This series was so much fun to write, and it was very fulfilling to write longer books with a bigger cast of characters. I’m sad to leave Nate, Chase, and Ryder behind, because in my mind those heroes are still very real.
Thank you so much to Holly Ingraham for letting me turn my ideas into reality. I appreciate all the time you have spent editing each story with me, and I hope to keep working with you in the future. You’re the kind of editor authors love, because you embrace each story’s characters and plot, suggesting changes that serve to make the book so much stronger.
I also need to thank my agent, Laura Bradford, for her fantastic advice and helping to make this series happen in the first place. I would be lost without you, and five years on I’m still so happy that you’re in my corner.
As always, I have to make special mention of Natalie Anderson, Nicola Marsh, and Yvonne Lindsay—amazing authors and even more amazing friends. Thank you for your daily encouragement and support. I also receive incredible daily support from my family, and I couldn’t write any book without “grandma & granddad” childcare. My boys are so lucky to have grandparents who adore them and spend so much time with them. We all appreciate it!
Thank you to all my wonderful readers—every email, tweet or Facebook message means the world to me. As an author, it’s the reader correspondence that helps on days when the words just aren’t flowing as fast as usual.
And lastly for my husband, Hamish. Many years ago he told me that once I was published he’d read my books, but five years on and almost thirty books later, he’s got a lot of catching up to do!
NATE KING winked at the beautiful blond flight attendant as she stood near the entrance, hands behind her back, as she watched him exit the plane. It had taken every inch of his willpower not to react to her blue eyes and pillowy lips during the flight, but staying in control was something he was trying to teach himself. Gone were the days of racking up points in the mile-high club with sexy flight attendants on the family’s private jet, and in were the days of behaving like a man in charge of an empire. If his grandfather stayed true to his word, Nate’s future was going to involve a whole lot more business, and a whole lot less pleasure.
“Bye, Nathaniel,” she purred.
He stifled his groan as he checked her out one last time. “Bye, sugar,” he replied, eyes slowly traveling up and down her body.
Nate paused for a slow second when her hand slipped into his back pocket, and met her sultry blue gaze. But when he closed his fingers over her wrist, it was to remove her hand, not encourage it.
“Call me,” she whispered.
He smiled, giving her a final nod before taking his sunglasses from his inside jacket pocket and sliding them on. The sun was hot, just how he liked it, and he pushed up his shirtsleeves as he crossed the tarmac and headed for the terminal. The blonde had been sexy as hell, so maybe he would call her, but right now he had business to attend to. In less than fifteen minutes, he would be back in his car and headed toward the ranch, and after a week away he was happy to be back in Texas, even if it was going to take him days to catch up on work.
Nate pulled his iPhone from his pocket as it started to buzz, smiling when he saw his brother’s name on the screen.
“Hey, Chase. I’ve just landed.”
He picked up his pace and walked through the hangar building, emerging out the other side and waving to the valet. The young guy waiting there ran off to retrieve Nate’s vehicle as soon as he saw him.
“I was just driving past your place and you have a visitor.”
That got his attention. “Who is it?” Who the hell would just drop by unannounced and be waiting?
“Well, she’s kind of your type, so I didn’t want you to waste time at the airport, if you know what I mean.”
Nate chuckled, relaxing when he realized it was a woman waiting. “Who is she?”
“Dark hair, olive skin, bangin’ body, kind of looks like a young Eva Longoria…”
Faith. There were plenty of beautiful dark-haired girls in Texas, but only one in particular sprung to mind. Or at least only one who might turn up at his place—he never took women back to the house, but he’d always made it clear to Faith that she was welcome. And there was only one woman his brother would enjoy teasing him about.
“Don’t talk to her. Just leave her waiting,” Nate said, trying to keep his voice level so Chase didn’t do anything just to annoy him. “I don’t—”
“Chill, big bro. My bed’s already taken, but I do have one of the ranch hands with me right now. She’s pretty gorgeous, always has been, though, right?”
There was only one woman who had always gotten under Nate’s skin, and he knew Chase got a kick out of teasing him. But Nate wasn’t going to take the bait that easily.
He had a reputation as bad as his siblings’ when it came to the opposite sex, so he knew exactly what they’d think, if they ever got too close to her. Even if they were both taken, he didn’t like the idea of them even thinking about Faith like that. He’d knock every one of Chase’s teeth out if he dared let the ranch hand go near her, too. Nate clamped his jaw shut, thinking about that long, almost-black hair tumbling over her shoulders, slender body and full breasts that teased him every time he saw her. Hell, keeping his eyes and his hands off her had been one of the biggest challenges of his life when he’d been younger.
“Just keep away from her, okay?” he muttered, wishing he’d just stayed on the jet with the blonde. At least he would have avoided this entire conversation. “I’m on my way home. Now.”
“Maybe she’s looking for the housekeeper’s job you’ve been advertising. Any takers for Mrs. T’s old job?”
“Don’t you have some work to do? Like, oh, I don’t know, running our goddamn ranch?”
Nate growled and hung up to the sound of his brother’s laughter. He would kill him—he would actually kill him. Nate’s best friend Sam’s little sister was strictly off-limits, and he would— The throaty rumble of his Ferrari caught his attention and distracted him as it pulled to the curb. The valet jumped out and Nate opened his wallet to tip him, before throwing his bag in the passenger seat and getting into the car. He closed his eyes for a second, hands on the steering wheel, before pushing down on the accelerator and heading for home. The car always relaxed him, and the drive to the ranch would keep him calm until he could wrap his hands around his brother’s neck. And his fist into the ranch hand’s face if he was so much as drooling over her.