The Cowboy's E-Mail Order Bride (Page 7)

The Cowboy’s E-Mail Order Bride(7)
Author: Cora Seton

“On the house – from the Winters.” She nodded to a couple smiling and waving from across the room. Dave Winters was Ethan’s 10th grade shop class teacher. He forced himself to smile and raise a glass in appreciation. Damn it, what was he thinking kissing Autumn? Promising her a ring! Had he gone completely insane?

“Drink up!” Cab shouted. “And kiss the girl! Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!” In a moment the whole crowd was chanting along.

Not again.

Autumn raised her glass to his, then drank deeply. He followed suit, not knowing what else to do. For tonight, they were caught like deer in the headlights of this crowd’s enthusiasm. Rob had won for now. He’d drink. He’d kiss the girl. Tomorrow, however, he would sort this out once and for all, put Autumn on a plane back to New York City and give Rob the whupping of his life for hurting the most desirable woman he’d ever met.

He downed his drink, slipped a hand under Autumn’s silky hair and pulled her close, then kissed the daylights out of her. The crowd went wild.

* * * * *

It was a tight fit in Rob’s truck at the end of the night since Jamie picked up some female company. Autumn didn’t care. She didn’t care about anything. She’d drunk more beer than she thought humanly possible, been kissed more times in one night than she’d been in three years. She’d lost wildly at pool and darts in DelMonaco’s games room, danced with more cowboys than she could count on DelMonaco’s poor excuse for a dance floor while being serenaded by its juke box, and taken pictures of everything.

She was dizzy, sleepy, and warm all over from the excess of human contact she’d experienced. Now she perched on Ethan’s lap, one arm around his neck, because it was the only way they fit in the back seat of the extended cab, crammed in next to Jamie and Sheila somebody – a loud talking cowgirl all the men seemed to know. Ethan’s arms circled her waist and one hand rested on her thigh. The heat of it was sending shivers of desire up and down her body. How long had it been since she had been held and caressed? Ethan’s battered jacket covered her since the night had turned cool. She snuggled under it, her face pressed to his neck. He smelled so good – so different from men in New York. Not a whiff of cologne on him. She realized in a rush what a turn-off it was that so many of the men in New York used more product than she did.

Ethan used good old soap and shampoo, she’d bet. She pressed her nose further into his skin and breathed in long and hard. Yummy. Did he taste as good as he smelled? She pressed her lips against his neck and allowed her tongue to dart out. Yep. Delicious. She tried it again.

Ethan stiffened, then tightened his hold on her, his hand on her thigh smoothing down her skirt, then traveling to her waist, then higher still. When it brushed against her breast, her breath caught and she stilled, waiting for that caress to go on. After a moment so long it felt like a lifetime, it did. His hand curved around the swell of her breast and lightly squeezed. A rush of heat warmed her and she leaned into him, biting her lip when his fingers found her nipple and began to tease it through the fabric of her bra and dress.

She kissed him harder, straining to reach his ear, down his neck, under his chin. His touch grew stronger, surer, the sweep of his hand around her breast setting her on fire and the pass of his thumb over her increasingly sensitive nipple nearly driving her to moan out loud.

“Okay, you two – get a room!” Rob called over the seat.

Autumn pulled away from Ethan with a gasp and met Rob’s gaze in the rear view mirror. The cowboy’s mocking grin made her turn away and look out of the truck. They’d stopped in a driveway before a long, low house. A single lightbulb on the porch broke the darkness that seemed to spread for miles in every direction. This must be Ethan’s ranch. She shivered at the sudden realization they were alone out here. Well, alone with four rowdy cowboy friends.

Cab got out of the front seat and opened the door for them. Ethan scooped her into his arms and slid out of the truck, landing hard but keeping his footing in the dirt of the driveway. Not acknowledging the whoops and cheers from his friends, he walked toward the front door of the small structure before them, carrying her as if it was something he did daily. She heard the truck turn in the driveway with a roar of its engines. He stumped up the steps, fumbled with the doorknob for a moment, then carried her indoors and slammed the door shut behind them.

She saw an unembellished living room, neat but spare, a door leading into a kitchen she only glimpsed, a flash of hall, and then they were in a bedroom. A man’s bedroom. Dark colors. Solid furniture. He set her gently on her feet and bent to turn on the bedside lamp. He threw the comforter back on the large bed.

“If you want out, now’s the time to say so,” he said, his breath tickling her chin.

Warning bells clanged in her mind, but Autumn pushed them back. The last thing she wanted was out. She kissed him full on the mouth, hard.

“I’m in.”

* * * * *

This had to be a dream, Ethan thought. Things like this didn’t happen to guys like him. When Lacey ditched him he swore he’d never be fooled by a woman again, and here he was with a dream girl, hand delivered to him, ready, willing and able not just to share his bed, but his life.

Forever and always. Her exact words. Hell yeah he’d buy her a ring. He’d put the biggest diamond he could afford on her finger and then together they’d save this ranch of his. They would undo everything his mother had done, pay back the bank, silence his creditors, buy out his sister, and show everyone that the Cruz’s might be down and out, but they weren’t finished. Far from it.

As Autumn sat down on the bed he shucked off his shirt and undid the buckle of his jeans. Pure lust raged through his body and he couldn’t stand the distance between them for one more minute. Judging from the look in her eyes, neither could she.

She began to work on the buttons that did up the back of her dress. He kicked off his boots and jeans, turned her around and swept her hair aside. The buttons were small and difficult for his large fingers, but he made short work of them. Shucking off his boxers, he turned her once more gently around and waited for her to do the rest.

Her eyes widened at the sight of him, naked and ready, and a wicked smile played on her lips as she looked him up and down. “You are something,” she said.

“Hurry up.”

She laughed, and the sound fueled his desire.

“Need some help?”

“I got it.” She slid the dress first off one shoulder, then the other, then down to her waist. She unhooked her lacy bra, and let that fall, too. Ethan couldn’t wait a moment more. He swept down, took one nipple into his mouth and tipped her over, pulling her into his arms.