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Garbera Katherine

No Limits

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«No Limits» - Дженни Лукас

Some cowboys are outta this world…Astronaut Jason «Ace» McCoy tried to escape Cole's Hill, Texas—and the memory of Molly Tanner's dark eyes and strawberry-scented hair—among the stars. Now he and Molly have jointly inherited her father's struggling ranch. And having failed his latest medical tests, Ace is on leave—maybe forever.He's determined to sort things out with the ranch and get back to Houston as soon as possible. What he isn't counting on is that Molly's only gotten more beautiful over the years…and she still wants him. The passion between them is hotter than rocket fuel—and just as dangerous. He can't promise anything as long as there's a chance to go on another mission. But even in orbit, this attraction has no rules…and no limits.
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Some cowboys are outta this world...

Astronaut Jason “Ace” McCoy tried to escape Cole’s Hill, Texas—and the memory of Molly Tanner’s dark eyes and strawberry-scented hair—among the stars. Now he and Molly have jointly inherited her father’s struggling ranch. And having failed his latest medical tests, Ace is on leave—maybe forever.

He’s determined to sort things out with the ranch and get back to Houston as soon as possible. What he isn’t counting on is that Molly’s only gotten more beautiful over the years...and she still wants him. The passion between them is hotter than rocket fuel—and just as dangerous. He can’t promise anything as long as there’s a chance to go on another mission. But even in orbit, this attraction has no rules...and no limits.

Don’t think. Act...

Jason’s skin was hot, his muscles hard under her touch, and damn if he didn’t smell good.

He arched one eyebrow at Molly but didn’t make another move. She felt the unspoken dare between them. Was she going to do this or back away as she had earlier?


His curse lingered in the air around them as his mouth came down on hers. For a mouth that had always looked so strong and tough, it was soft against hers. He took the kiss slowly as if he had all the time in the world.

They had this night.

He tasted of whiskey and temptation. Two things she knew she should resist right now but was unable to.

She was tired of denying herself Jason McCoy.

She’d wanted him for longer than she could remember...and at last it seemed he was hers for the taking.


Hello! Welcome to the first book in my new series, Space Cowboys. I was born just before man walked on the moon, and my mom has an 8mm film of me crawling on the floor while in the background the television is tuned to that historic moon landing. From a very early age I wanted to be an astronaut—it seemed fun. Unfortunately for me you have to be really good at science and advanced math...something I’m not.

However, I am good at reading and researching, and when a conversation with my editor about how ranching is a major industry in parts of Florida (including the part where I grew up) turned to a “what if,” Space Cowboys was born. I got to combine two things that I love a lot, space—and the vast universe—and ranching. The series is set in Texas instead of Florida because all training at NASA takes place in Texas.

I had a lot of fun writing this book. I lived in Texas for five wonderful years and revisiting Texas through this story was like going home. I also love Jason and Molly, both strong-willed people who never take the easy path. They always stand by what they think is right, even if that means letting go of each other.

I hope you enjoy the first book in the Space Cowboys series!

Happy reading,


No Limits

Katherine Garbera

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USA TODAY bestselling author KATHERINE GARBERA is a two-time MAGGIE® Award winner who has written more than seventy books. A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine now makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature dachshund. Visit Katherine on the web at, or catch up with her on Facebook and Twitter.

This book is dedicated to my darling husband, Rob Elser. Thanks for sharing your love of science and the universe with me and helping to sow the seeds of this series.

Thanks to my editor Laura Barth for helping to turn an offhand comment about astronauts and the Florida ranching community into a viable series idea.



Back Cover Text


Title Page

About the Author


Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18



THE DOOR OPENED. Ace McCoy couldn’t see the figure standing on the porch due to distance and the shadow cast by the setting sun, but his gut told him it was her. And if he was a betting man, he’d wager she was more beautiful than she’d been at sixteen when he’d walked away without a backward glance.

He walked slowly toward the house; her dad had once said that the only way to move forward was past fear. And, though he wasn’t truly afraid of Molly Tanner, she was the one woman who had haunted him all of his life. Seeing her again after thirteen years made his gut clench.

“Jason—I mean ‘Ace’—McCoy,” she said, as if his call sign left a bad taste in her mouth. “Thought you’d never set foot on this ranch again.”

He was right. She’d matured into her features. The mouth that had once seemed too big was now full and sensuous. Her eyes were still as rich as dark chocolate and her brows were thick and serious. Her nose was pert and some would say cute. But he’d been on the receiving end of her temper, so cute wasn’t a word he’d use to describe her.

Her breasts were fuller than he remembered, her waist smaller, more nipped in. And her hips—ah, hell—those hips were curvy, beckoning a man to squeeze them and pull her closer. He still remembered the feel of her in his arms, the taste of her mouth, even though they’d only shared one forbidden kiss.

“I’m back because of your dad,” he said, taking off his cowboy hat as he stepped up onto the wooden porch that extended across the front of the house. There were two large clay pots on either side of the stairs and four wooden rocking chairs beckoned. But he knew better than to drop his guard. Not yet.

Maybe not ever.

In Houston he felt like a man in control, a man in charge of his destiny and his life. But a problem with the recovery of his bone density, revealed in his last post-flight medical exam, had him grounded indefinitely. And his mentor—the closest thing he had to a father—had left him half of this ranch. Returning to Cole’s Hill, Texas, made him feel as if he was stepping into the past, a past he preferred to leave behind.

The boy he’d been. The trouble that had dogged him. The stolen kiss that had cost him this, the only home he’d ever really had.

“He’s dead.”

“I know. I...”

“Don’t make excuses,” she said. “He always hoped you’d come back, and I guess he found the one way to get you here.”

“Dying is extreme even for him.”

“Yeah, it was,” she said, tears sparkling in her eyes as she turned away and dropped her chin to her chest. “It was so unexpected.”

He reached out and put his hand on her shoulder, needing to offer comfort and maybe find some himself. Mick had been a young sixty-five, and Ace was still shocked that an all-terrain-vehicle accident had claimed his mentor’s life.

Molly wiped her eyes with her hand and then stepped back from him. Her voice broke as she started to speak, so she cleared her throat and tried again. “He named you in his will.”

“I was surprised. He and I made our peace,” he said. “But the terms of his will caught me off guard.”

“Me, too,” she said. “I’m still processing the fact that he’s gone.”

“I would have come back for the funeral, but I was on the space station.” He was a commander with NASA who had dreams of being one of the first astronauts to set out on the long-term missions necessary to prepare for space travel to Mars. Upon returning from space this time, he’d undergone intensive rehabilitation in Houston to regain the strength and muscle astronauts lose from spending so much time in microgravity. For a while, he’d had trouble walking and couldn’t drive, so his trip to the ranch had been postponed until now.

“I know,” she said. “Dad was proud of you...of what you accomplished. Come on in.”

“You sure about that?” he asked.

At the moment he’d rather be pulling Gs during a launch, fighting the urge to throw up, than standing here. He’d always been more comfortable observing Earth than being on it. Nothing new there.

“Yes. It’s your place, too,” she said. She turned on her heel, disappearing into the house, leaving a trail of strawberry-scented air in her wake and more than a little regret. To be fair, the regret could be coming from him.

He stood there for a long minute, looking at the wooden frame, remembering the boy he’d been at fourteen when he’d first arrived at the ranch. He’d been surly, stand-offish, with a black eye and a busted lip. Molly had greeted him that day, too. She’d stood there with her long chestnut braids, watching him. He’d made some smart-ass comment and she’d put him in his place and walked away.

From that moment on he’d been following her. Even leaving the ranch, going into the military and becoming an astronaut had been about following her. The only man who could catch Molly was one who was aiming for the stars. He wanted to prove that he was more than the juvenile delinquent she’d met all those years ago. The boy-man who wasn’t good enough to kiss her or touch her.

“You coming or not, space cowboy?”

He shook off the mantle of the past, opening the screen door to follow her. It snapped shut behind him and his boots echoed as he walked down the hall to the kitchen. He paused when he noticed a framed photo on the wall. He put his hand next to it, staring at the image of himself in uniform with Mick standing so proudly next to him.

Yeah, the regret was all his.

He should have come back sooner, years ago when Mick had asked. But he’d been afraid of running into Molly. Afraid he’d ask more from her than a kiss. He’d known once he went down that road with her there’d be no coming back. And even as a teen he’d realized there was no real future for him on the ranch.

NASA hadn’t just given him a career; they’d given him a life he was proud of, a life he loved, and he didn’t want to risk being tied to the ground by emotions or expectations.

Ace wasn’t too sure who he was if he wasn’t in space. He felt that uncertainty more than ever now, with three months’ leave stretching in front of him. His commander wanted him to take a break before his follow-up medical exam and he was due for some time off, anyway. He was on a strict exercise regimen to regain bone density. Being outside the Earth’s gravitational field had an adverse effect on the human body and the doctors were monitoring Ace’s recovery closely to ensure astronauts sent on long-term missions wouldn’t suffer lasting damage.

“Jason?” she asked.

It felt strange to hear her say his name. He didn’t know who Jason was anymore. That mixed-up delinquent from the time before he’d joined the military and NASA? The boy whose mother had left him to fend for himself? “Call me Ace.”

She rolled her eyes. “I’ll try, but you’ve always been Jason to me,” she said. “I don’t remember you being this slow, though.”

“Maybe you don’t know everything about me.”

“Oh, that’s one thing I’m sure of.”

“You pissed at me for something?” he asked as he followed her down the hall and into the brightly lit kitchen.

“What would I have to be pissed about?” she asked. “We haven’t seen each other since I was sixteen.”

“Maybe that’s it exactly.”

She didn’t say a word, just stretched to open the cabinet over the sink. The hem of her blouse hitched up revealing the small of her back and her raspberry birthmark. She cursed and braced her hand on the countertop as she reached for the bottle of Maker’s Mark that was just out of reach.

Ace came up behind her, putting his hand on the small of her back. Unable to resist, he rubbed his finger over the birthmark as he reached over her head and snagged the bottle.

She made a startled noise and turned.

He stared down into those big chocolate-brown eyes and knew that all the years and all the distance he’d put between them didn’t matter. He still wanted her just as fiercely as he always had. He put the bottle on the counter behind her.

Her eyelids dropped halfway and a strand of hair fell across her face. He gently brushed it back behind her ear. With one hand on the small of her back and the other on her face, he leaned down and felt the exhalation of her minty breath against his lips.

Their lips touched for the barest of seconds, and then her eyes flew open.

“Well, howdy! I thought you weren’t ever coming back this way, Ace.”

He stepped back, keeping one hand on Molly, and turned to greet Rina Holmes, the housekeeper of the Bar T Ranch.

“Sorry for interrupting. I didn’t realize you’d already started the homecoming,” Rina said.

“There is no homecoming going on here, Rina. Jas—Ace helped me reach Dad’s whiskey. We are going to have a toast to him. You’re just in time to join us,” Molly said, tugging down the hem of her blouse as she moved away from him.

“Looked like a helluva lot more than that to me,” Rina said.

The housekeeper was in her fifties but looked more like forty. She wore her reddish-blond hair hanging around her shoulders. She had an easy smile and a curvy figure, and she’d been on the ranch since before Molly was born. She pulled Jason into a big bear hug.

“We’ve missed you, Ace.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t get here sooner,” he said. He watched Molly over Rina’s shoulder and noticed her hands tremble the tiniest bit as she poured three glasses of whiskey.

“Mick and me knew you were NASA’s shining star. Boy, you sure surprised us,” Rina said. “Never expected the punky juvenile to turn into an American hero.”

“Dad did,” Molly said. “Dad always believed Ace was going to do big things.”

“He did,” Rina agreed, turning and picking up one of the glasses.

“To Mick,” Rina said, raising her glass.

“To Mick,” Ace added.

“To Dad,” Molly said and she took a deep swallow of the whiskey. He couldn’t take his eyes off her mouth. He wanted to finish the kiss they’d barely started. Wanted that and a lot more. And he’d always gone after what he wanted.

He noticed that Molly still watched him with an intense stare whenever Rina wasn’t looking, but as they drank more whiskey and shared stories about Mick, the tension eased a little. And for a moment he had a glimpse of a different future. One that wasn’t written in the stars but was tied to the land. And that made him uncomfortable. Because it seemed more real than it ever had before.

* * *

MOLLY COULDN’T SLEEP. She knew where the blame lay. Just down the hall in the bedroom he’d occupied as a teen. During dinner with the ranch foreman, Jeb, and the hands, Jason had looked uncomfortable. He’d sat there answering their questions about what it was like to be an astronaut, but when everyone had headed to the bunkhouse he’d seemed lost.

Jason “Ace” McCoy.

It would have been nice if he’d gotten soft in the years since she’d last seen him. Maybe lost some of his thick dark hair or developed a potbelly. But she knew that was a foolish wish. NASA didn’t choose men who let themselves go to be part of exclusive missions. She had kept tabs on him, even if she hadn’t read every article about the hotshot Jason had become, the way her father always had.

She wondered sometimes if her dad had known about her crush on Jason. Probably. She hadn’t exactly been subtle that last summer he’d been at the Bar T.

She’d been too young to really understand the raw sexuality that was so much a part of his nature when she’d been sixteen, but at twenty-nine—now she understood it so much better. The only thing standing between them long ago had been his fear that her father wouldn’t approve. And she’d been too unsure of herself to be clear with Jason about what she wanted.

She slipped out of bed and pulled on her dad’s flannel robe. It still smelled of his aftershave and it was the closest thing she had to getting a hug from him. She wrapped her arms around herself for a long minute before she tied the sash as she opened the door.

The old hinges creaked as she did so. The ranch needed an infusion of cash. Everything was old and tired.

Including her?


She really hoped not, but tonight, with Jason being back and Dad being gone, she was feeling...too much. A little down, a little wild, a little angry.

The night was warm and the full moon lit her path. The upstairs bedrooms ran along a corridor that was lined with floor-to-ceiling glass panes affording a view of the acres and acres of pasture that her ancestors had claimed and kept as their own. Each generation added their own stamp to their home, which had started as a big farm house, but had evolved into something unique with modern touches. She stood there for a moment, just looking at the land. She loved Texas. And this land was in her blood. She knew she’d do whatever she had to to keep the ranch, even if it meant swallowing her pride and getting along with Jason.

She wanted to confront him. Had since the moment he’d arrived. She’d sent him a card for his birthday every year for the first five years after he left, but she’d never heard anything back. She was more than a little angry. And it was the safest emotion for her to land on at the moment.

She had a gaping sense of loss from her father’s death and she knew some of the anger coursing through her was because she hadn’t spent enough quality time with him before he died. Sure, they’d done chores together and eaten with Jeb and the other ranch hands and sat in silence, but she’d never really gotten to know him. She had thought she’d have decades left to hear his stories and ask him questions.

Jason’s door was closed.

She reminded herself that he was no longer the boy she’d known so well...yet not well enough.

The too-brief kiss they’d shared in the kitchen had whetted her appetite, reawakened a desire that had never really gone away. He would leave again. To be fair, she’d probably want him to go. She knew she didn’t share power easily and the thought of having to make decisions about the ranch with him chafed.


She glanced up and saw him standing in front of his bedroom. No shirt to cover that muscled chest of his, only a pair of low-slung jeans that clung to his hip bones. His hair was rumpled as if he’d run his fingers through it a few times. Hers tingled as she thought of touching him.

“I am pissed at you,” she said at last.

He rubbed his chest, the thin layer of hair there and the scar he’d earned trying to climb out his window when he’d first come to live with them. The Bar T Ranch had left its mark on Jason as surely as it had on her.

“I left so I wouldn’t hurt your relationship with your dad,” he said.

“That’s BS and you know it. You left because you were afraid.”


“Yes. Of me. Of getting tied to this ranch and never seeing the world outside its borders.”

He shrugged and took a step forward. She shivered. He was all masculine grace. He moved as if he owned the world, and given that he’d seen it from orbit maybe he did.

She wanted to be in control. But she couldn’t help wondering if giving in to lust would finally answer the question that had niggled at her for thirteen long years. Would he be the lover she’d always dreamed of? Sixteen-year-old Molly had been sure of it. Twenty-nine-year-old Molly had been disappointed by men before. But she wanted this, wanted him.

Always had.


“You certainly aren’t any more eloquent than you used to be,” she said, closing the gap between them. Acting without thinking.

That was the key. Don’t think. She had been thinking way too much since her father died and she’d seen Jason’s name on the will. She’d been questioning why her father, whom she’d thought she’d known so well, had named him in the will and not just her. Did he think she needed a man’s help?


Don’t think.


She put her hands on Jason’s shoulders. His skin was hot, hard under her touch, and damn he smelled good. She went up on her tiptoes, hung there balanced only by her hands on his body.

He arched one eyebrow at her but didn’t make another move. She felt the unspoken dare between them. Was she going to do this or back away as she had in the kitchen?

“Ah, hell.”

Jason’s words lingered in the air around them as his mouth came down on hers. For a mouth that had always looked so strong and tough, it was soft against hers. He took the kiss slowly as if he had all the time in the world.

They had this night.

Nothing was complicated in this empty house with the moon shining down on them. She held tightly on to his shoulders as he parted his lips and she felt the first thrust of his tongue in her mouth.

He tasted of whiskey and temptation. Two things she knew she should resist right now but was unable to.

She was tired of denying herself. Jason McCoy. She’d wanted him for longer than she could remember and at last it seemed he was hers for the taking.

No more regrets.

He settled his hands on her hips, drawing her closer, and the silk nightie she wore under the robe did nothing to protect her from the intense heat of his embrace. He thrust his tongue deeper into her mouth and she felt a fire start in her soul and fan outward.

She pulled back, looking up into his eyes. They were heavy-lidded, half-closed. Slowly he opened them.


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