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Authors: Elaine Barbieri

Renegade (7 page)

BOOK: Renegade
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Trembling uncontrollably, she was uncertain when he came to the juncture between her thighs. His lips touched the tender slit hidden there, and pure need shot through her. She protested his invasion, only to have him look up at her earnestly and whisper, “However long our loving will last, I want it to be true—all that either of us has ever dreamed it could be. Let me prove it can be that way for us, Samantha.”

His gaze was a magic Samantha could not resist. Gradually loosening her grip on Matt’s shoulders, she closed her eyes and allowed him to explore the warm delta awaiting him.

She had never felt so alive, so loved, so much a part of a man as Matt’s kiss drove deeper into her moistness. Her trembling increased and she clutched him tight with hands that had formerly restrained him—enabling, wanting.

An uncontrollable yearning grew inside her. She gasped at its heat as Matt kissed her more deeply. She groaned and pled with unintelligible words she could not seem to restrain. She twisted and trembled. Her knees weakened and Matt held her upright, cupping her buttocks with hands that afforded support while also providing greater access to his ministrations. She was enthralled by a scope of loving that elevated her to a realm she had never inhabited before.

Her world careened with colliding colors when the first shuddering tremors enveloped her. Surrendering to the overwhelming pleasure, she was transported to a place where only emotion survived.

Samantha’s strength weakened when the trembling concluded. Her legs were unable to support her, and she crumpled to her knees. When she opened her eyes again, she was face-to-face with Matt, being held upright by his strong arms as he whispered, “This is only the beginning, Samantha.”

Matt scooped her into his arms, leaving her clothing behind as he carried her to a small bedroom and closed the door behind him. He removed his own clothing, aware that she watched as he revealed every inch of male flesh.

Naked at last, hard and ready, he moved to the bed and lay down beside her. He took only a moment to strip away her remaining garments before entering her with a single thrust. Halting at her gasp, he repeated, “This time is ours, Samantha.”

Gasping as he slid deeper, as his motions grew more rapid, as she joined him while emotions flew high and wide, Samantha ascended a pinnacle that could be breached in only one way.

Climax came again in a burst of simultaneous glory when Matt’s strong body moved convulsively atop hers. She clutched him close when they came to rest at last. Eyes closed, she indulged in the beauty of the moment.

Stirring at an insistent sensation, Samantha
opened her eyes to see Matt staring down at her with a gaze that was hot with longing. She remained silent as he whispered, “There is no one else in the world right now—just the two of us.”

Samantha swallowed at the solemnity of his words. She heard herself whisper a single word in response.

“Promise?”

She saw Matt smile briefly before he replied in quiet earnest, “I promise.”

Tucker rode slowly into Winston. The main street was buzzing with early afternoon activity, with the comings and goings of wagons as shoppers visited the mercantile to fill their larders, and with townsfolk doing their daily chores before darkness closed in and a night crowd took over with subdued revelry.

The truth was that he liked Winston. He liked the town and he liked being part of the horsemen arriving for the night’s revelries when work was finished for the day. He knew his brother wouldn’t be one of them, of course. He had studied his brother’s routine so they wouldn’t both appear in the same place at the same time and compromise his dual identity. He had learned that Matt was too dedicated to the ranch to leave it alone now that his men had taken a herd to the railhead. Matt would remain at his ranch until his men returned.

Tucker had done his best to practice Matt’s mannerisms
in order to be successful at the deception. Matt’s speech was not difficult to imitate since they both had the same deep tone of voice. Their features were so identical that even he wouldn’t have been able to tell them apart. To further perpetuate the charade, Tucker’s shirt was worn but spotlessly clean, and his trousers fit snugly from constant washings. Tucker had even taken to wearing his hair curling at his collar, since Matt had little time for a barber’s skills. There was little difference in the outward appearance of the two men. The only thing he wasn’t able to duplicate was the belt buckle that their father had bequeathed to Matt.

Yet like their father, despite the similarities between them, Matt still refused to acknowledge him.

That thought angering him, Tucker became more determined. He would use the dual identity Matt had afforded him to his best advantage until that time. No one would suspect he was an imposter until Matt had had enough.

Tucker laughed. Once Matt openly declared his existence, he intended to go into hiding so Matt needed to
prove
he existed.

Once he was proven to be Matt’s twin, he would then claim half the ranch as part of his inheritance—a plan he was certain that Matt did not suspect.

Tucker smiled more broadly. What would Matt do then?

Yes, revenge was sweeter than honey.

“Matt, wait up a minute!”

Tucker drew his mount to a halt and then turned toward the gruff voice to see Toby Larsen motioning him toward the boardwalk. He had done his homework and knew that the old man was an acquaintance of his brother’s, although he had been closer to the father than the son. Yet the old fellow appeared intense.

Tucker maintained his smile when he dismounted. The gray-haired fellow said with a worried frown, “Well, you prove me wrong again. I thought I had it figured out what Samantha was doing these past three days, but it looks like I made a mistake—which makes me even more worried than before.”

Somehow annoyed, Tucker asked flatly, “What are you talking about, Toby?”

“I’m talking about Samantha Rigg—you know, the new woman at the Trail’s End? I don’t figure I need to remind you who she is.”

“I know who you’re talking about.”

Toby nodded. “I bet you do.”

Tucker pressed, “Say what you wanted to say and get it over with. I have to visit the mercantile and I’m thirsty. The bar is calling me.”

“If you’re too busy to talk—”

Tucker’s light eyes narrowed as he warned, “Just say what you have in mind, old man.”

Toby’s small eyes scanned his expression irritably. “I can’t say I like your tone, but I’ve got other things
in mind right now, especially since it’s getting late and Samantha ain’t back in town yet.”

“So?”

“So she’s been leaving town early in the morning and returning in time for work. I figured she was visiting you, but I guess I was wrong.”

Tucker was immediately alert. “Leaving town early every day, you say?”

“For the past three days, anyway.” Toby shook his head. “To tell you the truth, I’m worried about her because she wouldn’t say where she was going. Since it wasn’t to your place…”

Toby’s voice drifted away as Tucker tensed. Samantha had turned him down flat when he came into town and caught her going back to her hotel, but he had no doubt where she was at that moment.

Toby continued. “I stopped all the talk about your dealings with Samantha, Matt, ’cause nobody wants to cross me openly. But she ain’t been the same, and I figured she was taking matters into her own hands. I warned her from the beginning that your mind was set on Jenny, and nobody was going to get in your way.”

“Jenny…”

“But if you don’t know nothing about why she’s been setting out so early in the morning—”

“Who said I didn’t know?”

“You did, damn it!” Toby’s small eyes flashed with unexpected temper.

“You had it in your mind that Samantha went out to see me. You didn’t give me a chance to explain that I met up with Samantha this morning and she told me she might not be coming back to town tonight because she’s been visiting a friend.”

“A friend? Samantha’s a stranger in town.”

“So’s her friend.” Tucker leaned a little closer. “Her friend used to work with her, but she’s married now, and she has two kids that she’s finding hard to handle. Samantha is helping her on the sly.”

“I don’t know about nobody new moving into the area.”

Ignoring Toby’s response, Tucker continued. “Samantha doesn’t want anybody to find out what she’s doing. It’ll make it hard on her friend, so don’t tell anybody…and don’t go looking for her. She said she’ll be back as soon as she’s able to.”

“Hmmm…”

Tucker waited as Toby digested his story. It was weak, but it was the best he could do on short notice.

Tucker felt a slow heat suffusing his senses. The truth was that he knew where Samantha was, all right. He had thought his brother appreciated Jenny for the decent woman that she was, but it appeared he did not.

Tucker knew what he had to do. His attention snapped back to Toby when the old man responded, “If you say so, Matt.”

Tucker added gruffly, “I don’t think Samantha would want you to go looking for her.”

“No, I wouldn’t do that. I already told her that I respect her privacy.”

“Yeah…”

“I’ll just wait for Samantha to come back.”

But the old man didn’t appear to believe his own words.

Unwilling to think any further on it, Tucker tied up his horse and walked into the mercantile. He made a quick purchase, then walked back onto the street and remounted without visiting the saloon.

He knew what he had to do. Matt was lucky. He had been lucky all his life. It was about time his luck came to an end.

There was no past…no future, only the present.

Shaking with need, Matt kept that thought in mind as he pressed his mouth against Samantha’s sweet flesh. The simple bed on which they lay rocked with the weight of their loving as he explored a trail along Samantha’s naked flesh that he had taken before. But the heat between them was hotter when he found the bud of her passion at last. His need was greater as he sucked and licked the moisture from the sweet crevice that he had sought. Her groans were louder and more impassioned as his loving assault deepened. Her body’s homage to his loving was more profuse when he drew it again deep within him, savoring the taste.

His emotion heightened as her cries grew more intense, as her body shook and spewed forth another
spontaneous offering, as he swallowed again and again, hoping the moment and the taste of her would never end.

But it did.

Samantha was still trembling when Matt slid himself up upon her naked length. He listened to her rasping breaths, aware that they echoed his own, and then turned in a swift movement that found his back flush against the mattress with Samantha’s body lying atop his. He closed his eyes, enjoying the sensation of her soft breasts pressed against his chest, of the moisture between her thighs, still warm from his loving.

Aware that their joining had bound them closer than he had believed possible, he kissed Samantha’s closed eyelids, ran his lips against the contours of her cheek, and then covered her parted lips with his.

His kiss deepened. His body ached and swelled again. Fitting himself snugly against her, he entered her with a sudden upward thrust.

Samantha’s eyes opened wide at his unexpected penetration. Uncertain, she lifted herself atop him and stared down into his face. Her naked breasts teased his lips, and Matt took them to suckle greedily.

Swallowing, circling the roseate tips, consuming them avidly, he was uncertain of the exact moment when Samantha responded to his ministrations—when she opened herself to him and began a heated dance of her own atop his nakedness. He remembered only the moment when, still joined, Samantha drew herself back to toss her unbound hair away from her face, and with eyes closed and arms held high, she met his penetrations with a zest that sent him over the edge of rapture.

He climaxed then, his heated shudders reverberating inside Samantha until she collapsed against him and they lay exhausted and complete in each other’s arms.

He did not want Samantha to stir, but she did. Raising her head, she looked down wordlessly at him.

He responded to her unasked question with simple words:

“No past…no future…only now.”

He saw tears fill Samantha’s eyes as she whispered, “Agreed.”

He crushed her close then and held her tight. He did not want to question his feelings. He wanted only to feel.

Tucker took a narrow, hidden trail. The late afternoon sunlight shone hotly on his worn Stetson as he made his way toward Matt’s ranch house. Several days had passed since he had allowed Jenny to leave him after their chaste exchange, which had left him surprisingly shaken. Sleepless nights spent in the abandoned cabin where he had taken up residence had also passed, during which he had pondered
why he had let her go when he was certain that with a few more whispered words and intimate coaxing, he would have been able to take her then and there. He had come to a solemn conclusion during his sleeplessness. The answer was simple. Strangely enough, he had experienced a noble moment—nobility that his brother obviously did not share.

Nobility was new to him. He knew now that there was no room for it in his world. He had made a mistake that he intended to correct. But first he needed to be sure.

Tucker moved carefully through the terrain. He had become comfortable with the lay of the land and intended to arrive at the ranch house surreptitiously.

He dismounted a distance from his brother’s ranch house and approached it cautiously. Admittedly, he had been unimpressed with the spread at first. From all appearances, it was slowly deteriorating. The cleared area that extended a distance from the house was not well kept. The barn and corral near the structure, the few simple outbuildings, and the remains of a garden that he supposed had once been alive and thriving, all needed work. The place was obviously suffering from debt and the lack of a woman’s hand.

Tucker admitted to finding that thought amusing. His mother would not have dirtied her well-kept hands, and she ignored debt of any kind. Her solution was to merely leave it behind. As a matter
of fact, it was a wonder that she had remained at the ranch for any length of time at all.

BOOK: Renegade
8.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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