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Authors: Red L. Jameson

Tags: #Romance, #Time Travel, #Historical

Cowboy of Mine (7 page)

BOOK: Cowboy of Mine
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“Well, I’ll tell ‘em about the tracks. I saw that someone was at your house. I’ll vouch for you.”

Her hand had been on his, but she removed it then, looking more forlorn than any person should be. Jake wasn’t unfeeling. He could sympathize. It must be terrible to be thought of as insane. And he wondered if she was considered mad because she
felt
like she was from another time. Or if she’d said as much. Or was there more to the Mad Mere moniker?

But how to ask something like that? If she merely felt she was from another time, he was being an insensitive prick by asking about it. Or if he indicated he was from another time, and she wasn’t—well, then she’d think
him
insane.

While trying to muddle through his thoughts, she said, “I know you’re trying to look out for me.”

“Aye—I mean, yes.”

She finally glanced up, those full violet eyes reading him, studying him unlike anyone else ever had. As if she plucked his heart from his chest and was examining it. After a sigh, she shook her head. “I really don’t want to stay at the hotel.”

“Is it worth yer life, Meredith? Please, think about—”

“Why do you care?” Her voice was loud, and the kitten stilled from his mangling her hand.

Jake narrowed his eyes, mayhap even pulling her a wee bit tighter to his body, ready to argue with her, even though he had no idea what he’d say, when she shook her head and looked down.

“I’m sorry. That was rude.”

“I ken we just met. I know we just met, but—”

“Will you stay with me? Tonight?”

He was going to say that it was his job to care about her, but that wasn’t the whole truth. He wanted to know her better, know why she was so doleful. But after she asked her question, her voice trembling just so, his mouth went dry.

She still wasn’t looking at him and was shrinking from him the longer he didn’t answer, looking like the saddest elf he’d ever seen. How could Jake say no to that?

“All right.”

He’d stay on her porch with his Colt. Lord, but he wished he had brought his shotgun too. And, mercy, he was tired. Bone tired from not sleeping the night before. But he’d do this for her. Already, he’d do anything for her.

Utterly shocking him, she embraced him with a kitten at the back of his neck.

“Thank you,” she whispered in his ear, making him want to shudder.

But he didn’t. Barely.

Just as he was about to mold his body closer to hers, she pulled away, then yet again looked down. This time, though, she held a tiny grin, and his heart warmed. Made him feel right proud for agreeing to keep watch over her. The cold should keep him awake. He hoped.

He pulled the reins and soon enough was back in her barn. Untying her horse from his, he guided her paint into a stall. Curried the horse’s back a bit, made sure she had enough straw for the night, then returned to Meredith and the kitten still on Moses.

The other wee black fur ball had finally come out and watched him with gleaming yellow eyes from a nearby stack of hay bales.

Jake held Meredith by the waist and hefted her on the hay close to the cautious kitten. He pointed a finger at the cat.

“I’ll win you over yet.”

The kitten blinked.

Jake smiled as he pulled his horse into an available stall, unsaddled his gelding, then curried the big horse’s fur too.

“Can I have some straw for my horse?”

“Yes. Please, take as much as you need.”

He nodded his appreciation at Meredith, her eyes always watching him. He wondered what she saw. A man in black, as if he’d just come from a funeral. He felt like it. Ever since his brother died in the battle at Worcester, he felt like he was constantly leaving a burial. He’d had to grieve the loss of his brother, the loss of his country, his mother, so much. Jake also wondered if he looked disgusting to her. She’d never once flinched from him. Never tried to get away from his touch. Never looked at him as if she might wretch.

But reading behind her sad eyes was difficult to do. He felt her melancholia roll off her. And if he wasn’t mistaken, she was awash in shame too. Couldn’t help but wonder why.

He was finished with watering the horses and tending to them, so he slipped up to Meredith, scooped her in his arms, then marched toward the house, two little black kittens in tow.

“I can walk, you know.”

“I’m not going to let you. Not with the frozen ground under your wee bare feet.”

She didn’t say anything, and he had to look at her to see her reaction. She just stared. As usual.

“I’ll put you inside, then I’ll be on your porch, watching for—”

“No, you can’t stay on my porch.”

He was going to argue. Again. But she beat him to the punch.

“You’re doing me the favor of staying with me, making me safe. You have to stay inside.”

He somehow opened the door to her warm house, took a few steps inside, then placed her on the wood floor. Her cabin was tiny, clean, and smelled like savory food. It was only the one room, one bed.

He licked his lips, trying so hard not to look at her. Or her bed with the white blankets and pillows. But when she closed the door, all he could think about was that damned bed and her.

“I’ll keep watch on the chair.” He voice came out as a hard rasp. And he wanted to roll his eyes at the absurdity of what he’d just said. Of course he’d keep watch on the chair. There were only two chairs in her home. Where else would he keep watch? On top of her body as she lay in her bed.

He pulled off his Stetson and slid a hand up the back of his head, trying to calm his thoughts. In his own time, his hair would be considered short. But in this era, it was in need of a cut, and he wished he looked a little better for her.

He wished so many things then.

The kittens had stolen inside and romped around a pillow close to the stove. But they were obviously getting tired of attacking each other, and Jake guessed they’d clean each other, then sleep on that pillow.

“You look tired.” Her voice was back to that haunting sound of hers—rough yet feminine. Lovely and a bit wild. “Are you tired, Sheriff Cameron?”

“Jake. Call me Jake.”

“Are you tired, Jake?”

He didn’t answer. Didn’t want to lie to her, but at the same time...he couldn’t just tell her he was so tired his brain ached. Besides, he’d take breaks and walk outside, the cold would help. And thinking about her seemed to keep him invigorated too.

Meredith pursed her boysenberry dark lips. “I think you’re very tired. Why don’t you sleep?”

“I should—”

“You’re here. If someone came on my property, even if you were sleeping, you’d wake in time, don’t you think?”

He wasn’t thinking. He made the mistake of looking at her. In the flickering candlelight her dark eyelashes looked glossy. Her cheeks took on a pink hue. So bonny.

“I’m very tired,” she said, her voice dipping low. “I know I probably should be vigilant. I saw a man on my porch, after all. But now I’m so, so tired.”

“Ye should sleep then.”

“So should you.”

He shook his head.

“Will you lie down with me?”

She was killing him. Just killing him. He felt his heart contract from her request. His body, though, was overreacting, and he didn’t want her to think less of him for it.

“I—I’m still scared. Will you sleep with me?”

Could he say no to her?

Doubtful.

“All right.”

This time she didn’t hug him as he wanted. But she did give him a smile. “I have egg and bacon pie in the icebox if you want it.”

He shook his head. For once he wasn’t thinking about food.

Then she set about getting ready for sleep, putting his hat on the table, piling more wood in the stove, making sure the kittens were sleeping, then she unwrapped herself from his plaid and laid it on the bed.

Damn. Damn. Damn, he kept thinking all sorts of indecent thoughts, especially so since he’d just met her, barely knew her, and was there to protect her.

She gave him a toothbrush, and that finally clicked something in his mind to think less desirable thoughts. They brushed their teeth together over a basin. She’d concocted some kind of baking powder and mint paste that tasted great, and the act was innocent enough for his fantasies to simmer. For a bit.

But once they were done, smiling at each other with their shy looks, she took off his coat.

Oh, there she was, bonny woman, with her curves, the deep valley between her breasts beckoning him. He turned from her when she started to unlace her stays. She really was getting ready for bed. And he needed to think only of her needing a hero. Not some dog of a man, pawing all over her.

He heard the squeak of her spring mattress, the covers rippling as she probably got in them.

“You can look now. I’m ready.”

Ready
, oh Lord, how he wished she was.

He took a big breath and quietly walked around her home, blowing out the candles.

“Do you want to take off your waistcoat?”

Yes. God, yes. That would be a good start.

He was proud of himself for just taking off his black waistcoat then his boots. When he walked to her bed, in the middle of her little house, he realized then that mayhap sleeping beside her was for the best. After all, he doubted he’d be able to truly shut his eyes, he was so excited.

He swallowed and made sure to lie on top of her covers. Her wee back was to him. Her slim shoulders covered in her shift poked out from her bedding. Good. Good. It was better not to see her. Well, not see her fae-ish face.

He turned to lie on his back, feeling his body sink into her bed. It was a combination of springs and feathers and a bit too comfortable for him. His eyes, already feeling like sand bit them, were suddenly closing of their own accord.

She turned. His body became alert once more.

He wouldn’t look at her. Didn’t dare. No way in hell or heaven for that matter would he look at her.

But she ran her tiny fingers along his hand then pulled his arm around her shoulder. She nestled her head, her hair smelling so sweet and floral, on his chest. His arm around her, her arm resting on him, she tipped her face up, smiling.

“Now I can sleep.”

Aye, she was truly killing him.

 

 

 

Chapter 4

 

I
t
was so warm, so relaxingly warm. Meredith couldn’t help but smile at waking with her toes not frozen for once. Her blanket was so heavy, but felt so...

That’s when she realized her blanket wasn’t that at all. But a very large, oven of a man who had one leg wrapped around hers, one arm firmly nestled around her waist, his front to her back. He pulled her even closer, even though they were as close as they could be. While clothed.

Her body sizzled from the intimacy, from Jake mostly laying on her. Last night, he’d been so brave, so effortlessly comforting. She’d asked Jake to sleep with her, because, like usual, her mouth acted before she thought of repercussions. But she’d been so grateful when he’d said yes. Then she’d been turned on, especially as he’d peeled off his black waistcoat, revealing rippling muscles under his dark button-up shirt. What would it be like to touch those muscles? Well, she’d promised herself, she’d keep her hands to herself.

And she had. Kind of. However,
his
hands were everywhere. Goody, she almost giggled.

Meredith finally opened her eyes. It was still dark outside, but there was enough morning lavender light she could see her white chemise riding up her thighs. How had she wiggled free from the coverings? Well, she was decent. Kind of. In her own time, she was decent. Here, she’d be considered a whore. Well, just add that to her other names.

God, this really was the best way to wake up, in a man’s strong arms. No, in Jake’s strong arms, held so closely she didn’t need the bedding. Oh, it was nice.

Really nice.

He nuzzled the back of her neck with his whiskered jaw. Probably doing that on accident. More than likely he was still sleeping. Slowly, carefully, she turned her head enough to see from her periphery that Jake’s eyes were indeed closed. It must have been the moon helping her see, because she made out his dark lashes. They were so long and made shadows on his cheeks. She guessed that the tips were blond, which made her wonder if he had been born blond.

His whiskers were mainly dark, but she did see a few sparkle a lighter color around his relaxed sensual mouth. Mixed into that was a few shining reds. Wow, he was breathtaking up close. His jaw line and cheekbones cut his face into rugged yet handsome features. He had a blade of a nose she liked a lot. She wanted to touch it.

When was the last time she’d wanted to touch another?

Years?

She’d met her long-term boyfriend, David, when she started going to graduate school. He had been too. He’d been her first for so many things. And her only. She’d thought she’d loved him. But now, after ten years of bitterly waiting, of wishing he’d choose her, of trying so hard to be good enough, she wondered if she ever had loved David. Or maybe she’d just loved the challenge.

Sick though, that. But she may as well be honest with herself. Now.

Ironically, before she’d come to the Montana Territory in 1887, she had tried to break things off with David. But he’d even managed to steal that from her. She couldn’t in the end say, “Well, I finally saw the light and got rid of him.” No, he’d tossed her aside, similarly to how he’d treated her for years, as if she were a piece of garbage. Not even worthy enough for a face-to-face conversation. Nope, he’d ended it in a Twitter feed, so the whole world would know.

Leave it to a psychologist to mess you up better than anyone else, Meredith thought.

Jake, again, pulled her closer. This time his nose rubbed against her neck.

That felt so good. To be touched and held felt so freaking good.

And it was at that moment she never wanted to think about David again. Never wanted to think about ten years wasted waiting on him. Never wanted to think about her past.

Not while Jake held her.

Sure, he was sleeping and would wake, then push her away. But in the meantime, why not indulge a little and cozy up to a man who had steel for legs and possibly an oak chest and stomach. And...Oh! Something else on him was very hard as well, pressing into her backside.

Well, it was the morning. And when he’d wake, he’d push her away. His erection wasn’t for her.

But she could pretend, couldn’t she?

She could fantasize she was young like him, that she hadn’t made too many mistakes in one lifetime. That he wanted her.
He
wanted
her
.

Gingerly, she held his hand over her rounded stomach. Shouldn’t she be embarrassed her belly wasn’t exactly flat anymore? She hardly knew what to think, liking his touch more than anything else.

He stirred once more, this time making a groggy moan. He rocked his hardness against her. And she let him. Her breasts tightened and felt too full. Between her legs had already been hot with his presence so close, but now, now she was on fire.
She
wanted
him
.

She hadn’t even thought of another man since she’d been an undergrad. But, oh, how she liked thinking of Jake wanting her. He was such a good, kind man, albeit young looking. Still, he’d easily won her over by believing in her, protecting her, and ensuring her bare feet never touched the cold ground. Who wouldn’t want a man like Jake?

But when he woke, he’d push her away.

She knew it. That’s what men did, right? Well, she wasn’t exactly the most seasoned when it came to men, but having the same experience for ten years, it weighed on Meredith, making her think every man was like David. Besides, she knew her past. A woman like her didn’t deserve a man like Jake.

He ground against her once more, and her lids fluttered closed. Even in his thick rough cotton trousers, the feel of him against her was unbearably wonderful. He’d somehow wedged himself so his erection was on her core. Her legs sprawled, his too, he’d somehow found exactly where she want him. Only, she wished without so many clothes in the way.

She bit her bottom lip, suppressing a moan as he rubbed himself against her again. His jaw pressed against her neck. He moaned something. Then, he stiffened.

It was over too fast. And she was left, as she had been in her past, wanting more. So much more.

He didn’t move, but she could tell he was waking, becoming aware of his body and hers. Maybe she should have been moral and pushed him away, shaken him awake. But like the thief she knew herself to be, she’d stolen from him, stolen his sleeping desire.

However, it never paid to steal. Oh, everyone thinks that it does. But Meredith knew better than anyone how being a thief made her conscience scream at her, and this time she ached with the one thought of
more.
God, how she wanted more of him.

“Sorry,” he whispered in her ear. His R sounded particularly lovely, almost rolling over each other, as she wished him to do.

She felt his chest breathing quickly against her back.

Before she could stop it, the words spilled out. “It’s all right.”

His breath hitched, then came out in a rush against the back of her too sensitive neck.

He didn’t move away from her. Didn’t push her away. He just stayed very still, holding her with his arms, legs, and body.

“It’s all right,” she repeated, not sure why.

Actually, she knew why. Yes, she was a liar, even to herself, add that to her CV. But what she dared not tell herself, but knew instinctually, she was trying to encourage him, coax him further.

She turned her head, her shoulder pressing against him more. Making sure he was looking her in the eyes, she said it again. “It’s all right.”

Then his warm lips were on hers. It was awkward to kiss like this, and he adjusted his body, allowing her to twist more into him. Simultaneously, he licked the seam of her lips, and she opened for him. She hadn’t been kissed by anyone but David, yet this invasion of Jake’s was beyond anything she could have imagined. Her body began to shake with desire, needing him so badly she tried to reach behind, hold onto the back of his head. He deepened the kiss, his tongue running along hers. Then she pushed her tongue against his, and he moaned. To feel the deep sound vibrate through her mouth, down to her chest, made the apex of her legs scream for more.

More.

More.

Her hand flew down to his thigh, pulling the thick black cotton fabric towards her. He was basically laying on her. He couldn’t get any closer. But still, she pulled. Her other hand found his at her waist and without a thought she yanked it over her breast.

They both moaned then. He began to caress her then ran one of his thumbs over her nipple, making her shudder. He ground against her again, finding her core, turning her mad with desire.

She should be thinking of consequences. She of all people knew that if there wasn’t a thought to it, then bad things happened. But she’d never been like this before. She’d always held back, because...oh, who the hell knew why. But now she couldn’t seem to stop herself.

She’d never wanted anyone so much. Jake was so good, so decent, so kind, so considerate. Clean. He was clean.

And she wasn’t, she knew.

But the fact that he wanted her was too powerful an aphrodisiac.

He’d probably push her aside once he was done, was sated. He’d probably feel uncomfortable to be around her in the future. Maybe he wouldn’t protect her because he’d feel too ill-at-ease.

His tongue started to dart in and out of her mouth at the same time his hips thrust against her. And whatever shred of a conscience she had flew away. She didn’t care about the future, about him throwing her away when it was over. She just wanted now.

She wanted more.

It was such a damned awkward position, but somehow she leveled her hand between them, and slid down his erection then back up. His pants were similar to jeans but thicker, and she’d seen around his hips the seams held rivets, as if Jake was made from steal, made so strong he would split open anything less. And he felt like that. Although his hand on her breast, his lips on hers were gentle beyond compare, his body was so hard, so powerful.

She’d never been so desperate before and started to wiggle against him, against her own hand, knowing her chemise was inching upwards, revealing more and more every frantic second.

He thrust against her, almost as needy as she. After feeling his length against the palm of her hand for far too long, she fumbled for his belt buckle. Working through that, she then fumbled with his pant’s opening. It was all buttons. So many damned buttons. And with her hand behind her, she had no clue what she was doing. However, success began to unravel her as one button popped open, then another.

He slid a hand under her waist, under their bodies, holding her by her hip. His hand on her breast moved slightly, trying to extract her from her wide-necked chemise. Somehow he managed to lift her breast partially out, and he hefted himself even more over her to leave her lips, only to place his mouth over her nipple. Lightning crashed through her. The white-hot impetus licked through her body, especially through her core. She moaned. Or, actually, the noise she made wasn’t quite that. It was more animalistic. She sounded crazed, and she didn’t care.

She just needed more.

He licked around her nipple, then sucked her into his mouth. Before, she’d always been worried about her breasts, obsessing about their size and shape. But she felt glorious as Jake suckled her, his mouth hot and wet. That pulsing energy tore through her again, and she tried to arch into him.

Somehow, through it all, she’d finally gotten Jake’s pants open. After fiddling with his drawers for a moment, she found his hardness. He moaned as she wrapped her fingers around him, then breathed fire on her breast while he thrust into her hand.

Wiggling her hips to meet his again, she angled herself for him to enter her. It was a challenge to be sure, but finally her chemise peeked over her hips, and she held him so close.

He stopped. Stopped all movement. He held so still, behind her, above her, seeming so big, he was all around her.

Their gazes caught. His face was taut, his gray eyes on fire. He wasn’t breathing.

She pulled his cock a little more, then felt his blunt end just press into her. His dark brows lifted in the center, almost as if asking for permission, asking whether she wanted this, if this was real.

It felt too good to be anything other than a dream though. Life wasn’t that kind to her to offer her such a good man who wanted her in return. It had to be a dream.

So she pushed her hips against him, and he slid a half an inch inside her. His lids closed. He moaned. But he held so still, teasing such energy from her.

She pushed again. He was a little more inside her. Then he climbed back to her lips, kissing her quickly, almost clumsily. As his tongue found its way into her mouth, he slowly thrust into her. Finally, all the way inside her, he stilled once more, driving her crazy, kissing her with such hot passion.

But she needed more, so she arched into him, grabbed his pant leg once more and pulled. He began to circle his hips, back and around and inside her again. It was such a beautiful flow, felt unlike anything else, as if white butterflies occupied her body now and fluttered with each slow thrust of his, as if she were white flower petals stirred by the wind. Each time he found his way back into her, the white energy accelerated, making her feel...What was that word?

BOOK: Cowboy of Mine
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