Grant (Riding Hard) - Jennifer Ashley


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Carter Excerpt

Grant Campbell's Texas Chili

Grace Malory's Triple-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Books by Jennifer Ashley on Kindle

About the Author


Chapter One

Christina slid two beers across the bar’s top, barely paying attention when the customers told her to keep the change. She didn’t notice anything—not the hot, swirling air, the thumping music, or the laughter of the patrons relaxing on a Friday night.

He wasn’t supposed to be here.

Grant Campbell strolled in, the cocky, arrogant hotter-than-hell cowboy Christina had tried, and failed, to stop thinking about for the last year or so. He took off his black hat as soon as he walked through the door—he always removed his hat when he went inside anywhere—he was polite that way. He wore a button down shirt, which was formal for a man who lived mostly in T-shirts, but tonight was a special occasion.

His jeans stretched over thighs made tough with riding and stunt work, his walk graceful from the same. The dimmed lights brushed his dark hair, which in the sunlight had highlights of gold.

He didn’t come in alone. Grant was never alone. He’d have women with him, usually more than one.

Tonight, it was three. Two wore their hair long; one had cropped it short. All wore jeans that might slide from their slim hips any second, tops that were so tight they might have been painted on.

They were beautiful, of course, in that blond, smooth-faced Texas way. Why was it that every woman who followed Grant around was a walking cliché?

Except Christina. She had black hair that curled and would never lie straight, a body with more cushioning than she liked, and her dad’s nose. You’re a Farrell, honey, her dad liked to say. No denying it. He said it proudly, because he loved her, but Christina had long ago realized she’d never be petite.

The girls with Grant were shrimpy. Skinny, except for breasts that couldn’t be real. No woman was a perfect right angle like that.

The young women hung on him, fighting for which two would have his arms around them. Grant was grinning, the idiot, loving the attention. Christina slammed used beer mugs two patrons had left into the dirty dish tray, pretending she was way too busy to notice.

Grant got the buckle bunnies to settle down at a table, then turned to approach the counter.

He stopped between one beat and the next, his blue eyes stilling as his gaze fell on Christina. Christina glanced down, rubbing away at the rings the mugs had left. Grant hesitated, poised to turn around and go. He hadn’t realized she’d be here tonight.

Then he came on. Grant didn’t lose his smile, didn’t look the least apologetic. He was well-loved in Riverbend, this was Friday night, and this was Riverbend’s only bar. He had every right to be there.

Christina could have turned aside and let Rosie wait on him. She could have slipped out to the tables she was watching, as if she never saw him. Instead, she made herself turn from her wiping and give him a neutral look.

“Hey, Grant. What can I get you?”

His eyes flickered. Christina would not—absolutely would not—think about how he’d turned around those words seven years ago to get her to first go out with him.

What can I get you?

You, he’d said with a grin. Or your phone number. Or you meeting me at the coffee shop tomorrow.

Christina got propositioned every night, often with similar phrases. But Grant had turned on his Campbell charm, his beautiful blue eyes warm, and Christina had fallen hard.

She’d known Grant and his brothers most of her life. She’d gone to school with him, but he was three years younger, and she’d barely noticed him.

In the time between high school and his first legal entrance into Sam’s Tavern, Grant had sure grown up. He’d become tall, deep-voiced, hard-muscled, and athletic.

In the years following, while Grant and Christina had dated, then moved in together, Grant had grown up even more. Now he was a hot, tight-bodied man—successful, handsome … And he still had that kick-ass grin that had every woman in River County falling at his feet.

The frozen moment passed. Christina saw Grant pretend to relax, though the hand he rested on the counter curled to a fist. “Four beers. Whatever’s on tap. Oh, make one of them a light.”

“Watching your weight?” Christina asked as she lifted four mugs between her fingers, arranged them in front of her, and