Come To Me (Dare With Me #3) - J.H. Croix
My breath came in ragged bursts as I jogged across the gravel parking lot. “Charlie!” I hollered.
My horse twitched his tail and picked up his pace from a trot to a canter. “You little shit,” I muttered. It’s not like I could easily catch up to him, but I needed to catch him and hoped he tired of his antics soon. I kept going, cursing when I stubbed my toe on a giant rock and hoping Charlie didn’t keep going and end up near the highway in Diamond Creek.
Diamond Creek, Alaska wasn’t all that busy. With the exception of the summer months when the traffic on the highway was bumper to bumper with RVs. I heard the rumble of a motorcycle behind me and hoped the driver was paying close attention. I saw Charlie’s tail rise in the air as he turned and looked back, his mane lifting and rippling with a gust of wind.
The motorcycle passed me carefully and then slowed. I presumed when they saw my escaped horse. The stirrups were flopping as Charlie finally came to a stop and looked back toward me.
“Charlie!” I called.
Although I was in decent shape, I was running out of breath, figuring I’d run at least two miles now and definitely faster than I preferred. I stopped, resting my hands on my knees. Just then, I heard the rumble of a motorcycle approaching from the opposite direction this time.
“Oh, no,” I muttered to myself.
Lifting my head, I was relieved to see the motorcyclist slowing as they passed by Charlie. I began walking again, immediately breaking into a jog. The motorcycle slowed beside me. The guy driving it called over, “Is that your horse?”
I nodded and kept on jogging. I didn’t really know why this guy was asking. I couldn’t see if it was anyone I knew. I didn’t know that many people yet in Diamond Creek, with the exception of the students who had begun coming to my yoga classes and the staff at my favorite new coffee shop.
The man on the motorcycle came to a stop and carefully turned his bike around again. Glancing over my shoulder a few seconds later, I saw him rolling to a stop beside me. Then, the man opened the visor on his motorcycle helmet, and I recognized Diego Jackson.
The moment my eyes landed on him, my belly spun in several rapid somersaults. Of all the men to stop, it just had to be Diego.
My hormones let out a little cheer. I’d met Diego a few times. He’d come to some of my yoga classes with his friend, Flynn, who dragged him and some other guys along whenever Flynn’s girlfriend wanted Flynn to come with her. Those men were dripping with testosterone and enough hotness to melt panties. Of course, only one man sent my body into overdrive—Diego.
“Hey, Gemma. Hop on,” Diego said, patting the seat behind him. “I promise I won’t go too fast, and you’re wearing a helmet.” He pointed to my riding helmet.
I hesitated, but then glanced ahead to see Charlie’s tail flick in the air as he took off at a fast trot. There was no way I was going to catch him on foot.
“Are you sure you don’t mind?” I hedged, wondering if I could even handle climbing on a motorcycle behind Diego and being pressed up against all of that muscled hardness.
I didn’t know Diego drove a motorcycle, but then I didn’t know much about him at all. Other than that he had a body worthy of sculpture, and he flew planes.
“I’m positive. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t think you can catch that horse on foot. He’s not in town yet, but he’s getting close, and then we’ll be dealing with traffic.”
I was a reasonable woman, and I knew he had a point. I didn’t hesitate any further, and climbed on behind Diego. I ignored the flutters in my belly and the heat pinwheeling like hot sparks through me.
“Put your arms around me,” he ordered.
I wrapped my arms around his waist. Diego wore a leather jacket, which didn’t do much to mask the fact that his body was all muscle. My pulse drummed out an excited beat.
“I won’t go too fast,” he called over his shoulder as he put his bike in gear.
The engine rumbled under my thighs. I’d never actually ridden on a motorcycle. I felt the vibration through my entire body while he eased the speed up slowly.
In less than a minute, we caught