Wrapped and strapped, p.31
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       Wrapped and Strapped, p.31

         Part #7 of Blacktop Cowboys series by Lorelei James
 

  “You’re feeling me up in public.”

  “Yep.”

  “Stop it.”

  “Nope. You saw fit to flaunt these pretty tits to everyone in the arena. I’m just showing them—and reminding you—that I’m the only man who ever gets to touch them like this.”

  The warning, the possession, in his voice made her burn.

  His hands stopped below the swell of her breasts to stroke her nipples.

  Over and over. Until the tips were rock hard and she shivered and moaned.

  In public.

  Dammit. What is wrong with you? You’re letting him touch you like this in front of an audience.

  Harlow opened her mouth to protest, and again, Hugh cut it off with a kiss.

  A short kiss, but one that inflamed her.

  He pulled away and said, “Mine,” against her lips as he squeezed her breasts harder than she expected.

  After threading her arms through her short sleeves, Hugh rested his forehead to hers and jerked her arms behind her back and quickly tied her wrists together. When she tried to twist free, she realized the tie had some give to it. Like elastic. “You did not just tie me up with my own bra straps!”

  “Why, yes, darlin’, I surely did.”

  Her scream of outrage was muffled against Hugh’s ass, since he’d shoved his shoulder into her belly and she’d become airborne in a fireman’s hold.

  Loud cheers and a round of applause echoed to her as he started walking across the arena.

  “Let me down!”

  Hanging upside down, with her head bouncing against his butt, she didn’t hear his response.

  She wiggled and thrashed. Her hair was full of static and sticking to her face so she couldn’t see anything. She rather stupidly tried to kick him, which resulted in four hard whacks to her ass.

  The crowd cheered again.

  Talk about humiliating.

  Even more humiliating? She saw Hugh raise his arm as he waved to the crowd.

  Waved.

  Jerk. She tried to bite his ass. That backfired big-time when she felt his teeth sinking into the back of her thigh.

  Harlow gasped. That should not feel good! That should not make her hot and wet.

  It should not make her hotter and wetter when he smacked her ass four more times.

  And he should not be rubbing his fingers on the inside of her thigh like that, as if the smug bastard knew how his swats, nips and manhandling affected her.

  When the ground changed from soft to hard-packed dirt, she knew they were out of the arena.

  But Hugh didn’t slow down. If anything, his pace increased.

  Her heart thundered when she imagined what he’d do to her when they were behind closed doors.

  *

  At first, when Hugh arrived in the arena and saw Harlow milling about in the pen with the other female “contestants,” his head had threatened to explode. What the hell was wrong with the woman that she’d refused to heed his warning?

  His blood pressure skyrocketed when he watched her take off her shirt and her bra like it was no big deal.

  No big goddamned deal to be bare-chested in an arena full of drunken, horny guys.

  He almost jumped over the railing, into the pen, and dragged that defiant—and half-goddamned naked—woman out by her hair.

  Ike had stopped him. “Whoa there, buddy. What do you think you’re doin’?”

  “Getting her the fuck outta there,” he snarled.

  “I wouldn’t. Unless you really wanna humiliate her.”

  Hugh glared at him. “What the fuck are you talking about?”

  He gestured to the people surrounding them. “You see any of these guys acting prudish and pissed off about their women flashing their tits? No. They’re proud. Look at that dude.” He pointed to a twenty-something guy who was yelling encouragement to his girlfriend while she hammed it up. “No one is holding a gun to these women’s heads. They chose to participate. Harlow chose to participate. And I know you don’t wanna hear this, but you’ve gotta let it run its course.”

  “Jesus. There’s no fuckin’ way I can be proud of her for takin’ off her goddamned shirt in public.”

  “Don’t punch me, but, man, you oughta be proud. She’s a fine-looking woman. I’m usually a fan of big tits, but those smaller one of hers are—”

  “Stop lookin’ at her!”

  Ike laughed.

  Proud. Right. Harlow had a great body, but it was his to enjoy, just his, no one else’s. His hungry gaze roamed over her, starting at her delicate collarbones and the smooth flow of her chest muscles above the swell of her tits. Then there were those sweet little nipples. He bunched his hands into fists as he stared at her exposed body. He could practically feel the jut of her rib cage beneath his palms as he followed the long line of her belly down to the flare of her hips. He’d spent hours exploring every freckle, mole and mark on her skin.

  Every mark.

  Even the one she’d tried to hide from him. The one she’d hidden from the world.

  But here she was, strutting around, her girl bits on full display, not trying at all to cover up the scar she’d called her private shame.

  Sweet darlin’ mine. How far you’ve come.

  The true scope of Ike’s words resonated with him. Harlow had to do this. Even when he didn’t like it, he couldn’t act all big, bad Neanderthal boyfriend and drag her ass out.

  At least not until the competition was over.

  As soon as it ended, he would go in to get her.

  And he had.

  Now it was time to claim his prize.

  “Hugh. All the blood is rushing to my head.”

  He liked the vibration of her voice against his backside. “We’re almost there.”

  They hadn’t run into anyone on the way back through the campground. He dug his key out of his pocket and unlocked the door before he lowered Harlow’s feet to the ground. Since she probably felt woozy, he set her against the side of the horse trailer and pressed his body into hers to keep her upright.

  She blinked those big blue eyes at him and he was totally lost, completely gone for her. He fit his mouth over hers and kissed her with the tenderness he couldn’t access earlier. She made those sexy little mewling noises that drove him crazy.

  His mouth wandered down her neck. Across her collarbones. “Woman, why do you smell like cookies even after you were skin to hide with a steer?”

  “It’s body glitter.”

  “I like it.”

  “Are you going to untie me?”

  Hugh used his teeth on the cord straining in her neck as she gave him full access to her sensitive skin. “Yeah, I’m gonna untie you.”

  “Are you really mad?”

  He hated the hesitation in her voice. In that moment his plans changed. He cupped her face in his hands, forcing her to look at him. “Maybe at first I was. But I’m not now. And those few smacks on the ass are it as far as punishment.” He kissed her. “Let’s finish this inside.” He reached around and untied her hands.

  She still seemed wary after they were in the horse trailer and he’d locked the door.

  So again, he changed tactics. He let his eyes rove over her with hunger. “I’m gonna fuck you. You want me to use my limited seduction moves on takin’ off your clothes? Or can I save that for when we’re naked and on the bed?”

  There was that heart-stopping smile. “I’ll strip and you do the same, cowboy. I’ll meet you up there.”

  “Deal.”

  Thirty seconds later he saw that fine ass of hers shinnying up the ladder.

  Thirty seconds after that, he joined her.

  She hadn’t bothered crawling under the covers. But she wasn’t watching him crawl across the mattress either. She stared at the ceiling, lost in thought.

  Hugh circled his hand around her ankle and followed the lean length of leg up to her hip. “Did you have fun tonight?”

  “Honestly?” She grinned at him. “It was crazy fun. Something I’ve nev
er done. But I probably wouldn’t do it again.”

  He chuckled. “Smart of you to pick a steer without horns.”

  “I wish I could claim I’d done it intentionally, but I can’t.”

  Straddling her knees, he placed his hands by her hips and pressed a kiss on her belly button. He slid his mouth across the trembling muscles of her abdomen to the start of her scar. He traced the length of it with his tongue. Then he kissed the bend in her elbow and continued his journey upward. “You’re so beautiful.” He kissed her biceps. “So strong.” He kissed the upper swell of her left breast over her heart. “So fierce.”

  “This isn’t going to be hard and fast, is it?”

  “Nope. But trust me, it’s gonna be hot.” He kissed the ball of her shoulder. “Intense.” He followed the curve of her neck with his mouth and stopped at the hollow below her ear. “And very sweaty.”

  She groaned.

  Hugh completely lost himself in her as he committed every inch of skin to memory. He filed away her soft sighs, the surprised gasps, the little purrs, knowing he’d go back and relive every sexy, sweet, needy sound she’d made for him.

  He did discover her most sensitive spot. Who knew constant caressing of the backs of her knees could reduce her to a shuddering, begging, wet mess?

  He did.

  A sense of elation filled him when he rolled her over on her belly, shifted her to her knees, hiked her hips into the air, and she didn’t stiffen and say no. Her relaxed posture, her heavy breathing, assured him that she was in this passionate moment with him, not in the past.

  Harlow’s wet pussy eased the way for his cock as he slowly pushed inside. He lowered his body over hers, his chest plastered to her back, since they were both as sweaty as he’d promised. She’d turned her head to the side and he brushed her hair free so he could see her beautiful face.

  Hugh set a deliberately sensual rhythm, long strokes, interspersed with short jabs. He whispered hot things. Dirty things. Sweet things. He kissed her neck, bit her neck, licked her neck. He did the same to both of her shoulders, amazed as always by her response to him. Asking for more.

  So he gave it to her.

  Only when they both teetered on the edge did he increase the power of his thrusts—steady, but nowhere near the force that he usually fucked her.

  His balls had drawn up almost at the start. How he’d kept himself from coming, his cock clasped in her tight pussy with the scent of her hair in his lungs and the taste of her skin on his tongue, damn near constituted a miracle.

  He reached between her thighs and dragged his thumb up and down her clit. She whimpered and rocked her pelvis into his hand.

  “That’s it, doll. Take it. You’ve earned it.”

  Harlow came with a hoarse cry.

  Her cunt’s contractions pulled his orgasm right out of him in long, slow, endless pulls he felt all the way to his toes.

  Hugh collapsed on her, his head in a fog. Only when it cleared a bit did he realize what he’d done. His instinct was to scramble off her.

  But Harlow reached back and clamped her hand on the back of his thigh. “Stay. I like this.” She paused. “Thank you.”

  “For?”

  “For showing me how it should be. For being you and giving me exactly what I needed, your way. It was perfect. Feel free to put me in that position anytime.”

  He nuzzled the back of her neck, so in love with her, it took every ounce of restraint not to shout it out. Instead he whispered, “It’d be my pleasure.”

  Chapter Twenty-One

  ‡

  They’d finally reached the last rodeo in their itinerary.

  During the last two weeks Harlow hadn’t had much downtime. Having it now, pretty much all at once, sucked. She’d even asked the local Red Cross staff if she could help pass out water to the attendees and vendors, since it was so blasted hot. They’d assured her they were fully staffed.

  She sighed.

  “What? That’s like the fifth time you’ve heaved a dramatic sigh, PITA.”

  “I never ever say I’m bored.”

  “But you’re bored.”

  Harlow looked at Riss. “You’re not?”

  “Of course I’m bored. But I don’t have a fine man in my bed to ease the nighttime boredom, so I amuse myself during the day by watching the men work and playing my fantasy fuck game.” At Harlow’s confused look, Riss clarified, “It’s like a fantasy sports game, except I’m imagining bedroom games. And just how I’d audition each potential player. Which ones I’d want double-teaming me.” She shrugged. “Everyone needs a hobby.”

  Just then a young girl of about ten approached them. She had a stack of flyers in her hand.

  Harlow manufactured a polite response that, no, she wouldn’t like to join evening services at the cowboy church.

  “We’re having a chili cook-off,” the ponytailed girl said, and passed over a flyer. “Winner gets a hundred bucks and a year’s subscription to the Shelbyville Gazette.”

  Harlow scanned the rules. “This isn’t sponsored by the beef council or the pork producers?”

  “No, ma’am. The newspaper has been holding the cook-off for twenty-five years. You just bring your chili to the hospitality tent at four o’clock and it’s automatically entered.”

  “No entry fees?”

  “No, ma’am. Although there is a canned-goods food drive, if you wanna donate to that.”

  Harlow smiled at the girl. “Thank you for the information.” Suddenly she knew how to cure her boredom. She said, “Later, Riss.”

  She rifled through the cupboard as soon as she entered the horse trailer, inventorying the canned goods. She’d planned to make chili during these two weeks, so she’d stocked up on basic ingredients. After laying everything out, she plugged her phone into the stereo system, listening to Vitamin String Quartet while she prepared her entry.

  Hugh hadn’t returned during her cooking spree, which’d taken just over an hour. Good thing, since she appeared to have used every pot and dish he owned. She covered the pot and set the stove to simmer.

  Her phone rang with Erika’s name on the caller ID. Harlow had stayed in Florida for six months after escaping Fredrick. She’d changed her phone number, but after doing that, she realized what a mistake it’d been. In cutting off Fredrick, she’d also cut off everyone else. She’d managed to reconnect with some people through e-mail and it’d been a while since she’d talked to her friend.

  “Erika!”

  “Harlow, how are you?”

  “So good to hear from you. Girl, what is going on?”

  “The big news is I got my master’s degree this spring!”

  “Congrats to you. That is awesome. So how many companies are beating down the door to hire you?”

  She laughed. “None. But I’ve had a couple of great interviews. If nothing pops by this fall . . . well, I can always go back to HDI for a few months, right? It’s not like I’d be tempted to make it my full-time job now that I have options.”

  Harlow chose not to be offended by Erika’s jab. Her association with relief agencies was a full-time job for her. HDI—Humanitarian Diversified Incorporated—was an organization that provided a place for workers to check for paying jobs. Both she and Erika had found Fredrick’s mission through the HDI website.

  “What are you doing?” Erika asked. “Still in gangland LA?”

  “I wasn’t in gangland. The seminar was held at Bleeker, so I was
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