MOMENTUM by Cassandra Carr
Book three in the Buckin’ Bull Riders series.
Marco D’Allesandro has a destiny he wants no part of—running his family’s Italian olive oil empire. Against his family’s wishes, he moves to America to pursue his dream of becoming a professional bull rider and is at the pinnacle of his career, but his family wants him home. Things only get more complicated when he meets Natalie Webster, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed angel who’s got problems of her own.
Their chemistry is explosive from the beginning, and both find themselves in a situation they never thought they would—they’re falling in love. Natalie has had a rough time of it lately, and it’s tempting to let naturally protective Marco take care of her. Both in and out of bed. Marco discovers he relishes the role and wants to keep Natalie close. Really close.
But Natalie’s situation in life and Marco’s continued battle with his family threaten to tear them apart. Neither of them was looking for forever, but might have found their true destiny in each other.
A Romantica® erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Publication Date: December 28, 2012
Series: Buckin' Bull Riders, book 3
Buy Link: http://www.ellorascave.com/momentum.html
Marco D’Allesandro scrambled from the dirt and leapt onto the rail, grateful for the bullfighters as they diverted the beast’s attention away from him. Once safely atop, he turned toward the scoreboard. He was the last rider of the day and needed an eighty-nine to win. He’d stayed on the full eight seconds, so his chances were good. The bull he’d drawn was a tough one, which would help.
I wish the judges would hurry up.
His fellow rider and brother, Paolo, clapped him on the shoulder.
“Nice ride, amico.”
“Thanks.” Marco didn’t spare him a glance, his eyes glued to the scoreboard.
The announcer finally spoke. “Folks, it looks as if the Italian Stallion had another good night.” Marco’s face broke out in a grin as Paolo clapped him on the shoulder again. “Marco D’Alessandro has scored a ninety even on The Undertaker. Congratulations to our second-place finalist, Brady Parrish, and third-place finalist, Randy Suzan.”
Marco turned and swung his legs over the fence. He was about to drop to the other side when a flash of purple caught his attention. He scanned the crowd and then his world tilted on its axis. There, standing in the top-most row of the lower bowl of the arena, was the most beautiful woman Marco had ever seen. That was saying something, considering his Italian upbringing.
It was hard to tell how tall she was, but her lean curves were emphasized by a tight pair of black jeans and that purple top that caught his attention earlier. Dark-blonde straight hair streaked with lighter shades, most likely from being out in the sun, fell to her waist. When she smiled at someone near her his heart went into his throat. He had to know who she was.
He’d jumped from the railing and into the crowd before he even realized he was chasing her, but he wasn’t about to let this one get away. Almost all the women in Italy had dark eyes and hair and blondes fascinated him. People tried to stop him to congratulate him on his win, but he kept his eyes on the woman as she turned onto the stairs to get to the bottom of the section.
Luckily Marco was able to reach a point where he could intercept her as she exited the area and waited, his breath coming in short pants as if he’d run a marathon. When she got close she looked up, and her light-blue eyes widened as she took him in. She kept walking and he tracked her with his gaze. She reached the bottom and he put a hand on the sleeve of her Western-style shirt.
“May I speak with you?” His padre had taught him to be respectful of women, and though there were few decent things Marco had learned from his overbearing father, who was currently pushing hard for Marco to return to Italy to run the family business, that lesson had stuck. Her eyebrows, with hair so light they were nearly invisible, drew down, but she agreed and allowed him to steer her a little to the side, away from the exiting crowd. “My name is Marco D’Alessandro. I would like to know your name as well.”
“Um, sure. My name is Natalie. Natalie Webster.”
He realized he was still holding on to her sleeve when she glanced down, and he quickly removed his hand, offering it for her to shake. Natalie took it and a jolt of something rushed straight up his arm as their hands touched.
“Will you allow me to buy you dinner?”
“Yes. I just won this event and I want to celebrate with a beautiful woman.”
Whereas a line like that would’ve worked on many Italian women and most of the buckle bunnies he normally encountered on tour, Natalie shook her head. “Look, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. I’m not here hoping to find a boyfriend.”
Boyfriend? I only asked her to dinner.
“That is good, because I am not in search of a girlfriend.”
“I’m also not interested in a one-night stand, so if that’s what you’re after—”
“I am sorry, did I offend you?”
Natalie sighed and Marco watched as she chewed on her lip for a minute. He could think of far better ways to make her mouth look abused, but figured given her recent statements she wouldn’t handle his flirting well, so he stayed quiet.
“You didn’t offend me. I’m here to work.”
“You work for the tour?”
“No. I’m following the tour for a couple of weeks. I’m interested in learning about bull riding so I can try out for the female tour. It’s just, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. I’m here to watch, listen and learn.”
“Then have dinner with me. You can quiz me.” When she looked doubtful he added, “I will be a perfect gentlemen.” He turned the full force of the smile his parents had spent a fortune in dental work on and her eyes softened.
That’s what I wanted.
“All right. But just dinner.”
“Just dinner,” he agreed. For now. “Wait here. I will go get my check and my gear and come to collect you within twenty minutes.”
She looked a little stunned but agreed to wait. Marco knew girls in America weren’t used to having the man take the lead, but he didn’t know any other way to behave. After rushing to collect his winnings, he made his way as quickly as possible back to the riders’ area, taking off the protective vest he was still wearing as he walked.
He exchanged high-fives with a couple of the guys before grabbing his rope and winding it around his arm and shoulder. Turning to Paolo, he said, “I’ve got dinner plans. I’ll see you tomorrow, though.”
“Dinner plans, eh? With the hot blonde I saw you talking to?” His brother smirked, knowing Marco couldn’t resist blondes, and Marco nodded. There was no reason to hide it.
“Yes. She wants to become a bull rider and I told her I would give her a few tips.”
“Tips. Right.” His brother grinned then and Marco returned the smile. If he had anything to say about it those tips would be given in bed after he’d wrenched a couple of orgasms out of his beautiful Natalie and had one or two himself. His cock was totally behind that decision and hardened inside his jeans. Natalie had made it clear she only wanted dinner, and if that’s how she wanted to play it, fine. He could be a patient man when it was called for, and she looked to be worth his trouble.
Glancing at his Rolex, he whistled. “Got to go. Later, amico.” Before he could get stopped by any of the other riders, he packed up the last of his gear and threw the duffle over his shoulder. Making his way back to the seating area, he planned out what he would say. Natalie had mentioned she would be following them around for a while. That was plenty of time to convince her to take a ride on the Italian Stallion. The hunt was on.
Copyright 2012, Cassandra Carr