TAMING THE TROUBLEMAKER
THE HILLS OF TEXAS #3
One daring kiss with the playboy tempts the good girl, but can she tame him?
Autry Hill may be a cowboy to his boots, but he’s also gained quite the reputation as a charmer and playboy. His parents aren’t sure he’s ready to take the reins of the family’s prosperous Texas ranch, so they set up a challenge: No women or scandal for the next six months and the ranch house he grew up in is his. Easy peasy, Autry thinks. He’s already tired of late nights and romancing, until elementary school teacher Beth Cooper happens to cross his path. Suddenly Autry is losing his heart, his mind, and what’s left of his reputation.
Good girl teacher Beth Cooper is far too practical to fall for Autry Hill, even if she had a crush on him way back when. The man’s been breaking hearts since middle school. But when he becomes her unexpected champion and then they work together to help one of Beth’s troubled students who’s about to lose everything, she sees a different side of Autry – serious, compassionate, determined and dedicated. And that Autry is nearly impossible to resist. Does she need to?
“I tell you what, Elizabeth Ann Cooper…” He deliberately mimicked her use of full name. “I will give you your purse back on one condition.”
Narrowed eyes greeted his statement. “What condition?”
“What?” she squawked, arms flailing. “No way. It’s my purse.”
But even as she protested he could see the flush rising in her cheeks, despite such low lighting. She was definitely interested. One itty-bitty taste to satisfy his curiosity, then back to becoming the straitlaced, stand-up citizen he was determined to prove he could be.
“It’s my truck,” he shot back. “And you’ve insulted my manhood implying I’m not worthy of you.”
Her lips flattened and she shook her head. “Some things never change.”
Autry paused, though he didn’t allow his smile to slip. “What does that mean?”
“It means you had a one-track mind in high school, and years later, you obviously haven’t grown out of it.”
Damn. He’d forgotten Beth’s tendency to call him on his bullshit. Plus, he had that damn bet to consider. Regardless, he would never have made her do it. He might have a thing about teasing her, and he had to admit to kind of hoping she’d take the dare, but he’d never forced himself on a woman. Ever.
He dropped the smile entirely and turned to his truck to unlock it. “I’m just teasing you, Beth. Of course, you can have your purse.”
He grabbed a gray sack the size of a backpack, and just as heavy, from the passenger seat and handed it over to her.
“Thank you,” she said primly as she backed away from him.
Like he was a leper or his flirting might be contagious.
But then the dimples that had teased him as a youth came out to play, her eyes lighting with mischief. “I didn’t figure you for someone who gave up so easily. Guess I won this one.”
With a wiggle that had certain parts of him perking back up, she turned to her truck.
Autry stared at her back for all of two seconds, assimilating her words. Oh, hell no. This slip of a woman was not winning anything… whatever that meant.
He was around the truck to her driver’s side in a few quick strides. Beth squealed when he spun her around by the waist.
“I always win,” Autry said.
He took her lips not harshly, but firmly and chastely, the scent of something light and alluring swirling around him as she gasped.
He was tempted as sin to dip his tongue inside the warm recess of her mouth to tease hers, but he wouldn’t push it that far. With more effort than it should’ve taken, he forced himself to stop at the one peck, pulling back to gaze down into wide, bemused eyes. God, he wouldn’t mind continuing though, his body vibrating like a tuning fork.
With Beth Cooper of all people.
Then he went rigid with shock as Beth went up on tiptoe, wrapping her arms around his neck and putting the first kiss to shame as she showed him what kissing should always be like.