Read Heart So Sweet: Book 3 in the Great Plains Romance Series Online

Authors: Corrissa James

Tags: #Contemporary Western Romance

Heart So Sweet: Book 3 in the Great Plains Romance Series (9 page)

BOOK: Heart So Sweet: Book 3 in the Great Plains Romance Series
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Tate pushed aside his anger and confusion to get to his real problem: fear. He was afraid that his feelings for Annie were too intense, too overpowering. If he let his emotions run free, would it be too much for her?

“He was right, you know. My father.”

When she turned to face him, he leaned down to kiss her, a soft gentle kiss to show her just how much he cherished her. If his love for her was so intense that the spirits would take her away from him, then he would have to spend every moment of their remaining time telling her how special she was. They both turned to watch a shooting star trail into the distance, and with it, some of Tate’s fears dissipated, being carried away by the breeze.

“Sorry I couldn’t come for you.” He nuzzled her ear, leaving his soft kisses.

“Was what you heard that morning, was that why you hid from me?” Her voice was taking on a huskiness that signaled her body was responding to his attention.

He pulled back slightly to look into her half-closed eyes. “At first, yes. But as the sponsor of the spirit release, I had to ensure morality in my father’s home. I couldn’t do that with you around.”

Her eyes flew open and she stepped back from him, her anger flashing to the surface. “Are you saying I am not moral?”

His soft laughter melted her resolve, and he pulled her back into his arms.

“No, my sweet Annie, I’m saying that I can’t control myself around you.”

They stared into each other’s eyes as the passion between them swelled to the surface. They didn’t take the time to spread the blankets out before making love under the stars, each of them desperate to give in to their desires with the one person on earth who could fulfill all their needs.

Chapter Fifteen

 

The birds starting chirping and singing in the trees while it was still dark out, but Susannah knew it meant that dawn was just around the corner. She snuggled closer to Tate, her cheek on his bare chest. She didn’t want the day to come. She didn’t want the sun to bring reality crashing around her. This moment, the here and now—this was what she wanted.

“If you cling much tighter, I might not be able to breathe much longer.”

“Sorry,” she mumbled, pulling away from him.

But he caught her wrists and pulled her back against him. “Don’t let go.”

“But you need to breathe.”

He pulled his arms more tightly around her. “Not if it means losing you.”

Susannah tried to swallow around the lump in her throat, but she couldn’t, so she simply reveled in the moment. They stayed locked in each other’s embrace as they watched the sun rise over the horizon.

The early morning rays seemed to shine a spotlight on the farmhouse in the distance below, and Susannah was reminded why she came to Tate’s last night. After Jonathan’s comments yesterday morning, she knew that her brothers were concerned about her. If she told them she wanted to be with Tate, she expected Jonathan to be okay with it—especially when he saw how happy Tate made her. Daniel would go with the majority. She could not, in any vision of the future, see Andrew accepting Tate. He would always see the sheriff first and the man second, and stranding him without a car would be the least of Tate’s troubles if Andrew set his sights on destroying the man. Which left Lucas.

And that was where the problem lay.

Andrew would back down if Lucas told him to, but could Lucas forgive Tate for their past if it meant that she would be happy? She told herself that he would, but a lingering doubt wouldn’t stop niggling in her brain. The truth was she would have to fix the rift between Tate and Lucas before she could ever let her brothers know that she and Tate were together.

“Tate?”

“Hmm?”

“What happened between you and Lucas before you left?”

She felt his muscles contract and held her breath. Was it really that bad?

“Why do you want to know?”

She shifted to lean on her elbows so she could see his face. Tate pulled his hands behind his head, resting on them as he looked up into the sky.

“Can’t you work through it—especially after all this time?”

“It was between the two of us.”

She chewed on her lip for a moment, then decided honesty was the only approach to take. “I can’t tell anyone about us unless I know Lucas will approve.”

Tate rolled onto his side, propping himself up on one elbow. “Don’t you deserve your own happiness, Annie? Regardless of what your brothers say?”

“It’s not like that.”

“Then what is it like?”

She rolled onto her back, trying to figure out how to make this man understand that she wanted him, needed him, more than she could possible understand herself, but that she could not let her feelings for him cause him possible duress, especially when Andrew could be the one causing it.

“Would you ever be with a woman that your father didn’t approve of?”

“Well...”

“Knock it off, Tate. I don’t need to hear about past conquests when you know what I mean.”

He let out a long sigh. “No, I wouldn’t. But I also knew my father was looking out for me, protecting me. You said yourself that Andrew likes hurting people.”

“Which is why I need Lucas’s approval. Lucas can keep Andrew in his place, keep him from hurting you.”

Tate dropped his head to Susannah’s breast, using his lips and tongue to make the nipple hard. Susannah moaned, both in pleasure and in aggravation that he could make her lose control of her body so easily.

“Tate!”

“I can take care of myself, Annie.” He never lifted his head from her breast, and his hot breath sent heat waves down her abdomen. He shifted to lie on top of her, giving himself full access to her body. He trailed kisses down her neck and along the tops of her breasts as his knee nudged her legs open.

“And if he tries to hurt me?”

Tate’s head whipped up, and the hardness in his eyes sent an icy cold feeling down her spine. “Then I’ll kill him.”

“That’s not funny.”

“It wasn’t meant to be.”

She tried to push him off her, to get out from under him, but he wouldn’t budge.

“Let me up.”

“Stop. Look at me.”

She avoided his gaze, kicking her legs and pushing against his chest. “Let me up or I will scream.”

“Susannah Clark, calm down and look at me. I am not going to hurt you.” When she finally relented and looked up at him, he continued. “I am never going to let anyone hurt you. But if you think it would be better to have Lucas’s support, then I will get his blessing and make sure everyone knows about it. Okay?”

“How are you going to do all that?”

He smiled, showing his dimple. “You’ll just have to trust me on that one. Deal?”

She eyed him for a moment before finally relenting. “Deal.”

He kissed her, tenderly at first, but it quickly escalated to the point that she wrapped her legs around him and pulled him closer to her, and soon both of them were riding waves of ecstasy.

Chapter Sixteen

 

For the next several days, Tate struggled with his promise to Annie. During the day, while patrolling the county, he would consider every possible way to prove to Lucas that he was good enough for his sister. The problem, of course, was that each argument required Lucas to agree to at least listen to Tate, which meant being in the same room with him. Yet it had been several months since Tate moved back and a decade since he’d left in the first place, and Lucas still couldn’t stand to be in anywhere near him.

So how was he supposed to convince the man to approve of his relationship with Annie?

At night, Annie would sneak over to Tate’s cabin after everyone on the farm fell asleep. She was adamant that they be careful until Lucas made it known that he approved. Although the secrecy heightened their passions, it was taking its toll on Tate, especially when he’d wake up the next morning to find her gone. If they saw each other in town, they went out of their way to avoid being seen together as they both knew that the gossips in small towns were always on the prowl.

By Wednesday morning, Tate’s frustration was at a boiling point, so as soon as Annie left, he got up and made coffee, determined to find Lucas and get everything out in the open, once and for all. He considered driving over and confronting him at breakfast, then realized he’d just be asking for trouble if he faced off with the man on his home turf.

The morning’s pale pink skies greeted him as he headed out to his SUV, smiling. He wouldn’t give Lucas any advantages in the coming discussion. Instead, he’d confront him where he was at his most vulnerable.

 

 

“Sorry, sheriff. You just missed them.”

Tate frowned at Trish James, who was sitting on her porch, a cup of coffee in her hands. Her sister-in-law Miranda sat with her. Both women eyed him as if trying to discover some secret written on his face.

“Well, I guess I’ll have to stop back later.”

“What’s this all about anyway?” Miranda glanced from Tate to Trish and back again. “Are you going to arrest my brother again?”

“Hush, Miranda.”

“I will not.” She stared at Tate, her eyes hard. “If Garrison is shooting his mouth off again–”

“Actually, Ms. James, I need to talk to Lucas, not your brother.”

Miranda scoffed. “Good luck talking to that one.”

Tate noticed a slight flush appear in her cheeks, which he found curious. “Well, like I said. I’ll stop by later, but I’d appreciate it if you ladies didn’t mention that I was here.”

“Oh, is that how you do business now?”

“Miranda!” Trish shook her head at her sister-in-law. “Not that it matters, but I do believe that the sheriff is here on personal business.”

The women shared a knowing look, then Miranda silently mouthed the word “oh” while raising her eyebrows.

Trish flashed a smile at Tate. “We won’t say a word, sheriff.”

“Thank you.” He headed down the porch steps.

“Although you’ll have a better chance catching up to Lucas on Friday night. At the street dance.”

Tate turned to look back at Trish.

“My husband promised they’d be back by then.”

Tate was frowning once again. “Back?”

“Yes. They just left for Rapid City to get a new group of horses for the ranch.” Trish paused, giving Miranda a side-long glance. “I could get the name of the hotel they’re staying at if you’d like to drive up and see him before then.”

Tate hesitated. The idea of confronting Lucas in a completely neutral place was appealing, and it was something Lucas would never expect so far from home. But Rapid City was nearly four hundred miles west of Harrington, and if Lucas didn’t react well to the news that Tate was seeing Annie...well, Tate didn’t want to think about that outcome.

“Tell you what, sheriff. I’ll sweeten the pot.” Miranda stood and set her mug on the table before walking down the steps to join him. “How about I fly you up to Rapid City?”

“Fly?”

“Yup, fly.”

Trish giggled from the porch. “You’ll have to excuse her, sheriff. She finally got her pilot’s license, but no one wants to go for a ride with her.”

“It’s probably better that I wait for them to return.” The thought of spending a few hours confined to a small area with Miranda James wasn’t exactly his idea of a relaxing time. He didn’t think it would put him in the right frame of mind for confronting Lucas.

“Suit yourself.” Miranda whipped out a business card. “But if you change your mind, I can be ready to go with an hour’s notice.”

He thanked the women, then climbed back in his SUV, wondering how talking to Lucas had become so complicated.

For the rest of the day, his thoughts kept circling back to Lucas and how confronting him at a neutral place, where he couldn’t walk away so easily, might be the best approach. Plus, Dalton James would be there, and if anyone stood a chance of being able to break up a fight between Tate and Lucas, it was Dalton. The deciding factor was when he realized that Andrew Clark’s thirty days of lockup ended on Friday. He could take on Andrew and he might be able to convince Lucas, but the two of them together would be impossible. Just before dinner time, he pulled out Miranda’s business card and made the call.

Chapter Seventeen

 

On Wednesday morning, while Tate was speaking to Trish and Miranda James, Susannah was having her own early morning meeting in the lane leading to her family’s farm. Like her, Jonathan was also returning from a night spent away, which made for an awkward moment.

She stood in the lane, her arms crossed. “Do I even want to know?”

Jonathan smiled. “Only if you want to share your own.”

She blanched in the early morning light.

“Jeez, Suz, is it that bad?”

“What? No.” She tried to laugh lightheartedly, but it came out sounding like a sick cat.

Jonathan moved closer, frowning. “Fess up. Who is it?”

“Fine, but if I tell you, you can’t say a word to anyone until I figure everything out.”

“Okay.”

“Promise.”

BOOK: Heart So Sweet: Book 3 in the Great Plains Romance Series
3.9Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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