Tied up, tied down, p.46
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       Tied Up, Tied Down, p.46
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         Part #4 of Rough Riders series by Lorelei James
Page 46

  But he didn’t. He positively grinned and chucked his niece under the chin. “I figured that might be the case. When you track him down, tell him I’ll finish up tomorrow. Ma sent me out to ask if you needed help carryin’ anything in the house. ”

  “That’d be great. There’s a portable crib in the back seat. ”

  After Skylar deposited Eliza with grandma and grandpa, she leaned against her car door and studied the map Kimi had drawn.

  Kane sauntered over. “Got an idea where you’re goin’?”

  “Not a clue. ”

  He chuckled. “Throw away that map. Ma goes a little overboard. It’s easy to find. Go five miles east on the gravel road. Turn right at the first four-way. Two miles later on your right, you’ll come to a barbed wire gate. Go through it and follow the tire tracks along the fence line until you see dust and tractors. ”

  “Much easier. ” She smiled at him. “Thanks. ”

  Kane gestured to Sky’s Subaru wagon. “You takin’ this?”

  “Yeah. Why?”

  “’Cause with the rain there’s a couple places you might get stuck. ” He pointed to a dented and muddy red Dodge. “Take my truck. Keys are in the ignition. Leave it here when you’re done. ”

  “But…what will you drive?”

  “Colt can come and get me, no biggie. ” Skylar’s distrust must’ve been obvious because Kane said, “I’m sure you’re wonderin’ why I’m doin’ this. You’re here to make things right with my brother, or else you’d be willin’ to wait until he’s done workin’, right?”

  She nodded.

  “Good. ” Kane sighed. “Look. I never apologized for how I treated you on our date last summer, me bein’ such a dick and all. When you started seein’ Kade I’ll bet you thought I had a miraculous personality change, huh?”

  “In hindsight, it should’ve been a big tip off you were two entirely different men. ”

  “Well, I ain’t surprised Kade jumped at the chance to redeem us both. The poor guy’s had no choice but to put up with the fallout from bein’ my twin. With women who scream at him in public because I didn’t call them back. Hearin’ come-ons and put-downs just because we look alike. Guys pickin’ fights with him because they think he’s me and I’ve done plenty to piss lots of folks off around here. It ain’t never been fair and I never cared until last year. ”

  Skylar waited for him to find the words to finish.

  “Dag dyin’ sucked. But you know what was worse for me? Watchin’ my brother, who’d always been the backbone of our family,” Kane’s voice dropped an octave, “seein’ Kade losin’ hope. He cut himself off from everybody. I’d never seen him hurtin’ so bad and I’ve never been so ashamed of myself for havin’ a part in it. Yeah, I know he should’ve come clean with you. He made a mistake. Probably threw him for a loop because he hardly ever screws up. He always does the right thing. ”

  “He’s a good man. A great man. He’s the very best man in the whole world. ”

  “Glad someone finally recognizes that. Make him happy, Skylar. ”

  “I intend to. ”

  Chapter Twenty-seven

  Kade didn’t pay attention when his brother’s pickup parked next to his along the fence. He looped another pass in the field, trying to stay awake. On his third round, he saw Skylar standing beside Kane’s truck. He snapped upright, half-afraid he’d fallen asleep and was dreaming of her.

  Then the apparition waved.

  Holy shit. That was Skylar.

  In the south hayfield.

  Why?

  Sweet Jesus. Something bad must’ve happened.

  His heart slammed into his throat as his brain raced through all the awful scenarios.

  Kade managed to park the tractor next to the nearest the fence. After shutting it off, he hopped to the ground and sprinted across the stubbly field.

  Skylar met him halfway.

  He clamped his gloved hands over her shoulders. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

  “Yes, I just—”

  “Is Eliza all right?”

  “She’s fine. She’s with your mom. ”

  “So the rest of my family is okay too?”

  “Yes. ”

  “Then what…” He took a deep breath. Everything was fine. Thank God.

  “Sweetheart, why are you here?”

  She bit her lip and glanced away. A nervous gesture? From the always confident Skylar?

  “What’s goin’ on?”

  “Eliza rolled over today. ”

  He blinked with confusion and then he grinned. “She did?”

  “Yeah, and little miss was mighty pleased with herself. You weren’t there to see it.

  All I could think about was how you deserved to be there for every milestone in her life—big or small. And how badly I wanted you there for every damn one, not just for her, but for me, too. ”

  Sweet Lord, she looked like she was going to cry. “Hey, it’s all right. ”

  “It is now that I’m here with you. ” Sky wrapped her arms around his waist, pressing against him as if she was trying to crawl inside his skin. “So I showed up because I missed you, Kade. I missed you so much. And I couldn’t wait another day to tell you that I love you. I love you like crazy. With all my heart, all my soul, with everything I am.

  Please. I’ll do anything to make this right. Please come home. ”

  Kade closed his eyes and squeezed her tightly to make sure it wasn’t another dream.

  “Say it again. ”

  “I love you. And I’m sorry, you were right about a lot of things. Not just the security stuff, which I have taken care of, much to my employee’s relief. What I accused you of was wrong. I panicked. Deep down I knew you wouldn’t take Eliza from me. Then you were gone and I didn’t know if it was for good. And I didn’t know how to make it right.

  So all I can do is ask you to forgive me for being a pride-filled idiot, for not trusting you, or trusting in this. ”

  “If you’ve forgiven me for the Kane thing, I can forgive you. ” He hooked a piece of flyaway hair behind her ear. “Skylar. I love you. I love you so damn much. ” He just held her. Loving the way she fit him so perfectly in so many ways.

  Finally, she said, “You aren’t going to leave me, ever, are you?”

  “Nope. ”

  “How long would you have waited for me to realize that?”

  “Oh, fifty years, give or take. ”

  She looked up and her eyes were so serious.

  “What, sweetheart?”

  “You really are a true gentleman cowboy. A good guy, honest, steadfast, loyal and true. ”

  “You’re makin’ me sound like a damn preacher or something. I am who I am, Sky.

  Who I’ve always been. ”

  “I know. That’s who I want. That’s who I love. And I’m too damn practical, because I suck at this kind of romantic stuff. But I did try to make this be special and spontaneous and…” Skylar stripped off his gloves and grabbed his hand. “Dammit. Come here. I have something to show you. ” She dragged him to where she’d spread out a yellow blanket on the flat spot of ground between the ditch and the fence line. A red cooler anchored one corner of the blanket. Centered on the plastic cooler lid was a bunch of wild flowers.

  “Here’s our romantic celebration. You like it?”

  The woman who claimed not to be a romantic…had picked flowers for him? “Yeah.

  It’s great. ”

  “That wasn’t a very convincing great, Kade. Sit down. ”

  He shuffled his feet and sighed.

  “What?”

  “I don’t wanna to sit on your nice blanket. ”

  “Why not?”

  “I’ll ruin it. If you hadn’t noticed, I’m covered in dust and grime. ”

  “Hmm. ” Sky gave him a head to toe once over. “Then you’d better take off your dirty clothes. ”

  Surely she was joking.
“Sky—”

  “If you hadn’t noticed,” she mimicked, “I’m trying to seduce you. But I’m fine with skipping the mushy romantic stuff and getting straight to the hardcore sex. ”

  “What?” He glanced around. “In the middle of the damn field where anyone can see us?”

  “Yep. ”

  “No way. ”

  “Oh. I see. It’s okay when you make me strip down so you can have your wicked way with me, any time, any place. Need I remind you we had sex in my front yard, McKay?”

  Shit. He was so totally screwed.

  The triumph shining in her eyes made him half-wary and completely hard. Skylar fisted her hands in his shirt and pulled his mouth down to hers for a fiery kiss that should’ve set the hayfield on fire.

  Kade groaned. God he loved kissing this woman. His woman. He loved her taste. He loved the way she curled her tongue against his. He loved the softness of her lips. He loved the sharp nip of her teeth. Mostly, he loved the fact she loved him.

  She broke her mouth free but not her hold on his shirt. “I want you. ”

  “And I want you. I always want you. Let’s go back to the house, I’ll get cleaned up, Ma can watch Eliza for a bit longer and we can—”

  “No. Right here, right now. ”

  “But I don’t think—”

  “Know what I think? That you don’t want to think. You want a woman who will drag you off that damn tractor to fuck you in the weeds any time she pleases. ” Sky brushed her lips across his ear in an erotic glide that made him shiver. “You want a woman who doesn’t care if you’re covered in dirt because she plans to fuck you in the mud like an animal anyway. You want a woman who gets all hot and bothered by your possessive primal male declaration of ‘I protect what’s mine’ and then balls your brains out in the barn. ”

  His cock went rigid.

 
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