Wound TightBy: Lorelei James
A Rough Riders_Blacktop Cowboys Crossover
Acknowledgments from the Author
This book is dedicated to my BFF/PA/Cheerleader for team LJ and author whisperer, Kim O’Connor – Happy Birthday!! (and I’m not dedicating this to you just because I haven’t sent your birthday gift yet). There’d be no love story for Callie and Justin if not for your brainstorming help last year when you said…whatever happened to Justin Donohue? Doesn’t he deserve a happily-ever-after? Add in Callie Morgan, a much younger, very feisty character we last saw at age four, and BOOM—this May-December romance was born. Thank you, Kim, not just for helping me with this idea, but for the love and support you give me personally and professionally every single day. I hope I never have to do without it…XOXO
To the always fabulous, amazing, stupendous Liz Berry – thanks for your patience and friendship during what’s been a rough year for me. Your generosity continues to astound me and I’m still blown away that I get to call you a friend and that I’m a beach babe for life!
To the 1001 Dark Nights/Evil Eye team—MJ Rose, Kim G., Jillian Stein—another one in the books! Happy to be part of this amazing project!
One Thousand and One Dark Nights
Once upon a time, in the future…
I was a student fascinated with stories and learning.
I studied philosophy, poetry, history, the occult, and
the art and science of love and magic. I had a vast
library at my father’s home and collected thousands
of volumes of fantastic tales.
I learned all about ancient races and bygone
times. About myths and legends and dreams of all
people through the millennium. And the more I read
the stronger my imagination grew until I discovered
that I was able to travel into the stories... to actually
become part of them.
I wish I could say that I listened to my teacher
and respected my gift, as I ought to have. If I had, I
would not be telling you this tale now.
But I was foolhardy and confused, showing off
One afternoon, curious about the myth of the
Arabian Nights, I traveled back to ancient Persia to
see for myself if it was true that every day Shahryar
(Persian: شهريار, “king”) married a new virgin, and then
sent yesterday's wife to be beheaded. It was written
and I had read, that by the time he met Scheherazade,
the vizier's daughter, he’d killed one thousand
Something went wrong with my efforts. I arrived
in the midst of the story and somehow exchanged
places with Scheherazade – a phenomena that had
never occurred before and that still to this day, I
Now I am trapped in that ancient past. I have
taken on Scheherazade’s life and the only way I can
protect myself and stay alive is to do what she did to
protect herself and stay alive.
Every night the King calls for me and listens as I spin tales.
And when the evening ends and dawn breaks, I stop at a
point that leaves him breathless and yearning for more.
And so the King spares my life for one more day, so that
he might hear the rest of my dark tale.
As soon as I finish a story... I begin a new
one... like the one that you, dear reader, have before
From that first deep thrust, Justin Donohue knew he was a goner.
Totally gone for this girl.
If he kept going…he’d never want to leave the tight, wet heat of her body.
That’s what she wants. She’ll get her hooks in you and never let go.
The warning too soon, too young got louder and louder, drowning out everything else.
A burning sensation squeezed his lungs, expanding until he feared it’d tear him apart.
I can’t breathe. Why the fuck can’t I breathe?
Then he made the mistake of looking into Callie’s eyes.
Something more than lust shone back at him.
He blinked, trying to erase the expression he’d seen on her face, praying he’d misread it.
But at second glance, it hadn’t changed.
Not that. Give me any look but that one. I’m not the man you think I am.
“Justin,” she said softly. “Don’t.”
“I can’t do this.”