Blue Haven (Sunshine & Shadow Book 1) (5 page)

BOOK: Blue Haven (Sunshine & Shadow Book 1)
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“We don’t have to
go too fast. I’m here because I want to be with you, not for any other reason.”

His thumb rubbed
soothing circles on the back of April’s hand and she caught her breath when he
started leaning closer. She could feel his breath on her face before she
realized she was going to pass out if she didn’t inhale soon. Letting air fill
her lungs, she was, again, struck dumb by his perfume on her tongue. It was
like the sweetest candy; delicious and forbidden.

The tip of his
nose brushed hers and she closed her eyes. She tipped her head back slightly
and their lips touched.

She traced his
collarbone with her fingertip. “You can still stay, though.”

Lex reached up and
pulled her down so she rested on his chest. She let her hands run over his rib
cage, sitting up slightly. “I’d like nothing more than to fall asleep with you
right ...” He squeezed her tight for a second, “... here.”

She kissed him again
and they slipped under the thin duvet. April laid her head back against his
chest. His breathing moved her in a gentle rhythm. He stroked her hair and she
cuddled closer to him. Kissing her forehead with soft lips, he said,
“Goodnight.”

“Goodnight,” April
replied.

“I really hope I
don’t get caught leaving here in the morning.”

“I’ll distract him
for you.”

Lex kissed her
forehead. “Sounds like a plan.”

April smiled.

“Just for the
record,” he murmured, in the darkness. “You will never be ordinary to me.”

April fell asleep
that night wrapped in Lex’s arms and his heavy, heavenly scent.

Chapter 4

 

 

 

The next morning,
April was awake before any of the other staff or her father. She scrambled from
beneath the stiff sheets they took on the Out-Treks and hurried to get ready.
Lex watched her from the bed. He propped himself up on one arm and let the
cover drop to his waist. His upper body was bare and April wondered when he had
removed his t-shirt.

Outside, the
morning was still. The embers from the fire pit sent smoke to the sky with
almost no angle. There was no wind. April smiled at the morning dew hanging on
the new blades of grass and breathed in as deeply as she could. Birds hopped
from tree branch to tree branch, singing their welcoming song to the rest of
the world and in the distance a horse whinnied.

This was her home
and she didn't think she could love anything more. April wandered slowly down
to the horse corral, wrapping her wool sweater tight around her shoulders. It
was day two.

The horses were
lined at the fence when April approached. She called out to them as she worked
her way down the hill to the river. She said each of their names out loud, some
seeming to answer her greeting with a well-timed nicker. Chinook hung back,
like he usually did, fully content to wait his turn; he knew April would never
forget about him. She threw flakes of hay over the fence in a long line to keep
the horses amused and filled the grain buckets in the neighbouring corral. The
horses got a hard feed every morning when they were off the ranch. She poured
the grain into the cut up pieces of tire. A few horses got bored with the hay
and wandered to the gate. Memphis, the horse April had chosen for Lex after the
Triumph fiasco, played with the latch.

He was a tall, leggy
Thoroughbred X. His full mane was as black as ink but his golden body shone in
the sunlight. For someone who didn't know how to ride, or someone who was a bit
nervous, he was an absolute sweetheart. April cooed to him to distract him from
nibbling the gate latch.

“Alright,
alright,” she said as she opened the gate and let the herd pour through.

April loved
watching the pecking order of the horses when they ate their grain. One horse
would wander up to another, ears back and eyes wide and that horse would simply
step away. It was the technique that April tried to mimic in the round pen. She
hopped up on the fence and watched the herd interact with each other.

From up at camp,
April could hear voices and she knew the rest of the crew would have surfaced
by now. Kip emerged slowly over the crest of the hill and waved to her. She
could see his smile from a mile away. She waved back.

Suddenly all the
horses spooked at the same time and bolted to the far side of the corral, away
from the river. Kip started shouting and April looked around, confused. Time
seemed to stand still. She could still hear the horses’ terrified snorts and
Kip’s terrified shouts but something was different, almost like her hearing was
muted, or focused on something else. Then she heard it.

A twig snapped in
the bushes down by the river banks just on the other side of the corral. April
almost didn't want to look. Agonizingly slowly, she turned her head.

Standing by the
shrubs was a large grey wolf. He swung his huge head in April’s direction and
stared at her, his intense eyes round and black. He looked at her like she was
prey, no better than a deer.

From around the
bushes, three more wolves emerged. One was black with light grey hairs dotted
in his dark fur. He was flanked by a pale yellow animal. Smaller than the
others but still larger than your average dog. It was clear that the beige wolf
was younger as well; he hung back, as if waiting for his superiors to make the
first move. They began to move along the river bank, earning several
disgruntled snorts from the horses. The last newcomer was dark grey, much like
the first one. He, however, had a shorter muzzle and looked more like a border
collie than a wolf.

This was a very
bad place for April to be. The river rushed behind her, blocking her backwards
retreat, and the corral fences held her on both sides. She was stuck.

The horses hooves
pounded the ground in angst and someone back at camp was shouting. It sounded
like Lex.

A shot echoed
across the valley. Everyone froze.

The wolves turned
as one, darted back into the thick of the forest, and disappeared. There was no
sound as they moved through the brush. Nature’s finest hunters. She stared into
the woods for what seemed like an eternity. Silence all around her, just the
sound of her breath—dreamlike. She could feel her pulse surging through her
palms. She was in shock.

Kip appeared
beside her, wrapped his arms around her and ushered her up the hill towards
camp. April’s dad ran down, followed by Lex. Her dad carried his gun. April
noticed his grip seemed poised, ready to fire again. His keen eyes searched the
forest for another sign of the wolves.

 

Day three passed
in a blur. April massaged Chinook’s withers as they rode along the wide
stretches of pasture and through the low-hanging branches of the dense forest.
She avoided conversation, still unsure about the feelings that were swirling
away inside her. She felt changed. But she felt calm about it, like the alteration
was welcome.

Lex rode ahead of
her, laughing at Gretchen bouncing in her saddle with every step the horse
took. His lean back swayed. April bit her lip. Something about her feelings
were primal, instinct. She felt like a lioness, making the lion prove himself
before she would give herself to him.

“You okay?” Kip
came up behind her.

April nodded.
“Just relaxing.”

“So…what happened
last night?”

“Not much. You
know I’m not that kind of girl.” She grinned at him.

He nodded. “That’s
probably for the best. He’s leaving soon anyway.”

Kip spurred
Charger on and loped away from April, leaving her pondering.

She had forgotten
about that. Lex had to leave…soon. He couldn’t stay at Blue Haven with her. He
would go back to L.A. And there was nothing she could do about it.

After they drove
the cattle into the holding corrals at the next camp, April busied herself
checking the saddles for needed repairs. She found a few small tears that would
have lasted the season, but spent her evening repairing them anyway. She didn’t
want to see Lex. She didn’t want to feel the pull. She didn’t want to feel the
ache in her stomach.

Her attempts at
hiding were thwarted and Lex walked around the corner of the wagon and found
her sitting on the ground, surrounded by saddles.

“What are you
doing?”

She looked up.
“Fixing saddles.”

“Are you hungry?”

“No, thanks.”

“April…” Lex sat
beside her. “Is everything okay? I feel like you were avoiding me today.”

“No, I…I just
can’t get over the fact that you’re leaving.”

“We always knew I
would be leaving, eventually.”

She nodded. “I
think I just convinced myself you wouldn’t.”

“April, I have
to…California is my home. I mean, this is great,” He gestured all around them,
“But I belong in L.A.”

“And I belong
here,” she said; her voice a whisper.

“Just because I’m
leaving doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy each others company now…while we
are
together.”

April chewed her
lip. “I just…I don’t know if I can do it. It seems like it’ll just make goodbye
that much harder.”

“I know.”

Their eyes met and
he shifted closer to her. She rested her head on his shoulder, feeling him kiss
her forehead.

“April…I don’t
want to miss a second with you. Knowing that I have to leave just makes me more
determined to hold you now.” He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into
his chest. “…Kiss you now.”

She tilted her
face up and their lips touched, soft and tender.

“Will you visit?”
she asked.

“Only if you do.”

April smiled.
“Promise.”

 

The group drove
the cattle to the far pasture on the fourth day. That night, April and Lex sat
by the creek and let their feet hang in the cool water, washing off the dirt
from the day’s ride. The moon was rising high into the sky and the stars looked
like spotlights against the blackness; they were so bright. In the distance a
hawk called out to the night and a small animal rustled in the bushes on the
far side of the river. April watched the water hurry past them, carrying leaves
and twigs from up river.

“Beautiful out
here, don’t ya think?” Lex said, kissing April’s hand.

“I can’t believe
we will be back at the ranch tomorrow night.”

“Feels like we
only just got out here, doesn’t it?”

April nodded. She
breathed deeply. Even the ranch didn’t smell this fresh, this free.

Their eyes met and
Lex nodded
head towards the camp behind them,
nestled amongst the trees.

April’s stomach
jumped, her belly tightening. She closed her eyes and desire sparked inside
her. She took Lex’s hand and led him up to the camp.

They cautiously
moved between the tents and the firepit, peering into the shadows to make sure
everyone else was sound asleep. April had to admit; sneaking around made things
seem even more exciting.

The light was dim
inside the tent. Lex helped April down to the bed and leaned carefully over
her, pressing his body against hers. April felt the adoration, the desire, the
near desperate longing to be closer. She knew Lex felt it too. She knew what
was behind that cocky smile, and it made her want him even more. It was a deep
kiss, so soft that she could barely feel the brush of his lips; fiery and
passionate—and yet cool. It felt like it would never end.

Lex placed both
hands on April’s face, brushing her hair back. He turned her head up so he
could look into her eyes.

“So now what?” Lex
whispered.

April sighed. She
let her hands wind under the bottom of his shirt and around his belt. She
didn’t need to say anything to let him know what she was thinking.

He pulled away to
stare at her, kissing her closed lids one at a time. “Are you sure?” he
whispered against her delicate skin.

April nodded.
Lex’s arms squeezed around her waist keeping her pressed against his chest, so
she couldn’t undo his belt. She groaned into his neck
and
he vibrated with gleeful laughter.

“Calm, April,” Lex
whispered into her ear. April shivered. “I want to take my time.”

Only one word came
to her mind. “Please.”

“Just wait,” he
murmured.

      

She ran her
fingers down his spine, nestled between the hard muscles of his back. Feeling a
tremor run through him, she stopped. Her lips brushed his collarbone as he
grazed her neck with his teeth. She gasped as his mouth closed over her skin,
pinching slightly, but making her body tingle in anticipation.

Lex pulled away
and looked down at her.

“God,” he said;
his voice almost a moan.

“What?” she
breathed.

“You’re just...so
beautiful.”

Lex’s mouth
returned to her body, moving lower to find its way over her trembling chest,
kissing along her hip bones and sliding her shirt away from her stomach,
undoing her jeans with one hand. His other hand kept her pinned to the bed, his
fingers spread on her abdomen.

Lex moved even
lower and his lips touched her again. She opened her mouth in a silent moan.
Her body tingled and she squirmed. Lex’s hand on her stomach held her fast. She
touched the soft waves of his hair and closed her eyes, his tongue exploring
her most sensitive of areas.

She felt the wave
growing inside her, her body clenching in ways that she had never felt before.
Her breathing became heavier,
and her hand
tightened, pulling Lex’s hair. He moaned into her, the vibrations creating even
more sensations.

“Please,” she
gasped, “Don’t stop.”

Lex increased his
pace, his fingers joining his mouth as extra stimulation.

The wave rose
inside of April, nearing a peak, and then crashed, drawing a moan from between
her lips and causing her upper body to rise from the bed. She dug her nails
into his shoulder, biting her lip to curb the scream that was threatening on
the tip of her tongue. Her body clenched, riding the wave as it slowed,
revelling in each moment that the feelings coursed through her body, gripping
it in a fist of sensation.

Lex looked up at
her as the wave began to lessen. He smiled slightly and moved up to her face,
sliding his body along hers as he did. His lips touched hers and he tasted
sweet. She watched as he deftly unbuckled his pants and slid them off, letting
himself free of his boxers. April’s eyes widened slightly and she gripped his
arms. Lex lowered himself onto her and she tipped her head back, her mouth
opening in a sigh.

BOOK: Blue Haven (Sunshine & Shadow Book 1)
3.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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