Kissing had never felt so good. I tasted her lips again with my own, taking my time now to explore her with my tongue. Hot, sweet, delicious, my Kara. She quivered and shook in my arms, kissing me back with passion, both of us barely able to breathe. I brought my hands to the sides of her head, looking down into her eyes like I’d discovered something precious I never imagined I’d be lucky enough to find. I kissed her again, unable to stop, never wanting to stop now that I’d started.
Rubbing my hands up and down her arms, shoulders to elbows, I realized she was shaking. “You’re cold.”
“No,” she protested, though her teeth started chattering.
“I’ve got to get you back so you can change into some dry clothes. You need to get warm.”
“No!” she cried out, wild and fearful. “Don’t take me back! I don’t want you to stop!”
I picked her up and crushed her to me, bringing my heat to her. She threw her arms around my neck, holding me like I’d saved her life, kissing me back with abandon and need.
“Kara,” I breathed into her, kissing her again. I was drunk on her kisses, each one making me crave more. I’d wanted this for so long. It almost didn’t feel real to have her in my arms, at long last, in the midst of a violent downpour yet sheltered under a weeping willow tree.
She shuddered in my arms, then buried her face in my neck, kissing me there, trailing her mouth along my skin as if she were desperate for my taste. With a groan, I leaned her against the tree, cupping her ass in my hands. She wrapped her legs around my waist and I kissed her, deep, demanding, relentless, all thought and reason gone from my body. All I was aware of was Kara, her hands threaded in my hair, pulling my mouth down to her own. She kept saying my name over and over with soft moans and pants like she couldn’t believe we were finally together.
We’d been fighting this for so long. Now that it all came crashing down around us, the thunder and lightning up above, our own storm down below, I didn’t think I could ever stop. It felt so good to let go, to reach out and touch and kiss and feel. I’d fantasized to a point of absurdity, but she still felt better than anything I’d imagined. Even with all her clothes on and nothing but kisses she still about blew my mind.
Finally, her shudders stopped me. I had to lay off and do what was best for her, even if she didn’t want me to. She needed to get warm even if I had to pry her off of me. After I pried myself off of her, first.
I untied our horses, then pulled her up onto my horse with me. I told myself it was to keep her warm as we rode through the cold, driving rain. It was because I couldn’t bear to let her go. I needed her soft curves, the feel of her breathing, her smell next to me for as long as I could manage it.
We approached the barn. People would be inside, I knew that. Maybe her father. This was the last chance I’d have with her alone.
“Tonight,” I whispered in her ear as we got closer. “Meet me in the barn. Midnight.”
I rode us up to the entrance and sure enough Bill, Harlan and a few other guys were there seeking shelter, comparing notes on what they’d been able to take care of where, figuring out what else had to be done next in the storm. I brought her down off my horse. Harlan was on her in half a second, angry she’d gone out in the storm. She slipped away from my arms so quickly. As fast as she’d fallen into them, she was gone. Harlan fairly ran her into the big house. I watched her head up that hill, up and away from me, safe and sound, where she belonged.
“You shouldn’t have come.”
I heard her soft footfalls before I saw her. I was there waiting for her at midnight in the barn. I shouldn’t have done it. Earlier that night I’d paced around in my cabin like a maniac, trying to make myself head out to the Silver Dollar Saloon. I couldn’t do it. She was driving me crazy. I needed to meet her, at least to tell her to steer clear of me. I wasn’t what she wanted, not really, and I definitely wasn’t what she needed.
“Declan?” She stepped closer, all sweetness with those big eyes and her silken hair tumbling down her shoulders.
“I’m not a good guy.” Breathing hard, I willed myself to stay away from her. I wanted to hold her so badly, but instead I balled up my fists and kept them at my sides. I wanted to say more, but my voice stuck in my throat. Blood pumped fierce like lightning through my veins.
“Yes, you are,” she insisted in her innocent, clear voice.
Why did she believe that about me? She didn’t know me, had no idea what I’d seen and done. I was a deadbeat, no family, kicked out of foster homes. I’d broken into a store and stolen electronics. Hell, I’d stolen a car. That’s what got me sent away. I wanted to confess it all, tell her everything, make her see I was all wrong. But deep inside, part of me wanted her to help make things right.
Standing before me, tentative, shaking, she brought her hand to my cheek. My eyes closed. Her touch was light but the sensation was so strong, her soft skin against my rough jaw, whispery smooth. She brought her thumb to my lower lip, stroking me as if she’d been dying to do it, as if she’d been aching for my lips the way I had hers.
I couldn’t help it. I was on her in a heartbeat, my mouth to hers, crushing her against me. Her lips, so plump and sweet, parted for me. Her hands came up to touch my chest, my shoulders, grabbing and clinging as if she never wanted to let go. I drank her in like a man dying of thirst. She was all I could think about, all I could feel. Somehow I led her over to the bales of hay stacked in the corner and pulled her down on my lap. She settled, sighing against me, our lips never parting.
We didn’t do more than kiss. Crazy, I know. I’d never been a gentleman, not even with the first girl I’d kissed. She’d been another foster kid, 15 years old when I was 12. She’d taken off her top and given me a lesson on how to make the most out of second base.
But with Kara, I just held her and kissed her for hours. She shook in my arms as I held her close, worshipping her mouth, her cheeks, kissing her eyelids, her ears, caressing her neck. We didn’t break apart until the sun threatened to come up and break over the horizon. Even then, I’d tell her to leave and we’d kiss some more. I’d tell her to leave again and it still wouldn’t happen because neither of us truly wanted it to. The minute she finally did leave my arms, walking up the hill in the ghostly pale light of new dawn, I ached for her all over again.
She came to me the next night, too. I headed out to the barn, quiet and stealthy, knowing I shouldn’t but unable to stop myself. She met me soon after and we were in each other’s arms again without even a word of greeting. We couldn’t waste time on things like that. Why say hello when we could wrap our arms around each other and taste, breathing into each other and using our tongues and lips to express it all.
I tried hard to keep things slow and sweet. I feathered light kisses along her cheekbones, down her neck, on her soft pink lips. The sounds she made were like nothing I’d ever heard. I wanted to record them and listen to nothing else, especially her breathing when it picked up and got jagged, ragged and needy. Then her soft sighs of pleasure, sweet and content. Or her moans, when I’d lick her slow and deliberate at the hollow of her neck, feeling her pulse under my tongue, teasing and sucking on her. And then, when I’d devour her, when I’d kiss her deep and own her, claim her tongue and mouth, her mewling, desperate cries for more. I could listen to that soundtrack forever.
When we got too heated up, I’d slow things down. That’s why I had us meet in the barn, not in my cabin. I knew in my cabin things would get out of hand real fast. In the barn, I’d place her head on my heaving chest and we’d lie there on a blanket in the hay. Sometimes she’d protest a bit, start working her fingers up and under my shirt. I’d catch her wrists and bring them to my mouth, licking and sucking and tasting her pulse. She’d start to snake a leg up and over my own, bringing her hips up against mine, and I’d bring a hand down on her thigh, pushing it back. Keeping her still.
I didn’t fully understand why I was doing it. It wasn’t like me at all. Hell, that was the
understatement of the year. I’d never gone slow, never spent time just kissing. I never stayed long with the same girl. I’d never been much of a repeat customer. And that was with girls who put out, went far and fast.
I’d never done this kind of thing, kissing with our clothes on, murmuring to each other in the darkness, her listening to my heartbeat as she lay on my chest, my hand softly stroking the silk of her hair. So tame, but I wasn’t getting tired of her, not in the least. I felt like we were just getting started. I wanted it to last as long as it could. Which wouldn’t be long, I knew that. The bridge we’d built between our two worlds could crumble in an instant. But I didn’t want to think about that. I wanted to enjoy it while it lasted, however short that might be.
And I wanted to treat her right. Kara was a beautiful, sweet young girl, inside and out. That was the truth. I’d never been with a girl like her. And goddamn it but it made me want to be a better man.
I’d never say that sort of shit out loud. It was the kind of pussy crap you heard guys say in romantic movies, the kinds that were nothing like real life. But that’s what was going on in my head. That’s how far gone I was.
I still had the animal within me. I was still a beast. I wanted to rip off all of her clothes and drive my cock into her deep, fucking her hard against the wall, the tractor, the hay, any surface I could possibly get my hands on, fucking her relentless and driving into her like an animal again and again. But I held back.
In those moments, when we’d calm ourselves down and sit together in the barn nestled in the hay, sometimes we’d just lie quiet, intertwining our fingers. Listening to each other breathe, I’d trace the edge of her fingernails. She’d examine the faint outline of old scars on my hands.
On the third night, Kara brought me a piece of obsidian rock she’d found. A couple hundred miles west there were huge obsidian mines, and every now and then a shard would work its way over to the ranch.
“For you,” she said, pressing the cool, smooth black rock into my palm.
“Why’s that?” I asked, after we’d gotten in a fair share of kissing.
“It’s cool and black. Like your heart.” She giggled, cracking herself up, like she was making the funniest joke in the world.