I don’t dance. I’m terrible in truth,” Dani exclaimed, but she could see he wasn’t taking no for an answer.
“Darlin’, the kind of dancing we do in Texas has more to do with body hugging, swinging and kicking up your heels. You’ll do just fine.”
She held her breath as he took long strides, continuing his clipped pace until they were smack in the middle of the dance floor. She was going to die of embarrassment.
Mitchell turned, taking both of her hands into his. “Just relax, go with the flow. I’ll do the work.”
As they intertwined fingers she exhaled and darted glances at the other couples crowding the dance floor. Very few had any concept of dancing to the beat. Groaning, she allowed the sexy cowboy to take the lead and soon they were swaying to the music.
“See. I told ya there was nothing to this,” he said as he winked.
“Do you come here often?”
“Not as much as I used to. Business keeps me busier than a one-eyed horse on the circuit.”
While she had no idea what circuit he was talking about, she smiled even though she wanted to run screaming out of the place. Within seconds she was more at ease, enjoying the thumping drums and the booming voice of the singer. Even the flashing lights, streams of iridescent neon crisscrossing across the floor was appealing. He twirled her around, catching her as they moved.
“You’re a natural!” Mitchell stated over the roaring music.
“I have no idea what I’m doing.” Dani laughed, feeling more comfortable than she had in years. He pulled her closer until she was able to inhale his cologne, musky and exotic, the scent intoxicating her senses.
Mitchell released one hand, swinging her around in a circle then dipped her just as the song ended. He kept his body hovering over hers, his eyes never blinking yet penetrating in the dim lighting.
Gripping his arms, she shuddered as he lowered his head until their lips were mere inches apart. He kept her in a tight hold as he breathed out, the stream of hot air cascading across her face and neck. She was turned on, her nipples scraping against the dress. Even her legs were shaking, fueled by excitement and a touch of adrenaline. For a few seconds, she was lost to a vision of a rugged cowboy, a night in his arms on a blanket lying under the stars. Shuddering, she was stunned at her reaction.
When he lifted her into a standing position, he grinned and wrapped one arm around her waist. The music changed as well as the lights, the strobes now simulating a blues bar, complete with a halo of cerulean streams. “I have to admit, this is more my style.”
His voice was husky, laced with enough sensuality that she allowed herself to be pulled close. Placing her hand on his shoulder, she was surprised how well they fit together. With every move, each turn, the tension eased until they were dancing as one, their bodies in tune, fingers caressing, lips only two inches apart.
“You’re beautiful,” he whispered as he took several steps forward, the move pushing them toward the fringe of the dancefloor.
“I’m just me,” Dani struggled to say. She placed one hand on his chest, kneading his shirt. Every part of her was tingling, creating a current coursing down the back of her legs. She was woozy, lightheaded and wet all over.
“You know what? I like just you.” Mitchell cocked his head, a slight smile curling on the corner of his mouth. He flexed his fingers open, caressing the small of her back as he dropped his head. “I could get used to this.” Capturing her mouth, he held the kiss before sliding his tongue past her lips.
As their tongues entwined, she held her breath and eased her hand inside his shirt. Digging her nails into his skin, she moaned into the kiss, yet she knew she should push him away. He was a stranger, a man obviously used to getting what he wanted. Right now, he wanted her.
Grunting, he walked them back another three feet, until he pushed her against the wall. He ground his hips into her pelvis as the intimate moment became intense. He grabbed both of her arms and placed them above her head, pinning her wrists together with one hand. Breaking the kiss momentarily, he licked across the seam of her mouth and chuckled, the tone dark and sexual. “You’re exactly what I need, what my body craves.”
His voice nothing more than a whisper, she quivered under his control, her mind reeling with possibilities. Every nerve ending on fire, she blinked yet was unable to focus. Her pussy clenched and the second he rubbed the tip of his index finger across her jawline, she would have fallen if he hadn’t been holding her. No, he was commanding her to succumb to his desires. “What do you want?”
He nipped her chin then licked down the length of her neck before tipping his head. “A woman whose passion overrides anything else. Raw and uninhibited sex. I yearn to find a woman who longs for a commanding lover, one who refuses to take no for an answer.”
The words stunning, she opened her mouth to retort when he crushed her mouth with his. This time the kiss was demanding, unyielding. He was going to take what he wanted, giving her no chance to refuse his advances.
Mitchell slid his hand just inside the bodice of her dress, his fingers dancing across her skin. The French kiss becoming wild, full of abandonment, he twirled his thumb across her nipple.
Jerking back, Dani moaned as he pinched her hardened bud between his fingers. Pain shot through every cell, leaving her shaking. What was he doing to her? Who did this man think he was? Yet, even though she knew this was wrong, there had never been another man in her life who’d understood her kinky cravings. She longed for a man to take control, use his firm hand to keep her in line. The thought drove her into a heightened state, goose bumps popping along every inch of her skin.
He broke the kiss and tugged her arms, lifting her onto her toes. Breathing swaths of hot air across her neck, he nipped her earlobe before licking down to her shoulder. “Sensuous.” He cupped and squeezed her breast as he jutted his hips forward.
The friction sent shocks straight into her pussy. She’d never been so turned on in her life. She undulated, wiggling back and forth as his thick bulge pressed against her groin. How she longed to have him thrust his cock deep inside, fucking her for hours. Envisioning their naked bodies, she closed her eyes, no longer the conservative woman who’d been discarded from a wretched relationship. She was a wild child, a flower opening and ready for new adventures.
Mitchell issued a single guttural sound, a telling of his needs. “You’re feisty, longing for a man to control you.”
“Yes.” The word was said without hesitation.
“You’ve never been satisfied.”
“No.” Why was she admitting personal details about herself?
“I can give you everything you’ve ever craved. All you have to do is ask.”
She swallowed hard and darted her eyes back and forth across his. Was this really happening? “What if I want everything?”
He grinned and eased his hand under her dress, rubbing the pads of his fingers across her thigh. “Then everything you shall have.”
Biting back a cry, she managed to arch her back the moment he slipped his fingers under the thin elastic of her thong. Her intense desire wafted between them and she wanted to beg him to take her right here, in the middle of the crowded bar. Before she knew what had occurred, he’d maneuvered them into the darkened hallway.
“Would you like me to spank your ass then lick your sweet pussy?”
The words rang in her ears. He knew the woman inside, the one yearning for a hard spanking, constant discipline. A single tear slipped past her lashes. “Oh, yes.” She was no longer in her right mind. There was no way she could be. She was going to submit to a mysterious man, yet a stunning hunk so in tune with her that she was ready to do anything he commanded.
Mitchell released his hold and took a step back.
Exhaling, a chill trickled down her spine. She caught her breath as she gazed at his outstretched hand.
“All you have to do is come with me.”
She could fall into his arms, be swept away by this insane moment. Could she go with him? Could she trust him? Perhaps the real question was, could she trust herself. She contemplated his question as she licked the remnants of their kiss off her lips.
His eyes never left hers, his look carnal.
She blinked back several tears then sanity crept into her system, creating doubt as well as a realization that what she was debating was completely and utterly nuts. She sidestepped him and smoothed down her skirt, just seconds before she slapped him hard across the face. “How fucking dare you.”