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Nearing the edge of the grove where the forest began and the ranch ended, Montana raised her face to the dimly lit sky, reveling in spring's airy fingers gently lifting her hair and lightly brushing her face. She hadn't closed her eyes or taken them from the road for more than a second before the shadow appeared out of the darkness without warning.
Sunny instantly reared up, blowing rollers as he tried to avoid colliding with--Pony-man.
"Whoa, Sunny, whoa, boy!" Montana gripped the horse's reins, squeezing her thighs tight against his flanks as she tried to calm the animal. Good thing she wasn't having one of her clumsier moments, or she'd have taken a header off the horse right to the hard ground!
She looked on in horror, heart pounding in her ears as Sunspot's front hooves came down, knocking the creature over and pounding his torso into the ground.
She watched him roll from his side to his back. As he moved, his lower half transformed, changing into two human legs before her eyes.
She couldn't believe it. Had she really seen a half-horse, half-man?
Sunspot grew quiet beneath her, prancing and walking a wide berth around the figure on the ground. Montana leaned forward and rubbed his glistening neck, gently murmuring to the horse. "It's all right boy. Everything's going to be just fine." When she was sure he was okay and hadn't hurt himself, she carefully dismounted and crept to the stranger's side.
What struck her first wasn't that he was indeed a man and not the centaur she had initially seen--and she knew that she had--but that he was naked, just completely and totally na-ked.
Montana pulled in a deep breath asshe crouched beside him to check for injuries. Her fingers glided over the hard, smooth curves of his chest and abdomen, all the while trying to avoid that sizable area of his anatomy several inches lower and resting peacefully against one thigh.
God, he was magnificent!
Not that she'd been exposed to that many naked men before, except maybe when she indulged in her guilty pleasure, watching hunk-inhabited soaps every once in awhile. Or when she'd splurge on one of those novelty beefcake calendars embellished with pictures for every month of shirtless cowboys clad in snug jeans that hugged all the right curves.
As far as beefcake and shirtless went, her unconscious stranger was beautifully formed from head to toe. Long, lean-muscled flanks curved up into a slim waist accented by a sectioned abdomen and well-defined pectorals. He had a swimmer's body, elegant, poised, and powerful, even in repose.
Her clit swelled beneath her jeans, and Montana simultaneously squeezed her eyes and her legs shut as if this could stop her tsunami-force lust.
She bit her bottom lip, contemplating. Heart speeding, palms moist, she itched to touch him, feeling like she was about to do something intrinsically illicit as her hand drifted of its own accord, closer and closer until her fingertips caressed one male nipple.
She brushed her hand across his chest, acquainting herself with his smooth pecs, then drifted further down to his abdomen.... lower, lower until she made contact with the hair around his cock. She froze.
Montana's eyes shot open when she realized what she was doing.
Shit, she was horny! How else could she explain this instant hot attraction? Why did she have a sudden uncontrollable urge to molest an unconscious man as he lay injured?
Montana stopped gaping long enough to scold herself for her unconscionable act as she berated her foolishness in not heeding Jason's warnings about riding around the ranch in the dim light. She could just hear the I-told-you-so's now, which gave her some pause.
She needed to get her injured stranger some help, but how to do that without going back to the ranch and submitting to an interrogation or righteous censure?
She certainly couldn't lift him herself. True, she was made of sturdy stock at five-nine, one-fifty, and was in pretty good physical condition having worked hard all her life on the ranch and at various positions with the Forestry Service, but this man had to be six-four and two-hundred pounds of solid muscle. Dead-weight muscle at that. Not to mention he was naked.
Montana realized she had more qualms about the latter than the idea of actually trying to lift and carry an unconscious and injured man to the house by her lonesome.
She pivoted and marched back to Sunspot to retrieve the heavy blanket from beneath her saddle, returned, and crouched beside the stranger before gently covering him with the coarse material.
Her stranger, she thought, feeling connected to him and oddly possessive, as if he belonged to her and she to him.
Montana pulled the cell phone from her belt, flipped it open without much hope of getting a signal. She had to walk several yards away toward the ranch until she was out of a dead zone and able to get an open line. She dialed 911, glancing over her shoulder to make sure Sunspot and her stranger were okay. He'd disappeared. "Police operator 169528. Where is the emergency?"
Montana gaped and broke into a run toward her horse and the empty patch of grass where she'd left the stranger at Sunspot's hooves.