Tied up, tied down, p.44
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       Tied Up, Tied Down, p.44

         Part #4 of Rough Riders series by Lorelei James
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Page 44


  He sighed deeply.

  She continued across his collarbones and shoulders. Down his pectorals. He hissed, not with pain when the nubby washcloth drifted over his nipples and the disks hardened into little points. Skylar realized since she’d handed Kade control of their interludes, he’d never allowed her to spend much time exploring his beautiful, strong body. She hadn’t lingered on learning how he liked to be touched above the waist. She hadn’t traced the delineated muscles of his abs and stomach with her tongue. Which was a damn crying shame, and a situation she’d rectify pronto.

  Skylar admired his meaty biceps and thick forearms as she ran the washcloth along his brawny arms. The back of his hands were scarred and scabbed; the palm side of his hands were callused and rough. The hands of a working rancher. She knew these strong hands could rein in a thousand-pound horse, or fix barbed wire fence or even knock a man out cold. But she also knew how unbelievably gentle these powerful hands could be on her body. On her face. On their child.

  She switched washcloths and finished his torso, his rib cage, the flat belly and his narrow pelvis, spending time on that sexy, sensitive strip of skin stretching from hipbone to hipbone. Skylar circumvented his groin even when his full erection indicated he enjoyed her ministrations.

  Kade’s legs were dusted with dark hair and were all sinewy muscle. She swept the cloth down his thighs, repeated the process for his ropy calves, but she avoided his feet.

  When she finished, she half-expected he’d be watching her intently, but his eyes were closed. His breathing wasn’t slow and easy, but choppy, restless. She knew he wasn’t asleep.

  Sky angled over his mouth and very very softly kissed his swollen lips. Then she followed the exact same path with her hands and mouth over his body that she had with the washcloth. Just as slowly. Just as thoroughly.

  By the time she finished, his cock was weeping for her attention. Using the slick fluid leaking from the tip, she wrapped her fist around hot, rigid shaft and began to stroke.

  “Skylar. You—”

  “Let me do this for you. Please. I can’t stand that you’re hurting. Let me make you feel good. Let me give you back some of what you always give to me. ” She flicked her tongue down the corded muscles in his throat. When she reached his upper chest, she began her sensual assault.

  Kade arched into her and his left hand twined in her hair.

  She drove him crazy, went a little crazy herself, licking and playing with his nipples.

  Digging her nails and her teeth into his warm, pliant flesh. She suckled and bit every inch of skin on his pecs as she jacked him off. Building from a slow steady pace to a fast one that elicited his near growl of impatience. His hips bumped up, his balls were walnut tight at the root of his sex. And when that thick cock jerked in her moving hand, she bit down on his left pectoral, sucking with enough force to leave a hickey. A big hickey. Sticky warmth poured over her fingers and Kade groaned long and low, slightly pulling her hair, as the pulses intensified and then, tapered off. Then stopped.

  Still squeezing every drop of come out of his cock, she sought his mouth, trying to convey without words what was in her heart. Still kissing him, she used the washcloth to clean them both up.

  Sky untangled from his embrace and replaced the ice on his eye. His breathing slowed, but he didn’t reach for her. She tiptoed out. He needed his rest, and whatever they needed to say to each other could wait until morning.

  But the next morning, when Sky woke up, Kade was already gone.

  For Kade not being able to see out of his right eye everything in his life was finally crystal clear.

  When Skylar had come to him so sweetly the previous night, it’d been all Kade could do not to demand her submission, mount her like a crazed beast and fuck her senseless. But he knew her taking the initiative in offering him loving comfort cemented the bond between them.

  Especially after he’d seen love bites she’d left all over his chest. Suck marks. Teeth marks. Indentations from her fingernails. By showing him her ferocious, possessive side, she’d been marking him as hers.

  Time to return the favor on a more permanent level. He called his cousin Colt, knowing he was up with the damn chickens these days, and Colt happily gave him the phone number he needed.

  Kade dialed. No hello, no niceties, he just said, “I’ve got a brilliant idea how I can prove it to her. ” He held the phone away from his ear. “Yeah, I know what time it is. I don’t give a shit if you’re not a mornin’ person, you said to come talk to you when I figured it out. Hey, you’re the one who said, no pain, no gain, so can’t blame anyone but yourself for stickin’ your nose in this. I’m takin’ you up on your offer. Yep. ” Pause.

  “How the hell should I know? You’re the expert. You’ve got roughly ten hours. I’ll be there after work. ”

  He called Colt back. “Hey, cuz. Remember how you’re always sayin’ if I need anything, just holler? Well, here’s your chance. I’m gonna be hollerin’ real loud tonight and you’ve been elected to hold my hand. ”

  Chapter Twenty-six

  Day One of Kade’s absence from her life was bad.

  Day Two of Kade’s absence from her life was worse.

  But Day Three? Day Three was absolutely intolerable.

  Eliza was beyond cranky. Skylar suspected the baby missed her daddy and decided to make mommy pay for it by disrupting the entire daycare. Disrupting it to the point Skylar had to sequester Eliza in her office all day, which meant she hadn’t gotten a damn thing done. For three days.

  Not only that, Nadia had called in sick for the last two days, which threw Sky Blue’s schedule off. The other employees were grouchy because they had to pick up the slack and work on a Saturday. Even India had snapped at her, babbling nonsense about nice guys finishing first, recognizing a good thing, and ending with India threatening to put a boot in her ass if she was too stupid to know she had to fight this time. And all she’d called for was to check on the stock.

  Skylar couldn’t concentrate and screwed up the quarterly sales figures four times before she closed the file. Needing a mindless task, she spread out a blanket on the floor, plopped Eliza down with her favorite toys, and waded through the boxes of junk while keeping an eye on her fussy daughter.

  Annie barged in. “Glad to see you’re finally takin’ care of that stuff. It’s a fire hazard. ”

  “Something you need?”

  “Two things, actually. Where’s the purchase order for the bottles?”

  “Which bottles?”

  “The hand lotion bottles. The plant in Cheyenne says they never received the order. ”

  “Bull. I sent it three weeks ago. ”

  “Well, they never got it. And the original order form is not in the file. ” Annie braced her shoulders against the doorframe. “Is it possible with all that’s been going on, you only think you sent it?”

  Yes. “No. ”

  “What do you want me to do?”

  “What are my options?”

  “Send another purchase order and pay the rush charge. ”

  Skylar shuddered. That’d put a big dent in the already small profit margin. “Or?”

  “Or wait until you get through those boxes to see if you accidentally tossed it in there during your rant about the ridiculously high prices of plastics and were looking at switching bottle manufacturing companies. ”

  “Funny. Pay the damn rush charges. What was the other thing?”

  “Nadia wants to talk to you after lunch break. ”

  Skylar looked at Annie. “Thank God she actually showed up today. Do you know what she wants to talk about?”

  “I have an idea. ”

  “Something you’re going to share with me, Annie?”

  “No. But as long as you’re already in a pissy mood, I might as well tell you I heard what Kade said the other day and he was right about external safety issues around here. ”
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  When Sky started to protest, Annie stopped her. “Don’t bite my head off. We’ve talked about this. I oughta say, I brought it up and you ignored me. As the owner you make sure all the internal safety equipment surpasses OSHA standards. All the MSDS are up to date. But, that’s not all there is to creating a safe work environment. Most of your female employees have been in bad situations with men, including myself, which you knew when you hired us. So, I don’t understand why we have a security gate we don’t use and no alarm system whatsoever. ”

  “Um? Hello? Because we’re out in the middle of nowhere?”

  “Sweets, you’re a great boss, but you have the attitude bad things don’t happen in Wyoming. Bad things do happen here, less frequently than in LA, but we’re still somewhat untamed in the Wild West. In some respects, cowboys are like them gangbangers, never backin’ down from a fight, always lookin’ for a way to avenge themselves when they think someone done them wrong. Especially if they were wronged by the woman in their life. Like Nadia’s husband. Are you denying that is a potentially volatile situation?”

  “No. ”

  “Don’t deny that if you had this exact same business in LA, you wouldn’t dream of leavin’ the door unlocked or the gate open. Those security type things woulda been the first things in place. ”

  The truth punched her in the gut like freight train. Holy crap. Annie was exactly right. Kade had been right. How could she have been so oblivious? Because she was seriously overworked?

  And whose fault is that?

  Annie kept going. “I figured you’d take care of the oversight after you gave birth and Eliza was on the premises, things’d change and you’d see the external safety problems.

  But you haven’t. ”

  Half in a daze, Sky asked, “Then why didn’t you just handle it? Order the security components, hire the installers? You are the office manager. ”

  “We both know that’s a courtesy title. You’re the owner, you’re in control, and you make no bones about that. I can’t even order the damn lotion bottles without your approval. ”