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Book: I Love Rogues / anthology

I Love Rogues

I Love Rogues

Brava | Kensington Publishing Corp.
December 2003

THE BEDROOM IS MINE by Jane Bonander

No man is more determined to remain a bachelor than ruggedly handsome Ross Benedict - and there isn't a woman in the town of Twin Hearts who can change his mind. Until he arrives home one night to find a fiery-haired stranger warming his bed. As if that isn't outrageous enough, the hot-tempered intruder demands that HE leave.

Lily Sawyer has every right to be alarmed. She was never told that the secluded cabin she was renting came furnished - with a man! Still, she refuses to budge. So does Ross. Until they discover that the "mix up" was deliberate. Now, the only thing they have in common is the desire to prove that the matchmaker's plan can't possibly succeed. OR CAN IT?


by Jane Bonander

I Love Rogues anthology

An Excerpt...

Ross dismounted and stretched his aching back. The trip over the mountains into the valley was one he always hated. The valley was hot and dry, even in October; Twin Hearts had the blessed ocean breeze to keep it cool all year long.

He dragged in a breath of crisp air and glanced at the cabin. Thank God, he was home. Smoke chugged from the chimney. He grinned. Samantha’s doing, no doubt. Before he left, he’d had an infestation of fleas in the cabin, so had moved his clothes and bedding to Sam’s for fumigation before they treated the place. Yawning, he hoped she’d returned them, but if she hadn’t, he’d pick them up later. What he needed now was sleep. If it was on a bare mattress, so be it. He crossed to the lean-to and unsaddled his mount, brushed him down, and fed him.

The vegetable garden caught his eye as he trudged toward the cabin. It was free of weeds. Maybe Maudie had been feeling better. He hoped so. As he stepped onto the porch, he glanced at the sky. Morning fog clung to the tops of the Douglas firs. He’d risen long before dawn to get home, anxious to sprawl out in his own bed and sleep for the rest of the day.

Pushing open the cabin door, he barely glanced at the living room before closing the door behind him and heading for the bedroom. He yawned and rubbed his hand across his face, weariness oozing into his bones.

The bedroom door was closed. Ross shoved it open with the toe of his boot and stepped inside. The door slammed shut behind him, and before he could turn, he was hit from behind hard enough to cause him to stagger into the wall. He slid to the floor, shaking his head, trying to clear it.

He instinctively went for his bowie knife, but his hand was kicked away. He looked up and found himself staring into the familiar barrel of his own hunting rifle.

“Who are you?”

A woman? Attempting to focus his eyes, he shook his head again and saw a pair of pale, slim calves peeping out from between the edges of a frilly pink dressing gown.

His gaze slid up slowly, over rounded hips and a firm, generous bosom. Her hair, loose and wild around her face, was red as a firestorm, and her green eyes held not an ounce of fear.

Me?” he roared. “Who the hell are you, and what are you doing in my bedroom?”

The woman looked momentarily surprised, then spat, “This is my bedroom. Get out before I blow your head off.”

With a movement that belied his size, Ross grabbed the gun and leaped to his feet.

“Now,” he growled, ignoring the fear that suddenly crept into her eyes, “I’ll ask you again. Who in the hell are you?”

She recovered quickly. Moving away only slightly, she volleyed, “Who are you?”

This was getting them nowhere. “My name is Ross Benedict, and this is my cabin, therefore, my bedroom.”

Her eyes narrowed. “That’s a lie. I know who this cabin belongs to, and it surely isn’t you. Now, what do you really want?”

Stupefied and angry, he continued to stare at her. “I want to know what in the hell you’re doing in my bedroom. Is that so hard to understand?”

She returned an angry glare. “This is my bedroom and my cabin, at least for now. And . . . and stop staring at me, you ogling dolt.”

Brows furrowed, Ross turned away, crossing his arms firmly over his chest. “I asked you before, who in the hell are you?”

“Why should I tell you? You’re the one who’s trespassing.”

He spun around, catching her just as she tied the sash of her dressing gown, a movement that pulled the robe tightly over her generous bosom. As a thickness gathered in his groin, a thought wormed into his brain. He uttered a stream of curses that turned the air blue.

“Sam. Samantha put you up to this, didn’t she? Dammit all to hell.” His fist slammed into the door—and went right on through.

Behind him, the woman let out a shriek.

He turned on her, ignoring the wood splinters that dug into his flesh. One of her hands covered her mouth. The other clutched the lapels of her gown tightly at her throat.

“She did this, didn’t she? Sam put you up to this.”

She removed her hand from her mouth long enough to ask, “S . . .Samantha Browne?”

“Yes,” he answered, his voice filled with silky understanding. “Samantha Browne.”

The woman swallowed hard. “How . . . how do you know Samantha Browne?”

Ross was sick of the game. “You know very well how I know her.”

The woman’s demeanor changed. No longer cowering against the bed, she planted her fists on her hips and studied him. “No, I don’t. Why don’t you tell me? You come in here acting like a raging bull or a raving lunatic, frightening me half to death. I think I deserve an explanation. That is, if you’re capable of strining that many words together at one time.”

Ross was momentarily surprised at her unusual tactics. After all, most women threw themselves at him. And no eligible woman, or any other for that matter, had ever called him an ogling dolt or a raving lunatic. Once, of course, Trudy had called him her raging stallion, but that was after a particularly satisfying night in her bed. It had been a compliment, not flung at him like pig swill. This red-haired witch was different from all the others, he’d give her that.

“She’s my sister. As if you didn’t know.” He turned and studied the hole in the door. “And this is my cabin. I live here.”

She gasped. “Your …your sister?”

Ross’s temper was volatile, but after an explosion, he mellowed out quickly. “Now you understand. I don’t know what little game Sam is playing, but this is my place. If the two of you thought this little ploy would work, well, dammit, think again.”

“I don’t believe I understand you,” she said carefully. “If we thought what would work?”

“Ah, hell. Never mind. Just get dressed and get out of here. The little plan backfired, and I’m dead tired.” He yawned, purposely emitting a loud, disgusting sound before pulling his shirt from his pants.

She didn’t move.

They stared at each other, her gaze haughty and cool, his blatantly, purposely sexual, while he unbuttoned his shirt. He pulled it open and scratched again, giving her a wide view of his naked chest. That usually frightened tight-assed women away.

Suddenly she shoved him, catching him off balance. He crashed into the wall again.

“Get out of here,” she ordered. “You are nothing but a rogue. I’m renting this place from Samantha Browne, and if you have a problem with that, see her. I’m not leaving.”

Ross pushed himself away from the wall, feeling the know of fury twist in his chest. He’d see Sam, all right, and he’d take her over his knee and tan her hide. Then he’d return and toss this flame-haired harridan out of his cabin on her backside.

Picking up his rifle, he stormed from the room. “This isn’t over, woman. When I come back, I’d better find you packed and gone, dammit.”

Lily closed her eyes and sagged to the bed, her heart pounding so hard she worried that it would crack her ribs. She allowed herself a moment to pull herself together, then hurriedly dressed and went into the kitchen to start preparations for the logger’s lunch.

As she worked, she thought of the man who had just left. Man? She forced a dry laugh. More like a bear. She was no small woman, but he was many inches taller than she. Shoulders so wide he’d had to turn sideways to get through the bedroom door. But he was a bear, in breadth and manners. He merely dressed like a man to cover his crude, beastly behavior.

Remembering his final threat, she stiffened. She was not leaving. She was not. She was curious to know, however, why Samantha Browne would rent her a cabin that was already occupied.

©2003 by Jane Bonander

"Ross Benedict bets he'll never shave off his beard for a woman, but his sassy sister has other plans when she sends logging camp cook Lily Sawyer to live in his cabin while he's away. It's a delight to watch these two stubborn people fall in love."

Kathe Robin, Romantic Times