But everyone else had been fooling him.
* * * * *
"Thanks for all your help," Autumn said. "I feel awful; you’re supposed to be done after lunchtime."
It was nearly nine in the evening, but Morgan didn’t mind. She enjoyed working with Autumn and she wanted to pitch in as much as she could while she was still here. Autumn really shouldn’t be working so hard while she was pregnant. Besides, Rob was so busy nowadays, she hardly saw him. If she wasn’t working, she’d be bored.
"Don’t worry about it," Morgan said.
"I wish Claire wasn’t being such a…"
"Something like that." Autumn sighed. "I don’t think her problem is with you, though."
"Sure seems that way."
"Something’s on her mind. I wish I knew what it was," Autumn said.
"Go get some rest and stop worrying about everyone." Morgan patted her arm. Autumn’s frown seemed perpetually in place these days.
"I was thinking about taking a look up in that attic."
"It’s a mess and I want everything perfect before the baby comes." Autumn flashed her a smile. "And yes, I know how insane I sound."
"You sound like a perfectly normal mom-to-be. But I’ll point out that you have six more months to get the attic clean. Please rest tonight."
"I will. You, too. I’ll see you first thing in the morning."
Morgan headed out the door with a smile on her face, but by the time she reached the bunkhouse she was frowning again. Autumn was right. It didn’t make sense that Claire was so upset with her.
What was really bothering her?
* * * * *
Masonry by moonlight wasn’t going to be the next big thing, Rob thought as he troweled on a layer of cement and fitted another stone in place. With Carl’s help, he’d set up an array of lights run off an exterior extension cord. Still, his pace was hampered by the heavy shadows. At this rate he’d never get the garden done. Evenings were beginning to get cooler, too. It was late September. If he wanted a shot at beating Carl’s deadline, he had to get these raised beds built in the next day or two.
It was close to three in the morning by the time he staggered home, so once he’d rinsed himself off under a hot shower and fumbled his way to the bedroom dressed in nothing but the towel around his waist, he was surprised to find Morgan still awake, reading by the light of a bedside lamp, several kittens tucked around her among the covers.
"Hey, you’re finally home," she said, putting her book away and reaching for him.
He returned her hug and kiss. "Couldn’t you sleep?"
"I wanted to talk to you. I’ve missed you."
"I’ve missed you, too." They hadn’t fooled around in days and now his body reminded him of that fact. She looked good – warm, lush and inviting. He tore off the towel and pitched it into the corner of the room
She watched him, eyes sparkling, but when he climbed onto the bed, she sat up straight and held him off. "We need to talk for a minute." She brushed her lips over his cheek, as if promising they’d do more than talk afterward. "We’ve got to do something about Claire and Jamie, and about your family, too."
"You think we should try to reason with them again?" He didn’t see what else they could do.
"I was thinking more along the lines of a practical joke."
Rob’s eyebrows shot up. "You serious?"
"I am." A wicked smile curved her lips. "I think it’s time to get them all, good."
"Tell me about it." He couldn’t wait any longer. He eased her down onto the mattress and covered her body with his own. Kissing her neck and then her jaw, then finally her mouth, he said. "Actually, hold that thought for a minute, would you?"
She let out a sigh as he traced his lips over her chin and down her neck, as he cupped one breast with his hand. "Okay," she said, and before he could even ask, she’d skimmed the shortie nightgown she wore up over her head and hurled it across the room to join his towel.
"That’s more like it," Rob said. He took a moment to lift all the kittens off of the bed and deposit them on the floor. He would never grow tire of Morgan’s body. Curvy in all the right places, he loved to touch her, taste her and tease her until she moaned beneath him in delight. He intended to do all three of those things right now, but he wished he could do more. He couldn’t wait to make love to Morgan.
She seemed to be as much on fire for him as he was for her. She stroked his back, curving her palms over his ass, then traced her fingernails back up his skin.
Rob shivered and pulled her closer, lavishing his attentions of first one breast, then the other. He could spend all night right here…if he didn’t have to get up in a couple of hours and start all over again.
With that thought in mind, he cut to the chase, wriggling lower and beginning to explore her center with his tongue.
Morgan arched and moaned, a sound that set him on fire. He wished…
"Rob," she breathed and tried to pull him back up closer to her.
"Honey, let me make you feel good," he said, and bent back to his delicious task.
"Rob." This time she tugged harder, her hands on his biceps. He sighed and inched back up to face her.
"What is it?" he said.
Her cheeks stained with color, a sight so beautiful it made his heart ache.
"I don’t want to wait anymore to be with you. I want to make love to you tonight. Right now." She bit her lip, waiting for his answer.
His eyes narrowed. "You sure?" he said.
She nodded. "Definitely."
"What about waiting for our wedding?" he asked. Hell, he’d been ready to make love to her the day they’d met, but so much was screwed up right now, he didn’t want to tip the balance against them. Women were funny sometimes. They got notions in their heads that were best to go along with. He didn’t want Morgan to wake up disappointed tomorrow.
"I’m no virgin," she said. "And I know I’m going to be with you forever. I made up my mind the night you came to Victoria. You’re the only man for me, Rob Matheson, and nothing’s going to change that – not your family or mine. I’ve watched you these past few weeks doing everything you can to set up a life for us. No one’s making it easy, but whatever they throw our way, you handle it and keep going. I respect you for that, so much. I know we can build something that will last." She searched his face and he figured she was wondering if he felt the same way.
He sure as hell did. "I don’t care what any of them says. I’m marrying you and I’m staying married to you."