CLAIMING THE COWBOY PROLOGUE SNEAK PEEK
“Knox…we’re gonna get caught.” Larissa giggles as I brush my lips over her neck.
“Not if you stay quiet,” I state. “Kneel.”
She licks her lips in anticipation as she undoes my belt buckle and unzips my jeans. People chatter in the hallway as we hide in the cleaning closet of the community center before the bachelor auction starts. Grandma Bishop made me and all the single ranch hands participate, as she does every year, and since it’s for charity, most of us don’t argue. No one is dumb enough to disagree with her anyway.
However, this year is different since most of my cousins are engaged or married now.
Larissa pulls out my cock and wraps her palm around my length. When she sees my double frenum piercing, she looks up at me with wide eyes. Smirking, I slide my fingers through her hair and pull. Her head slightly falls back, giving me the perfect angle. “Open.”
Her cheeks heat as she obeys, and I shove myself down her throat. “Now suck.”
She slides me between her lips, then pumps my shaft until my balls tighten. Several minutes later, I release on her tongue.
“Fuck,” I grunt when she hollows her cheeks, milking every single drop. “You’re good at that.”
She wipes her chin with a prideful grin, then stands. “Do you want—”
“I gotta go. The auction is startin’ soon and my grandma will kill me if I’m late,” I tell her, adjusting my Wranglers and button-up shirt. I don’t usually wear clothes like this but Grandma gave us a dress code.
“Oh.” Her expression is pure disappointment. I never gave her the impression that this meant anything. She chased me and I won’t deny a blow job from a pretty girl.
“See ya ‘round, darlin’.” I kiss her cheek, because I’m a gentleman after all, then grab my black cowboy hat. Without checking if it’s clear, I open the door and leave.
On the way to the staging area, I see the place is packed with women of all ages. A group of Bishop girls are sitting in the front. Then I see my parents with my twin brother, Kane, and Grayson, one of the ranch hands who works at my family’s ranch too.
“We’re ‘bout to start, y’all ready?” my mom asks. She’s the emcee this year. “I’m announcing you first so you can’t run off on me.”
I groan with an eye roll. Considering I’m twenty-six and have participated every year since I was eighteen, she’s being dramatic. “You know that isn’t necessary. But I understand wanting to set the standard with the best.” I adjust my collar.
Kane shakes his head. We may be identical, but he’s more introverted and reserved than me. He also gets way less pussy because he’s obsessed with his best friend, Hadleigh.
Grayson stands next to him with his arms crossed and a shit-eating grin plastered on his pretty boy face.
“What’s the smug look for?” I ask, nudging him.
“Nothin’. Just looking forward to this year’s event.”
I study him. “You hopin’ this’ll be the year Kenzie bids on you, huh? Don’t get too excited.” I laugh because I know better. Kenzie’s my older cousin who can’t stand him, yet he keeps trying to get her attention. She only gives it to him in the form of snarky comebacks and flipping him off.
He grunts. “Yeah, we’ll see.”
“‘Kay, I’m going to welcome everyone and get things started. You boys come out when I call ya.” Mom smacks her lips to my cheek and although I’m a grown ass man, she continues treating me like I’m a five year old kid.
“Welcome to another bachelor auction. I hope y’all brought your wallets because every penny raised tonight is goin’ to the local food pantry,” Mom announces into the microphone. “I’ve been to my fair share of these, and it’s safe to say, the selection gets better and better.”
The crowd chuckles.
“Excuse me, woman?” Dad steps on stage with his own microphone. “Better than me?”
“Who gave you that?” Mom scolds and the audience erupts into laughter.
“I have my ways,” he taunts.
“Well you’re no spring chicken, my darlin’. But I would’ve spent all my money to win you.”
Their corniness has me rolling my eyes.
“You tryin’ to sugar me up now?” Dad asks.
Then I hear Kaitlyn, my little sister, groan in the front row. She’s next to Hadleigh and Kenzie, and they laugh at her expense.
Finally, my parents quit their act and start the auction.
“I may be biased as his mother, but this first guy is a looker. At six-foot-three, Knox Bishop is tan, muscular, and will keep you on your toes just like his daddy.”
“Mom…” I scold as I walk down the runway, giving the ladies my best flirty expression. I know these dates that we have to go on aren’t real, but the money is for a good cause, so I try to earn as much as I can for the food bank. Plus, I know it makes Grandma Bishop happy to see so many actively participating to win a night with the one and only. While Eldorado, Texas is a small town, I’m rarely disappointed by the women who’ve won me over the years.
“But he’ll also keep ya laughing for days.” Mom winks at me. “Let’s start the bid at fifty.”
I strut around, tipping my cowboy hat at the ladies going wild. A dozen paddles fly up at once, including Hadleigh’s. She’s a nurse at the hospital and usually has to work, so this is the first time in years she’s made it. Apparently, she told Kane she planned on bidding on both of us so neither of us felt left out. On her days off, the three of us usually hang out. Though truthfully, I don’t care if she tries to win me. I’ve never worried about not getting a date.
As soon as the squealing fills the room, Hadleigh looks around in horror, and I bite back a smile. Apparently she underestimated her competition.
Mom ups the bid to seventy-five, then one-hundred, and it quickly shoots up to one-fifty. Seconds later, it’s at two-hundred, then two-fifty. Jesus, they’re relentless.
Someone in the crowd shouts, “Three hundred!” I recognize Sarah Cooke’s voice. She’s older and some of my cousins don’t like her. Shit just got a lot more interesting.
“That bitch!” I hear Hadleigh curse. She’s pissed and it looks like she’s sweating.
I won’t deny that I like the attention and enjoy witnessing them fighting for me. Grinning, I glance at Mom who ups it to three-fifty.
All but two paddles lower—Hadleigh’s and Sarah’s.
“Goddammit,” Hadleigh grinds out.
“Three seventy-five?” Mom asks.
Hadleigh shoots Sarah a death glare as if to dare her to keep bidding. I’m not sure why she’s so hell bent on winning, but I’m grateful as hell so I’m not stuck with Sarah.
We all watch as Sarah slowly lowers her arm and Hadleigh smirks in victory.
“Alright, three-fifty to Miss Hadleigh Callaway!” Mom announces loudly. Hadleigh’s strawberry-blonde curls bounce in her ponytail as she gloats.
I flash Hadleigh a wink then leave the stage as Grayson passes me. “Good luck,” I taunt.
He acts as if he’s gonna have the ladies going wild.
I pass Kane who looks annoyed as hell. “Don’t worry, bro. Hadleigh’s gonna bid on you too,” I remind him.
He casually shrugs as if he doesn’t care, but I know better. Hadleigh’s a bombshell with a plump ass and great tits, but he’s kept her in the friend zone for years. We’ve known her since we were kids and he’s been hiding his feelings since high school. If Kane doesn’t make a move soon, another man will and then it’ll be too damn late.
Once Kenzie wins Grayson—a complete fucking shock to everyone—the rest of the bachelors have their turn, and when Sarah Cooke snags Kane, I know all hell’s about to break loose.
I’ve been waiting weeks for tonight. Normally I’d dread the bachelor auction, but since I know Hadleigh’s going to bid on me, I breathe a little easier. I’ll finally have the opportunity to take her on a real date. Then hopefully, I’ll find the courage to ask her for a second one.
She promised to bid on Knox and me, but I know he couldn’t give two shits. He has no trouble in the dating department, so having women fight over him just boosts his already inflated ego.
Something he doesn’t need.
As soon as Hadleigh wins Knox for three-fifty, my stomach turns. I hope the competition isn’t as fierce and she won’t have to spend that much on me, but with Sarah Cooke and a dozen other single women here, I’m not sure what to expect.
“These boys are so good-lookin’, I had to make two of ’em,” my mom gloats as I walk on stage. “Let’s start the bidding, ladies. Who’s got one-hundred?”
I smile when Hadleigh holds up her paddle. Within a minute, the bid is up to three-hundred. When we make eye contact, she reluctantly lowers her arm causing my stomach to sink. She whispers something to Kaitlyn, and I know she’s out of money. I’m immediately disappointed and to make things worse, Sarah Cooke shouts above the noise, “Five hundred!”
No one else can afford that, so Mom declares her the winner.
When I walk back behind the stage, Knox and Grayson are laughing.
“Shut the fuck up.” I scowl. “I sold for more than both of you, so I don’t know what y’all think is so damn funny.”
“Yeah, but it’s Sarah Cooke.” Knox gloats. “Don’t be sour. I bet she gives some good head with that big mouth of hers. If not, just shove your dick down her throat until she gags for ya.”
I want to punch in his smug face, but I know Dad would kill me for causing an unnecessary scene. Then Grandma would chew me up and spit me out until there was nothing left. Not worth it.
“I’m sure you’d know,” I shoot back. He’s the town bicycle.
“In her dreams,” Knox snaps with an eye roll. “Though a warm mouth is a warm mouth, bro. Don’t take shit so seriously and you’d know what a blow job actually feels like.”
“Can you two have your heart to heart another time? Jesus fuck. I don’t know how Hadleigh can stand being around y’all.” Grayson shakes his head.
“Thought you’d be in a better mood since you’ll be going on a date with Kenzie,” I say when Knox finally walks away.
“Trust me, I am. And I’m gonna make it the best damn date she’s ever had so she’ll never want another man again.”
I snort at his confidence. “Kenzie’s gonna make an example outta ya if you keep pretendin’ you’re invisible and don’t calm down. You gotta stop actin’ so excited.”
“Nah, don’t worry, I got this,” he says confidently.
Once the auction is done, Grandma tallies up the amount raised for the food bank and thanks everyone for coming. Then she reminds them to help themselves to the buffet and to bid on the silent auction items. Once she says her final words, I walk out and find Hadleigh chatting with Knox. My gut twists at seeing them so close, whispering and laughing. She looks at my brother differently than she looks at me, but I try not to let my irritation show.
Next to them are Kenzie and Grayson, who has his arm wrapped around her shoulders. He wouldn’t know how to lay low if his life depended on it. He’s been chasing after Kenzie for years and now he has a glimmer of hope so there’s no stopping him.
“Kane!” Hadleigh grabs my arm and pulls me closer. “I’m so sorry! I didn’t realize how much this would cost and didn’t bring enough money.” She looks up at me with her beautiful blue eyes and I know I won’t be able to stay mad long.
“It’s fine, Hads.” I shrug.
“No, seriously. I feel really bad. I want to stab a pen in Sarah’s eye,” she grits.
“Don’t make his date more embarrassing.” Knox blurts out with a laugh.
I shoot him a glare, then bring my attention back to the beauty in front of me. “Stop worrying. It’ll be fine. It’s just one date.”
“I’ll make it up to you, I promise.” She smiles.
I wrap my arm around her and hug her to my chest. “Okay, deal.”
“After our date though…” Knox interjects, shooting her a wink. God, he’s insufferable.
“If I ever get a free night.” She releases an exhausted breath. “I’ve been covering shifts for the past month. Teagan’s on maternity leave and a few others have called in sick.”
“Whenever is fine,” I reassure her, not caring as long as I get to spend some alone time with her.
I turn to Grayson and Kenzie who are whispering as Kenzie pushes him away.
“Maybe I’ll tell Sarah she can have you after all…” Kenzie threatens.
“Nice try, darlin’. You’re all mine.” Grayson waggles his brows, and I’m ready to throw up.
“Could you two get a room?” I say, annoyed by tonight’s outcome.
“Don’t be bitter. I’m sure you and Sarah will have plenty to talk about,” Grayson drawls.
“If she lets you get a word in…” my sister taunts. For being twenty-four, Kaitlyn sure is still a pain in my ass.
I roll my eyes, then walk away. Moments later, Sarah finds me.
“Oh my God, Kane!” She wraps her arms around me before I can form a sentence. “I’m so excited!”
I lift up my cowboy hat and brush a hand through my hair. “Yeah.”
“I’ll text you when I’m free so we can arrange our date, okay?” she says enthusiastically.
Nodding, I give her a smile because I don’t want to be rude. “Sounds good.”
I tell her goodbye, then head to my truck.
Though I know I’ll have to go on a date with Sarah, I can’t stop thinking about Hadleigh. The fact that Knox will take her out before I do has me covered with dread. When it happens, I’m gonna need to get drunk off my ass and hope I pass out so I won’t have to think about it.
Hadleigh’s been my best friend for as long as I can remember and I’ve had feelings for her since we were sixteen. Being her friend has always been enough for me. Between her busy schedule and my long hours at the ranch, it never felt like the right time to tell her. So I stood by and waited.
Waited until she dumped her asshole boyfriends who treated her like trash.
Waited until my fear of rejection wavered.
And am currently waiting to grow some balls to tell her that I’m in love with her.