Authors: Jami Davenport
Branson sucked in a breath. “Keep that up, and nothing about this will be slow and easy.”
“Maybe I don’t care. Maybe slow is overrated and easy is for sissies.”
Branson swore under his breath. Despite her feigned boldness, a sixth
sense warned him to take it gentle this first time and earn her trust. She talked big, but he didn’t want to hurt her.
Calling forth every ounce of discipline he possessed
, he kissed her senseless, while his hands roamed her body, exploring every little hill and valley, especially one particular valley.
She may not realize what she wanted, but he did, and she’d damn well get it.
* * * *
eyes fluttered shut as Branson’s hands caressed her body. His mouth slid down her cheeks to her neck, following his hands. She arched her back, wishing he’d suck on her breasts again. He did, while one long finger slipped inside her wet folds, and his thumb found her pleasure center and teased. He took his time, leading her where he wanted her to go, placing her needs ahead of his. No man had ever done that for her, and she adored him all the more for it. She pushed her crotch into his hand, craving how he felt inside her, wanting him deeper. His fingers thrust in and out of her, driving her insane as powerful emotions steamrolled over her.
One touch of a calloused thumb
on her clit, and she rocketed to oblivion in the most mind-altering orgasm of her life. The ground fell away beneath her as she soared on the wings of pleasure unfettered by mortal trappings, as if anything were possible if she only believed it to be so. Eventually, she fluttered back to reality like a feather in a soft breeze.
It was holy, flipping epic.
And Branson hadn’t been inside her yet, not that way.
“I want to feel your cock inside me
. Now.” She ordered, fully expecting him to balk at her bossiness.
Instead he saluted her. “Yes, ma’am.”
Branson pushed her legs apart with his big, strong hands, while she gnawed on her lower lip and fixed her gaze on him as he rolled a condom over his impressive erection. He was going to feel damn good sliding inside her. She stared into his smoldering blue eyes and saw so much that it overwhelmed her.
She could tell the moment h
e misread her expression as fear. He hesitated. His strong arms on either side of her, holding his big body above hers. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Really.” She forced a smile. “I want this. Don’t you?” She’d dreamed of this night for three long years, though she’d never imagined it to be on the bow of a boat
, with the water lapping against the hull, under a dusky moon and twinkling stars.
It couldn’t be more perfect.
“Take me. Make me yours.”
“I will.” He spoke as if he were uttering a sincere pledge rather than meaningless words spok
en by a man trying to get laid.
positioned the head of his penis at her slick, wet opening, and gently pushed inside, giving her time to stretch, to adjust to his width. He established his rhythm and took it slow and easy, even though the veins in his neck pulsed, sweat poured off his forehead, and his face contorted as he fought for control. She loved him even more for the care he was taking.
Branson cupped her face in his hands and kissed her with such tenderness that a sob rose up inside her. No one had ever treated her like she was precious. She kissed him back as he slid in
side to the hilt and rested there, letting her adjust to him.
She wrapped her legs arou
nd his back, digging her heels into his ass and urged him on. He started a slow, steady rhythm, and despite her urging, she couldn’t rock him out of it until the very end. The last few strokes came in a frenzied rush. He shuddered, his eyes rolled back, and he came. She came again, right along with him. Raw emotion rippled through her, releasing her once again from the bounds of gravity. Only this time, Branson was right there with her as if they were joined body and soul into one being with one purpose, one mind, one body. She felt his very essence through this thread-like connection between them, opening them up to each other, even their secret, private places. In a matter of moments, things changed, and nothing would ever be the same. Not that she wanted to go back to the way it was.
, she floated on a cloud of contentment back to earth, nestled in his arms, no small feat on a chaise lounge.
She’d never felt like this, and greed
y wench that she was, she wanted to feel it again.
“That was incredible.”
Branson raised his head, which had been buried in her neck, his eyes half-lidded, his smile lazy and satisfied. “When I’m good, I’m good.”
“So you are.” She didn’t chastise him for his conceit. A woman couldn’t argue with the truth. He carried her to a stateroom, and they made love a couple more times before they both fell asleep.
Sarah woke early in the morning. Branson slept beside her, looking young and innocent with his eyes shut and his hair tousled, the innocence so out of character on his very male face. Not wanting to wake him, she grabbed a robe from the closet and went in search of coffee and distance to clear her head. At some point, the captain had returned the boat to its moorage and left them alone for the night.
In the galley, she found everything needed for coffee
sitting on the counter, along with pastries. After brewing a pot, Sarah walked outside, the day already warm as the sun rose over the distant skyline. She plopped down on a plush love seat and contemplated her wonderful night, sad it was over, and fretting about the future, even as she mentally slapped herself for doing so.
All those fantasies she’d played out in her head
hadn’t done reality justice. She liked reality. In fact, she liked it so well she’d like to keep it. She’d never lived like this, and the old doubts started to creep into her head, fears it wouldn’t last or that she didn’t deserve such happiness.
But dammit it all, she did deserve it.
Sarah felt his presence before she saw him. Their connection had survived the night. She looked up and smiled as Branson walked outside, a steaming mug of coffee in his hand. She couldn’t bear to meet his eyes in case they were filled with regret. So she stared at his chest, realizing they’d been so busy pawing each other, he hadn’t taken off his shirt until sometime later in the dark stateroom. Now he wore a pair of long-slung sweats...and nothing else, well, except an erection, which wasn’t exactly
He sat next to her. She leaned over, catch
ing sight of the ink on his chest. She ran a hand over a broken heart with the words Cindy above it and went still inside.
“Was Cindy an old girlfriend?” She hated asking, but couldn’t stop herself, lifting her gaze to his.
He sobered, his face wiped of emotion except for a faint melancholy sadness. He didn’t speak for a long time, but Sarah waited him out.
Branson raked his fingers through his hair, squared his shoul
ders, and cleared his throat. “Cindy was my mother, killed in a drive-by shooting. I didn’t grow up in the best neighborhood.”
“I’m sorry. How old were you?”
Her heart broke for him.
“Thirteen. Football kept me sane.” He shrugged and grabbed her hand, lifting it to his lips and kissing each knuckle.
“It’s always been football for you, hasn’t it?”
“Yeah, to the exclusion of everything else.”
“Now you have the money to retire in comfort, and do anything you want. The world is out there waiting for you.”
He watched her with those blue eyes and finally smiled. “If you’d said that to me yesterday, I’d have been pissed. But today things look different. Better. Because of you.” He spoke the last three words so softly she wondered if she’d heard him correctly.
“Because of me?”
“Yes, you.” He didn’t elaborate
, but pulled her into a gentle hug.
Sarah leaned back, hands resting on his chest, and looked into his eyes. “
You’ll do good. I know you will. You have such a generous heart and the means to do so much good in your little corner of the world.” She stood on tiptoes and kissed his check, rubbing a finger across the dark stubble on his chin. The man rocked sexy any day of the week.
He kissed the top of her head and sighed. “I do. I didn’t see what a gift that was until I spent last night with you and realized I have so much more I can do with my life.”
Sarah smiled around the lump in her throat. “I’m glad. Glad to have been a small part of it.”
“You’re a big part of it.” He ran a finger across her lips and slanted a half-smile at her
. “You know pain, too. On some subconscious level, I think I recognized that. Tell me, Sarah, who used to beat you, and I’ll make sure he never draws another breath.”
She believed he mea
nt it. Oh, how she believed him. “My ex-boyfriend. He’s in prison now. He can’t hurt me anymore, and I’m working on breaking that pattern of abuse.”
“Did he go to prison because of something he did to you?”
She shook her head, and the words tumbled out. All the pain she’d suffered at Mike’s hands, the fear he’d kill her or a family member, or harm one of her nieces. Branson listened quietly, as he held her to him and stroked her back.
“You’re safe now. I’
ll never let anyone harm you again.” Branson hugged her to him, and they sat in silence listening to seagulls and watching the tide roll in on the distant shore.
If Sarah could save one moment of her life to play over and over again, these last few hours with Branson would be all she’d ever need.
* * * *
Branson stroked Sarah’s soft hair and inhaled the scent of her shampoo. How the fuck had she been under his nose for three years without him actually noticing her as a woman? At least he’d come to his senses and figured it out. Losing football
had forced him to look around at the opportunities he’d ignored and people he’d taken for granted in his life. As bleak as his life seemed only a few hours ago, now it overflowed with possibilities. Crazy stuff.
his one little woman had changed his entire outlook on his future, in just one incredible night. He couldn’t explain the intense emotions he felt while driving deep inside her, or explain how deeply she’d nestled in his heart in such a short time, any more than he could explain why he had to take that career-ending hit. He’d always been a firm believer in things happening for a reason. When one door closed, another opened, and this particular door had opened wide and sucked him right in.
Yeah, he liked where he was right now. He liked it a lot. Maybe the knock up the side of his head
had compelled him to see the good right in front of his face. He didn’t know. He’d spent most of his life operating on instincts, and they rarely failed him.
Sarah stared at her cell. “It’s late. I need to get to work.”
“Your boss gave you the day off. He’s a nice guy.” He cupped her face in his hands and brushed his lips across hers.
“He is a nice guy.” She agreed with one of her heart-stopping smiles meant just for him.
“Do you think this nice guy and this even nicer girl have something special going on?” He searched her eyes for the answer and got the one he was looking for.
“I think they do.”
Branson kissed her gently, just a feather light kiss, but it meant more than any of the hot kisses they’d shared last night. It was a promise of a future together, one that’d span the rest of their life.
Branson was right where he needed to be with the right woman at his side.
And it felt damn good.
A whirlwind romance didn’t come close to describing the tornado that’d swept Sarah away, starting with that first night with Branson. They hadn’t spent a night apart since. Branson dived into several charity ventures with the same enthusiasm he’d once shown for catching uncatchable balls in traffic and mowing down the defense to score a touchdown. Sarah enrolled in college and was working toward her business degree. Together they helped her mother find a day job and put her nieces and nephew in day care.
ree months later, Sarah walked down the aisle of the small country church, packed with a hundred of their closest friends and family. She clutched a small bouquet of red roses to her stomach and carefully measured each step. Her eight-year-old nephew, looking very adult in his tux, walked beside her.
Several feet ahead of her
, Branson stood flanked by his best man, Cole.
broad grin and shining eyes said everything he needed to say without uttering a word. This man loved her as much as she loved him, and that was all that really mattered.
Today they would say
and travel this journey together with love as their guide and make cherished memories to last a lifetime.
Jami Davenport has been writing since she was old enough to know the alphabet. An advocate of happy endings, Jami writes sexy romantic comedy, sports hero romances, and equestrian fiction. Jami lives on a small farm near Puget Sound with her husband, a former Green Beret turned plumber, a Newfoundland cross with a tennis ball fetish, a prince disguised as an orange tabby cat, and an opinionated Hanoverian mare.