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At seventeen, Kiara Monroe made the decision to leave home with her boyfriend and never look back. Two years later, she comes to regret this decision and finds the strength to end the abusive relationship. Pregnant and alone, Kiara is stuck in rural cattle country Nebraska, living out of a trailer at the edge of the Cottonwood Ranch. To complicate matters, she finds herself falling for the older, brooding rancher next door.
After suffering through the death of a child, Rowan Kinsley is unwilling to open his heart to anyone and definitely not to the obnoxious, rude and immature pregnant teenager who has taken up residence inside a run down trailer next to his ranch. It doesn’t matter if Kiara is the one person to warm his stone cold heart or make him question the promises made to himself in the midst of grief.
Can love bring two lonely hearts together and convince Rowan that a life with Kiara is the one thing his soul needs?
Shoulders tensed, Rowan pored himself back into work, aiming to do nothing more than burn off the irrational anger steaming through his blood. He rolled back his sleeves and began hammering the last of the nails into the corral his men had began work
“Well damn, don’t pound a hole through it.”
Rowan didn’t move a muscle as the husky voice echoed in his ear, sending his senses on alert. Her. Jaws clenched, he pounded harder into the nail. If Kiara had a lick of sense, she’d take a hint and stay away from him.
“I thought you had a hot date earlier. How come you’re back so quick?” She laughed out loud. “Don’t tell me you wore her out so soon? She couldn’t handle you, Kinsley?”
Frustration blinded his thoughts. Rowan threw the hammer to the ground. He stood, bearing down on her. “Why the fuck are you still here?”
Her deep brown eyes widened into orbs. She took a step backward. “I-I just finished up with work.”
He ground his teeth, annoyed that he didn’t know how to read her as she stared at him. Her eyes were dimmed, hazy with fear, yet her stubborn little chin rose as high as royalty. Rowan squinted his eyes, glaring at her. Noreen had told him the other day that Kiara was faster at computing figures than the older woman was at reaching for her calculator. He’d found that hard to believe. It made no sense at all that the girl glaring at him in return was smart about anything, if she didn’t know how to stay away from him.
“You were slacking off then,” he accused. “On my time. Is that why you’re just finishing up?”
“No,” She crossed her arms. “If you must know I helped Noreen get up to date with all the records. Even the recent sales of the Hereford bulls.”
“Stop lying. Noreen was doing fine without your help.”
“Obviously not. There was too much back paperwork. Why else would she have hired me?”
Rowan seethed. So, she wanted to act smug. His mind immediately took him back to last night. He’d been so desperate for release to the point where he’d resorted to thinking about Kiara, just to relieve the unbelievable ache in his shaft. He hadn’t wanted to, but the moment he’d allowed his mind to recall the soft touch of her lips against his own, the need for release became all-consuming. His cock had gone harder than he could’ve ever imagined as he recalled the feel of his hand closing over her supple breast. His mind wandered, playing out fantasies inside his head of his cock pumping deep between her brown thighs. His hand kneading her soft flesh as she clung to him, crying out his name in throes of ecstasy. He’d come so damn hard, ejaculating all over his fist. And in the afterglow, he’d been left feeling empty. Empty and ashamed of the level he’d sunk to.
Anger, with a degree unlike anything he’d experienced toward a female, raged through him like a thunderstorm. Rowan could imagine that same smug look on her face. Could hear that husky laugh, intertwined with desire and glee if she knew how much seed he’d spilled for her last night.
“I’ll tell you exactly why Noreen hired you,” he growled. “She hired you, unqualified as you are, because I felt sorry for you. A goddamned mistake if there ever was one.”
“What do you mean?” she demanded.
Rowan ignored the look of horror on her face. He refused to feel bad. “I mean, I was the one who sent her to ask if you wanted the job. Look at yourself. You’ve got a baby in your belly, which doesn’t have a father. You have no home to speak of and not a cent to your name. You hang around here and dared to look at Jennifer, a grown woman, as if she stole something from you.”
She opened her mouth to protest.
“Don’t deny it,” he said in a terse whisper. “I saw you glaring at her.”
She continued to gape as if he’d lost his mind, and maybe he had. He’d lost it the first time he’d made the mistake of touching her hand and feeling a connection unlike any he’d ever felt for Shelby, the woman he’d loved enough to marry and have a child with. Edging closer, Rowan grated, “Well listen to me, and you listen good, you little hellcat. Everything I despise in a woman—is what you are. You’re obnoxious, rude, and you think life is one big joke. You’re not even a woman. You’re a kid spreading her legs, pretending to be a woman. I’d advise you to go find yourself another Harrison. There’s bound to be more of them lying in wait for girls like you.”
“Everything you despise in a woman,” she repeated in a quiet tone, her stare burning into his. She gaped at him with hurt. So much hurt, he almost doubled over with it. “Girls like myself. Trash you mean. You think I only deserve to be with men who would beat me?” She gazed at him, as if she expected an answer.
Damn her. She wouldn’t get one. He could barely breathe from the tightness in his chest, much less speak.
Kiara nodded. “All right then, Kinsley. Thanks for letting me know how you really feel. You be sure to tell Noreen I won’t be back on Monday.” She walked away then looked over her shoulder. “You can also feel free to stop throwing Nathan in my face. You’re no better than him, as much as you’d like to think you are. You’re both bullies and I’ve had enough of that my life. So for what it’s worth, take your job and go to hell. I quit.”