- N. N. Light
The Cowboy’s Bride by @KaraONealAuthor is a Love and Romance Festival pick #historicalromance #win
Title: The Cowboy’s Bride
Author: Kara O’Neal
Genre: Historical Romance
Pike’s Run, Texas, 1887
James Davis has plans -- work his family's ranch, get married, have a family. So, how does he end up in a hayloft with Liza Talbut, the judge's daughter, who is most definitely not the woman he loves? Liza Talbut has plans -- cook, clean, and avoid all social engagements. So how, in Heaven's name, does she end up in a hayloft with James Davis, her long-time friend? They are caught, but all is not lost. Liza doesn't have to marry James if nothing happened. And...nothing happened. But Liza wants a life out of her mother's home and to get away from her viperous sister. Liza knows she can be a good wife to James, and his kisses are too thrilling to lose. So...she lies. And gets herself hitched. And James finds himself with the bride he hadn't planned on...
“Where’s your house?” James asked.
“In the creek.”
They both laughed, leaning on each other as they tripped down the road. Liza didn’t want to stop touching him. He was so handsome. Strong jaw, full lips, eyes that shone with ease and mischief. She’d always liked James.
“How could I have missed your house? It’s so big,” he said as he kept his arm around her waist. “Why the hell can’t I see it?”
“Because it’s dark.” She giggled.
He stopped and tugged her into him. “Do that again.”
Without trouble, she obliged him. Because having his attention made her feel funny inside, and she was warm from the dancing and the drinking.
“Damn, that sound does stuff to me.”
He put an index finger to her lips. “Shh. I can’t tell you.”
“All right. I didn’t know I was talking.” He frowned and looked over her head. “Where’s your house?”
She turned. “I think we went the wrong way.”
“It’s just straight, then right, then left.” He reached for his flask. “Right?”
“Huh?” She shook her head, fuzzy with her thoughts. “What’s right?”
“Damn, we killed it.” James held the silver container upside down and shook it.
“It’s all gone,” she said.
He grinned at her in the moonlight. “That’s just fine. And look at me. Still on my feet.”
“I am, too.”
“You sure are, sweetheart.” He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and pulled her into his side. “What a good time I’m having.”
“Me, too. And this is my last party.” When they started walking, she leaned into him to keep upright.
“Mother said I wouldn’t have to go to anymore if I had fun tonight.” Liza was happy she’d won the challenge.
“But that means I won’t see you as much,” he said, trailing his nose along her cheek.
Thrills shot over her skin. “I can visit you.”
“That’s true. But I don’t have any furniture yet.”
She laughed. “H-How can you not have furniture?”
He growled near her ear. “I love how you laugh.”
As they stumbled along, a structure loomed in the dark. “Oh, look. There’s my house.”
“Wait. I’m not gonna see you again after tonight.” He stopped her and cupped her face.
“I thought I was gonna visit.”
“I need to get a chair first.”
He trailed his knuckles over her cheek. “You’re real pretty, Liza.”
Her center warmed. “Thank you.”
Despite the fabric of her coat, she could feel his hard muscles. “I think you’re handsome.” And she did. She always had. But she’d never allowed herself to think of him. If there was any boy she could fall for, it would be James Davis.
“Oh, yeah?” he drawled. He withdrew one pin from her bun.
“And you’re strong.” Her gaze went to the outline of his shoulders.
“Well, you’re sweet. Always have been.” Another fastener was removed.
She sighed, not wanting him to stop touching her. “You’re making funny things happen to my stomach.”
He chuckled low. “Good. Cause stuff is happening to me, too.”
“Hush, now,” he told her as he tugged another pin loose. “I told you I can’t talk about that.”
As her hair tumbled to her shoulders, she gripped the lapels of his coat. “I won’t ask again.”
When he delved his fingers into her tresses, seeming to revel in the feel of her brown locks, she finally felt beautiful.
“Damn, that’s soft.” He moved to cup her face once more. “I’m gonna give you a goodbye kiss.”
Her heart flew to the heavens. A kiss! She’d never, never been kissed before. “All right.”
He set his mouth on hers and fire leapt. He groaned, the sound mingling with her whimper, and they sank into each other.
As he grabbed her tightly, holding fast to her waist, she wrapped her arms around his neck. She had no idea what she was doing, but she followed his lead, her pulse racing, her mind spinning.
“Damn, Liza,” he said, between kisses. “Damn.” He took possession once more.
She wanted to drown in him, to feel him everywhere. How could this be happening? Is this what happened whenever couples kissed? If so, she was mad at herself for never trying before.
When he came up for air, he said, “Sweetheart, Liza, you’re making my heart pound faster than a train.”
Joy moved through her. “I’m glad.”
“But we have to stop, or I won’t stop, and where is your house?”
She assessed their surroundings. “I don’t know. My head is spinning.”
“Mine, too. Guess we had too much.”
Had too much what?
“Oh, there it is.” He grabbed her hand, and they started walking toward the building behind them.
She frowned. “This doesn’t look right.”
“It has to be.”
“Where’s the porch?”
“On the other side.”
But as they walked around, she realized this wasn’t home. She laughed. “Oh, James. This isn’t my house. It’s a barn.”
“You have to stop laughing. I can’t think when you do that.”
“I can’t help it.”
He walked across the yard, heading toward the door. “And you really aren’t going to come to any more parties?”
“Then I want more kisses. I like the way you kiss.”
When he reached the door, he turned and pulled her into his arms. He took her mouth in a short, hard motion. “Come on,” he growled.
“What are we doing?”
He threaded her fingers through his. “Gonna find the hayloft. Kiss a little more until my head clears, and I can find your house.”
With much mirth they went up the ladder, both blaming their stumbling on blurred vision and darkness. When they made it to the top, they fell into a mound of straw, him on top of her.
As his lips met hers, she moaned her excitement, grateful to James Davis for making this a night she’d never forget.
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What’s your favorite part about being a romance author?
While I adore giving characters their happy ending, that’s not the main reason I write romance. I write romance because the love and union between a man and a woman is the beginning of everything. It is the foundation of life. It inspires me greatly.
Here’s my tip to add romance to your love life:
I like the two, two, two method of doing things. Even though I can’t always stick to it. But here it is --- every two weeks you go on a date. Every two months you go away for the weekend together. Every two years you go away for the week together. This keeps you centered on your relationship and places the importance that’s needed.
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Runs February 1 – 28
Drawing will be held on March 1.
Award-winning author, Kara O’Neal is a teacher and lives in Texas with her husband and three children She writes stories with strong family ties, lots of romance and guaranteed happy endings! Please visit her at www.karaoneal.com.
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