“Seems you know how to hold yourself around horses,” Braden said, dully noting that this particular mare was a skittish three-year-old who didn’t like anyone besides him. The man finished speaking, pat the mare’s neck, and turned.
Braden stared for a long moment. Oh shit. He knew the color of those shadowed eyes that stared at him in what appeared to be the same degree of shock that stole the breath from his lungs. Only when his coffee mug smacked into the dirt at his feet, the liquid splattering in every direction, did he grab hold of his bearings long enough to observe the man who was awfully familiar and yet a total stranger in the same instant.
Carter tugged off his cap and ruffled his dark hair, the wavy strands barely long enough to brush against his forehead. The overhead lighting highlighted a deep scar that etched along the man’s right cheek and upper lip. His eyes, when he finally looked up at him again, held a haunting mist along their bright blues.
Braden’s stomach knotted. His heart did a strange flip inside his chest. At one time, he would have delighted in the feel of his legs weakening and his cock swelling. Right now, he hated it.
Carter had no fucking business showing up in Ryder like this after what he did. None!
“Well, now everythin’ makes sense,” Braden groused. He reached down and grabbed his mug, ignoring the dirt clinging to the sides. “I’ll be back to check on the horses, since it’s obvious you know your way around here better than me.”
Braden spun on a heel and stormed down the aisle. He barely made it ten feet when Carter grabbed his shoulder and brought him up short.
“Hey,” Carter said. Braden whipped around and away from the man who looked so different, yet so much the same, as he had five years ago. There was a powerful air surrounding Carter, something dark pulsing along his being. It left Braden half breathless, half cautious. He had grown in delicious muscle, each fine cut and curve evident, despite the tattoo and cotton shirt. Thigh muscles strained against dark-blue jeans. His face held telltale wounds that gave him a mysterious, almost sharp, appearance.
Gone was the once carefree, jubilant rebel Ryder. A new man stood in Carter’s body, one that held more secrets, darker secrets, than Braden could begin to decipher. Not that he cared to do much deciphering after the bastard disappeared under suspicious circumstances without as much as a two minute explanation.
Carter rubbed the strong frame of his jaw, turning his face away enough to hide the scars.
Braden glanced down at the T-shirt, hugging Carter’s hard-muscled body. Go Army was printed in bold black block letters on a grey background. He narrowed his eyes, taking a moment to scour Carter’s bare arms. Light marks marred his tanned flesh, some new scars, some old. He got a better look at the tattoo of a gothic style cross nestled in a bed of black thorns and branches. A pair of dark-red hearts perched on the arms of the cross, Rosalin etched in beautiful calligraphy above the cross.
Carter glanced down at his arm and frowned. “Got it shortly after the accident.”
“Murder. She was murdered,” Braden muttered. Carter’s eyes shot up to him. Within a split second, the man he had fallen hard and fast for five years ago shut himself off. A mask of indifference slammed down over Carter’s face. His eyes became hollow, distant, and cold. “It might help if you acknowledge the facts.”
“You’re being a bit outspoken.”
“And I don’t have the right to speak out about that night? What the hell happened, Carter?” Braden growled, taking another step back to put more distance between them. “You bailed Ryder within an hour after your momma was killed and your father put a bullet from the same barrel into his own head. You ran the hell away from that, from all the people who gave a fuckin’ shit about you. You made the town gossip about your part in your parent’s death because of your actions.”
“There’s more to it than that, Bray. You’ve no idea what happened that night,” Carter said, his voice taking on a chilling edge. Braden snorted. He punched his fisted hand deep into his coat pocket to keep from punching Carter’s handsome face. This was not how he wanted to start his morning.
“Maybe you should let me in on the secret, you selfish prick. You weren’t the only one affected by the events that played out behind closed doors.” Braden shoved his dirty mug into Carter’s chest. The man tensed, not moving an inch. He lifted his chin. “What about me, Carter? What about Summer? You remember her? You loved her, didn’t you? You know what you did to her?”
Something cut across Carter’s face, but vanished behind ice as quickly as it appeared. Braden nodded once.
“Yeah, that woman had it hard for you and you fuckin’ left her like all the rest you flung aside once you had your fill.” Braden took one step closer to Carter and warned, “Stay away from her. You don’t deserve either of us.”
Braden spun around and stormed out of the barn, his blood lava hot with more than anger. Once in his truck, he slammed both hands down on the steering wheel and cussed.
Five fucking years have passed and that man could still set him on fire like he did when they were together.
God, why the hell did you send him back?
“Stand up,” Braden said, an unsteady tremor marking his demand. Summer struggled to get to her feet, but came to stand in front of Braden despite her watery knees. His slate gray eyes had darkened, tweaking her desires. “Good, Summer. Turn around.”
Summer turned. She sucked her bottom lip between her teeth when Braden’s hands skimmed down her back. Goose bumps crept over her arms. He inched down her flesh, tracing her ribs out and back, his thumbs following the indentation of her spine. Her breath snagged somewhere in her throat, her heart thundering against her ears. When he reached her waist, his hands flatted around the curve of her hips and slipped beneath her panties.
Braden nuzzled his cheek to the side of her head, his breath tickling her ear. “Perfect, Summer. Everythin’ about you is perfect.” He worked her panties down her thighs, catching her restraining jeans along the way. “The way you let me take control of you when you know I need it.”
Summer lowered her chin, rounding her shoulders. Braden slid away from her ear and began a fiery trail of wet kisses and licks down her spine. Her nostrils flared with each breath she took, soaking in the aroma of their arousal. She stood in a cloud of eroticism and passion, at Braden’s mercy, knowing that the delicious torture she endured would end in the greatest reward.
“Lift your foot.”
Summer lifted the foot he held. He quickly tugged the jeans, panties, and sock off and did the same with her other foot. He pushed her feet apart, his breath caressing her wet crease. His palms crept up the inside of her legs. She swallowed down a whimper. She couldn’t make a sound, couldn’t show him how damn turned on and fucking mad he was making her. Instead, she rubbed the bone just above her pussy, trying to stave off the temptation to play with her clit.
His mouth came down on her right ass cheek, leaving a circle of moist kisses. He did the same with her left cheek, his sinful hands moving past her knees, her thighs, and finally reaching her pussy. His hands skimmed up to her rear, spreading her cheeks as he kneaded her flesh.
His thumb circled her anus, wreaking havoc with her thoughts. “Ah, baby. That tight little rosette is so temptin’.”
His hands left her body, her skin a misfiring cacophony of nerve endings. She flicked her tongue along the corners of her mouth, drinking in the residue of Braden’s cum. His footsteps were quieted by the carpet, each step determined, calculated, and as certain as the man who took them. Something clinked against the table, and she stole a shaded glance over her shoulder. Braden had stripped free of his coat and shirt. She turned enough to catch a glimpse of his well-muscled back and shoulders flexing before he peeled off his jeans and tossed them on a chair.
Summer turned away and closed her eyes. God, how she wanted to run her hands along his body, lick each dip and curve of corded muscle, and drink more of his juice. The very thought of denying him his dominant stance became a temptation that had her twisting her hands in his binding.
The nightstand door opened. A hot chill sped up from her pussy. She froze, the knot caught precariously between her thumbs and forefingers slipping free.
“Hands and knees, on the bed,” Braden instructed.
Summer moved across the apartment to their king sized bed. She stole a quick glance at the objects Braden scrutinized before he dropped one packaged plug back into the box and removed the other from its container. She quickly looked away and slinked onto the bed like a cat when he turned back to her, dipping her shoulders and arching her back, exposing her wet pussy to Braden.
“As much as I want to fuck your ass, baby, I know you’re still tender from last night.” Braden climbed behind her and leaned over her back. He combed her hair away from her face and tucked it behind her ear, dropping a tender kiss to the corner of her mouth. A moment later, Braden straightened up and separated her rear cheeks. The cool, moist tip of the butt plug press against her anus.
Instinctively, she curled her hips away. Braden grabbed her shoulder and pressed her back onto the plug. Summer relaxed her muscles, accepting the toy, the delightful pressure as it filled her at a creeping pace. Braden fit the plug inside her, stretching her muscles as he had the night before. A soft moan fled her lips. Deeper and deeper, he worked the plug, touching areas inside her body she had only recently discovered existed for the purpose of pleasure. Her fingers curled into the blanket.
“You like that?” Braden asked.
“Yes. Yes, I do,” Summer said on a long, shaky breath. The plug settled in place. Braden’s feverish skin slid up along her back until he lay flush against her. He braced his arms on either side of hers. Her attention dropped to the small, plastic item in his right hand. She felt the tip of his cock nudge her pussy lips.
“I can feel every muscle in your body coiled as tight as can be, baby. You’re silently beggin’ me to unleash you, aren’t you?”
“Oh yes.” Her arms trembled. Her thigh quaked. The tormenting brush of his cockhead over her wet cunt threatened to tear her apart at the seams, and he had barely begun.
Braden reached up to her bra and pulled one cup under her breast. He palmed her nipple, the roughness of his touch making her writhe.
“My god, my pussy’s achin’ Bray,” she whined, unable to keep quiet a moment longer.
“Hush,” he retorted. He pinched her nipple and gave it a jerk. She rocked in response, fucking the air with her hips. “Quit that, Summer. You know you’re not allowed to come until I tell you.”