Jed Jones walked his horse through the wooded trail on his property. One
last ride before he headed off to coach football at State. Coaching
football required him to be away from home, his ranch, The Five Star,
for weeks at a time. He missed his ranch, but he loved coaching. He knew
the ranch was in good hands when he was gone. His son Clay was doing a
great job managing the daily operations.
As Jed emerged from the tree line near the old pond, he was momentarily
taken back that what looked like a body was lying on the small wooden
dock, a female body. Sprawled on her back with her hands tucked behind
her head. Ample breasts strained against the white of her tee shirt. Her
knees were bent allowing her feet to dangle skimming the water below.
His initial reaction was, “Whoa where did she come from?” Then he
remembered that John’s niece was due in.
Jed dismounted and walked Daisy, his beloved palomino, towards the pond.
He hadn’t wanted to scare her by riding right up to her. Jed watched
the ladies blond hair as a gentle breeze played with it. Her white denim
clad legs splayed wide, in an unintentional, provocative pose. He wished
she would look up. He was certainly making enough noise. Her face was
turned toward the sun and her pink lips were slightly parted. He watched
her breasts rise up and down with her steady breaths. Stopping short he
realize she was sound asleep. A slight movement a few feet away from her
upper leg caught his attention. Jed reined Daisy quickly to a stop.
Woman gazing abated as his attention was now drawn towards a dark, thick
snake. Jed sickened, the damn snake was slithering towards the
ambivalent, sleeping woman, obviously for her body heat.
Jed reached behind him and eased his rifle from his saddle pack. Using a
hand signal he commanded Daisy to stay still, even after the loud crack
that would come from his rifle. Jed was a good shot but he didn't want
to risk hurting the woman if she inadvertently moved. He hoped he could
remove the threat without shooting his rifle.
The snake was a foot away from ducking its triangular shaped head under
her back where there was a hint of space between the small of her back
and her ass. Jed quickly dismounted and quietly crept closer to the
deck. He held the rifle with both hands, his right hand gripping the
smooth barrel and the left hand loose on the butt. The snake was mere
inches away from that sweet ass. Jed thought it was now or never. He
slammed the butt of the rifle between the sleeping woman and the snake.
He was totally prepared that if the snake did not get the message to
reverse its direction; he would re-grip the rifle quickly and shoot the
sucker. The snake fortunately retreated and quickly slipped over the
decks edge plopping into the water. Wanting to make sure the danger to
the lady was gone. Jed diligently followed the snake’s path as it
slithered through the water underneath the deck.
Grace woke with a jerk as she registered the loud thwack that emanated
next to her body. The wooden deck vibrated under the assault. A man, a
very large man was standing almost on top of her holding a rifle. Self
preservation dictated her rolling quickly away from the danger he
imposed. She tipped off the deck landing face first in the pond. The
cool pond water slapped her face and entered her gaping mouth, causing
her to cough in protest inhaling water instead of air.
Jed took one step to the edge of the deck where the female had rolled
off of and looked down on one very wet, scared woman. His first thought
was that she had cute freckles sprinkling her nose. Her wet hair was
plastered to her head. Her eyes, however, were what made him inhale
sharply. They were large, captivating, and cadet blue in color. Dark wet
lashes enhanced the light hue of the eyes and hypnotically drew Jed’s
eyes to them. He realized those beautiful eyes were piercing him with a
“What the hell!” Grace gulped out. A movement under the dock drew
Grace’s attention and she saw the snake, which was zig zagging
ominously looking for safety.
She let out a gurgled scream and moved further away from the dock as she
treaded water. Grace began to panic thinking to herself. Snake... man
with gun... snake... man with gun...
“Stay away from me.” She blurted out to the to the man with the gun,
while still watching the snake. Grace realized the man was not advancing
and his hands were not in an ‘aim to shoot’ position on the gun. He
continued to look down at her, with a quirky smile on his face.
Grace’s fear leveled off, her sixth sense telling her she wasn’t in
danger, except from maybe the snake, which she continued to monitor. Her
fear was replaced with a wave of anger that had her seething.
“Are you an idiot? I could have gotten hurt! What if I couldn’t
swim? What if I had bumped my head? What if that friggin snake had bit
me? Are you daft? And what the hell are you smiling about?”
Jed realized he did have a grin on his face. However, it wasn’t
because he thought anything was funny, it was because she was so damn
cute all fired up. He recognized that she thought he was still a threat,
holding a gun, so he quickly held up both his hands, rifle with them,
and took another step back, hoping she’d get the message.
“Whoa, whoa lady, I was just saving your ass from a possible snake
Grace tilted her head to the side, still treading water, to peer under
the deck. She couldn’t see the snake anymore and that scared her even
“Well, a little warning would have been nice, I mean crap.” Grace
stammered as she continued to tread water.
“You know you can stand there.” Jed told her calmly, still smiling.
Grace was afraid to put her feet down, she didn’t want to touch
anything creepy crawly.
“I know.” She spat out, “I just... I just don’t want to touch
anything down there.”
Jed let out a crack of a laugh and walked to the edge of the deck,
crouched down and extended his hand to her. Grace noticed the man for
the first time, as a man and not a threat. His hair was black with gray
strands woven throughout, especially at his temples. Thick, long, black
eyelashes surrounded light brown almost tan eyes, yet when he tilted his
head towards the sun they appeared green. Crows feet papered the corners
when he laughed. He had an attractive face, angular and strong. His
teeth were straight and white and his lips stretched and curved upwards
in a beautiful smile that sent a small punch to Grace’s solar plexus.
He was dressed in faded blue jeans that hugged muscular thighs. A silver
belt buckle caught the last rays of sun and sent them skittering across
the pond water. His shirt was light blue denim button up that he wore
over a white tee that stretched sexily over a large, well-developed
chest. Cowboy boots and a brown cowboy hat completed his ensemble. Grace
couldn’t guess his age. He wasn’t a pup, but he wasn’t a retiree
either. He was actually very, very handsome. Too bad he was such an ass.
Grace breast-stroked back to the deck steering clear from where she had
last seen the snake. The rifleman’s arm was still out stretched; she
knew to help her out of the water.
“ Pretty foolish to fall asleep outside, even for a city girl, you
never know what’s out here.”
Grace shrugged off his comment and chalked it up to him being a jerk.
Although she didn’t want to, she grabbed his extended hand. He easily
lifted her out of the pond without her having to touch the bottom of the
pond and planted her on her unsteady feet.
“Pretty stupid to sneak up on someone. What if I had a gun?”
Jed grinned which only pissed Grace off more.
“Do you have a gun?”
“No, but I could have.”
“There are mountain lions out here. This is a prime watering hole.”
Grace sat down soggily to pull on her socks and boots.
“You are an ass aren’t you?” she glared at him.
“Nice thank you, what if I hadn’t come up just then. That snake
would have been so happy to nap next to your warm body. You would have
been bit for sure.”
Grace stood up and shook out her hair, using her fingers to comb it out.
Her white tee was plastered over round, full breasts. Her peach colored
bra was clearly visible. Jed’s mouth went dry when he saw hard nipples
extend towards him. He wanted to reach out and wipe his thumbs across
them. Jed realized she was cold and thus the nipple display. He’d like
to make those pointy nipples stand to attention with his mouth. Jed
cautiously licked his lips and adjusted his stance because his cock was
getting a chubby and that was way uncool. He turned away from the
bewitching pissed off woman before she became afraid of him for an
entirely other reason, one that was now pressing against his zipper.
Jed turned to head back towards his horse leaving Grace standing on the
deck totally peeved.
“I assume you know how to get home?” He called over his shoulder as
he reached for Daisy’s reigns.
“Of course.” Grace yelled back at the infuriating man. He really did
think she was an idiot.
He climbed on his horse, and galloped away, not even looking back,
leaving Grace wet, miserable, and for some reason strangely aroused.
Grace shivered involuntarily, and she knew it had nothing to do with
Excerpted from "Neighbors" by Zanne Sweeney. Copyright © 2013 by Zanne Sweeney. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.