Beauty and the Bull Rider
When Beauty Wants A Baby
Championship bull breeder and former Texas beauty queen Delaney McCall was having a heck of a time finding a daddy for the baby she craved. A failed marriage left her with no desire for another husband, but finding the right stud to satisfy her needs presents a bigger problem that she could have imagined.
And The Bullrider Wants Beauty
After hanging up his spurs, bull rider Zac McDaniel wants nothing more than to fulfill Delaney's dream of having a family. After all, his best friend's ex has been his fantasy for years. Zac, however, has no desire to be seen as just a means to an end. And when Zac insists on doing things the "old fashioned" way, their passion explodes like a bull out of the chute…
Some Bucking Is Bound To Happen
While insisting it's all just a passing fancy, the more Delaney sees the softer side of the rough and tumble cowboy, the harder it is to keep her emotions corraled. Zac, meanwhile, is more determined than ever to prove he's what she really needs, and will do whatever it takes to tear down the mile high fence around her heart…
The announcer introduced the first rider and bull, a cowboy named Grayson Dunwoody on a bull named X-Treme Vortex. Zac looked on from the next chute as the rider gave his nod and the gate swung free. The bull’s superiority was clear from the start. He exploded from the gate kicking and bucking, his every movement whipping the rider’s body. Barely three seconds into it, Dunwoody began to falter. In anticipation, the team of bullfighters moved in. The next buck tossed him to the ground like a sack of shit.
Zac’s younger brother, Kade, had interposed himself between the animal and the fallen rider, while two others flanked the bull on either side. Waving and yelling, the three men distracted the manically bucking animal while the rider scrambled out of the danger zone. The bull spun and charged. Kade narrowly evaded getting a horn in the ass. The bull stared down the arena and snorted a stream of snot, then trotted back into the holding pens.
“No ride for that cowboy,” the announcer said. “Let’s see if Zac McDaniel’s gonna cover his bull tonight.” He elaborated on Zac’s injury from the night before but by now Zac had tuned out everything but the bull beneath him.
Stepping onto his bull, he lowered himself gingerly onto its back. Cursing his clumsiness, he fumbled to make his wrap. With only sixty seconds, he didn’t have time to fuck around, but swapping hands was awkward as hell, and Super Spin Cycle was a twitchy son of a bitch in the chute. The bull snorted and shifted his impatience. Seconds later, Zac looked up, raised his left hand, and gave his nod to the chute boss.
The gate flew open to the chorus of Chris LeDoux’s, “Hooked on an 8 Second Ride.” True to his name, the bull busted out of the gate twisting and turning like a cyclone, but Zac sat his bull tight as a tick, foiling the animal’s every frantic attempt to unseat him.
Zac knew all the lyrics by heart, but the only sounds his brain registered were the crash of the gate, the snorting bull, the jangling of the bell on his rope, and his own pulse pounding in his eardrums as he mentally counted down the seconds.
As the whistle sounded, Zac glanced up in triumph. Even with the wrong hand, he’d made his time. Maybe his champion days were over, but at least he wouldn’t be going home with empty pockets. He moved to dismount, but his taped wrist made it difficult to free his riding hand. As he fumbled with the rope tail, the bull feinted and then threw him into the well of another spin—that became the perfect storm. Zac’s moment of victory instantly transformed into a cataclysm of chaos.
Hanging from the bull’s side, he scrambled for purchase as the animal continued to plunge and kick. Once more, the bullfighters moved in, but no one could get close enough to free him from his bull rope. The next few minutes were a blur of pain and agony as he fought like hell to keep from getting dragged under the bull, all the while feeling like his shoulder was getting ripped from the socket. He was vaguely aware that it took several men to shut the bull down.
The instant he came free, Zac’s legs gave out. The bull whipped his hind end around and lowered his head to have another go at him, but one of the fighters intervened, shouting and waving his hat. Zac realized it was Ty. Holy shit! What the hell is Ty doing in the arena?
The bull hesitated, staring Ty down, and then charged, but Ty slipped in the dirt. Man and beast collided as the bull plowed straight into Ty’s chest. Zac couldn’t see anything beyond the bull and Ty’s long legs stretched out motionless in the dirt.
Fuck! He’s not moving!
Zac struggled to his feet as the pick-up man cast his lasso, roping the animal’s horns. The bull snorted and shook its head, still fighting as horse and rider dragged it back toward the chutes. The audience watched in silence until the gate slammed shut with a resonating rattle of metal. With the bull out of the way, everyone turned their attention back to Ty.
A medic appeared with a stretcher just as Ty stirred back to life and spat a mouthful of dirt. He was still struggling for breath as the medic began poking his ribs. “What the hell happened? Did I black out?”
“Don’t talk,” the medic ordered, pressing a stethoscope to Ty’s chest.
“Lung sounds are clear. No gurgling,” he said. “Can you move? How’s the pain?”
“How ‘my s’posed to answer when you told me not to talk?” Ty took a wincing breath and then struggled to sit up. “Ain’t nothing I can’t handle.”
“You really dodged a bullet this time, cowboy,” the medic said.
“Maybe the bullet but not the bull.” Ty grimaced and waved the stretcher away. “Give me a hand, will you, Zac?”
Zac reached down to help Ty to his feet. “I owe you, Ty.”
“You don’t owe me nothin’,” Ty replied. “We may have fallen out for a while, but I’ll always have your back.”
Ty’s remark brought home how much he’d missed his best friend. Zac swallowed hard to dislodge the lump from his throat. Holding his ribs with one hand, Ty reached down with the other to retrieve his hat. The moment Ty set it back on his head, the crowd went wild. Ty turned toward the chutes with a wide grin stretching his mouth. With a tip of his hat, he limped off to rejoin Monica in the stands.
Zac turned to find his brother, Kade, standing beside him, brushing off the arena dirt that covered him head to foot. “What the hell happened to you?” Zac asked.
“Catapulted by your damned bull.”
“You okay?” Kade was one of the best bullfighters on the pro tour, but Zac still couldn’t suppress his protective instincts toward his little brother.
“I’m fine. If I’ve learned one thing since I’ve been doing this, it’s how to take a fall,” Kade laughed. “Eighty-eight, in case you’re wondering.”
“Your ride. Thought you might not have caught the score with all the commotion. Damn good for a left-hand ride, let alone for a right.”
“Eighty-eight?” Zac repeated in amazement. It was his highest score in months. He might not be bowing out of the game with a championship title, but at least he was ending his career respectably.
Victoria Vane is an award winning author of smart and sexy romance. Her collective works of fiction range from historical to contemporary settings and include everything from wild comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Victoria is the founder of the Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blogs.
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