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One night rodeo, p.28
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       One Night Rodeo, p.28

         Part #4 of Blacktop Cowboys series by Lorelei James

  His abrupt change from charming to commanding brought a wee bit of trepidation. But she followed his instructions.

  The nightstand drawer behind her opened. What was he getting? Handcuffs? The nipple clamps they hadn’t used yet?

  He slipped a soft sleep mask over her eyes. “Arms behind your back.” As soon as her arms were in place she felt soft rope binding her wrists together.

  “How long have you been planning this?”

  “Since I saw your eyes heat when I mentioned tying you up.”

  “I have a crappy poker face.”

  Kyle’s breath skated across her ear. “I know.”

  “Is that why you showed up at Breck’s poker games? Because you knew I’d be an easy mark?”

  “No. I showed up so I could be in the same room with you, watching you, and no one would think anything of it.”

  Her breath caught. “Really? Why?”

  “Because I’ve wanted you for a lot longer than I let on, Celia. And now? I’ve got you right where I want you.”

  “Tied up?”

  “Naked and tied up.” He tugged her backward to settle her on the bed, pushing her thighs apart and tracing her slit. “Naked, tied up, and wet.”

  “What are you gonna do to me?”

  Kyle chuckled and then his mouth was cruising down her belly. “See how many times I can make you come with those vibrators.”

  Celia jackknifed. “No! Kyle. You can’t.”

  A firm push on her chest and she was flat on the mattress again. “I can so. You gave me free rein, remember? You said I could do anything I wanted with them. All four of them.”

  “Oh God.”

  He moved away. She suspected that if she tried to break free, the demented man would tie her legs to those hook things she’d seen that he’d added to the bottom of the bed frame.

  Then he was back. “Let’s try this one first.” He turned on the one she’d used on him—she recognized the sound—but it didn’t stay by her ear for long.

  Kyle gripped her left thigh and set the buzzing head directly on her clit.

  She arched her hips, not sure if she was trying to throw it off or dig it in deeper.

  “Steady. Let it happen. Because, kitten, it’s gonna happen.”

  Her heart pounded. This wouldn’t last long. She might even beat his time.

  Then the whirring sound increased. “I turned it to high. Just in case you were curious.” And he added a mean little chuckle.

  “Kyle! You jerk.”

  “Now, now, little wife of mine, is that any way to talk to the man who can keep you on edge for hours and not let you come at all?”

  Dammit. He had a point.

  Before she could retort, her pussy muscles tightened and she came in a blinding rush. The vibrations intensified with each throb. She sighed with relief when he removed the vibrator.

  “Breathe, baby.”

  Celia inhaled and realized Kyle had been right. Her ears were ringing too.

  “How was that, besides fast?”

  “I think my crotch is numb.”

  “Really?” A long, wet tongue licked straight up her sex and she groaned. “Not totally numb.”

  “Thanks for clarifying that for me.”

  “Anytime. Any other comments on the Super Duper Orgasmi-tron 2000?”

  She laughed. “The pulses were intense, but didn’t last as long as when you give me an orgasm. It’s just fast. But I like that slow buildup you do so well.”

  Kyle kissed her for a good, long time. Then he murmured, “Let’s give the purple pussy eater a spin.”

  “You really intend to try every one of those vibrators on me tonight?”


  And he did.

  Celia needed recovery time between trials. Kyle had very inventive ways of keeping her occupied. He was in turn sweet, sexy, funny, raunchy, and demanding. Very demanding.

  After the last vibrator received the thumbs-down, Kyle got rid of her blindfold. He untied the rope. He plastered his body to hers so not an inch of space remained between them.

  He made love to her slowly. So slowly that by the time they reached the end of that long climb to pleasure, they were soaked in sweat.

  After she returned to sanity from that orgasmic high, she said, “Throw the vibrators away. I don’t need them. I don’t want them, when I have you.”

  Kyle stared into her eyes. “You have me, kitten. For as long as you want.” The kiss he bestowed on her lips nearly brought tears to her eyes.

  She was in so deep with him. Because she wanted him forever.

  Chapter Eighteen

  Kyle wasn’t the most tech-savvy guy, but he’d managed to track down the right department at the Nevada Marriage Bureau to get his questions answered, since no one ever answered the phone at the Trade Winds Wedding Chapel.

  Being on hold sucked.

  This was the third time he’d been transferred, and a bad feeling started to take root.

  A voice came on the line. “Sorry for the wait. Please spell your last name for me again?”

  “G-i-l-c-h-r-i-s-t. First name, Kyle.”

  “What was the bride’s last name?”

  “Lawson. L-a-w-s-o-n. First name, Celia.”

  Clickety-clack sounded through the receiver. He paced, but the dread weighting him down made the movement seem sluggish.

  “You said the ceremony took place at the Winds of Change Chapel at the Trade Winds Casino?”

  “Yes, ma’am.”

  A sigh echoed. “No wonder. I haven’t received any paperwork from that venue for the last two months.”

  Kyle froze. “Excuse me?”

  “No marriage certificates have been requested or filed with the State of Nevada since November.”

  “But we filled out the paperwork! We signed it, the witnesses signed it, the officiant signed it. Everything was done before we exchanged vows and I paid the bill.”

  “Do you have a receipt?”

  “For the rings. I didn’t figure I needed a receipt for the damn marriage!” He inhaled. “Sorry. This is a nightmare.”

  “Yes, sir, I’m sure it is. But at this point there’s nothing else I can do for you, except direct you to the state’s wedding licensing and permit division. They can check to see if the Winds of Change Chapel is currently licensed or if their license somehow lapsed or expired altogether.”

  Kyle sat down hard on the office chair. “Lapsed? How is that even possible?”

  “Wedding chapels have a yearly licensing fee. If it isn’t paid, then they’re operating without a valid license and any ceremonies performed on the premises aren’t legally recognized by the state. Once the fees are brought current, then that paperwork is allowed to be filed. Unless…”

  “Unless what?”

  “Unless the state license has lapsed for more than sixty days. In that case, most owners opt to apply for a new license rather than pay the hefty penalties and reinstatement fees. But don’t worry. I’ve never seen that happen in the five years I’ve worked here.”

  Kyle’s thoughts flashed back to the Under New Ownership signs that’d been all over the casino and the wedding chapel. His sense of dread exploded into full-blown panic.

  What if he and Celia weren’t really married?

  “Sir? Is there anything else I can help you with?”

  “I don’t suppose you’ve got the number handy for the state licensing commission?”

  “I’ll just go ahead and transfer you to that department.”

  “Thanks.” He started to feel light-headed as he waited for the next representative to come on the line. He forced slow and steady breaths. So by the time his call was answered, he felt a little calmer.

  Until he heard the news he’d feared. The Winds of Change Chapel had no valid permits. Not only that, but two days after they married, the state gaming commission had stepped in and closed down the entire Trade Winds facility, locking away all paperwork as evidence.

  When Kyle pressed the phone r
ep to offer advice, his was simple: No marriage certificate meant no legally recognized marriage.

  At that point Kyle had to put his head between his knees.

  Celia wasn’t his wife. He had no claim to her.

  He swallowed convulsively until the dizziness subsided.

  He loved her. If he was completely fucking honest with himself, he wouldn’t have married her at all if he hadn’t been in love with her.

  Why couldn’t he admit that to himself?

  Why couldn’t he admit that to her? That he’d hoped at the end of the six months she’d be as crazy in love with him as he was with her?


  He needed more time to make sure that happened. Each day, hell, each hour he spent with her in the last month made him fall even more in love with her. And he suspected she’d grown more attached to him the more time they’d spent together.

  So if she knew they weren’t really legally married? Celia would honor their verbal contract and stay to help him through calving. But on an intimate level? She’d retreat. She’d be embarrassed by the oversight, especially after the huge shower the community had thrown for them. Especially after the issues her brothers had raised.

  No way could he run the ranch without her. He didn’t want to run it without her. It was as much hers as his. He closed his eyes, reminded of the words Breck had tossed off the day after their marriage. That Kyle had nothing to offer Celia. His inheritance had changed that in so many ways and he finally felt like a man worthy of her. Because he knew what she wanted and he could give it to her. Not life on the road as a barrel racer, but a home of her own. A ranch. A life with him—a man who loved her body and soul and understood her completely.

  And now he was supposed to tell her…Hey, we aren’t married because we were both too shit-faced to check the freakin’ permits.

  Yeah, that would go over well.

  Don’t be a jackass. Tell her the truth. Tell her you love her. Tell her you want to marry her for real this time. A real wedding ceremony that she’ll remember, with her family and all your friends in attendance. With a wedding dance, a honeymoon, the whole shebang.

  No. Celia would rather save face than admit the marriage wasn’t a love match.

  But still, he’d have to tell her the truth soon. The devil on his shoulder poked him hard.

  Or would he?

  Kyle was awful damn good at playing dumb—not that it was always an act. Since their discussion about money, Celia hadn’t mentioned needing the marriage license to change her name on her driver’s license or her Social Security card.

  So, realistically, he could pretend that with all the crap they had to deal with regarding the ranch he’d just “forgotten” all about getting a copy of their official marriage license…until she brought it up. Or he could bring it up at the six-month mark. Then they could discover together—snicker—that the paperwork had never gotten filed. That would give him a perfect opening to confess his love for her, and ask her to marry him for real, forever, because he couldn’t live without her.

  That could work.

  That had to work.

  Kyle was in a foul mood.

  Celia had known it would happen sometime. Except for the couple of times she’d caught him brooding in the barn, he had been far too even-keeled about his ranch heritage and the massive changes and responsibilities in his life in the last six weeks. Naturally his anger issues had to happen on a day when she was feeling less than confident about the changes in their relationship. He’d gotten quiet when she’d brought up the financial deadline for fall class registration.

  He’d been pissy about a lot of stuff the last few days.

  So she got pissy right back. “For the third time, Kyle. What do you want to do with all this stuff?”

  Kyle scowled at the pile of clothes on the bed. “How the fuck should I know? I’ve never cleaned out my dead father’s closet before.”

  She was tempted to mimic him. Instead she just tore off an oversize garbage bag and started jamming clothes inside the thick plastic.

  “What are you doin’?”

  “Stuffing a turkey, what does it look like?”

  He made a snarling noise instead of laughing. “It looks like you’re throwing it away.”

  “I am. I made an executive decision. You don’t want this shit, I don’t want this shit, so I’m tossing it.”

  Kyle stomped over and ripped the garbage bag from her hands. “I didn’t say I wanted to just shitcan it. I said I don’t know what to do with any of it. Can’t we take it to a shelter or someplace?”

  The shelter comment reminded Celia of the bags of clothing that had filled the basement of Abe’s house for months and then had mostly ended up in the trash anyway. She retorted, “A bum wouldn’t even wear this crap.”

  “Nice shot, Celia.”

  “It’s true.” She snatched a brown-and-yellow-checked flannel shirt from the pile and shook it at Kyle. “Do you really see yourself wearing this? Even for chores? It’s missing buttons. It’s got rips in the elbows, not to mention it’s freakin’ huge. It hangs to your damn knees.”

  “Are you sayin’ I’m a shrimp or something?”

  She stared at him as if he’d lost his mind. “Sensitive much? Obviously Marshall was a rotund guy. You’re not.”

  He mumbled and turned away.

  Oh joy, he was muttering now. “Does that mean you don’t want my help?”

  Kyle shrugged.

  Instead of giving into her increasingly violent temptations, like whipping a hanger at the back of his head, she chose to take the high road. Let him stew in his own crabby juices for a while. She headed for the room they’d set up as an office. In the closet she’d found more boxes of worthless crap. Why would anyone keep broken eyeglasses? The bottom of one box was filled with boxes of rubber bands. All the same size. Maybe there’d been a huge sale on them. A long time ago if the disintegrated condition of the rubber was any indication.

  Celia threw away faded receipts. Newspaper articles. Yellowed recipe cards. Green Stamps booklets and coupons that had expired two decades ago. Had all this stuff belonged to Marshall’s wife? It looked like he’d dumped out several junk drawers straight into the box and shoved it in the closet.

  She found nothing of a personal nature, which made her sad, and she saw no reason to keep any of it. With that mind-set she was able to get through all but two boxes before Kyle came looking for her again.

  The hard set to his mouth indicated that his mood hadn’t improved a bit.

  It wasn’t like she hadn’t tried to make it better. Cajoling hadn’t changed anything. Silence hadn’t changed anything. Being rude hadn’t changed anything. She hadn’t tried smacking him upside the head with a cast-iron frying pan either, but if he kept it up she might be tempted to do just that. At some point during her mental back-and-forth, Celia realized it wasn’t her job as his wife to make that change in attitude happen. It was his problem.

  She reminded herself that married people fought. It was the ebb and flow of finding the fine lines in a relationship. How could she know which line not to cross if she didn’t step a toe over that line once in a while? Things were bound to come to a head between them because they both seemed to sport that attitude. So chances were high if they continued testing those lines they’d be in for a helluva fight.

  Bring it.

  “The bedroom closet is cleared out if you wanna hang your stuff in there.”

  “Thank you.” Celia kept sorting papers. Nothing salvageable. But thank God she hadn’t found any mouse droppings, although it might be easier to set fire to this stuff than sort it.

  “What now?”

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