Big Bad John (Bigger in Texas Series)

 

 

 

 

Big Bad John

 

 

By

R.G. Alexander

 

 

Big Bad John

Copyright 2013 R.G. Alexander

Cover Design by
R.G. Alexander

Formatted by
IRONHORSE Formatting

 

Kindle Edition

 

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author's work.

 

 

 

 

 

Dedication

 

For Cookie, love is the reason. In fact, love really is the reason for this particular cowboy, so thank you for being my inspiration in every way. Special thanks to my Smutketeers, Robin L Rotham and Eden Bradley, for taking me on a guided tour of kinky town, and showing me how much you love me via your pretty red pens. Eden...an extra thank you for letting me “borrow” your mojo for Caroline. And I’m sorry about that whole cowboy hat incident. (I’m not really sorry.)

One last shout out to my readers…Enjoy!

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Coming Soon: Burn With Me

Look For These Other Titles From R.G. Alexander

Bonus Excerpt: Truly Scrumptious

Bonus Excerpt: Three for Me?

Bonus Excerpt: Four for Christmas

Bonus Excerpt: Marley in Chains

 

 

 

 

 

Check out all the excerpts at the end of
Big Bad John
including a

Bonus Excerpt from
Burn With Me
,

R.G.’s newest Series from Samhain Publishing, coming out August 27th!

Available Now for Pre-order!

Plus Excerpts from
Truly Scrumptious
,
Three for Me?
,
Four for Christmas
, and
Marley in Chains.
Available Now!

 

 

Chapter One

 

“So when you said you grew up in Texas, you meant the third circle of Hell. You should have warned me. I would have known how to pack for that.”

Trudy bit her lip to hold back her chuckle, lifting one hand from the wheel of the rental car to turn up the air conditioning, pointing another of the small vents directly at her friend. “I think Dante’s third circle was gluttony, not humidity. But I
did
warn you, Caroline. Repeatedly. You simply chose not to listen.”

Caroline lifted her long dark hair and twisted it into a stylish knot on the top of her head, leaning forward so the icy blast of air went down the snug black tank top emblazoned with skulls and roses. “Don’t say gluttony, it makes me wish we’d stopped for ice cream in the last town and ordered enough to bathe in. And I thought you were exaggerating. It’s not like I haven’t dealt with heat before. Los Angeles is blazing in the summer. But this is so…” She pursed her glossed lips and narrowed her bright green eyes, as if searching for an adjective to do the weather justice. “…
moist
. Walking from the airport to the rental car was like a trek through the deepest, darkest Amazon.”

“Now who’s exaggerating?” But Trudy understood. Texas in the summer was not for the faint of heart.

She’d left this place thirteen years ago, only coming back once for her father’s funeral. With each mile marker that brought her closer to her family’s land, she was remembering all the reasons she’d had for her great escape. And while weather might have been
on
her seemingly endless list, it was closer to the bottom.

The reasons up near the top…she didn’t want to think about right now. But she couldn’t stop herself. Coming home brought everything back. Maybe that’s why she’d avoided it for so long.

“I’m old,” Caroline grumbled. “An old but soon to be infamous author of a weekly gossip column. Of course
I
exaggerate. Good lord, is that a rabid bear?” She pointed to a cow standing on the side of the road, calmly chewing its cud as it watched them pass. She snickered. “You see? I did it again.”

“Old, your smart ass.” Trudy rolled her eyes, but her mood lightened. She really was glad Caroline had insisted on coming along. It was fate, she’d assured Trudy, that had granted her ability to kill two birds with one stone—to be there offering moral support while she hunted down her story at the same time.

Caroline was chasing a mystery for a magazine piece, something that would increase her name recognition in the industry and possibly even result in a book deal. The clues to that mystery had all coalesced around one location.

The same spot Trudy had left behind all those years ago in a cloud of “I’ll show you” and dust.

La Grange, Texas.

Unlike the eternally youthful forty-five-year-old Caroline, this town really
was
old. A tired, quiet community whose only claim to fame was the closed-down brothel known as the Chicken Ranch and the song ZZ Top had written about it. La Grange had been going through its final death throes for decades now, long since killed by a highway bypass and trapped in time between Brenham and Bastrop. It was only a few hours away from the young, thriving city of Austin, but those hours might as well have been a century. The only excitement this forgotten town could look forward to came from people visiting for the antiques festivals…and the possibility that someday the burned down building that used to be the movie theater would be rebuilt.

Not exactly a thriving metropolis.

So why did you agree to come back?

She’d been asking herself that question all day. During the long flight from LAX to Austin and during the two-hour drive down highway seventy-one. Her brother needed her, the email had said. Headstrong, reckless Jefferson had broken his leg—something she was surprised hadn’t happened more often—but he’d assured her he was fine. Everything was fine.

But that email…

It had been from him. John Brown.  The most ordinary, innocuous signature in the world, except that it was attached to this particular John Brown. The broad-shouldered mysterious John Brown who’d drifted into Trudy’s world when she was seventeen, won over her father and brother and never left. The quiet, hardworking John Brown who’d made sure the house was still left standing after her father died, despite all her brother’s harebrained schemes for expansion. The ones that always fell through.

The rugged, handsome and brooding John Brown who’d awoken something inside her years ago, something that had scared her as much as it had aroused her. Something that had sped up her plans to leave for California as if her ass were on fire. Before she gave in. Before she
begged
to give in.

That
John Brown.

Jefferson had long ago made John a partner and put him in charge of the finances of the G&J. It should have bothered her since he wasn’t family, but it didn’t. She knew him. Trudy didn’t plan on moving home again, but the idea of the house she’d grown up in and the land she’d walked as a child being lost to strangers due to mismanagement was untenable. Leaving Jefferson in charge on his own would make that an inevitability. Like Trudy, her brother had always had a reckless streak. They’d gotten that from their mother.

John didn’t.

His email had been short and to the point, but then, he’d never been much of a talker.

Your brother needs you at home while he recovers.  The ticket will be waiting for you at the airport.

John

She must have reread it a hundred times, giving in to her disbelief and anger at his highhanded, if succinct, order. She’d even allowed herself to feel curiosity and concern, all the while ignoring the hum beneath her skin. The electric jolt up her spine at the unexpected communication. The command.

She’d spent hours writing and rewriting her response, editing and deleting one chilly rejection after another. Erasing the questions about his nerve, along with a few choice feminist phrases that would have sent a lesser man running with his tail tucked between his legs. But the longer she worked on her reply, the more she wondered at why he’d sent it in the first place. She’d never gotten so much as a postcard from him, even on her birthday.

That hadn’t stopped her from thinking about him. Dreaming about him. Wishing they’d finished what they started and wondering why he hadn’t called. Why he’d never given any indication that he wanted her again.

Was her brother hurt worse than he’d let on? He must be or why would John have broken such a long streak of silence? Was he trying to tell her something?

In the end she’d kept her response as short and simple as his, hoping he’d wonder if there was any underlying message. Hoping it would drive him as crazy as his had driven her.

I can only stay for two weeks. I’ll rent a car when I arrive in Austin.

Trudy

It wasn’t true, the two week cut-off. Oh, it would have been. She’d saved up two weeks’ worth of vacation days at her job managing the trendy bistro in the heart of West Hollywood. She would have used them, if the boss’s new girlfriend hadn’t had a mile wide jealous streak strategically hidden by her weekly botox injections and fluffy collagen plumped lips. If she hadn’t been convinced Trudy was moving in on her territory.

Trudy grimaced. Restaurant management wasn’t exactly her reason for living, but it had paid the bills for the last six years—as well as studio time while she worked on her indie album—and she’d been damn good at it. She didn’t like the idea of starting over somewhere else. Starting over. Again.

Thanks to a few phone calls placed by her apologetic
ex
-boss, she’d get severance pay and have a job with better benefits at another restaurant waiting for her when she got back. They were holding the position open for a month for her. He owed her that much, he’d assured her, and she didn’t disagree.

Something to look forward to. But not the only thing. Right before she, left the label she never thought she’d hear from had called to make her an offer. One she’d been waiting on for more years than she could count. Too many years.

She had these few weeks to decide whether or not she’d take it. Then her life would change forever.

Caroline’s groan brought her back to the present. “It’s too hot for you to start getting quiet and introspective on me, sweetheart. Not unless you tell me exactly what you’re thinking and distract me from my current state of misery.” A loud beep in the car made her friend jump. “Trudy? Your GPS is telling you to take this exit. Are you sure this is where you were born? Totally certain? You’ve never struck me as the country mouse type.”

Trudy shrugged, turning on her blinker. “I never was. Well, before we sold off most of our horses in time for my twelfth birthday, I
was
going to be a singing, barrel-racing rodeo queen. That’s pretty damn country. But that was only a phase. I grew out of it.”

Out of her plans for the rodeo circuit, not out of her desire to sing. She’d started sneaking away to Austin with her friends when she was fourteen, roaming Sixth Street and befriending the musicians. Sneaking into the bars to sing on open mic nights and planning her escape.

“Rodeo huh?” Caroline chuckled. “That explains a lot. At least, it explains your fascination with rope.”

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