Widow Amy Northe hasn’t known a man’s company in the six years since her husband died. That all changes the night her son comes in from chores with two strangers in tow. Kenneth and Leon are seeking shelter, and though Amy wants to turn them away, she can’t. There’s a blizzard moving through the Utah mountains, and Leon’s busted ankle has him teetering on the edge of consciousness. She does the only thing she can and takes them in, unaware of the secrets these young men hide.
Kenneth doesn’t want to take advantage of the older woman’s hospitality, even though she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. But Leon needs help and Amy is a nurse. If he has to satisfy his desire for her with covert trysts with Leon, then that’s what he’ll do, especially since he’s too much of a gentleman to ever think of making advances.
Until she makes one herself. Then everything changes. For all of them.
Her eyes softened. So did her mouth. Hesitantly, she stood and stepped forward, each additional pace revealing more and sharper details. Like how her fingers fidgeted in front of her. Or the way the flush in her face disappeared beneath her collar. The sudden question of whether she would be pink all over made him grip the strap of his saddlebag even tighter.
She stopped with only a foot between them.
“I think that’s even more reason to stick it out here in Yellow Rock. Surely Leon can see that it’s good for you to be around folks who want you there?”
Leon would most likely think that he was the only one Kenneth really needed. He wouldn’t be hurt if Kenneth suggested otherwise, but he’d probably be confused and surprised. But none of that mattered. This was a moot point. They couldn’t stay, and chances were that before too long, Amy would want them to leave.
“I think if I put it to him like that, he might see it your way. But don’t you think you’ll get tired of having us around, under foot and eating your food?”
“No.” The speed at which she answered surprised both of them, but rather than retreat, Amy took a bold step closer. “It’s been nice having you around. And not ... not just for what you’ve done for me.”
Kenneth mirrored her step. She was in touching distance -- kissing distance. “I could say the same thing. I’m really glad that I’ve met you.”
Her lashes dipped. He wasn’t sure what exactly she was looking at. His mouth, maybe. Or his chest. “Because you’re still lonely?”
“No. Well, yes. Maybe a little. But also because you’re ...” Kenneth knew if he touched her, he would probably scare her away. He wished he had a better sense of self-control, but he couldn’t stop himself from skimming his fingers over the bare skin of her neck -- the patch that wasn’t covered by her coat or her hood. “You’re a remarkable woman, Amy Northe.”
The fragile hollow fluttered, but she didn’t withdraw. She tilted her head the fraction necessary to strengthen the contact between them, and lifted her gaze back up to his.
“I haven’t been with anyone since Ernest died. I haven’t wanted to. But you ...” She swallowed. “You make me want to.”
Kenneth forgot about the cold air, the drifts of snow outside, the animals in the barn. He even forgot about Leon and Woody. Everything that wasn’t Amy suddenly didn’t matter. He caressed her chin with his thumb, marveling because she didn’t pull away from him, and her skin was so strangely warm.
“I want to be with you, too.” He felt a brief sizzle of shame as he remembered the previous night, Leon’s hand wrapped around his prick so tight it was almost painful while he was lost in fantasies of her.
“I know I shouldn’t.” Her breath was even hotter than her flesh, washing over the heel of his hand and up his arm until it prickled along his chest. “I know I’m too old for you. You’re young, you should have someone closer to your own age, and you and Leon probably won’t stay anyway, but ...” She edged forward until their bodies pressed lightly together. Kenneth hated that her heavy coat kept him from feeling her plush curves better. “That doesn’t change how I feel.”
He would never believe that she was too old for him. Kenneth hadn’t spared a second thought to her probable age, or that he had been Woody’s age when Woody was born. All that mattered was what Amy felt -- what they both felt. He wrapped his arm around Amy’s body, holding her even closer.
Kenneth tilted his head, his lips just skimming over her brow. When he took a deep breath, he smelled her stew and dumplings, her soap, her fire, her sweat -- a scent that was already beginning to make him think of home.
“It doesn’t matter that you’re older than me. I’m not a boy. I’ll stay as long as I can. I promise you that much.”
She moved against his arm with a graceful strength, knowing and assured, like she’d taken control that first night. Her mouth lifted, lips parting, and the tip of her tongue darted out to moisten them in a motion so delicate it made him ache. But there wasn’t time to savor how they glistened, or wonder why it was she’d come to him. She stretched upward, brushing her mouth over his. It almost tickled. It most definitely teased. Amy kept it gentle until a shiver rippled through her. Then she firmed the contact, finally offering the kisses he’d wanted to claim for hours now.