Running from her mother and stepfather, Meagan was attempting to stay invisible but, when she began working as a groom on a cattle ranch, Adam Wightman caught her eye.
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Adam was intimidating at the best of times. He was a cowboy all the way through flesh and bone and tradition. He rode with the cowhands, wrestled steers, broke wild mustangs and anybody who first saw him wouldn't know that he was more than a cowhand himself, if it weren't for the unspoken power of authority he wielded. Of course he was also filthy rich and the middle son of an industrial tycoon, had a Harvard degree in commerce and ran the multimillion dollar cattle ranch with the air of a Russian Tsar, but Meagan didn't see him that way. She saw him as a man. The type of man she fell in love with over the past two months of working for him. He was tall, fit, and ruggedly handsome, yet completely unapproachable even at the best of times. When he wasn't yelling at someone, he didn't say much else. Regardless, the man never had trouble getting women. She knew why. He had that unconcealed self- assurance and arrogance of a man who knew how intelligent and pleasing to the eye he was. It attracted women like bees to honey. He could be dirt poor and still never have a problem with women.
She always watched him with a quiet scrutiny and he always seemed in a temper and until now, she didn't realize he had even noticed her. So why did she fall in love with him?
That was a question that eluded her. Maybe it was because that horrid mean temper he displayed often was never focused on her. In fact he was nothing less than apathetic around her and mostly silent. Maybe he was like that with all women. Not that she would know, because he never brought his women home and her aunt and she were the only women on the ranch besides Jesse, the Wightman's secretary. She was glad he treated her with indifference, because what she had seen and witnessed when he was angry was a force to be reckoned with.
About a month ago, he took his large fists to a new ranch hand that mistreated one of his horses and practically threw the man off his property while he could still walk. She was stunned at his wildness when he found the man whipping a new filly because she wouldn't settle long enough for him to tie her up. Despite his large size, Adam practically leaped over the six foot tall corral fence like a gazelle, grabbed the man by the collar and began to thump him blindly all the while asking him how he liked to be beaten. That must be it, thought Meagan. His softness for animals, or part of it being the reason she loved him. The other part had to do with his sinfully good looks and sexual magnetism. She'd seen him walk down the street in Prosper, the small town around fifteen miles from the ranch, and wasn't surprised to see women stop and gape at him. Oddly enough, she had to stifle her own jealousy. She watched him from across the street and wondered if the man even knew the reaction he drew from her own sex. Through it all, she didn't think he'd even noticed her in the few months she'd been at the ranch, until now.
She was grooming one of his horses, a black quarter horse stallion that he usually rode out on the range by the name of Rapid-fire, when he came in the stables. It amazed her that he was able to move about in such a way without being heard because, the sheer size of him made the old adage ,,bull in a china shop' come to mind. It took her a moment to realize that he was standing behind her, looking at her, because she was busy talking to the stallion, soothing him and telling him how pretty she thought he was when he spoke in that deep baritone voice he possessed. She jumped dropping her comb.
"It's no wonder that damn horse lost some spunk, when you coddle him so much." He drawled. It was one of the very few times he had spoken to her. He usually didn't say more than a few words, even when they took their meals together. If she asked him a question, it was answered in a monosyllable without elaboration. This time however, his voice held something different. It was darkly deep and his words almost caressed the air around her.
Startled, she spun around wide-eyed, to find him lighting a cigarette as his eyes slowly and deliberately travelled down the length of her body then back up to her eyes leaving a searing trail in their wake pausing only momentarily on her lips and her breasts. His eyes were silver grey and at most times they were so piercing they could quite possibly skin the bark off a tree, but now it was something entirely different. His Stetson was pulled low over his brow making him seem even more formidable, but she could still make out that heated gaze. His batwing chaps were dusty and well used and combined with everything else he looked like something worn and weathered that just stepped out of a Frank McCarthy painting with all the charisma of a born and bred cowboy from seventeen hundreds.
Adam stood erect and hooked the thumb of his free hand in his belt. He took a long drag and centered his eyes on hers, "Then again, I think I understand." He lifted an eyebrow and nodded his head ever so slightly towards the horse, "If you caressed me like that, I'd be as docile as a well fed kitten."
What did he just say? Did she hear him right? A wave of emotion went through her from her head to her toes that she never felt before. Oh boy, she thought. Then she saw something darken in his eyes causing her to take a step back forgetting about the comb she dropped. "Mr. Wightman?"
"Sorry to startle you honey." He said softly in a tone that meant the opposite as his eyes glinted at the nervous movement she made.
Suddenly she felt like a trapped animal with that unreadable emotion in his gaze. She eased her way out of the stall, trying to act casual despite the racing of her heart. This was the first time she'd ever been alone with him, and it was not only causing excitement in her, but nervousness that went through her that causing heat to rise into her ears. It was a feeling she never had to deal with before. "Can I help you?"
"I'm sure you can." He tossed his smoke on the cement floor and tamped it out with his boot causing his spur to jingle. Then he started walking toward her with a lazy powerful stride in no big hurry just to prolong his effect on her and he knew he affected her. Her lips parted and her eyes widened slightly causing him to fight a grin of satisfaction.
Adam knew she watched him. There was no mistaking the curious desire in her large blue eyes when she thought he wasn't looking. In fact, more and more, he found himself thinking about her.
Meagan began to back up and ended up against the wall where he had her pinned now. That same dark look in his eyes intensified and his mouth twitched at the corner as if resisting a smile. Maybe it wouldn't have affected her so much if his eyes weren't that piercing grey. Every time they centered on her in the past few months, she felt her heart skip a beat then thud in her chest like a charging stallion. The feel of the cool wall behind her made her sharply inhale.
He flattened his palms on either side of her head against the wall and stared down at her. "Afraid of me?" he said with amusement allowing a smile to grace his features.
"W--what do you want?" She stuttered breathlessly. To her utter surprise he smiled as his eyes slid over her expression. She never thought she'd seen him smile in the whole time she been here, but now he did. However, it wasn't a humorous smile; it was slow and sensuous as it drew across his tanned face and literally made her breath freeze in her throat. Her gaze went to his finely chiselled lips, then back up to his eyes. She could tell that he knew exactly how he affected her, and all women for that matter. Adam was rugged, muscular, and undeniably gorgeous and he knew how to use every inch of himself to influence a woman.