Husbands on Horseback (Long Tall Texans #15)(4)

By: Diana Palmer & Margaret Way

She felt his pain and didn’t dare let him see how much it disturbed her. “Thanks for untangling me,” she said breathlessly, to divert him, and started to get up.

His hand stayed her. He looked studious and calculating. “Don’t. I want to try something.”

His fingers went to the snaps of his chambray shirt and he unfastened it all down his chest, pulling the shirttail out of his jeans as he went. His chest was broad and tanned, thick with hair, powerfully muscled.

“What are you doing?” she whispered, startled.

“I told you. I want to try something.” He drew her up on her knees, and unfastened the remaining buttons on her shirt. He looked searchingly at her expression. She was too shocked to protest, and then he pulled her close, letting her feel for the first time in her life the impact of a man’s seminudity against her own.

Her sharp breath was audible. There was wonder in her eyes as she lifted them to his in fascinated curiosity.

His hands went to her rib cage and he drew her lazily, sensuously, against that rough cushion of his chest. It tickled her breasts and made the tips go harder. She grasped his shoulders, biting in with her nails involuntarily as all her dreams seemed to come true at once. His eyes were blazing with dark fires. They fell to her mouth and he bent toward her.

She felt the hard warmth of his lips slowly burrow into hers, parting them, teasing them. She held her breath, tasting him like some rare wine. Dimly she felt his hand go between them and tenderly caress one swollen breast. She gasped again, and his head lifted so that he could see her eyes.

His thumb rippled over the hard tip and she shivered all over, helpless in his embrace.

“Yes,” he whispered absently, “that’s exactly what I thought. I could lay you down right here, right now.”

She barely heard him. Her heart was shaking her. His fingers touched her, teased her body. It arched toward him, desperate not to lose the contact.

His eyes were all over her face; her bare breasts pressed so close against him. He felt the touch all the way to his soul. “I want you,” he said quietly.

She sobbed, because it shouldn’t have been like this. Her own body betrayed her, giving away all its hard-kept secrets.

But there was a hesitation in him. His hand stilled on her breast, his mouth hovered over hers as his dark eyes probed, watched.

“You’re still a virgin, aren’t you?” he asked roughly.

She swallowed, her lips swollen from the touch of his.

He shook her gently. “Tell me!”

She bit her lower lip and looked at his throat. She could see the pulse hammering there. “You knew that already.” She ground out the words.

He didn’t seem to breathe for a minute, then there was a slow, ragged exhaling of breath. He wrapped her up in his arms and sat holding her close, rocking her, his face buried in her hot throat, against her quick pulse.

“Yes. I just wanted to be sure,” he said after a minute. He released her inch by inch and smiled ruefully as he fastened her blouse again.

She let him, dazed. Her eyes clung to his as if they were looking for sanity.

Her mouth was swollen. Her eyes were as round as dark blue saucers in a face livid with color. In that moment she was more beautiful than he’d ever known her to be.

“No harm done,” he said gently. “We’ve learned a little more about each other than we knew before. It won’t change anything. We’re still friends.”

He made it sound like a question. “Of…of course,” she stammered.

He stood up, refastening his own shirt and tucking it back in as he looked at her with a new expression. Possession. Yes, that was it. He looked as if she belonged to him now. She didn’t understand the look or her own reaction to it.

She scrambled to her feet, moving them to see if anything hurt.

“The wire didn’t break the skin, fortunately for you,” he said. “Those jeans are heavy, tough fabric. But you need a tetanus shot, just the same. If you haven’t had one, I’ll drive you into town to get one.”

“I had one last year,” she said, avoiding his eyes as she started toward Bess, who was eyeing the stallion a little too curiously. “You’d better get Cappy before he gets any ideas.”

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