Her Lifeline: (A Romantic Suspense) (10 page)

BOOK: Her Lifeline: (A Romantic Suspense)
7.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Reaching out, she cupped him in her hand, taking the tip of him in her mouth, gliding her tongue over the taut skin. Her hand stroked him, slow at first, and quick as she tried to take every inch of him in her mouth. She felt his hand on the back of her head, disheveling her hair as her head bobbed. Subtle moans escaped him and he spoke her name a few more times, making her work harder on his member. Looking up, she enjoyed the view, black eye and swollen lip included. Maybe this was a natural pain killer for him.

His hand guided her head away and he took a few steps back, turning the knob on the shower. "Want me to help you out of those clothes?"

"What about Noah and my dad? I left them there with supper."

"The front door is locked. We can think up an excuse."

The bathroom got steamy. She wanted this to happen. She could use Noah and her dad as an excuse, but in reality, they were probably oblivious to it. Standing up, she lifted her arms over her head, a hiss escaping her teeth as his knuckles brushed against her bare nipples.

Stepping in the shower, Nick positioned himself behind her and she felt his erection press into the small of her back. Turning, she said, "I don't want to hurt you. Aren't you hurting?"

"I'll be fine. We'll be gentle. Nice and..." he slipped inside of her and continued, "Slow..." She bent at the waist, placing her hands flat against the tiles as he thrust so slow that she was sure she was about to lose it all. One of his arms wrapped around her midsection, the other cupped her breast and thumbed her nipple. He buried his face in the back of her neck, nipping at her skin.

Guttural moans echoed and Amelia kept glancing back at him, admiring the water dripping off of his amazing body. He pumped slow but it grew quicker. The hand on her breast moved between her thighs and he massaged her, matching the pace as he pressed deep inside of her. Her legs grew weak and began to shake, and she found herself whimpering his name, begging for more, and being louder than she probably should have been.

Nick didn't let up. He continued to plunge, slowing the pace and then quickening it. Amelia came twice in a row and Nick finally finished with her, pulling out just in time. They leaned against the shower door as the water continued to careen around them. Looking deep in his eye, she planted a hard kiss on his lips, forgetting the swelling.

Stopping, she said, "Oops, I'm sorry. Did that hurt?"

"Never. I wouldn't tell you if it did. It's worth it if it means you're kissing me." He continued the kiss. His tongue darted deep inside her mouth and he pushed her harder against the shower door. "That was the best treatment I've ever gotten for being in a fist fight." He smiled and turned for the shampoo. "Made me forget about my sore ribs and horrible headache. I think we're on to a new science for pain killers."

Amelia laughed, but deep down she still felt horrible. The next time she saw John, she was going to let him have it, not to mention documenting it for the lawyers when the next custody battle came up. There was something else going on with Nick that he wasn't talking about. Admiring him for a few seconds, she watched as he lathered up.

"In the meantime, I've gotta think up an excuse as to why I high tailed it out of dinner and why my hair is now wet." Stepping out of the shower, she gathered her clothes and dried off.

Staring at herself in the mirror, she wished there would be one second of the day where she didn't have to worry about something. How would Nick take the news of the ranch? If she couldn't pay him and they had to move, would they stay together? It hurt her stomach to think about it.

Chapter Ten


Nick finished his shower and dressed quickly. He looked in the mirror, finally getting the first glimpse of himself. He definitely looked worse than he felt, and now he understood why Amelia was so hesitant to even kiss him. Raking his hand through his hair, he smoothed it over. At least his whiskers were growing in and would help hide some of the damage that John and his brothers had inflicted.

Walking out onto the porch, he rubbed his side, feeling his sore ribs. She had hurried out quickly and he smiled to himself at the fact that she'd have to think up a reason why her hair was wet. The thrill was quickly shadowed by what John had told him. Was the ranch in trouble? He had to take it with a grain of salt, but it was still something weighing heavy on his shoulders.

He figured he better make an appearance at dinner. If Amelia was struggling for an excuse, he didn't want it to look any more awkward or strange for her. Ducking inside, the scent of the food made his stomach growl. Noah and her dad were busy stuffing their faces, each giving a quick nod to acknowledge him before Amelia motioned toward him, wanting him to go into the living room.

Following, he kissed her on the cheek. "What did you cook? It smells so good."

"Stew. I know it's hot out, but it sounded good and that's what I had in the house."

He noticed her hair was damp and pulled in a bun. "So, what'd you tell them?"

"Nothing. They didn't even notice since I tied it back. They were just wondering why I left so fast. I just said you needed my help on something and that was good enough. They don't care. They were just worried about eating."

It was on the tip of his tongue to ask her about the debt, but he didn't. Now wasn't a right time. He couldn't think up a time when it would be. Instead, he said, "Let's go eat. I'm starving too."

Amelia shook her head and laughed. "Typical man. Get beat up and still all you can think about is sex and eating."

Wrapping his hand around her waist, he kissed the top of her head, taking in her fresh scent. She had used his soap, but it smelled so much better on her. "Come to the bunkhouse later. I have something planned. Will you be able to get away?"

"I'm sure it won't be a problem."

"Good. I'm gonna go eat your stew. Been forever since I had anything worthy to even be in the same category." Nick walked back into the kitchen and sat beside Noah. "Evenin'. How are y'all doing?"

The boy slurped up the broth and wiped his face with the back of his hand. It was hard to believe that a kid like him came from John. Thank goodness he looked more like Amelia.

"Good, Mr. Nick. Me and Grandpa are gonna watch a movie after supper. Mom says I gotta start getting to bed earlier since school is gonna start soon."

"Is that so? Dang, where did the summer go?" Nick looked up at Mr. Tucker. "What are y'all watching?"

"Transformers. Grandpa said I could pick it. You wanna watch with us?"

Nick looked over at Amelia and back to Noah. "I'm actually gonna get a little work done as it cools down. Thanks for the invite, though. I'll just keep you up late."

He finally was able to take a bite of the stew and it tasted even better than it smelled. The potatoes were perfect and the meat was so tender that it fell apart in his mouth. He got three bowls before he finally had to cut himself off. Leaning back in his chair, he noticed that Noah had already left the kitchen.

"You got yourself a pretty good shiner going on there, Nick. What in the hell happened?" Mr. Tucker pointed at him, and Nick wondered when someone would finally notice.

Glancing at Amelia again, he wasn't sure if he should give the whole story or not. "Had a nice run in with a guy at the bar in town this afternoon."

Amelia broke in as she gathered up the dirty dishes. "He met John, Daddy."

"I assume your first impression of him isn't a good one, no?"

"Honestly, I don't even know the man, sir. He came over earlier and had it out for me from the get go."

Mr. Tucker wiped his hands with a napkin and handed Amelia his bowl. "I've known John a lot longer than I would like to. I'm not making excuses for him, but he's got issues with every man that comes around. I've never seen it escalate to this. I can only imagine how he looks. You get your licks in?"

"Dad, he had his brothers with him. They ganged up on him. I'd rather not talk about John, okay?" She was flustered and started slamming the dishes into the dishwasher.

Going off of her resistance, Nick honored her request. Standing up, he helped her finish the dishes.

"You don't have to help. Go hang out with Noah and dad if you want."

He ignored her and dried the glasses she had stacked in the drainer. "I don't mind." Turning, he realized they were alone. "I guess Noah and your dad will be busy later."

"What do you have planned?" She arched her eyebrow and Nick admired her ass as she put a plate in an upper cabinet. Her pants fit her perfectly, filling out the denim like the jeans were tailored just for her.

"I guess you'll have to come to the bunkhouse to see." He wanted to talk about the ranch troubles, but he was sure he'd never get the courage to bring it up.

She put the last few plates and silverware up. "Thanks for your help. That's usually a chore I always do by myself." Grabbing his hand, she kissed it. "I'm gonna go catch up with Noah and dad for a bit. You're welcome to join us. Either way, I'd love to join you at the bunkhouse later."

"You go spend some time with them. I might finish up a few things and have a beer or something." He opened the backdoor and before leaving, pulled her in for a deep kiss. "I can't wait."

"Me either," she replied. "Give me like an hour, is that okay?"

"Longest hour of my life."

He shut the door and went to the horse barn. Despite it being evening, it was still hot. What exactly did he have planned for both of them? He wanted to do something romantic and special. Making love was great, but he didn't want Amelia feeling like that's all he ever wanted to do with her. Maybe one night he could make her dinner. Who was he kidding? He'd never cooked anything. Going out would be a much better option.

Rounding the corner, he slowly walked up to horse that had no name, just like his dog. Reaching through the stall, he tried to touch him, but the horse backed up, dug his front hoof into the ground, and neighed so loud that it made Nick jump. He was probably too sore to even try to think about riding him, but if he continued to come around and attempt things, they might start to bond.

"I'm gonna eventually ride you. You might not believe that."

The horse snorted as if he understood Nick. He took a few more steps back, bumping into the back of the stall. Leaning down, Nick grabbed a handful of oats and reached out again. The horse hesitated at first, but after close inspection, began to eat out of his hand. His tongue was moist and he finished every last bit, neighing when Nick's hand was empty. Reaching into the bucket, he grabbed more, allowing the horse to snack on the feed. The animal was still a bit skittish and with any sound he backed off, but the important part was that Nick had gained is trust enough to at least get that close to him.

"Once I don't hurt so bad, I'm gonna tame your ass."

"I'll be damned." Nick heard Amelia's whisper, but didn't turn to look at her. Any sudden movements would ruin the bonding experience. She didn't get close, but he knew she was watching. After a few more bites, the horse had enough and turned away. "Not once have any of us been able to do that with him, Nick."

"No? I'm shocked he let me."

"I'm very impressed, Mr. Miller. Any other tricks up your sleeve?"

"I guess you'll have to find out."

"So, what are your plans? Dad is with Noah. He said he'd take care of getting him in bed. I have a pretty good idea of how that will go."

They started to walk back to the bunkhouse. The sun was setting on the horizon and the night air was humid. "How long do you think it'll take before your family finds out about us?" Nick asked as he washed his hands at the sink. He still wasn't sure what they were going to do, but he wanted to get out of the house. Town also wasn't an option - he didn't want another encounter with John, especially with Amelia nearby.

She thought about his question. "I don't know. They're not stupid."

"No, they're not." Sitting beside her on the couch, he dug his face in her neck. "How do you think they'll take it?"

"That's hard to say, too. My dad is pretty laid back. As long as you're good to me, he's gonna be fine."

"That won't be too hard." Going to his bedroom, he pulled the blanket off of the bed and grabbed his two pillows. "Let's go. I have an idea."

He drove out to the back pasture where the woods thickened up. Stars covered the sky above and the moon was bright overhead. He parked the truck on the bank of a decent sized pond that he had only recently discovered.

"What do you have up your sleeve, Nick?"

Grabbing the bedclothes, he pulled the tailgate down and spread it all out in the bed. Helping her up, he lay beside her, feeling her body nestle against his. Neither said much as they stared up at the beautiful night sky. The crickets chirped, and the breeze was light in the trees. Nick had never felt so peaceful.

"Were nights over in Iraq as clear as this one?"

Amelia's question caught him off guard, and he propped himself up on his elbow, looking down at her. "It was rare. You could see the stars really well when it wasn't dusty, but my opinion of that place is clouded with so much other shit. It'd be hard to rank here and Iraq together."

She nodded and ran her hand down his chest. "You're a good man for serving all of those tours. I don't think I ever told you thank you."

He scoffed and felt his face heat up. It wasn't a topic he generally liked to talk about, especially with how fragile his mental health was. "No need to thank me, Amelia. I joined because it was pretty much my only option. I didn't have any other chances. No college or anything like that."

"Yeah, you mentioned foster homes. Do you mind me asking what happened? If I get too personal, tell me to shut up."

Nick shook his head and traced her hairline with his index finger. He loved this woman more than any other person. It was the only true relationship he could say he had, and that included friendships. How would it be if he kept everything from her? She needed to know who he was, even if he didn't want to talk about it.

"I'd tell you the whole story if I knew it. I was put into the system as a really young kid. Bounced around from family to family all over the state. Lived in west Texas, east Texas, pretty much everywhere."

Amelia squeezed his hand and creased her brow. "You never met your real parents?"

"No. I've heard a few things, but I don't know what's true. One of my many social workers I had told me they were in prison. Like I said though, I don't know if it's true." He saw the concerned look on her face. "I'm not talking about it for sympathy, so don't feel bad for me, Amelia. I don't really know anything different."

"It's just hard for me to understand. I've always had family around. My mom died like fifteen years ago, but I still had my dad and of course, now I have Noah. It's an unknown world to me."

Nick looked down into her blue eyes. "I guess that's why I really care for you guys. You've let me in like I've been with your family for years. I never felt as welcomed as I do here than I did with any of the foster homes I stayed at. It really means something to me."

"Why'd they have you move around so much?"

"Different reasons. I'd clash with the foster parents. I'd clash with the other kids. I'd get into some kind of trouble. It was always something I apparently did. I learned to never get attached. Even at five, I remember knowing that it was all temporary. At eighteen I joined the army and never looked back. It was my only way to get out." He sank down and kissed her, taking her mouth hard against his. Amelia wrapped her arms around his neck, allowing his tongue to explore her mouth and down her neck. Stopping, he brushed some of her hair from her face and smiled. "I haven't told many people about all of that. Most don't give a shit. But you look like you really care."

She nodded. "I do care. You've seen more stuff in your life than most. And yet you still are a good man."

Nick scoffed. "I've got you fooled." If she only knew about his PTSD and flashbacks. If she only knew about the men he had killed at war. He felt his heart begin to race and closed his eyes to try to brush the thought aside. He didn't want his issues to ruin the night he had planned.

"You've been amazing to my family, and especially to me. Don't you ever think differently." She put her index finger on his lip. "It sure is hot out here. What do you say we go for a dip?"

Nick was thankful for the subject change. He was on the brink of a meltdown and Amelia saved him without even realizing it. "No swimsuits? No problem."

Sitting up, he helped Amelia pull her shirt over her head. Taking his time, he admired her body as her bra slipped over her erect nipples. Reaching out, he cupped one of her breasts, but she slapped his hand away. "No sir. Not yet. Let me help you get your shirt off."

They threw their clothes in a pile on the tailgate and slowly walked to the edge of the water. Dipping his foot in, the water was warm, but refreshing. Edging in, he grabbed her hand, pulling her in with him. The water wasn't too deep, only coming up to their chests at the deepest. Pulling her in, he explored her as they splashed around. He couldn't keep his hands off of her and his kisses went from her lips, to her ears, down her neck, and back up to her lips where they didn't break free.

BOOK: Her Lifeline: (A Romantic Suspense)
7.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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