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Spider - The Davenports Book 4 (ebook)

Spider - The Davenports Book 4 (ebook)

Sweet n Steamy Romance

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 294+ 5-Star Reviews

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He’s no billionaire.

Spider grew up in foster care. Moved from one placement to the next. Yeah, they were placements. Not foster families or homes, just placements. He survived. And that’s all he has to say about it.

But that’s his past. His present is pretty good. He’s worked hard. He runs his own business. It’s only a coffee shop, but it does well enough. He makes a decent living. More than the money though, the coffee shop is a part of the community. He’s a part of the community.

Life is good. He has some amazing friends. Friends who run the gamut from billionaire brothers to homeless vets. He’s been missing one of his friends lately. One very special little boy named Owen. Owen moved away to Montana with his mom and his new dad, Reid Davenport.

When Owen begs him to come visit, Spider jumps at the chance. He’s always wanted to see the mountains and experience life outside LA. He knows there’s a whole different world out there.

When he gets to Montana, he’s about to find out just how different life there is. Sure, the scenery is amazing, but it’s the people that fascinate him the most.

Especially Frankie.

Frankie MacFarland isn’t like anyone Spider’s ever met before.

Gypsy soul. Crazy cowgirl. Heart of gold. Mouth of a sailor. Gentle with animals. Protector of children. Hell on wheels. Sweet angel to the kids she works with. A walking contradiction in so many ways.

Spider knows all of that within an hour of meeting her and it only leaves him wanting to learn more.

But just as he’s never seen anywhere like Paradise Valley before, its residents have never seen anyone like Spider before – and not all of them like the idea of him getting anywhere near Frankie, let alone getting as close to her as he’d like to.

Frankie’s not the kind to let anyone tell her what to do. While she might not have gotten the best first impression of the tattooed stranger in town, she’ll be damned if she’ll let her brother, her cousins or anyone else stop her from getting to know him better.

Can a tattooed stranger and a gypsy cowgirl find love in Paradise Valley?

Available to Read on Kindle, Nook, iThings, Kobo, Phone, Computer, Tablet, Etc! Your eBook will be delivered to your provided email address by BookFunnel. 

Spider is the fourth book in USA Today Bestselling Author SJ McCoy's international hit The Davenports series, loved by over 1,000,000 fans of sweet and steamy romances. 

    Chapter One Look Inside

    Chapter One

    Grateful to see the traffic light at the end of the exit ramp turn red before he reached it, Spider rolled his motorcycle to a halt and put his feet on the ground. He’d been riding since six this morning. He’d stopped a couple times for gas and to take a break, but it’d been hours since his feet had touched the ground.

    The light turned green almost immediately since there were only a few vehicles around. He stayed in the left lane and turned onto Highway 89. This was the last stretch. He was almost there. But he wasn’t in a hurry. He pulled over into the gas station that sat next to a supermarket. It felt good to get off the bike and stand. He took his helmet off and ran his hand through his hair. Well, through the hair on top of his head and the stubble on either side. He’d been on the road for a few days. He needed to shave his head; he was looking forward to doing that, and to taking a long hot shower.

    He swiped his card and slid the nozzle in to fill the tank. He didn’t know when he’d see another gas station after this. He’d gotten a touch paranoid about the huge distances between the exits on the Interstate – and more so about how many of those exits had signs that proclaimed there were No Services.

    He looked around at the mountains looming ahead. He’d traveled through a lot of empty country in the last few hours, but this was beautiful. And this exit was like a mini boom town compared to some of his stops. The parking lot of the supermarket was half full; there was another gas station and even a motel across the highway. He shouldn’t be surprised. From what Reid had told him, this was the only route to get to the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park. He’d been here before. Even been to the park but that had been a whirlwind visit, and being chauffeured around as part of a big group was completely different from being here solo on his motorcycle.

    The nozzle clicked off and he hooked it back on the pump, then rode over to one of the empty spaces down the side of the gas station. He needed to make a pit stop and then call Reid and let him know he was almost there. Reid had told him that whenever he arrived would be fine. Of course, he’d say that whether it was inconvenient or not. Spider just hoped that it wouldn’t be.

    He couldn’t help staring up at the mountains as he walked around the side of the building, back to the front door. It sure was a different skyline than he was used to seeing in LA.

    The girl’s eyes at the cash register widened when she saw him. He smiled and nodded, guessing that she probably didn’t see many guys who looked like him. Grace had joked that he should let his hair grow out before he came up here to visit—at least, he’d thought it was a joke. Judging by the looks the few other customers shot him as he walked toward the restroom sign in the back, he had to wonder if she hadn’t been serious.

    When he came back out, he went to check out the souvenir section. He was hardly going to bring a souvenir, but he was hoping that he might find a little gift for Owen. He should have thought about it before he left LA.

    He turned when the girl from the cash register cleared her throat beside him.

    “Can … can I help you?” She looked terrified of him. He had to give her credit for even approaching if she was that scared.

    He gave her a friendly smile. “I don’t suppose you have any toys, do you? I want to find a gift for a little buddy of mine.”

    “What … what kind of toy?”

    He chuckled, partly in attempt to put her at ease, and partly out of embarrassment. “You wouldn’t have such a thing as a dinosaur, would you? He loves them.”

    She eyed him cautiously. “Does your little buddy live here?”

    He nodded, wondering what that had to with anything.

    “Is his name Owen?”

    Spider grinned. “Yeah. That’s the little guy. So, you know him?”

    The girl smiled back. “I do. Everyone does. He’s such a little character. And you’re in luck. His grandma, Mrs. Davenport, asked us to order in his dinosaur comic, and Cody, that’s my boss, he bought a box of those plastic dinosaurs last time he went to the market. Owen plays with them whenever they come in.”

    “That’s awesome.” Spider was thrilled to hear that Owen was getting out and about and that people knew and liked him.

    The girl pointed to the end of the aisle. “They’re on the bottom shelf—so that he can see them and reach them when he comes in. You go choose one. I need to get back.” She jerked her chin toward an older guy who’d just reached the cash register at the front.

    “Thanks, yeah. I didn’t mean to keep you.”

    The girl smiled. “That’s okay. I’m happy to meet you. I’m Brooke.” She held her hand out.

    He shook with her. “Nice to meet you.”

    She raised her eyebrows, but he didn’t know what she meant.

    “And your name is ...?”

    “Oh. Sorry. Spider.”

    She frowned, then looked around warily. “Spider? Where?”

    He laughed. “That’s my name.”

    “Oh. Okay. Well, nice to meet you … Spider.” She hurried back to the cash register and the guy who was watching them curiously.

    Back at his motorcycle, Spider tucked the two plastic dinosaurs into the zippered pocket on the front of his bag, then pulled his phone out. He dialed Reid’s number and waited.

    “Spider! Where are you?”

    He had to smile to himself. Reid always got straight to the point on the phone.

    “I just got off the Interstate. I’m at the gas station next to Albertsons.”

    “You’re only about twenty minutes out then. That works well. You’ll be here in time to come and collect Owen with me. He’s been counting down the days.”

    “Awesome. But … collect him? Where from? And isn’t Tara with him?”

    “He’s at his riding lesson. He’s becoming quite the horseman. And Tara’s over in Bozeman this afternoon.”

    “Wow! I guess things are going better for you guys than I dared imagine.” When they were still living in the city, Tara never went anywhere without Owen. And the thought of him being off by himself … and riding horses? “Damn! That’s great.”

    “It is. I knew that life would be better for him up here, but even I didn’t imagine that he’d adapt this quickly.”

    Spider chuckled. “Or that Tara would?”

    Reid laughed with him. “Yes. That, too.”

    “What time do you need to go for him?”

    “I need to leave here in half an hour.”

    “And you reckon I’ll be there in twenty?”

    “That’s right.”

    “Okay, but if I’m not there in time, go without me, don’t even hesitate.”

    Reid laughed again. “I wouldn’t, you know that. But you’ll be here.”

    He was right. Twenty minutes later, Spider was pulling up in front of the house. He hadn’t visited them since they’d moved here, but Reid’s house was just past his parents’ and his brothers’, and Spider had been there before.

    He kicked the stand down and took his helmet off, running his hand through his hair, glad to feel the fresh air.

    Reid appeared at the front door and came jogging down the steps. He smiled in greeting, but it didn’t reach his eyes.

    “What’s up?” Spider asked immediately.

    “Nothing bad, just inconvenient. How are you feeling?”

    “I’m good. What do you need?” He’d only known Reid for a couple years, but he knew that he wasn’t inquiring after Spider’s well-being. That wasn’t his way. He was trying to assess his ability or willingness to do something.

    Reid gave him a tight smile. “You know me better than most. How would you feel about going to pick up Owen by yourself? Tara just called. Her car overheated coming over the pass on the way back from Bozeman. She’s called for a tow service, but I don’t want her out there. I need to go and get her.”

    Spider frowned. “Don’t you want me to get Tara and you get Owen?”

    “I can see why you’d think that. But Owen’s made much more progress than you realize. He’ll be thrilled to see you, and to get to ride back with you. And I’m worried about Tara. There’s only a narrow shoulder on the pass. She said she’s pulled right over, but I need to get her out of there as quickly as possible.”

    “Okay. Just tell me where I’m going.” Spider stopped short. “And what I’m driving. I can’t put him on the bike.”

    “Of course.” Reid handed him a set of keys. “You’ll take Oscar’s Range Rover.” He pointed. “I just brought it over from his place ready for you. I programmed the address into the navigation. It’s a straightforward route. You get back on the highway, head south thirty miles, then take a right at Tom Miner. The navigation’s spot on. And if you have any issues, you call me. If I don’t have a signal, you call TJ or Oscar, they can both talk you through it.”

    “I’ll be fine.” Spider smiled. “I won’t let my little buddy down.”

    “Thanks. I know. When you get there, he’ll be with Libby, who runs the program. I’ll call her and let her know that you’ll be coming to collect him. In fact, give me your phone.”

    Spider took it out of his inside pocket and unlocked it before handing it over without question.

    Reid tapped in a number and hit save. “This is Libby’s number.” Then he entered another. “This is the landline at the barn.” He tapped in a third and hit save again. “And this is Frankie, who helps out with the riding program and with Owen.” He gave Spider a small smile and shrugged. “I’m sure you won’t need anyone’s number. As I said, the navigation is spot on. But as you know, I like to cover every eventuality.”

    “Maybe you should give her a description.”

    Reid cocked his head to one side.

    “When you call. Tell this Libby what to expect when I arrive. You guys are used to me but judging by the reaction I got when I stopped at the gas station, I might look strange to folks around here.”

    “Ah. Good point.” Reid took his own phone out of his pocket and snapped a picture of Spider. “They say these are worth a thousand words, and I’ll text rather than call. She’ll be in the arena with Owen anyway.”

    Spider laughed. “Yeah, that’s probably the best way to go.” He peeled off his jacket, glad to be rid of it.

    Reid held up his phone again and gave him a rueful smile as he took another picture. “The hair’s one thing, I may as well prepare her for all that ink, too.”

    Spider glanced down at his arms and shrugged. “Yeah. I guess you should.”

    ~ ~ ~

    Frankie rested her arms on the top rail of the fence, and her chin on top of her arms. She couldn’t help smiling as she watched Owen. He’d made so much progress in the short time she’d known him.

    “Okay, Owen. Use your seat and your legs and ask Bucky to …”

    Frankie grinned at Libby, who was standing in the middle of the arena instructing. She hadn’t needed to finish her request; Owen urged Bucky forward into a trot.

    “Good job.” Libby came over to join Frankie, still calling encouragement to Owen as she went. “That’s it, keep him moving forward.”

    Frankie’s eyes followed the small boy on the stocky paint pony as they reached the far end of the arena. “He’s a natural,” she told Libby.

    Libby nodded. “He is. I don’t mind telling you I was wary at first. But …” She shook her head with a smile. “I never mind admitting when I’m wrong – and in this case, I’m happy to say I couldn’t have been more wrong.”

    “Hey, I’m right there with you.”

    Libby frowned at her. “What? You were the one who persuaded me to take Owen!”

    “I know, I don’t mean him. I mean his mom and dad. As soon as I heard the name Davenport, I thought that they might be stuck up. I mean, Dr. Johnny and Jean are awesome, but all I knew about their sons was that they’d all gone out and made billions. I thought they might be …” She didn’t finish her thought, not wanting to call Tara and Reid any of the names she’d thought about them before she met them. “I’m happy to say that I couldn’t have been more wrong about them. When I first got the call about working with Owen Davenport, I was tempted to turn it down.”

    Libby laughed. “You might have been tempted, but there’s no way you would have. Even if the parents were stuck up, you wouldn’t have passed up on the chance to work with him – to help him.”

    Neither of them had taken their eyes off the boy while they talked. They were both used to giving more attention to the kids they worked with than to anything else around them.

    Frankie grinned at Owen as he passed them. “You’re doing great, kiddo.”

    Owen nodded solemnly as he and Bucky trotted by. “I know.”

    Libby chuckled beside her. “Once more around, Owen, then bring Bucky to a halt on the center line.”

    Owen nodded again and did as she instructed.

    Frankie checked her watch, surprised to see that it was time for the lesson to end. She looked back over her shoulder, even more surprised to see neither Tara nor Reid’s vehicle in the parking area beyond the tack room.

    “I know, right?” said Libby. “I thought my watch must be wrong. That seemed more believable than them being late to pick him up.”

    “Yeah.” Frankie pushed the rim of her hat up and looked around. “I don’t like it. It’s not like them.”

    “I’m sure it’s fine. And Owen will be fine. It’s not like when he first started coming and would have had a meltdown if one of them wasn’t here when he finished. If they’re not here by the time he’s done, I’m sure we can amuse him in the barn for a while. It’s no big deal.”

    “Yeah.” It wasn’t a big deal. Not like it would have been just a few months ago. Owen had come a long way in that time. One of the ways his autism manifested itself was in a need for predictability. But he was learning to manage that need more and more every day. Frankie worked with him on the days he went into school with the other kids. He didn’t go every day, but he did attend a couple of classes and when he did, Frankie was his special assistant. Officially, she was his special needs teaching assistant, but between the two of them they’d decided that they liked the name special assistant better.

    She knew she’d be able to help him deal if Tara and Reid weren’t here soon; that wasn’t what she was worried about so much. It was more the fact that they’d never been late for anything in all the time she’d known them.

    “Have you got your phone?” she asked Libby.

    “No. It’s on the desk in the office. Do you want to go and grab it for me? I bet they’ve called and left a message.”

    “Sure. I’ll go grab it.” She smiled at Owen as he brought Bucky to halt on the center line just as Libby had told him. “Do you want to help put Bucky away when we’re done here?”

    Owen’s little eyebrows came together as he looked at her, then he glanced over at the spectators’ area where his mom and dad usually sat when they arrived.

    Frankie held her breath, waiting to see how he’d assess the situation.

    He looked back at her, then at Libby and then back at her again, before nodding sharply. “Yes. If Mommy and Daddy aren’t here when I finish, it’s okay. I can spend time with Frankie and Libby and the horses until they arrive.” He nodded again, this time with a small smile.

    Frankie relaxed and smiled back. She loved that Tara and Reid seemed to have thought of every eventuality that might disrupt his routines and throw him off course, and that they’d given him clear expectations of what he could do if any of those eventualities came to pass. She’d seen it before when kids had teased him at school. He’d looked up at her and said, “Sometimes, people think that they don’t like me just because I’m different. If that makes them say mean things, I don’t have to listen. They might not even mean it, but even if they do, I don’t have to listen.”

    She nodded back at him now. “That’s right. I’m just going to get Libby’s phone so we can see if they’ve left a message.”

    She walked quickly back to the office to get the phone. Once she’d rounded the corner and was out of sight of the arena, she stopped dead at the sight of someone disappearing around the corner. It definitely wasn’t Reid or Tara, and they weren’t expecting anyone else out here this afternoon. All she’d seen was a leg clad in leather pants with a big boot on the end – the sight sent visions of biker thugs racing through her mind. Sometimes whole gangs of bikers rode down the valley on their way to visit the park, but they were mostly fifty and sixty somethings reliving their youth, not the kind of scary thugs that that boot had conjured up.

    Her heart raced in her chest. She might be letting her imagination get carried away, but she’d rather be safe than sorry. She edged to the corner of the barn where the leg had disappeared and peeked around it. Shit! It wasn’t just her imagination. The guy’s back was to her as he walked. He looked scary as hell from the top of his head – his head that was mostly shaved with just a strip of hair running down the middle – down through his muscular torso and bulky tattoo covered arms, to his – jeez! That was quite an ass! – covered in black leather pants that stretched over muscular legs and ended in the offending biker boots that had been her first introduction to him. That right there was one badass. For a moment she wished she’d invited Ace down to watch Owen ride. But then she pulled herself together. She didn’t need another guy to help her run this one off. She could do it herself – and she knew exactly how.

    She pulled back around the corner and ran at a crouch to the office. She went in the back and took the shotgun from the rack. Once she had it loaded and ready, she made her way back out, stopping on her way to get Libby’s phone. If this turned ugly, she wanted to be able to reassure Owen that his folks were on the way – if they were.

    Feeling a lot more confident with the shotgun tucked under her arm, she strode back out of the office, set on finding the intruder before he found Libby and Owen.

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