Read Cowboy Valentine Online

Authors: Mia Hopkins

Tags: #small town;erotica;erotic;virgin;new adult;Latina;Hispanic;western;holiday

Cowboy Valentine (5 page)

BOOK: Cowboy Valentine
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“Great!” said Caleb, trying to herd them out. “I’ll close up for you on your way out.”

“Thanks, Caleb!” Clark said. “Hey, Dan, remember when Caleb was twelve and he used to sneak up here by himself to jack off?”

Caleb shoved Clark into a pile of cardboard boxes.

Clark stifled a laugh as he got to his feet.

“Oh, man,” Daniel said, “he couldn’t get his hands on porno so what did he used to use?”

Overloud, Clark said, “Our mom’s old JCPenney catalog. He’d yank it to the old ladies’ nightgown section.”

“Remember when he tried to deny it? We showed him that the pages were stuck together.”

“Motherfuckers, I swear,” Caleb hissed.

Laughing, Daniel and Clark left the barn and started to pull the doors closed. “Dinner’s in twenty minutes, Caleb!”

“Tacos tonight! Don’t be late!”

“Yum! Tacos!”

Caleb rubbed the bridge of his nose as he listened to his brothers’ laughter fading away in the distance. Once again, he felt the particular pain of being born not only the youngest, but also an “oops”, as in, “Oops, we had a baby ten years after our last one”. Caleb sometimes felt like he had five parents instead of two.

He climbed back up the steps to where Cora was waiting on the sofa, completely dressed, with her legs crossed. Her cheeks were flushed, but she was covering her smile with her hand and shaking her head slowly.

“Oh my God,” she said, laughing.

“Sorry about that.” He sat down heavily next to her and took a gulp of beer. He’d gone half-staff, but his balls ached like they’d been stomped on. “They can be assholes sometimes.”

She leaned over, wrapped her arms around his shoulders and kissed his cheek. “It’s all right. And I completely understand. Some of those JCPenney models
are
kinda hot.”

He kissed her back, glad that she was a good sport about it all. The sun was still out, but no one would be in the orchard this late. They could still finish what they started. “How about a drive?”

“Actually,” she said, raising her eyebrows, “how about some tacos?”

He frowned. “Are you kidding?”

“No, I’m serious. I’d like to meet your family. Could I have dinner with you guys?”

There was always enough food to go around, even when unexpected guests showed up at the table. But he’d never brought a girl to dinner before. And none of his brothers had ever brought a Mexican girl to the house. Unexpected anxieties crept up on him. “After all that? You still want to meet my family? My douche-bag brothers?”

“Of course I do.” She stood up and straightened her tank top. “I’m not embarrassed. We’re adults. We don’t have anything to be ashamed of.” She smiled sheepishly. “Although, if it’d been your mom, I might’ve shriveled up and died.”

He turned his ball cap backwards, reached forward and wrapped his arms around her waist, resting his forehead against her warm stomach. After a long time, he said, “You know, sometimes I forget.”

“Forget what?”

“How mature and smart you are.”

“I’m not that smart.” She stroked his cheeks. “But I
am
pretty hungry.”

It shouldn’t have surprised Caleb that his family loved Cora. Brainy, articulate, polite—she was great. His father asked about her plans and she talked about her scholarship to Brown and how she was leaving in a couple of days. She fielded all of his brothers’ stupid-ass questions and even helped his mother and sister-in-law clear the dishes. Daniel’s kids were on their best behavior. Not used to seeing a young woman at the table, Caleb’s nephew Derek stared at Cora with eyes big as platters, falling irrevocably in love with her as soon as she said hello to him. Caleb smiled, knowing the feeling all too well.

Four-year-old Derek was also the only one brave enough to broach the topic of race.

“Cora?”

“Yes, Derek?”

“Are you a Mexican?”

“My parents are. But I was born here, so I’m an American.”

“Oh.” He paused. “Do you speak Spanish?”

“I sure do.”

“Cool.”

And that was that.

After dinner, Caleb drove Cora to her grandmother’s house, but not before she made him pull over by the side of the road. In a breathless rush, they finished each other off in the cab of his truck, him going down on her until she screamed hoarsely and came in a juicy shudder, her riding him until he exploded hard enough to hit his head on the back window, rattling his brains.

He dropped her off. She got out of the truck and, as usual, kissed him goodbye through the driver’s side window.

“See you.” She smiled and walked into the darkened house.

He watched her and realized that one more day with her was now gone forever.

The week sped past. Cora finished her classes at the community college and got her final grades: two As and an A minus. For her last days in Oleander, she packed up her things and spent as much time as possible with her grandmother. Caleb had to content himself with seeing her for a couple of hours in the middle of the day.

Both of them knew their time together was coming to an end, and the sex reflected that—they fucked each other senseless whenever they could. Caleb expressed worries he’d chafe his dick on her. Cora said she had moments where she thought she could still feel him inside her, like some kind of bizarre phantom limb. They’d had a good laugh at that.

On her last day at the ice-cream parlor, her coworkers threw her a party with balloons and secret vodka-and-lemon-sorbet shots in the back room. Smiling, she showed Caleb the card they’d all signed. On the front was a picture of a shirtless cowboy. Inside, the inscription said,
Save a Horse and Ride Him Instead
.

As Caleb alternated between his family’s ranch and the Hughes ranch, he felt hollow inside. Cora had made him feel grounded and alive for the first time in his life. The universe had played yet another sick joke on him. He’d found the perfect woman, with one fatal flaw—she wasn’t his. She’d never said she was. She’d take off for college and he’d be back to being a lonely bastard, chasing the wrong women. More one-night stands. The same old miseries, worsened by the knowledge that life didn’t have to suck so hard.

On the evening before Caleb was supposed to drive her to the airport, Cora called him.

“My grandmother wants to meet you. She’s making a special dinner for us. Come over to the house.” She paused. “Um, you should wear something nice.”

“But doesn’t your grandmother only speak Spanish?”

“I’ll translate. You just be your charming self,
güero
.”

He knew that word. White boy.

Caleb ironed a black button-down shirt and took a pair of new boots down off the shelf in his closet. He showered, shaved and combed his hair. A pair of stiff dark jeans and a new white cowboy hat, and Caleb was as dressed up as he ever got.

Before he left for Cora’s, his father stopped him in the living room. In his Barcalounger, Dale put down his newspaper and gave a low whistle. “Look at you, kiddo. Sharp.”

“Cora’s grandmother invited me for dinner.”

“That right?” He nodded slowly. “Well, don’t do anything that’ll embarrass our family.”

Caleb smiled. “I won’t, Dad.”

As he passed the kitchen, his mother shoved something into his hands—a cellophane bag tied with ribbon.

“I baked cookies,” she said. “You should never go to dinner at someone’s house without a gift. It’s rude.”

“Oh,” he said, way out of his element. “Thanks.”

“I like that girl, you know.” There was a weird glassy look in his mother’s eyes. “Oh, Caleb. I hate to see you hurting.”

He’d tried his best not to sulk. Apparently he’d failed. “I’m doing all right. We knew it was coming.”

“I know, I know. Never mind me.” She turned and walked back into the kitchen, sniffling a little. “I just want to see you happy, is all.”

For the first time that he could remember, Caleb parked his truck right in front of Cora’s grandmother’s house. The smell of home cooking filled the air. Cora answered the door wearing a starched white blouse, dark skirt, dark tights and black shoes. Her long hair was coiled into an old-fashioned swirly thing on the back of her head.

With a sideways glance toward the kitchen, she kissed his cheek. “Not a word about what I’m wearing. Not a single word.”

“I wasn’t going to say anything, Sister Cora,” he whispered.

She pinched his ass hard enough for him to stifle a yelp.

The living room was sparsely furnished but immaculately clean. As he hung up his hat, Caleb realized that there was, in fact, a sheathed machete in Cora’s grandmother’s hat rack, at the ready for castrating any man who threatened her granddaughter’s honor. Caleb gulped like a cartoon character.

A little iron-gray-haired woman dressed identically to Cora stepped out of the kitchen. Caleb shook the old lady’s hand as Cora introduced him as her
amigo
.
Not
novio
.
He knew both words—
friend
and
boyfriend
—two very different things.

Though Caleb had been expecting a formal meal, he felt welcome at their small, cozy table. After she said a blessing, Cora’s grandmother served Cora’s favorite dish—
birria
, goat stew.

She and Cora watched with anticipation as the
güero
examined his food. Would he be too squeamish? Or would he eat it? Caleb smiled. He would, and he’d enjoy it too—it tasted like lamb. Along with vegetables from their garden and fresh homemade tortillas, the stew was one of the best things he’d ever had.

With Cora translating, Caleb talked about his time as a ranch hand in Montana and Nevada. He asked Cora’s grandmother questions about her life in Jalisco.

Before he’d died of a heart attack, Cora’s grandfather had been a farm worker in the sugar-cane fields there. The machete by the door was in fact his cane knife. Cora’s grandmother had brought it with her to the United States; it made her feel like he was always looking over the family.

Over cups of dark coffee, the cookies his mother had made and a sweet custard called
jericalla
,
Caleb tried out the phrases he’d been practicing.

“Gracias por su hospitalidad, Señora Gomez.”
Thank you for your hospitality.
“Estoy muy orgulloso de Cora.”
I’m very proud of Cora.

Smiling, Cora’s grandmother said in halting English, “And thank you for making my granddaughter so happy. I’m proud of her too.”

Between them, Cora blushed like a stoplight.

After the meal, Caleb parked his truck around the block and waited. The minutes stretched out into an eternity. A half hour after he’d bid Cora and her grandmother goodbye and pretended to drive home, his phone buzzed with a text.

She’s asleep. Window by the tomatoes.

He took off his white hat and left it on the seat. Saying a silent prayer of apology to Cora’s grandfather, he crept along the side of the house and used an old potting bench to boost himself up into the open window where Cora waited for him in bed.

Shelves stuffed with books lined the walls of her bedroom. A large rolling suitcase stood by the door. A little ceramic nightlight shaped like an angel glowed on her bedside table.

“You clean up nice, MacKinnon,” she whispered between the hot kisses he dropped on her lips as he stumbled to get out of his clothes. “And you said such nice things to my grandma. She loves you.”

How about you? Do you love me?

“Stop talking and find something to bite on, girl,” he said.

She stifled a giggle and welcomed him under the covers. She was naked and warm. Her hair was loose, freed from its Victorian cinnamon roll. “Jesus Christ, your feet are cold,” she hissed.

“All the blood’s somewhere else.” He hid behind his jokes—they were all he had left to protect himself.

She kissed him—long, openmouthed kisses without end. He drank her in, his tongue searching her mouth, thirsty for more. She reached down and wrapped her sweet little fingers around his shaft, pumping slowly with the overhand grip she knew he liked.

He felt himself dissolving into her faded flower-print sheets, his nerve endings humming with pleasure. He trailed kisses down to her tits and suckled her nipples until they were rosy and tender.

He caught his breath and rested his burning cheek against her breast.

“I can’t believe I’m leaving tomorrow,” she whispered, combing her fingers through his hair.

He said nothing. Heartbreak lodged in his chest like lead shot.

She said softly, “So this is it. The last time.”

Tell her you love her. Ask her to stay.

“Let’s make it good, then,” he said.

In her tiny twin bed, Caleb went down on her slowly, his cast-iron erection buried in the sheets. In the semidarkness, he knew every tiny ridge and silky tissue of her pussy as though he were the cartographer who’d drawn the map. With surgical precision, he brought her to the brink and held back, again and again, completely in control of her body. When he let her come at last, the orgasm was enormous; her face contorted in ecstasy, she shuddered silently against his lips. The air in the room grew rich with the smell of sex.

Both the bed and the ancient wooden floor were squeaky as hell. Careful not to make a sound, Caleb raised himself on his arms and looked down at Cora. In six months, she’d gone from a scared, nervous girl to a confident woman who knew what turned her on.

With a smile, she reached down and guided him into her body. He slid his hips forward slowly until he was planted inside her as far as he could go. When she squeezed him, the exquisite agony wrenched a groan from his chest. He began his long, slow ride.

“Are you gonna remember me?” he murmured.

She ran her hands up and down his abs and chest and rested her palms on his biceps, stroking his muscles with her fingers. “What do you think?”

“I think you’ll forget. When you start dating out there. When you get a boyfriend.”

“I won’t.” He watched her lick her lips and gasp as he thrust, digging the head of his cock against her smooth inner walls. She whispered, “But sometimes I think you’re already forgetting me. Even when we do this.”

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