Claimed! by Vicki Lewis Thompson

By SMW Staff

Following a dream brought Josie Keller to Shoshone, Wyoming. Following her heart brought her plenty of great sex with good-time cowboy Jack Chance! She was head over heels for him… until he left her.

Stay with one woman? Not a chance! Then why does Jack miss Josie like crazy? Had their relationship been more than just incredible sex?

Little do Josie and Jack know that a plan’s afoot to get them back in the saddle…together. And once there, it’s not long before they’re burning up the bedsheets again!

But the past is never far away. Before it catches up with them, Jack has to decide if he’s going to stake his claim on Josie, or lose her forever….

Present day

“Josie, there’s a drunken cowboy at the door.”

Jack Chance stared at the tall guy silhouetted in the doorway of Josie’s place. His Josie. “Who the hell are you?”

“That’s none of your business. Look, Josie closed the bar thirty minutes ago, and besides, you don’t look as if you need another—”

“You’d better not be her boyfriend.” Jack was a tad bit liquored up, but he’d been sober enough to climb the stairs to Josie’s apartment above the Spirits and Spurs without stumbling. He also was sober enough to understand the significance of a guy answering her door at this hour of the night.

The intruder shifted his stance. “And you’d better be on your way, cowboy.”

That’s when Jack noticed the bastard wasn’t wearing shoes or socks. Jack’s blood boiled. How dare this yahoo move in on his girl? True, they’d broken up a few months ago. Okay, ten months ago. But just who did this idiot think he was, standing barefoot in Josie’s apartment like he owned the place?

“Alex?” Josie’s voice came from somewhere in the back of the apartment. Like the bedroom. “Find out who it is, okay?”

Jack clenched his right fist. “The name’s Jonathan Edward Chance, Jr., and Josie Keller’s my girl.” Then he punched this Alex joker smack in the kisser.

Sad to say, it wasn’t much of a blow. Jack wasn’t as steady as he might have been and the guy dodged at the last minute. Failing to land a solid punch, Jack dropped his shoulder and threw a tackle. That proved to be more effective. They both went down hard. Jack lost his hat and a good part of his dignity.

Alex swore and struggled to get free, but Jack had him pinned. It was a hollow victory, though, because Jack had knocked the wind clean out of himself.

“What in the name of heaven is going on?”

I’m guarding my territory. The thought went through Jack’s head, but he didn’t have the breath to say it.

“Jack Chance, get off my brother this minute!”

Thank God he hadn’t said it. Her brother? Jee-sus. The back of his neck grew hot as he pushed himself to his hands and knees.

Alex glared up at him. He didn’t look happy. But he did look quite a bit like Josie. Same blond hair, same gray eyes. Come to think of it, Josie had mentioned an older brother named Alex, but he was supposed to be in Chicago, not standing in her doorway barefoot, giving the wrong impression that he was fixing to be Jack’s replacement.

“Sorry about that, man.” Jack staggered to his feet and held out a hand to help the guy up.

Alex ignored Jack’s outstretched hand and stood under his own power. Then he turned to Josie. “I take it you know this jerk.”

Josie must have been getting ready for bed. She was wearing that silky black robe Jack remembered, but her jeans peeked out underneath, so she hadn’t completed undressing when Jack had arrived. She hadn’t taken her long hair out of its braid, either. Jack used to love when she did that. He used to love everything Josie did.

She sighed. “Yes, I know him. This is Jack Chance, the guy I was dating last year.”

Dating. Such a lame word for what they’d had going. Josie made it sound as if they’d kept each other company during the occasional dinner, followed by a PG-rated movie. Instead they’d spent hours having wild monkey sex in this apartment. Sometimes they’d even used the bed. There wasn’t a piece of furniture in the place that didn’t remind Jack of being buck naked with Josie.

Well, maybe the stove. They’d never done it on the stove, because sure as the world they would have hit a switch in the midst of the crazy action and singed something vital. They couldn’t get enough of each other back then.

Alex’s eyes narrowed and he clenched his fists at his sides. “So this is the one.”

Stepping neatly between Jack and Alex, Josie put a hand on her brother’s chest. “I’m not angry about that anymore, Alex.”

Jack got a whiff of her perfume, which had always reminded him of peach schnapps. God, how he’d missed her.

“You may not be angry anymore, but I’m pissed as hell.” Alex’s jaw tightened. “As I recall, this SOB dropped you like a hot potato when his dad died. And now he has the unmitigated gall to barge in here as if—”