Hi, I'm Wendi Darlin, your friendly, neighborhood Coffee Write hostess for March 2009. I'm a Southern lady with a "thang" for cowboys. Nothing gets my motor running faster than a smooth Southern drawl and good-fitting pair of jeans. I grew up in rural north Florida and now live in sunny south Florida with my husband, son, sheltie, and a little wiener dog named Sparky.
I'm looking forward to seeing where this story takes us, and I think we're going to have a lot of fun. So first let me give you a little set up and then the first paragraph to get you started. You can take it from there! Ready?
Wes Colter had owned the biggest spread in west <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:State><ST1:pTexas</ST1:p</st1:State>. But that was a long time ago. His hot head had cost him the family ranch, the woman he loved, and every damn dime he had. But Wes wasnít the quitting kind. He went for broke after everything he wanted. And eventually he got it.
Dixie Mason was on top of the world. At least it looked that way from her back porch. The Rocking C ranch sprawled as far as the eye could see, and now that her father had died the entire place belonged to her. She wasnít alone though. Wesís memory danced in every shadow. This ranch had been his. If he hadnít tried to double cross her daddy, it still would be. And she would belong to him too. She had no doubt about that.
Word on the street was Wes had sauntered back into town. Now her every nerve stood on edge. He might be able to walk out on her and not look back, but he wouldnít be able to stay away from the ranch. If he expected her to hand this land and her heart over without a fight, he had another thought coming. <ST1:pDixie </ST1:phad learned two things in her life, donít ever trust a double-crosser, and donít ever give your heart to a man who doesnít even have the balls to say goodbye when he leaves.
And now let's get started!
Wes Colter slowed his old truck down as soon as he saw the rough-hewn fence of the Rocking C Ranch. Pride filled his chest, but the slam of reality hit him hard. No reason to be proud of something that wasnít his. And pride wasnít going to see him through what he had to do. Slim Mason would have been hard enough to deal with but now that the old man was gone, <ST1:pDixie</ST1:p was in charge of the place. Wes didnít think for a second that little lady would give him an inch of slack. Not that he deserved any. He had a proposal for her, though. If sheíd sell him the five acres his grandparentsí house sat on, at least heíd have a place to hang his hat until he was able to make her a deal she couldnít refuse.
(You take it from here!)
The sort of deal fully capable of benefiting all parties involved. As Wes carefully considered the kind of deal he could offer without offending Dixie, he turned into the rock-strewn driveway of the ranch he'd grown up on and eventually hoped to own all the while thinking that dreams don't come true. He cruised slowly through the old rickety wooden gates and under the wrought iron Rocking C Ranch sign, to enter the 500 or so acre property and proceeded down the driveway to the heart of the estate--the house. When he caught a glimpse of the house, he was perfectly content to notice that some things hadn't changed. Things such as the stately home that once belonged to his grandparents, the luscious expanse of grassland that sprawled as far as the eye could see and the sultry Texas air. Air that currently whistled in through the truck's open window, blowing his dark brown hair into his wary eyes. The sting helped to keep him awake, all because he'd been driving for hours from Wyoming, the place where he'd been working for the last seven years.
As he pulled up in front of the house, and jumped out of his truck, he heard the soft cadence of Dixie's voice say "Well, look what the cat dragged in."
He spun on his heel, and glanced at the woman he loved.
Christ he thought, she was even more beautiful than he remembered, if that was at all possible.
"Well, darlin, you're a sight for sore eyes." He forced his face into a mask of easy indifference. A slow, cocky grin spread across his face, even though inside his guts twisted harder than a winding mountain road.
"And you're a sore sight. What the hell are you doing here?" She propped her hands on her hips and glared at him.
"Why I've come back to collect what's mine."
"Your 'stuff' is piled in the shed behind the barn. Other than that, there's nothing here for you."
"That's no way to treat the man you love. How about a little kiss?"
Crossing Dixie, pt 4
"A kiss?" She spiked her petite brow as she openly mocked him with the way she curved those sultry lips into a half smile. "I'd rather kiss that old horse you used to make me ride."
Wes grinned and didn't even bother to hide his amusement. Dixie flashed those brilliant green eyes at him, and his grin grew to an all out smile. He loved it when he got under her skin. "He never bucked you off."
"No thanks to you."
If she only knew how much he worked with that horse, day and night, all so he wouldn't so much as nudge her without her wanting him to. Wes knew Scout would never do anything to hurt her.
Neither would he.
He ignored the pinch in his gut and cleared his throat. "I think we need to talk."
Dixie turned and walked out of the room, knowing he'd follow her. He always followed her, ever since they were kids. "We are way past the point of talking, Wes. Like I said, all your stuff is out back. Take it and go."
Enough. He chopped up the distance between them and pulled her into his arms, loving the way her curves fit against his body. "Not until I have my say. I've come for what's mine, darlin'."
"And I'm not leaving until I have it all." He lowered his head and slanted his lips to hers.
He threaded his strong fingers through her fiery red hair, and deepened the kiss, thrusting his tongue into the warm cavern of her mouth.
Dixie moaned, and wrapped her arms around his neck to prolong the erotic kiss before she finally pushed him away. But she wouldn't push him away just yet, she didn't have the strength. And not before she ascertained where the hand he'd just moved would explore.
Wes ran his calloused hand down her petite frame, settling it on the underside of her breast. Her nipples hardened, almost to the point of pain, but Dixie didn't care. All she cared about was the man in her arms. The man who she loved, but had betrayed her and left town without saying even a simple goodbye. As what happened in the past hit her, like a blow to the head, she pushed Wes away, shoving him hard in the chest and breathlessly uttered "Don't do that again."
"Why not?" Wes asked, confused.
"Because you don't have the right to kiss me like that anymore. You lost that right when you left."
"Youíve changed," Wes replied, frowning. "Youíre not the same girl that I . . ."
"Left? Deserted? Betrayed?" Dixie blurted out, the anger showing in her eyes. "Youíre right, Iím not. I grew up. Iím not that little girl that believed in fairy tales."
"You used to believe in me," Wes sighed.
"I used to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny too but they, much like you, turned out to be fake."
Wes flinched at her response. "Dixie . . ."
"Thereís nothing you can say that I want to hear Wes," Dixie interrupted. "So quit wasting my time and pick up your things and get off my property. As I said before, theyíre in the shed behind the barn. Iím sure you remember the way." She turned to walk away.
"Dixie . . ." Wes replied to her retreating back. "I have a proposition for you." Dixie stopped and looked at him coldly. "I want . . . I need my grandparents place. And Iím willing to do whatever you want to get it."
"Oh really," Dixie replied coldly. "I should have known you had an ulterior motive to be here. The price is one million dollars or . . ." Wes flinched at the price and Dixie smiled, "your balls on a silver platter. The choice is yours." She turned and walked into the house.
Wes grinned as he rubbed his palm against his thigh, wishing he'd opted for jeans which were a little less tight than these, but glad Dixie had noted his aroused state with a surprised gaze before walking off. She was going to be a challenge alright.
Rising to meet it he walked right up to the house and through the door, greeting Dixie's angry stare with hot, roving eyes as he stepped into the cool interior.
"I need to talk to you about grandpappy's place," he said. "I know it don't mean much to you but those old boards are memories for me. And I've got good cash." The old Dixie, he knew, could never resist a hard deal.
"Business?" Dixie answered warily, one glance flickering off a nearby shotgun before returning back to Wes. "If you're serious about that tiny place I might be willing to bargain. But it will cost you."
Wes hadn't missed her eyeballing the shotgun and recalled with some discomfort that she was indeed a good shot. Should be, he thought. I taught her. He grinned in remembrance, then pulled himself back to the conversation at hand.
At his grin, Dixie frowned and chewed on her lower lip, rather like a petulant child. God only knew what he was imagining, but she couldn't help but have very clear ideas of what payment she'd like to extract from him for his proposition. Oh, for the love of God, Dixie, stop it!! her mind screamed. Don't think about the taste of those lips, don't remember the warmth of that hand under your breast, don't miss the feel of his hard---
Dixie shook her head abruptly, as if to clear it. Wes wasn't sure what was behind those clouded green eyes, but the blush in her face told him plenty.
"Darlin', you name your price, and I will guarantee satisfaction," he drawled.
Impure thoughts of Wes and her in bed flooded her mind, causing Dixie to shiver unconsciously. If anyone could offer satisfaction guaranteed, it was Wes Colter, especially when it came to sex. And obviously he thought that's what her price would be, if the grin on his face was anything to go by.
"I'll think about the price and get back to you." Dixie answered, with a wicked glint in her beautiful green eyes and a knowing smile teasing her lips.
He tsked and shook his head, thinking he knew exactly what she wanted from him. "Darling, you know the price you want to ask already, so just ask."
"If you think you're so smart Wes, tell me what price I want." She challenged, daring him to say exactly what price he thought she had in mind.
"The price you want is me in your bed and not just for a night but forever." Wes said with a grin.
How egotistical of him she thought. Then she laughed, and closed the distance between them. Once she was invading his personal space, she tilted her head up to look directly into his eyes and raised a hand to his chest, hoping to unsettle him. But it didn't, if anything his eyes glazed with intrigue, wondering what she was up to.
Feeling bold, she ran her hand down his body, skimming over his rock hard abs and settling it at the top of his jeans. "Sounds like a good price but that wasn't what I was thinking at all."
Wes wrapped his strong arms around her waist, and drew her close against his body, so she could feel his denim-clad arousal. "Are you sure sweetheart? Are you sure it wasn't what you were thinking?" he growled close to her ear. "Because it's what I thinking."
Dixie toyed with the top of Wesís jeans, fingers tracing the stiff fibers. Heíd left! Without a goodbye, without an explanation, after trying to swindle her daddy. Did he honestly think she was going to fall into his arms?
God, it was painful how much fun this was going to be.
Her palms smoothed over his belt. Real leather. He was doing alright for himself. Her hands met at the big silver buckle in the middle, pinkies just over far more interesting bits.
"Wes," she whispered throatily, "Iíd sooner fuck a donkey." She planted her feet and shoved him back. The look on his face as he stumbled back, arms pin-wheeling pathetically, was priceless. Surprise wrapped in pain painted those rugged features and it was delicious.
"Since when do you cuss?" His sweet hazel eyes were wide and searching as he rubbed his starting-to-stubble chin. "The Dixie I know..."
"The Dixie you knew grew up!" she half shouted, tossing her hair back from her face. "You left! No goodbye, sweetheart. No hereís lookiní at you, kid. Not even a note. And lets not forget why you left." She parked her hands on her hips, small jaw working. "You tried to swindle my daddy." A bark of laughter ripped out of her throat like a shard of broken glass. "Not only are you a lying bastard, youíre bad a it."
"What would your daddy say to hear you talkiní like that?"
Her smile felt cruel even to her and she knew it didnít look any better. "You know what, Wes," she hissed like it was a cuss word too, "I stand by what I said before. I donít want you here. I donít want you back in my life. Iíve moved on. So, you want your grandpaís place. Itíll be a million, or your balls on a silver platter, and," she held up a bossy finger, "it has to be real silver. You know how picky I am."
"Youíre not beiní reasonable, sweetheart." He stepped forward and she hardened her face, making him stop.
"Youíre right. Iím not." Dixie shrugged nonchalantly. "You know what they say, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." She pointed at the door. "Youíre not getting this place, so you might as well leave town. And if you donít get the fuck out of my house, Iím calling the sherif."