“You grew up in a tourist town?”
Paige nodded. “My mom’s a singer…well, a backup singer there.”
“Do you sing?”
“No. Animals howl when I sing.”
As Austin chuckled, a regal black horse with a white-striped nose poked its head from one of the stalls and softly whinnied.
“You’ve already had your apple tonight, young lady,” he playfully chided before reaching over the gate and scratching her between the ears. “Come on over here, little girl. There’s someone I want you to meet.”
A part of her wanted to balk and tell him to stop calling her little girl. She wanted Austin to see her and think of her as a woman. But every time those two words rolled off his tongue, wrapped in his husky masculine voice, tingles ricocheted through her and made her nipples tighten, like they were doing now. Trying to ignore the growing ache within, she eased in beside him, watching the mare study her with beautiful, big brown eyes.
“Paige, this is Rumor,” Austin said, teeming with pride. “Rumor, this is Paige.”
“Nice to meet you, Rumor.” She opened her palm and let the horse sniff her hand before caressing its soft downy nose.
“You’ve been around horses before.”
“Yeah. When I was in high school, I worked for a trail ride company. I loved it. It was way better than booking helicopter tours.”
“Booking helicopter tours doesn’t sound like a bad job.”
“Oh, the job was easy.”
“Then why’d you leave it? What happened?”
Her cheeks grew warm. “It’s embarrassing.”
Austin simply arched his brows and waited.
“Mike, one of the pilots, always hounded me to let him take me for a ride.”
Austin’s eyes grew wide before an angry scowl slashed his face. “I hope he meant in the chopper.”
“Oh, definitely. He was like fifty-something and married. I went to school with his daughter.” His expression smoothed. “Anyway, one day Mike was pestering me again, and I finally said, Okay. Take me up. I was scared to death when he buckled me in. And when he lifted off the helipad, I squeezed my eyes shut and started screaming. He thought it was hilarious and told me to open my eyes. So I did…and promptly puked all over the place.”
Austin burst out laughing, startling Rumor so badly she lurched back in her stall. The little baby lying in the hay that Paige hadn’t noticed until then launched to its feet and squealed. Rumor turned around and nuzzled the little one, reassuring him everything was all right.
“Oh, my gosh. He’s so cute,” she gushed.
Austin’s laugh slowed to a chuckle as he patted Rumor on her rump. “Sorry, Momma. Seems I’m scaring everyone tonight.”
So enamored with the colt, Paige dropped to her haunches and peered into the stall as the little guy began nursing. Rumor chuffed and bowed her head.
“I know, girl. I know,” Austin sympathized, patting the mare again. “He’s a greedy little glutton.”
Paige grinned. “You should name him that.”
Rumor nodded her head as if she not only understood English but also agreed.
“She seems to like it. All right then, Glutton it is.” He grinned.
“Seriously? You’re really going to name him that?”
“Not me. You just did.”
A flicker of heat danced in Austin’s dark eyes. Without warning, he bent, hauled her upright, and pulled her to his hard, wide chest.
“B-but y-you should be the one to—”
“Kiss you?” he taunted, cinching a hand in her hair before aligning her mouth beneath his, and sending shivers rippling down her spine as his hot, wet breath caressed her lips. “I am, because if I don’t taste of you again, right now, little girl, I’m gonna lose my fucking mind.”
Before Paige could blink, think, or speak, his lips crashed down over hers, stealing her breath, erasing every insecurity and thought in her brain. With a kitten-soft mewl, she laced her fingers behind his neck and kissed him back with the matching passion he poured into her.
“Christ,” he murmured against her flesh as his tongue painted a trail of fire down the column of her throat. “You’re like a fucking drug…I can’t get enough of you.”
“Austin,” she whimpered, pressing herself against his hard body.
A feral growl rumbled from his chest through hers as he melded his lips to hers again.
Without breaking the kiss, he bent and lifted her into his arms. Paige held on tightly as he strode into a tack room near the back door. The scent of leather was much stronger. More masculine and rugged like his thick muscles bunching and flexing as he eased her onto a thickly padded cot and followed her down. Hovering over her, Austin brushed the hair from her shoulder before raking his teeth over her hammering pulse point. Nipping and laving his way lower, he cupped her breast and scraped his thumb over her nipple, swallowing her pitiful moans as she trembled beneath him.
Body aching head swimming, heart racing, Paige panted and restlessly writhed as Austin slid the fabric of her halter top aside, exposing her heavy breast and pebbled nipple. Holding her prisoner with a heavy-lidded gaze, Austin extended his tongue and began drawing circles with the tip around her tightened areola.
Stealing her mind with his carnal stare, he seared her flesh in liquid fire.
Bolts of lightning splintered all the way to her clutching core. Paige pressed her fingertips against his scalp and tossed her head back.
“Oh, god…you set me on fire.”
“You like my tongue, little girl?”
“When I put it here,” he growled, pressing his thick cock against her melting pussy, “you’re gonna like it a whole lot more.”
“Austin,” she whimpered, boldly grinding herself against him.
“You ever had a man’s tongue on your hot little pussy?”