“They make such a cute couple,” Lo says with a sigh. “I love a sweet love story.”

“Of course you do. You write them,” I remind her. Lauren is a successful author. We couldn’t be more proud of her.

“I wouldn’t say I write sweet love stories.”

“You write sexy love stories,” Cara agrees. “And we appreciate them.”

As the conversation segues to Lo’s current project, I sit back and nibble a brownie, thankful for these two women and their amazing friendship.

Men may come and go, but my friends will be a part of my life forever, and that is the best thing I could ever ask for.

The girls have just left and I pop the last bite of brownie in my mouth just as my phone rings. I grin when I see Zack’s name.


“Fuck, it’s good to hear your voice,” he replies. His voice is rough and low, and my thighs immediately clench.

“How are you?” I ask and bite my lip as I lower myself onto my couch.

“It’s been a shitty few days. I’m sorry I didn’t respond to your texts, sugar.”

“Is everything okay now?” I ask, trying to keep my voice level.

“We had a very sick horse on our hands, but it looks like she’s out of the woods now.” He sighs deeply and I can hear the fatigue in his voice. “I just woke up from a few hours’ sleep, and I’d like to come to town and take you out to dinner.”

“I can hear how exhausted you are, Zack,” I say softly. “You should rest.”

“The only thing I need right now is food and you.”

“What about Seth?” I ask tentatively. “I don’t want to take you away from time with him.”

“He’s been staying with Mom and Dad for the past few days because I’ve been in and out so sporadically. He’s happy as can be, getting spoiled by my mom and decorating his bedroom over there.”

“They gave him his own room?”

“He’s the only grandchild. Of course they did.” He chuckles softly. “So, Seth is fine, and I want to spend some time with you.”

“I’d like that,” I admit quietly. “I just have to change my clothes and I’ll be ready to go.”

“I’m on my way.” Just as I think he’s going to hang up, he says, “And Jilly? Don’t bother with panties. You won’t need them.”

The line goes dead and I stare at my phone for several seconds before laughing and rushing to the bathroom to take a very quick shower. I touch up my makeup and brush out my hair, then dress in a tight pair of jeans and a black low-cut blouse with a push-up bra that shows the girls off to their fullest potential.

I slip on a pair of boots with four-inch heels and take a twirl in front of the mirror.

Not bad, if I do say so myself.

I walk into the living room just as the doorbell rings.

“Hey, handsome.” I grin and step back as Zack’s jaw drops and his eyes roam from the top of my head down to the heels on my feet.

“Fuck me, you’re beautiful, Jilly.” He pulls me into his arms and kisses me, urgently. “I missed you this week.”

“I missed you too. I thought maybe you weren’t going to call.”

“Fuck,” he whispers and leans his forehead on mine. “I’m sorry. The days just got away from me, and I was in the barn more than I was at the house.”

“It’s okay.” I shake my head and push my fingers through his soft, dark hair. “I hope the horse is better now?”

“So far, yeah.” He nods and then grins down at me before gently brushing his lips over mine one more time. “Are you really going to try to walk through the snow in these fuck-me boots?”

“I’ll be fine,” I insist. “I was going for sexy.”

“You’ve achieved it. I can’t get much harder.” I cock a brow and boldly glide my hand down his chest to cup his hard-on in my hand. “I stand corrected. That did it.”

“Very nice, Sergeant King.”

“Dinner first,” he growls and cups my face in his hands, kissing me yet again.

“Let’s go.”

He helps me out to his truck, patiently guiding me through the snow in my heels.

“I can’t believe you’re wearing those in this weather.”

“I won’t fall,” I assure him and then damned if I don’t slip. I catch myself, but Zack turns and lifts me into his arms, carrying me the rest of the way to his truck. “This is excellent service.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he says with a grin. “I can’t have you falling. You’ll break your neck in those things.”

“You don’t like them?” I pout.

“I fucking love them, sugar. Wear them anytime you want. I’ll carry you.” He winks and kisses my cheek before setting me gently in the cab of his truck.

“What are you in the mood for?” Zack asks as he pulls out of my driveway.

“I already ate a third of a pan of brownies today, so we might as well indulge in some greasy bar food.”

“Bar food it is.” He takes my hand and kisses my knuckles as he easily maneuvers through the streets to downtown Cunningham Falls.

“My house is so close, we almost could have walked here.”

“Not in those boots.” He laughs and parks, helps me out of the truck, and leads me into the dimly lit bar. There is a small kitchen immediately to the left, where we place our order, then go to find a table in the heart of the bar.

Because it’s a weeknight, it’s relatively quiet. We choose a table near the back, by the pool tables.

“Shall we play?” Zack asks, pointing to the table.

“I don’t really know how.” I shrug and bat my eyes innocently. “But I guess we can play. Will you show me?”

“Sure.” He grins widely and hangs our coats on the backs of our chairs before choosing two pool cues. He’s delicious in another pair of faded blue jeans and a fitted blue T-shirt. He’s wearing Chucks, which surprises me but completes his outfit perfectly.

He’s just yummy.

“I’ll break,” he offers and sets up the balls while I order us both a beer from the waitress.

“Good idea.”

He takes his shot and scatters the balls, and when a solid goes in the corner pocket, he says, “Looks like I’m solids.”

“You are solid, yes,” I agree and run my hand down his arm, feeling his muscles. “I like it.”

Tags: Kristen Proby Love Under the Big Sky Romance
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