The Trouble with Texas Cowboys (20 page)

BOOK: The Trouble with Texas Cowboys
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Chapter 22

There had to be more to wooing a woman than feeding cattle, minding the store, tending the bar, and sex. That wasn't a bad combination in getting to know a woman, but now that he knew Jill, he wanted to hang the moon for her, make the stars brighter, and force daisies to grow from frozen ground.

“Shit! I forgot,” he murmured.

“You talking to me?” she asked.

Kittens scrambled over her lap, chasing each other, rolling around like clumsy wrestlers as they bit each other's tails and ears. In the beginning, Chick was the mean girl, spitting and scaring the bejesus out of Piggy, but these days it was a pretty even match.

“I need to call my mama, or else she'll get in her truck and drive up here,” Sawyer answered.

“I probably should call my mama too, but I'm sure that neither wild horses nor the National Guard could force her to drive to Texas, or even to fly here, though.”

Sawyer carried two cups of hot chocolate to the living area and handed one to Jill. “So she doesn't like Texas? Do I hear a ‘but' in your voice?”

“You do. But there's only one love in a lifetime like what she and my dad had. She still gets misty eyed when she talks about him, and Texas reminds her of him,” Jill said.

“You think you'll ever find that love?” Sawyer asked.

Jill thought about the question so long that he didn't think she was going to answer, but finally she said, “Maybe I will. Do you?”

“If I think with my heart and not with my brain.” Sawyer scooped her up from the floor, amazed like always that someone with so much power and energy didn't weigh a lot more. He buried his face in her hair and hoped the kittens didn't get underfoot as he carried her toward his bed. “I do not plan on letting my head lead my heart ever again.”

“Me, either. Don't forget to shut the door,” she said.

Gently, he set her on the bed, and with a few soft, well-placed kisses, he undressed her, then patted the pillow. “Welcome to Sawyer O'Donnell's massage parlor. The hot rocks are out of commission today, but I'm available for a sixty-minute massage if the lady would like one.”

“Oh, my God, Sawyer! You didn't tell me there was a lady in the room. Give me my clothes,” she joked.

“Then I'll rephrase. Does this sexy, hotter'n hell spitfire of a redhead want a massage today? I could make a phone call if you'd like the ultimate in hot rocks, scented lotion, and all the fancy words in the sex-to-sexty dictionary. Would you like Tyrell or Quaid?”

She flipped over and glared at him. “Don't you ever do that again.”

“What?”

“Bring up those two names in this bedroom when I'm stark naked.” Her eyes said that she wasn't teasing or flirting. “Now, here's the deal. I want a massage, and I hear that hunky cowboy named Sawyer is available. But the only way he's going to get paid is if he takes his clothes off to do my massage. Because when I get ready to pay him, I damn sure do not want to take time to undress him.”

“Your wish and all that…” He kicked off his boots, and his clothing landed somewhere near the end of the bed, a piece at a time thrown over his shoulder.

* * *

“Where did you learn to do that?” Jill moaned when he dug his thumbs into her shoulder muscles. “No, don't tell me. I don't even want to know. Is there anything you can't do?”

“I don't knit.” He chuckled. “I'm sorry all I've got for lotion is this cherry-almond stuff from Walmart. I buy it because it's the best I've found for my hands when they get chapped.”

“It's my favorite,” she said.

His hands moved down her back to the rib area, turning gentle as he worked the kinks out and then harder as he massaged her butt muscles. She could farm him out and make more money than ranching. All she needed was a number machine to nail to the front porch and…suddenly a vision of Betsy lying naked on the bed popped into her mind.

“Hey, you aren't supposed to tense up. You're supposed to relax and let me work magic on those tired, overworked muscles,” Sawyer said.

She blinked away the image of Betsy's face and forced herself to unwind. The Gallaghers and the Brennans were not going to spoil her Sunday evening. She didn't give a damn if Wallace did slaughter the pigs and already had those fancy cows packaged up into hamburger meat. She had a naked cowboy giving her the best massage she'd ever had.

When Sawyer finished with her toes, he flipped her over and started back up the front side. Lord, God, almighty! She'd never be able to put lotion on her hands again without thinking of his hands as they discovered every single erogenous zone on her body. That little space between the pad of her foot and her toes, the inside of her knees, halfway up her thighs, and the soft spot where her leg attached to her body—how could they make her hormones hum like a finely tuned fiddle?

By the time he got to her aching breasts, she was fighting to keep her back straight and not arch toward him, to keep from pushing him over on his back and riding him in unabandoned hot sex. But she wanted passionate lovemaking, not a five-minute quickie.

Listening
to
your
heart,
are
you?
the voice in her head asked.

She floated so high above reality that she didn't even argue or answer.

He ended the massage by kissing all her fingers, one by one, and then he settled himself on top of her, his mouth finding hers in a kiss so full of passion that all semblance of gravity escaped. She wrapped her legs around his waist and arched against him. Quickie. Two hours. All night. Five minutes. She couldn't bear another minute without him inside her.

“Now?” he asked.

“I should return the massage, but, holy shit, Sawyer, I can't even think,” she panted.

He slid into her body in one fluid movement, and they rocked together. She clung to him, fingernails pressing into his back, and legs locked around him. His kisses deepened, and her hands moved to his cheeks and then up to grasp his hair. She wanted to touch him, all of him, so her hands roamed from shoulders to his firm butt, down his legs as far as she could reach, and back again.

He took her to the very brink of an exploding climax and then backed off to let her cool down before building up the tempo again. “Open your eyes, Jill, so I can see down to the bottom of your soul,” he said between short gasps.

“All you'll see right now is a red-hot desire for you,” she answered, then pulled his lips to hers for another searing kiss.

He grinned. “Then keep your eyes open and let me see that.”

It was cold in the room, but every inch of her body was on fire. Her toes curled. Her body ached with desire.

“Now?” he asked.

“Three hours ago,” she answered.

She imagined a cliff overlooking a deep blue sea. She'd climbed to the top, and when Sawyer said her name in a hoarse Texas drawl, she wrapped both arms around his back and growled his name as they tumbled into the cool water together.

When he could catch his breath, he rolled to one side, but he didn't let go of her. “Hot damn!” he muttered.

“You got that right.” She snuggled as close to him as she could get and shut her eyes. She wouldn't sleep. She'd just stay there until her wobbly knees could take her to her own bedroom. But in two minutes she'd drifted off into that wonderful place that consenting adults go when the sex is so damn good they can't move a muscle afterward.

Jill dreamed of a pasture full of bright yellow daisies with half a dozen kids romping around at a picnic. Little red-haired girls dressed in denim shorts and cowboy boots. Dark-haired boys in boots and jeans. And there was Sawyer, a little older with a few shots of gray in his temples, but he still looked at her with the same brown-eyed wonder that she'd seen right before they'd fallen asleep.

She awoke to the sound of running water and whistling. A quick glance toward the clock said that it was five o'clock. That had to be morning, not evening, because the last time she checked, it was past six. Her feet hit the cold floor, and she did a quick tiptoe dance to the bathroom, where she threw back the shower curtain and stepped in front of Sawyer.

“Good mornin'.” He grinned. “I was going to let you sleep while I went out to do the chores. There's a cold, blustery wind blowing. Even Piggy and Chick are hugging the woodstove this morning.”

“Thank you, but I'm wide awake. We can make breakfast, and then after we eat, we'll do chores. I hate to even think about that day coming when this is in my hands.”

“Come summer we'll hire some help for the ranch. Gladys says she gets half a dozen boys to come and help soon as school is out. Polly should be well, and things will let up a little then.” Sawyer picked up the shampoo, poured out a healthy amount on her hair, and worked it in from top to bottom. “Now turn around, and I'll rinse it all away before we use the conditioner. Your hair is silky, Jill. With all those curls, you'd think it would be wiry, but it's not.”

“Neither is this.” She touched the soft dark hair on his chest.

“So you don't want me to shave it all off?”

“Why would you do that? I love it. Little boys have bare chests. Men have hair. Hunky cowboys have just the right amount,” she answered.

“Do I get to be in that latter category?”

“Oh, yes, you do.” She rolled up on her toes and kissed him. “Holy shit, Sawyer!”

“What?”

“Wet kisses are downright…well, they shoot desire through a body like adrenaline in the flight-or-fight mode.”

He chuckled. “You going to fight or run?”

She giggled. “I'm not going anywhere but to the barn for hay, cowboy.”

“Not to bed first with that burst of desire?”

She handed him the conditioner. “The cattle would starve plumb to death if we went back to bed, because we wouldn't get out of it all day. Now when summer gets here and they're put out to pasture on green grass and we don't have to feed twice a day, that's another story.”

“But then”—he turned her around so the shower could rinse the conditioner from her hair—“we'll have plowing, sowing, clearing land, and all that.”

“And then, like you said, we're going to hire some help. Got any relatives hiding down south who might want to move to Burnt Boot?”

“For ranchin', or for the store and bar?”

“Ranchin', and maybe some evenings in the bar,” she answered.

“I'll check around. That reminds me, I never did get around to callin' my folks. Did you?”

She smiled up at him. “I'm naked in a shower with you, and you think of your mother? What's wrong with this picture?”

“You mentioned relatives. My mind went to some cousins who might be interested in a job, and then I thought about what their mamas would think of them coming to Burnt Boot. My mother sent me up here to spy on Finn. She didn't expect me to stay.”

“Neither did mine when I told her I'd moved here.” Jill stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around her body. “And, darlin', my mama was the last thing on my mind last night. When we get near a bed, I don't think of anything but you.”

He chuckled. “Well, then I will always remember to keep a bed right handy.”

* * *

On Monday morning, Polly said if she had to stay in the house one more day she was going to climb the walls. So Gladys loaded her up in the truck, took her to the store, and told Sawyer and Jill they didn't have to come in until after lunch.

“Aunt Gladys, why don't we come on in when we finish feeding, and you can take Polly for a ride?” Jill asked.

“Give me that phone,” Polly said loudly.

“I could hear what you said, girl. I don't want to go for a ride. I want to talk to people. I want them to come in the store, and hell, I don't even care if they get into a knock-down drag-out fight right here,” Polly said. “I don't like this getting-old shit.”

Jill grinned. “Well, Auntie, it's not for wimps. Only the strong get to do it.”

“You always could out argue a stop sign. But it won't work today. You and that handsome Sawyer spend the day together. After lunch, my ass. I'm staying right here until closing time, whether Gladys likes it or not. I hope everybody in town knows I'm here and comes in to visit.”

“Yes, ma'am. I'm not arguing anymore,” Jill said.

She visualized a long, lazy afternoon in the bedroom, but it didn't happen. Right after they finished their morning routine, a heifer decided to give birth to a calf that was too big for her. That required an hour of getting her into a barn out of the cold, where the calf would have a better chance of living, and then pulling the bull calf out when he was born butt-first. They'd barely gotten their hands cleaned up and made sure the new little fellow could stand and nurse when the phone rang.

Jill fetched it from her pocket and answered without checking the ID.

“You win,” Polly said. “I'm pooped, and if I have to hear another person tell me how their great-aunt or uncle or neighbor's kid broke their leg, I'm going to throw them through the plate glass window. Gladys made me call you. Some friend she is. She wouldn't even do it for me, since I threw such a fit. If you and Sawyer will come on to the store, I'm ready to go home and get a nap.”

“We'll be there soon as we go home and get the blood off us,” Jill said.

“Shit, girl! Who'd you kill, a Gallagher or a Brennan?”

“Neither one. We just pulled a calf. Tell Aunt Gladys it's a bull, and mama and baby are just fine. We've got them in a stall in the barn for the next few days, though, with this cold weather,” Jill answered.

“Take your time but not too much. I'm worn plumb out,” Polly said.

* * *

Sawyer spent most of the afternoon dozing with his hat over his eyes. Jill got bored with chatting via her tablet with her mother and went to the kitchen to bake cookies. At four, she waved a paper plate with half a dozen chocolate chip cookies under his nose.

BOOK: The Trouble with Texas Cowboys
3.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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