Bonus Excerpt from Texas Two-Step



One month later…

As Will drove through the gate at the McNamara ranch, Texas lowered the visor mirror to apply a second coat of lip balm to her lips. Will had kissed off most of it when they’d stopped to pick up a peach cobbler from Faye’s for the McNamara barbeque.

When Harper had invited her and Will out to Josh’s for dinner, Texas thought it would just be the four of them, but this morning, Will mentioned talking to Evan about tax breaks and Kane about replacing Crusher. Now, she was nervous.

For the last month, she and Will had, other than while working, shut out the rest of the world. This was their first outing as a couple. They weren’t hiding their relationship. They’d just been stingy with each other, making up for lost time.

Will darted a look at her over the top of his sunglasses. “If you don’t want to stay, just give me a sign.”

She closed the visor. “What kind of sign?”

Sitting back in the passenger seat, she let her gaze wander slowly over him without reservation. Something she’d hadn’t allowed herself to do in the past and thoroughly enjoyed over the last few weeks, especially knowing how much he liked it. He wore faded jeans, boots, and a pale yellow T-shirt that stretched across his chest. His sun-streaked brown hair stuck up in places where her fingers had been during the kiss they’d shared at the last stoplight out of town. She still couldn’t believe he was hers.

His naughty grin sent her tummy tumbling. “Text me something sexy.”

Texas reached over the console to smooth his hair. “Something like how I wish your mouth was on my…” She bit her lip and let his imagination fill in the rest.

He groaned. “Yes. Just like that.” His gaze flicked over her breasts as the truck followed the gravel drive around Josh’s house. “I’m half tempted to turn around and go home.”


Texas was still getting used to calling Will’s country mansion home. She’d lived in her parents’ cozy little two-story farmhouse since she could remember, but wherever Will was, that was home.

“Too late,” she said as Will pulled alongside the other guests’ vehicles. She jutted her chin at the group of guys in lawn chairs under a newly erected gazebo. “They’ve already seen us.”

Ignoring Will’s stoic grumbling, Texas slid out of the truck and opened the back passenger door to grab the cobbler. As soon as she turned around and closed the door, he was there, crowding her against the hot panel.

Fingers splayed around her neck, his other hand at her waist. He bent his head and brushed his mouth over hers. She surrendered to the kiss, opening for his tongue’s seductive exploration. Her core contracted.

A moan escaped her throat as she melted into him, her free hand finding purchase in the silky hair at his nape. She arched against him just as his tongue eased from her mouth.

He stepped back and adjusted his hat. “Now, they’ve seen us.”

Lacing his fingers with hers, he led her across the yard. Her legs felt like spaghetti, her face hot. She wasn’t used to Will touching her in public. Not like this.

“Sorry we’re late,” he said to Josh who manned the grill.

“Grab a beer.” Josh pointed to the ice chest then to the house. “Girls are all inside.”

Texas nodded and turned away, but Will tugged on her hand until she looked up at him. His lips claimed hers in a quick kiss. “Love you.”

“Love you, too,” she whispered back.

Heart full, she was halfway across the yard before she caught movement in the kitchen window. More heat bloomed in her cheeks as she caught Harper’s knowing smile.

As Texas entered the back door, her phone buzzed in her back pocket.

“Glad you could make it,” Harper said from the sink, one flip-flopped foot crossed over the other. She pointed her beer bottle toward the far end of the table. “You know Shayna, right?”

Texas laid the pan of cobbler on the counter, pulled out her phone, and nodded at the willowy brunette with dark brown eyes that sparkled with contentment. “Yes. Hi, Shayna.”

Texas had been ahead of Shayna in high school, but she remembered seeing her at the parties down by the McNamara’s lake and the summer when Evan and Shayna hooked up. They’d been inseparable, the fiery chemistry almost combustible. Then suddenly, they weren’t.

Her gaze dropped to her screen.

Will: I miss you already.

“And this is Bradi Montgomery.” Harper indicated the other brunette at the table. “Bradi, Texas owns the auction barn in Stone Creek.”

“It’s nice to meet you.” Texas stretched her hand across the table.

“You, too.” Bradi shook her hand.

As soon as her hand was free, she returned Will’s text.

Texas: Miss you, too.

She added a heart emoji.

This was what they did all day while Texas was working the barn and Will was busy with the ranch. More often than not, the texting turned naughty.

“She’s the vet who inseminated Star last year,” Harper continued, “and we’re hoping she worked her magic on our new girl, Buttercup.”

Bradi tipped a beer to her lips but stopped just shy of drinking. “Yeah, and Josh was paying close attention this time, so be careful. You might be next.”

Beer sprayed from Harper’s lips, a look of horror on her face as she coughed and shook her head. “Oh my god, no. I’m just getting used to this.”

Harper held up her left hand. A diamond twinkled in the sunlight.

Shayna squealed and grabbed her hand to inspect the engagement ring. “How did I not notice this? When did you get this?”

“A few weeks ago. We decided to announce it today so act surprised later when Josh makes his speech.”

Texas moved closer to take a look at the ring, then shifted to peek out the window at Will. He’d been dropping hints of marriage but hadn’t bit the bullet yet. Her answer would, of course, be yes, but as long as they were together, she’d wait for him to do the asking.


Texas turned off the sound before she read the text.

Will: Kane has a bull he’s willing to let go of. Maybe we can go look at it sometime this week.

Texas: Sure.

That he included her in the decision made her insides all warm and gooey. As if her opinion mattered. As if the ranch was theirs. As if they were married.

“Have you and Mason set a date?” Shayna asked Bradi, drawing Texas’ attention back to the conversation.

“Not exactly.” Bradi laughed. “He keeps asking me if I’ve changed my mind.”

“Have you?” Shayna asked.

“No, I just want to keep it simple, and I know the moment we set a date, my mom will make a big deal out of it. I’m not that girl. Clay and Lindsey asked us to go to Vegas with them next month. I want to do it there. You know, come home with the deed already done so there’s no fuss.”

Bradi sounded like Texas’ kind of girl. No fuss. No frills. Neither she nor Will had family so if he did ask, Texas wanted a small church wedding with only a few friends.

Josh knocked on the window over the sink. “Are the hamburger patties ready?”

“I’ll bring them out,” Harper said and moved to the fridge to pull out a platter of marinating beef patties. She set them on the table to remove the clingy wrap.

Shayna’s chair scraped back as she stood and covered her mouth, her face pale. “Oh god.”

She ran from the kitchen, Harper on her heels.

Texas looked at Bradi. “Is she…”

“That would be my guess.” Bradi rose and started opening cabinets until she found what she was looking for. She placed a box of crackers on the table in front of Shayna’s chair.

Texas curled her fingers into a fist to keep from touching her belly. She and Will hadn’t been careful, and she was still on the pill, but that didn’t stop the yearning to have their child growing there.

One thing at a time.

Her phone vibrated in her hand.

Will: I’m hungry.

What was she supposed to say to that?

Will: For your pussy.

Her clit twitched, and moisture dampened her panties. She could almost feel the rough pad of his tongue.

The screen door banged, making her jump like a naughty child.

Josh entered the kitchen. “I thought you were bringing—” His gaze searched the room, concern marring his brow. “Where’s Harper? Everything okay?”

“Everything’s fine.” Texas set her phone down to hand him the tray of patties.

He looked at Bradi, who nodded to assure him. “Okay, these won’t take long.”

The second he left, Shayna walked into the kitchen on shaky legs, Harper holding her steady. Shayna lowered gingerly into her seat and dabbed a damp cloth to her cheeks.

Harper reached for the tray that wasn’t there. Her eyes met Texas’.

Texas hooked her thumb over her shoulder toward the window. “Josh.”

Nodding, Harper looked down at the phone next to the sink.

Shit. Texas snatched her phone and stuck it in her pocket. If she thought her face couldn’t get any hotter, she was wrong.

Harper leaned close to whisper, “Is this what was going on at the town meeting last month?”

Texas groaned.

“Aren’t you going to answer him?”

“Not yet, or we won’t be around for burgers.”

Harper chuckled and turned to Shayna. “How far along are you?”

“Just barely.” Shayna nibbled on a cracker. “About ten weeks.”

Bradi laughed. “I guess Evan was the one paying attention during the insemination.”

“Does he know?” Harper asked.

“Yes, and he’s been itching to tell everyone. I’m the one who wants to wait. At least until I’m through the first trimester.”

“Has the morning sickness been bad?” Bradi asked.

Shayna shook her head. “But the freakin’ smell of raw meat does it every time.”

Harper snorted. “It’s a good thing Josh is cooking, then. The last time Evan manned the grill, my burger was so bloody it mooed.”

Shayna’s face contorted. “Let’s talk about something else.”

Bradi sat forward. “Yeah, like who’s the eye-candy without a plus one?”

Texas turned around to look out the window again. Who was Bradi talking about? Texas had been so flustered by Will’s kiss, she’d only been aware of Josh and hadn’t even noticed Evan or the other guy.

“That’s Kane Kilbane,” Harper said. “He has a ranch somewhere around Kerrville. Josh bought the new mare from him.”

So that was the Kane Will mentioned buying a bull from. Brown hair, the color of dark chocolate, fell in waves around his face. His eyes were just as dark, penetrating in their intensity. The angles of his face were sharp. Long legs, trim hips, and broad shoulders, his body was made for sin and could probably make even the most devoted saint fall.

“He goes by Devil,” Harper said.

Aptly fitting, but…

Texas turned back to ask, “Why?”

A look passed between Harper and Shayna, and Bradi seem to understand the silent communication, but Texas was left in the dark. She’d have to ask Will later if he knew.

“What do you think they’re talking about?” Shayna asked, changing the subject.

“Football.” Shayna said.

“The price of beef,” came from Bradi.

Harper snorted. “Josh can’t talk about anything but Zephyr. That’s what he named the foal.”

“Will is looking for a young bull to replace Crusher.”

Bradi laughed. “At least we know where we rank.”

Before she’d met Harper, Texas would probably have fit in better outside talking about the same things as the men, but here she was, talking about engagements, weddings, and babies. Maybe it was because the women here were all strong and, with the exception of Shayna, all held jobs predominantly held by men. Or maybe it was because Will made her feel feminine and gave her all the things she didn’t even know she wanted—love, a home, and family.

With Will, she had all three.

Harper pushed away from the sink and picked up a tray of condiments and paper goods. “Well, let’s get out there and remind them we’re here.”

Carrying the cobbler she’d brought and a pitcher of sweet tea, Texas followed the others and helped arrange the tables set up as a buffet. When everything was ready except the burgers, she grabbed a beer and meandered over to perch on the wide, flat arm of the Adirondack chair Will occupied. She handed him the beer as his arm snaked around her, his hand settling on her hip.

Texas pulled out her phone, and without letting go of her, Will set the bottle aside and picked up his from where it lay on the other arm of the chair. She smiled and pretended to check her email.

He scrolled to his messages, looked up at her, and frowned. He lowered the phone to his thigh, and his knee began to bounce.

“Are you expecting a call?” Josh asked Will as he drew Harper against his side.

“Maybe,” Josh muttered.

Harper covered a laugh with a cough. “Sorry, I inhaled some beer earlier.”

Taking pity on the man she loved, she thumbed a message.

Texas: We can’t leave until Josh makes an announcement.

Will: Ugh.

Texas: We had to come up for air some time.

Will: You can suffocate me any time.

Texas leaned over to kiss his cheek. “You say the sweetest things.”

“Sorry, I’m not very eloquent when I’m hungry,” he said, pulling her onto his lap.

She palmed his cheek. “Eat a burger, drink some beer, and visit with your friends.”

With his arms around her, she watched him type in the next text.

Will: I’d rather eat you.

Texas: Don’t worry, cowboy. You can eat all the pussy you want when we get home.



©Darah Lace 2024


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