Cowboy take me away, p.7
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       Cowboy Take Me Away, p.7

         Part #16 of Rough Riders series by Lorelei James
 

  Hard not to bristle at that question. “I reckon.”

  “You seem a lot older than twenty-four. Not with the way you look, because heaven knows you’ve been blessed there, but how you act.”

  “My mother said God took an old soul and split it between me’n Cal in the womb. My dad…” Last week’s conversation with his old man pushed front and center. Jesus, son, what is wrong with you? You gonna be chasin’ skirts, getting drunk, starting fights and driving that truck like an idiot until you kill yourself with your own stupidity? Grow up. And get your damn chores done. I swear lately you’ve been worse than Casper.

  “Your dad what?”

  Carson refocused on her. “My dad and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things.”

  “I know how that goes.”

  “And he’s been a miserable jackass to everyone since Mom passed on.”

  She squeezed his hand. “How long ago was that?”

  “Six years. Me’n Cal had just turned eighteen. She had a stroke. Standin’ in the kitchen cookin’ bacon and eggs one minute and layin’ dead on the floor the next.”

  The waitress served their meals and he was grateful for the interruption. He’d ordered biscuits and gravy with a side of sausage and pancakes. Carolyn ordered chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy. He hid his smile. The woman could eat.

  Probably because she’s the last to eat in her household.

  “How long do I have you today?”

  “I should be home by four to start supper.”

  “Can I say something and hope you don’t take it the wrong way?”

  Her blue gaze narrowed. “What?”

  Carson wanted to follow the edge of her stubborn jaw with his fingertips, but he refrained. He’d never been into that touchy feely stuff in public. “You seem older than eighteen. Not with the way you look, although, sugar, you are the prettiest woman I’ve ever seen, but because you inherited all these responsibilities and you just accept them without question and you’re not bitter about it.”

  She delicately wiped her mouth with the napkin and set it aside. “Some people tell me that just accepting those responsibilities means I have no backbone.”

  “You’re too kind and too Christian to tell those folks to fuck off, aren’t you?”

  She whapped his forearm. “Language.”

  He laughed. “Come on. Let’s get outta here and blow off all responsibilities for a few hours.”

  Once they were in the truck, he said, “Where to?”

  “Cut through town and head south on county road 19. I want to show you one of my favorite places.”

  The day wasn’t too hot and the recent rain kept the dust on the gravel road down.

  “Turn here.”

  Carson thought he knew all the nooks and crannies of Campbell County, but he’d never been here before. A wide meadow stretched to a line of trees. Given the healthy state of the trees he suspected a stream lay on the other side. “What is this place?”

  “A picnic area.”

  “How’d you find it?”

  “On accident. I took a wrong turn and ended up here. I’ve been here half a dozen times and never seen anyone else around.”

  He faced her. “You want to be alone with me, Caro?”

  Her cheeks didn’t flush like he’d expected. Her direct gaze and bold statement, “More than anything,” burrowed right into the heart of him.

  “Let’s go.”

  “Grab the blanket,” she said and hopped out of the truck on her own. She paused at the edge of the clearing and glanced down at her clothing and shoes. “I didn’t think this through.”

  “Gimme a moment.” Carson tromped out in the field, searching for a flat place with no rocks. He kicked a couple of small ones away and spread out the blanket. Then he returned to her and lifted her into his arms.

  Carolyn didn’t shriek a protest; she just curled her body into his and held on.

  He gently lowered her onto the blanket. When he looked at her, she wore the oddest expression. “What?”

  “That was the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to me.”

  Carson McKay should’ve just handed his heart over right then.

  Instead he leaned over and kissed her. When he finally released her mouth to take a breath, he stretched out beside her, his head propped on his elbow.

  She’d slipped her shoes off and sat in a tight ball with her arms wrapped around her legs.

  “Something wrong?”

  “Do you think this is weird?”

  “Us bein’ together?”

  “Us being together on a blanket in a field out in the middle of nowhere?”

  “I don’t know if it’s weird, but I can say it’s the first time I’ve ever done something like this.”

  Her head turned so fast he wondered if she’d given herself whiplash. “It is? I mean, which part of it?”

  “All of it. After I’ve been working outside all day I tend to stay indoors if I have free time.”

  “So the last thing you’d ever want to do is lie on the hard ground, surrounded by weeds and bugs while the sun beats down on you?”

  Carson pushed up and sat on his haunches. “No, the last thing I want is to see that pinched look on your pretty face. Tell me what you want from me, Carolyn. And don’t be shy.”

  She blurted, “I want to roll around on the blanket with you and make out. But I have these stupid stockings on and I don’t want to snag them and this sweater is scratchy, and it was really forward of me to ask—”

  He put his fingers over her lips. “Problems that are easily fixed. Nothin’ is gonna happen out here that you don’t want to happen. Okay?”

  “What if I don’t know what I want? You have so much experience with this—”

  “Whoa. Hold on. Is that why you’re with me? Because you want me to give you some experience?”

  “No, I’m here because I like being with you. When you kiss me…I feel things I never have before and I don’t know what to do or how to act on those feelings.”

  Sweet Jesus she was killing him. Killing him. He’d never been interested in virgins. He preferred women with experience—that way there was no misunderstanding that a quick fuck wasn’t a relationship.

  But when he looked at her? Kissed her? Thought about touching her? He had the fierce need to be the only man who ever put his hands on her. The only man who’d put his mouth on her. The only cock that she’d ever know would be his. And he’d be the only man who’d ever hear the noises she made when she came.

  “Carson? Say something.”

  He took her hands and removed her arms from around her knees. “Do you trust me?”

  “I-I think so.”

  “Yes or no, sugar. No in between.”

  “You’re so intense right now. The way you’re looking at me…”

  “Am I scaring you?”

  “No. I like it.”

  Carson angled his head and brushed his mouth across hers. Just once.

  She trembled.

  He dragged his thumb across the base of her throat where her pulse pounded. “Do you trust me?”

  “Yes.”

  “Take off your sweater.”

  He expected hesitation but got none. Carolyn kept her eyes on his as she slipped each button through the buttonhole. When she started to shrug out of the sweater, he shook his head.

  “I do that.” Carson slipped the material down her arms and kissed the curve of the shoulder he’d bared. “Now rest on your elbows and stretch out your legs.”

  Moving to the edge of the blanket, he circled her left ankle, bending her knee. Then using just the tips of his fingers, he slowly followed the curve of her calf until his hand disappeared beneath her skirt. He didn’t need to watch what he was doing; he needed to watch her face as he touched her.

  Her teeth dug into her bottom lip when he paused to stroke the crease behind her knee. He felt her tremble as his fingers continued up her inner thigh until they reached the band of her stockin
gs where the tiny straps connected to the garter belt.

  He bided his time unhooking the stockings, enjoying every brush of his fingertips on her amazingly soft bare skin. Once the stocking was free, he dragged it back down her leg, letting her feel the difference between the softness of the silk on her skin and the roughness of his hands.

  After he tucked the stocking in the toe of her shoe, he reached for her other leg. He remained in the same position, catching his balance. Any more pressure on his cock and it was liable to turn blue and fall off.

  Carolyn’s gaze went a little unfocused when he traced the base of her toes and the top of her foot. Her chest rose and fell and her teeth were still digging in to her lower lip. She jumped when he drew circles around the inside of her anklebone.

  “Easy.”

  “It’s making me jittery.”

  “That’s not a bad thing. Means you like what I’m doin’.”

  She nodded.

  “Just imagine what it’ll feel like when I do this with my mouth.”

  Her squirminess became a whole lot worse at that point.

  Carson’s fingers swept higher, caressing the sensitive skin of her inner thigh. Close enough he felt the heat drifting from her pussy.

  Although he’d promised to take it slow, he had the overwhelming need to push her skirt up to her hips and fasten his mouth on that sweet, untouched flesh between her thighs.

  “Carson,” she said a little breathlessly.

  “What, sugar?”

  “You made that scary noise again.”

  His gaze snagged hers, then he grinned unrepentantly. “Better get used to it.” Removing her stocking, he shoved it in the other shoe. “Now we’re ready to roll around on the blanket and make out.”

  Her cheeks flushed that sweet shade of pink.

  He rolled to his back and brought her body on top of his, swallowing her gasp as he kissed her.

  Carolyn might be a virgin, but she didn’t kiss like one. That seductively stroking tongue of hers could bring a man to his knees.

  The passion between them knocked him for a loop. Being with her—fully clothed—was more intimate than being naked with other women. His hands were roaming down her back, cupping her ass, sliding around to grip her hips. When he couldn’t run his fingers through her soft blonde locks, he broke the kiss, letting his lips skim her jawline to her ear. “Take it down.”

  She froze. “What?”

  “Your hair. Take it down for me.”

  “Oh. Okay.” She struggled to get upright, so Carson sat up and braced her butt against his legs as her knees straddled his waist.

  She brought both arms up and started removing pins from her hair. Once the sections were all down, she combed through it with her fingers.

  “Beautiful,” he murmured and curled his hands around her face, sliding his fingers into her hair and taking her mouth in a deep kiss.

  Carolyn pushed on his shoulders and he rolled back down without breaking their lip lock. The intensity of the kiss robbed him of air and he forced himself to ease off. Gliding his lips over hers, gifting her with soft smooches, nibbles and teasing licks.

  “Carson,” she said softly against his mouth.

  “Mmm?”

  “I want to touch you.”

  “You are touchin’ me.”

  “Not your bare skin.”

  He pulled back and looked into her eyes—her eyes heated with desire. “Where do you want to touch me, sugar?”

  “Your chest.”

  His cock twitched against his zipper in protest of not being her first choice.

  Carson placed his hands behind his head and said, “Go ahead.”

  She tipped her face down, letting her hair cover her face. Starting at the top, she gently pulled the pearl button until it unsnapped.

  Pop.

  Pop.

  Pop.

  Pop.

  When her fingers connected with his skin, his nipples hardened. She had to scoot back to reach the snap above his belt. Once she’d unsnapped it, she tugged the shirt from his jeans and pulled the edges apart, baring his upper body completely.

  He didn’t have anything close to a Mr. Universe physique, and he felt oddly exposed.

  Carolyn spread her hands open on his lower abdomen and followed his torso up the center, her thumbs passing over his belly button, and then smoothing over the section between his navel and his sternum. Her finger span didn’t come close to reaching the edge of his ribcage. She slowed her explorations when her palms reached his pectorals. Her thumbs traced the cut of muscle while her fingers sifted through the hair covering his upper chest.

  Her thoroughness and fascination kept him from moving. The tips of her fingers traced his collarbones, then the hollow of his throat.

  Finally she looked at him. No, the little innocent tease actually smirked at him. “I could get used to seeing your bare chest. It’s so…strong. And hard. You’ve got so many muscles. I just want to…”

  He propped himself up on an elbow and curled his fingers around her jaw, lifting her face. “You just want to what?”

  She shook her head.

  He held firm. “If you can’t tell me, why don’t you show me.”

  Immediately she lowered her face to the center of his chest, where his hair grew thickest, wrapping her hands around his shoulders for balance. She buried her mouth and nose in that spot, turning her head so his chest hair brushed her cheek. “You smell so good.” Her tongue darted out and she licked his pectoral. “You taste good too.”

  Fuck. He’d never survive this. Never. Her soft hands. Her curious mouth. Her hot breath. The gentle swish of her hair across his skin.

  When her wandering fingers started to track the thin line of dark hair that ended at his waistband, he snatched her hand. “Stop.”

  Carolyn’s head snapped up. “Did I do something wrong?”

  “No. But with the way you’re touchin’ me…I’ve only got so much willpower.”

  She scrambled off of him. Her focus zoomed to his crotch, where it was pretty fucking obvious how she affected him. “Carson. I’m so sor—”

  He had her flipped on her back and his body on top of hers before she finished. “Don’t ever apologize for makin’ my dick hard.”

  She just blinked those baby blues at him.

  “I wanna know what you’re thinkin’.”

  “Next time I’m gonna ask to touch you there.”

  He rested his forehead to hers and groaned.

  She twined her arms around his neck. “I like how it feels when you’re on top of me.”

  “Seriously killin’ me here, Caro.”

  “But I don’t know what I’m doing.”

  Carson had no response for that so he snared her mouth and kissed her.

  Her body started to move beneath his. Her hips arching, her thighs squeezing around his. She had one hand in his hair and the other snaked down to clamp onto his butt cheek.

  Don’t know what she’s doin’, my ass. The woman was turning him inside out.

  Carolyn tore her mouth free and whispered, “Is this what it’s like?”

  “No, sugar, it’s much better.”

  The crunch of tires drifted to them from up the road. Seemed their alone time was over. He quickly pushed up and straightened his clothes. He glanced down at her. Her clothing was still in place, but her hair… Anyone who saw her hair would know exactly what they’d been up to.

 
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