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Shoulda Been a Cowboy, Page 24

Lorelei James

Page 24


  She smooched his head and laughed when he made a face. “I promise. Now vamoose, both of you. I need to get beautified for my date. ”

  An hour later Domini fussed in front of the mirror. Why bother pinning her hair up? Cam would just undo it at the first chance.

  She tidied the kitchen, setting the plates in the dish rack to dry as she waited for Cam to arrive.

  Three distinctive raps echoed…forty-five minutes later.

  Domini opened the door.

  Oh yum. Look at the sexy man on her doorstep. Double yum. The spicy scent of aftershave drifted from the open collar of his white button-down shirt. He wore dark blue jeans, combat boots and a wolfish grin.

  “Excuse me?”

  Domini’s eyes met his. “Um. What?”

  “You said double yum and I’m wondering if that’s some kind of Ukrainian slang for ‘dumb ass you’re late’. ”

  “No. That’s American slang for you look and smell yummy. ”

  Cam actually blushed. The man could fuck her like an animal and demand all sorts of kinky things from her, but a compliment caused him to blush? She bit back a grin. “Come in. We must’ve been on the same wavelength because we even dressed alike tonight. ”

  “I’ve often thought about how you’d look wearing my shirt…and nothin’ else. ”

  “Maybe later. ” She kissed his smoothly shaven cheek. “You want a beer?”

  He groaned. “Shit. I was probably supposed to bring you wine or flowers or something. ”

  “You’re fine. ” In the kitchen she passed a bottle to him. “Need a glass?”

  “Nope. ” He rested his backside against the counter and sipped.

  She sipped.

  Drip drip drip echoed in the silence.

  “What’s wrong with that faucet?”

  “I don’t know. ”

  “How long’s it been leaking?”

  “Since I moved in. ”

  Cam walked over and inspected it. “Just needs to be tightened. Checked for corrosion. Your landlord oughta be able to fix it pretty fast. ”

  “Which would mean something if I’d ever seen the landlord. I send rent checks to a post-office box in Denver. ”

  “Huh. ” Cam set down his beer. “I don’t suppose you have a toolbox around here?”

  “I think Colt or Blake left one in the utility room. ”

  He left the kitchen and returned a couple minutes later with a rusty-looking toolbox.

  “What are you doing?”

  “Fixing it. ”

  “Cam. You don’t have to do this. ”

  “I want to. It’ll just take a minute and then we’ll go, okay?”

  “Okay. ”

  He rummaged in the toolbox and fit the mouth of several wrenches to the base, discarding each one with a loud clank until he found the one that worked.

  Cam muttered under his breath as he cranked the metal. Once the handle was off, he took a small steel bristled brush and scrubbed the inside. Domini couldn’t see exactly what Cam was doing, but it gave her an odd feeling of domesticity to see him with his sleeves rolled up. She’d never had a guy around to do manly things for her.

  She sipped her beer as he reassembled the parts and wrenched it all back together.

  He grinned as he tested the handle. “See? No leaks. ”

  “You didn’t have to do that, but thank you. ” She frowned at his chest. “Now you’ve got grease on that shirt. ”

  Cam attempted to rub the spot away.

  “No! Don’t do that. Take if off and I’ll get the stain out. ”

  “Domini, you don’t have to—”

  “I want to. ” She began unbuttoning his shirt. “After spending my life working in a restaurant, I know a thing or two about removing grease stains. ”

  “Or you just wanna get my shirt off,” he drawled.

  “That’s a side benefit. Or it would be if you didn’t always wear a T-shirt underneath everything. Maybe you could skip it next time. ” She waited while he peeled the shirt off and handed it to her. “Be right back. ”

  Domini treated the stain and tossed it in the washer. Cam casually leaned against the counter, arms crossed over his chest defensively, not looking particularly happy.


  “I ain’t exactly dressed for a night out. Not that I was Mr. GQ before but…” He sighed. “I always seem to fuck up. ”

  “You haven’t screwed up anything. ” She stopped in front of him and debated. If she ran her hands up his arms would he see it as a sexual advance? Or the reassuring gesture she intended?

  Only one way to find out.

  Domini set her palms on his biceps and perused the thick muscles to the wide curve of his shoulder. When he didn’t flinch, she kept going until she reached his neck. With her hands at the base of his jaw, she feathered her thumbs over his jawline. Every inch of him was utterly masculine. Body. Face. Stance.

  Cam didn’t budge. He appeared to have quit breathing. But he watched her, very closely, with those dark, hooded eyes.

  Her left thumb arced over his plump lower lip, and the dip in his full upper lip. Then both together until Cam’s damp lips parted and she could feel the heat drifting from his mouth.

  She shifted her hand to trace the hollowed shadow of his cheek beneath his cheekbone. She caressed his temple with her fingertips. His eyebrow. His hairline. That tender section of skin in front of his ear.

  Before Domini touched the other side of his face, she locked her gaze to his. “Trust me. Let me. ”

  His long, dark lashes fluttered as he closed his eyes in silent consent.

  “No. Open your eyes. I want you to look at me, Cam. I want you to see it as I see it. I want you to watch me touching you. ”

  Maybe she was a little surprised he’d obeyed.

  Using a light touch, Domini followed the scar on the left side of his face. She smoothed the jagged edges from the corner of his mouth up to the ridged section where the scar hooked sharply. Then she slowly tracked the bump where it cut back and the gouge was deeper, the scar was thicker. She mapped every inch of his warrior’s mark until it ended at the apex of his eye socket.

  Before Cam could speak, or before she lost her nerve, Domini repeated the process with her mouth, scattering kisses from top to bottom and finally pressing her lips to his.

  As she kissed him, she reveled in the sweetness of his surrender. Domini dropped her cheek to his chest, listening to the strong, steady beat of Cam’s heart.

  After a bit, he said, “I really don’t want to go anywhere. But I imagine you’re hungry since I was damn near an hour late. ”

  “I have a casserole in the freezer I could pop in the oven. ”

  Cam tipped her chin up to look in her eyes. “You sure?”

  “Yes. If you don’t mind tuna casserole. ”

  “I love homemade tuna casserole. ”

  If the domestic scene made Cam uncomfortable, he hid it well. They ate. They cuddled up on the couch and watched TV. She didn’t attempt to wrestle the remote from his grasp. She didn’t attempt to turn his closeness into something sexual.

  The DVD clock flashed eleven o’clock. Cam kissed the top of her head and pushed to his feet. “I’ve gotta go. My buddy Brock is gonna swing through on his way to Seattle tomorrow. ”

  “Thanks for a great date. ”

  He snorted. “Some date. You washed my shirt, cooked me dinner, cleaned up and you didn’t even get lucky. ”

  She felt very lucky to have him in her life, even temporarily, but she’d never say it out loud.

  Chapter Twelve

  Gracie’s barks forced Cam out of his easy chair. He opened the sliding glass, allowing her to check out the visitor from behind the safety of the fence in the backyard. Some guard dog. Gracie would lick him to death.

  Cam watched as Brock’s bright red Audi TT putted up the grav
el driveway. Idiot babied that damn car. Although he probably rodded the piss out of it as he zipped across the country. Out here in the Wild West, where the paved roads were long and empty, law enforcement officers had better things to do than issue speeding tickets.

  Didn’t mean Cam wouldn’t have enjoyed the hell out of writing him a ticket just because he could.

  Brock’s six-foot two-inch frame unfolded from the sports car. He wore his usual aviator shades, jungle print camo pants, and combat boots. The difference between this uniform and his official army uniform was the dark green tank top with “That’s MISTER Asshole to you” emblazoned on the front.

  “McKay, you ever gonna pave that goat path you call a driveway?”

  Cam grinned. “Nope. It wouldn’t be an issue if you drove a truck and not a wussy foreign car. ”

  “Fuck off. ” Brock scaled the stairs in two giant steps. He dropped his duffel bag, threw his arms open. “What? Ain’t you gonna show me the love, bro?”

  “You’re a scrawny thing, I didn’t wanna crush you. ” Brock didn’t allow one of those awkward male hugs, where they barely touched, beat each other on the back—hard—and then stepped away quickly. No. The bastard actually hugged him.

  “I’m deeply touched by that sentiment, Hop-along. ” Brock pushed the shades on top of his closely shaved head. His gaze swept Cam from crew cut to boots. “Seriously, man, how you doing?”

  “Good. ”

  “No issues with the new leg?”

  Brock was one of the few people who’d seen Cam right after the amputation surgery in Iraq. He was also one of the few people Cam let visit him in Cheyenne during his rehab. Brock and Keely were the only ones besides hospital personnel who’d seen him without his prosthesis.

  And now Domini was on that very short list.

  Her tenderness and penchant for pleasing him was disconcerting because it had nothing to do with sex. Things had changed. Scary thing was, he wasn’t sure if either of them were ready for those changes so soon.

  “Cam? Buddy?”

  Cam refocused. Although Domini was in the forefront of his mind, he’d make a concentrated effort to keep her out of any discussions with Brock today.