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Hot buttered rum standal.., p.35
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       Hot Buttered Rum: Standalone Romance (Silk Stocking Inn Book 4), p.35

           Tess Oliver

  “That’s a lot of thinking for a short walk from the barn.”

  He shrugged. “What can I say, woman? You’ve got my head filled with thoughts, all kinds of thoughts.” He shut one eye to let me know he was assessing my dress. “Since you’ve got that hot little denim dress, what do you say we go out dancing tonight? There’s a place up the street that plays a little country and a lot of rock. There’s a crummy dance floor in the middle. Sound good?”

  “Actually, it sounds great.”

  Chapter 18

  After sharing the sandwich on the porch, Jackson had gone back to the barn for the afternoon feeding. I’d headed in to peruse the books in the sitting room. A floor to ceiling dark mahogany bookcase sat on the back wall of the room, which was painted a deep gold color. The vast room was furnished with grand looking furniture, upholstered with rich red and yellow brocade and covered with tassel trimmed pillows.

  I tried to focus on a well-used copy of Pride and Prejudice, but my mind kept slipping off to Jackson and our dance date. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d gone dancing.

  I shut the book for good and tapped a rhythm on the ornately carved wood trim running along the arm of the couch as I stared out the window. The afternoon sun was just starting to droop in the blue sky, but time seemed to be moving at a snail’s pace. As much as I didn’t want the weekend to end, I was anxiously waiting for nightfall. I was like a teenage girl waiting for her first date.

  With Coco gone, it was far too quiet in the house. I decided a quick jaunt to the barn to possibly lend a hand with the hay was what I needed to pass the time along faster.

  I climbed the stairs and grabbed the ankle boots Coco had left for me. They looked amazing with the denim dress. I turned around in the mirror a few times and decided I looked exactly right for a few barn chores. Especially if those chores included some heavy kissing and, with any luck, some heavy petting. And I wasn’t thinking about petting the horses.

  I strolled the long path. Once the barn came into view, I picked up my pace, nearly skipping along in my stylish boots. I hadn’t dressed in western fashion in a long while, mostly because it wasn’t something Nate would have appreciated. I was definitely going to hit a few country western stores once I got back home.

  With the thought of back home, my gait slowed and my shoulders slumped. Back home would mean away from Silk Stocking Inn, and most importantly, it would mean away from Jackson.

  “What have I done?” I asked myself aloud. It seemed I’d tried to patch my former heartbreak with another layer of heartbreak. I stopped and stared at the barn. The entire scene in front of me already seemed so familiar that it felt as if I’d been at the inn for months.

  Jackson walked out of the barn with a wheelbarrow. He was wearing his black hat, a white t-shirt and jeans. He was familiar too. As if I’d known him for months.

  I drew in a deep breath and willed my feet forward. There was no sense in stopping the weekend short just because I was afraid of getting hurt. That horse and buggy had already left the gate. I was well past the point of getting hurt. I’d just have to deal with it when the time came.

  Jackson swung the barrow around and spotted me coming along the path. His smile could light an entire television set. Feeling revived just by seeing him, I picked up my pace and headed toward him.

  He pushed his hat back as I stepped right next to him and hopped up on my toes to kiss him.

  “Well, that sure makes barn chores a lot sweeter.” He pushed the wheelbarrow, and I walked alongside him.

  “I’m here to lend a helping hand . . . with the hay.” I smiled flirtatiously his direction. “Or whatever else you might need.”

  “Is that right? Since I’m already finished feeding, I guess I’ll have to come up with whatever else.” He parked the wheelbarrow outside the barn and stripped off his gloves, an innocent enough action that caused my already tender pussy to clench. Jackson had awakened feelings and desires in me that I’d apparently buried during my long relationship with Nate. Now that they’d resurfaced, I had no intention of tamping them down again.

  Music was coming from a radio in the barn. I followed him into the tack room.

  “Counting Crows playing Four White Stallions. I love this song.” I walked over to the radio on the shelf and turned it up. I swung around and discovered Jackson had been watching me. “It’s just the right blend of rock and country, don’t you think?”

  He nodded. “Just the right damn blend, Becca.” He reached out his hand. I took it. He pulled me close and placed his other arm around my back. “Who needs to waste a night in a crowded bar when we’ve got each other and a perfectly good dance floor.” He tapped the cement floor with his boot. “And the Counting Crows singing country rock tunes.”

  The great music, the lighting in the breezeway and the warm scent of hay and animals created an incredibly romantic ambience for a girl who was quickly discovering that she’d left a piece of her heart back in the country on her grandpa’s ranch.

  Jackson swung me around. My head felt dizzy with it all. I lolled my head back. He spun me around again and then pulled me tightly against him. I rested my face on his shoulder, trying to remember if I’d ever felt so secure and safe with Nate as I did with Jackson.

  “Thank you, Jackson.” I said it so quietly, I was sure he hadn’t heard.

  “For what, Becca?”

  “For this. For being you. For helping me find my heart again.”

  He responded by closing his arms around me tighter. We danced until the song ran out.

  Chapter 19

  Daylight was shifting to evening outside the barn.

  Jackson finished our impromptu dance session with a kiss. “I was thinkin’ maybe we should just stay in tonight. It’s your last night, and I don’t really want to share you with anyone else.”

  His mention of it being my last night made my heart sink in my chest. What would happen once I left the inn? We’d never discussed anything more than the weekend. In fact, he’d made it quite clear that I was his ‘for the weekend’. I’d given him just that--all of me, without hesitation. But I’d needed this, I’d needed something to take my mind off Nate dumping me. There was no way I was going to let any form of regret seep in and take hold of me.

  Jackson pushed up my chin, and his brows creased together as he looked at me. “Did I say something wrong? We could still go out dancing.”

  I shook my head. “No, there’s nothing wrong. And I’d rather not share you tonight either.”

  “Great.” Jackson walked over and picked up a bridle from the sawhorse. His boots thumped the floor as he went to hang it on the wall hook.

  I watched his muscular back and shoulders move beneath the fabric of his shirt as he lifted his strong arms to the hook. I needed badly to shake off the melancholy feelings that had swept over me. I decided right then that taking a little initiative might be fun.

  While his back was turned to me, I unbuttoned the bodice of the denim dress. The buttons led all the way down to my belly button.

  I’d just finished pushing aside the panels to expose my bra as he turned back around. He was holding a rope in his hand. A wickedly charming smile crept up on his face. His cool green gaze slid down to my exposed bra and stomach. He tried hard not to be shocked that I’d opened my dress, but I was sure I detected a small, tense twitch in his jaw.

  “Seems like you and me were thinking the same damn thing.” His deep, rich drawl sent a shiver through me.

  I looked pointedly at the rope in his hand. “Are you going ropin’, cowboy?”

  “Sure as hell am.” As he walked toward me, he took a rope end in each hand. He reached me and dropped the rope around me. With one quick tug, he had me solid against him.

  I smiled up at him. “Guess you really were going roping.”

  “Not d
one yet.” He held me against him with the rope circled behind my back, and he kissed me. It was a deep, urgent kiss. I melted against him, wanting more of it.

  His hungry mouth trailed down my neck to my bra. His tongue swept beneath the lace to tease my nipples. I reached between us for his fly and unbuttoned his pants. His deep groan tickled my naked skin as I slid my hand into his pants and took hold of his cock. It was hard and hot in my fingers as I pulled it free of his jeans.

  I stroked him. He moved his hips, urging me along. Then, with a growl, he let go of one side of the rope and took hold of my wrist. I released him. He walked me to the wall where the lead ropes hung from a hook. With one swift movement, he picked up all the ropes and tossed them to the floor of the stall.

  His lids were heavy with lust, almost astonishingly so, and I trembled with anticipation of what was to come.

  “Just occurred to me that I was standing in a place with a lot of rope and the hottest damn woman in the world. Why waste an opportunity?”

  “Huh?” I sighed dreamily. “I’m sorry I faded off with the words ‘hottest damn woman in the world’.”

  He lowered his face to kiss me again, distracting me temporarily as he tied the rope he was holding around my wrists.

  “Well, this is different.” I giggled nervously against his mouth.

  “Yep. Thought I’d try something new.” He lifted my bound hands above my head and tied the rope to the hook on the wall. I should have been shocked and even a little worried, but I wasn’t. Jackson had a power over me that made me want to yield to all his commands. When it came to sex, I was his. He’d unleashed a whole other part of me that I was rather enjoying.

  He slid his hands beneath the panels of the dress and swept his palms over my back as he kissed my breasts. I moved to put my hands in his hair and remembered, with a hot blush, that my hands were tied and I was bound to the wall. It was excitingly erotic being at his mercy. My pussy surged with moist heat.

  Jackson pulled his hands out from the dress and shoved the bottom half up above my waist. He dropped down to his knees in front of me. I was lightheaded, as my pulse raced with the thought of him taking me with my hands tied above my head.

  “Hell, Becca, I can’t get enough of you. I want you every second of the day. You should be touched every second of the day.” His fingers pushed down my panties. I felt them slide down to my boots. Jackson rose up on his knees and kissed the tender skin around my pussy as he reached down and lifted my boot out of the panties. He moved my feet wide. The rope tugged at my wrists.

  Then he picked up my leg and draped it over his shoulder. He did the same with the other. I was sitting on his shoulders but facing him, my pussy directly in front of his mouth. It took the weight off my wrists, but I was still defenseless.

  I rested my head back and luxuriated in the feel of his mouth on my pussy.

  He reached around to my ass, pushing his fingers into the crack and spreading me wide so his tongue could reach every intimate fold and crease. My hands tingled above my head, but it was nothing compared to the frissons of pleasure overwhelming the rest of my body.

  “Oh, Jackson, everything you do . . .” My voice trailed off. I could no longer think coherent thoughts. The light and colors of the barn swirled into a blended haze. My body stiffened and I pressed my pussy hard against Jackson’s mouth as he brought me easily to climax.

  “Damn, baby, you taste like fucking candy,” Jackson muttered as he lowered my feet to the ground. Having my hands bound was helping to keep me from crumpling to the floor in a whimpering puddle.

  Jackson watched me through heavy lids as he jammed his jeans down to his thighs. In my haze, I saw him move toward me, but my eyes drifted shut as he wrapped his hands around my ass. He lifted me just slightly off the ground. I threw my legs around his waist.

  “Damn, you are something else, Rebecca.”

  His words and hearing him call me by my real name made my throat tighten. He took firm hold of my bottom and held me as he drove his cock into me. “Fuck yeah,” he sighed deeply, as if the all the tension in his body had been released in one motion.

  I held him firmly with my legs. My hands grew slightly numb from the rope, but I hardly noticed. All of my focus was on the sweet spot between my legs where Jackson was penetrating me with a frantic hunger that thrilled me.

  “This is where I belong, Becca. Right between your legs, always and forever.” He moved faster against me, reviving some of the earlier pulses of pleasure that had nearly overwhelmed my pussy. He caused a delicious ache that made me want even more.

  His hands tightened around my ass. He shoved into me deep and hard until his body went rigid and a deep growl rose in his chest. He held me there, his cock still buried inside of me, until his ragged breathing slowed.

  Then, he lowered my feet to the ground and quickly untied my hands. He took them between his own large hands and rubbed away the numbness. He lifted my hands to his mouth and kissed the pink marks the rope had left on my wrists.

  “Sorry about that.”

  I stared down proudly at the marks. “Kinky. I like it. Besides, it’ll fade soon. My skin is sensitive.”

  He put his arm around me. “That explains why you react so instantly to my touch.”

  “That has nothing to do with my sensitive skin and everything to do with the hot cowboy, who seems to know exactly what I want and need.”

  He kissed me. “I’m thinking we should both freshen up, raid the refrigerator for some grub and start the kinky stuff all over.”

  “I like the way you think.” I pulled my panties up and my dress down.

  He buttoned up his jeans. “I’m just going to finish straightening up in here. I’ll see you at the house.”

  “All right. Don’t be too long. I’m starved.”

  “Are ya? Well, shit little woman, just get your ass over here again. I think I can work up some more energy for another round.”

  “Uh, I was talking about the grub. But I’m looking forward to the dessert too.” I winked and stepped out of the tack room. I walked to Archie’s stall to say good-night.

  Archie was lying on the ground next to an untouched mound of hay. He lifted his big head and blinked lazily at me. But this wasn’t a sleepy horse. I hurried back to the tack room.

  “Jackson, Archie’s on the ground and he didn’t finish dinner.”

  “Damn it.” He followed me to Archie’s stall.

  Archie was still on the ground, trying to roll his big body over.

  “Guess I’ll see you at the house later.” Jackson grabbed Archie’s halter. “Looks like I’ll be tending to a belly ache.”

  “Should I call a vet?”

  “Not yet. Archie can be overly dramatic. I’m going to walk him around and keep an eye on him. I’ve got a phone out here if I need to call the vet.”

  “All right. I’ll bring you out some food.” I looked into the stall. “Feel better, Archie.”

  “Hey, Becca.”

  I stopped and looked back at him.

  “Good catch. You really do know horses.”

  Chapter 20

  After a hot shower, I’d pulled back on the jeans and shirt, for practicality. I headed down to the kitchen. Jackson hadn’t come back to the house, so I could only conclude that he was still tending to the sick horse.

  I leaned into the refrigerator. A white casserole dish sat on the top shelf with a note taped to the top. “Rebecca, this is for dinner. Heat it in the oven for thirty minutes at 375.” I walked over to the oven and turned it on.

  I hated to wait so long for the dinner to heat, but chances were, Jackson was still busy with Archie. When a horse had an upset stomach, or colic, then the animal had to be walked and kept on his feet. Rolling or lying on the ground could cause more problems.

  I stuck
the casserole, a tuna noodle delight, complete with crunchy topping, into the heated oven and headed to the sitting room. I realized that I’d gone more than a day without looking at my phone or computer, and it was pretty darn freeing. Growing up with my grandpa, it was the one thing he would scold me about. ‘Too much damn time staring a screen and not enough time looking at the world around you’. It was one of his favorite chants, and one I never forgot.

  I sat down on the elegant tufted sofa and picked up a book that had been left on the corner table. It was Louis L’Amour, The Riders of High Rock, one of my grandpa’s favorites. He used to sit in his easy chair under his big brass reading lamp and read. It wouldn’t be longer than fifteen minutes of page turning before his head would droop, his chin would tuck against his chest and he would start snoring right along with his dogs. There had been many times back then when I’d yearned for my parents, but Grandpa filled a void that they’d left behind. It wasn’t easy raising a teenage girl, but he did a pretty damn good job.

  I closed the book and held it on my lap as I rested my head back and shut my eyes. This weekend had been unforgettable. Tomorrow was Sunday, and Monday morning, I’d be back at work to start my crazy job schedule all over again. I would have to say my good-byes and leave this wonderful place. I wasn’t completely sure what would happen. I’d started something with Jackson that had felt like more than just a fun fling. The intimacy we’d shared had created a connection. Or, at least it had for me. Since I was terrible at reading men’s feelings, I had no idea how Jackson felt. I would wait and see how things went.

  I should’ve been kicking myself for letting myself feel attached to him, but I wouldn’t have missed the last twenty-four hours for the world. They’d helped me recuperate some of that self-confidence I’d lost when Nate dumped me. I was no longer questioning why he left but smiling about the fact that he’d given up something awesome.

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