running from the past Page 12

She licked and feathered kisses along his shaft before taking the head of his penis in her mouth.

“Oh shit,” he groaned.

Wide eyed, she abruptly sat up from what she was doing. “Is it not…”

“Don’t even finish that thought.” Everything she was doing felt so good he was afraid he wouldn’t last longer than a minute.

He pulled a condom from his back pocket before kicking off his jeans and practically ripping off his sweater. Kneeling on the quilt, she no longer straddled him but instead looked up at him with a curious expression on her face.

“What are you doing?” she said breathlessly.

“At this rate, I won’t last much longer if you keep doing that. Besides, it’s been too long since I’ve seen you naked.”

She clutched the bottom of her sweater. “Here?” He rolled the condom on, but only nodded because he didn’t trust his voice. She stared at him and he could see those gears turning in her head again. She was searching for something in his eyes and he hoped she found it.

When her arms fell to her sides, he knelt in front of her, naked as the day he was born. Instead of stripping her though, he touched his mouth to her soft lips and eased them apart. She might be ready to explore his body and she definitely wanted him but it was apparent she had reservations about being naked out in the open.

Never in a million years could Emma have imagined she’d be making love to someone outdoors. She’d never thought of herself as the adventurous type but as soon as Caleb had pulled out mimosas for them, she’d been lost. Mimosas of all things! He looked so tough and a little intimidating but he’d been nothing but gentle and sweet with her. For the first time in her life, she knew what it might be like to love someone else. Not that she loved him. No way. She couldn’t afford that. Not now. Maybe never.

It should have felt strange with him completely naked and her fully clothed but it didn’t. If anything, it put her at an advantage. She raked her hands and fingers along his muscular chest and down his stomach, taking pleasure when he sucked in a ragged breath. His entire body was rock hard, yet he trembled.

Something told her that he rarely, if ever, shook and it empowered her that she got such a tangible reaction out of him. With both of her hands, she grasped his penis and in slow, smooth strokes, ran her hands up and down his shaft. Just as she’d done with her tongue.

He let out a feral growl and yanked her sweater over her head. Her exposed nipples peaked under the cool air and heat pooled between her legs, partly because of the erotic situation but mainly because of the way he stared at her.

Pure male appreciation oozed out of his every pore. Caleb roughly gripped her hips, flipped her on her back and straddled her. He unzipped and pulled her pants completely off, then nearly choked. “You’re not wearing…” She bit her bottom lip and shook her head. “You told me not to,” she whispered.

Open to the cool air and his intense gaze, her nipples peaked and hardened almost painfully. She felt so exposed because of her state of undress. Being spread-eagle on a quilt in the middle of the woods didn’t help either. His fingers skimmed along her stomach, sending shivers throughout her body, then one of his hands strayed between her legs. He teased and rubbed her clitoris for a brief moment before his hands returned to her hips.

His grip on her was tight, almost uncomfortably so and he stared down at her with blazing, guarded eyes. She knew he wanted her, that much was obvious. But something else lingered in the endless depths of his gaze and she wished more than anything she knew what he was thinking.

“Where have you been all my life?” he murmured before thrusting inside her.

He hadn’t even tried to prime her with his fingers or mouth. She didn’t need it. Wet and slick, her body accepted him without protest. Ached for him. Her pussy was already making rapid contractions, milking him tighter. She moaned deep in her throat and wrapped her legs around him. His mouth found hers and she let out another moan as his raw, masculine scent overwhelmed her. Involuntarily, she arched her back, taking him deeper.

That only seemed to incite his desire more. He drove into her with startling force and she took him gladly. She clawed his back the harder he pushed and held back a sob at the ecstasy flooding her veins. She’d never imagined such binding emotions were possible between a man and a woman. Now she understood completely why other women were so protective of their mates. The knowledge that she’d be leaving soon burned a hole in her gut but she pushed it away. Caleb was hers in the here and now.

She couldn’t dwell on the future.

With a final thrust, he exploded inside her. Violently. Her body racked and shuddered right along with his. Afterward, he lay on top of her, both of them gasping for breath. When more than a few minutes had passed, she giggled and nudged him with her hand.

He groaned and rolled off her but took her hand in his large one. The gesture was so sweet, so intimate, she wanted to weep knowing she had to leave soon.

“I’m never going to get any work done with you around now,” he grunted.

She smiled and started to comment, then stopped herself. She’d be leaving in a couple days. He might not know that but she did and she couldn’t joke casually about their future when she knew it would be a lie. She couldn’t do that to him. Not to Caleb.

Instead, she rolled closer to him. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders and she laid her head on his chest. His staccato heartbeat took several minutes to even out and by the time it did, sandbags weighed down on her eyes.

“Tired,” she managed to mumble. A vague awareness of his hand stroking her back in a gentle rhythm registered and she heard him say something but her brain couldn’t comprehend his words.

* * * * *

Emma opened her eyes and fought off the cobwebs and confusion. A grayish blue sky loomed above her and it took a moment to register that it must be getting late. She was still naked but Caleb must have pulled the quilt around her. Fighting the panic in her throat, she sat up and scanned the woods for any sign of life. Before she saw him, she heard him crunching over the foliage behind her.

She half turned and smiled. A sudden shyness threatened to overwhelm her and she wasn’t sure why. Maybe it had something to do with him being completely clothed.

“We need to get going before the sun sets.”

How had it gotten so late? Crickets chirped noisily and a sharp breeze blew up, rustling the trees and cooling her body. She nodded and scrambled around for her clothes, ignoring his heat-seeking gaze. “How long have you been awake?” she asked, mainly to break the silence as she dressed.

“A couple of hours.” His answer was simple but she was under the impression that something had happened while she’d been asleep.

She couldn’t put her finger on it but something about him was different. What could have happened though?

“Is everything okay?” she asked as she zipped up her boots and pulled her jeans down over them.

“Yes, of course.” He nodded and packed up the quilt and the rest of their things.

In silence, she followed him out of the clearing and watched as he packed up the horses. Next, he helped her up onto hers and led them down the same trail they rode in.

Other than the normal woodsy sounds and the clopping of the horses, their breathing was the only thing breaking the still atmosphere. Normally she didn’t mind the quiet but this was the loudest quiet she’d ever experienced.

“So this is your family’s land?”

His head whipped around in surprise, as if he had forgotten her presence but at least he answered. “Yes.”

When a few more minutes in silence passed, her patience nearly ended.


“What?” His head cocked to the side and his dark brows snapped together.

“What’s going on? Ever since I woke up you’ve said two words to me and that’s only because I had to drag them out of you. Do you regret what happened between us because I’m a big girl—”

“No!” The abruptness of his answer calmed her nerves a little but it still didn’t give her an answer to his strange behavior.

“Then what’s up?”

“I want to talk to you tonight, after dinner and I’ve just been trying to figure out how to bring it up.”

The knot in her stomach tightened and she could barely swallow the lump in her throat. Either he knew who she was or he wanted to end things. “That sounds ominous.”

His piercing green eyes held hers in a steady gaze. “It’s not. I promise.”


The rest of the ride was silent but it wasn’t uncomfortable. Once they were back at the stables, he took care of the horses.

“Don’t you need help with anything?”

He half smiled and shook his head. “No. Just go in and shower and I’ll be inside in a little while. I need to shower too, then we’ll have dinner.”

“And talk?”

He nodded but at least his eyes had that familiar gleam of desire back. “Talk and then make love the rest of the night.”

The rest of the night? Yeah, she could do that. She bit her lip to keep from grinning like a love sick fool.

Chapter Eight

Caleb whistled to himself as he ran a towel over his damp hair. He loved Emma. It was too soon and he didn’t know shit about her but he knew he loved her. The thought seemed ridiculous, even to himself, but he did. He’d known it today by the spring.

A foreign feeling had settled in his gut the past couple days and being so new, it had taken him too long to realize he was happy. He liked his quiet life, especially after serving in some of the worst shit holes the world had to offer. Five years ago, he retired and had so far been satisfied with his life. Satisfaction and contentment were different from the new emotion he was experiencing. Without meaning to, Emma had railroaded her way into his life and his heart.

He flipped on his flat screen television and pulled on a pair of boxers. Out of the corner of his eye, shapes and blurs danced on the screen. Just when he was about to turn it off, an attractive face flashed across the screen. A very attractive, very familiar face.