Rancher's proposition(30)

By: Anne Marie Winston



As he entered the kitchen, Lyn walked toward him with a steaming mug of coffee. "Good morning." Her smile was warm. "I heard you moving around up there."

"We have to talk." Her smile faded as he set the coffee untouched on the counter and took her hand, towing her after him into the living room. He eased himself down on the couch but when she would have seated herself beside him, he tugged her into his lap.

She started to squirm and protest.

"Stay still or you'll hurt my ribs," he said, shamelessly using his injuries.

She froze, then moved herself carefully into a rigidly upright position so that she wasn't leaning against him.

He promptly pulled her off balance so that she slid sideways against him, her head in the crook of his arm.

She looked up at him with wide eyes. "What are you doing? You need—"

"I need my wife." He stressed the verb. "You've been doing your best to keep a distance between us, and I don't just mean a physical one." He lifted his free hand and stroked a finger down the soft curve of her cheek. "What's wrong?"

She closed her eyes. "Nothing. You said you liked the way things between us were comfortable. I've been trying to keep them that way."

"Lyn." It was a warning growl. "Open your eyes."

She ignored him until he put his hand at the top button of her shirt and started opening the fastenings one by one. "Cal! Wait. You can't—"

"Yes, I can," he said, dragging her hand to his lap. She'd always responded to him this way, always been warm and sweet and wild and loving. He pulled at her clothes, stopping to fondle her breasts and thumb her nipples into tight little peaks, and she stopped arguing and started helping him.

When she was naked he tore off his own shirt and unfastened his pants and shoved them down. Already aching for her, he took her hips and guided her astride him, closing his eyes and groaning in ecstasy when she took him into her body, easing her down until he was fully sheathed.

She was smiling, a smug feminine expression with her green eyes half-closed in pleasure. He took her hair from its elastic, pulling it over her milky white shoulders and plunging his hands deep into the heavy mass, framing her face between his palms.

"I love you," he said.

Her eyes opened wide, and her lips parted. He flexed his hips beneath her, driving himself more deeply into her.

"I love you," he said again. Then the days of being without her overwhelmed him and he took her by the hips, moving her up and down until she took over the rhythm, sliding herself over him as he explored the rusty thatch of curls between her legs, touching her in the ways he'd learned made her melt in his arms. He felt his body gathering into a taut, shaking knot of need, shivers chasing down his back to center in the pleasured flesh buried snugly within her.

She rode him harder, interpreting his clenched jaw and bunched muscles correctly. "I love you, too," she gasped. Then her body took over, waves of final pleasure breaking over her head, and as he felt her flesh caressing him, he let himself go, pouring everything he was into her, holding her tightly to him with her face buried in his throat as his body arched and bucked beneath her.

There was a long silence in the room afterward. He didn't feel especially inclined to move, though he slowly stroked his hand up and down the satiny length of her spine.

"I don't deserve you," he said softly.

She sat up and her eyes snapped open. "Of course you do," she said in a gentle tone, her husky voice full of emotion.

"No." He put a finger to her lips when she would have spoken further. "Until today, I've never even told you that I love you, that I can't imagine my life without you by my side, and still you gave me everything."

Her pupils expanded so that her exquisite eyes were nearly black. But she didn't say a word. Then tears welled. "I've loved you almost since the day you brought me home," she said.

"I like the way you say that," he informed her. "Home is what this place has become since you arrived." A stab of regret pierced him. "I'm sorry if I made you think all I wanted was a housekeeper who would warm my bed."

"It's all right." She stroked his jaw. "I don't mind making you comfortable."

"That's good." He leaned forward to kiss her on the tip of her nose. "I think I need to spend the day in bed getting comfortable." Lifting her from his lap, he yanked up his jeans, took her hand and started for the stairs, leaving the rest of their clothing strewn over the floor.

* * *

Several hours later, he pulled her beneath him yet again. "You know something? I forgot all about birth control today."

Lyn's eyes softened. "Funny you should bring that up. I've been going to mention that very thing to you. I'm not sure we need it anymore."

Cal stilled, looking down at the woman who'd become his world. "Are you—do you think…" He took a deep breath, blew it out. "Tell me."

She smiled at him. "Remember the laundry room?"

He grinned. "Not a memory I'm ever likely to forget. I still can't walk through there without getting—"

She put a hand over his mouth, giggling, brushing her hips against his. "I get the idea." Then she lifted her arms, clasping them around his neck. "I'm not sure," she said. "It's been just over a month now, but I'm usually very regular."

"A baby." He kissed her forehead tenderly. "I thought I wanted to wait, but the thought of seeing you with our child in your arms—" He stopped, overwhelmed. Then he raised his head again. "My God, I love you."

And as she lifted her body to his, he thanked every twist of fate that had sent her into his home and his arms forever.

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