Marriage at the Cowboy's Command(7)

By: Ann Major

“You were so good with him. I respect that. You looked so beautiful and wild. I wish I’d come back, at least once, to check on you. I suddenly realized I never…said goodbye.”

“No…you didn’t.” She caught herself. “This isn’t happening,” she whispered, feeling shattered by his admission, by the sweetness of his kiss on her poor battered hand.

“Something sure as hell is,” he muttered, sounding angry and lost. “I should have stood my ground and stayed in London.”

“You could always just go.”

“It’s too late now. The damage is done.” His eyes devoured hers. He stared straight into her soul, which had always belonged only to him. “I’ve seen you. I’ve touched you. And now I’m curious…about a lot of things.”

She didn’t understand the stillness that possessed her, held her. Was she in a trance? Clasped tightly against his tall, muscular body, his heat flooding her, she could barely think, barely breathe.

It was as if she were in a dream, as if she was again caught in the vortex of the youthful passion that had nearly destroyed her. For years she’d told herself she’d do it differently if she was ever faced with such temptation again.

Now, here he was.

Time to smarten up, Caitlyn.

But she lifted her head, parted her lips invitingly. Her nipples tightened into pert berries, throbbing where they brushed his shirt and felt his heat. Slowly he lowered his mouth to hers, nibbling her top lip as he’d done in the past, sucking on it, tasting it. Then she melted against him.

“Oh, God,” he muttered.

Instantly, nerves tingled in her tummy. Where he was concerned, she’d always been easy. Why did he have to make her feel so good, so fast?

Sighing, she wrapped her arms around his neck, threaded her fingers in his silky hair, stood on her tiptoes and kissed him right back. He was simply too delicious to resist.

“I’m going to hate you for this,” she whispered, her voice thick. “Most of all, I’m going to hate me.”

“I hear you, sweetheart.”

Then his tongue invaded her mouth, and sweet, urgent needs made her arch her body into his hardness. Like a mare showing heat, excitement blazed through her. She ached with needs she’d never felt for any other man, not even her husband.

She knew what she was doing was wrong. Luke had hurt her, rejected her, hurt Daniel without even knowing Daniel existed. She hated him for all the lost years since he’d left.

And yet there were other emotions alongside the hate. Kissing him now was like coming home after living for too many years with strangers. She couldn’t get enough. She wanted him to tear off her jeans, throw her over his shoulder and carry her into the barn. She wanted to open her legs and lie down in the hay with him again.

She wanted too much. She always had.

For another long second she was alone in the universe with him. Then Ramblin’ Man exploded in the trailer and Lisa yelled.

As if he suddenly realized where he was and what he was doing, Luke’s hands fell away. He jumped free of her with an abruptness that startled her.

Distantly, she heard Lisa soothing Ramblin’ Man in the round pen.

Luke’s eyes hardened, and he cursed low under his breath.

In a bewildered daze, she stared at him. More than anything, she had wanted to stay in his arms, to cling to his strength, to enjoy feeling like a woman for the first time in years.

But that was impossible now.

“Take your hands off me! Let me go!” Caitlyn whispered needlessly. The humiliating truth was that Luke had already moved away and was no longer touching her.

He was silent for what seemed an eternity.

What was he thinking? Did he have demons she knew nothing about?

“You kiss like a woman who hasn’t had any in six years,” he growled, glaring at her.

She stared down at the scuffed toe of her roper boots. As always, he was uncannily perceptive. The last thing she wanted him to suspect was how she’d longed for him all through the lonely years of her marriage.

“If you want it that bad, we’d better go inside,” he said. “Or do you still prefer the loft? Frankly, it doesn’t matter to me. All I want is to get you out of my system—permanently.”

Feeling ashamed of her reaction to him, she lashed out at him, too. “Ditto! I don’t want you touching me again—ever! I want you gone! That’s what I want.”

“You didn’t kiss me like a woman who wants me gone, sweetheart.”

“I don’t know what came over me, but believe me, I want you gone.”

“Well, while I figure out your finances and Hassan’s motives, I’ll figure out our chemistry, as well.”