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One night rodeo, p.16
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       One Night Rodeo, p.16

         Part #4 of Blacktop Cowboys series by Lorelei James

  hotter than he would’ve believed.

  And it might make him depraved, but he loved how Celia looked tied up. He’d figure out a way to lengthen the chain next time so he could flip her over to touch and taste the back side of her body with just as much attention to detail.

  His lips followed the line of her arm from the bend in her elbow, down her muscled biceps, over the inside of her armpit. Then he reversed course, but slowed down. Stopping to lick and suck on spots too tempting to resist.

  Celia’s eyes were closed and he didn’t demand that she open them. He wanted her to lose all coherent thought when he was touching her.

  When she started rubbing her legs together and her belly showed a slight sheen of sweat, Kyle eased off. “Be right back. Don’t go nowhere.” He laughed when she made a garbled noise, trying to connect her foot with his butt before he bounced off the bed. He loved her sass. He secretly loved that she’d shown a jealous streak about Lainie, even when it was misguided. That meant she cared more about him than she was ready to admit. And hell yeah, he could work with that.

  Kyle ditched his jeans and grabbed his cordless electric razor.

  She tried to lift her head to see what he was doing when he inserted himself between her legs.

  He loomed over her and waved the shaver at her.

  She shook her head and attempted to scramble backward.

  “I’m not gonna shave you, kitten. But since I haven’t seen a vibrator in your things, this will do in a pinch.” He flicked it on and then off again. “Now, if you can promise not to yell at me or insult me I’ll remove the gag.”

  Celia nodded.

  “You sure?”

  Another vigorous nod.

  He untied it and swallowed whatever she’d been about to say in a ravenous kiss. Basking in her surrender to him. Damn difficult to ignore his body’s urging to sink into her. “Am I thinking about pleasing anyone but my beautiful, sexy wife right now?”


  “Say it back to me. Who you are.”

  “I am your wife.”

  Kyle clicked on the electric razor and placed the backside of the buzzing object directly on her clit. “Liked me touchin’ you?”

  “Do ya think?” She moaned. “God. Kyle. Please. I’m already so close.”

  He latched onto her right nipple and sucked hard, working that tip, until he heard the hitch in her breathing.

  Celia cried out as the orgasm unfurled.

  With his mouth around her nipple, he felt every throb on his lips.

  As the last pulse ended, Kyle tossed the shaver aside, spread her legs wide, and impaled her. Fucking her with short, fast jabs that kept constant friction on her clit. Gritting his teeth against coming right then when another orgasm rocked her.

  She actually released a little scream.

  The rhythmic squeezing of her cunt muscles around his shaft felt so good he about lost his fucking mind.

  As soon as her body slumped against the mattress, Kyle wrapped her legs around his waist with a terse “Hold on,” and dropped his hands by her head.

  He slammed his cock deep with every thrust. Sucking in gasping breaths filled with Celia’s honey-sweet scent. Feeling her warmth and softness absorbing his powerful thrusts.

  “So good. God, Celia. It’s never been like this. Ever. Nothing that came before you matters.” His shaft slid into that hot, gripping tunnel twice more. His balls tightened and he finally gave in to the ear-roaring, blood-pumping, heart-pounding orgasm that wrung him out.

  When Kyle could function again, he kissed Celia’s throat, up over her chin, and gazed into her sated eyes. He considered trying to come up with something poetic or even romantic. Seemed he could sweet-talk all day long if he was trying to talk his way into a woman’s bed. But he’d never meant those words. And now when he did…they got stuck in his mouth.

  He said the only thing he could think of. “So, what’s for supper?”

  And his sweet, fiery Celia looked at him and laughed. “It’s your turn to cook. Besides, I’m a little tied up at the moment.”

  Yep. Kyle definitely loved every damn thing about his woman.

  Chapter Nine

  A loud, “Jesus. Seriously? Today?” brought Celia out of the kitchen.

  A woman with a red dye job, wearing lots of makeup and a fake cheetah-print coat sashayed up the driveway.

  “Who’s that?”

  He looked at her strangely. “My mother.”

  Celia squinted at her. “Cut me some slack. The last time I saw her I was sixteen. And she was a brunette.”

  “Hell, I saw her at Christmas and she was blond.”

  “Did you invite her over?”

  “And forget to tell you? No. I haven’t called her and she knows I’m mad. She better not bitch about sleepin’ on the floor if she plans to spend the night with us.”

  Holy crap. It hit home that she actually had a mother-in-law. A mother-in-law who might be spending the night? She fought the urge to hide in the kitchen as Kyle let his mother in.

  “Hey, Mom.”

  She hugged him fiercely. “My boy. I’m so glad to see you.”

  “You should’ve called.”

  “I did. But you’re not answering my calls.”

  “I’ve been busy.”

  “Busy being pissed off?”

  “That too.”

  “I figured. I’ve given you more than a week and I suspected you’d take a month, so I decided to be proactive.” She hugged him again. “You’re looking fit.”

  Kyle snorted. He held his hand out for Celia.

  She took a deep breath and stood beside Kyle.

  “This is my wife, Celia.”

  Kyle hadn’t even told his mother her name? Her first thought was he was embarrassed to be married to her. Her second thought was he didn’t want Celia to get close to his mother because she repeatedly reminded him she wasn’t sticking around past the six-month mark.

  Her green eyes, identical to Kyle’s, narrowed skeptically. “Little Celia Lawson? My God. Kyle used to bitch about you all the time and now you’re married to him?”

  “Jesus, Mom.”

  “Sorry.” She smiled tightly. “I’m Sherry Gilchrist. Despite all the years my son spent at your brother’s place we’ve never met, have we?” Sherry’s voice had the rasp of a lifelong smoker.

  “We met a long time ago. But it’s nice to see you, Sherry.”

  “Couldn’t’ve been that long ago, honey, ’cause you ain’t that old. Then again…now I remember. Good Lord. You still look about sixteen.”

  Kyle muttered, “I need a fuckin’ drink,” and bailed into the kitchen.

  Celia would make him pay later for abandoning her.

  Sherry’s gaze tracked everything in the room. “This place is—”

  “We’re doin’ some updates,” Celia said hastily. “Everything is kind of a mess.”

  “So a tour of my son’s home is out?”

  Intentional use of my son’s home seemed a little combative. “No. But I’ll warn ya. It’ll take about three minutes.”

  Sherry didn’t say much besides, “I see Kyle still doesn’t make his bed.” Followed by, “I imagine Kyle hates the pink bathrooms.” Sherry lifted a brow at Celia’s pink shirt. “He has an aversion to anything pink.”

  Smile. “There are chairs in the kitchen if you’d like to sit.”

  Kyle’s glass of whiskey stopped halfway to his mouth. He looked at Celia and Sherry guiltily. “What?”

  “Why don’t you offer your mother a drink?”

  “Nothing alcoholic for me, thanks. I’m driving. I’ll have orange juice, which I know is stocked in the fridge because Kyle drinks about a gallon of it a week. He’s loved it since he was a boy.”

  Celia had known about Kyle’s juice addiction for years. What bothered her was the almost…jealous aspect of Sherry’s comments.

  You’re being paranoid. This is Kyle’s mother. There is no competition.

  Kyle parked himself
across from Sherry. “You drove to Rawlins by yourself?”

  “No. Rick is visiting a friend at the prison.”

  “Big surprise he’s got friends in the slammer,” Kyle muttered.

  Sherry’s, “Be nice,” admonishment was followed by a low-pitched smoker’s laugh. “I know you’ve never liked Rick.”

  “You deserve better.”

  “And that’s why I didn’t date while you were growing up. None of them would’ve passed the Kyle test.”

  That comment jarred her. Sounds like Kyle had been as protective of his mother as her brothers had been of her.

  He smiled. “True. So how long you stayin’?”

  “Until we get some things straight. Took me an hour to get my courage up to head up the driveway or I’da been here sooner.”

  Good thing Kyle’s mother hadn’t shown up earlier, when her bawdy, bossy son had Celia on her knees in the hallway, hands tied with a bandana as she blew him to heaven. She set the juice on the table. “I’ll leave you two to talk.”

  “Huh-uh. You’re my wife. Whatever she says will affect you too, so have a seat.”

  Sherry wasn’t thrilled about Kyle’s decree and seemed to study Celia closer than ever when Kyle wrapped one arm around her shoulder.

  But her focus returned to Kyle when he demanded, “I wanna know how you got knocked up by Marshall Townsend.”

  “Kyle, I—”

  “Save it. No excuses. We’re getting some things straight, remember? So start talking.”

  When Sherry pressed her hands to her cheeks, Celia noticed the manicure with little red hearts for Valentine’s Day. Even Kyle’s mother was a girly girl. She curled her rough-skinned fingers into her palms. She’d had a manicure exactly once in her twenty-five years and it was only because Harper did it for free.

  Once in a while Kyle would toss off a comment about Celia acting like a man or looking like a man from behind in her Carhartt overalls. She hadn’t mentioned it bothered her because she was still finding her footing and discovering verbal boundaries, when in the past everything Kyle had said to her seemed to set her off. The truth was, she wasn’t outwardly feminine very often. She didn’t devote time to fussing with her appearance when her day was spent outside dealing with livestock. Her clothes were comfortable rather than fashionable, with the exception of the blouses and belts she’d worn in the arena—those had a little flash. There was nothing wrong with living in boots and jeans.

  Was there? Did it bother Kyle that she didn’t take the time to doll herself up?

  When Sherry started to speak she snapped back to attention.

  “I’ve worked in restaurants since I was thirteen. I washed dishes, bused tables, and worked my way up to waitress. When I turned twenty-one I started working in bars. I’ve either bartended or been a cocktail waitress for the last thirty-nine years.”

  Kyle wore an impatient look. This was all old news to him. Celia had to wonder why Sherry was rehashing it. For her benefit? So Celia would know how hard Sherry’s life had been?

  “I’d been bartending at the VFW in Rawlins for a year, trying to figure out what to do with my life. The age group was mostly married middle-aged guys, so they were always flirting with me. Pretty harmless most of the time. Their wives didn’t like me ’cause I was hot stuff back in those days.”

  Celia had no problem envisioning a younger Sherry. Vivacious. Built like a dream. She could probably bullshit with the best of them and mix a mean drink with complete charm. Kyle was a total chip off the old block.

  “Marshall only showed up once a month. He was a good-looking man, around forty-five. Respectful. Good tipper. I didn’t really flirt with him, but I didn’t have to. I knew by the way he looked at me that he wanted me. We talked and I found out he was in a bad marriage. He saw no way out of it since he’d taken over his wife’s family ranch.

  “One night he’d stuck around while I closed down, and he kissed me. I’d never been kissed with such…I don’t want to say desperation, but that’s what it was. And it’d been a long time since I’d been with any man, so I said yes when he asked if I’d spend the night with him. We checked into a motel. Without going into too much detail, I think he lived out all his sexual fantasies in that one night. In the morning he’d said if I told anyone, he’d deny it.”

  “Classy,” Kyle said with a snarl.

  “I ended up pregnant, which was ironic because he told me he was sterile. I quit my job at the VFW, moved to Casper to work as a waitress. Even at age twenty-eight I wasn’t ready for motherhood and I had every intention of putting my baby up for adoption. But the first time I felt Kyle move inside me, I knew I’d do whatever it took to keep him.” Sherry’s eyes filled with tears and she reached for a napkin. “It wasn’t easy being a single mom, working late-night bar hours, trying to find decent child care when I had a nighttime job. But we managed. I stuck it out in Casper for ten years.

  “Then one of my old bosses opened up a new supper club in Rawlins and she asked me to train the waitstaff. The money was better, so I returned to where I’d started.”

  “Did you leave when you were pregnant because you were afraid of Marshall’s reaction?” Kyle asked.

  “No. Maybe. It was a blur.”

  “And never once during those years we struggled, did you think to contact Marshall and demand he support me? Support us? You eventually had the proof that I was his kid. Why didn’t you do it sooner?”

  Sherry took a long sip of her orange juice. “I was a cocktail waitress, Kyle. In a small town. For all Marshall knew, and the way he acted, since I’d slept with him so easily, I’d probably slept with other men that easily all the time.”


  Celia believed Sherry. Harper’s mother had also spent her life working in bars. Even before her mother had run off, she had a reputation as an easy piece, which everyone in town believed, regardless if it was true.

  “I wish it was bullshit. Marshall and I didn’t run in the same circles in Rawlins and we crossed paths only one time. And his wife was with him.”

  Kyle suddenly sat up and snapped his fingers. “Wait. I remember that. At the fall festival my junior year. I was about sixteen? I’d given up football for rodeo. You volunteered to work the concession stand with me. When they showed up you were really weird. You kept telling me to check the popcorn maker. Like four times.”

  Her eyes turned shrewd. “You remember that?”

  “I just remembered it. You never gave a shit what anyone thought of you, but you were self-conscious in front of them. It was the first time I’d ever seen you like that.”

  “After seeing him with his nasty wife I remembered why I never told him about you.” Sherry dabbed her eyes. “She would’ve been horrible to you, Kyle, since you were born on the wrong side of the sheets. I’ll own up to any mistakes I made raising you alone, but having someone that bitter in your life…I don’t regret keeping you from that.”

  “Did he know that night?”

  She shook her head. “The night you were in the motorcycle accident I drove out here, pretty hysterical. I said if you needed surgery, he needed to help pay for it because you were his son. He called me every name in the book. Basically threw me out of his house. But a couple of days later he tracked me down and demanded a paternity test.”

  Kyle got up and grabbed a beer. Instead of returning to his chair, he paced. “So he knew I was his son and did nothing.” He faced Sherry, his face a mask of confusion and anger. “Why?”

  “I can’t answer that. I wish I could. I didn’t know him either, Kyle. I had a few conversations with him thirty-some years ago. One night with him. When he found out about you…you were an adult, his wife was dead, and he had proof you were his kid. He should have—”

  “Since he didn’t bother, the responsibility should’ve been yours,” Kyle snapped.

  Sherry stood and got in his face. “No, sirree. I will not apologize for this. I’ve spent my entire life looking out for you and protecting you. I
sure as shit wasn’t gonna give him a chance to reject you. Didn’t matter if you were nine or nineteen or ninety. It still would’ve hurt you. God, look at you—it’s hurting you now.” She swallowed with difficulty. “It would’ve changed you. The ball was completely in his court, Kyle. His. Not mine. Not yours. I didn’t know he was dying or maybe I would’ve done something sooner. But the damn man didn’t call me until he was on his deathbed. And when he told me he was finally going to make it right with you, I called you immediately.”

  “So you’re saying you wouldn’t have done anything differently?”

  She stared at him for a long minute. “Honestly? Probably not.”

  Kyle shook his head. “What you did was wrong.”

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