Editors' Retro Pick: Outstanding Book
[Siren Classic: Erotic Cowboy Contemporary Romance]
At Fantasy Ranch, love is a game.
Gavin owns Fantasy Ranch, a resort where guests get a week of cowboy love with the hottest cowboys in Wyoming.
Rebecca's husband had promised to deliver her fantasy du jour: A cowboy. He died before he could keep that promise. She thinks if she plays the Fantasy Ranch game, just for a second she might have her husband back. And maybe that will be long enough to say goodbye.
1) No sex.
2) No contact or attempted contact after the week is up.
Clause number two is accompanied by a clear warning: Any attempt at contact will be considered 'criminal stalking' and treated as such. A sure sign the cowboys are very good at making women think they have fallen in love.
Rebecca doesn't expect to break the rules. Or to fall deeply in love.
Cowboy Games is a Romance Writers of America's 2008 Linda Howard Award of Excellence WINNER, 2007 Duel on the Delta WINNER, 2007 TARA 3rd Place, and 2007 Beacon 3rd Place.
A Siren Erotic Romance
Recommended Read: 5 Angels: "I thoroughly enjoyed Cowboy Games very much. The sexual tension that developed between Gavin and Rebecca was so hot you would have thought you were in the Mohave Desert. Cowboy Games was such a well written book by Wendi Darlin . When you think of a cowboy as well as how he should be, Gavin is that cowboy. He is sexy, knows how to handle a horse, has that great charm cowboys have about them and he fills out a pair of jeans in all the right areas. Rebecca showed that sometimes you can get lucky twice in finding the man of your dreams. Cowboy Games is filled with romance, fun, a steamy love scene and scorching cowboys. This is why I gave Cowboy Games Five Angels and the title of Recommended Read." -- Cheryl, Fallen Angel Reviews
Outstanding Read: A "Wendi Darlin's Cowboy Games is one smokin' story. From the first page through the last she takes us on a non-stop ride of sexual tension, teasing and a whole lot of loving. The setting is Wyoming on the "Fantasy Ranch" and by the time you finish reading you'll be looking for some brochures yourself. The characters are strong and tender, stubborn and loving and all together realistic.
Cowboy Games is well written, humorous, and filled with smoldering passion. The sexual tension oozes throughout and the secondary plot is strong enough to keep you on edge worrying for our hero and heroine. All things must come to an end and the week at Fantasy Ranch is no different, but we can hope that Ms. Darlin will invite us back for more experiences in the future. Squeezing itself onto my keeper shelf, I'll be looking for more of Ms. Darlin's books to read. I highly recommend you pick this one up and enjoy a little trip to the Fantasy Ranch." -- Lynda, Simply Romance Reviews
5 FLAGS: "Wendi Darlin takes you on a long sexy ride with Cowboy Games. From the first page I was hooked and drawn into Rebecca's emotions. Her love for her husband and the pain of his loss was palpable. Yet she was daring too, a strong feisty heroine and one who was a joy to meet. Of course once you encounter Gavin, you can't help but fall head over heels for the gorgeous hunk of a cowboy-damn close to every woman's perfect fantasy! Cowboy Games is an incredibly steamy story. The heat between Gavin and Rebecca is scorching and I'm amazed the pages weren't smokin'. I'd lasso this book right quick and have yourself a good ole' time, just make sure you have something cold nearby to cool you off-you're gonna need it!" -Lynda, Euro-Reviews
5 DIVAS: "Wendi Darlin delivers in this page-turning erotic romance. In turns witty, fun, deep, and romantic, the story is addictive from the first. The setting is amusing and tangible. The characters are smart, feisty, and well-written. Gavin walks right out of every cowboy-lovin girl's fantasy. Their affair is one of the best kind-forbidden-the secrecy adding to the excitement of an already intriguing plot. Everything an erotic or romance reader could want, Cowboy Games should be on everyone's Must-Read list!" -- Gus, Dark Diva Reviews
4 KISSES: "Cowboy Games by Wendi Darlin is an interesting story about one woman's journey to love again. Along with Rebecca and Gavin's love story, Ms. Darlin weaves a subplot of intrigue into Cowboy Games. I enjoyed her investigation and subsequent journey toward self-awareness. Ms. Darlin wrote a heart-touching cowboy story, which now compels me to look for my own cowboy!" -- Victoria, Two Lips Reviews
4 STARS: "Cowboy Games by Wendi Darlin has a very good plot. The plot flows smoothly building up to the pinnacle of passion and love. The characters worked well together. Gavin was strong yet vulnerable. This book is filled with romance, passion, and excitement." -- Debra Gaynor, Review Your Book
4 BOOKMARKS: "Get ready for this sexually, tensed filled ride between Rebecca and Gavin. I found myself enjoying Cowboy Games more than I anticipated. The characters were developed nicely. I understood why they both were hesitant with one another emotionally. The storyline moved along smoothly. The sexual chemistry between Gavin and Rebecca was practically oozing off the pages. I was captivated from the beginning until the end. I found myself falling for Gavin's charisma, wit, and sexiness right along with Rebecca. Gavin was sex on a stick. Rebecca was humorous and bold. The flirtatious banter between the two kept me turning the pages. The second storyline kept me on my toes cringing and scared for the danger that Gavin and Rebecca could face if they were caught not following the rules. There are some definite secondary characters that caught my eye and I'm hoping we'll get a story about Garret and another cowboy at the ranch. The bad guy in this story was a complete jerk and I really wish he'd been punished more...LOL! I enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it. It was fun, sexy, and entertaining to read." -- Ing, Wild On Books
She rested her elbow on the carry-on slung over her shoulder and glanced at her watch. She’d better go out front to let the limo driver know she was waiting, or else she might miss her ride to the ranch.
Just what she needed. A week without all the clothes she’d packed, and worse, no vibrator. Rebecca swore under her breath. How hard is it to put a piece of luggage on the corresponding flight? Isn’t that what all those obnoxious paper tags are for? She waited for the carousel to make one more round and tried to convince herself she wasn’t stalling. She glanced again at the full-color glossy brochure for Fantasy Ranch gripped in her hand. She was out of her mind alright. And she was definitely stalling.
Maybe Melinda was right about the cowboys, and the ones on the website were just models used for advertising the place. The real ones probably had scraggly beards, three front teeth and hands so callused they’d tear a girl’s skin to pieces.
“Where are you going?”
She didn’t have to look up. The pointed toes of his boots and faded denim that traveled up from there gave the speaker away. A cowboy.
“Crazy apparently,” Rebecca said without making eye contact, focusing again on the brochure. What in the hell had she been thinking spending a small fortune for such a load of crap? She was on her way to the nuthouse alright, and getting there fast.
“I’m headed there myself,” Cowboy said in an obvious attempt at a joke. “I’ll give you a ride.”
He sounded friendly enough, but she didn’t feel like being hit on. She glanced up to tell him so, but was too blindsided to remember what smart-alecky comeback she’d planned to use. Melinda had been right about one thing. If she had to go crazy, he’d definitely be the one to go with.
“Are you Rebecca?” His dark blond hair hung to his chin in silky strands that begged to have fingers dragged through them, and his eyes could melt a girl.
A flush crept over her. No false advertising there. He was even more gorgeous in person. Her stomach did a somersault. What had she been thinking? She couldn’t go through with this. He was hot enough to sway a nun, and he was just the driver. How in the hell was she going to keep her horny hands to herself for a week? Or more to the point, how would she keep them off herself.
The cowboy held her stare and a slow easy smile spread across his face. Her head defogged enough to remember he’d asked her if she was Rebecca, and she hadn’t had the whereabouts to answer him. He spoke before she could twist her tongue around an answer.
“I’ll take that as a yes. I’m Gavin. Let me get this,” he said, reaching for her carry-on and easily hoisting the bag over his shoulder. “You don’t travel this light do you?”
“Gavin?” she managed. “Gavin Carter?”
“You did your homework,” he said with a smile. “I did too. Rebecca Ryder, thirty-two, biotech consultant from South Carolina.”
He summed her up like a bio off a dating site and his appearance was enough to shake her to the core, broad athletic shoulders v-ing down to narrow hips, long muscular legs and a rugged beauty that took her breath away. She forced air into her lungs. No man was going to take her breath away. That’s not what she had flown across the country for.
“You forgot to mention I like riding bareback at sunset and hot ass cowboys,” she said.
“I didn’t know that about you. Like your temper, it wasn’t in your reservation application.”
His smirk nudged her irritation up another notch, but the light that danced in his eyes sent her animosity slithering away.
“Having second thoughts, or just hungry enough to bite my head off?” he asked.
“Both.” She tilted her face to the ceiling and blew a heavy breath. The man was just doing his job - the job she had paid for him to do - nothing she needed to get so miffed about.
“Sorry,” she said, “I’m not usually nasty. Or crazy. I don’t know what I’m doing here. And it looks like they lost my suitcase.”
“We’ll get you settled in the truck and I’ll go check on your luggage. You’ll feel better when we get you to the ranch. I promise.” He reached for her, his hand barely resting on her lower back.
A sizzling shiver shot down her spine and tripped over itself heading back up again. Holy hell, the devil couldn’t have lit her hotter than Gavin Carter and they’d barely gotten past a rocky introduction. She had to get it together if she was going to survive an entire week out here.
He guided her toward the line of double doors that led out of the airport in a gait as sure and unhurried as the rest of his demeanor.
Maybe the cowboy she was assigned to would look good enough to keep things interesting, but not half as good as Gavin. That would make things a whole lot easier.
Parked at the curb was a stretched out Dodge truck with dual tires, a silver ram on the grill and windows tinted as dark as midnight. He held the door while she climbed in and slid across the cool leather seat. Ahhh, relief. The door shut between them, and her breathing resumed on its own. She wasn’t chilled anymore, nope she was hotter than Hades, and considerably worried she might break into a sweat.
And she wasn’t alone either.
“Hi, I’m Marge,” said a middle-aged woman seated with her back to the front of the truck. Marge’s jeans were new, and she had paired them with stylish but orthopedic shoes. Her body was soft and had settled into its current stage of life. She had to be someone’s mother, maybe even someone’s grandmother. Good for her. A woman’s never too old to want a little love or to go after the attention she needs.
Rebecca smoothed the skirt of her cotton sundress and introduced herself. “You think they’re all as hot as the driver?” she added.
“I don’t know if my ticker can take it if they are.” Marge choked on a nervous laugh and patted her chest. “I guess I really didn’t know what I was in for out here.”
“He does get your blood flowing, doesn’t he?” Rebecca let go of her nerves. She wasn’t the only one Gavin affected that way.
Marge sized up Rebecca’s outfit. “Those are cute boots. I couldn’t find any comfortable enough.” She pulled a bottle of champagne from the door. “It’s all just pretend anyway, probably won’t even need them. You want a glass?”
“Sure,” Rebecca said, “I’m parched.” But she wasn’t paying attention to Marge.
Gavin had stowed her carry-on in the truck and was headed back into the airport. He looked as good going as he did coming. A surge of pleasure overtook her, a sensation she hadn’t felt since Todd was alive. At least when the man was that far away she could still breathe.
She was sipping champagne when he opened the door again. A steady fire fanned out from the pit of her stomach, and it had nothing to do with the alcohol. Damned traitorous body.
“Some bags were diverted to another flight, but they’ll be coming in later tonight. Yours will be delivered to the ranch when it arrives,” he said. “In the meantime, I’ll be happy to provide anything you might need.”
She was pretty sure he could provide exactly what she needed, if there wasn’t that No Sex clause in her contract.
“Thanks.” She was careful to keep her voice as natural as possible. “I have a change of clothes in my carry-on. I’ll be fine until tomorrow.”
“Alright then. I’ll take you ladies home.” Gavin’s eyes lingered on her long enough to singe the hair on the back of her neck, then he shut the door and walked around the front of the truck.
“I hope there’s plenty of water in here.” She relaxed into the seat and took a deep breath. “You might have to hose me down before we get there.”
Marge laughed. “If a man looked at me the way he just looked at you, I would have torn his clothes off and thrown him down on the curb.” She looked down at the hand curling nervously in her lap. “I would’ve wanted to anyway.”
“I think I’m going to like you,” Rebecca said.
“No offense, but I hope I’m too busy with some little cowboy half my age to get to know you.” Marge took a long pull and winked at Rebecca over the rim of her glass.
The women laughed again and Rebecca settled back to watch the landscape roll by. She dug her phone from her purse and dialed her sister’s number.
“Hey, ridden one already?” Melinda answered.
“No.” Rebecca rested her head back on the thick leather seat, sinking into it like a pillow. “But from what I’ve seen so far there wasn’t any false advertising.”
“Seriously?” Melinda’s voice was missing its usual spunk. She was having a rough time dealing with Scott’s latest affair, although by now she should be used to the heartache.
“Seriously,” Rebecca said. Her sister needed distraction more than a lecture. “And the airlines didn’t put my bag on the right flight. So I’m out here without my little friend.”
Marge chuckled across from her and lifted her glass in the air. Usually Melinda would have laughed too, but instead she sighed, and the sound of a door slamming echoed from her end of the line.
“I’m sure you’ll manage,” Melinda said, her voice suddenly deflated.
“Mel, you okay?”
“I’ve got to go. Scott’s home.” Melinda dropped her voice to a whisper. “Call me when you get a chance.”
Rebecca dropped her phone back into her purse and sipped her champagne while she watched the back of Gavin’s head through the clear glass that separated him from them. He had taken his hat off and for the second time she imagined running her hands through his silky hair. He caught her eye in the rearview mirror and smiled. She should have had the decency to turn away, but she couldn’t bring herself to stop staring at him.
His thumb tapped out a rhythm on the steering wheel, and the tendons in his forearm danced along. She hadn’t even seen as far as his elbow, but the slight strain of the fabric against his bicep promised it only got better up there. He was golden, like he spent time in the sun, but not enough to turn himself to leather, and there was just the right amount of pale blond hair coating his masculine arms. The lady at the Chamber of Commerce had nailed it. Gavin Carter was easy on the eyes. Very easy on the eyes.
The truck eased to a stop, and beyond the windshield two massive gates swung forward in the standard Wyoming pace. Slow and steady. Scrollwork across the top of the gates spelled out the moniker: Fantasy Ranch. Beyond stood a massive ranch house and several outbuildings flanked by endless acres of natural countryside and the bluest sky in the world. Heaven couldn’t be more beautiful. A woman could definitely lose herself here.
Rebecca raised her glass to Marge. “Let the cowboy games begin.”
“Rebecca?” Gavin’s voice was low.
“Is that who you wanted to call?” She pulled the comforter down on the bed and plumped her pillows into place.
“It sounds like I got the right number.” His voice was sexier than ever in the darkness of the room.
“Are you in bed?” she asked, licking the dryness from her lips, hoping he was calling her from some place private, that he hadn’t misinterpreted the game.
“Yeah. Are you?”
“Not yet. I need to undress first.” Her stomach tensed. This was the moment of truth. Was he going to play along? He was silent, not giving her any indication he was onboard yet. She swallowed the lump in her throat and lowered her voice to just more than a whisper. “What do you sleep in?”
“Nothing.” His laughter was soft, deep in his throat. “What about you?”
“Usually more than that, but tonight I think I’ll try it your way.”
“I bet you’d look great in nothing.” His voice spurred her on, made her want to please him, to let him please her.
“Close your eyes and picture me. I just untied the robe and now I’m slipping it over my shoulder.” She switched the phone to her other ear. “And my other shoulder.”
“Where is it now?” The urgency in his voice heated her.
“On the floor around my feet.” She could tell by the way he exhaled he had painted a nice image of her in his mind. “Where’s your hand?” she asked.
“On the phone.”
He was going to make her work every step of the way, but that was fine, she didn’t want to rush. “Your other hand?”
“Around my cock.”
Oh yes, he was ready to play this game and the abandon of his words spooled her. She moaned softly, letting him know how much she liked the image he gave her. “If I was in your bed that’s where I’d be. That’s exactly where I’d be.”
“Around my cock?” He wasn’t finished with her yet, not ready to let her hurry past this, or get away with vagueness, and she didn’t have any intention of letting him down.
“I’d be all around your cock. Warm and wet. My whole body so soft against the hardness of yours. I love how strong you are, how safe that makes me feel, like I can fall apart and you’ll hold me together.” Her voice was husky full of breath, the same tone that used to melt Todd. “I want to please you, make you need me as much as I need you.”
“You’re so sexy, so wild,” he said. “I’ll make you come so hard. Are you ready for that? Will you let me do that for you?”
“I’m so ready. I’ll do anything you want me to do.”
“Where’s your hand?” he asked.
“On my stomach. Waiting for you to tell me which way to go with it.”
“Are you in bed yet?”
She lay back on the mattress, made herself comfortable. “Now I am.”
“Take your hand to your breast. I love the feel of your breasts.”
“Umm.” He wanted control and she wanted to give it to him, to let him take her where she wanted to go. “How would you touch my breast right now?” she asked.
“I’d cradle it. Feel every curve. The weight of it. The softness. It’s so soft, so tempting I can’t resist a taste. I have to taste your nipple. Do you like that?”
“I do like that,” she said, wetting her fingers with her mouth then circling the hardened peak. She brought her knees up. “I like that so much. You have me so wet.”
“Slide your hand down your stomach, that soft flat stomach of yours. Don’t stop until you can tell me just how wet you are.”
She gasped when she reached her slick heat. He responded with a groan. “I’m so wet,” she said. “And oh my God, I’m so swollen. My fingers. They…they slip in before I can stop them.”
“How many?” His voice was strained. She was having the exact effect she wanted to have on him. Doing as much for him as he was for her.
“Two.” She arched her back, pushing her breasts in the air, wishing he was there to take them, to take her.
“Are they in you now?” His breath was heavier than before.
“Uh hum. I wish it was you. I want you inside me.”
“Make it three,” he demanded.
“It’s three,” she responded, her breath in her throat.
“Go deeper.” His voice was lower, so close to ear.
“Oooh…” she moaned. “Oh my God.”
“I want to be in you,” he said. “To feel how hot and wet you are.”
“I feel you in me.” She licked her lips, reaching deeper.
“Do you feel how hard I am?”
“You are so hard. So. So. Hard.”
“I’m so far inside of you.” His breath was heavier still. “Stroking so deep into you.”
“I want more,” she begged. “Please give me more.” The phone nearly slipped from her hand.
“I’m as far as you want me to be. As deep as you want me to go.”
“Don’t stop,” she whimpered, moving her hand to a rhythm that was soon going to take her over the edge.
“I’m not stopping,” he promised. His breath was coming as fast as hers. “I won’t stop.”