His eyes traveled to her breasts, visible even under his oversized shirt, and she delighted him by blushing. He smoothed out the bedroll and took off first her hat, then his own. He tossed them both onto the mossy creek bank.

He touched the small silver studs in her earlobes and then her hair, coiled in a thick knot at the nape of her neck. 'I want to take your hair down.'

Her lips curved in gentle permission.

He took the pins out, one at a time, and set them carefully inside his own hat. When the shining cloud of her hair finally fell free, he caught it in his hands and brought it gently to his lips. 'Dear God, how I've missed you.'

She put her arms around him and gazed up. 'It's not going to be a fairy-tale marriage, is it, my darling?'

He smiled softly. 'I don't see how. We're both hot-tempered and stubborn. We're going to argue.'

'Do you mind very much?'

'I wouldn't have it any other way.'

She pressed her cheek to his chest. 'Fairy-tale princes always seemed dull to me.'

'My wild rose of the deep wood. Things between us will never be dull.'

'What did you call me?'

'Nothing.' He stilled her question with his lips. 'Nothing at all.'

The kiss that began gently grew until it set them both on fire. Cain plowed his fingers through her hair and cupped her head between his hands. 'Undress for me, will you, sweet?' he groaned softly. 'I've dreamed of this for so long.'

She knew at once how she would do it, in the way that would give him the most pleasure. Tossing him a teasing grin, she rid herself of her boots and stockings, then peeled off her britches. He groaned as the long flannel shirttail fell modestly below her hips. She reached beneath it, pulled off her white pantalets, and dropped them next to her.

'I don't have anything on under this shirt. I seemed to have forgotten my chemise. On purpose.'

He could barely keep himself from leaping up and taking her. 'You're a wicked woman, Mrs. Cain.'

Her hand traveled to the top button of her shirt.

'You're about to find out just how wicked I am, Mr. Cain.'

Never had buttons been opened so slowly. It was as if each unfastening could be accomplished with only the most leisurely of movements. Even when the shirt was finally unbuttoned, the heavy material kept it together in the front.

'I'm going to count to ten,' he said huskily.

'Count all you want, Yankee. It won't do you a bit of good.' With a devil's smile, she peeled away the shirt, slow inch by inch, until she finally stood naked before him.

'I didn't remember it right,' he muttered thickly. 'How beautiful you are. Come to me, love.'

She sped across the chilled ground toward him. Only when she reached him did she wonder if she could still please him. What if having a baby had changed her in some way?

He caught her hand and pulled her beside him. Gently he cupped her fuller breasts. 'Your body is different.'

She nodded. 'I'm a little scared.'

'Are you, love?' He tilted up her chin and grazed her mouth with his own. 'I'd die before I'd hurt you.'

His lips were soft. 'Not that. I'm afraid… I won't please you anymore.'

'Maybe I won't be able to please you,' he breathed softly.

'Silly' she murmured.

'Silly,' he whispered back.

They smiled and kissed until the barrier of his clothing became too much for them. They worked at it together so that nothing was left between them, and as their kisses deepened, they fell back onto the bedroll.

A wisp of cloud skidded over the moon, casting moving shadows on the ancient walls of the canyon, but the lovers didn't notice. Clouds and moons and canyons, a baby with a valentine face, an old lady who smelled of peppermint-all of it ceased to exist. For now, their world was small, made up of only a man and a woman, joined together at last.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Вы читаете Just Imagine aka Risen Glory
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