Got the Monday fatigue? We’ve got just what you need (Nice. Didn’t even need to try rhyming!). Here’s a heart-pumping exclusive excerpt of Kari Lynn Dell‘s Reckless in Texas, out now!
Joe signed his name in savage, illegible slashes, passed the program back to the girl, then stepped down the fence into the shade of the bucking chutes to watch the last couple of bareback riders. A skinny guy from Waxahachie settled onto the back of a buckskin they’d named Thumper, for good reason. The stocky gelding pounded the ground like it had insulted his mama. That kid better be stronger than he looked, or this wasn’t going to end well.
The cowboy cocked his arm back and nodded. He spurred the hell out of Thumper clear to the end of the chute gate, then the horse jammed his front feet in the dirt and jacked the kid up onto the rigging. The next lunge whipped his shoulders back and his head slammed off Thumper’s butt. He went limp, knocked out cold. Joe sprang away from the chute, racing toward the middle of the arena as Violet and Cole spurred into action.
The cowboy’s body flopped off the side of the horse, his weight pinning his gloved hand in the rigging. Thumper dragged him by one arm, boneless, defenseless, the horse’s rear hooves crashing down around his legs. Violet rode hard to the horse’s left side while Cole came up on the right to flip the catch on the flank strap so the buckskin would stop kicking. They thundered around the end of the arena, three abreast. Violet made a lunging grab and got hold of the back strap of the cowboy’s chaps, hauling up hard to lift his body out of harm’s way. Thank God he was a scrawny little shit, Joe thought as he sprinted to meet them.
Cole bailed onto Thumper’s neck the way a steer wrestler would jump a steer. He buried his feet in the dirt, his arm locked around the buckskin’s nose, his mass and strength too much for even the stout gelding.
As they slid to a stop, Joe leapt to the horse’s side, yanking at the latigo of the rigging.
“Got it,” Joe said, pulling the strap free.
Cole let go of Thumper, stepping in front of him so the horse stumbled backward, then wheeled and trotted away. The cowboy sagged, his full weight hitting the end of Violet’s arm. Joe caught the kid around the chest, Cole grabbed him by the thighs, and Violet let go as the two of them lowered his body gently to the ground, hand still stuck in the rigging. From beginning to end, the whole thing had lasted half a minute—an eternity if you were in the middle of it.
The cowboy opened his eyes, blinking groggily as the EMTs rushed up to hunch over him. Violet circled around and rode up close, her knee nudging Joe’s back as she leaned out in her stirrup to watch the medics perform a brisk examination of head, neck, and limbs. Finally, they let the kid sit up. A wave of relieved applause rolled around the bleachers as they helped him to his feet.
Joe turned, and his shoulder bumped up under the edge of Violet’s chaps, against a muscled thigh. His body did an instinctive hmmm. Instead of moving away, he held up a hand. “Nice catch.”
“Thanks.” She actually smiled at him as she held out a palm.
Instead of a slap, Joe clasped his hand around hers and gave a congratulatory squeeze just to be contrary. His thumb skimmed her wrist and he felt her hammering pulse, the thrill of the save pounding through her system. He knew the feeling. Hell, he lived and breathed the feeling. Their eyes met, and an electric jolt of shared adrenaline and the flash of awareness in her eyes set his blood humming in a whole different way. His mind jumped straight from the arena to her trailer—or the nearest sturdy, vertical surface. The sex would be incredible when two people were revving that hot.
Violet jerked her hand away like she’d read his mind.
Joe held her gaze as he clicked on the wireless microphone so his voice echoed over the loudspeakers. “Give our pickup girl a hand, folks. She’s even better than she looks.”
Her eyes narrowed and she yanked the reins, spinning her horse around so its ass slammed into Joe, nearly planting him face-first in the dirt. He laughed for the first time since his fist collided with Lyle’s jaw. How ’bout that? Sweet Violet could say fuck you plain as day, without even moving her lips.
About Reckless in Texas
Violet Jacobs is fearless. At least, that’s what the cowboys she snatches from under the hooves of bucking horses think. Outside the ring, she’s got plenty of worries rattling her bones: her young son, her mess of a love life, and lately, her family’s struggling rodeo. When she takes business into her own hands and hires on a hotshot bullfighter, she expects to start a ruckus. She never expected Joe Cassidy. Rough and tumble, cocky and charming, Joe’s everything a superstar should be—and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out he’s way out of Violet’s league.
Joe came to Texas to escape a life spiraling out of control. He never planned on sticking around, and he certainly never expected to call this dry and dusty backwater home. But Violet is everything he never knew he was missing, and the deeper he’s pulled into her beautiful mess of a family, the more he realizes this fierce rodeo girl may be offering him the one thing he never could find on his own.
Kari Lynn Dell is a ranch-raised Montana cowgirl who attended her first rodeo at two weeks old and has existed in a state of horse-induced poverty ever since. She lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in her parents’ bunkhouse along with her husband, her son, and Max the Cowdog, with a tipi on her lawn, Glacier National Park on her doorstep and Canada within spitting distance. Her debut novel, The Long Ride Home, was published in 2015. She also writes a ranch and rodeo humor column for several regional newspapers and a national agricultural publication.