The Cowboy Earns a Bride (Page 45)

The Cowboy Earns a Bride (Cowboys of Chance Creek #8)(45)
Author: Cora Seton

She knew he could, so she offered no resistance to his caresses. Instead she rolled over onto her back, relaxed against the pillows and offered herself to him. Luke didn’t hesitate. He commenced a sensual exploration of every part of her body that soon had her writhing beneath him in ecstasy. Gone was the exhaustion that had weighed her down all day. Under Luke’s touch, she came alive.

“I want you inside me,” she finally breathed and in an instant he was in position above her, letting her know with his body just how ready he was to be with her, too.

He hesitated only a moment—just long enough to see if she had any objections to the position, which she didn’t. She liked that Luke had taken control and that all she had to do was lie back and let him ravish her.

He did so—pressing into her so tenderly and slowly at first, she was ready to scream with frustration and desire. Then he sped up his movements until all Mia could do was hold on for dear life. When she came, she arched up to meet him and cried out, thankful for the empty house so that she didn’t need to hold back. Soon Luke was there with her, grunting in time with his thrusts.

Afterward, when he pulled out, she wanted to do it all over again. When they made love everything was perfect. They were completely aligned—completely of one mind.

Why couldn’t they be like that all the time?

“Luke?” she asked when the silence stretched too long. “What is it?”

“I don’t want to say anything. I don’t want to mess things up and have you kick me out again.”

She sighed, hearing the depth of his love for her in his voice. “Then we won’t say anything. We’ll just touch.”

“Like this?” He stroked a finger down her arm and then shifted to circle her breast.

“Exactly like that.”

Luke stuck to his guns and didn’t say more than a word or two the rest of the night. In the morning, he slipped out of bed, made Mia a quick breakfast—after checking his phone for messages and breathing a sigh of relief when he found none—and took it to her in her bedroom. He set the tray on her lap, kissed her good-bye and went home to do his own chores, a spring in his step that hadn’t been there in a long time.

Several hours later he heard a commotion outside of the barn where he was working and went to check it out. Rarely had he seen Ethan lose his temper, but today the rancher was letting Ned have it.

“At least be man enough to admit what you did! You went to enough trouble to embarrass me!”

“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about!”

The two men faced each other near the closest corral. Luke hurried over to see what was the matter.

“Hemorrhoid cream. A whole damn box of it. In front of everyone at the post office! Eleanor Hutton’s been telling the whole town about my piles. Someone offered me a donut pillow at the drug store yesterday.”

Ned guffawed. “Wish I’d been there, but it wasn’t me. Now if you don’t mind, I’ve got a snow blower to fix.” He indicated his mechanics shed in the distance where he kept all the equipment on the ranch in working order.

“Ned ain’t smart enough to pull a practical joke,” Luke said, joining them. “It’s gotta be someone else.”

“Not the sharpest tool in your tool shed? Is that what Luke means?” Ethan said to Ned.

“I’d be sharp enough not to be fooled if someone played a practical joke on me.”

“You Mathesons.” Ethan made it sound like a dirty word. “I don’t need your shit! I can’t get a full night’s sleep. I don’t have enough guests booked for the month. I’ve got bills coming out of my ears!” Luke could sympathize with his pain. Ethan walked around in a circle. “How am I supposed to pay for college if the guest house can’t even pay for its own electricity?”

“College?” Luke chuckled. “Arianna’s what—three weeks old?”

“And seeing how she’s yours, she won’t be too bright,” Ned added. He ducked when Ethan took a swipe at him.

“She’ll be smarter than you.”

“She’ll probably read before she’s thirty, at least,” Luke added. Then wished he hadn’t. “Shit. I didn’t mean…”

“To hell with both of you,” Ned said and stalked away stiffly, his face as white and pinched as it had been the first time Luke saw him after he broke his leg.

“Damn it.” One night with Mia and he was so giddy he’d forgotten to watch his mouth. He shouldn’t have said that. Ned was chancy to joke with at any time, but if you brought up his dyslexia to his face he was sure to get ornery.

“I’ll leave you to mend your fences.” Ethan turned to go. “But you can tell him I don’t consider ours mended yet.”

“I got the strangest note in the mail the other day,” Carl said when Mia met him for coffee again at Linda’s Diner one day in the middle of March. He fished a folded envelope out of his pocket and laid it on the table.

“Hi, Mia!” Tracey appeared to take their order. “What’ll it be today? And I loved the ideas you emailed me about the flower arrangements. They’re perfect!”

“Glad you liked them. I’ll have some peach cobbler and a glass of milk.” She was getting sick of milk, but everything she read told her she needed to watch her calcium intake. Her baby had a lot of growing to do.

“Coffee—black—and a slice of cherry pie.” Carl handed the menu to Tracey and waited until she walked away.

Mia picked up the envelope and her heart sank when she recognized the writing. Not Carl, too. She pulled out the slip of paper inside it.

Leeve her alon.

“I assume you’re the one I’m supposed to leave alone?” Carl said.

“Probably. I’ve been getting notes like this, too.”

“Is it your fiancé?”

“I don’t think so. Luke would just come out and say it if he was angry about something. I can’t think who is sending them.”

“Someone who saw us together, I guess.”

“It doesn’t have to be someone who actually saw us. People gossip.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t meet anymore.”

Mia looked him in the eye. “I want to meet. You’re the only one I can really talk about my business to, as sad as that is.”

“Speaking of which. Where’s your contract?” He held out a hand. Mia pulled a large manila envelope from her bag, handed it over, then watched him draw out the sheaf of papers inside. She had come to enjoy Carl’s weekly challenges for her and she was learning a lot from him. This week the challenge had been to make a contract for her event planning services. She’d cobbled one together from contracts she’d seen online, but she wasn’t sure it was what Carl had in mind.