The Cowboy(4)

By: Vanessa Vale

"I've been wanting to do that for weeks, even before I knew who you were. I've longed to be able to kiss my wife, looked forward to taking liberties with her--I still am, for all that--when I didn't even know your name."

The flush of pleasure at his words had me glowing brightly, as if a candle lit me from the inside. I clenched my thighs together in certain anticipation and to ease the ache. "You received word, obviously, of my arrival," I stated, my breathing uneven. He wouldn't have been waiting for the stage if he had not anticipated me.

"I did. Just the expected date of the stage and your name."

"Mrs. Bidwell assured me that you were the perfect choice for me," I confided, shifting some of the weight of becoming his bride onto the decisions of another.

He grinned rakishly, no doubt using that as a weapon against a lady's defenses to take liberties. It was most assuredly working on me. His handsomeness was overwhelming really. How had he remained unmarried for so long? And why?

"And do you agree with her?" he asked.

I licked my lips. Mr. Blake's eyes dropped to my mouth as I did so, his eyes widening briefly. "I...I don't even know you."

Turning forward, he flicked the reins and we were moving once again. "Let's remedy that. Once we get to the ranch, we'll get to know each other very well."



As we stepped through the front door, I expressed general concern for her wellbeing. But it was banal words in comparison to my thoughts. I desperately wanted to fuck her on the kitchen table, or on a bed, or against the wall, but I could only claim her as I wanted after I’d made sure she was well following her journey. It was the gentlemanly thing to do, although that courtesy was tenuous at best.

She stood just inside the door, looking to her left into my office, to the right into the living area and tilted her chin back to look up the wide staircase leading to the second floor. Her eyes were wide, curious. Glancing at me sideways through lovely, long lashes, she replied, "I am rather hungry."

Was she being intentionally alluring and pulled in by her siren's song, or was it genuine naiveté that I found so endearing? I was hungry too, but not for the same thing.

Leaving her bag by the door, I led her down the hallway to the kitchen at the back of the house. My ranch wasn't small; it was one of the largest in the area. With over a thousand head of cattle, I had ranch hands and a foreman to keep the operations running smoothly. The house I'd built was large, especially so for just me, but with the addition of Emily and perhaps children, it would be filled as I'd originally planned.

I made ready a simple meal - cold meat, bread and butter, cheese, apples and a jug of water. I sat across from her at the kitchen table as I watched her eat, my legs outstretched and my arms over my chest. Her posture was straight, her shoulders back, which of course had me noticing the lovely curve of her breasts. She had exceptional table manners, but – unfortunately – ate very slowly.

"In the morning, I'll show you where everything is kept for you to make breakfast," I told her.

With a forkful of ham halfway to her mouth, Emily paused and looked at me expectantly. "Breakfast?"

"The hands eat in the bunkhouse, so it's only me you'll have to serve."

She chewed her food and said nothing on the topic. Her posture was so erect I worried her spine might snap, her manners dainty and foreign to someone like me who was used to bachelor ways. "Oh, I forgot. I have a letter for you from Mrs. Bidwell."

She picked up her reticule she'd placed on the table beside her and pulled out the travel worn envelope. I took it from her, but didn't read it.

"Don't you wish to read it?" she asked.

I shook my head, watching her throat move as she swallowed. "I'd rather focus on you right now."