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Rough Rider: Sugar County Boys: Book 3 by Faye, Madison (1)

Chapter 1


Son of a bitch.

Our eyes lock, and a shiver of heat tingles through my body. I swallow thickly, and when I see that sly, roguish, loaded grin of his pull across his perfect, chiseled jaw, my pulse quickens.

Heat pools between my legs.

The world stutters for a second.

…My fingers tighten on the shotgun in my hand.

Because right then, I know. Right then, with that grin, I know damn well who he is. Even with the ski mask covering the top part of his face. Even with the fact that I’m sober this time.

…Even if this time, we’re pointing guns at each other, not throwing back an ungodly number of tequila shots before tearing each other’s clothes off in that fucking parking lot.

He’s still wearing those jeans that fit him like the perfect crime from the night before. Different plaid shirt, but I’ll be damned if those aren’t the same jeans. Same scuffed, black cowboy boots, too. He’s lost the hat though — that dark, black, Stetson he was wearing the night before. Kentucky is hardly cowboy territory, but there he was in that shitty little roadside dive, looking like the lone ranger, or freaking Zorro. Like Johnny Cash, sidled up to the bar looking like a bad decision just waiting to happen.

And oh, did it happen.

I should have known better. Or, maybe I did and decided to go with it anyways. Tequila always makes me fucking crazy. Crazy and turned on. Crazy, turned on, drunk, and feeling wild around this man? Well, you’d have to be pretty stupid not to take that bet.

And yet, that was last night. Last night where his lips crushed to mine, tasting like whiskey and something wicked. Last night, when he dragged me — or, shit, maybe it was me dragging him behind the bar to his pickup truck. Last night when we tore each other’s clothes off, when I screamed for more. When it was so goddamn good I swear he fucked me sober for a second or two.

All of that was last night. But this is now. And “now” is us standing eye to eye, surrounded by dangerous chemicals, test tubes, and meth lab workers dressed in hazmat suits with their hands in the air. Why are their hands in the air you may ask? Well, that’s easy: because the two of us are holding guns. Except, they’re not pointed at the workers of the drug lab we’ve just stormed into. We’re pointing them at each other — him with two pistols cocked and loaded and leveled at me, and me with the pump-action shotgun at my shoulder, aimed at him.

…You might call this a “predicament.”

Now, what are the odds that two strangers decide to rob the same meth lab which also happens to be holding close to a million in cash from said meth lab’s drug kingpin proprietor? On the same day? At the same damn time? I’d guess pretty low. But add in the odds of those two would-be robbers having screwed each other’s brains out in the back of a pickup truck at a roadside bar the night before, without either of them having a damn clue what the other’s plans were for the next day?

Well with those kinds of odds, I might just need to go out and buy a fucking lottery ticket.

“Well, well, well.”

He grins, and that’s when I know. That’s when I know it’s not just me that looks right past that mask of his and knows exactly who he is. That’s when I know he’s doing the same damn thing to me. Because he’s not looking at me like I’ve got a shotgun leveled at him. He’s looking at me like he’s thinking through every single detail of the night before in slow motion in his head.

…He’s looking at me like he’s hungry for more. And goddamnit does my body respond. My traitorous body responds to that look like a moth to flame, and the heat starts to melt through me.

“Seems like we’ve got a situation here, don’t we, sweetheart?”

I swallow, biting back the heat from my face under my own ski mask, and tensing my body. My nerves stop jangling, my instincts taking over as I take a deep breath.

“Situation?” I smile. “No, I don’t think so. As long as you drop those water guns and go ahead and step back through that door you just kicked in.”

The man — my dark, rough, sexy as all hell stranger from the night before — grins wider.

“Sweetheart,” he purrs, that Kentucky heat to his accent melting over me like liquid fire and honey. “Pretty sure it’s you who need to lower that thing and go ahead and back on out that door—” he points to the side entrance to the place that I kicked in at almost the same damn time as he did the front door.

“And go ahead and be on your way.” He sighs, turning to look at the freaked-out looking meth cooks. “So damn unladylike to come kicking in a door like that, am I right, fellas?”


He grins, turning back to me. “That wasn’t very ladylike either.”

“Keep talking and I’ll show you just how unladylike I can be when I start talking with this thing.”

I nod at the gun in my hands, and he chuckles. It’s both infuriating and panty-melting at the same time, which is very confusing.

“You realize that I’ve got two, right sweetheart?”

“Mine’s bigger.”

I smile at him as his brows go up, and that damned infuriating smirk of his grows across his face.

“You sure about that?” He winks, his eyes dropping down his own body. “Maybe you need a second look.”

My face burns, and I purse my lips tighter as I take a step towards him.

“Uh-uh.” His eyes harden, and I watch his fingers hover over the triggers of his guns. “Hang on now, let’s not do anything stupid.”

“Only thing stupid I see here is you, cowboy,” I mutter back.

That grin returns. “Tell you what, darlin’. You lower that peashooter and let me do my thing, and I’ll toss you ten grand.”

I snort, arching a brow at him as I nod at the table-full of cash next to us, with the meth cooks in rubber suits standing behind it, arms still raised.

“Ten whole thousand, huh?”

There’s at least a million on that table, and I’m willing to bet we both know it.

“Twenty. Final offer. Now lower that damn thing so I can collect my money.”

“Get fucked.”

“I did, last night.” He chuckles, turning to the meth cooks again, like they’re his audience at a stand-up comedy show. “And boy was she a wild—”

Big mistake. He’s given me an opening. And I take it. My foot shoots out, my boot connecting with one of his hands and knocking the pistol out of it. The butt of my shotgun slams into his other hand, knocking the gun out of that one too before I swing the barrel around and level it right at him

…That cocky grin drops from his face.

Easy now, sweetheart,” he says slowly, his eyes narrowing at me.

“Here’s how this is gonna go.” I smile sweetly, batting my eyes at him. Call it salt in the wound. I kick the canvas duffle bag at my feet over to him and nod at it. “You’re gonna fill that with my money.”

“Darlin’, you’re gonna want to—”

Now,” I mutter. He stops, eyeing the gun in my hand and glaring at me as he snatches the bag off the ground.

“You’re making a mistake here, sweetheart.”

“Noted. Keep filling, pretty-boy.”

One of the meth cooks snickers, but when my stranger shoots him a glare, the man clams back up. My cowboy scowls as he starts stuffing the big stacks of hundreds into the bag, until the whole table is cleared.

“Give it here.”

His eyes lock on mine, his lips thin. I blow him a kiss, and he rolls his eyes as he extends the bag to me. I take it, and for one second, our fingers brush. An electric heat buzzes through me, but I ignore it as I heft the bag onto my shoulder. Shit, a million bucks weighs more than I thought it would.

Thank you.” I smile sweetly at him again. “Such a gentleman. Now, I need you to stay here and count to fifty, sweetheart. You come out the door after me before then and I’m shooting first. Got it?”

“Big mistake, darlin,” he growls. Fuck, why is his voice so hot? Why is just him growling out those words enough to send a tingle through my whole body? I shiver, shoving those thoughts away as I start to back towards the side door.

“Nice to meet you, cowboy.”

“Be seeing you soon, sweetheart.”

“Oh, I doubt that.”

I duck out the door, turn, and run for the getaway car I’ve left running in the side lot.

…The getaway car that’s no longer there.

Oh shit.