“The sheriff? Now that’s not a bad idea.” Carl shook her hand again and made his way through the crowd toward a knot of cowboys. Bella crossed the room to join her husband, her thoughts lingering on Carl’s mansion. She was sure he’d filled it with plenty of precious things that needed to be looked after; but it lacked the one thing he wanted most—the woman he loved.
She was so grateful fate had pushed her and Evan together. She didn’t care where she lived as long as he was there.
She must be the luckiest woman in the world.
* * * * *
“Come on, I’ve got a surprise for you,” Evan said.
How many more surprises could her life hold? Bella wondered lazily as she allowed him to pull her up off the chair on the balcony overlooking a nearly deserted beach below. Mexico had quickly become one of her favorite places, after Chance Creek, of course. They’d rented a secluded, but fully-staffed beach cottage, and relished the luxury and peace that surrounded them. “Where are we going?”
“On a little hike.”
She cocked her head, taking in the backpack he wore on his back. “I thought you just ducked inside to get your sunglasses.”
“I did, but I did a little packing, too. No more questions,” he added, putting a finger to her lips. “Just follow me.”
She gave the impending sunset behind them a last, longing look. She’d become a connoisseur of spectacular Pacific Ocean sunsets, but she allowed herself to be led downstairs and outside, down to the beach itself. Coming around a curve to a stretch of sand hidden from the building, she stopped when she took in the sight before her.
A tiny tent stood pitched in the sand.
“Is that for us?” she asked, suddenly very aware of her husband.
“No cameras? No interruptions?”
“And you intend to spend the whole night with me this time?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said and drew her into his arms.
As the edge of the sun dipped below the horizon, Bella kicked off her sandals, unwrapped the sarong she wore around her waist and shimmied out of the bottoms of her bikini.
“Hold up, there, beautiful,” Evan said, but he laughed and shucked off his own shorts. “Actually, go as fast as you want.” He came and helped her undo the clasp of her halter top.
As it fell away, Bella stood back and let him take her in, familiar by now with the warmth of his regard and the love that shone in his eyes. She tugged him toward the tent and dropped to her knees to unzip the opening, smiling at the hitch in his breathing that told her what he thought of that particular sight.
She couldn’t get inside fast enough, and Evan took forever to fold his bulk into the tiny space, but when they’d zipped the netted opening back up for a hint of privacy, she lay back and let the moment draw out.
“Did I do good?” Evan asked her.
“Better than good. I think we need to have one of these pitched in our backyard at all times.”
“We can sleep in it every night until we build our house.”
“Sleep? What’s sleep got to do with it?” She snuggled in close and turned over, spoon-fashion. Might as well finally finish what they started back on that most frustrating night of her life back on the show.
“I was hoping you’d remember this,” Evan said, sliding his arms around her, and hugging her close. As he set out to explore her body with his hands, caressing every curve, stroking her breasts, teasing her nipples, the fire within that seemed insatiable whenever he was near began to build anew.
She loved the feel of him nestled against her, the hardness of him pressed along her skin. She loved knowing what was to come, but relishing every moment of the process it took to get there.
She began to rock back against him and heard his murmured grunt of pleasure. As he slid a hand lower, exploring her, stroking her, she parted her legs, allowing him better access.
“You’re beautiful, you know that?” he said.
“I love you.”
He stroked faster and with a moan of wanting, she eased into position, telling him she wanted more, now—right now.
He pushed inside her, but only just a little, then pulled out before pushing in again. With each stroke he reached a little farther, but his slow pace and teasing motions stoked her fire so high she nearly cried out in frustration. Reaching behind her, she gripped his hip and tried to pull him inside. Evan only chuckled into her hair.
“Patience,” he said.
“I’ve never been patient! You know that!”
“I do know that,” he said, and pushed all the way in with a strong stroke. Bella gasped and moaned as he pulled out and pushed in again. This time his pace suited her just fine and she moved with him, every stroke a streak of liquid pleasure between her legs.
“Is this good?” he asked as if he didn’t know the answer.
“Yes!” she gasped. “More.”
“You got it,” he said and redoubled his efforts.
Just when Bella thought she couldn’t contain her desire anymore, she went over the edge and came in crashing waves of sensation and pleasure. Evan came with her, his shouts of release echoing in her ears like the crash of the surf on the sand outside their tent. When they collapsed together, spent and blissful, she reached back to give him a kiss.
“Just give me a minute and we’ll do it again,” he said, kissing her back.
“As many times as you like. To the victor go the spoils.”
She rolled over to consider him. “You sound pretty pleased about that.”
“Losing that show was the smartest thing I ever did.” He reached up and tugged one her curls. “I love you, Bella.”
“I love you, too.” And she reached for him again.