Texas Redemption(136)

By: Linda Broday

Upstairs, he started for her old room before Laurel realized. “I sleep in Ollie’s room now. She died in my arms the night I returned from the stockade two days ago.”

“So that’s what Curley meant by that strange remark.”

“Adeline has mine. The girl’s afraid of ghosts. I find it peaceful in here though with Ollie’s spirit around me.”

“She’d better hide her eyes because I intend to love you like you’ve never been.”

He eased her to the patchwork quilt and made quick work of stripping off his clothing. Then he slowly undressed her, planting kisses on each new patch of exposed skin.

“My stars, Brodie, at this rate daylight will come before we even get down to the best part.” She gasped when his tongue meandered down the crevice between her breasts to draw a wet heart on her stomach.

“Complaints so soon, darlin’?” He propped on an elbow and let a fingertip continue the journey. “We make quite a pair. You’re more battered than I am, I do believe. Are you certain you’re up to this after the hellish night you’ve had?”

The last few hours had fled. Laurel brushed back the rebellious hair from his forehead and stared into his eyes. She prayed they’d never have anything worse than a few scrapes to complain about. Although a breeze blew in from the swamps, ruffling the curtains, Brodie’s sultry breath feathering across her bared flesh kept her heated.

“I’m positive. I have this need…”

“Do tell.”

“We should start on those eight little ones before we grow too old,” Laurel said, nibbling on his ear.

Moments later a moan crept from her throat. He touched places no one had charted—dark, moist places that had never experienced the thrill of human contact. The gentle gunslinger’s tender lovemaking brought mist to her eyes. Redemption hadn’t come without sacrifice. It took forsaking preconceived ideas and letting ash return to ash. Their souls flourished. And still their love would take constant nurturing.

Light pressure located old scars on the solid body of her warrior. There were fresh ones also. Those created an ache inside Laurel so deep that not a parcel of daylight penetrated.

“Fine wine always tastes better when sipped, precious.”

“But…” Her rebuttal got lost. Scandalous pirates had that effect when they pilfered a woman’s jewels.

Dampness covering her inner thighs assured her he’d have no trouble sliding inside. She wanted him now.

A patient lady would grind her teeth and wait.

A desperate one wouldn’t.

Laurel pulled Brodie atop her. Male brown nipples surrounded by fine down begged for homage. Flicks of her tongue taught him to dally with her senses. A shiver rewarded her efforts, turning the nibs into hard protrusions.

“Ahh, pretty lady, you shouldn’t do that.”


Dawn crept as silent as a thief into the room. Brodie pushed back raven strands that reminded him of rare, expensive silk from Laurel’s face and kissed each bruise. A tic jerked along his jaw. Thought of how close she’d come to dying chilled his bones. He’d littered her life with disappointment and setback and riddled her heart with cracks and holes. His chest constricted.

Brodie lifted her hand and turned it over, marveling at the strength there. He kissed her palm and each fingertip.

“Thank you, beautiful Lil.”

“For what?”

“Loving me. Letting me love you back. Forgiving me.”

“Ollie made me promise to not give up on you.”

“I’m sorry you had to deal with burying her alone.”

“We don’t have a choice in those matters. I’m a big girl.”

“I know the tragedy of burying family. Deep loss becomes a part of you. A body never truly stops missing them.”

“Even for a little boy forced to become a man too soon.”

He quirked an eyebrow. “Murph told you about Mother?”

“Are you mad? I wanted to discover what made you tick.”

“Surprised at him. Learn anything else?”

Laurel’s satiny curves molded to his large form. Her fingers tangled in fine chest hair. “You’re not some big, bad ogre. Compassion and respect comes out of hiding more than it suits you. I also see how you guard a fervent desire to belong.”