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Animal Attraction: Buckhorn Ever After\Imagine Me and You\Gimme Shelter\Partner in Crime

Animal Attraction: Buckhorn Ever After\Imagine Me and You\Gimme Shelter\Partner in Crime

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Animal Attraction: Buckhorn Ever After\Imagine Me and You\Gimme Shelter\Partner in Crime

ratings:
4/5 (14 ratings)
Length:
407 pages
6 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 1, 2013
ISBN:
9781459254084
Format:
Book

Description

Four of today's most popular romance authors introduce four sizzling new tales of finding love unexpectedlywith a little help from man's best friend. Includes an all-new Buckhorn Brothers story from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster!

The authors are donating all of their proceeds from Animal Attraction to the Animal Adoption Foundation of Hamilton, OH, a charitable organization.

Anthology includes:
Buckhorn Ever After by New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster
Imagine Me and You by USA TODAY bestselling author Maisey Yates
Gimme Shelter by USA TODAY bestselling author Heidi Betts
Partner in Crime by Jules Bennett
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 1, 2013
ISBN:
9781459254084
Format:
Book

About the author

Lori Foster is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author with books from a variety of publishers, including Berkley/Jove, Kensington, St. Martin's, Harlequin and Silhouette. Lori has been a recipient of the prestigious RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy, and for Contemporary Romance. For more about Lori, visit her Web site at www.lorifoster.com.

Related to Animal Attraction

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Animal Attraction - Lori Foster

ANIMAL

ATTRACTION

Lori Foster

Maisey Yates

Heidi Betts

Jules Bennett

Four of today’s most popular romance authors introduce four sizzling new tales of finding love unexpectedly—with a little help from man’s best friend. Includes an all-new Buckhorn Brothers story from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster!

The authors are donating all of their proceeds from Animal Attraction to the Animal Adoption Foundation of Hamilton, OH, a charitable organization.

Anthology includes:

Buckhorn Ever After by New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster

Imagine Me and You by USA TODAY bestselling author Maisey Yates

Gimme Shelter by USA TODAY bestselling author Heidi Betts

Partner in Crime by Jules Bennett

Table of Contents

Buckhorn Ever After  By Lori Foster

Imagine Me and You  By Maisey Yates

Gimme Shelter  By Heidi Betts

Partner in Crime  By Jules Bennett

BUCKHORN

EVER AFTER

Lori Foster

To Shawn Heighton,

I greatly appreciate your insight into the duties of Park Rangers. The details you shared were invaluable, but I also very much enjoyed your own personal take on moral duty. I have a feeling that many park rangers feel the same, on duty or off.

Thank you for what you do!

Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

About Lori Foster

Chapter One

Even at 7:00 p.m., the summer sun hung in the sky, a giant red ball of heat scorching the earth, ramping up his frustration and stealing the remainder of his energy. Sweat glued the back of Shohn Hudson’s uniform shirt to his spine and plastered his hair to his head. After the long day of chaos, he wanted to grab a cool dip in the lake, bum dinner off his folks and then head home to sleep in blessed air-conditioning.

The day had been so hellish, he didn’t even want female company, had in fact turned down a few sexy campers. The ladies hadn’t been shy when asking him to stick around and share their campfire with them.

But with other obligations still waiting, not to mention the restrictions of being a ranger, he’d declined, and then lectured them on fire safety.

And now, instead of heading to the lake, he drove to the Animal House Pet Hotel to pick up Amber’s dog for her. His cousin had lousy timing for a favor, not that she’d realize it was lousy timing. And he did owe her. Amber had saved his ass many times by running interference for him, helping him to shake off the women who refused to take a hint.

Pulling into the gravel lot, Shohn admired yet again the setup that housed upward of thirty dogs at a time. He and his family were all animal lovers, and they appreciated the upscale, friendly, caring atmosphere of the place. Anyone in Buckhorn County who needed to board a pet came to the Animal House for top-of-the-line care. From tall shade trees to a grassy field, an obstacle course to a big doggy pool, an exercise track to a play area, Nadine Moest gave dogs the best of everything.

Unfortunately, as far as the females in Buckhorn County went, Nadine was the least interesting on his maybe someday list. Never mind that she had a banging body, or that she’d factored into his hottest adolescent fantasies; he and Nadine were friends, nothing more, so most of the time, she didn’t even make that list.

Most of the time.

Speak of the devil...

As Shohn put the Jeep in Park, Nadine came around to the front of the building walking three big dogs, two leashes in one hand, one in the other. She had her long brown hair in a sloppy top-of-her-head bun that threatened to topple at any second. Snug shorts showed off her plump thighs and a spectacularly rounded ass as she directed the dogs. Nadine Moest was not a skin-and-bones kind of girl.

Her loose T-shirt couldn’t hide her generous rack, especially with the words I Heart Wet Kisses drawing his attention. Her shirt was as sweaty as his, a little dusty and had a picture of a dog to go along with the text.

When they spotted him, the dogs began to bark in glee, straining against their leashes. Dark glasses hid Nadine’s eyes, but Shohn could tell that she frowned as she approached his car.

As she reached him, she shoved the oversize sunglasses to the top of her head. Hey, Shohn. What are you doing here?

No smile, no happiness at seeing him. That was one of the things about Nadine that he liked least of all—her complete and utter indifference to him.

He rested one arm over the open window frame, the other over the steering wheel. Picking up Amber’s dog for her.

The dogs pulled Nadine this way and that, making her boobs jiggle, and since she was right there outside his driver’s side window, well, how was he not supposed to make note of it?

Amber didn’t say anything to me about you picking up Rookie.

Must’ve slipped her mind. No way was she wearing a bra. Things were moving too easily under there to have any type of restraint.

Sorry, she said in a voice gone high. You can’t have him unless Amber specifically tells me to give him to you.

The hell you say. Hearing the conviction in her tone, Shohn put his ranger hat on the seat, rolled down the remaining windows to let in any scarce breeze that might decide to stir up and opened the door of his Jeep, forcing Nadine to back up. The dogs went berserk with happiness, barking and jumping and nearly taking her off her feet.

He relieved her of a leash—clearly against her wishes.

Shohn!

Nadine. He smiled, but it had no discernible effect on her. Difficult girl. Relax, he told her. Dogs like me.

She eyed his utility belt with the Glock, the mace, the spare ammo. Only trained staff is supposed to handle the dogs.

I know what I’m doing. He knelt down to talk to the husky. You giving her a hard time, boy?

Girl, Nadine corrected. And then, under her breath, And here they call you an expert.

Hadn’t gotten the back view yet, Nadine. He rubbed the dog’s head and straightened again. An expert what?

She went still, her face flushing, and she frowned some more. Nothing. Never mind. She turned and started in. I’ll call Amber to see if she gives permission.

Shohn watched the jiggling of her rounded rump in the snug shorts until the husky gave an impatient jerk of the leash. Following behind her, he asked, You think I’d lie about it?

I think I have liability to consider. She held the door open for him.

Two steps up the porch and he heard the din of a dozen dogs playing. You’ve known my family forever, Nadine. Deliberately he sidled in close to her, his chest brushing her...chin. At five-four, she was so much shorter than his six-one that he’d have to bend down to rub against her breasts.

Your family is terrific, she said in that slightly shrill voice again. Lovely, even. She let the door drop on him and hurried along.

Meaning his family was lovely, but he wasn’t? Not that he wanted to be lovely, for crying out loud. I don’t lie. If I tell you that Amber sent me, then she—

I’ll give her a call to confirm it. Nadine led the dogs down a hallway and into a penned area at the rear of the house.

Shohn surveyed the room. It was spacious with dog toys everywhere, watering stations, stacked beds and various play stations. Even with so many dogs inside, it looked clean, which had to mean she worked on it nonstop.

Come on, then, Nadine grumbled. She wants to get back in.

Shohn brought the husky up close and Nadine let her into the pen and then unleashed her. She took off at a run.

An assistant was in the penned area, tossing balls, rubber chew toys and raggedy stuffed animals from a big basket. She was young, slim, cute...

Bristling, Nadine stepped in front of him. Don’t even think it, Shohn Hudson.

Leaning away from that venomous tone, Shohn lifted his brows. Think what?

About hitting on my assistant, that’s what. One hand on his chest, she backed him up two steps. She’s off-limits to you.

Hey, I’m armed, he teased.

I noticed.

Her gaze dipped down his body again, but it didn’t seem to be his gun that held her attention. Keep that up and I’ll be packing a different type of heat.

She shook her head as if to clear it. I mean it, mister. I like Roxi. She’s doing a great job. I do not want you corrupting her.

What the hell? Shohn planted his feet and refused to back up any farther. So Nadine not only wasn’t interested in him, she also had a very low opinion of him. It didn’t make any sense. As a general rule, women liked him. How the hell would I corrupt her?

Her flattened hand turned into a pointing finger that poked, poked, poked with her every word. The last girl you played with started calling in sick, leaving early and, instead of working when she was here, she was forever checking her text messages, hoping you had contacted her.

Shohn caught her finger and held on.

She pulled, and when he didn’t release her, she beetled her brows over her big brown eyes. You hadn’t.

With her looking at him like that, he had a hard time keeping up. Hadn’t what?

Called her, she said with exasperation, and again tried to free her pointy finger.

It took some thought before Shohn recalled the girl she meant, and then he was the one scowling. I’d had one date with her and she turned into a damned stalker.

Oh, poor you. How tragic that a woman wanted a second date.

Worse and worse. I have second dates.

She snorted.

Actually he’d had fourth and fifth dates, but he never got serious about anyone because he liked his life too much to want it to change. With Nadine so unaccountably hostile, he didn’t bother trying to explain any of that to her. So I’m not allowed to notice when you hire new people?

Sure you can. She gave a final, more furious yank and freed her hand, which she then tucked behind her back, out of his reach. I hired Fred weeks ago. He helps keep up the grounds. Go around back and you can visit with him all you want while I try to get hold of your cousin.

He didn’t want to visit with Fred, damn it, and he didn’t want Nadine to brush him off. He preferred to stick around and maybe...win her over.

Why, he didn’t know, since she wasn’t very high on his list. But it could have something to do with the heated scent of her sun-warmed body and all those ripe curves. He had the overwhelming urge to nuzzle the soft skin of her neck, her breasts...those lush thighs.

Shohn, she warned in a shaky voice.

Right now, with her hand behind her like that, her breasts were sort of jutting toward him.

With a low growl, Nadine turned and flounced away.

Pulled from his carnal thoughts, Shohn followed her. You can call Amber, but you might not be able to reach her. She’s on her way home from a book fair or something.

She ignored him and snatched up her phone. If she’s not home yet, why are you picking up Rookie?

Amber said she’d be home tonight. Shohn leaned on the counter and watched as Nadine hopped up onto a stool, the phone to her ear. She’d left her flip-flops on the floor and hooked her heels over the bottom rung of the stool. Cute toes. Really sexy legs, different from the model-thin girls he was used to seeing in bikinis at the lake.

Wondering how Nadine would look in an itty-bitty bikini, he studied her thighs and murmured, I guess she misses the big lug.

After the call went to voice mail, Nadine said, Amber, this is Nadine Moest from Animal House. Call me, please. Your cousin Shohn is here to pick up Rookie, but I need your verbal permission before I can turn over the dog. She hung up and looked at Shohn.

Shohn managed to drag his attention from her legs to her face. Well?

Well, what? You heard what I said. I can’t give him to you until I hear from her.

They’d known each other since grade school. She was well acquainted with his lovely family. She had no reason to distrust him. But she looked as if she meant business. You’re serious?

About my responsibility to these dogs? You betcha.

Though ceiling fans whirled overhead, it was still too warm inside. The muggy heat nudged Shohn’s temper, but he sought to keep it under wraps. He supposed with that many dogs coming in and out, it’d be tough to adequately air-condition the place.

Pushing back from the counter, he paced three steps away before facing her again. Be reasonable, Nadine. You know me. You know Amber. We’re close.

I know you misbehave and for some insane reason, Amber finds it endearing.

He drew himself up. Misbehave? What am I? Five years old?

Twenty-five—two years older than me.

Exactly. I don’t misbehave.

Oh, please. She laughed without an ounce of humor. I’m not criticizing. You do it well and I suppose for most of the ladies in the county it just adds to your reputation.

He folded his arms. But you’re not of those ladies?

Letting out a breath, Nadine hopped off the stool—and sent fun body parts bouncing.

With a lot of concentration, Shohn managed to keep his gaze on her face.

I don’t mean to be insulting, Shohn.

Bull. You mean it.

For only a second, she grinned, and she looked so damned adorable that his heart thumped. He realized something important—he rarely saw Nadine smile like that. It did amazing things to her eyes, her mouth...her sex appeal.

Okay, she teased, maybe I mean it just a little. After all, you did ruin my last assistant. Still barefoot, she came around the counter to him. But that’s not what this is about. Yes, I know you and Amber are close. But the point is I have a legal obligation to only let the owners take their pets.

Hungry, sweaty and growing irate, Shohn put his hands on his hips and started to complain.

Once, she said, cutting off his objection, back when I first opened, a woman asked me to keep her dog for a week. A few days later, her husband came in to get the dog, saying they’d had a change of plans. He was nice enough, so I don’t know what it was that alerted me, but I felt like something wasn’t right. I told him I’d get the dog, but instead I went into a different room and called the woman.

Shohn had a bad feeling about where this was going. She’d opened up the place during his last year of college. He’d been away then, but he had a feeling this was a story worth hearing.

The woman panicked, saying the man had just attacked her and she’d barely escaped. She begged me to protect her dog.

Jesus. What’d you do?

Nadine drew a deep breath. I asked him to come into the waiting room and told him I’d have to fetch the dog from his walk. I offered him a drink and told him it would only take a few minutes.

And?

Instead of leading him into a waiting room, I took him into a storage closet that I always locked up at night. He caught on right before I slammed the door. I barely got it locked in time. He was... She faded off, shaking her head and folding her arms around her middle. Well, he was furious and wanted the whole world to know it.

Standing there like that, Nadine looked vulnerable and shaken all over again. Shohn had the urge to pull her close, but he knew her well enough not to try it. You could have been hurt.

Worse, one of the animals under my care could have been killed. But it all worked out. The sheriff got here in time and since the man’s wife was being treated at the hospital, it was an easy case to prosecute.

She was brave and a quick thinker. That sort of thing happen often?

Luckily, no, but now I never take anything for granted. She stared up at him. I need Amber’s permission.

Shohn blew out a long breath. You realize there’s little similarity between me and some bastard that would hurt a woman or a dog?

She softened. Of course I do. But it’s a good rule and I won’t break it.

And here he’d thought his job came with risks. Being alone in the woods put him at a distinct disadvantage when it came to danger. More often than not, his radio was far more important than his weapon. He was hours away from backup if he ran into trouble or got injured.

But it sounded as if Nadine had danger knocking on her front door. All right. I’ll text Amber and we’ll wait for her to reply. He pulled out his cell and hit his contacts, then sent Amber a succinct message: Get in touch, brat, so I can get your dog.

Thanks for understanding.

Like you said, it’s a good rule. He stowed the phone back in his pocket, then rested his hand on his holster. But I’ll be damned if I want to run all the way home just to come back out this way again.

I don’t mind if you wait, as long as you don’t go flirting with my assistant. She thought a second then flapped her hand. Unless it’s Fred. You can flirt with him all you want.

Funny, aren’t you? The Animal House was located right outside town, close to the rangers’ station where he worked. It’d be a thirty-minute drive to get all the way home. No reason to backtrack if he could get what he needed here. You got anything to eat? It’s been a long day and I’m starved.

She gave him an owl-eyed stare. You want me to feed you?

Did she have to look so horrified by the idea? I don’t need filet mignon, but a sandwich would be good. Just something to hold me over until Amber texts back. He could always run to the nearest restaurant, but for whatever reason, he wasn’t in that big of a hurry to leave now. That a problem?

She studied him in silence before finally shrugging. I guess I can rustle you up something. She went behind the counter, stepped into her flip-flops and headed out a side door. Make yourself at home.

Instead, Shohn followed her. Where are we going?

Nadine froze then slowly looked over her shoulder at him. I’m going to get you food. You’re going back to Animal House to wait.

No, he wasn’t. He wanted to stick close to her, to figure out this sudden urge to...do things to her.

Sexual things.

Hot, nasty, possessive things.

Looking beyond her in the direction she’d headed, he realized that the small outbuilding could be her home. You live here?

A dozen different lies showed in her big brown eyes. Um...

Screw it, Shohn thought. If she already considered him an irredeemable reprobate, he may as well quit trying to be polite. Forget I asked. Pulling his khaki uniform shirt from his cargo military-style pants, he started toward the building without her.

Scandalized, she asked in a rush, What are you doing?

I need to cool down. He unbuttoned the shirt as he went. On the side of the small building was a garden hose left uncoiled in the grass. Between the temps and the direction of his thoughts, he needed a douse of cold water in a bad way.

Wait a minute! He heard her hustling along behind him. You can’t do that!

He didn’t slow. Sure I can. He shrugged the shirt off and hung it over the limb of a tree. I’ll be careful not to soak my weapons.

Nadine stopped dead in her tracks.

Sitting on the ground, aware of her consuming stare, Shohn pulled up a foot and removed his boot. As he peeled off a sock, he glanced up at Nadine.

She just stood there, one hand on her tummy, the other at her throat.

Liking how she stared so fixedly at his chest, he smiled to himself. Don’t get too close. I have sweaty...everything. But especially my feet. He tugged off the other boot. Some kid got stuck out on a rock in a stream today. I had to wade out and get him. In this heat, my pants dried, but my socks? Not so much. My feet have been swimming for over an hour now. He rolled up his pants legs.

Nadine hadn’t moved.

Also had a lady slide down a ravine into a patch of poison ivy. And some bozo misplaced his car. Couldn’t remember which lot he parked in before taking the expert trail up into the woods. Shohn shook his head. I swear, sometimes it’s a wonder the human race survives.

Because Nadine still stood there, mute and bug-eyed, he decided to tease her. Rising up to his feet, he reached for his belt buckle.

She gasped so hard, it took her back a step.

Shohn laughed. Forget it, woman. I’m not stripping down for you, no matter how hard you stare.

She sputtered, turned, turned again and with a distinct, Argh! marched past him toward her small house.

Shohn called after her, I’m going to use your hose to cool off while you fix me something to eat.

Drown yourself for all I care! Her screen door slammed.

In slow-mo, the grin spread until Shohn had to laugh aloud. Yeah, he had Nadine figured out now. She wanted him. Maybe not as much as he suddenly wanted her, but probably enough.

Nothing else made any sense. He wasn’t an unlikable guy. Shoot, everyone liked him.

And not to be vain, but he wasn’t an ogre, either. As a ranger, he stayed fit. Had to, what with the possibility of getting stuck in the woods, having to climb mountains, swim streams...hell, he was almost like Superman, if Superman had to hang in the Kentucky hills.

He wasn’t dumb. He’d breezed through college even while having his fair share of fun. Right out of school he’d worked as a deputy for a year, and then signed on with the park rangers.

He came from a great family. His dad was the most popular doctor in the county, his uncle Jordan the most respected vet. After many years serving as the sheriff, his uncle Morgan was now the mayor, and Uncle Gabe was a jack-of-all-trades who at one time or another had fixed something for everyone in Buckhorn County. Casey, his older brother, had a successful financial consulting firm.

And he was nice. Everyone in Buckhorn told him so, but especially everyone female. He smiled easily, enjoyed laughing, helped others when he could. And yeah, he was successful with the ladies. He paid attention, pampered them, made sure they enjoyed sex as much as he did...why wouldn’t Nadine want him?

She could protest all day long, but they had some explosive newfound chemistry going on, and he for one planned to explore it.

The sooner the better.

Bending forward, Shohn opened the hose over his head. The water was tepid at first, warmed from the hose’s position in the sun. By the time he rinsed his arms and feet, it had cooled. He didn’t want to soak his pants, his gun, stun baton or radio, so he only splashed his chest.

He’d just finished using his shirt to dry off when his phone beeped. He took it out to see a message from Amber. Called and left Nadine a message. Thx!

So he could leave now. Only...he didn’t want to. Not yet. Knowing he wouldn’t mention the message to Nadine, he texted back, Drive careful, and put the phone back in his pocket.

Now somewhat refreshed, Shohn finger-combed his hair back, folded his shirt and put it with his socks and boots on her front porch, and peered in through her screen door.

He had a clear view from the small living room straight into the kitchen—where Nadine was bent at the waist, getting something from a bottom cabinet.

Lord have mercy.

That heart-shaped ass offered such a nice invitation.

Two things happened: his exhaustion evaporated, and Nadine moved up to the top of his list.

Shohn said softly, Knock, knock, and opened the door to step in.

* * *

Startled, Nadine straightened in a rush, the fresh buns squeezed to her chest. She twisted around to face the door, and stalled.

Shohn was in her house.

Every scrumptious inch of him. Shirtless. Barefoot.

Looking at her as if she was the meal.

Be still my heart.

He really had rinsed off, leaving his inky-black hair damp and pushed away from his forehead. Water droplets clung to his wide, tanned shoulders, then trailed down over his chest and into that crisp chest hair.

Lucky little water droplets.

A fire lit behind his dark eyes as he watched her. Long lashes lowered when his gaze moved down to her breasts, lower to her belly, then to her thighs. His lean jaw tightened, his high cheekbones flushed.

And he moved that sinful body of his even closer.

Filling her lungs with needed oxygen didn’t help because it also filled her head with his rich scent. Shohn Hudson smelled like the great outdoors, like heat and man and pure deliciousness.

In contrast, she probably smelled like dog. Shohn...

Nadine. He smiled, again looking into her eyes as if he knew her every thought.

But why now?

She’d known him forever, and not once, not ever, had he come on to her. He was always his usual charming self—all while seducing every other young woman in Buckhorn County.

But not her.

Her he treated the same as he did elderly Mrs. Crook at the grocery, or twelve-year-old Suzy who helped her dad at the vegetable stand.

Was Shohn bored? Was this retaliation because she wouldn’t let him have Rookie? Nadine pulled her brows down and asked, What are you doing? You can’t just walk in here.

But he already had. And now he stalked toward her, his gaze touching all over her body again, turning her into a puddle of nerves.

No, she would not let him toy with her like this. She lifted one hand, palm out. Stop, Shohn. I mean it.

He did. He even looked confused by the fact that he’d intruded uninvited. He nodded at her chest and said, You’re mangling the buns.

What? Oh. Now that he was no longer advancing on her, she turned and put the buns on the counter. Maybe if she didn’t see all that masculine perfection, she could get herself together. I have some leftover barbecue. How’s that sound?

You going to eat with me?

She’d planned to, but now, with him acting so differently—as if he were lustful or something—she just didn’t know.

His breath brushed her ear when he spoke from right behind her. So much hesitation. I won’t bite, you know.

Paralyzed by his nearness, she grabbed the counter to ground herself.

When he whispered, Unless you want me to, it wasn’t just his breath she felt. It was his warm lips, too, barely touching her earlobe.

Nadine almost knocked him over when she bolted out from between him and the counter. Spinning to face him, she backed up a few more steps and bumped into her fridge.

Damn her cozy little cottage for being so...cozy.

She put her shoulders back, lifted her chin and said, All right, Shohn. Just what do you think you’re doing?

Chapter Two

One side of Shohn’s mouth curled. You keep asking me that.

Only because you keep doing...stuff! Oh, God, she was screeching.

With a lot of carnal insinuation, he murmured, Not the stuff I’d like to be doing.

Don’t ask, Nadine. Do. Not. Ask. She even bit her lip to keep her sensual curiosity from exploding.

Shohn smiled. You’d rather I just surprise you?

No. Get it together, Nadine. She cleared her throat. Do you want to eat or not?

Definitely yes.

The way he said that, with so much heat burning in his eyes, left her even more unsettled. Then grab a seat at the table. I only have a few minutes left before I need to let the others head home.

He looked undecided before finally turning a chair at the little table and straddling it.

Relieved, and maybe a little disappointed, too, Nadine went to the microwave and pulled out the now-steaming barbecue. She loaded cheese from the fridge, a bag of chips, two paper plates and two cans of Coke onto a tray.

With his gaze tracking her every move, Shohn asked, Can I do anything to help?

Stop trying to melt me. No. Just...stay over there. If he started bumping that hot, hard body into her again, she’d end up dragging him down to the floor. Everything is ready.

He stood to take the tray from her, holding it in one hand so he could pull out her chair with the other. Such a gentleman. Of course, all the men from his family were the same, meaning they were all gorgeous, sexy, protective, mannerly and alpha. Even the girls seemed to have gotten a little extra oomph from that amazing gene pool.

While she loaded up the buns with barbecue, Shohn popped open the drinks. So once everyone clocks out, you’ll be here alone?

Uh-oh. She didn’t, couldn’t, look at him. Me, and twenty-five dogs. Going past that as fast as she could, she added, I’ll have at least an hour’s worth of work to get through yet before I can call it a day.

What time did you start work?

I let the dogs out into the yard early. Around six or so. She wrinkled her nose. Cuts back on cleanup.

They don’t ever fight with each other?

"You know right away which animals are social and which ones prefer a

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