THE BEDROOM IS MINE
by Jane Bonander
I Love Rogues anthology
Ross dismounted and stretched his aching back. The trip over the
mountains into the valley was one he always hated. The valley was
hot and dry, even in October; Twin Hearts had the blessed ocean breeze
to keep it cool all year long.
He dragged in a breath of crisp air and glanced at the cabin. Thank
God, he was home. Smoke chugged from the chimney. He grinned. Samantha’s
doing, no doubt. Before he left, he’d had an infestation of
fleas in the cabin, so had moved his clothes and bedding to Sam’s
for fumigation before they treated the place. Yawning, he hoped she’d
returned them, but if she hadn’t, he’d pick them up later.
What he needed now was sleep. If it was on a bare mattress, so be
it. He crossed to the lean-to and unsaddled his mount, brushed him
down, and fed him.
The vegetable garden caught his eye as he trudged toward the cabin.
It was free of weeds. Maybe Maudie had been feeling better. He hoped
so. As he stepped onto the porch, he glanced at the sky. Morning fog
clung to the tops of the Douglas firs. He’d risen long before
dawn to get home, anxious to sprawl out in his own bed and sleep for
the rest of the day.
Pushing open the cabin door, he barely glanced at the living room
before closing the door behind him and heading for the bedroom. He
yawned and rubbed his hand across his face, weariness oozing into
The bedroom door was closed. Ross shoved it open with the toe of
his boot and stepped inside. The door slammed shut behind him, and
before he could turn, he was hit from behind hard enough to cause
him to stagger into the wall. He slid to the floor, shaking his head,
trying to clear it.
He instinctively went for his bowie knife, but his hand was kicked
away. He looked up and found himself staring into the familiar barrel
of his own hunting rifle.
“Who are you?”
A woman? Attempting to focus his eyes, he shook his head
again and saw a pair of pale, slim calves peeping out from between
the edges of a frilly pink dressing gown.
His gaze slid up slowly, over rounded hips and a firm, generous bosom.
Her hair, loose and wild around her face, was red as a firestorm,
and her green eyes held not an ounce of fear.
“Me?” he roared. “Who the hell are you,
and what are you doing in my bedroom?”
The woman looked momentarily surprised, then spat, “This is
my bedroom. Get out before I blow your head off.”
With a movement that belied his size, Ross grabbed the gun and leaped
to his feet.
“Now,” he growled, ignoring the fear that suddenly crept
into her eyes, “I’ll ask you again. Who in the hell are
She recovered quickly. Moving away only slightly, she volleyed, “Who
This was getting them nowhere. “My name is Ross Benedict,
and this is my cabin, therefore, my bedroom.”
Her eyes narrowed. “That’s a lie. I know who this cabin
belongs to, and it surely isn’t you. Now, what do you really
Stupefied and angry, he continued to stare at her. “I want
to know what in the hell you’re doing in my bedroom. Is that
so hard to understand?”
She returned an angry glare. “This is my bedroom and my cabin,
at least for now. And . . . and stop staring at me, you ogling dolt.”
Brows furrowed, Ross turned away, crossing his arms firmly over his
chest. “I asked you before, who in the hell are you?”
“Why should I tell you? You’re the one who’s trespassing.”
He spun around, catching her just as she tied the sash of her dressing
gown, a movement that pulled the robe tightly over her generous bosom.
As a thickness gathered in his groin, a thought wormed into his brain.
He uttered a stream of curses that turned the air blue.
“Sam. Samantha put you up to this, didn’t she? Dammit
all to hell.” His fist slammed into the door—and
went right on through.
Behind him, the woman let out a shriek.
He turned on her, ignoring the wood splinters that dug into his flesh.
One of her hands covered her mouth. The other clutched the lapels
of her gown tightly at her throat.
“She did this, didn’t she? Sam put you up to this.”
She removed her hand from her mouth long enough to ask, “S
. . .Samantha Browne?”
“Yes,” he answered, his voice filled with silky understanding.
The woman swallowed hard. “How . . . how do you know Samantha
Ross was sick of the game. “You know very well how I know her.”
The woman’s demeanor changed. No longer cowering against the
bed, she planted her fists on her hips and studied him. “No,
I don’t. Why don’t you tell me? You come in here acting
like a raging bull or a raving lunatic, frightening me half to death.
I think I deserve an explanation. That is, if you’re capable
of strining that many words together at one time.”
Ross was momentarily surprised at her unusual tactics. After all,
most women threw themselves at him. And no eligible woman, or any
other for that matter, had ever called him an ogling dolt or a raving
lunatic. Once, of course, Trudy had called him her raging stallion,
but that was after a particularly satisfying night in her bed. It
had been a compliment, not flung at him like pig swill. This red-haired
witch was different from all the others, he’d give her that.
“She’s my sister. As if you didn’t know.”
He turned and studied the hole in the door. “And this is my
cabin. I live here.”
She gasped. “Your …your sister?”
Ross’s temper was volatile, but after an explosion, he mellowed
out quickly. “Now you understand. I don’t know what little
game Sam is playing, but this is my place. If the two of you thought
this little ploy would work, well, dammit, think again.”
“I don’t believe I understand you,” she said carefully.
“If we thought what would work?”
“Ah, hell. Never mind. Just get dressed and get out of here.
The little plan backfired, and I’m dead tired.” He yawned,
purposely emitting a loud, disgusting sound before pulling his shirt
from his pants.
She didn’t move.
They stared at each other, her gaze haughty and cool, his blatantly,
purposely sexual, while he unbuttoned his shirt. He pulled it open
and scratched again, giving her a wide view of his naked chest. That
usually frightened tight-assed women away.
Suddenly she shoved him, catching him off balance. He crashed into
the wall again.
“Get out of here,” she ordered. “You are nothing
but a rogue. I’m renting this place from Samantha Browne, and
if you have a problem with that, see her. I’m not leaving.”
Ross pushed himself away from the wall, feeling the know of fury
twist in his chest. He’d see Sam, all right, and he’d
take her over his knee and tan her hide. Then he’d return and
toss this flame-haired harridan out of his cabin on her backside.
Picking up his rifle, he stormed from the room. “This isn’t
over, woman. When I come back, I’d better find you packed and
Lily closed her eyes and sagged to the bed, her heart pounding so
hard she worried that it would crack her ribs. She allowed herself
a moment to pull herself together, then hurriedly dressed and went
into the kitchen to start preparations for the logger’s lunch.
As she worked, she thought of the man who had just left. Man? She
forced a dry laugh. More like a bear. She was no small woman, but
he was many inches taller than she. Shoulders so wide he’d had
to turn sideways to get through the bedroom door. But he was a bear,
in breadth and manners. He merely dressed like a man to cover
his crude, beastly behavior.
Remembering his final threat, she stiffened. She was not leaving.
She was not. She was curious to know, however, why Samantha
Browne would rent her a cabin that was already occupied.
©2003 by Jane Bonander