Series: Cowboy Doms #1
Genre: Erotic Romance
Caden MacGregor wanted to turn away the cheeky woman he’d caught spying on his club without remorse, but desperation for a cook forced his hand. Sydney proved to be a definite asset to his employees, and a royal pain in his butt. Somehow, her penchant for getting lost and landing in trouble, along with her determination to return to the club as a guest, soon slid past his resistance.
It took a threat to Sydney and unearthing the truth about what made her flee her home in Missouri to force them to admit their feelings and get her to stay on his ranch as more than his cook.
Publisher’s Note: This contemporary western romance is intended for adults only and contains themes of mystery, suspense, power exchange, ménage and adult themes. If any of these offend you, please do not purchase.
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Sydney relished the morning sun on her face when they stepped back outside, the warmth helping to dispel the coldness inside her when she thought of still being so far from home come winter. She’d been enjoying listening to Caden’s deep voice and looking around the rustic but appealing interior of his home so much, she’d forgotten for a few moments the reason she was here in the first place. At least being stuck cooking boring meals for a bunch of cowhands came with the benefit of having Caden as her boss. Tall, dark and handsome didn’t begin to do his sex appeal justice, which the constant quickening of her girly parts could attest to.
“So, what do you do with all those cows?” she asked, nodding toward the pasture strewn with black grazing animals as they walked toward the clump of buildings a good city block from the house.
“Cattle,” he corrected. “And we breed them then sell them to either other ranches or farms or drive them to market.” Two large collies came bounding out of the closest barn and he stopped a moment to greet the friendly dogs.
“Oh, they’re so cute!” Stooping, Sydney laughed when wet tongues attacked her face and she sank her hands into their long, soft fur. “What’re their names?”
“Sadie is the tan and white. The black male is Spike. They’re working dogs, not pets, so don’t spoil them,” he warned, taking her elbow and steering her over to a dark green, one story building with neat white trim.
“I wouldn’t dream of it, boss.” Caden tossed her a suspicious look as he opened the door, but Sydney kept her expression bland. What he doesn’t know wouldn’t hurt either her or the dogs.
“This is where the hands gather for meals. Only five of them bunk overnight in the attached room, in case of an emergency and Connor and I need the help. You can fix breakfast and dinner for the seven of us up at the house. The others arrive by eight a.m. and work until five, some days a little longer. They expect a big lunch, not a salad or sandwich. Lots of carbs and calories. This hall is only used for the noon meal, or the large gatherings we hold with friends.”
The sparse, wood-planked big room held three long tables with chairs, a fireplace against the back wall and a door labeled ‘Restroom’. It was a far cry from the five-star restaurant where she enjoyed cooking gourmet meals from scratch, using nothing but all-natural ingredients. To take her mind off missing her job and friends, she resorted to teasing him again. “Friends?” Sydney drawled when he led her toward the large, industrial kitchen in the rear. “I saw how you like to entertain your friends, boss.”
Caden faced her, a scowl drawing his dark brows together. “The young woman you saw me with last night is not a friend, she’s a play partner, and you’re an employee. I don’t mix business with pleasure, Sydney. Remember that, and we’ll get along fine.”
Bummer. Her new boss sure could be a stick-in-the-mud. Turning her mind to her job, she admired the large kitchen and restaurant-grade appliances. At least she’d find some pleasure working here, even if the meals wouldn’t allow room to utilize her skills and preferences. Maybe she could play a little with the smaller breakfasts and dinners.
“I get along with everyone,” she told him as they left the building. Caden rolled his eyes but said nothing until he stopped at a corral and reached out to stroke the nose of a pretty, brown and white horse that trotted up.
“This is Daisy. She’s a sweetheart. Do you ride?”
Sydney wondered why she wanted to keep riling him. Maybe it was hormones, or lack of sex, or plain old attraction prodding her to goad him, to get under his skin the way he had hers. Looking up at him, her heart stuttered at his direct, blue gaze under the low brim of his hat. Shit. What the man could do to a girl’s insides with just a look ought to be illegal.
“I love to… ride,” she drawled with blatant innuendo.
His jaw tightened, his reply stated in a low, controlled voice. “Horses, Sydney.”
“Oh, well, no, I’ve never been on top of one of those. But it couldn’t be too hard. You said she’s a sweetheart.” She reached out a tentative hand to stroke the mare’s soft neck, enjoying the ripple of muscle under her hand.
“When I have time, I’ll take you up, give you a few lessons. Until then, don’t even think about it,” he warned.
“Another rule?” she quipped, beginning to chafe under the weight of his restrictions.
“Safety is high on our priority list, along with no employee membership, or even visits to our private club,” he stated, laying it on the line in blunt terms.
Sydney blew out a frustrated breath and gripped the rail. She may just end up as lonely on this busy ranch as she’d been traveling alone for the past few weeks. “You sure know how to suck the fun out of a new job, boss. I guess I’ll have to come up with other ways to enjoy my time off.”