The Buckhorn Legacy

November 1, 2012

Buckhorn Brothers Family Tree
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The Buckhorn Brothers

Emma Clark is back in Buckhorn. Once she was the girl with too much makeup and a bad reputation—and she tried everything she could to get Casey Hudson into bed. He was the cutest guy in town, and the only one who seemed to really care about her.

As a hot-blooded teen it was hard for Casey to resist Emma. Now, eight years later, it’s impossible. But Emma is doing her best to shut him out—and Casey needs to convince her that the attraction that burns between them isn’t just leftover teenage lust, but his real love for a real woman…

Harlequin ·  9780373777082

 

Book Excerpt

Excerpt from Casey

The picnic had lasted all day, and Casey had a feeling everything that should have been accomplished had been. And then some - like his present uncomfortable situation.

He hadn't exactly meant to pair up with Emma Clark. She had few friends, none of them female, and Casey had just naturally defended her when the others had started sniping.

So now, with nearly every girl in town chasing after him, he found himself behind the garage at the far end of the house with the one girl he'd been doing his best to avoid snuggled up to his side. No one else in the yard could see them. They had complete privacy.

How the hell was a guy supposed to deal with that?

His father and his uncles had been the most eligible bachelors in Buckhorn, Kentucky . It had been fun for Casey growing up in an all-male household and watching his uncles and his dad deal with all that female adoration. Casey was proud and amused by it all. Especially since he'd gained his own share of adoration as he'd matured. He'd learned a lot from watching them - but he hadn't learned how to deal with Emma.

Like his father and his uncles, Casey loved and respected women, most especially his grandmother and his new stepmother and aunts. But then, they were all so different from Emma.

And that thought had him frowning.

Emma was... well, she had a reputation that could rival his Uncle Gabe's, and that said something since Gabe had been a complete and total hedonist concerning his sexuality. By all accounts, Gabe had started young; from what Casey knew, Emma had started even younger.

At seventeen, she flaunted herself with all the jaded expertise of a woman twice her age. Her bleached blonde hair and overdone make-up aptly advertised her 'on the make' status.

Lately she'd been on the make for Casey. For the most part, he'd been able to resist her.

For the most part.

Emma's small soft hand began trailing over Casey's chest. His heart thumped hard, his body hardened. Very gently, doing his best to hide his reaction from her, he eased her away. "We should join the others."

In fact, he thought, all too aware of the heat of her young body so close to his own, he never should have been alone with her in the first place. Thanks to his stepmother and her father, he had a great business opportunity coming up. But before he could take advantage of that, he had several years of college to get through. Emma, with her hard-to-resist curves and open sensuality, would be nothing but trouble.

"No." She stroked down his bare chest, but Casey caught her hand before she reached the fly to his jeans. He liked her more than he should have, and wanted her more than that. Hell, to be truthful, he was crazy nuts with wanting her, not that he'd ever told her so. His plans for the future did not include Emma. They couldn't.

Emma had led a very different life from him. Tangling the two up wouldn't be good for either of them.

His head understood that, but his body did not.

It took more control than he knew he had to turn her away this time.

"Emma," Casey chided, hoping that she couldn't hear the shaking of his voice. He'd only wanted to champion her, but Emma wanted more. She was so blatant about it, so brazen that it took all his concentration not to give in.

Besides, more than anything else, Emma needed a friend not another conquest. And beyond that, Casey didn't share.

"Are you a virgin?" she taunted, not giving a single inch, and Casey laughed outright at her ploy. She was determined, he'd give her that. But then, so was he.

Flicking a finger over her soft cheek, he said, "That's none of your business."

Her incredible brown eyes widened, reflecting the moonlight and a femininity that went bone deep. She shook her head in wonder. "You're the only guy I know who wouldn't have denied it right away."

"I'm not denying or confirming."

"I know," she whispered, still sounding amazed, "but most guys'd lie if they had to, rather than let a girl think - "

"What?" Casey cupped her face and despite his resolve, he kissed her. Damn, it was hard fighting both himself and her. "I don't care what anyone thinks, Emma. You should know that by now. Besides, what I've done or with who isn't the point."

"No," she agreed, her tone suddenly so sad it nearly broke his heart. "It's what I've done, isn't it?"

Thinking about that, about the guys she'd probably been with and the notoriety of her reputation filled Casey with possessive rage. So many guys had bragged. Too damn many. Ruthlessly, Casey tamped down the urges he refused to acknowledge, and repeated his own thoughts out loud. "I don't share."

"Casey," she said, shyly peeking up at him, her expression tinted with hope, "what if I promised not to -"

"Shhh." He couldn't bear for Emma to start pleading, to make promises he doubted she could keep and that, in the long run, wouldn't matter anyway. He couldn't let them matter. "Don't do that, Emma. Don't make it harder than it already is. Summer break is almost over and I'll be leaving for school. You know that. I won't be around, so there's no point in us even discussing this."

Big tears welled in her eyes, causing his guts to cramp. One of her hands fisted in his shirt. "I'm leaving too, Casey." Her breathing was choppy, the words broken.

Emma leaving? That surprised him. As gently as possible Casey stroked the tears from her cheeks and then, because he couldn't help himself, he kissed her forehead. "And where do you think to go, Em?" She hadn't finished high school yet, had no real prospects that he knew of, no opportunities. Her home life was crap, and that bothered him too. He wanted...

No, he couldn't even think that way.

"It doesn't matter," she said, "I just wanted you to know."

He didn't like the sound of that, but had no idea what to say. He could see her soft mouth trembling, could smell her hot sweet scent carried on the evening breeze. Unlike the other girls he knew, Emma didn't wear fragrances. But then, she didn't need to.

Her warm palm touched his jaw. "You're all that matters to me right now, Case. You and the fact that we might not ever see each other again."

Boldly, she took his hand and pressed it to her breast. Casey shuddered. She was so damn soft.

His resolve weakened, then cracked. With a muttered curse, he pulled her closer and kissed her again, this time giving his hunger free reign. Her mouth opened under his, accepted his tongue, gave him her own. It didn't matter, he promised himself, filling his hand with her firm breast, finding her puckered nipple and stroking with his thumb.

She gave a startled, hungry purr of relief, her fingers clenching on his shoulders, her hips snuggling closer to his, stroking his erection, driving him insane.

Casey gave in with a growl of frustration and overwhelming need. He was damned if he did, and damned if he didn't. And sometimes Emma was just too much temptation to resist.

But it wouldn't change anything. He told her so in a muted whisper, and her only reply was a groan.