stable was large and, while not warm, at least warmer than the outdoors.
The earthen floor had been swept and a queue of stalls marched down
either side, all shipshape and empty as far as Julia could see. Clean
as they were, they seemed to be waiting, as if new tenants were expected
at any moment. When she was halfway down the row, a scruffy black and
white dog trotted out to greet her. She didn't bark, which Julia found
strange, just snuffled a wet nose over her feet. She sat quietly when
Julia knelt to pet the long fur between her ears.
An image of her younger self scrolled across her mind. She was reaching
through the bars of a cage in a pet shop while an ecstatic Labrador
puppy licked her fingers. Her mother had stood behind her, patient but
silent. Julia hadn't dared say please, but she knew her eyes said it
It would not be fair, her mother had said, moving around
the way we do.
Julia had known she was right. The general always did the best he could
for them, but sometimes they had a house with a yard and sometimes an
airless apartment with barely enough room for the two of them. A healthy
young dog couldn't live that way. Nonetheless, it hurt to leave that
puppy behind. He'd never turn away, she'd thought. I could love him
all I wanted.
Shaking off the memory, she gave this funny looking dog a final scratch
and stood. The dog padded after Julia as she continued her journey past
the neat, empty stalls. Finally, in a double-sized box near the end,
she spotted a young horse—a colt, she supposed—curled up
on a pile of hay. He was a rich chestnut brown with one white sock and
a black mane and tail. His head was narrow, his legs gangly. They twitched
as if he dreamt of chasing foxes. Julia wished she could climb inside
and pet him, but she didn't have the nerve. Worse than getting kicked
or bitten would be doing anything to harm the little horse.
She'd almost turned to go when she noticed a soft rhythmic noise, like
an old fashioned razor being stropped. Curious, she peeked over the
wall to the next stall. There she found Zach stroking the sides of a
large brown horse with what looked like a boot brush. His back was to
her, but the loose fall of his shirt suggested it was unbuttoned. The
plain blue cotton draped his shoulders, which rippled with muscle as
he worked. His hair was damp from his exertions with Carolyn and a line
of white skin marked the nape of his neck. He must have got his hair
cut since the end of the summer. Her fingers curled with an inexplicable
urge to explore the vulnerable stripe of skin. In fact, his whole neck
was beautiful, tanned and strong, tendons moving beneath the close-cropped
surface. She wanted to place her lips against it, to press her tongue
to the shifting cords. Immune to such temptations, the horse half-closed
its eyes, its ears flopped out from its head as if it were too relaxed
to hold them up. It breathed out in what sounded uncannily like a human
"That's a sweetheart," Zach said in a low, soothing tone.
"You don't care if I'm harebrained, do you?"
Julia didn't understand the words any more than the horse did. Zach
had large, rough hands, red and chapped around the knuckles, but surprisingly
clean around the nails. His strokes were so caring and steady her chest
tightened with emotion. The man and animal were at peace with each other,
at one. The games she'd played with Marty, for which she'd so recently
been congratulating herself, seemed worse than meaningless when set
against a communication as honest as this.
A person like her didn't belong in this place. She was an artificial
construct, a blight on the landscape. Never in her life had she used
her touch as a straightforward expression of love. She had ordered others,
whipped them, tied them, spanked them, made them cry tears of excruciating
pleasure, but never had she touched another creature, man or beast,
simply because she loved it.
She had no doubt Zach loved this horse. He declared it with his voice,
with his hands, with the endless patience of his strokes. She wanted
to turn away but the sight held her captive. Her lungs ached and her
eyes stung with unsheddable tears. A sound caught in her throat. The
horse jerked its head, ears plastered along its skull, teeth snapping
" Hey there," Zach soothed, catching its muzzle in a gentle
hand. The horse snapped again and rolled its eyes. Julia's face heated,
as though someone she admired had called her a bitch in the middle of
a board meeting. She stepped back. Zach turned.
"Hey," he said, surprised. The horse's head tossed between
his hands, but its agitation didn't seem to alarm him. His eyes travelled
down her velvet robe, warming with admiration. He broke into a smile
that lifted his mustache and deepened the lines around his mouth. "You
must have crept up quiet as a bug."
His twang made the words comical but she did not laugh. She took another
step back. "Sorry. I didn't mean to scare your horse."
"Aw, you can't scare Starlight here." He patted the diamond-shaped
star between her eyes. "She's kid-broke."
Julia didn't know what kid-broke meant but she could tell the horse
didn't like her. "I shouldn't be here," she said, and turned
"Hold it right there," he barked. Normally, she was immune
to the voice of authority, but something in his stopped her. "You
aren't going back outside dressed like that. No, ma'am."
He took her wrist and led her towards a door at the far end of the stable.
His hand was callused but warm. Its light clasp sent heat pouring to
the soft, tender flesh between her legs, making her pussy feel heavy
and full. She stumbled and he caught her elbow. He smiled at her, his
eyes as blue as the Montana sky. His expression was so kind, so ordinary,
that once again she had a sense of having stepped outside her rightful
"You're lucky I just mucked out," he said. "A stable
is no place to be wandering around barefoot." He wore a disreputable
pair of cowboy boots, caked with mud and straw. Perhaps he saved the
flame-sided boots he'd worn to the airport for formal occasions. He
pushed a door open and flicked on a light. "We keep extra duds
for the dudes in the tack room."
His tone suggested he meant to be humorous but Julia was too dazed by
her surroundings to smile. Leather filled the musty room: leather reins,
leather saddles, leather crops. A worn bridle lay on a small desk, obviously
awaiting repair. His stetson sat next to it, the crown scuffed and dented.
She pictured him wearing that and nothing else. Oh, Christ,
she thought, overwhelmed by a surge of lust. There was no escaping the
arousal. The cramped room reeked of her favourite fragrance in all the
world. Her limbs trembled. She pressed her thighs together and a trickle
of warm, silky moisture squeezed between the lips of her sex. She'd
loved the feel and smell of leather since she was a child playing dress-up
with her mother's shoes. The first time she masturbated, she'd been
dragging a belt she'd stolen from the general between her legs. Sick,
but true, and what's more she still had that belt. Over the years, so
many erotic memories had become associated with the scent of leather
that her response was very strong. She touched the bridle that hung
from the nearest hook and ran her fingers over the curve of the browband.
Did Zach have any idea what a roomful of toys he had?
With an effort, she shook herself from her trance, though she didn't
let go of the reins.
"You've got so much gear," she said. "Where are the rest
of the horses?"
She almost jumped when he laid his hands on her shoulders. His chest
grazed her back, warm and hard against her robe. "My grandma and
I hired horses from the neighbours if we got a big riding party. But
there's no point keeping them around all the time, eating their fool
heads off." His hands stroked down her arms and up again. It was
a liberty she shouldn't have allowed. His crotch brushed her bottom
and for a second she thought she felt the ridge of a strong erection.
"I want to build a herd when I get a chance. Train 'em and sell
'em, you know. But for now I've got too many pots on the fire."
"Pots on the fire?" she asked, her voice shamefully weak.
" Property management. I own a few lots in town. Here—"
He reached above her head to pull something from the highest shelf.
His groin touched her bottom again and again her sex heated. He was
hard. She was sure of it now. The knowledge unnerved and enflamed her.
He handed her a pair of neatly folded, butter-coloured buckskin trousers.
"Try these on. I'll think you'll find they're more comfortable
than those suits."
She had to turn around to step into them. She expected Zach to look
away but he didn't. Eyes focused on her hands, his lips tightened as
she thrust her long bare legs into the trousers. In other circumstances
she might have ventured a crack about cheap thrills, but his attention
combined with the glove-soft feel of the leather to completely liquefy
her insides. The cloth cupped her bare mound. She was going to get it
wet. She was going to add her scent to the scent of the leather. Her
hand shook as she pulled up the zip.
"Perfect," he said, stroking his mustache. "Those fit
"I'm so gratified you think so," she said, but the biting
edge she meant to give the words was spoilt by their huskiness.
The sound brought him to attention like that funny dog of his. His mustache
jerked up on one side. She gritted her teeth. The stupid cowboy was
grinning at her. He stepped closer. She lifted her hands to fend him
off, but he'd already backed her into a wall of wooden shelves. He was
heavier than she was, and broader. His chest wasn't bare as she'd expected—hoped,
damn it—but covered by a thermal underwear top. Soft from many
washings, the navy cotton hugged slabs of iron hard muscle. They weren't
the useless gym-bred sort Durbin and Marty sported, which did not excuse
her complete lack of resistance. She'd let him back her into the wall.
She'd let him overwhelm her.
He slung his left arm behind her neck and pulled their heads closer.
She meant to turn away but she was mesmerised by the approach of his
eyes, his laughing, Montana blue, lash-starred eyes. She opened her
mouth, one last chance to protest. He captured it before she'd made
a sound and drove the wet spear of his tongue deeply, firmly inside.
A hum of pleasure escaped her control. He tasted of nothing but himself,
slightly sweet, subtly metallic. His mustache was softer than she'd
expected, almost silky. After the first deep thrust, his kiss softened,
still greedy but playful, too. It was a kiss of surprising skill and
charm. It reminded her of a square dance. Not that she'd ever been square
dancing. But it had that sense of fun: light feet, light tongues. She
responded almost without realising she'd done so, curling her tongue
up the soft underside of his and sucking it gently deeper.
At once his kiss changed, like switching to a tango mid-dance. He made
a hungry male noise, grabbed her waist and ground his hardened crotch
over hers. He was taller than her but not by much. Their bodies fit
together without a squirm. Oh, it felt good. The heat streamed out of
his cock and up her cunt like sunshine in July. When he pulled his hips
away she murmured in protest. Happily, the withdrawal was temporary,
just long enough for him to fumble open her waistband and shove his
hand between her legs. Her labia parted before his fingers, their rough
length sliding through her lust-oiled folds. He groaned to find her
wet, so wet his finger made a sticky, squelching noise as it eased inside
her sheath. He drew it out and added a second, that entrance even noisier
than the first.
She minded him knowing how aroused she was, but her body wouldn't let
her pull back. Her body wanted more. Her body wanted to fuck him blind.
She breathed hard through the kiss, taking in the scent of leather,
of man. Her knees began to give. She reached up to clutch his shoulders.
Zach cursed softly against her mouth. He kneed her thighs wider and
lifted one around his hip. Now his fingers moved freely, a steady, wet
in and out. His thumb found the soft hood that covered her clitoris,
pressing it over and around the little shaft. A ragged piece of skin
scratched her with every pass. It felt so good she wanted to scream.
"Is that all right?" he whispered, the words panting hot against
She couldn't bring herself to answer, to participate any further in
this stupidity. Besides, if she opened her mouth she would order him
to free that long thick cock and drive it between her legs. She closed
her eyes and shuddered, her nails digging into him through his shirt,
her head falling limply back.
She saw her mother's arm rise; heard the belt fall. The general cried
out against his wrist and then, abruptly, the image was gone. The present
jumped into focus. Zach's breath rasped in her ear. His legs sidled
hers, the denim soft as velvet, the bulge of his cock pulsing on her
inner thigh. She whimpered, a sound she couldn't recall making before.
She was so close to coming her sheath fluttered in anticipation.
"That's the way," he said, cradling her neck more firmly in
the crook of his arm. The pace of his fingers quickened, their rough
spots jangling her nerves. "That's the way. Ride it to the finish."
Her stomach tightened and she gasped. So close. She seemed to ride a
foaming wave, the anticipation as pleasurable as coming. Tingles swept
her skin, hot alternating with cold. He licked a tendon at the side
of her neck. His cheeks were damp, his mouth hot. He pressed his cock
hard into the lee of her thigh. He rubbed it in tight, hungry jerks,
not as if he were trying to come, just helpless to resist. Then he set
his teeth against her skin and bit down.
She cried out at the love bite but he didn't let go. His fingers worked
her slippery flesh, lightning quick, diamond firm. Her cunt swelled,
then drew in on itself. Her clit pulsed beneath the callused pad of
his thumb. She quivered, her body escaping her control, and then she
came, hard stabs of feeling that shot from her sex to the top of her
head. The orgasm was better than anything she'd experienced lately,
at her hand or anyone else's. The waves were hotter, more penetrating.
They left an aftertaste of sweetness she could not deny.
He murmured as she descended, the same way he'd murmured to the sleepy
horse. The comparison returned her to her senses. No doubt he expected
it was his turn now, but she was no dumb beast to be won over with a
pat on the head and a handful of carrots. She was Julia Mueller, the
hidden power at DMI.
She pushed him away so roughly he had to catch his balance on the battered
metal desk. She yanked the edges of her robe together and cinched the
"Very nice," she said in her most condescending tone. "I
can see why that horse is so fond of you."
His face darkened but he didn't say a word, merely folded his arms over
his chest and rested his hips on the desk. His erection formed a monster
arch she could barely tear her gaze from. As she strode from the room,
his eyes followed her, prickling a spot between her shoulder blades.
Despite the set down she'd administered, she couldn't help feeling he'd
got the best of the exchange.
1999 by Emma
Holly. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute this work in any manner
or medium without written permission of the author.
Cowboy and the Dom ...
her life Julia Mueller has been searching for a man she cannot master.
It looks like she's found one in Zach Taylor, a no-nonsense, good-as-gold
Montana rancher. When a blizzard strands her and three randy coworkers
at his dude ranch, she gets an opportunity to test the theory. But is
the shy cowboy up for her brand of games? Can Julia find the tender heart
she fears she's lost? Will the sparks these mismatched lovers strike survive
the melting snow?
surprisingly erotic twist on the classic cowboy hero romance. Emma Holly's
gift for sensual detail is absolutely stunning!"—Susan Sizemore,
New York Times bestselling author
deliciously steamy read. This is how erotica must be written!"—Michele
Hauf, author of Here is My Heart