All for love 3 series.., p.38
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       All for Love - 3 Series Starters, p.38

           Kris Pearson
 

  He drew her down for another lingering kiss, hands wandering along her satin-smooth back and out over her gorgeous warm butt. “Katie Pleasance, you’re a total turn-on,” he said before kissing her again. “The moment I saw you... the instant we shook hands... I knew I was in big trouble.”

  “One touch?” she queried.

  “Didn’t you feel it, too?”

  Kate kept him waiting a few seconds, and then relented. “You grabbed my hand so hard. I noticed that.”

  Matthew raised an eyebrow.

  “Yes, I felt it,” she agreed. “I sort of didn’t dare look at you and couldn’t keep my eyes off you at the same time. I thought you were totally unobtainable, of course.” She kissed his chest. “I let myself have some little fantasies though...”

  Matthew grinned. “Tell me.”

  Kate smiled down at him. “You were far too hot to handle. I imagined enjoying you quickly and running while the going was good.”

  “You knew I was interested, did you?”

  “No, of course not,” she said, lips curving. “I thought Lottie was your wife, and that maybe you had Diana as well until you introduced her as your sister-in-law. Why would you be interested in me?”

  “Because,” he said, gathering up her hair and holding it back from her face, “you challenged me at every turn. You laughed with me and didn’t give an inch when I teased you. You flew into wonderful rages when I bought you clothes.”

  “When you bought me underwear,” she corrected. “It was far too soon for that.”

  “I wanted to spoil you. I wanted to keep you with me. I couldn’t bear the thought of you going away again. I wanted to touch you all the time and make sure you were real.”

  “I was real,” Kate said. “I was real and I was falling for you so fast I was scared witless. Why does it happen like that for some people?”

  “Because we’re the right people for each other. It was time for us to be lucky.”

  “I could have killed those women flirting with you at the party.”

  “And I nearly throttled that smarmy Irish guy.”

  “But we almost lost each other.”

  “Never in a million years.” He said it with the certainty of a man who at last had exactly what he wanted. “You’re a strong passionate woman, Katie. I’ll have a hard time getting the better of you. Not,” he added, “that I’ll ever stop trying.”

  Kate heaved a huge sigh of contentment.

  “Not,” she countered, “that I’d expect you to...”

  ~♥~

  They dozed, and finally roused themselves enough to raid the kitchen for supper.

  “I wasn’t expecting a guest. I could do you melted cheese on toast with some bacon on top,” Kate said, peering into the refrigerator.

  “And after that I’ll have you on toast with me on top.”

  “Melted Matthew,” she grinned, enjoying his long lithe body lounging against the cabinets.

  He watched as Kate switched on the grill and placed the slices of bread to brown. As she turned, he tugged the sash of her robe undone.

  “Hey,” she objected.

  He pulled her close and planted a tender kiss on the end of her nose. Thus distracted, she found he’d parted the fabric and pressed himself against her skin again.

  “I’m remembering something you told me in Queenstown,” he whispered, his breath warm in her ear. “You said if a man bought clothes for a woman, he could dress her in them. I think undressing you is so much more fun, even if this isn’t the robe I bought you.” He slid his hands luxuriously over her breasts and found her nipples with his thumbs. They rose at his bidding into firm peaks, and his smile broadened.

  Kate gazed at his ruffled hair, his huge relaxed grin and boyish air of triumph. How had she ever thought his face tough, his expression hard? He was quite simply the most sensational man she’d ever met. And apparently he was hers.

  “Do you want supper or not?” she asked, reaching sideways for the cheese knife—trying to look menacing, and failing entirely.

  “I’m starved,” Matthew admitted, giving in and smoothing her robe back into place. “But you’re wearing too many clothes.”

  Kate set the knife down and re-tied her sash. “And you’re not wearing enough. We don’t want the bacon spitting hot fat anywhere. I’d get those fancy tattooed pants out of here if you know what’s good for you. A little splatter-burn on my favourite piece would stop you in your tracks—even faster than that extra design you were joking about.”

  She watched with amusement as Matthew feigned fright and turned away. And couldn’t resist goosing his gorgeous butt as he sauntered out of her kitchen.

  She heard hammering a minute or two later, and went to investigate as the cheese and bacon started to hiss and bubble. Matthew had found the tool-kit.

  “Lift that end up for me?”

  Together they raised their muscular guardian angel onto the hangers he’d attached to the wall.

  Chapter Nineteen — Snow Glow

  “I suppose I should rent this place out for a while,” Kate said as they lazed in bed the following morning.

  “Keep it for us. I’m in Auckland for regular board meetings. The rent you’d get would barely balance out our hotel bills.”

  “Us?”

  “I do hope so, Katie. Pack up some of your things and come back to Queenstown with me. We’ll stay here each time I’m up on business. You can have a tickle around your garden and catch up with friends.”

  She rose on one elbow and gazed down at him. “I quite fancied some rent coming in.”

  “I’ll pay you wonderfully exorbitant rent. You can spend it all on feminine frippery and drive me wild with lust.”

  “Wilder than last night?”

  He smiled and stretched. “Who knows, Katie? You peeled all your frippery off pretty damn fast last night. I could quite enjoy helping you to remove tiny green panties and—”

  She squealed and flung herself down on him. He subdued her with very little effort, twisting her over, pinning her there, and holding her helpless beneath him.

  “God, you’re a turn-on,” he whispered. “How am I ever going to love you enough?”

  Kate heaved a blissful sigh as he left her bed. “Give me twenty-four hours to settle things here, okay?”

  Matthew grimaced. “I need to get back to Lottie today.”

  “I know. But I’ve things to arrange. I need to let Maurie know I can’t continue with the swimming coaching for a while. Job applications to put on hold. Things like that. I promise I’ll come and see you both tomorrow.”

  “If you don’t, I’ll fly up and kidnap you.” He bent and smoothed her hair back from her brow. “Is your shower big enough for two?” he asked hopefully.

  ~♥~

  This time, there was much more snow everywhere. In the two winter weeks she’d been gone, Queenstown had changed from a pretty scenic resort to an icy fairyland.

  Kate gazed out of the window as the plane dropped lower and lower in the crisp clear air. Somewhere down there, he waited for her—the tall terrifying pussycat of a man who’d stolen her heart and transformed her life.

  The plane bumped gently down and raced along the runway. Finally it wheeled around and came to rest close to the terminal building. Kate unfastened her seatbelt and lifted down her small cabin bag. Two big suitcases of her belongings were stowed away below—the excess luggage charge had been horrendous.

  She walked eagerly into the arrivals hall.

  Fingers touched her arm and a deep voice said “Kate Pleasance?”

  She hurled herself against him, not caring who saw.

  Lottie greeted her from the back seat of the SUV.

  “Katie, is so good you’re back. He has been like the bear with the sore head,” she said, wagging a finger at Matthew.

  Kate could well believe it—she’d been like the bear with the sore head herself.

  They drove the few miles out to the house, everything sparkling und
er the low sun.

  This time Matthew took pleasure in hefting her suitcases into the main bedroom.

  And Kate stopped dead.

  On the wall were his two big sketches, beautifully framed, looking wonderfully right. “Angels over both our beds,” he said.

  “I looked everywhere for those,” she exclaimed. “If you’d seen some of the searching I did while you were out, you really would have had grounds for suspicion. Where on earth did you hide them?”

  Matthew shook his head, smiling at her frustration.

  Lottie took pity on her later over dinner.

  “He told me when he brought them home,” she said. “Straight into the car and off to the picture framers. They were never here for you to find.”

  “So the ‘spy from the north’ didn’t stand a chance?” She narrowed her eyes at him. “Why on earth didn’t you just talk to me?” she demanded. “I was the marketing assistant for a breakfast cereals company, for heaven’s sake. I can tell you heaps about oat-bran and dried apricots and the merits of foil over cardboard packaging. And all about yoghurt-covered raisins and how cornflakes get made. But I haven’t a clue about internet services or anything else to do with telecommunications.”

  He looked ever so slightly abashed. “Well, why didn’t you ask me if Lottie was my wife?” he countered.

  “I didn’t want to give you ideas.”

  “I already had ideas.”

  “Yes, I know. So did I.”

  Lottie grinned at her brother and then patted Kate’s hand. “So my helper is back again. Plenty of work tomorrow Kate. I think I have an early night.”

  After coffee, Kate walked with Lottie to the private elevator and waved her in with a smile.

  She drifted back to Matthew. “Shall we have an early night too?” he asked.

  “Goodness yes—I’m exhausted.”

  She saw his beautiful mouth quirk.

  “I’ve got just the cure for that,” he said.

  They walked hand in hand through the huge house, and slowly the lights dimmed when they detected no further movement.

  ~♥~

  Matthew drew the curtains closed in the main bedroom.

  Kate picked up the photo of Lottie and her son from the low table. “Carlo,” she said. “Nice name. Lottie told me a little about him the last morning I was here.”

  He stood close beside her. “She called him after herself. Carlo for Charlotte. There was never a father mentioned. Which is a pity, because children flourish better with both parents.”

  “Mine stuck together for a long time, but dad should have left much sooner. It was easier once they parted—until my mother got sick of course.”

  Matthew slid an arm around her waist. “Things were bad after my mother died,” he said. “Dad didn’t come alive again for us until he remarried. Even though Cornelia stayed only a few years, they were good years. She was so ‘European’—and dad was such a rough diamond. But we loved having a little sister.” He ran a finger along the photo frame. “Carlo was a real character. Such a fighter. So bright and sparky. One day, maybe...”

  Kate turned toward him as she set the photo back on the table. “One day you’d like your own Carlo?”

  “Or a little Katie. Or both.” He held his breath, cursing his runaway tongue. It was much too soon to be discussing such things. He would panic her; turn her away; lose her again for sure. He couldn’t imagine being without her again.

  Kate sent him a long, intent, wondering gaze. “You’re serious?” she asked.

  He nodded, wordlessly, trying to gauge her reaction.

  “Is this... do you want me to stay... and live here?”

  “Forever,” he said. “With our children, if we’re so lucky. Kate and Matthew McLeod—and the famous Auntie Lottie, who will want to be a bridesmaid I imagine.” He drew her closer.

  “Matron of Honour,” Kate corrected. “My little cousin Alfie can be bridesmaid.” She drew her brows together in an endearing frown. “This is awfully fast,” she added.

  “I love you beyond anything I ever expected to feel, Kate.” He could barely get the words out past the lump in his throat. “You’ve brought me back to life, and it’s you I want to share that life with. Yes—it’s fast. But not too fast for me. Do you have doubts?”

  He watched as her eyes widened with sudden amusement.

  “Only one, but it’s a big one. What about the father of the bride? He might be a huge problem?”

  Matthew dropped a kiss on the end of her nose. “The only problem, my darling, will be if you turn me down. I can always keep him away from the computers,” he said with absolute assurance.

  “When he visits his grandchildren?” Kate asked.

  “Is that a ‘yes’, Miss Pleasance?”

  “Totally, Mr McLeod.”

  “So when will you marry me?

  “Double wedding on Waiheke Island in September?” she suggested with a gleeful giggle, reminding him of her father’s forthcoming high-profile celebration.

  “I’m not sharing our wedding with anybody,” Matthew said, picking her up and dumping her on his huge bed.

  Kate’s eyes sparkled with joy and desire, far eclipsing those of the woman on the wall above. He lowered himself beside her and began to make up for their fortnight apart.

  The End

  The Heartlands series –

  Melting His Heart https://krispearson.melting-his-heart

  Christmas Holiday Hearts https://krispearson.com/christmas-holiday-hearts

  Cowboy Wants Her Heart https://krispearson.com/cowboy-wants-her-heart

  3 novels, boxed set https://krispearson.com/3-novels-the-complete-heartlands-series

  *

  Excerpt of Book 2, The Heartlands Series

  CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY HEARTS

  Ellie woke with a jump. Bright New Zealand sunlight streamed in from the balcony. Unfamiliar countryside noises floated on the summer air. Several of the farm dogs barked up a frenzy not too far away, and the ocean roared incessantly in the background.

  A glance at her watch had her cursing softly. A quarter to eight—no way to impress her new employer. And what about the twin daughters she was here to tutor? She didn’t want them waiting in their schoolroom, wondering where their tardy teacher was.

  Scrambling from the huge bed, she showered in haste, then dragged on the first clothes that came to hand—the jeans she’d travelled in yesterday and a fresh yellow and white striped T-shirt. She pulled her dark hair into a ponytail and ran peachy gloss quickly over her lips.

  Embarrassed, and still somewhat dishevelled, she raced down the grand staircase and into the deliciously scented farmhouse kitchen.

  “Bacon and eggs?” an amused male voice asked. There was a rustle of newsprint, and the farmer lowered his paper and glanced over the top of the pages at her.

  Ellie registered dark eyes. A cleft chin. Hair cut brutally short. A once-loved face that now showed both sorrow and exhaustion.

  He managed to speak before her astounded brain found any words. “Ellie? Ellie McKenna? What the...?”

  There was absolute silence for a little time as she collapsed onto the opposite chair, fighting for her self-possession. “Tony?” she finally whispered.

  He laid the farming paper aside and lifted big shoulders in a shrug. “Tony—Robbie—whatever.”

  “You’re Robbie?”

  “Tony Robinson.” Smiling, he proffered his hand.

  Stunned, she reached out and shook it.

  “We’re being very formal, considering…” He left the rest of the sentence hanging.

  Ellie wrenched her fingers free, buried her face in her hands, and stayed frozen as waves of memory and need and confusion rolled over her.

  His grip on her hand had been firm and warm. One touch and he’d marked her as his again, as surely as when they’d been lovers in Sydney a decade earlier.

  Finally she raised her eyes to his. “Sorry,” she croaked. “That was silly. It’s just such
a huge shock, meeting you out of the blue again like this. I had no idea...”

  Her pulse now pounded at least as rapidly as it had the night her flat caught fire and she’d struggled frantically to rescue everything she held precious.

  He shook his head. “Nor me. I asked Ginny to arrange the tutor for the twins. Your name would have meant nothing to her, and she only told me you were Ellinore.”

  “Awful name. Ellie’s better. She called you ‘Robbie’ on the phone...” Ellie floundered into awkward silence, fiddled with a knife on the table, then tried again. “And Wharemoana Homestead didn’t register with me. If she’d said ‘Robinson’s Farm’, then maybe...”

  “Maybe you’d have wondered?”

  “Perhaps. Who knows?” She tried to keep her tone light as her eyes roved all over him. Because of course she would have wondered. Tony had vividly dominated her mind for months after she’d met him. Later, she’d deliberately forced his memory further and further back as her baby son claimed her heart and her life.

  But why now? Why, after eleven long years had her past collided head-on with her present, threatening to wreck everything she’d struggled so hard to achieve?

  She felt young and gauche. Defensive and insecure. Tony had disappeared from her life after one intense week and never reappeared. She might have hoped, but she’d never expected to see him again. She knew he was somewhere in New Zealand because over the past several years she’d heard the odd local reference to him—a forestry item on the radio, something to do with cattle breeding on TV. She’d Googled him the first time on one of the classroom computers, made sure it was him, and then done her best to close him out of her mind again. But despite her best efforts, here he was across a sunny breakfast table as though the huge gap in time had never happened.

  Her hungry eyes raced over him again, confirming he’d become an impressive man—still with that infectious smile now he’d relaxed a little. Thirty-five, she calculated. With beautiful shoulders straining the fabric of his blue polo shirt.

  He reached a tanned arm across to the counter and set the toaster going. Ellie watched his long fingers threading the bread into the slots. Once again her heart pounded along like a racehorse; her blood racing and raging through her body. Those fingers had traced every inch of her skin, teasing and taunting her—making it impossible to say ‘no’ on the softly scented evening they’d first made love.

 
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