Lassoing the Virgin Mail-Order Bride

By: Alexa Riley

“How do you suppose the others made it onto the counter?” I reply tartly. I’m not sure what to make of this. The only thing the man has done in the two minutes I’ve actually known him is boss me around. Now I’m getting why Earl calls him boss. The title fits well.

He pulls the oven mitts off, tossing them onto the counter. His hand goes to his face and he squeezes the bridge of his slightly crooked nose. It’s probably been broken a time or two. He’s clearly irritated with me. Maybe it is better I keep it zipped and don’t mouth off. I need this place. I have nowhere else to go, but what the heck. If I can’t touch the oven, what am I supposed to do around here?

My cheeks start to burn at the dirty thought that comes to mind, and I drop my head, looking down at my worn boots, not wanting Cash to see my blush. Maybe I could blame it on cooking all day. The heat getting to me.

“What am I going to do with her?” I hear him mumble. This is really not a great start. He’s a total jerk. He hasn’t even bothered to say hi. Is that so hard? Hi, I’m Cash, the man you’ll be marrying tomorrow. It’s a pleasure to meet you. That isn’t so freaking hard, is it? The man has no manners. Or he isn’t happy with the bride he’s gotten. I’m thinking both at this point.

“Why don’t you join us, Clare? Get to know everyone?” I hear Earl say, making me look up. I suddenly remember everyone is in the dining room and can see us. They‘re all staring at Cash and me. Their eyes dart back and forth between us, waiting to see what will happen next.

“How about you mind you own fucking business, Earl?” Cash barks, not even looking over at the poor man who just smiles again. I’ve never seen smiles come so easily for someone before. It’s nice. Makes me feel like I have someone on my side already. He throws another wink my way like we’re sharing some joke I don’t know about. Getting the best of Cash on purpose.

“I’d love to.” I jump off the counter, ignoring Cash and hearing him mumble something about hurting myself. I grab a plate off the counter and head into the dining room. Earl nudges a man sitting next to him, who quickly moves, giving me a spot to sit after I fill my plate. I can feel Cash’s eyes on me the whole time I move about the table. I barely get my butt in the seat next to Earl and Cash is stomping into the dining room, heading for the chair next to mine at the head of the table.

“Everyone, this is Miss Clare Stevens.” Earl introduces me to everyone as I try to ignore Cash the best I can. Not an easy feat with his size and intensity. I get hellos around mouths full of food. They’re going at the dinner like they haven’t eaten in weeks. “We haven’t had a good meal in a while,” Earl adds, taking a big bite of his own burger.

I gasp as I’m once again picked up and placed on a hard lap. “Mrs. Clare McCallister.” Possession rings loud in Cash’s correction of my name. I’m not a McCallister yet, and I had a feeling I wasn’t going to be one just a few moments ago in the kitchen. I freeze like a deer caught in the headlights as everyone stops eating to look at the end of the table. Their eyes are on Cash, I assume, because they’re aimed over my head.

Reaching around me, he slides my plate over from where I had been sitting. His mouth comes to my ear. “Eat.” He gives yet another command. His warm breath against my ear makes little stray hairs tickle my skin. He pulls back a little, and I feel his nose barely brush against my skin. I hear him take a deep breath like he’s breathing me in. I clench my legs together, and I wish had on jeans instead of shorts. I’d changed into them when I figured out I wasn’t getting married today, and put away the only pretty dress I have.

As if noticing everyone is staring at us, he finally barks at them to eat as well. His tone is not as soft as it was when he’d whispered it in my ear. Everyone jumps at his command and goes back to shoving food into their mouths.

I don’t know what to do, so I just eat. Maybe the faster I get done eating, the faster I can get out of his lap. I pick up my burger and take my own big bite. The flavor hits my tongue. I moan around the bite, unable to remember the last time I had a full meal. I’ve been spreading my money thin, and a full meal isn’t something I’ve had in a long while.

Cash’s hand on my hip squeezes at the sound, then I feel it. A hard cock against my ass. I stop the cheeseburger midway to my mouth. I grew up around men when Mama and I worked on the Blackwell farm. I stumbled across many of the men talking about their nights out and so on when they didn’t realize I was in earshot, but I’d never been on the receiving end of a man wanting me.

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