Spurred On by Sabrina York
The third sexy, Stripped Down novel from the author of Stud for Hire and Cowboy to Command.
Just south of Fort Worth, Texas, you’ll find a little ranch where the hot, toned cowboys are ready and eager to take it all off and make your naughtiest fantasies come true...
As the owner of the Double S Ranch, Cody Silver knows what women want—all except the one that got away. So when his high school girlfriend Sidney Stevens comes back to town for her sister’s wedding, Cody will do whatever it takes to prove that he’s a changed man.
After their explosive breakup, it took a long time for Sidney’s broken heart to heal —and she’s not about to risk it again. She’ll tangle with Cody and live out her simmering fantasies, but when the time comes she’s going to walk away satisfied.
But love has a way of ruining the best laid plans, and Cody and Sidney are about to learn that what you want isn’t always what you need...
"Sabrina York can write a sexy cowboy like no other!" Susan Stoker, New York Times bestselling author
READ AN EXCERPT!
Cody Silver’s feet tangled and he almost fell on his face as a tall drink of water uncurled herself from a refurbished red hot Mustang and surveyed the front yard of his ranch house. The first thing he noticed was the curve of her ass because, seriously? It was a fantastic ass. And then he noticed her boobs. His pulse picked up. His salivary glands went into overdrive.
Her hair was gorgeous too, a kind of burnt umber, not enough for her to be a classic redhead, but enough that it probably spoke to her passion in bed. It tumbled down her back in a riot of curls.
With that figure, she had to be gorgeous too. Didn’t she? He found himself burning with curiosity to see her face, so he headed in her direction.
This was his home. It was only polite to welcome her.
Maybe she was a potential customer for the Stud Ranch. Maybe she was a friend of Claire’s. Whatever. He didn’t care. He just wanted to meet her because he hadn’t felt this kind of instant attraction since—
She turned and he got a glimpse of her profile and a skitter of unease rippled through him.
No. God no. It couldn’t be.
But then she heard him coming and glanced over her shoulder. He saw her full on and his heart dropped clear through to his churning belly.
His steps slowed. His anticipation faded. His trepidation rose.
It was her. Sidney Fucking Stevens.
What was she doing here? After all these years?
And why did she still have this crazy power over him?
No other woman had. No other woman did.
It had been over ten years since their misbegotten affair and the sense of loss still felt fresh. Probably because, after all this time, he wasn’t quite sure how it had happened. How he had lost her. Why he’d done what he’d done.
He idly wondered if she still hated him.
Or, perhaps, not so idly.
He sucked in a breath, steeled his spine and tipped his hat as he approached. Then he fixed something that might have been a smile on his face. Might as well try. “Sidney,” he said, ignoring the catch in his voice.
She stilled. Her eyes narrowed and her nose twitched. She looked him up and down with a frigid perusal.
Oh yeah. She still hated him.
“It’s been a long time.” The best opening he could manage.
She nodded, but said, “Not long enough.” She muttered it under her breath, but he heard. He suspected he was supposed to.
“What, ah, brings you to these parts?” he asked. “Are you here to see Claire?”
“Yes.” Her response was short and clipped. Nearly snarled, as though she couldn’t bear to be in his presence. Couldn’t bear to speak to him.
Now, Cody had his share of exes—more than a man probably should—but none of them could hold a grudge like Sidney Stevens.
“Claire’s out of town.” He hated saying it, because she’d probably get back into her car and leave and he didn’t think he could bear that. Though this altercation was anything but amiable, he didn’t want it to end. Not yet. It was better to have her stand there and hiss at him like an angry cat than leave. Especially after all this time. He found he wanted, more than he should, to keep her here. Which was, all things considered, foolish beyond reason. “Can I…help you?”
She did it again. Looked him up and down. He was left with the impression that, in her opinion, he was lower than a bug. But then, he couldn’t blame her. He’d been a dumbass back them and he wasn’t much better now.
She huffed out a sigh and turned away, raking her fingers through that glorious mane. “When will she be back?”
“A week. Maybe more?”
“What? Where the hell did she go?”
He blinked at her ferocity. “She’s gone to Houston to do some marketing. See if she can get more customers in.”
Cody, his brother Cade, and sister Claire, had turned their large ranch house into a B&B that specialized in parties for women…complete with hot dancers. It had been Cody’s idea, one born of desperation, when the bank had threatened to foreclose on the property after their father’s death. They’d gotten a lot of interest, but the jury was still out on whether this side-business could save the farm.
It would kill him to lose everything his grandfather and father had worked so hard to build. He didn’t know who he’d be without the Double S. And his siblings felt the same way. Each of them put their all into this last gasp chance to save their inheritance.
Sidney made a face and sighed. “I wish I’d known. I came from Dallas to see her.” Yeah. After high school, after their break up, she’d moved there and—other than an occasional visit to her parents—she’d never come back. He’d certainly never seen her around town. Not that he looked for her. Every day.
He suspected she took great pains to make sure they never crossed paths when she happened to come to Snake Gully. Damn it all anyway.
She looked good, real good…but he knew better than to say as much.
Her nose curled again. “I heard about what you’re doing here.”
Sidney’s distaste was not the first he’d faced. Snake Gully was a small, conservative town and even though the ranch was on the outskirts, some of the old timers didn’t like the idea of bringing in dancers and horny housewives from Dallas. They didn’t like it one iota.
But not one of those bastions of town had offered to help them out of their financial quandary. So, well…so there.
He didn’t know how to respond, so he just nodded. “What brings you to town?” he asked before he could stop the words.
She pinned him with a sharp glance and stared at him for a long while, as though trying to decide if she should deign speak to him or just turn around and flounce away. At long last, she said, on a huff, “My sister is getting married.”
He nodded. “Yeah. I heard. Um, congratulations.” The word burned on his tongue. He knew Hanna’s fiancé…and hated him. Zack Pucey was the biggest asshole on this side of the Rio Grande. And the other side.
And anywhere, really.
Why Hanna had agreed to marry him was a mystery. She was sweet and well-liked. Zack was despised. It was the oddest coupling he’d ever seen.
Sidney shuddered. “Congratulations? Thanks a bunch. Anyway, I’m in charge of the bachelorette party. I was thinking about having it here.”
He gaped at her. A rowdy party featuring a passel of hot, toned strippers was hardly Hanna’s style. But hell, a booking was a booking. “Sure. Come on inside and we can look at the calendar.”
“I’d rather deal with Claire.”
Not a shock. “She’s not here.”
“Not here either.” He held out his hands to illustrate his helplessness. Not that he wanted to get her alone in a private space, but he did. Of course, if he dared touch her, she’d probably rack him in the balls. But a guy could dream. “Looks like you’re stuck with me.” He batted his lashes, surely not because he knew it would annoy her. “I promise to behave.”
Well, hell. Maybe he shouldn’t have made that vague reference to the fact that they’d once been something more than icy-polite strangers. She’d melted him once. That was how hot she was.
But she wasn’t hot now. Now she was cold. Frigid. Her icy glower made him shiver. He turned and walked back to the house. He didn’t check to see if she followed, because that would be an admission that he cared. Besides, he could hear her heels crunching on the gravel.
And damn. She was wearing heels.
He loved her in heels.
He forced that scintillating thought from his mind as he pushed open the door to the office and gestured to a chair. Then he dropped into the seat the other side of the desk—surely not because he felt a sudden need for some barrier between them—and opened the calendar. “Do you have a date in mind?”
She mentioned something in June and they settled on a couple options.
“And how many people?”
Another frown. “I don’t know. Twenty-five?”
He arched a brow. “That many?”
“Tibby wants to come.” This she spat.
His head came up so fast he bit his tongue. Tibby. What a horror. Aside from being Zack’s sister and a monster in her own right, she was the woman Cody’d started dating right after he and Sidney broke up.
Beyond that, Tibby was still convinced that Cody was in love with her—even though their relationship, if one could call it that, had ended nearly as soon as it had begun. Even though all that had happened nearly a decade ago. Tibby attached to him like a remora whenever they happened to cross paths.
Naturally, he avoided her like the plague.
He swallowed heavily. Cleared his throat. “Ah…Tibby?”
Sidney nodded. “She’s bringing her friends.”
Claire was going to have a conniption. She’d made it clear that Tibby was never to be invited to the ranch. But if it was a condition of Sidney’s booking, he would have to accede. Because he’d realized, all of a sudden, this was the opportunity he’d dreamed of. An opportunity to see her again. And maybe, if he was lucky, to seduce her again.
It was something he’d fantasized about for ten long years.
Making love to Sidney again…and finally getting her out of his system.
He hummed with excitement as they waded through the details of her event. Even as he wrote down each of her requirements, his mind was in a whirl, surreptitiously planning how he might soften her wrath, when and where he might kiss her again. It was foolish of him, but he couldn’t resist. Being so close to her again, drawing in her scent, hearing her voice…all weakened his resolve, his protective instincts.
With a shock he realized, he would do anything to be with her again. If only once.
When they’d finished all the paperwork she stilled and folded her hands in her lap. Then she looked at him—really looked at him for the first time. For once her gaze was not distant. It was warm, open, almost pleading. “I have…a special request, Cody.”
He poised his pen over the order form, even though all he wanted to do was stare at her. And maybe drool. “Yeah? What is it?” Whatever it was, he’d do it. If only to see that sincere look in her eye again. If only to please her.
She took a deep breath and captured his gaze.
“I want you to help me scuttle this wedding.”
Cody stared at her. As well he should. It was an insane idea, but Sidney was out of ideas.
She’d been desperate enough to come here. To take the chance of seeing him again, after all the heartache he’d caused. And man, it had been hard to maintain a civil countenance in his presence. She wanted to yell at him, rail, howl. She wanted to run. But she didn’t. This was too important. Hanna needed this—even though she didn’t realize it.
Still, Sidney deserved a frigging Oscar for her acting.
Cody blinked. “Excuse me? You want me to…what?”
She glowered at him. For some reason he flinched. “Come on, Cody. Quit playing innocent. You and I both know there’s something wrong here. Hanna doesn’t love Zack. Not really. We need to show her.”
He shook his head, as though he didn’t understand. But then, maybe he didn’t. Men were notoriously oblivious. About everything. “Show her what?”
“That she’s not in love with Zack. What a mistake this wedding would be.”
“Sidney…” He sighed. “How am I supposed to do that?”
“You have hot guys here. Can’t you have one of them…?” She waved a hand in an illustrative manner.
“You want me to hire a gigolo to seduce your sister?” He gaped at her so she glared back. “That’s illegal, you know.”
“It doesn’t have to be a gigolo.” Hanna was hardly the type of woman who needed pay for play. “What about other men?”
She shot to her feet and began to pace. “Surely you have friends?”
He seemed slightly put out. “I have friends,” he insisted.
“Some handsome, hot, single guy friends who might like redheads?”
“You want to match make?”
“Whatever it takes. Anything to make her realize that whatever it is she has with Zack isn’t love.”
“Are you so sure it’s not love?”
She whipped around and pinned him with a sneer. “Zack? Really?” Surely Cody could see that Hannah was making a monumental mistake. One that would ruin her life.
Cody took a moment to consider her request, then shrugged. “I can try.”
Try? She braced her hands on the desk and scowled at him. “Go through your little black book. Invite some friends who might be interested.”
He pushed back his chair and stood. “You’re asking for a lot.”
“Am I? Really?”
“Asking that you invite some friends to a party?”
“It’s a party for women.”
“There you go. You have horny friends, don’t you?” Her tone underpinned the old adage that birds of a feather flocked together and for some reason he looked wounded. She didn’t care.
His beautiful features firmed. He eyed her with a sharp consideration that made her teeth clench. “And what do I get in return? For this…favor?”
His tone made the tiny hairs on her nape prickle. “I’ll make it worth your while.”
She narrowed her eyes. “What do you want?”
“I think you know.”
She leaped to her feet. “Forget it. I am not sleeping with you.”
His smirk was so annoying she wanted to smack it off his too-pretty face. “Did I ask you to sleep with me?”
“Then what?” A snap.
He shrugged and arranged his features into an innocent mien, one he’d perfected after years of practice. “A kiss. That’s all I want.”
She gaped at him. “A kiss?”
“Just a kiss. But a real one. You know what I mean.”
“Fine. Come here.”
He laughed. It was low and rumbling and arrogant and annoying as hell. “Not now. Later.”
“At a time of my choosing.”
Oh hell. He was even more aggravating than she remembered. “Fine.”
“You agree to my terms?”
She shot him what she hoped was a scorching glare. “Yes.”
“Excellent.” He stood and collected her copy of the agreement and handed it to her and then, to her consternation, followed her out to her car.
She had a little trouble walking on the gravel in her heels. Surely she hadn’t worn them in case she ran into him. Surely she hadn’t remembered how much le loved a woman in heels. She wanted nothing to do with him. Nothing whatsoever.
She hated that the prospect of kissing him made her belly warm, but she knew it was purely physical attraction and nothing more. Because of all the men in the world, Cody Silver was the last man she would want to be with. Any interaction with him was bound to end with her heart shattered in pieces on the floor, and she refused to let that happen to herself ever again.
She was so focused on her determination to avoid becoming entangled with him again, that she plowed right into him as he stopped by her car. Her ankle turned and, with a terrifying crack, her heel snapped and she fell.
He caught her.
There wasn’t even a moment to reflect on how good it felt to be held by those strong arms before his mouth came down on hers. Warm, hot, demanding.
You’d think, after ten years of hating him, she would have a modicum of resistance left in reserves. She did not.
To her horror, she found herself instantly sucked into the passion, the delirium of his kiss. God, he tasted good. So good. Her mind stopped working and her body took over.
She fisted her fingers in his hair and held him as he ravaged her mouth, nibbled on her lips and stroked her body.
It was mortifying that she seemed to have no will whatsoever.
When he lifted his head and grinned at her—an irritating, vexing smirk—a hard ball formed in her belly. He was too damn arrogant for his own good.
“That was nice,” he said.
She wrenched herself out of his arms and teetered before him. “I hope you enjoyed your kiss.”
“Oh no.” He grinned again. Dimples blossomed on his cheek. “That was not my kiss.”
Heat churned in her belly. “What?”
“That was your kiss.”
Fury raked her. Ripples skittered over her scalp. “What?”
“You’re the one who instigated that kiss.”
“I most certainly did not.”
“You threw yourself at me.”
“You are delusional.”
“Really?” Another smirk. “What was it then?”
She reached down and pulled off her broken shoe and waved it under his nose. “I fell.”
He pursed his lips. “Seriously Sidney? That old chestnut?”
“My. Shoe. Broke.”
“I see that. But I’ve had women sabotage their shoes before…so they could fall into my arms.”
Oh. Good. Glory.
He was, without exception, the most self-absorbed, egotistical douche canoe on the planet.
Without a word, she whirled away, hobbled to her car and tossed the damned shoe into the back seat. And then, without so much as a glare in his direction, hopped into her Mustang and sped away in a plume of dust.
God help her.
She couldn’t escape from his presence fast enough.
And she couldn’t shake the looming suspicion that she’d just made the biggest mistake of her life, coming to Cody Silver for help.
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STRIPPED DOWN SERIES from SABRINA YORK