Marriage at the Cowboy's Command(57)

By: Ann Major

Keeping to the shadows, so as not to interrupt the session, he watched her. Sasha, a temperamental stallion, had thrown back his head and was prancing sideways. Caitlyn was speaking to him calmly, waiting out his burst of temper. Finally, her stillness brought him to his senses, and they began to canter, moving like one.

She was magic on horseback. She was magic, period. The luckiest day of his life was the day he’d returned to Wild Horse Ranch.

All the pain of the past came screaming back through him, the years without Caitlyn and Daniel, his anguish and the fury that had fueled his fierce ambition.

He didn’t regret any of it.

For better or for worse….

He loved it all, the good and the bad. Loved her. Loved every minute of their lives together.

When Sasha whirled, and Caitlyn saw him, she gave a cry of pure joy that made the sun burn brighter and the trees sparkle with a fierceness that nearly blinded him. Quickly, she dismounted and handed the reins to a groom before turning and flying into his arms.

Wrapping her hands around his neck, she clung—just as she had when she’d been a girl and he’d kissed her for the first time.

He remembered everything, every moment they’d ever shared.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were taking off early? I would have stopped working, showered…. Maybe even put on some lipstick.”

“I wanted to surprise you. I like you just as you are.”

She smiled, longing to believe him, but being female, she didn’t quite.

He kissed her long and hard in a manner that left no doubt about the truth of his statement, or his intentions. “After you told me about the baby, I wanted to be with you. Only with you. I resented my business associates. If I’d stayed at the office, I would have abused everyone.”

“Shame on you, darling.”

“What do you say we make the most of my playing hooky?”

“What exactly do you have in mind?”

“I think you know, but just in case…” He whispered hot and provocative words into her ear that made her flush and laugh merrily. Then he grabbed her hand and tugged her in the direction of the stables.

“But not in…a stall,” she said under her breath, giggling. “I’m afraid I really do have to draw a line…since someone might catch us.”

“All right. If you refuse to indulge my darkest fantasies, inspired by our first time in the barn…”

Inside the tack room behind Sasha’s stall, which smelled of leather and soap, he bolted the door and shoved her against the rough wall.

“Is this any way to treat a pregnant lady?” she teased as she began to unthread his tie. Using the silken ends, she reeled him closer.

“Just say the word, and I’ll stop.”

“Kiss me,” she begged. “And then do all those wild, dirty things you just promised me you’d do.”

Closing her eyes, she lifted her lips to his and abandoned herself to the wild exultation of their passion that fused not only their mouths and their bodies but their souls.

He stripped her slowly, garment by garment. When she was naked, he fell to his knees before her and paid homage with his lips and tongue to this woman he’d always adored.

“I love you,” he murmured huskily afterward.

She closed her eyes and took a long, shuddering breath. “I love it when you say it like that.”

For three years his joy in this woman had grown. No longer did he feel that some vital piece of himself was missing. With her by his side and in his bed, he was complete.

Tugging her close, he whispered against her ear, “I love you. More than anything.” Then he began to make love to her slowly as if they had all the time in the world. For once she didn’t rush him.