Never Say Never Again
On her perfect day, wearing her perfect dress, waiting to marry her perfect groom, Maddie Mae Lowry gazed out the window of the bride's dressing room and saw her husband-to-be kissing someone else. His best man. And it wasn't a friendly kiss—it was an all-out I-love-you-I-want-you kiss. The kiss that should have been hers. Perfect!
Two years later, back home in Wyoming, war vet Gideon Branch takes one look at Maddie and knows he wants to marry her. He doesn’t need the contract he signed with her grandfather, Pap. That’s just to keep the old guy happy, although Gideon knows it wouldn’t please Maddie. All her love goes to Pap and to the special needs kids who will share her ranch. Gideon does everything he can to please her, but what will it take to get her past her vow to never love again?
“Sex is a powerful experience,” he said.
She must have frowned. He gently traced his forefinger along her brow, smoothing the furrowed skin.
“Get him out of your mind,” Gideon ordered softly. “Whatever happened, however it happened, is in the past. This is now—you and me. I am not Harrison McCall.”
The heat of him, the nearness of him, his strength and kindness, consumed her. With Gideon—his voice, his touch, his presence—her body relaxed with a soft sigh. And he filled the space of her world.
As light as the brush of a butterfly’s wings, his lips rubbed one side of her mouth and then the other. Testing, tasting, tempting.
“Do you know how beautiful you are, Maddie?” he asked, his gaze bathing her face, hairline to cheek, cheek to jaw, down her throat to the hollow where her pulse ran wild beneath her heating skin.
“More beautiful than any woman I’ve ever seen. That glorious hair, those mesmerizing eyes, the sound of your laugh as you put those two yahoos into place at Loretta’s. I dropped in to have a burger, and you were there, bent over that bar, making yourself at home. I knew, right then at that moment, that I had to have you. That somehow, some way, I would make you mine.”
“Don’t what? Don’t stop? Don’t go on? What, Maddie Mae? Tell me.”
“I can’t,” she whispered.
He didn’t mind very well, this big cowboy who demolished her defenses and tore down the walls she’d so carefully erected around her heart. What was it Pap said about his first meeting with Grandma Emma? That he’d taken one look at her and decided to make her his wife. Could it really happen that quickly?
No time to ponder the answer to her question. The next second her mind shut down, and all she could do was feel.
His kiss began slow and deep, making her heart race, blotting her doubts. She was conscious only of him and the strength of his arms as they curled around her and hemmed her in. Gently, he drew her against his chest, so hard and warm she could feel the heavy beat of his heart through the cotton of his shirt.
She lay there while he played with her mouth, and enjoyed the sensation of his lips, the taste of his tongue tangling with hers. Plunging deep and pulling back, exploring, testing, learning. She smiled against his mouth, and he smiled back. There was no hurry.