An Ambitious Woman
Redwoods Series, Book 3
Joy Barron is determined Redwoods will become a prominent thoroughbred stud, and dreams of breeding a champion racehorse. Although David Cavanagh doesn’t always agree with her ideas she refuses to take no for an answer, and schemes to get her way.
After their marriage, she continues on her willful way until tragedy strikes, and fills her with remorse.
Then Thunder, the big, black stallion enters their lives.
When David goes to America, and Josh Frazer comes to work at Redwoods, Joy faces the biggest dilemma of her life.
How can a woman love two men? She can't have them both.
“Want to tell me what it’s about?”
Joy shook her head, but the kindness in his voice brought on a fresh bout of weeping.
“I think you need more than a horse to comfort you,” Josh told her, pulling her into his arms.
She rested her head on his shoulder, feeling the rough cotton of his work shirt and smelling his smell—a mixture of horses, hay and fresh sweat.
“There, there now.” He stroked her back. “Has something happened to one of the children?” he asked.
Joy shook her head.
“Have you had a falling-out with Emma over something?”
Again she shook her head.
“No.” She gave a tremulous laugh. “And before you go through the list, I haven’t fallen out with anyone.”
“Then it has to be something to do with that husband of yours.” He held her away from him. “Am I right?”
“Yes,” she admitted, drawing a shuddering breath.
“Ah! Then there’s only one cure for that.”
He drew her to him and his mouth came down on hers. His kiss caused the most delicious, fluttery sensations inside her. She couldn’t help herself from returning the kiss, and the sensations became stronger. The heat filling her body caused a deep yearning inside her. She wanted love. She wanted him. Letting her body take over her senses she swayed against him, feeling his body hard against her, her pulses hammering. When, much later, he lifted his mouth from hers and gently disentangled her arms, which she hadn’t realized had encircled his neck, he took a step backward, and her legs would have given way if he hadn’t held her. Breathing heavily, his eyes, dark and molten, searched her face.
“My darling Mrs. Joy,” he said, his voice husky, “the time is over for playing games. For both of us. What’s between us is too strong. It’s only my concern for your reputation that stops me from scooping you up in my arms right away and carrying you off to my lair to have my wicked way with you.”
“You mustn’t…I mustn’t…” Joy gasped, trying to regain reality. “This is madness. It can’t happen…it mustn’t happen.” Realizing they were standing in plain view of anyone who happened to come along, with only Chipper’s body to give them some sort of shelter, she stepped away from him.
He put out a hand to detain her.
“Come to me tonight.”
“No,” she shook her head. “No, I can’t. I won’t.”
“I’ll be waiting,” he told her softly.
With a sob in her throat, she turned and ran, through the gate and along the track. As she reached the bend, she turned to look back. He was standing motionless, as she’d left him, watching her.
Joy’s thoughts were in turmoil for the rest of the day, and when she went to bed that night she lay on her back staring into the darkness. Was he waiting for her? She relived their encounter, their kiss, and felt the longing all over again. She turned over, trying to will her eyes to close. It was no use. In her mind, she saw his face, felt his mouth on hers, felt his body hard against hers, and passion stirred inside her once more.
Finally, she could not lie there any longer, thinking about him. She needed to move around, anything to change the direction of her thoughts. Slipping on her wrapper, she left the room and stole out onto the verandah, feeling the smooth boards through her thin satin slippers. Wondering if he was still awake, she leaned against the rail, her gaze making out the shapes of the trees by the thin light of the moon.
Hesitantly she put her foot on the first step. She was not going to him, of course not, but a short walk might help her to sleep. She picked her way down the steps and along the path. He would be asleep by now. Long ago. Somehow, she found herself approaching his cottage. Well, she would just walk by. No harm in that. A pale light shone out. Stopping outside she stood staring at the flickering candle set in the window.
As she stood watching, the door opened and he stepped outside. He walked over and took her hand.
“I’ve been waiting for you.”