When Kathleen and Carter meet, it’s intrigue at first sight, and they awaken from emotional exile. A turn of events finds her spontaneously joining him on his working ranch. Despite being really hard work, she’s blissfully happy—and the fringe benefits aren’t too shabby either.
Carter can’t believe his luck. He desperately needed a housekeeper, not that he welcomed this amazing woman into his home for that reason. He can cope with her bond with her daughter, no matter how it forces him to remember his lost young son. And he can’t give her his heart, but what he can give is surely enough.
In love with this amazing man, Kate ignores that Carter withholds, believing he’ll change, and she’s willing to wait. When she inadvertently discovers he was angling for a housekeeper all along, it knocks her blinders off.
She’s done waiting. She deserves more—and so does he.
“I think I’m good. I should probably get to bed,” she said. “What time do you get up?”
“Early. And I head out straight away. You stay in bed until you’re ready to face the day. I’ll leave you my cell number, and you text me. I’ll head back.”
“I’m an early riser too.”
“Five o’clock for me tomorrow, Kathleen.”
“Oh, maybe not. I’ll text you.”
He pulled out his cell. “What’s your number?”
With the exchange complete, he lurked in the doorway. “The bathroom is across the hall. Towels in the cabinet.”
“Great, thanks. I’ve got everything I need.”
Did she? So near and yet so far, she hovered there like a wood sprite. When she stooped to slip the strap off her shoe, then the other and stepped out of the heels, he found he’d closed the gap.
She looked up, having lost a slight difference in height, and her eyes flared green, the pupils dilating. A good night kiss, then. A peck. He reached out and with only tacit permission lowered his mouth over hers.
On a startled gasp, her lips parted, and he took advantage, yet maintained control, alert to any distress. It separated him into distinct parts that soon melded when she pressed into him, her arms wreathing around his neck.
He learned her, her taste and texture, reveling in her response, swallowing her tiny moans. When he pulled away to breathe, resting his forehead against hers, she sagged in his arms and he kept her steady.
His heart pounded in tandem with hers, and he was so hard he hurt. She shivered, and he said, “Do I need to apologize? Because it’ll be difficult.”
In a whisper, she said, “No need. I’m just sorry I’m so out of practice.”
“If you’re out of practice, I hope to kiss you when you’re at your best.”
Tipping her head back, she met his eyes before glancing away. “I don’t do this on a first date. I don’t date. Lord.”
He eased his body away from hers, regretting that he’d encroached on her personal space. She tugged him back. “But I want to. I want you. If that makes me a—”
He stopped her with a hard kiss. “Don’t. Don’t make this a bad thing.”
Her lips twitched in a tremulous smile. “I don’t want to overthink it.”
“I’ll take care of you,” he promised.
He lost his Stetson and shrugged out of his jacket, bemoaning any inability to keep a hand on her as she tugged a zipper hidden in a side seam of her dress and let it slither down the length of her body to pool at her feet.
His fingers froze on the snaps of his shirt as he took in the sight of her in scraps of pink lace and honest-to-God thigh-high stockings. With a dry mouth, he wrenched the placket apart and threw the shirt to one side, gathering her to him, nuzzling the hollow at the base of her neck and then down to the tops of her breasts.
She arched into him, and he fumbled with the clasp and freed those gorgeous mounds that tumbled into his waiting hands. Soft skin tipped with beaded nipples he desperately wanted to get his mouth on. And her sultry scent…
His belt buckle pressed into her belly, and he made one hand abandon its prize and yank open the offending metal, dealing with the button and zipper while he was at it. His cock breathed a sigh of relief—he swore it—as his mouth found its target.
“God, Carter.” She rocked into him, and he sucked harder, gently using his teeth against the tip.
Her hands found his hips and pushed his jeans down, dragging his boxer briefs with them. The sensation of her fingers on his ass made him groan, his pelvis thrusting, his cock against her center. At this rate, he’d disgrace himself.
When she sought him out, he turned with her, hobbled by his own jeans, the ignominy nearly making him smile as he held her against the wall. “Touch me, darlin’, and I’ll lose it all over your sweet hand.”
“Out of practice, too,” she teased, her hair awry and her mouth swollen. “I’m so ready, Carter.”
He worked his hand beneath her panties, staring into her eyes, soaking in the pleasure sparking there when he found her apex, full and wet. “You are.”
Still, he played at her entrance, then feathered over the knot above, making her rise on her toes and whimper. “Please.”
It took some awkward gymnastics to get a hand into his jeans’ pocket and lift his wallet, all while touching her, but he managed it. Somehow got the condom out and open and smoothed on.
Pushing aside the fabric guarding her pussy, he bent his knees a fraction and set his cock at her opening. With a single thrust, he filled her, freezing in place as they both adjusted. She was wet but so fucking tight. She’d said she didn’t do this, didn’t date. Christ. How long had it been?
“You okay?” he rasped, willing her to open her eyes.
As if on cue, her lashes fluttered open, and he drowned in the depths behind them. Urgent need enticed him, and he responded, easing out and pushing back in. Heated, wet satin sucked at him as he powered toward orgasm, knowing it wouldn’t be long.
But he wasn’t getting there alone. Watching her for any signs, doing his best to ignore the pull at the base of his spine, he found her sweet spot and swiveled his hips to take her there. She responded by working herself against him, her breath increasing in shallow pants as she crested.
With a short cry, she tensed and clamped on him, shuddering, her head grinding against the wall. There was no resisting her, and he followed her over, emptying himself. He set his teeth on the top of her shoulder and muffled his groan, then kissed the spot reverently.