She took in a deep breath. "I think I love you."
Warmth surged into Rob’s heart. He lowered his head to kiss her. "I know I love you."
"Show me," she whispered, and Rob nearly lost his grip right then. Slipping an arm behind her, he cupped her head and lifted it to meet her mouth with his. He kissed her long and hard, a possessive kiss, wanting her to feel the depth of his love for her right down to her toes. He didn’t know when friendship, respect and desire for her had transformed into something deeper, but he did know he never wanted to let her go again. He would never accept circumstances that led to anything but their being together.
He ravished her again with his mouth, this time knowing that before they were done, he would possess all of her, body and soul. He took his time, exploring every inch of her, until Morgan twisted her hands in her hair and dragged him up to face her once more.
"I…can’t…wait," she gasped out. "Now, Rob."
Gathering her close, he moved into position, wanting to stay here always, just on the verge of taking her, with the whole experience right in front of him. Morgan cried out in frustration and gripped him hard. Slipping her hands down to cup his ass once again, she tried to pull him inside her.
He held back only an instant, then slid into her, inch by agonizing inch.
Morgan moaned and he checked to make sure it was in pleasure. Yep, sure looked like it. She opened her eyes and glared at him. "What are you waiting for?"
He bent down and kissed her, then began to move. Slowly at first, he stroked in and out until Morgan clutched the bedclothes tightly in her fists. As he sped up, she opened her eyes again and met his gaze. The rise and fall of her breasts against him as moved within her set his skin on fire, but it was Morgan herself – seeing her watch him watch her – that nearly sent him over the edge.
She was getting close, judging by her ragged breathing. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she moved under him, matching him stroke for stroke. "Rob," she breathed, "Oh, God…"
When she cried out, he came with her, letting go all the passion he’d held in for so long. He barely stifled his own cries, only too conscious they weren’t alone in the house. Someday soon they’d have their own place and he’d make love to Morgan for hours every night.
When they collapsed together, he found it hard not to start all over again. They had to get some sleep, though. Morgan had as early a morning ahead of her as he did.
"You are amazing," he whispered into her hair.
"You are amazing," she said. "I’ve never felt like that before."
"You ain’t seen nothing yet." He moved to slide out of her, but she stopped him.
"Hold on, let me tell you my idea. I think you’re going to like it," she said.
And as they lay together, entwined in the most intimate of ways, Rob listened to her plan and began to smile.
At precisely twelve-thirty Sunday afternoon, two trucks pulled into the driveway of the Cruz ranch, and the Matheson family climbed out. Morgan, watching them from the front door of the Big House, wondered how often the two families had gotten together in the past. While the younger generation of Mathesons and Cruzes had grown up as friends, the parents seemed to have been something of rivals. Surely from time to time, however, they’d gotten together and shared a meal.
At any rate, they would do so today. Ethan had returned an hour ago from shuttling the latest group of guests to the airport and they had several hours before a new crop arrived. Morgan had timed her request for a family get-together to take advantage of this break in the action. She helped Autumn prepare a light lunch of sandwiches and salads, and hoped that everyone would stick around long enough to eat it.
"Mom, Dad, good to see you," Rob said, moving past her and stepping out onto the porch.
Holt grunted and Lisa hugged him. Jake, Luke and Ned filed up the front steps after them, and Rob ushered them all inside.
Jamie, Claire, Ethan and Autumn were already in the great room. The table was set and the food ready to serve. Morgan had long debated whether to speak before or after the meal. In the end, she and Rob had agreed to speak first. They both knew they couldn’t sit through an entire lunch knowing what was to come.
"Have a seat," Rob said to his family, gesturing to the comfortable couches that ringed the living room area. When they did, he held out his hand to Morgan and pulled her to stand next to him in front of the enormous stone fireplace. "Morgan and I have some news for you."
"You’re having a baby?" Lisa popped up again and the others in the room exchanged glances, but Rob quickly regained control of the situation.
"No, we’re not having a baby. Not yet, anyhow." Lisa sat down, looking disappointed. "You all know we plan to get married in October, and we’re grateful for the support we’ve received."
Morgan bit back a snort. Some support. Although, to be fair, Ethan and Autumn had stood by them the whole time, and Lisa was their number one fan.
"Our presence in Chance Creek, however, hasn’t made things easy on the rest of you."
Autumn opened her mouth as if to contradict this, but Morgan caught her eye and gave her head a little shake. She relaxed when her sister-in-law sat back against the couch cushions, but Autumn didn’t look happy about it.
"We’ve been doing a lot of thinking," Rob went on. "At first we hoped to start a winery and riding school on the Matheson acreage," he nodded at his father, who crossed his arms over his chest, "and when that didn’t work out, we hoped we could do the same on the Cruz ranch." He caught the eye of Jamie and Claire. "We’ve learned our lesson. Our plans don’t quite fit in the scheme of things at either place." He waited a beat. "That’s why we’re moving to California."
The room erupted into instant chaos. Lisa surged to her feet again, her eyes flashing with anger. Jake shouted at Rob, something about, "I told you why!" Jamie and Claire stared at each other in horror. Ethan’s mouth hung open, and tears ran openly down Autumn’s face. Morgan wanted to run to her, but she couldn’t. Not if they were to play this thing out to its conclusion.
"Hold on, everyone. Let me finish what I was saying," Rob said. His face was strained, but his voice remained strong. "Morgan’s received a job offer in Napa. She’s leaving this afternoon to check it out. They’ve offered her a week-long trial run to see if it’s a good fit. I’ve been in touch with a riding school in the same area that’s looking for someone to teach rodeo skills. Morgan’s job comes with onsite housing, which makes things easy. We’ll make up our minds at the end of the week based on her experience whether or not it’s a good fit. If it is, we’ll pack up our stuff and make the move at the beginning of October. Now I hope you all will enjoy your lunch. I’ve got to get Morgan to the airport, then I’m heading over to Carl’s." He squeezed Morgan’s shoulders. "Once we move permanently to California, we plan to start our family, so we’ll need all the cash we can get. As for the wedding," he turned his attention to his father. Holt, still as stone, stared back at him. "We don’t want to put everyone out, so we’ve decided to make a layover in Vegas on our way out to our new digs. I’ve always wanted to get married in one of those Elvis chapels." He kissed her on the forehead.