Taming a Texas Rascal (Bad Boy Ranch #6) - Katie Lane

Chapter One

Sawyer Dawson woke with a bad feeling that he’d done something he shouldn’t have. But he woke with this feeling most mornings, so he didn’t pay too much attention to it. He’d spent his life doing things he shouldn’t do. If something was forbidden, that usually meant it was a whole helluva lot of fun.

And Sawyer was all about having fun.

Sometimes he had to pay for it.

Like this morning.

His stomach felt queasy and his head felt like it had been stomped by a brahma bull. That’s what happens when you down an entire bottle of tequila all by yourself.

Or had he?

A weak memory of two pretty full lips on the rim of a shot glass fluttered through his mind. He tried to pull up the rest of the image, but his head hurt too much. When his cellphone rang, it felt like a toy monkey was inside his skull banging its cymbals. He moaned and blindly reached out for his phone on the nightstand. When it wasn’t there, he opened his eyes. The sunlight coming in through the tinted hotel window had him squinting. After a few blinks, he focused and spotted his cellphone lying on the floor next to his jeans. He leaned over the edge of the mattress and grabbed it.

“What?” he answered grouchily.

There was a chuckle on the other end of the phone. “Bad night, I take it.”

Even with a major hangover, he couldn’t help smiling when he recognized Lincoln Hayes’s voice. Lincoln had been his friend since they’d been pain-in-the-ass teenagers. Now Linc was a Texas Ranger who had gotten Sawyer out of more than a few jams over the years . . . all from doing things he shouldn’t have been doing.

He leaned back on the pillows and massaged his throbbing temples. “Hey, Linc. Is there a reason you’re calling me so early on a Saturday morning? I would’ve thought a newly married man like yourself would have better things to do. Of course, you’ve always been more work than play.”

“And you’ve always been more play than work. It’s not early. It’s after ten o’clock.”

“Shit.” Sawyer sat straight up and glanced at the clock on the nightstand. Sure enough it was ten sixteen. He never slept past nine. Especially when he was riding in a rodeo that day. His body and mind needed time to prepare. He liked to run a couple miles to get out the excess energy and focus his brain, then he always ate a healthy breakfast and did a good hour and a half of stretching exercises before he headed to the arena. And he never drank the night before a ride.

But last night he’d needed to numb his mind. Even now, he wished he had a bottle of tequila handy. But as he glanced around the room, he didn’t find a drop of alcohol. What he did find was a pair of red cowboy boots lying on the floor. Not the fancy designer kind that the rodeo groupies liked to wear. These were red ropers that looked well worn. As he stared at the boots, the toilet flushed in the bathroom and the shower turned on.

He grinned.

Obviously, his Tequila Girl hadn’t been part of his drunken imagination. He tried to remember a face and a name. But all he could remember was those pretty lips pressed against the shot glass and the drop of leftover tequila begging to be licked off. Had he licked it off? He must have if the woman ended up in his hotel room. And maybe he could do a little more licking this morning. Sex worked just as well as alcohol at erasing pain.

Suddenly, he felt much better.

“So what’s up, Linc?” he asked, hoping to get to the point of the conversation so he could slip into the shower before Tequila Girl finished.

“Dixie has been helping the town council here in Simple plan some activities that will bring in more tourists. She had the idea for a fall festival and rodeo. She wanted me to ask if you’d help her plan it.”

He didn’t even have to think about it. “No.”

“Come on now, Sawyer. It won’t take that long. All you have to do is meet with the town council and give some advice.”

“This isn’t about a rodeo, Linc, and you know it. This is just some scheme you and the other boys hatched up to get me to Simple and married off like the rest of you.”

The “other boys” Sawyer had met at the same

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