Taken, Not Spurred (Page 24)

Taken, Not Spurred (Lone Star Burn #1)(24)
Author: Ruth Cardello

Tony strode off toward the garage, hating the way his brother’s words echoed in his head as he went.

Chapter Nine

Time is extremely subjective.

A day of lovemaking and excitement flies by too quickly, but waiting for a man to return is sweet torture that the slow tick of the clock on the wall does nothing to alleviate.

I’d write that down if I had my notebook, but where it is promises that I’ll have much more to write about tomorrow.

Afternoon turned to evening. Sarah moved from the front porch swing to attempt nonchalant pose on the couch in the living room. She dug a book out of her luggage and tried to escape into another world but failed. As night darkened the windows, she returned to swing on the porch.

With their previous excursions in mind, Sarah had changed into a mint-green sundress with thin straps, made from a material thick enough to conceal that for the first time in her life she’d gone commando. Her flimsy sandals were easy enough to slip off if the right situation presented itself. There was a lot she didn’t know about men, but she was fairly certain that after the day she and Tony had shared, he’d quickly forget whatever had taken him to town and come for her.

Figuratively and then, hopefully, literally.

She stood when Tony’s truck pulled into the driveway. She was at the top of the steps waiting for him. A perfect moment, marred only by the harsh lines of his guarded expression as he approached the house. Still, he walked up the steps toward her and came to a stop within inches of her. Her body vibrated with a welcoming shudder.

There was a hunger in him that ignited a heat that spread within her. They stood, eyes locked, neither moving nor reaching for the other, barely breathing.

“I’ve been thinking,” he said gruffly.

Hopefully, about what has been on my mind all day.

“Yes?” Sarah replied, just above a whisper.

He opened his mouth to say something, then closed it. “It’s been a long day, but tomorrow we need to talk.”

“Okay.” Seriously? Talk? Isn’t that supposed to be the woman’s line?

“I have to speak to David, then I’m calling it an early night.”


He didn’t have to say the word—it was stated loud and clear in his tone.


Some of her irritation must have shown in her face, because he asked, “Did you need anything?”

Salt to the wound, Texas? Between tight lips she said, “Not a thing.”

He stepped back and tipped his hat to her. “Then good night.”

She watched him turn, walk down the steps, and head for the barn. She wanted to throw one of her sandals at his head as he departed. She fought against the temptation to stomp her feet in frustration.

Tony Carlton, you are the most irritating man I’ve ever met. I should take my notebook back while I can. Now, before more happens and I toss my pride aside and just tackle you.

In the light of the barn doorway, he turned and looked back at her. Despite the distance, she felt their connection slam through her. She put a hand on the railing beside her to steady her suddenly weak knees.

He’ll change his mind when he reads my notebook.

Sarah straightened as a thought occurred to her. What am I going to wear? This isn’t just any night—this is the one I’ll base all my future naughty fantasies on. Our first time.

Sarah sprinted upstairs and stripped. She paced back and forth, buck naked, in front of all her open luggage. Lingerie? Too eager. A T-shirt? Too casual. The virginal cotton nightgown my parents bought me for this trip? She buried it beneath some shirts. Naked?

Definitely a time-saver. She closed the luggage and moved it all back to the floor, pushing the pieces beneath the twin-size bed. She perched on the nervously on the edge of the bed, then lay back against the coolness of the quilt.

Too scary.

She stood, then slid beneath the covers and pulled them up to her neck.

Too clichéd.

In the quiet of the house, she heard the front door open and close. She tensed with each footstep on the stairs.

He hasn’t read it yet.

I forgot about my hair.

I probably should have showered.

I want to look beautiful, but not too eager.

Then maybe I shouldn’t be naked.

In a panic, she slid out from under the covers, grabbed her luggage, and rummaged quickly for a long nightshirt with a plunging neckline. While eyeing herself in the mirror on the back of the bathroom door, she heard Tony open the door to his bedroom.

This is it.

She heard the thuds as each of his boots hit the floor and grabbed her makeup bag. A dash of concealer and quickly applied eyeliner and mascara, and Sarah felt a bit more confident. She ran a hand through her hair and touched up her lip gloss.

He can’t catch me waiting for him by the door like I’m desperate.

Sarah sat on the edge of her bed again and cursed Tony for not having even a television in the guest room to distract her. The quiet did, however, allow her to hear him open and close the drawers of his bureau.

Maybe hunting for condoms?

Sarah smoothed the hem of her nightshirt. Who am I kidding? If he read my entry, he knows I want to be with him. Why hide in a tent of a nightgown? This trip is about finding myself. Being bold.

She dropped to her knees beside the bed and began to rummage for her lingerie. It was a pink-satin baby-doll set, definitely sexier than what she was wearing.

Dressed again, Sarah perched on the edge of the bed and waited.

And waited.

Tony dropped his jeans and shirt to the floor beside his bed and slid tiredly beneath the cool sheets in just his boxers. If someone had told him that he’d end the day alone while the woman he wanted to fuck rustled around in a room just one door down the hall, he would have laughed.

But Dean was right.

Sarah deserved better than the way he’d treated her. She was innocent and she trusted him, two things that weighed heavily on his conscience. Earlier that day, he’d put aside what he knew was right and found his own pleasure with her. The memory of her orgasm brought him painfully to rock hardness in his boxers.

He could still remember how sweetly she’d spread her legs for him. The taste of her. The scent of her. He’d withheld his own release to give her time to get to know her own. He had told himself he wouldn’t rush her, but when they’d kissed after finding her horse, he’d lost all control and would have forgotten his early resolve had they not been interrupted.

She could leave if she wanted. No one is making her stay here. I should take what she is so openly offering me and let her deal with the consequences.