The Founding Fathers 2)
Left with her uncle by her mother, Savannah Perry didn’t have an easy life. Overworked and emotionally scarred, she dreams of escape.
Meeting Wyatt Matlock and Hayes Hawkins, she falls under their spell, and in a night of passion, gives herself to them, never realizing that she’d been starving for love.
Ashamed and desperate for a new life, Savannah slips away from town and heads toward freedom. Before she can start a life somewhere else, though, she needs to make sure her friend is all right.
She heads to Desire, Oklahoma, a town her friend’s husbands have built, a town where people can live as they choose.
Wyatt and Hayes, though, aren’t about to let her get away. They follow her, protecting her, knowing they have to do whatever they can in order to keep her here with them forever.
“Same old Eb. Always bossing everyone around. You know, the ranch got much quieter after you left again.”
Lifting a brow, he smiled coolly. “How would you know? You left right after we did.”
Savannah got a cold feeling in the pit of her stomach.
“How did you know that?”
“We told him.”
Too shocked to hide her gasp at the deep masculine voice that came from somewhere behind her, Savannah swallowed heavily, staring at a wide-eyed Maggie. Taking a deep breath, she forced herself to turn around and face the men she dreamed about every night.
The sight of Wyatt Matlock and Hayes Hawkins, as always, stole her breath and made her insides flutter and grow warm.
Wyatt towered over her, his brown eyes appearing even darker and more watchful than usual. Steady on hers, they held a knowledge and intimacy that made her nipples tighten and her stomach clench.
The lines around his eyes, lines formed by years of squinting into the sun, seemed even more pronounced now than they did the last time she saw him, but it did nothing to detract from his good looks.
His features, always hard and masculine, seemed even harder now, the anger in his face and in his stance more intimidating than she remembered.
Sliding her gaze to Hayes, she swallowed again, fighting not to take several steps back.
Hard. Cold. Deadly.
Looking at him now, she had trouble believing he was the same man who crooned to her, holding her close and caressing her after taking her.
Standing an inch or two taller than Wyatt, Hayes eyed her coldly, his green eyes glittering like chips of ice. His hair appeared dark inside the store, but she knew that in the sun, it shone with a reddish tint, one that hinted at the temper that had been known to make even the most hardened criminals cautious.
For a split second, tenderness shone in his eyes, before it was quickly shuddered, and she saw a glimpse of the man he’d been that night. No matter how hard he appeared, he wanted her.
She knew it with a certainty she seldom felt about anything.
The knowledge scared her to death.
His hands clenched at his sides as though he had to restrain himself from reaching for her, but she knew that if they’d been alone, she would have already been pulled into his arms and nestled against his massive chest.
U.S. Marshals from head to toe, Wyatt and Hayes looked every inch the hard-nosed lawmen, men with reputations for being the best.
The coldest, the meanest of lawmen.
Men who went up against the worst outlaws and always came out on top.
Men who could track anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Men who made even the most seasoned gunslingers shake in their boots.
Men she hadn’t seen since the night she left Kansas City.
The night they’d taken her virginity.
It took every ounce of self-control she possessed to smile coolly and nod in their direction, while her insides twisted with nerves.
Unsettled by their anger, she ignored Eb’s low chuckle coming from somewhere behind her. Her breath caught when Wyatt stepped closer.
Standing directly in front of her, he effectively blocked the shopkeeper’s view and reached out to touch her cheek, leaving a trail of fire behind.
“Don’t take that cool tone with me. I know better. You’re trembling.”
Savannah’s face burned, and she tried to step back, but he caught her arm, preventing it.
His gaze moved over her face for several long seconds before he nodded once in satisfaction. “You should be embarrassed for running away like that. You were almost attacked twice, and it’s only because Hayes and I took care of those men before they could get to you that you arrived here unscathed. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll be allowed to be alone again.”
Glancing at Hayes, Savannah swallowed again, his intense scrutiny leaving her shaken.
“What are you talking about? You had no idea where I was. You couldn’t have tracked me.”
Lifting a brow, Wyatt grinned coldly.
“We’ve been following you ever since you left Kansas City.”
Savannah blinked, not even attempting to hide her surprise. “Why?”
Shaking his head, Wyatt smiled faintly. “You know the answer to that, Savannah.”
She couldn’t stop glancing at Hayes, unnerved by his cold silence. “What you want from me isn’t possible.”
Wyatt’s smile widened. “Of course it is. We want you with us. We’ll make it possible.”
Suddenly aware of Eb’s and Maggie’s attention, she forced a sarcastic smile. “If you wanted my company so badly, why didn’t you ride with me instead of trailing behind?” The thought of being watched made her uneasy.
Wyatt stepped closer and bent, keeping his voice low. “We wanted to know where you were headed.” Cupping her jaw, he slid his thumb over her bottom lip.
“We figured you were shaken by leaving-and other things-and that you needed some time alone.”
Hayes, with his hands on his hips, dangerously close to the guns he wore there, turned his head to glare at the shopkeeper, who’d moved closer in an obvious attempt to eavesdrop on their conversation.
“What do you want?”
The shopkeeper paled. “I couldn’t, uh, help but overhear. Uh, she called you Wyatt and Hayes. You, uh, wouldn’t happen to be the U.S. Marshals, Wyatt Matlock and Hayes Hawkins, would you?”
Every hard line of Hayes’s body tightened with threatening menace.
Shooting a smug look at Savannah, the shopkeeper came forward, pointing at her.
“I knew she was trouble. She’s a thief, isn’t she? And look how she dresses! What kind of woman, other than an outlaw, wears pants and a holster? I knew she was no good. I knew it. I told Emma that she looks like trouble. I been watchin’ her every time she comes in here, just to make sure she don’t steal nothin’. She must have really done something bad for you to be after her. Did she kill somebody?”
He eyed Eb nervously, but straightened to his full height as though proud that he’d done something that Eb would be thankful for.
Amused, Savannah lifted a brow, sharing a look with Maggie.
Wyatt, on the other hand, looked far from amused. His face turned to stone, devoid of all expression as he turned and faced the other man squarely, placing his body between the shopkeeper and Savannah.
A muscle worked in Hayes’s jaw, his eyes turning even colder.
“Miss Perry is no outlaw. She’s the daughter of a preacher and happens to be our woman.”
He took a step toward the shopkeeper, beating Wyatt by a split second.
“If I hear any talk about her, or if I hear about you treating her with anything but the utmost respect, I won’t be happy at all.”
Reaching out a fist, he grabbed the shopkeeper by the collar and lifted him several inches off the floor.
“You might want to pass that along.”