The Cowboy(3)

By: Vanessa Vale

"Well, Emily, I hope you are as pleased with your new husband as much as I am with my wife."

I turned to face him fully. "I've only said one word to you, so I am unsure of how you can make such a quick opinion."

His dark brow rose in surprise, but his smile remained. "Well, I'll have you know, 'yes' was the one word I longed to hear from your lips." He leaned in close to whisper in my ear, even though there was no one about. "Especially if it is said breathlessly and with an accompanying sigh of pleasure."

At his forward talk, I stepped back, yet was met with a smile this time that was much more playful, and a promise of his intentions. I couldn't hold him off forever; what new husband would stand for it? But delaying long enough to at least have a decent meal in my belly would help. Once he discovered the truth, I didn't want to be left to fend for myself on an empty stomach.

He cleared his throat, filling the silence between us. "My buckboard is nearby and the ride to the ranch is an hour. Are you prepared for another journey?"

He looked at me with such concern that I felt poorly for even considering he would abandon me for the secrets I carried, but I had to be realistic. Perhaps being a distance from town would be to my advantage. "Yes, of course," I replied.

He picked up my satchel, then, with one hand at my elbow, led me to his buckboard. After putting my bag in the back with coils of barbed wire, he helped me up. Going around, he joined me, the seat dipping beneath his heavy weight. Clucking his tongue to the horse, he took us out of town.

There was one main thoroughfare with several offshoots and buildings here were made of wood just as in August Point, only there were more of them. It was later in the afternoon, but people were going about their day. Mr. Blake tipped his hat on occasion to people we passed, and I asked him about them, the town, his ranch. In my nervousness, and perhaps with a dollop of sheer curiosity, I maintained a healthy stream of chatter.

"Inquisitive, aren't you?" he replied humorously, and answered my questions one at a time.

It wasn't until the town was well behind us that Mr. Blake pulled on the reins and stopped the wagon, the horse snorting and blowing at the delay. I looked over at him in question and opened my mouth to speak, but he silenced me with a kiss. Not a simple peck, but an assault on my senses. It was my first kiss and it was nothing as I'd imagined. I expected cold lips pressing against mine, a mere brushing and then gone. Mr. Blake, it seemed, was not a man to do things in half measure. At first, yes, his lips brushed over mine, but they were warm and gentle, but only briefly. His tongue plunged into my mouth at my surprised gasp and I tasted him, minty, as if he'd eaten a peppermint candy from the mercantile, with a hint of something else. Something manly and dark that promised my every carnal desire would be met.

I didn't know how long we kissed, but when he pulled back, my fingers - to my surprise - were tangled in his silky hair at his nape. I moaned low in my throat at his retreat, which had me blushing. Or perhaps it was the carnality of it that did that. The kiss had bumped his hat askew and he righted it.

"Now I know how to quiet you," he replied, his voice rough.

My blood was heated, moving thickly through my veins. My nipples had tightened beneath my corset; even the softest of fabrics was abrasive against the now tender tips. I had not known them to respond in such a fashion before. How strange, yet tantalizing. And further down, between my legs, I was wet. I knew what happened to a woman when aroused. I'd lived in a brothel for six years, but this was the first time I'd experienced any of the activities I'd heard about, and the neediness that accompanied it.

My own fingers in the dark - or playing with items that had been delivered for the girls yet I'd snuck away for my own use – had never made me feel this way. With a man, with Wyatt, it was so much more intense, so much more....more. It didn't matter, however. If I lived with whores and tried some of the tools of the trade and found pleasure in them, there was no question I was one. But neither was I a typical virgin.