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Wyoming Wilde, Book #4
Hawaii has a brand-new cowboy bachelor
No one knows the truth about Keanu Kealoha’s family history, and he intends to keep it that way. But Keanu’s world explodes when the reclusive rancher allows a visiting production company to film his life. Suddenly he and his twin brother are TV’s hottest new bachelors. However, Keanu’s celebrity could end as quickly as it began if he gives in to his desire for Sonia Brandon, the show’s sophisticated and sexy producer.
As the force behind reality television’s latest hit, Sonia knows the sky’s the limit. But her attraction to the Hawaiian bachelor could jeopardize everything…especially when Keanu’s shocking secret is aired before millions of viewers. With her feelings growing, Sonia is determined to prove that she didn’t betray him. But can the reality of their blossoming relationship overcome the secrets of the past?
Shouldering an arm against the heavy wooden door to open it, the only thing on Keanu “Key” Kealoha’s mind after a grueling day wrestling, branding and working cattle was getting intimate with a warm, willing woman.
He ran a hand through his hair, spiking the longish inky-black strands over his head as he tiredly walked his horse into the massive stable. It was time for a damn haircut, he thought.
He dropped his hand from his head and allowed it to rest on the thick, corded-muscled back of the stallion as he strode farther inside with the animal.
Frustration with just about everything, hair included, was riding him as hard as he’d just ridden the horse. He gave the animal a consoling, swift pat.
But not nearly as hard as he wanted…scratch that, needed…to ride a woman. And not just any woman would do. The image of who he wanted beneath him rolled into his mind.
As if the thought had the right to take up residence in his mind. As though he’d given her the right.
As soon as the accompanying image entered his thoughts, Key growled low in his throat.
The mental images and thoughts pissed him off more than the past twenty-four hours had. And after the past twenty-four hours he’d had, he could do without them.
His mind still reeled, spinning the information over and over, thinking of what he’d learned…and how he would tell his brother.
He shook his head, blowing out a disgusted breath. He shelved that problem to another part of his brain for later contemplation.
He had enough on his plate as it was. There was no time to wonder how he was going to figure out how to deal with the skeleton in his family closet he’d recently discovered and what it meant for him and Nick.
Finding out what his mother had done was hard enough for him to swallow. The fact that he and Nick weren’t their father’s biological sons was something that hurt like hell. Not that he and Nick hadn’t always suspected they weren’t the biological sons of Alek Kealoha, the man who raised them.
But to see in black-and-white, in the form of his mother’s personal letters he’d found, which chronicled her life from the time she was a young woman to her death, and what he’d learned, was something else entirely.
He sighed. In actuality, it was something he and his brother had talked about for years, the suspicion that Alek wasn’t their natural father, but because they loved him unconditionally, they’d mutually agreed to shelve the discussion. Permanently.
Although they resembled their mother, their blue eyes had always been a source of question. But neither his mother nor father ever spoke about it, even though others never seemed to have a hard time gossiping about it. Not that he or Nick had ever suffered because of it. Despite their lack of resemblance to their father, their family had been tight-knit.
Yet he felt a rising anger at his mother’s duplicity and felt guilty as hell. And the fact that he had been the one to go through her personal things had been a given.
Throughout her illness, it had been made obvious to Key that his father wouldn’t be able to handle that task after her death. He was too close to her, loved her too much to deal with the pain. As for Nick…no way was his twin going to do it. Key had been told that in no uncertain terms.
There was no one else, and Key had shouldered the responsibility.
As Key had begun the cheerless task of sorting through his mother’s belongings, he’d stumbled upon her diary.
Really, calling it a diary was a stretch. It was a collection of…letters.
At first glance, Key had seen the letters, bundled together and tied with a satin bow, and thought them love letters between his parents, and had set them aside for his father to peruse, not wanting to read something he thought to be intimate exchanges between his parents.
When he’d seen another man’s name on one letter, his hand paused in the act of placing them aside. Despite his inner voice telling him he didn’t need to tread there…he did. He’d read the letters.
And been stunned to learn of his mother’s transgression. How she’d fled Hawaii as a young woman, away from their father, and fallen in love with another man.
And had given birth, upon her return, nine months later to twin boys—he and his brother, Nick.
A’Kela had passed on last year and, despite the lies, he, Nick and their father had loved her desperately. And missed her just as desperately.
It was obvious to Key that his father had known of their true parentage. Yet he’d never said a word. And he’d accepted Key and Nick as his own, never treating them as anything but his sons.
Key drew in a deep breath. Too many skeletons.
For all of that going on, she still remained the primary thought running roughshod inside his head.
“And that’s saying a whole helluva lot, considering the type of day I’ve had,” he muttered. “Damn.” The curse was torn from his throat, grunted low.
Even as he blamed her, he knew she wasn’t the one to blame. It seemed lately she’d been running ’round in his head so much, it was becoming the norm to fault her for everything from the constant stream of women tramping in and out to tour the Kealoha Ranch in an effort to see the Dynamic Duo, the cheesy nickname he and his brother seemed to be stuck with due to the reality show about the ranch, to the state of his constant hard-on.
He adjusted the front of his jeans absently and walked the stallion farther inside. No sooner had he’d walked inside than his steps halted and his gaze narrowed as it slid over the occupants of the massive stable.
He checked his irritation, barely, after seeing the small gathering of film crew that still lingered inside.
In the mood he was in, that was just what he needed to make his day complete.
“Damn,” he growled as he walked his animal toward its stall.
After a long day helping his men brand the new shipment of cattle, including two new prize bulls, seeing his stable still teeming with film crew added more fuel to the fire already burning.
Yeah, that was just what the hell he needed.
Squashing the immediate need to tell them to get the hell off his property, Key gritted his jaw and recalled why he’d allowed the TV film crew on his family’s property in the first place.
Family, ranch and preserving Hawaii. Those, and those alone, were his reasons for putting up with the intrusion into the daily lives of him and his family, ranch family included.
The attention from the show helped to bring awareness to the Aloha Keiki, the foundation his mother had started, which helped young, disadvan-taged youth bring in much needed money to the poorer communities on the island. The money specifically was designated to help with agriculture, as well as scholarship opportunities for those who aspired to go to college. Through gardening and the community orchard his family had started years ago, which the children and volunteers tended to, the money it generated went to those families in need in the small town near the Kealoha Ranch.
At times the burden of responsibility and decisions he and Nick made on a daily basis, without their father’s input, due to his recovery from the stroke he’d had after their mother’s death, was overwhelming.
But it was a responsibility that he and his twin shouldered willingly.
Although when it came to the attention the show had given the ranch, his “player” of a brother was having less difficulty than Key because of the added attention from women.
He’d agreed to allow the television crew to come in and film the lives of the men and women who worked the Kealoha Ranch to bring awareness, globally, to the impact of ranching in Hawaii as well attention for their mother’s foundation. The desire he and his family had to preserve the environment while forging ahead in the new generation was a cause important to the Kealoha family.
It was what his father wanted, what he promised his wife he would always champion. A’Kela’s recent passing had left a hole in their lives that could never be filled.
To that end, Key, Nick and their father, Ale-kanekelo Kealoha, had made sure to follow through with their promise.
And if allowing television cameras into their daily lives was what it took, Key was determined to go through with it. It was what his mother would have wanted. It had become the mantra for Key and his brother.
And now that his father was recovering from the massive stroke he’d suffered after the death of his wife, a woman he loved more than life, it was up to Keanu and Nick to make sure they honored their mother’s last wish.
He drew in a deep sigh and turned narrowed eyes toward the gathering of Borg. The name brought a reluctant half smile to lift a corner of Key’s wide mouth. His housekeeper, Mahi, had given the moniker to the collective crew.
At the age of sixty-five, Mahi was a self-proclaimed junie of all things sci-fi with Star Trek: The Next Generation being one of his all-time favorites.
Key had to admit calling them the Borg was as good a definition as any, as they tended to present a collective nest type of thinking.
Which made him think of the one he referred to, privately in his own thoughts, as the Queen Borg….
Against his will his glance raked over the group, checking to see if the one who was the main source of both the state of his overall irritation, as well as his constant hard-on, was anywhere around.
He ignored the strum of disappointment when he didn’t see her.
Although damn if he wouldn’t know if she were there. Whenever the woman was within any distance of Key he could pick up her scent. He was no better than one of his prize stags in rut whenever she was within a fifty-yard radius.
He turned his attention back to his horse and began to remove the tack. Within moments, he slowly turned back in the direction of the film crew.
The Queen Borg…his inner voice mocked him. The name didn’t come close to fitting the woman. She was fine, from head to damn toe, Key thought, frustration warring with his libido. He knew he’d given her the nickname, even if only in thought, in an effort to minimize the attraction he felt for the sexy, long-legged producer.
She strode toward the group, a small tablet in her hand, her assistant close by. Key’s attention went front and center on the woman who had occupied more space in his mind than he’d allowed a woman in a long, long time.
More than he had allowed any woman. The truth struck, deep and swift. He had never permitted any woman beyond family to get close to him.
As he watched her walk confidently toward the group of mostly men, he checked his rise of anger when several of them stood straighter, wide grins on their faces.
Although her assistant walked beside her, all eyes were on Sonia.
Not that he could blame them.
As soon as she approached the group, one of the men, the lighting technician he believed, clamped a hand on her shoulder. At this distance from the group Key couldn’t see her clearly; however, there was something in her posture that made him wonder if she liked the familiar touch.
He felt the irrational anger rise again, and he swiftly took a step toward the group before he checked himself, his immediate response being the overwhelming need to remove the man’s hand from her shoulder.
He frowned. What the hell was with him? It wasn’t his business who she wanted to touch her, or not.
He ignored the mocking inner voice that called him a damn liar.
His hungry gaze traveled over her, from the top of her shiny brown hair to the tips of her cowboy boots, a frown pulling his brows together.
She wore a white, sheer gauzy type of shirt that was opened to the waist, revealing a plain tank top underneath and soft jeans that, although they had several ripped spots scattered over them, appeared to be from actual wear and not manufactured. Even the cowboy boots she wore appeared to be authentic, not like the fashionable ones he’d noticed several of her crew wearing. Nine times out of ten he and his men laughed as, one by one, most of them stopped wearing them, as by the end of the day they were limping from pinched toes.
Even in her shoe choices, she was authentic and one of a kind, and admiration strummed through him despite his determination not to find anything more attractive about the woman.
He continued his perusal of her.
Nothing she wore screamed sexy. Nothing that should make him want to walk over, haul her up into his arms, throw her over his shoulder, take her to the nearest stall and see if she could make good on the promise of that hot little body of hers.
It wasn’t the clothes getting him hot and bothered.
It was what her body did to the clothes that had his cock hardening to granite.
With breasts that made him think of two deli-ciously plump mounds of sweet, sinful chocolate ice cream, complete with succulent hard cherries on top, they were large but firm…with just enough jiggle to reduce a grown man to a teenage boy with one look.
Not to mention what the image of him lying between her legs as he sucked and tugged on those glorious breasts of hers did to him late at night when she tended to show up, nightly, in every dream he had.
Damn…Key drew in a breath. From experience he knew that within close proximity of each other, one look from him sent her nipples into hard peaks beneath his gaze. She was just as aware of him as he was of her.
He continued his long-distance appraisal. From his vantage point he caught the way her washed-out jeans molded and cupped her firm buttocks, appreciating the soft sway of her hips as she walked toward the group.