“A tank top,” she whispered.
I made a sound low in my throat, almost like a growl, and in two steps I had her back up against the wooden barn wall. I pinned her there, one hand at her creamy shoulder, one at her hip, my gaze fixed on her chest, drenched from the rain, illuminated by the fading dusk light of the window.
Her breasts looked like luscious, tantalizing fruit. There she was in front of me, ripe and ready, but not mine for the taking. Frustration lashed through me.
“Fuck.” I couldn’t bite back my swear.
“Declan?” My name came out of her lips, half-question, half plea. Watching her shiver there, trapped under my hands, I licked my lips.
“You’re soaked.” Strangled with need, my voice came out choked. I stared at her heaving chest. She followed my gaze and realized what I saw, every inch of her revealed to me, the thin cotton of her top soaked through, the light gauzy lace of her bra offering no cover. Her breasts were completely on display, the fabric plastered to them, outlining, highlighting, and her nipples were hard as rocks. The swollen tips pushed out urgent, erotic, begging for me.
“Why’d you come in here, Kara?” I growled, not breaking my gaze, pressing her there. I kept my body tight, coiled, tension lacing through me, trying to hold myself back. She wasn’t mine. She couldn’t be.
“I… it started raining.” She squirmed under my stare. “I needed shelter.”
“You came in here to get shelter.” No shelter here, not at all. I couldn’t resist dipping my head down to her bare throat and scenting her like an animal. I drank her in, filling my lungs as if I could sustain myself on that alone. She started to pant.
“You thought you’d found someplace safe.” My lips traveled the length of her throat, so close to her skin, but not touching. But Adam couldn’t resist Eve, and he had to have been a much better man than me.
So slowly, such a light whisper of a touch, I flicked out my tongue to taste. I pressed it against her skittering, racing pulse, licking her there. Marking her.
She gasped, tilting her chin back, baring her throat. Giving herself to me. The deep, primal urge to claim her flooded my senses as I licked her soft, warm skin. Her breasts heaved with her breathing, her nipples straining and aroused.
“Instead, you found me,” I said, gruff.
I wanted to make her wild. All at once, I brought my mouth down, hot and full, around her aching, needy breast.
“Ah!” she cried out, her eyes closing as my mouth claimed her, sucking, licking right through her thin, wet shirt. Finding her sensitive, aching nipple I sucked hard, bringing my teeth down lightly, right on the tip. She gasped, clutching my shoulder.
At her other breast, I sucked and licked, bringing my hands up to cup and massage, bringing her tip right into my mouth.
“Oh! Declan!” She cried out. She liked it. I started to tease her, licking, trailing my hot tongue in a circle around her nipple. She writhed under me as I tortured her, not touching her aching, swollen bud, not giving her what she needed.
“Declan!” she nearly screamed, until I closed my mouth directly over her nipple, pulling it between my teeth, harder than last time.
Shocked, she smacked her head back against the wall. I’d never seen anything more gorgeous than Kara swept away with lust, mouth open, eyes closed, her tits in my hands, in my mouth. I could tell she was eager and ready for anything I wanted to do to her. And I’d fantasized about doing so very many things, so many filthy, nasty, dirty things she’d beg me to do to her.
Only she wasn’t filthy, dirty and nasty. She was a sweet, naïve, innocent girl who had the shit luck to stumble into the den of a beast like me. And she wasn’t mine to take. She was my boss’s daughter, explicitly forbidden in every way.
I pulled away. I don’t know how I did it, but somehow I battled myself off of her, away from her. Infuriated, impotent rage coursed through me. I turned away, desperate for what I couldn’t have.
“Get out of here,” I barked at her, striding back into the shadowy depths of the barn.
“What?” she asked behind me, breathless and confused. “Declan?” she called after me.
“Now!” I bellowed, leaving no room for questions, no opening for discussion. Commanding, firm. Brutal.
She did as I told her, leaving me alone in the cold, dark barn, my hands clenched in fury. With an explosion of rage, my fists found a bale of hay and tore into it, punching, pummeling, grinding it into the ground. Consumed by hunger, longing, fury at being deprived.
Panting, my knuckles bloody from pounding the rough floor planks, I stopped myself. It didn’t do any good to scrounge around in the dark like an animal. I’d had enough days like that in my life, fighting for survival, scrabbling through foster homes, a brute resorting to my fists.
That wasn’t me, not anymore. I was on the cusp of something bigger and better. I didn’t know what it would be yet, not exactly, but it was so close I could almost taste it. And I needed this job to make it happen. I couldn’t screw up and get in trouble. Harlan would badmouth me and who knew, that standing offer from the other ranch to come back and work in the fall might dry right up. There I’d be yet again, stranded and empty-handed.
It was too big a risk. I still had a whole summer ahead of me on Harlan’s ranch, a summer of long, hot nights. But I had to spend them away from her. Kara tempted me like no other, but this wasn’t going to happen. It had to be that way.
A couple of days later I was packing up the truck. Harlan and I were leaving for a two-night trip. He wanted to check out a ranch in Wyoming, buy some new steer, talk to a guy about a grain swap. He had a whole list of things. I was happy he’d asked me to come along. I’d been hoping to get a chance to talk to him. He was sitting on a gold mine if he’d only open his eyes to it.
Right now, I could see the writing on the wall. His ranch was going belly up. But he had a great property, set right in the middle of a perfect patch of wilderness, creeks and trails and all sorts of shit city folk would love to come enjoy. He could turn it around, open his place up to tourists. They’d pay, I knew they would. I didn’t know how it would go, whether he’d be up for it, but I’d try to talk to him. He might just go for it.
Kara came out to the barn, all honey and sugar, pretty little flowers on her dress. She had a package she was delivering into the cab of the truck, some corn bread wrapped in a tea towel and a thermos. Like she was carrying that night she had come down to my cabin.
“For me?” I had to ask.
She nearly jumped out of her skin, whipping around with a hand up to her chest. Guess she hadn’t seen me.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, like it was strange for me to be in the barn.
“I’m getting ready to head out with your daddy.”
“On the two-day trip?”
I nodded my head, watching her. She looked so pretty when she flushed up, startled, her eyes wide, her breathing fast.
“I didn’t know you were going with him.”
“Gonna miss me?” I couldn’t resist teasing her. She looked so skittish, like I might eat her up. She was right about that.
“Bet you are,” I continued. Her eyes widened. I liked getting her riled up. She sure did it to me.
She looked down, blushing now, the pink rising up into her cheeks. And spreading down along her collarbone, up to the top of her halter dress. No sleeves, no straps. A man could pull that elastic right on down and gain full access to paradise. I stepped closer.
“I didn’t know you were going on the trip,” she repeated.
“You already said that.” I stepped closer.
“What are you doing?” she asked, jumpy, her eyes darting over to the entrance.
“What do you mean?” I wasn’t going to touch her, not with her father about to come down to the truck any second. Hands-off, that was my policy. But it couldn’t hurt to look, up real close, nose pressed against the window.
“Why are you walking over to me?” She loo
ked pinned, trapped, though I wasn’t holding her there. I’d like to.
“Can’t a man say goodbye?”
“What are you going to do?”
“What do you want me to do?” I knew I was playing with fire, but who could resist it when it burned so bright?
“Declan.” She glanced away, down, anywhere but right at me though I was pretty close now. Close enough that I could close the gap real fast, reach out and pull her to me in the blink of an eye.