Finding the one woman on the planet you want to spend your life with: that’s the hard part, or so West Hamilton thought. What he discovered, though, was that keeping that woman was even harder.
She was so complex and complicated, which turned out to be endearing and infuriating all at once. The one thing he knew though, was what she needed. And she needed to feel loved and respected. He even chased her all of the way back to Texas to prove it.
She had to make concessions so he would, too. After all, she was worth it. He was still in charge, anyway…mostly.
The tall, dark-haired temptress clutched my precious little redhead one last time. They were best friends; it was hard to let go. I understood. My patience was wearing thin, however, since it was Sunday and I only had a couple of days with Blake all to myself before the new guests arrived.
As the Bar H owner I allowed the staff two days and three nights? rest before bringing in the families, couples, and singles for the ten-day full ranch experience. Wednesday we?d start all over again. Except after a long day of work I?d have my Blake to come home to this time, a comforting and tempting prospect.
Caroline hugged her and then held her shoulders and lectured her, I?m sure, about how Blake and I barely knew each other and how she should come home whenever she felt I was being unfair, or overbearing, or mean, or pretty much if I sneezed in her direction. I would never hurt Blake.
It was hard to believe that it had only been ten short days since I?d first laid eyes on her. She was tiny and she?d been standing there next to the bombshell everyone else was staring at. But not me.
Her hair was like a sunset on the plains, deep and dark red. Her eyes were as green as the meadows out here on the ranch. I wanted nothing more than to run a finger across her cheek and feel how smooth her flawless skin was. And her ass in those jeans? Please. It was made for my touch. Mine alone.
And then she?d looked at me. Right at me. My heart almost stopped and I knew that I had to talk to her, had to get her to talk to me, no matter what. She looked vulnerable and in need of attention and I was more than happy to give it to her. True, I came across as overprotective but people twice her size get hurt on ranches. I couldn?t let her get hurt.
She?d seemed a little sad, a little defeated, every time I approached her, but the more I annoyed her the more her hot little temper came out. A sweet girl. Not a pushover.
I loved that about her.
Rowdy stood next to me on the runway about a mile away from the main area of the Bar H. I could tell he was upset that his beautiful girl was leaving and going back to Texas, but as they hugged and kissed and gave each other tight-lipped grins I knew that both of them would be finding someone new pretty damn soon.
Then Caroline turned her eyes on me, the wind blowing her long dark hair across her severe face and set shoulders. Shit, she wanted to rip my balls off.
?If you hurt her, physically or emotionally, I will napalm your fucking ranch, do you hear me??
Jesus Christ. I nodded, giving Blake a reassuring smile as she rolled her eyes, though I wasn?t convinced that was a joke. These girls were best friends and would certainly destroy someone who tried to hurt the other.
Caroline waved as she climbed up the steps to Blake?s private jet, another little pearl I?d learned about her very recently. Not that I cared a lick that she was wealthy but it would have been nice if she hadn?t led me to believe she wasn?t well off at all. Honestly, I don?t think money was something she really thought about all that often. Money won?t stop health issues or heartache, and she?d had both.
I?d never seen such strength in such a tiny little thing. It drew me to her.
?What now?? she asked, watching the jet fly into the clouds as Rowdy nodded and left us standing on the tarmac. Her head leaned into my chest and her arms wrapped around my waist. A simple touch from her made my cock stir in my jeans.
?Whatever you want,? I sighed and smiled, which of course was the completely wrong fucking answer.
She wanted to ride horses and explore on the 4-wheelers and hike to a spot up the river and go swimming. No, no, and no. I would be busy getting the staff prepared for the new guests and making sure supplies were stocked and the cabins passed inspection. I couldn?t go with her during the day and do all of that stuff.
?Then why am I here?? she snapped, hands on her hips, glaring up at me with pink cheeks and those adorably angry green eyes.
I paused as we walked back to Hamilton Cottage and drew my hand down my face. I hated arguing with her, but there was really no good way to disagree. I just had to be firm.
?Let?s talk about it over dinner tonight. I?ve got some stuff to take care of with Maintenance,? I exhaled, causing her to throw her hands up and stomp away. I couldn?t help but laugh. She was too damn cute.
I knew better than to follow her, though. My schedule was full, anyway. I put on my grumpiest, sternest, don?t-fuck-with-me-because-I?m-your-boss face and I talked to the maintenance crew and cleaning crew, got all of the repairs and cleaning schedules set up, then went and discussed the staff?s day-off with them and Dusty. They usually went into town and partied pretty hard, so I made sure Dusty gave himself a break but kept a wary eye on them. He was always happy to.
Making my way back to my house I began to imagine the mouth-watering dinner Blake was preparing for us. She really knew how to cook. I stomped my boots by the kitchen door and walked into my large, chef?s dream of a kitchen to find Drake standing next to the microwave, drinking a beer, only a dim light on by the telephone on the wall.
?What?s up?? I asked, frowning as I looked at the empty range and bare tabletop.
?Just got a pizza going,? my brother nodded, pulling it out as the microwave beeped.
?Where?s Blake?? I asked, feeling uneasy as I suddenly wondered if she was so mad at me that she?d hidden again. Drake and I were dumbfounded that she had found a place in our house where she could hide and we couldn?t find her. We?d grown up there. We still had no clue as to where it was and it drove me insane.
?Looks to me like she?s working,? Drake nodded, heading off for the game room to watch TV.
I headed straight for my study on the other side of the house and entered the dark green room with dark wood wainscoting to find her seated at my large, mahogany desk, pounding away on her computer and eating a bowl of cereal. I had to smile.
?Snacking while you work late?? I asked, checking my watch. It was 6:30.
?This is my dinner,? she quickly replied, looking at something, clicking on the mouse, and then typing some more. She paused and her eyes turned up to mine. Oh, yep. She was still mad. ?Do you need to be in here? I can move to the couch.?
?No,? I quickly shook my head. I?d told her that since she did some contract work for her dad remotely, she could do it in my study at my desk. ?I, uh, thought we were going to have dinner together and talk.?
?I got hungry,? she replied, looking back at her computer screen.
Rubbing the back of my neck, I exhaled and sat down on the dark red leather couch that had belonged to my father. I?d spent a lot of time sitting on that couch, watching my father anxiously as he sat behind the desk and thought about my behavior. Now I stared anxiously at my girlfriend as she steadfastly ignored me. Besides my dad, she was the only one who could bring me to my knees. And she was only like, five feet tall.
?Just let me know when you?re done and we?ll talk,? I softly said, knowing that she took patience a lot better from me than orders. Even though I really wanted to get a little angry at the fact that she was eating rice flakes and milk for dinner?without me.
To my surprise her head snapped up and she slapped the screen of her laptop closed.
?You say you want me to live here with you but that?s not what you really want, is it??
?What?? I tried to say, but she totally took control of the conversation as she peered over at me with narrowed eyes. How did she do that so effortlessly?
?You just want me here, in this house, so you know where I am at all times. You don?t trust me to be responsible on a horse, or anywhere else on this fucking ranch! It?s like I?m a prisoner, West! You want me to rely on you for entertainment but you left me at nine this morning and now it?s after six! I?m not a housewife, okay? I like to do things, I like to be active and I?m feeling so trapped! And on top of everything else, I just had to explain to my parents why I?m not coming home, but instead moving in with a man I met a week ago! Except, well, I guess the joke?s on me because I?ve spent twice as much time with your brother as I have with you and I don?t even think he likes me all that much!?
I was up and around the desk the second she started talking about her life being a joke. I grabbed her out of the chair as she shook her head and tried to push me away, but I?m a lot bigger and stronger, of course. I squeezed her to my chest and stroked her hair as I sat down in the large brown leather chair. I loved the feeling of her little body in my arms.
?Sweetheart, I know this has been so hard for you,? I said, leaning my head down so that my lips pressed against her ear. She sniffed and my heart began to break. ?There?s just a lot to do on the day when everyone leaves. Tomorrow there won?t be a soul out here. Just you and me. I have big plans.?
I wanted desperately to avoid the conversation when I told her that there was no way in hell she was doing anything on the ranch when I wasn?t around. It was dangerous and there were too many things that could go wrong. I just wanted her to know how much I cared and how much I wanted to be with her.
?Why didn?t you tell me how much work you had to do?? she asked, wiping her eyes.
Why hadn?t I?
?I, uh, I guess I should have. This relationship is an adjustment for me, too, Sweetheart,? I softly said, kissing her slim neck.
?Are you making excuses or are you apologizing?? she asked, leaning away from me.
I grinned as I pulled her waist into me and buried my face into her neck. She would keep me honest, that was for sure, the little ball buster.
?I?m sorry I left you here all alone and didn?t tell you when I?d be back,? I quickly conceded, feeling her body relax in my arms as I kissed the nape of her neck and ran my hand up and down her white tank top. That was my sweet Blake, quick to forgive.
?If I?d done that you would have been furious,? she grumbled, grabbing a handful of my shirt as I pulled the neck of her tank to the side and licked the top of her breast. She let out a soft sigh that I loved and I knew I wasn?t in too much trouble. I?d managed to avoid the mess of relationships well into my thirties. I was now finding out just how much practice I?d missed out on, when I really wanted a relationship that would work. I was learning, though. For Blake I would learn if it fucking killed me.
?You make me behave very irrationally,? I agreed, pulling the white cup of her bra down and closing my mouth around her sweet, pink nipple.
?Understatement,? she whispered, making me smile as I licked and kissed her perky little breast. She wanted to argue, but I was making her feel conflicted. This was a word she liked to use concerning me?a lot. And aptly so. I held her to a different standard, a double standard. And I made her feel really good when I was doing things to her that she thought were really bad.
Like spanking. I knew she hated that it turned her on so much but the fact that it made her so hot when I smacked her ass made me hot. A vicious cycle. She was so cute, though, and so was her round little ass. I?d never really spanked anyone before her, but if I?d ever met a girl who needed a smack on the butt it was she. The thought made me smile again.
?I?m going to make you come. Just for you,? I mumbled against her cheek before I licked inside her mouth, causing her to moan. I wrapped an arm around her waist and lifted her up until her legs were straddling me, then I took my other hand and worked at unsnapping her jeans.
Yet another thing I loved about her. She absolutely did not give a shit about what people thought about her. While all of the other guests at the ranch wore their finest western attire, including her best friend, she continuously wore old boots, jeans, some kind of faded t-shirt, and a ratty old Cowboys hat that was once navy, I think. Shoving her jeans down past her knees, I quickly pulled down her white and black polka dot panties. She had the cutest underwear and typically it matched her socks, so I could only assume that underneath those dusty brown boots were black and white dotted knee-highs. Adorable.
I wrapped my arm a little tighter around her waist and slid my other hand up her thigh. She sucked in her breath when I reached her soft, pink, sensitive skin between her thighs. I smiled again. Not only was she always wet for me, but she didn?t keep herself completely bald like most girls I?d?been socially involved with did. She kept herself tightly trimmed and I loved it. I parted her lips and stroked and curled two fingers inside her.
?West,? she groaned, letting her head fall back as I sucked at her breast again.
?Ride my hand, baby. I want you to come,? I commanded, as she began to move and spread her wetness against my hand. My erection was straining so hard against my jeans I was sure you could die from erection confinement, but I wanted this to be just for her. I?d been wrong leaving her all alone all day without a word and I wanted her to know how sorry I was.
She fell forward and buried her face into my neck, calling out my name and tightening around my fingers. It was all I could do to keep from coming myself, she was so hot. I rubbed her back and the soft flesh between her legs as she tried to catch her breath and come back down. To my surprise, she lifted up a little and kissed me hard on the mouth. Her sweet little tongue and soft lips made my erection press against my jeans even harder.
?Alright,? she said in her soft little voice, leaning back and looking at me. ?You?re forgiven.?
I laughed as I pulled a navy bandana from my shirt pocket and gently swiped it between her legs, then carefully lifted her and set her on her feet. I pulled her panties and jeans back up, but she was suddenly kneeling in front of me, reaching for my silver belt buckle. Oh God, I really wanted that.
?No,? I groaned, taking her wrists and pulling her into my lap. She gave me a confused look as she sat with my erection poking into her. ?I told you, I wanted that to be all about you.?
Sighing and even rolling her eyes, she shook her head and buttoned up her jeans. ?You don?t need to be a hero, you know?I like doing that with you.?
I grinned as I ran my thumb up and down her arm. She?d admitted with that last asshole boyfriend, her only boyfriend, she?d never engaged in much oral sex. I taught her about giving and receiving and she never looked back. Being able to teach her about pleasure was one of my greatest delights.
?Why do you keep grinning at me like that?? she asked, raising an eyebrow.
?You just make me happy,? I answered honestly.
She smiled shyly and exhaled. ?You make me happy, too. Even though you are totally unreasonable sometimes.?
I took her to bed not long after that. We snacked on cheese and bread, drank some wine, watched some shows about B-List celebrities, and intermittently made slow, sweet love. It felt so normal and so right that I wondered how in the hell I?d missed out on stuff like that for so long. I realized that it had to be with the right person, and I knew she was definitely the right person. Girls I?d had before would have never put up with my demanding nature, my need to control, or that I lived on a ranch in the middle of nowhere. Not a Neiman?s in sight.
Blake was made for me. She was sweet and even though she?d never admit it, I turned her on when I controlled her. And the ranch? She grew up on one so she understood everything about my life. Well, almost everything. Drake and I were the heirs to a stockbroking firm and had millions in assets. That had made it hard to find girls who wanted me for me, and probably why I didn?t think much of them before I met Blake. She had money and didn?t care a bit whether I did or not. That was new for me.
I spent the entire following day in bed with her, starting with licking her to completion as a wake-up call. I went downstairs and brought food back up twice, and Drake knocked on the door and winced as I greeted him with nothing but a boot covering myself. He held his hands up and backed away, agreeing that we?d meet up and do work Tuesday.
We fucked on the couch and the coffee table in front of my television, against the wall, in the bathroom, in the tub, and in the shower she sucked my cock and I came so hard that I thought I?d go cross-eyed. It was a day we both needed.
The next morning I rolled to my side and brushed her hair off of her face, smiling down at her. I could wake up like that for an eternity and need nothing else.
?How are you today??
?I?ve never had that much sex in my whole life,? she grinned up at me sleepily.
?And this is just the beginning,? I replied, kissing her bare shoulder.
She sighed and looked down at the white sheets. ?I guess you and Drake have a lot of stuff to do today to get ready for the guests coming tomorrow.?
?Just a few things,? I said, running a finger along her bottom lip. ?I?ll be done by lunch. We can ride up the mountain and eat in a little clearing with a great view if you want.?
?What should I do this morning?? She frowned in the adorable way that only she could pull off.
?Just wait here,? I shrugged as I sat up, earning a slap to my arm.
?I?ve been in this house since Sunday morning. I want to go outside. Can I at least go for a jog around the property or something??
?Absolutely not,? I replied, shaking my head. Anything could be lurking in the tall trees, hunting its next meal. ?You know I have a full gym downstairs.?
She sat up and glared at me, hair in tangles on one side of her head. ?You said I wasn?t a prisoner.?
?I didn?t really,? I shook my head. She smacked me with a pillow this time.
?I?m not sitting around here waiting for you, West!? she pouted. God, why was that so adorable and hot? I had work to do and I couldn?t do it if I didn?t know she was safe.
?You don?t have to. Go to the pool or something,? I suggested, backing away and out of the bed. I ducked as a pillow flew at me and quickly went into the bathroom for a shower. How could she not see how dangerous everything was out there? I needed her to be safely indoors. I wasn?t being unreasonable at all, damn it.
It didn?t surprise me when I came out dressed and ready to go and found a made up bed and no note. She liked to push me, that was for sure. I?d explain the importance of leaving a note when I saw her at lunch. At the moment, I had to drag Drake out of bed and get to work familiarizing him with the staff and daily routine.
?Your girlfriend didn?t seem very happy with you,? Drake said in way of greeting as I walked down the back staircase into the kitchen.
I pressed my lips together and poured some coffee, putting on my old hat and grabbing my keys as we walked outside to the carport.
?Did she tell you where she was going?? I asked, squeezing the hot mug tightly.
?She was in a bathing suit and had a towel when she hopped in the golf cart,? he answered, not pushing me any further.
Drake was living on the ranch instead of in New York working at our firm and I was so glad to have him near again. We hadn?t lived together since grad school. I was more than happy to show him the ropes around the ranch and get his feet wet, not only because he looked pretty happy but also because it meant I could spend more time with Blake.
We met up with the staff in the Administration cabin, made introductions, talked about etiquette and safety and then headed out to check on various things. I must have driven past the pool four times. Each time, there was the red bun on top of that little head, bobbing on a lounge float in the water. I hoped she was wearing sunscreen, but I didn?t want to bother her. She cooled off much better without my interference.
?She won?t break-up with you,? Drake chuckled, shaking his head. ?I?ve seen the way she looks at you and it?s almost all adoration?and only a little repugnance.?
I exhaled as we stopped and got out at the gun range, checking the weapons and the locks on the safes. I really wanted to ask him about his many, many girlfriends.
?And I?ve seen the way you look at her,? he added, sitting on a bench and checking the chambers of the rifles he?d laid out. ?I?ve loved women before?but nothing like that.?
?Really?? I asked, wiping down a gun barrel with oil. ?So, they loved you, right??
?Oh sure. We always said it,? he smirked. ?Maybe didn?t really mean it, though.?
?Even the ones you,? I paused, remembering a drunken conversation a few years back. It had been eye opening, to say the least. ?The ones you spanked??
?Ha,? he chuckled, shaking his head. ?They loved me the most. Liked me being in charge and taking care of them, you know, shit like that. It was all for fun, really, except a couple of times when they?d really scared me by doing something stupid?wait a minute.? A smile spread across his face. ?Wait one damn minute. Does little Miss Blake Campbell have a sassy side??
I groaned and closed my eyes. She had the sexiest sassy side I?d ever seen.
?Did you spank her?? he laughed, setting his rifle down and standing up with his full attention on me now.
?A couple of times,? I finally answered, flinching as he slapped my shoulder and continued to laugh, then sat back down to work.
?You don?t have to elaborate,? he chuckled, looking back down to what he was doing. ?The mental picture is enough.?
?Do not bring it up!? I snapped, knowing it would totally humiliate her.
?That?s between the two of you,? he replied, still trying to rein in his laughter. ?And I know you would never hurt her.?
No, I?d never hurt her in any way. Not since I?d totally lost my mind and had accused her of trying to get pregnant to take my money. The look of hurt in her eyes had left an imprint in my brain. I would never hurt her again.