Authors: Bridget Hollister
Tags: #Alpha Male, #Cowboy, #Short Story, #romance, #Rodeo, #Erotic Romance, #contemporary romance
Rekindling the Spark
Cowboy Casanova #2
The material in this document contains explicit sexual material that is intended for mature audiences only and is inappropriate for readers under eighteen years of age.
©Bridget Hollister, 2014. All rights reserved.
Editing by Phoebe M. West. Cover by
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the author.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer's imagination, have been used fictitiously, and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons (living or dead), actual events, locales, or organizations is entirely coincidental.
All characters depicted in this book are assumed age eighteen and older.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademarked owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication and use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
Stay updated and find out how you can get one free Bridget Hollister read a month!
Subscribe to Bridget Hollister's Newsletter
About This Story
The last person Maggie McClure expected to waltz into her bar was her ex-husband—a man that broke her heart into a million pieces five years ago when she caught him cheating on her. Yet, when Rhett Lucas shows up and saves her on a busy night, she can't help but have old feelings start to resurface. Determined to ignore his charms, Maggie finds herself in a constant tug-of-war between what her heart wants and what her mind needs.
As one of country music's most notorious bad boys, Rhett has never quite let go of what he had with Maggie, their sudden breakup leaving him puzzled as to what went wrong. After a night of wild passion, can he convince her to rekindle the spark between them?
Rekindling the Spark
It only took Maggie McClure three days of work to make enough money to operate the Scarlet Saddle Dance Hall and Saloon for an entire year.
Of course, those three days were chock full of drunken cowboys, fistfights, and girls in five-hundred-dollar cowboy boots that would probably never see the dirt of an arena ever again.
But, that was the glory of the Professional Rodeo Rider's Association finals week in Broken Branch. It brought in three times the town's entire population's worth of spectators for only a few days, making the local economy skyrocket in its wake.
Taking a deep breath, Maggie waltzed back behind the bar and grabbed four longneck bottles for table two, twisting the caps off and tossing them into a half-full galvanized bucket sitting on the floor. Even though she had three waitresses and two bartenders manning their posts, they were still busy enough for her to get in on the action herself.
"Swamped again today," her lead bartender, Nick, declared over the roar of the crowd and the sound of the band.
"Glad for it," she said with a laugh. "Maybe after this whole thing is over, I'll take myself a vacation to the coast of somewhere beautiful."
"You? Leave this place?" he snickered. "Why, Margaret McClure… That may be the funniest thing I've heard all year."
Maggie shot him a go-to-hell smile before grabbing a tray and delivering drinks to her intended table.
The truth was, Nick was sort of right. Her entire life had revolved around the bar, ever since she was a little girl. When her father died five years ago, it only made sense that she took over—even if it meant leaving a man she loved more than anything else behind.
She had just finished taking another table's drink order and was headed back behind the bar when the sound of shouting started up. Already way too familiar with drunken cowboys brawling on a Saturday night, Maggie knew during finals weekend it meant big trouble.
Whipping her head around in the direction of the ruckus, she quickly realized the scene was as chaotic as it could have possibly been. Even the band had paused, craning their necks to see what was going on.
Two men, one with a straw cowboy hat still atop his head and one whose baseball cap had been partially knocked off, were going at it throwing ill-placed punches at each other by the front door. A nearby brunette in a too-short-for-her-age denim miniskirt screamed at them to stop fighting.
"Hank!" Maggie shouted to her bouncer, hoping desperately to get his attention before the fight escalated to an all-out brawl. "Hank! Get 'em to knock it off!" As he stepped forward to break the two men up, poor Hank took a sucker punch that he wasn't even expecting.
In two seconds flat, the six-foot-five-inch beast of a man was out cold on the floor.
"Damn it!" she cried, crawling up on top of the bar to try to get a better view. Standing up, she took in the chaotic situation. Before she could determine whether or not Hank was alright, three more guys had joined in on the altercation. Maggie cringed at the sound of beer bottles crashing to the floor and barstools turning over.
The crowd would destroy her bar if she didn't do something about it—and soon.
Closing her eyes, she tried to think about what her father would do in this particular situation. In the two decades she had watched him run the Scarlet Saddle, Jim McClure had endured countless brawls on the premises.
Nothing immediately came to mind and it worried her immensely. Counting carefully to three, Maggie opened her lids and looked out to see the chaos had stopped.
"Oh. My. God!" one of the girls in line next to the bar shouted. "Did you see who that was who broke up the fight?"
"Who?" her two blonde friends asked in high-pitched unison.
"Rhett Lucas!" she squealed.
"No way!" they girls replied, making Maggie wonder with irritation if they were doing it on purpose. "
"Yes! He just stepped right in there, grabbed one of the guys, and pulled him out of the bar. Two of his security guards grabbed the others. It was insane! And so freaking hot!"
Maggie's heart sank. The last person in the entire universe she wanted saving her during a crisis was Rhett Lucas.
Frankly, the last time she had seen Rhett hadn't gone the way she really had wanted it to. They had just gotten a secret quickie marriage at the courthouse in Nashville when her father called, announcing he had terminal cancer. While she had rushed home to tend to her dying dad, Rhett screwed practically every wannabe country-music cowgirl in the city.
Maggie could still remember the day she picked up the tabloid magazine at the local grocery store, paparazzi photos of her husband making out with his tour mate, Jessa Merritt, on the cover. An hour later, she sat in the office of the only lawyer in Broken Branch, having their divorce documents drawn up.
They never spoke again and she had never told anyone besides her lawyer about the marriage. Of course, she'd been busy with her bar and he'd been busy being one of country music's hottest bad boys. But, every once in awhile, the nagging feeling of what life would be life if they had stayed together ate away at Maggie's heart and mind.
Cursing under her breath, she carefully stepped down off the copper countertop and made her way through the crush of people to check on Hank.
By the time she reached her bouncer, a member of the crowd had already helped him up. "You okay?" she asked, looking him up and down.
"Yeah," Hank replied, slightly dazed. "I'm so sorry, Mag. That guy got me out of nowhere."
"It's okay," Maggie said with a sigh. "I want you to take the rest of the night off and go get yourself checked out. That was a hell of a punch."
"Are you sure? I mean, it's awfully busy and I'm really okay…" Hank trailed off.
"Go!" she demanded, nodding her head. "Nick and I will get this figured out."
"No need to," a purely masculine voice boomed from behind Hank. "I'll have my security team take over for the night."
Maggie's heart rate quickened as she noticed Rhett standing in the doorway of the bar, looking as handsome as ever. At well over six foot, his broad shoulders tapered down to a slim waist, showing off the strong muscles of his torso through his tight black shirt. His dark brown hair, trimmed short, hid beneath a baseball cap. He was clean-shaven, his strong jawline and pouty lips begging to plant a trail of kisses across her smooth skin.
Rhett shot her a seductive smile. Almost as an automatic reaction, heat pooled between her thighs. Cursing mentally for allowing her body to respond to his presence, Maggie scowled. "I don't think that's really necessary."
"Of course it is," he replied with a dimpled grin. "Sam and John will watch the door and check IDs for the rest of the night." Almost as soon as the words had left his mouth, Rhett's men were standing in position.
Not in the mood to argue, Maggie waved off Hank's confused expression. "Seriously, go. It's fine."
As she watched her employee shrug, turn around, and leave the bar, she wondered what Rhett's motives were. Why come see her now, especially after so many years?
They said nothing for a few moments, an uncomfortable silence enveloping them while the rest of the crowded bar carried on. Finally, Rhett managed a smile. "You look good, Mags."
It was tough for Maggie to ignore Rhett's charm. He was once important to her—the center of her world, in fact. They'd only dated for a few months before randomly tying the knot, with dreams of babies and white picket fences clouding her judgment. When it all went south and she'd caught him cheating, her whole world had shattered to pieces.
As much as she wanted to rekindle the spark and welcome Rhett back into her life, Maggie knew that if she allowed herself to get close again, she would end up hurt.
Rolling her eyes, Maggie turned on her boot-clad heel and walked back to the bar. After five years, that was all he could manage to say to her? "Consider your tab free tonight for helping with the door. But, don't think this changes anything else."
"Missed you, too!" he called after her, his voice laced with sarcasm.
If Rhett Lucas was in the house, she was certainly going to spend her whole evening staying as occupied as humanly possible.
Thankfully, the rest of the night continued as busy as it began, but without a single fight amongst patrons. When last call came around, Maggie snuck into the back room and propped her feet up on her desk.
She was exhausted and ready to go home. With any luck, Rhett and his guys would be gone by the time she emerged to do the close out books for the night.
Listening to the sounds of bottles being discarded in trashcans, brooms sweeping the painted concrete floors, and the murmur of staff taking care of closing duties, she drifted off at her desk. In fact, Maggie didn't even notice that she had fallen asleep until a knock at her office door woke her up.
"Hey, I'm heading out. Go home and get some sleep, boss lady!" Nick demanded with a smirk. "Another big day tomorrow."
Maggie simply smiled and nodded, forgetting all about Rhett in her sleepy state. Yawning, she stretched and stood up. The sooner she got things taken care of, the sooner she could head upstairs to her apartment above the bar and her warm bed.
When she came out of the back room, she noticed Rhett standing near the old jukebox, flipping through the available selection. An instantaneous frown spread across her face. She'd hoped he'd already have left.
"You really shouldn't be here," Maggie grumbled, going about her duties.
"You know, in some places, a machine like this is considered archaic." He looked up to see her leaning against the bar. "They've replaced 'em with these new contraptions that let you play music from your cell phone straight into the sound system."
"Well, that's where we differ, Rhett. Where you like to replace something the minute a better option comes along, I have an appreciation for what's already mine." Maggie flipped her long blonde hair over her shoulder and turned her back to him, focusing her attention on taking stock of the liquor shelf.
Rhett grinned and Maggie could feel his eyes on her as he took in the view of her tight jeans from the back. "Damn, I missed that attitude," he said, walking closer. "You always did keep me on my toes."
"Well, that was a long time ago. And, if I remember correctly, you constantly needed me keeping your ass in check." She continued to count bottles and jot down numbers in her notebook, never once looking at Rhett.
He chuckled. "That was one good thing about us. You never let me get away with too much."
Maggie unconsciously let out a soft moan as Rhett stood behind her and starting rubbing her shoulders with his strong hands. As pissed off at the man as she was for the way things ended, she couldn't help but enjoy the brief massage, especially after the kind of night she had just endured.