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Ranch Daddy by Shanna Handel – Sample

Part One—Chapter One

Once upon a time, just outside of the tiny town of Little Peak, there was a ranch. Not just an ordinary ranch, but one where dreams came true. Where men were tall and strong and fiercely protective of the ones they loved. A ranch where every so often when the stars were aligned, a lucky baby girl found herself a cowboy daddy.

Maybe you found your heart beating just a tad faster while reading those tempting, taboo words, cowboy daddy. Felt a melting in your core as you imagined a big strong man wrapping his loving arms around you, whispering in your ear, Daddy’s got you, baby girl.

A big, firm hand spanking your bare ass while you laid over his denim-covered lap, a voice murmuring those sweet words, who’s been a naughty girl?

The spoiling. The tender loving care.

A daddy dom is a man committed and devoted to you, your well-being, your happiness. I’m sure your breath caught in your throat, your hand fluttered to your flushed chest as you found yourself pondering, does such a man exist?

I’m here to tell you that he most certainly does.

Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, Wyoming is a ranch where you will find such a man. And it is where my story began.

My heartbeat quickened every time I saw that blue and white sign, CLAS Ranch, Clean Living And Sunshine.

Clean living meant no swearing, no drinking, and no sassing unless you wanted to be held accountable for your saucy mouth by some very strict cowboys.

CLAS was a place time forgot. Home-cooked meals were eaten together at a table where cell phones were nowhere in sight—talking and laughing and sharing about one another’s days while passing around a plate of Memaw’s homemade biscuits. Piping hot and flaky, add a little pat of fresh butter and some of Alice’s summer jam and you would know this was heaven.

Boredom didn’t exist on the ranch. If you weren’t up to your ears in chores, you were playing. Work hard; play harder. There was no time for sitting around tapping at Candy Crush on your phone until you went cross-eyed. There was too much to do out there in the fresh air; riding horses across the breathtaking Wyoming landscape. Hiking along the rushing river, sunshine warming your skin as you dove beneath the sparkling surface of the water, wearing nothing but a smile.

As the tires of my truck quietly crunched over the gravel, my heart would warm at the beauty of the rolling brown hills, their crests dotted here and there with perfectly maintained buildings. Cattle and horses freely roamed the grassy pastures.

It was perfect. It was heaven.

My heaven. My home away from home.

CLAS was not only a working cattle ranch, but also a horse rescue center and a full-service barn complete with riding lessons. The second half of the business was where I came in… destination weddings. Photos of our shindigs spread across the glossy pages of the world’s most elite bridal magazines. Those articles said it all—CLAS was the end-all, be-all place to celebrate what was sure to be the most important day of your life.

Brides from coast to coast felt a little twinge in their chest just holding a magazine with an article about CLAS. Tears pricked at their bright, shining eyes as they devoured pictures of our rustic barn where we held the ceremonies. Soft lights, taffeta, and ribbons draped over rafters—a look that seemed effortless, but it took four people on tall ladders hours to pull off. The room was complete with décor perfectly suited to the colors of the bride’s complexion.

And that’s just where the couple exchanged their vows. Next up was the reception. Dinner and dancing in the Mess Hall, decorated in a unique theme created just for the happy couple. The hall was where we really got to get creative. We’d done it all—from Fairytale to Motorcycles. Whatever the bride and groom dreamt up, Louanne and I made it happen.

Want to make your celebration a whole weekend getaway? Our recreation activities kept Aunt Berta and Uncle Jeffrey out of your hair. Boating, riding, fishing, all in a picture-perfect rustic one of a kind wonderland that would entertain your guests, letting you enjoy your celebration.

Yes, we threw the best destination weddings you could imagine. And we ethically raised the most tender grass-fed beef you’d ever consumed. And over the years we had saved the lives of countless magnificent horses.

But the ranch’s real treasure was its owners—the Jenkins family.

Four real-life cowboy brothers headed up the operation. Known around Little Peak as ‘the Jenkins boys,’ but the tall, muscular hotties were nothing like boys. They were big, strapping, powerful men. Men who didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Men who dominated in their relationships and wouldn’t think twice about taking their wayward woman right over their knee and spanking sense into her if necessary. But with their strength also came a softness. They would do just about anything to put a smile on the face of the one they loved.

I got shivers just thinking about it. Of course, I daydreamed about having a man love me in such a profound, passionate, possessive way. But it was only a fantasy for me. Though I did enjoy looking at them and dreaming about them, I was way too independent of a woman to ever let one of those boys try to tell me what to do. I was all for playing games in the bedroom, but the day a grown-ass man put me over his knee and spanked me like a little girl—well, that would be a cold day in hell. (Or at least that’s what I told myself.) Plus, those boys demanded more commitment than a gal like me could offer. I was a free spirit, blowing wherever the wind might take me.

Back to the brothers.

Brody was the eldest, and the original owner of the ranch. Over the years as the business grew, he generously split the company up between his siblings. Brody married a dark-haired beauty named Georgia, who was a vet tech and assisted with the care of the cattle. Georgia was a real peach, tall and thin and soft-spoken. She practically melted every time Brody looked at her. You could say she was the naturally submissive type, which made our Georgia pretty much my opposite. But we were great friends.

Then there was Travis, the second to eldest brother and the only Jenkins with a beard—if you could call the sexy dark stubble lining his chiseled jaw a beard. With a PhD in animal husbandry, he was the one who ran the cattle ranch with Georgia’s assistance. Travis married Bridgette, a sassy, curly-haired blonde who got us all in trouble from time to time. She was as strong-willed as they come and Travis seemed to be the only person she’d listen to. Bridgette had a big, round bottom and when she started putting her hand on one of those full hips, I couldn’t help but picture how much her ass must jiggle when Travis spanked it. She could be a handful, but I really liked Bridgette.

They have an adorable little girl—Lila Belle. Being old-fashioned in his ways, Travis was clear that when Lila Belle was born, one of them would stay home to care for their baby. New mama Bridgette found an outlet for some of her spunky energy by writing a weekly article for Little Peak Times, called ‘News from the Ranch.’ Bridgette was hilarious, and the entire population looked forward to reading her weekly take on life.

Hayes is the next brother in line. A blond cutie with blue eyes that turn a stormy gray when you’ve pushed him too far. I should know—he’s my brother-in-law, and one of my bosses. He can be a real stick in the mud, but he gets the job done. I do so love to push his buttons. Why not? My ass is safe around him because Hayes is married to my sister Louanne.

She’s no longer Louanne Dixon, but Mrs. Jenkins. It still sounds weird to me when I say it out loud. Secretly, I get sad sometimes that Louanne and I don’t share the same last name anymore, but she’s as happy as I’ve ever seen her, so I guess I’ll deal with it.

Hayes originally started the horse rescue program but then left for college. He spent a few years off the ranch, working in what they refer to as ‘out there.’ I call it the real world because we are living the dream. CLAS is so damn sweet, and I can’t imagine working anywhere else. Hayes might have been the one brother to leave ranch life behind, but he came back hoping to catch Louanne’s heart. His love for her pulled him back to Wyoming, and he hasn’t regretted it one bit.

Since returning to the ranch, he and my sister oversee all things weddings, as well as the onsite gift store, The Tack Shop. Hayes is crazy strict and type A, and Louanne melts over his dominant displays. Sure, watching them makes me feel all gooey inside but seriously, I could never, ever picture myself submitting to a man.

And just who am I, you may be wondering.

Josie Dixon. Hellfire, spitfire, bleached-blonde little sister covered in tattoos. I was practically raised on the ranch, getting into trouble underfoot of all these gorgeous men, always tagging along with my big sis, Louie. Seeing as I was terrible at school, it made total sense for me to skip the obligatory four years of partying and flunking out of college and get myself a job on the ranch instead, though I’ve dabbled in part-time courses since then. I am my sister’s trusted assistant, and if I do say so myself, I’ve gotten pretty damn good at the job. Although not book smart, when it comes to studying successful people and copying what they do, I’m a quick learner. I guess you could call me street smart with a keen sense for business.

Are you having trouble keeping up with all of us? Too bad, because there’s one brother left, and I’ve saved the best for last. Colton Jenkins. The last remaining single man of the ‘Jenkins boys,’ and in my humble opinion, the hottest.

Colton is the youngest, but thanks to a superhuman growth spurt in his early twenties, he ended up being the biggest of the four brothers. The man is huge. His shoulders stretch out practically as far as my wingspan. Seriously—he’s almost as big as Jason Momoa playing Aquaman. I’m not exaggerating. And he’s just as handsome but in his clean-cut way. Sure, Colton’s recently grown-out hair was slightly shaggy and almost reached his shoulders. It was dead sexy.

The Jenkins men are tat free—but don’t worry, I’ve got enough ink to cover all of us.

Not only is the youngest cowboy a massive wall of muscles and handsomeness, but he’s also one of those men that always seems to have a smile on his face. He walks in a room, and people’s faces brighten up at the sight of his grin.

Especially mine.

But there would be no happily—spanked bottomed cowgirl—ever after for me.

The sad truth was that I had already tried to cross that bridge and pretty much got tossed over the side to live with the trolls that dwelled below it.

Colton had made it heartbreakingly clear to me. He felt nothing for me. Not like that. Last year, after a few too many draft beers down at the local watering hole, Bud’s, I had drunkenly declared my love for him. And he had said those dreaded words, friend-zoning me in the worst way possible.

The memory of his hands on my shoulders, his sea-green eyes clouding as he tried to let me down gently. That fine movie star quality but downhome smile spread across his face, a dimple just visible on his left cheek as he said, “Josie, you mean so much to me.”

My heart had beat harder in my chest at his words. My breath caught in my throat. My weight shifted to the balls of my feet, preparing my legs to stretch upward to meet him for the fated kiss that was surely coming. “Oh, Colton—”

“You’re like a sister to me.” His eyes studied mine. The smile faded from his lips.

Like a sister.

A hard punch had landed in the center of my chest, knocking the wind from me. My eyes felt glassy as my cheeks burned in humiliation. My trembling lips had repeated the dreaded words, “Like a… sister?”

Wiping the memory from my mind was much harder than wiping the tears that burned in my eyes as I drove home that night. My fingers went to the corners of my eyes, dabbing at the waterworks that were trying to start up. Staring out the windshield, I let one tear roll down my cheek. Then I remembered how much I had to drink that night. I pulled over, parked the truck, and walked the rest of the way home, sniffling all the way.

But there was no use in crying over unrequited love. To anyone else it probably seemed to be a hopeless situation. But as clear as Colton had been with me, I couldn’t help but feel there was something there, that the feelings were not as one-sided as Colton would have me believe.

I gave myself a couple of days to get over his rejection. And over that short time, he laughed at every single one of my jokes, I caught him checking out my butt at least five times, received six or seven playful touches on my lower back from him, and accepted three gifts of dessert, all while he sat beside me for every staff lunch.

And then there was the best part—the times I knew he was watching me as I worked. He would get this faraway look in his eyes, and this little smile would play at his lips—like I was his secret. He didn’t think I had noticed. But I had.

Louanne egging me on hadn’t helped me to move on and leave my crush behind. When I told her how I felt, she advised me to go after him again. To make him see that I was anything but a sister to him. And I was going to. But that was when my arch nemesis showed up. She was Lady DJ (or BJ to me, depending on my mood). I was, of course, supposed to be the princess. And Colton was supposed to be my Prince Charming. But instead, a hot female DJ traded free riding lessons for her services when one of our brides got her budget cut in half at the last minute. And so, the two of them had taken to ‘hanging out.’

Long story short, I was crushing, I got friend-zoned. I tried again, and then another woman took the spot for which I was vying.

But that was a while ago. Since then, I did what my sister always told me to do: focus on my work. Colton and I remained friends. Some would say best friends. We sat together in the Mess Hall at lunch every workday. We would ride horses every Friday night after work. Sometimes we even grabbed a bite to eat in town. People teased us about ‘catching feels,’ and I know for a fact his mom, Alice was shipping the two of us. My crush faded, and I tried to keep my mind on my work. Sure, I went home with damp panties just about every day after watching him lifting heavy objects wearing those Wranglers and cowboy boots, but what woman wouldn’t?

I was working my ass off and proving to everyone—including myself—that I was a hard-working professional woman who wouldn’t let a little crush affect her productivity. I even stayed late the night before the most dreaded day of the year—inventory day—to finish pulling all of the crates out of the closet in Louanne’s office. I was so proud of myself until I made the idiotic move of tripping over one of the damn things.

“Oomph!” I cried as I toppled to the floor, falling over the rogue box that was sitting by the door of the office, where I had left it. I should have stacked them neatly, as my sister boss had suggested early that day. I rubbed at my shin where it had hit the edge of the crate. Sitting on my rump, pouting, I muttered to myself, “That’s going to leave a bruise.”

There was a knock. I looked up to see Colton, filling out the frame of the doorway. He was standing there, staring at me with an amused look on his ridiculously handsome face. God, it hurt to look at him sometimes. Was it fair for one person to have such amazing features? The chiseled jaw, tanned skin, perfect smile, and my goodness, that body. How I would love to run my hands over his bare, muscled chest. My thoughts burned into a fiery blush that covered my cheeks.

“What are you doing, kiddo? Did you have a nice fall?” he asked with a smile. He extended a muscled arm, his hand reaching for mine. I put my hand in his, my thoughts instantly going to how much smaller my palm was than his. When our skin touched, tingles rushed down my arm. I looked away shyly as his fingers wrapped around mine and he helped me up from the floor. I flew up light as a feather, landing on my feet. Damn, he was strong.

I quickly withdrew my hand from his, my embarrassment and the queer sensation on my palm making me feel out of sorts. I mumbled, “Ha, ha—have a nice fall. I’m sure I sensed you standing there watching me like a creeper, and that’s why I fell. So, it’s your fault. What are you doing, lurking around anyway? I thought everyone had gone.”

“I came to check on you. You think I’d leave while you were still here in the office by yourself?” He took a step toward me, his musky aftershave wafting to my nose. My heartbeat quickened at his nearness.

My body betrayed me, my pussy getting wet. I scooted away, using my injury as an excuse to make some space between us. I rubbed at my shin, saying, “Still stings.”

As he leaned down to inspect my wound, I could almost feel his breath on me as he teased, “Aww… want me to kiss your booboo? I think I have Hello Kitty Band-Aids in my first aid kit for when the itty-bitty girls get hurt.” His fingertips grazed my leg, sending chills down it.

His offer sent little tingles straight down to my wet pussy. A blush rose higher on my impossibly pale skin, plainly evident to him. “Are you calling me short? Again? Why do you get so much joy from teasing me?” I said. In my mind, I was saying, ‘Don’t baby talk to me, cowboy, unless you want me to rip those jeans down and hop on that hot rod of yours.’ Trying to take attention away from my arousal, I said, “You really should stop tormenting me for being horizontally challenged.”

His brow knitted. “Vertically challenged, sweetheart. You’re vertically challenged.” His eyes rested on my hips, causing me to shift my weight uncomfortably. “I would say your horizon is doing just fine.”

Willing the ever-increasing blush to leave my face, I said, “Well, just let me get this box out of the way so I can lock up for the day. Don’t you have hot plans for tonight?”

“Just meeting a friend,” he said, not meeting my eye. He ran a hand through his shoulder-length brown hair. It looked so soft. I wanted to reach out and touch it.

“A friend, huh? A friend whose name can be spelled with the letters B and J?” I asked.

He raised a stern brow to me. “BJ?”

“Uh… I mean, DJ. Lady DJ.”

“Sure you did.” He gave me a disbelieving stare. “Her name is Sarah, by the way.” Jealousy instantly pricked at my chest at his soft enunciation of her name.

“Uh… okay. Thanks for the info, Captain.”

“She’s a sweet girl. You should be nicer to her.” He shot me a disapproving look. My heart immediately picked up two paces, my nipples tightening, just from one look. The tension between us was palpable. Picking up the crate, he moved it to join the others as he asked, “Why are you here so late? Was there an emergency on Twitter? Someone post the wrong recipe for punch? Did your latest bride go ‘zilla on you?”

“Inventory day is tomorrow. I thought I’d get a head start,” I said with a shrug. Certainly not because I had nothing better to do tonight than go home and watch murder mysteries and stuff my face with Pop-Tarts and soymilk.

“You better not be leaving by yourself after dark.” His gaze held mine.

“I’m fine, Colton. I live alone, for goodness’ sake. I sleep all night by myself in the dark.”

Exasperated, he crossed his arms over his chest. “When are you going to listen to me? Huh, Josie? I swear I’ve been fighting with you since you were running around here in pigtails.”

“Someone’s gotta give you cowboys a run for your money. I’m a big girl, Colton. I’ll be fine. You don’t have to wait up for me,” I said.

He spoke, his tone laced with authority. “That may be so, but I’m not asking you, I’m telling you. Don’t leave after dark by yourself. I’ll come back to walk you to your car after I lock up.”

His words gave me secret shivers. The daddy voice I so loved. But the last thing I needed tonight of all nights was Colton walking me to my car. I smiled. “I’ll be fine.”

His brows rose. “A crate just attacked you.”

I laughed. “That’s different. That thing had it out for me. I was powerless. Walking to my car alone on CLAS ranch—well, that’s about as safe as I’ll ever be.”

He contemplated my face. “I’ve changed my mind. It isn’t even safe to leave you alone while I lock a few doors. Come with me.” He held his hand out to me. “I’m afraid I can’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

Our eyes met. I swear I could sense his soul through those colored sea pools. Would the gorgeous babies we would inevitably create during our intense lovemaking sessions have my brown eyes, or his green ones? Yikes. File that thought under ‘inappropriate for friendship.’ Reaching out, I took his hand. His fingers wound around my palm. Electricity once again danced over my skin as it pressed against his. His gaze locked on mine, holding it just a tick longer than what was comfortable.

He liked me. He wanted to fuck me. I just knew it. Surely he had felt those little magical pulses when our hands touched. Hadn’t he?

I let him lead me out the parking lot and even open the driver’s side door for me. I laughed as his hands locked in beneath my arms and he lifted me up and onto the high seat of the truck. I loved it when he did things like this, making me feel small and protected. “In you go. Can’t have you injuring yourself again,” he said with a wink.

Colton pulled the seatbelt buckle from above my shoulder. I held my breath as he stretched it over my chest, his hand pressing against my hip as he clicked it into place. He pulled away, resting his hands on the roof of the truck. “Drive safe, Little Bit.”

“Not too little to kick your ass, Colton,” I mumbled, fumbling the key into the ignition. He chuckled, closing my door and giving me a wave.

Smiling, I reversed out of the spot.

He had buckled me up. Like a daddy would do. The sweet gesture had me almost picturing myself as a Louanne or a Georgia—let’s be honest, with my ass and attitude, I’m more of a Bridgette—allowing myself to be cared for in this way. But only almost. I just wanted to hit the hay with Colton and get a little taste of that cowboy daddy action, then be on my way. I turned to wave goodbye. He stood watching me pull away. There was a funny look in his eyes that I couldn’t quite read, but I shrugged it off and was on my way.

When I got home, I had a big old case of Colton on the brain. Only one cure for that. Binge-watching my favorite gory stalker series, Mystery Murders.

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