Beauty and the Bull Rider
Hotel Rodeo #3
By: Victoria Vane
Releasing March 15, 2016
When Beauty Wants A Baby
Championship bull breeder and former Texas beauty queen Delaney McCall was having a heck of a time finding a daddy for the baby she craved. A failed marriage left her with no desire for another husband, but finding the right stud to satisfy her needs presents a bigger problem that she could have imagined.
And The Bullrider Wants Beauty
After hanging up his spurs, bull rider Zac McDaniel wants nothing more than to fulfill Delaney's dream of having a family. After all, his best friend's ex has been his fantasy for years. Zac, however, has no desire to be seen as just a means to an end. And when Zac insists on doing things the "old fashioned" way, their passion explodes like a bull out of the chute…
Some Bucking Is Bound To Happen
While insisting it's all just a passing fancy, the more Delaney sees the softer side of the rough and tumble cowboy, the harder it is to keep her emotions corralled. Zac, meanwhile, is more determined than ever to prove he's what she really needs, and will do whatever it takes to tear down the mile high fence around her heart…
Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/152536-hotel-rodeo
Victoria Vane is an award winning author of smart and sexy romance. Her collective works of fiction range from historical to contemporary settings and include everything from wild comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Victoria is the founder of the Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blogs.
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National Bull Riding Championship, Las Vegas
Zac McDaniel entered the bull pens cursing his damned bad luck. He didn’t need a doc or x-rays to tell him he’d broken his wrist. The grinding of bones was a sure enough sign even if the pain hadn’t already clued him in. He was used to pain though. After fifteen years of rodeo, the last ten dedicated strictly to bulls, he’d experienced his fair share of it. Twelve broken bones—thirteen if you counted the wrist— three concussions, and numerous sprains and dislocations that didn’t matter ’cause he’d ridden through most of ’em, still hadn’t knocked any sense into him.
Then again, he was a hardheaded son of a bitch.
Whether he was harder-headed than the bull he’d drawn for his final ride was yet to be determined. Super Spin Cycle was one of the rankest bastards on the tour and the most notorious for rearranging cowboy faces, but with thirty outs and only two rides, he was also one of the most coveted draws. More buck in the bull meant a bigger chance of a payoff—if Zac made the whistle.
Swapping riding hands made it a long shot at best, but his lefthanded grip was too weak from the injury to chance it, and dropping out wasn’t an option. This ride was his last shot for a big payoff; after that, he was done for good. Living on the road had lost its shine a long time ago.
In the beginning, he’d loved the freedom and the variety of traveling, all the different places and the new faces, but somewhere along the line, the lack of routine had become more mundane than working a nine to five. The roads all looked the same. The rodeo arenas all smelled the same. The motel beds felt the same; the only thing that changed was his bedmate. The only real difference from one event to another was the bull. They were all different. Any rider who forgot or became complacent had a short career—that usually ended in intensive care. After fifteen years of riding bulls, he knew he was pushing his luck.
The next injury could be fatal. He didn’t give a shit about the glory anymore. Now all he wanted was enough money to fix his place up and figure out what the hell he was gonna do with the rest of his life.
He gave a curt nod to Guilherme Alvaro. The three-time champion Brazilian bull rider had a five-hundred-point lead, which made him virtually unbeatable, but Zac still hoped to end this night in the money—even riding with a broken wrist. He’d already borrowed a right-hand glove; now he just had to tape his busted-up wrist.
He looked up to find his former best buddy, Ty Morgan, standing beside the chutes. They had once been the best of friends, but things had gone south when Ty’s marriage broke up. His ex, Delaney, had blamed Zac for it and had forced Ty to choose between them. Being none too fond of ultimatums, Ty had walked. Delaney had filed for divorce. Ty hadn’t fought it, but the whole ordeal had still soured the friendship. Eight years later, they were all once more on speaking terms, but they’d probably never get back what they’d had.
“Ty? You’re back? Thought you were in Oklahoma.”
“Nope. There wasn’t any reason to linger after putting Tom to rest. I’ve never missed the finals, and neither did he. He’d have wanted me to be here. I was glad to hear you made the short round.”
“Only by the skin of my teeth,” Zac replied. “I’m number fifteen. This is my last shot, but Alvaro’s so far ahead he doesn’t even have to cover his bull. Damn Brazilians are almost unbeatable. They’ve kicked our American asses in this sport for too damned long.”
“It’s changed a lot since the old days,” Ty said. “Hell, we used to do it just for the rush. Winning a c-spot for making the whistle was only a bonus.”
“Sure has changed,” Zac said. “Now there’s a half million in the pot. I could retire with that kinda money.”
Ty looked surprised. “Are you saying you’re thinking about retirement?”
“Yup. That’s exactly what I’m saying. Don’t know how much longer I could go on—even if I wanted to. Which I don’t. The joke’s on me though. Ten years ago I wasn’t ready to hunker down to ranching, and now that I am, my place is a wreck, and so am I. I’m getting too old for this shit and with each injury the healin’ seems to take a little longer. Speaking of which, could you give me a hand taping my wrist?” He held up his injured hand.
“You hurt your riding hand? What’s wrong with it?” Ty asked.
“I fucked it up last night. I’m pretty sure it’s broken. I can’t grip worth a shit. But I can’t fix my place without money, and I can’t get the money unless I win. So here I am.”
“How are you going to ride?”
“Gonna have to swap hands.” “Ever ridden right-handed before?” Ty asked, tearing the athletic tape with his teeth.
“I’ve tried a coupla times.” Zac shrugged. “Never made the whistle, but there’s always a first, right? Every bull’s a different story. I need this, Ty. I can’t afford to go home empty-handed.”
“You need the money that bad?” Ty asked.
Zac snorted. “When does a bull rider not need money?”
Ty grunted acknowledgement and wrapped the wrist, finishing as the lights dimmed, signaling the start of the preshow. “Good luck, Zac. I gotta get back to Monica now.”
“Tom’s daughter?” Zac asked. “She’s here?”
“Yup. She surprised the hell out of me too. Just wait ’til you get an eyeful of her. She’s rocking that cowgirl look.”
Zac eyed his best friend appraisingly. “What’s up with you and her, Ty? If I didn’t know better, I’d think you had it bad.”
Ty started to speak and then turned away with a shake of his head. The preshow had begun, an elaborate pyrotechnic extravaganza with shooting flames and a pounding hard rock beat. The crowd went wild when the cowboys appeared, all fifteen of them entering through circles of flames like they were some kind of superheroes.
There was a time when he’d lived for this kind of adoration, the cheering crowds, the fans . . . the buckle bunnies, but even all that had grown tiresome. Fuck, now he was just plain tired. A few minutes later, as he climbed over his bull’s chute, thirty-four suddenly felt ancient.