The Cowboy's E-Mail Order Bride (Page 14)

The Cowboy’s E-Mail Order Bride(14)
Author: Cora Seton

She arched in pleasure as he found her secret folds and teased and stroked her to heights that had her moaning aloud. Then, when he couldn’t stand it anymore, he pushed himself into position above her and waited for her assent.

“Wait – just a second.” She reached out blindly, patted her cast off dress until she found a pocket and pulled out a small packet. A condom.

Of course. Good thing one of them was thinking straight today. They barely knew each other – certainly not well enough to have unprotected sex, no matter what they’d gotten up to last night. He had the package open and the condom on in a matter of moments, and she pulled him close again, guiding him into her, opening herself to him and crying aloud as he thrust himself inside her and joined them as one.

* * * * *

With a cry of animal desire that shocked her as much as it thrilled her, she gripped Ethan’s hips and urged him inside her. When he answered with a powerful thrust it was all she could do not to give herself up to oblivion right then.

She wanted more, though – much more. She didn’t think she’d ever get enough of this man who filled her and set her on fire. If she’d known sex could be like this she’d have been combing Montana years ago, searching for her cowboy. New York would never be the same when she went back.

All thoughts rushed from her mind as Ethan’s strokes brought her closer and closer to the edge. The male scent of sweat and leather, the softness of the blanket and hard, lumpy ground beneath her skin, blue sky and sunshine peeking between far overhead boughs all merged together in a blinding flash of heat and light as she swept over the edge of desire and into the abyss of ecstacy.

As they lay panting, entwined, Autumn’s senses came back to her with a snap and with them came uncertainty. What kind of a person was she, using sex to secure a story? Maybe Ethan wasn’t handing over cash, but she depended on her writing for a living, so in a way she was still trading sex for money as if she were a prostitute.

Although, if she was truthful, the story was the last thing on her mind right now. She tried to take a mental step back. What if there was no job on the line, what if she’d just met Ethan through friends or at a bar or party? Would she still be here, making love to him under the sun?

Yes. Oh, hell yes.

The answer came as clear as day, and with it an even greater sorrow. Because she couldn’t have feelings for Ethan. He was nothing but a story to her, and in less than a month she had to get on a plane and leave for good. Once the story was published, there was no going back. He wouldn’t want her then.

Ethan rolled off her and spooned her into an embrace. “Autumn, you are the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” He nuzzled her neck and breathed a contented sigh. For a few moments there was silence between them as they both gazed up at the blue sky winking in and out between the boughs of the pine. Then he whispered, “Autumn. Will you be my wife?”

She held her breath. Oh my God, was that a real proposal? In a flash she saw the month ahead, the ring, the congratulations, the parties, the preparations, the dress, the wedding…

No, not the wedding. She would leave before the wedding.

He was offering her everything she needed for this story – all the details she could use to write the kind of attention-getting, sexy, catty, zinging expose CityPretty demanded for its feature articles. As soon as she saw Ethan’s video want ad for a bride, she knew she could use it as the basis for a scathing editorial on the lengths men would go to get exactly what they wanted.

So why was she hesitating? What had her boss told her time and time again? You can’t be a journalist and have feelings – not when you work for a magazine like CityPretty. You have to go for the jugular, do what it takes to get the killer headline. Be ruthless! Feelings are for social workers.

“Autumn? Will you marry me?” Ethan asked again.

She took a breath.


* * * * *

Ethan waited while Autumn finished snapping photos of the partially weeded garden, the picnic basket sitting on the back steps – she fussed a little about not having any shots of his proposal, but agreed with him it was for the best since they were both in their birthday suits – and the mess she’d left in the kitchen when she’d raced off to find him. Together they washed up and straightened the kitchen and then he took her hand.

“Ready to go pick out that ring?”

She nodded hesitantly.

“You don’t look so sure. Changed your mind already?” A stab of fear pierced his heart. He hoped she hadn’t.

A small smile touched her lips. “It’s not that, it’s just…it feels weird, you spending money on me. It doesn’t seem right. You hardly know me.”

“I know I’m going to spend the rest of my life with you.” A new thought struck him. “You know that, right? Marriage for me is forever. I don’t do divorce.”

Her eyebrows rose, delicate swoops of brown he longed to kiss. “I know. I feel that way, too. It’s just…I don’t want you to feel like you have to…buy things for me.”

Her discomfort was plain to see and he wondered what had happened in the past to make her so hesitant to take a gift from a man. “Sweetheart, it’s my job to take care of you now. I’m going to be your husband. I will spend the rest of my days making sure you have a roof over your head, food in your stomach and pretty clothes and jewelry to wear. There may be hard times now and then, and I may not be able to give you everything you want, but I will do my damnedest to see you right.”

Her mouth fell open a little, and he was torn by the desire to kiss those soft lips and tear the man limb from limb who made this woman so shocked that someone might want to lighten her load.

“Come on, we’re going to get you the prettiest ring you ever saw. Nothing but the best for my girl.” He pulled her along out to the truck and had a sudden flash of understanding about his own parents. No wonder his father had put up with his mother’s spending without a fight. He’d loved her to distraction – he’d wanted her happy, and so he did whatever it took to make sure she stayed that way, even if it meant mortgaging the ranch to the hilt.

Speaking of which.

Ethan realized in a rush of panic that he didn’t have the money to buy a fancy engagement ring. What the hell was he thinking? As Autumn strapped herself into the passenger seat of the truck, he walked around to the driver’s side slowly, cursing the amnesia that seemed to hit every time he was within five feet of her. Hell, he’d dug himself a good hole, hadn’t he? He opened the door, climbed in, stuck the key in the ignition, and tried to breathe.