The Cowboy

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Chapter 4

The excuse I had used yesterday about being ill proved to be useful today, although I doubted I even needed an excuse to lie in bed as I had been doing since I returned from my afternoon with Tripp. I was a train wreck, and everyone could see it.

"Are you sure there's nothing I can get for you?" my mom asked in that sweet, caring voice mothers use when their children are sick.

"Yes, I just want to lie here," I said, half-groaning, wedged between my pillow and the covers of the bed. In all honesty, I would have been content lying there for the rest of my life. I never wanted to get out of bed again, especially while at this ranch, where I could run into Tripp or see him wherever I went. The only safe place I knew to stay was here in the cabin.

I didn't even open the curtain to look outside, as I usually did in the morning. Looking at the ranch, where I had spent the day with him yesterday, would be too difficult. So while my family went out to eat and subsequently enjoy whatever activities they had planned for the day, I wallowed in my own misery and stayed in bed, trying to think about something, anything, but that kiss in the barn.

My mom came back to check on me every hour and she brought me food throughout the day, which I only picked at, having almost completely lost my appetite. Later, Lucy stayed and played a few games of chess with me. My family thought I was still suffering from yesterday's pretend ailment, which consisted of a particularly gnarly headache. Today, I wasn't sure how pretend the headache was. I tried to distract myself by reading, knitting and periodically sleeping when I could. There wasn't a lot to do in a cabin with no computer and no TV... other than think of Tripp. Tripp Carson...

It was around six when my family left for dinner after a long day of god knows what. I knew I should have gone with them. I couldn't very well sit in this cabin for the rest of the trip, hiding under the covers, but I didn't want to see him yet.

His words from yesterday reverberated in my head. I knew he had felt exactly what I had, and I began to think that he may have been right. If I left this ranch at the end of next week without acting on whatever this was between us, I would have 'what ifs' for the rest of my life. What would be worse: being with him and then having to leave him...or leaving after never having been with him at all?

Once I asked myself the question, I was surprised how easily the answer came. Suddenly I didn't just want to see him, I had to see him. I threw the quilt off of me and got out of bed, immediately beginning to pace as soon as my feet hit the floor. Should I go out to the Lodge tonight? Would he be there? Would I be able to talk to him alone? What would I say? I want you? I need you? How do I go about this? What about my family? They thought I was sick. They'd be watching my every move.

I decided to take a shower while trying to collect the screaming thoughts whirling around in my head. Going to the Lodge wouldn't be a good idea. There would be so many people there, and I didn't think I could handle the awkwardness in that kind of setting. Maybe it would be best to wait until tomorrow, when I could seek him out on the ranch. Perhaps then I could simply pull him aside...

Yes, I would wait until tomorrow before confronting him. I didn't want to seem desperate anyway, so wasn't it best to give it a couple of days and at least try and play hard-to-get? I wasn't cooling down however; the more I thought of him, the more I wanted him. Tomorrow might as well have been a thousand years away.

Later, I lay in bed as my family came home from the Lodge. They all came in to check on me before getting ready to go to sleep, asking how I was feeling in their soft, tired voices that were laced with concern. I told them I was doing much better, which seemed to hearten them. If I was going to be going out tomorrow, then I needed them to believe I wasn't sick anymore.

Trying to go to sleep, my eyes were closed as Lucy sat on her bed, brushing through her hair and chatting away. I drowned her out for the most part.

"Lucy, do you mind? I'm trying to get some rest," I said groggily. The quicker I forced myself into unconsciousness, the quicker tomorrow would come.

"Oh...sorry, I guess I should let you sleep. I'm pretty tired myself," she said as she started to get under the covers. "Oh hey, I saw that cute guy at the Lodge tonight."

My ears perked up and suddenly I was hanging on to her every word. There was only one guy at this ranch that Lucy had deemed attractive. "What guy?" I asked, trying to sound sleepy and slightly annoyed, as though I didn't care.

"You know, the hot cowboy from the other day...Tripp, right? Saw him for a few minutes while we were dancing and stuff. He came in looking really pissed off, like he was angry."

My mind raced. I couldn't help but wonder where that anger stemmed from. "So? What's the big deal?" I asked, trying not to give away my interest.

"Well he sat down at the bar and another guy came and sat down next to him. I wasn't watching the whole time cause I was busy talking to this other girl. Her name's Georgette by the way and she's from Georgia. Isn't that funny? Georgette from Georgia! She's sixteen so she's my age, and she was telling me about how..."

"Lucy...what does this have to do with Tripp?" Sometimes I wanted to strangle my sister.

"Oh right! Well the next thing I saw when I looked over was Tripp had the guy by his collar slammed up against the bar, ready to knock the crap out of him. He would have too if Jack Waterman hadn't run over there when he saw it. Tripp stormed out after Mr. Waterman broke it up."

"He must have been pretty upset about something..." I said airily, telling it more to myself than to Lucy.

"Yeah...he looked like he was ready to tear in to anyone who got in his way...kind of like the way Luke was at first when Susan broke up with him."

The image of my brother's angry grief floated into my mind. We couldn't go near him for two weeks after his college girlfriend had broken it off one summer; he would bite off our heads for simply talking to him. Was it our encounter yesterday that had Tripp so angry? The behavior seemed out of character for the carefree, teasing cowboy I had ridden with through the pastures of the ranch.

Lucy chatted a bit more before falling asleep. I didn't hear anything she said as I lay there, feeling as though I had been hit by a semi. Soon, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to rest...I needed to see Tripp, I ached for him. After a half hour, when the room was filled with Lucy's soft snores, I had an idea, but it was risky. At that point though I didn't care, and I grabbed my cell phone off the nightstand and looked at the time. It was around ten, still pretty early. I didn't know if the rest of my family were asleep yet or not. I didn't even know if Tripp would be home at this time. As angry as he'd been, he may have gone off somewhere and gotten drunk for all I knew.

I did know though that I had to do something. I couldn't sit in this bed any longer, but it was extremely difficult trying to get up the courage to get dressed, and walk out of the cabin. The realization came that it wasn't my family I was worried about, it was facing Tripp. In the end, my desperate need to see him won out over my fear.

We both felt the agony of yesterday. I took it out by lying in bed all day, holing myself up in solitaire. He took it out by almost creaming someone who happened to rub him the wrong way. Instinctively, I knew he was going through the same hell I was, especially after the way he watched me run out of the stables yesterday.

Lucy's breathing was heavy with sleep as I tiptoed around the room, slipping a lavender sundress over my head. In the main room, which was empty, I quietly brushed through my hair while checking my appearance in the mirror. I must be crazy, I thought to myself as I softly opened the door and crept out into the cool night. Normally, I might have been cold, but now my face was flushed with the thought of what I was going to do.

Once outside, I briskly walked behind the cabin, and somehow in the dark, I found the creek that Tripp had showed me yesterday. As I followed the water, I tried to calm myself by thinking of what I might say to him. Nothing came to me. What was I doing?

It wasn't a long walk. I don't know whether I was happy or utterly terrified to see light coming from his cabin, confirming he was not only in there, but awake. My heart had been racing since I had stepped out of bed, but now I was sure that it was about to break out of my chest and start running through the grass.

Do it. Do it before you lose your nerve, I told myself harshly as I stood on his porch, my nose all of three inches away from the front door.

Before I knew it, my hand rasped on the wooden entrance to the cabin, probably a little too harshly - a result of the immense amount of adrenaline coursing through my body. As soon as I heard the sound of my fist knocking, I cried inside my head, cursing myself for what I was doing. For a split second, I thought about running. Too late...

The first thing to greet my eyes as the door swung open was a massive amount of rock-hard, bare chest. A light shading of hair ran down the center, only to disappear into a pair of faded jeans that were zipped, but had the top button undone. I was reminded of the first night I saw him, atop his mustang, clad only in boots, jeans and a cowboy hat. What I had seen that night stood before me now in more detail than I could have ever wished for. It was an image that would be branded into my mind forever. I felt a dampness between my legs, and heat spread throughout my entire body.

My eyes traveled upwards and latched onto his, which at first held a look of surprise before turning quizzical, and then finally understanding, after seeing the burning desire in my own gaze. He didn't say anything, but he stepped back a couple feet and moved aside, giving me room to walk into the cabin.

I knew once I entered, there would be no turning back. Knowing what was waiting for me inside though was more than enough to push me through the door. The inside of his cabin looked similar to the one I was staying in, except you could tell that somebody actually lived in it full-time. There was a large fireplace in the center of the room with a big wooly rug in front that covered the hardwood flooring. A small loveseat and a couple of chairs surrounded the lit fire and mantelpiece, which from what I could see held a few framed photos and what looked like a football trophy. The kitchen was to the left as you walked in, and on the right was a large door which I assumed led to the bedroom.

It registered that I was in his cabin, and I grew scared as I turned to him. He was staring at me with a hard look of stark need as he stood against the back of the loveseat, facing away from the fire with his arms crossed. His eyes roamed over me, but I could tell that he was not going to make a move, and was instead going to wait patiently until I made myself clear.

I was the one who had gone there that night, I was the one taking the initiative. I looked at him with a pleading in my eyes, as if begging him not to make me feel this way...as if he could do anything about it.

"I'm going back to California in a week and a half." I blurted it out, not knowing where it had come from. I was more telling it to myself than to him, trying to reason with my emotions.

"Then why are you here tonight?" his voice was steady and hard, yet quiet.

"I...I don't know," I said exasperatedly, turning away from him so that I could clear my head. With him standing only feet away from me and barely dressed I couldn't breathe, let alone think.

"Yes you do," he said behind me, softly.

"No...I...I couldn't sleep." If there was any logic behind my chosen words it completely escaped me.

"Well that makes two of us, California," his voice became lighter. "Would you like a drink?"

"A drink? N..no... I don't want a drink," I became frustrated, not with him but with the situation.

I heard him walk around to one of the chairs and sit down in front of the fire, his gaze still burning on my back. "Perhaps some music then?" I could tell he was beginning to tease me now, playing on my awkwardness and inability to convey my feelings.

I sighed. "I shouldn't be here, I shouldn't have come tonight," my voice expressed my inner-turmoil.

"But you did, and you are here tonight," his tone was suddenly soft and pained. "You need to admit it to yourself, so turn around, look at me, and tell me what you came here for."

I was defeated, but liberated at the same time. He was right. I was here, and there was something that I wanted more than anything I had ever yearned for in my whole life.

Slowly, I turned to look at him, and without breaking the gaze between us, I walked over to the chair that sat across from him in front of the fire. I didn't sit down, but stood in front of the seat, facing him with about eight feet between us. Both of us looked as if we were going to explode at any second. Never in my life had I felt such tension in one room between two people.

"I want you," I whispered in a voice so soft that I doubted he heard me.

"You want me to what?" His gaze was wild and demanding.

"I want you to make love to me." I was surprised at how easily the words came flowing out of me. They seemed to undo him, and he slowly stood with a look of desire in his eyes that promised to devour me.

"Come here, Kira." As he headily whispered my name, I couldn't get into his arms fast enough. Suddenly I was being crushed to him and our mouths met with fervor. His tongue penetrated as his hands roamed up and down my back, and then over my backside, squeezing and gripping handfuls of material from my dress. We were on fire. All I felt was his hard body and bare skin against me, underneath my fingertips.

And then he pulled away and kept me at arm's length as he sat down once again in the chair behind him. "We have to slow down, I don't want to do this too fast. I want to enjoy every second of it." He was breathing hard, his eyes fierce and his body tense and stressed.

I closed my eyes and nodded, knowing how he felt. There would be plenty of time to ravish each other. Right now I needed him to be gentle. I looked down at his pants and saw the huge bulge that I had felt pressed against me just seconds ago. Did I do that to him?

He reached out and took my hands, bringing me to stand in between his parted knees as he sat in the chair. His hands slowly moved up my arms to the tops of my shoulders where they rested for a moment. I tried to control my breathing, tried to stay standing as he seductively brushed along my skin with his fingertips. Then, he moved to grip the straps of my sundress, and in one unbearably slow motion, he peeled the garment off of me, and let it fall to my feet.

The man truly sounded as if he were in pain as I stood there, inches away from him, in my white lace bra and panties. He let out a soft groan between jagged breaths while his eyes roamed my body. Hesitantly, as if not trusting his self control, he reached one hand up to gently cup my breast through the thin barrier. My knees almost gave out. The ache I felt between my legs grew to the point of slight pain.

"Tripp...?" My voice was breathless. I knew what I had to admit to him before we went any further.

"Yes, honey?" He was focused solely on caressing me.

"I...I, um...I'm not...very experienced with this type of thing..." oh god, please don't let him stop.

His fingers lightly moved over the outside of my bra while his eyes held a look of wonder as he softly pressed against my breast. He didn't look up at me until he realized what I was trying to get at.

His eyes went wide. "Are you...are you a...?"

I nodded quickly before he could get the word out. I didn't want to hear him say it. His stare went blank for a moment before he slowly stood, cupping my face. His hands were gentle as he stroked my cheek with his thumb.

"Kira, are you sure you want to do this?" his eyes were cautious waiting for my answer.

"Yes." The fact that he asked showed what a gentleman he was, but I didn't hesitate one second before giving my answer. "Please..." I whispered in agony. "I'll die if you don't..."

That was all he needed to hear before he bent down and latched his mouth upon my neck. I moaned as his lips trailed kisses up under my ear and his tongue found a sensitive area behind the lobe. His hands wove through my hair, and I clung to him.

The next thing I knew, I was being lifted into him arms and carried into the bedroom. His mouth never left mine as he sat down on the edge of the large bed, cradling me against his powerful body like he would a child. I certainly didn't feel like a child though. He held me against him, his hands roaming my back while his tongue delved deeply, tasting my mouth. Sitting on his lap, that hard bulge beneath his jeans teased my soaked panties, driving me crazy. I was glad he was holding me now. I didn't know whether I could support myself at this point, I was so weak with need.

"Grab a hold of my neck," he whispered against my mouth. As soon as I did as he asked, I felt those hands on my back move to unclasp my bra. He stopped kissing me for a moment and stared into my eyes as he slowly slid the straps down my arms, unwinding my limbs from his neck as he did so. My first instinct was to hide myself. I'd never been so exposed before, and part of me was afraid to make myself so vulnerable to this man who seemed to be controlling my every move and thought with his touch. I made an 'x' with my arms over my breasts as the bra fell to the floor.

"No. Don't." His voice was gentle but commanding. "Let me see you, Kira."

Defeated, I lowered my arms as he set me next to him on the bed. His eyes devoured me as he took in my large breasts and pink nipples, which were stiff and aching. Groaning, he lowered his mouth and kissed the very center of my chest while gently holding my back and pushing me down onto the bed.

"I knew this was going to happen from the moment I first saw you in the Lodge," he said breathlessly as he adorned kisses across my body. I remembered the way he had looked at me that first time, like he was looking into my very soul. "I knew then that it was inevitable. That you and I are inevitable." His voice was a heavy, erotic whisper as his lips finally found a sensitive nipple and drew it into his hungry mouth.

I wasn't expecting the intense pleasure that coursed through my body as his tongue lapped over the peaks of my breasts. His head rose and he gave me a small smile as he cupped each one with his hands, delicately thumbing my nipples. I writhed and moaned beneath his touch, and he watched me as one hand then made its way down my body.

"Yesterday was torture," he whispered to me while watching me tremble. "All I could think about was touching you...doing this..." his hand gently cupped my mound over my underwear and his eyes grew wide at finding how wet I was. "Sweet Jesus...I think we have to take these off, sweetheart."

My modesty had completely flown out the window, and I moaned appreciatively when I felt him start to lean over me and slowly remove my panties, which were now reduced to a sopping wet piece of cloth between my quivering thighs. I knew it was coming soon. I needed to be touched there, I would beg for it if I had to.

He let in a sharp intake of breath when my hairless pussy became exposed. The underwear came off quickly, and soon I was completely naked. Tripp grabbed my arms and slid me to the top of the bed, where my head hit a pillow. His hands made their way down my body, caressing my arms, breasts, belly and thighs before taking hold of my knees and prying them open, revealing my throbbing cunt to his gaze. I had never been so exposed before, and I relished in the feeling of giving myself to Tripp in this way. Nothing had ever felt so right."Tripp...please..." I moaned as his hands massaged my inner thighs.

"Shhh...you want this, Kira. You want me to look at you, to touch you." His fingers moved to my dripping snatch, and as if he were caressing a kitten, he peeled back the slick folds, exposing me fully.

"My God, look at that. That's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen," he said in awe as one finger pressed against the top of my slit before making a journey down. I moaned as he slowly moved over my exposed clit, and then down to caress the wet opening of my love canal. I lay there, naked and panting, overcome with desire. His hands were gentle but demanding, as if I was an untrained horse who needed taming. Slowly, he moved up and down along the outside of my sheath, but then, just as I thought he would push a finger in, he traveled back upward, juices dripping from his fingers, to press sternly against my clit.

"Oh!" I moaned deeply as his middle finger began to slowly circle my swollen nub.

"Have you ever been touched like this before?" he asked breathlessly in my ear.

I couldn't form words at that moment. All I could do was shake my head back and forth against the pillow, crying out in pleasure.

He moved his other hand up to my breast and in parallel motion, began to circle around my nipple with his thumb, once in awhile grazing over it and plucking it between his fingers. It was almost more than I could stand, his hands moving expertly over my soft, naked flesh. Then he replaced the hand on my breast with his mouth, suckling a nipple as if his life depended on it, as he positioned himself between my open legs.

I had never had sex before, but I knew I wanted it, I knew if he didn't enter me soon that I was going to go permanently insane.

"Tripp...please! I need you inside me..." The way I sounded, one would guess that I was being tortured...and it was true - tortured with pleasure.

His mouth left my aching nipple and rose to kiss me gently, his hard, callused fingers still enveloped in the folds of my pussy. One finger slid inside my tight cunt as he gazed into my eyes, watching the effect he was having on me. "Not yet, Kira," he murmured against my lips while giving me brief, soft kisses. "There's something else first." I moaned and rocked against his finger, gripping it with my inner muscles.

His mouth made a slow descent down my body, kissing and sucking everything he came into contact with. His tongue bathed me while I tried not to shatter into a million pieces.

"There are many ways to love a woman," he spoke to me sensually as he trailed kisses up my inner thigh. "And this is one of my favorites."

And with that, he dragged his tongue over my slit while his hands parted me open, making me vulnerable to his exploring mouth, which made an effort to taste every soft, yielding inch of flesh between my legs. He circled my clit with his demanding lips before drawing the hard, little nub in and sucking gently. My fists gripped handful of bed sheets as I cried out in ecstasy while he made love to me with his tongue.

"You taste amazing," he moaned as his lips caressed the slick, pink tissue. "Like milk and honey...and heaven."

"I'm...oh Tripp, I'm gonna...oh...!" I couldn't see straight, I couldn't think straight. He knew every sensitive spot, knew exactly what to do. It was as if everything around me had disappeared and the only thing that was left was his mouth against my pussy.

"Yes baby, come for me. Come for me with my tongue inside you." The part of his mouth he spoke of entered me at that moment while a thumb came down to harshly stroke my clit.

I was sent over the edge. Thank goodness his cabin was far enough away from the main spread, otherwise I was sure I'd have woken the entire ranch. Even I was surprised by the scream that tore from my lips as the throbbing in my loins exploded and tore my body in two. He rose and stifled my yell with his mouth, which descended down onto mine, enveloping my cries. As I rode out the pleasure, he softly kissed along my cheek and neck. One hand still cupped me between my legs.

I still wasn't completely aware of my surroundings, still was locked away in a euphoric haze when I heard Tripp sliding his jeans off. Breathing heavily, I opened my eyes to see him gazing at me with a look of starved hunger as he sat in front of me on the bed. My eyes traveled downward and widened as they saw the proof of that hunger. I should have known...was I expecting him to be small? Of course that part of him would be just as powerful as the rest of his body.

Tripp saw my look of fear as I took in his size, and his male arrogance kicked in for a moment while he gave a small chuckle. "Don't worry, Princess, it'll fit," he reassured me, as if reading my mind. He tucked a lock of hair behind my ear while giving me a heartfelt look. "You're wetter than a summer storm," as he said it, the hand that cupped me began to once again start carressing. Dear God, how was it possible that this was happening again in such a short period of time? His fingers worked on me and I melted, giving a soft moan.

As pleasure began to course through my body once again, I barely heard the sound of Tripp opening the night stand drawer next to us and unwrapping a condom. I felt a finger enter me, probing deeply before a second finger joined it, stretching and filling my pussy. Just as I was beginning to float away in bliss, the fingers left me, and I opened my eyes in frustration at the lack of pressure down there. Tripp was nestled between my legs, his face inches from mine as a hand caressed my cheek softly, and he leaned down to give me a lingering, gentle kiss.

"Kira, it's gonna hurt," he whispered as if he himself were hurting with the thought of having to cause me pain.

"I know," I nodded as my hands wrapped around his neck. "It's okay, it's worth it," I sighed as more of his weight came upon me. Being underneath his powerful body was more wonderful than I could have imagined. I knew that after the pain, I was going to be flying to the moon.

He gave me a small smile, appreciating my courage. It was time, and he positioned himself at my slick entrance, waiting for me to give the go ahead. I pulled his head down to mine and our mouths met as he pushed into me in one quick motion. His hands gripped my head as he moaned against my mouth. In truth, the moan was louder than my small cry of pain. After a couple of seconds, he opened his eyes and looked down at me, checking to see if I was alright.

It had hurt, but the feeling of being filled so completely with him was quickly relieving the pain with a pleasurable ache. I stared into his eyes, which looked as though they were trying to see into my soul. In that moment, I swear, his gaze was more penetrating than his thick cock inside me. We both simply looked at each other for a minute before he began to move.

There was no pain now, only a powerful, all-consuming satisfaction between us as slowly but deeply, he rocked against me. Our eyes were locked on each other, never so much as blinking. I was in his arms, and I was his as he filled me, over and over again. Now that he was finally inside me, I never wanted him to leave. He brought his forearms down to rest on the bed and his mouth gave me a single, passionate kiss before he grabbed the back of my head in one hand, holding my face in place, inches from his, as he thrust into my body. He stared at me as his other hand firmly sought my left breast. Feeling content as he took total control, I let him have me, completely, as I let go of everything I held onto and surrendered to his power.

The pleasure was so intense that it would have scared me if Tripp hadn't been holding me so tightly. His movement was incredibly sweet, and I panted and cried as he rode me. In his eyes was a ferocity that matched the forcefulness of his member, which was plunging into me so deeply that I thought I would rip. As he increased his tempo, our breathing became ragged and wild, like animals in heat. A thin layer of sweat covered us at this point, as our bodies strained to become as close as physically possible.

It was then that I felt it, clearly building from inside of me, an explosion of dynamic proportions. My breathing stopped, and Tripp could tell what was about to happen. In his eyes, I could see the same fire that was moments away from consuming me. I lost control and my eyes closed as I floated away into that world where I would find release.

"Look at me, Kira," his voice was harsh and commanding, filled with a desperate need that matched my own. He brought me back and forced me to open my eyes. I had never seen such intensity. "Right here," he pointed to his eyes with two fingers. "Look at me while you come."

And in that split second before it happened, the calm before the storm if you will, we shared something beautiful as our eyes locked on to each other's. There was a deep understanding between us, and I knew in that moment that my life would never be the same. He pulled out once more, and when he entered me again, my body went wild and I shuttered and shook beneath him. It was then that I saw heaven and the stars, and from the sound of Tripp above me, I knew he had gone there too. Our world came crashing down upon the two of us, and nothing else mattered at that moment. Nothing. There was just Tripp and Kira.

A tear rolled down my face, not because of a particular sadness that had descended upon me, but rather because of the greatness and intensity of what we had just experienced, both mentally and physically. With the last tremors of orgasm running through us, he lifted me against him and sat back, cradling my face to his chest while he buried himself in my hair. I felt his soft lips graze the top of my head as I collapsed against his body.

He turned on the bed and propped himself up against the pillows, bringing me atop him, my face still resting within his hands, against his hard torso. A few minutes went by without us saying a word to each other. Unlike moments before, the room was still now, and the sound of musical crickets outside and Tripp's slowing heartbeat serenaded the silence.

"I didn't think it would be like that..." I whispered softly against his skin.

"I didn't think it could be like that, Kira." his voice was a mix of wonder and confusion.

I was expecting myself to be amazing at what had just passed, but I wasn't expecting the same feelings from him - someone so skillful who had obviously done this so many times before. The confirmation that it wasn't always this amazing gave me a warm feeling inside as I lightly ran a hand along the crevices that separated the muscles on his chest and abdomen. Our sweaty, naked bodies lay there, spent. Both of us were absolutely exhausted.

"You're so beautiful," he whispered it more to himself than to me as he gazed down and gently played with a piece of my hair while running his fingers up and down the smoothness of my back.

It was the type of thing you typically heard before the sex, during the seduction. He didn't need to say it now...but he did. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't hide my smile, and I lightly kissed his chest to show my appreciation.

"How is it that you've never done this before?" His voice was gentle, but curious.

I wasn't particularly thrilled about discussing my virginity, but I supposed it would make sense to open up to him at this point. "I never had found anyone who I wanted to do it with. I hadn't found the right person."

He rolled us over so that we were on our sides now, facing each other. A hand came up to softly caress my cheek. "And I'm the right person?" he asked in amazement.

After what we had just shared, I felt no shame in letting him see inside me. "I knew you were the right person since I first saw you atop that black mustang the night I arrived," I whispered shyly.

His grin was enormous. "You saw that?"

"I hid behind the barn and watched you..."

He chuckled and kissed my forehead. "You sneaky, little mouse, you. Always seem to be in places where you shouldn't be."

I smiled. "I couldn't help it. I saw you off in the distance and I had to get a better look."

"Were you disappointed?" his voice was playful as we lay there.

"No..." I whispered. "I wanted to be that horse. I wanted to be the one you were on top of, riding, working your hands against..."

A hand shot up and quickly covered my mouth. Tripp's face was playfully stern. "If you keep talking like that then I'm going to be unable to stop myself from doing something that you're undoubtedly too sore to do again right now."

He was right. While we were together, joined, it was magnificent. But now that we were bathing in the afterglow of ecstasy, my body began to feel the consequences of our passion. There was a noticeable ache between my legs, and it wasn't the pleasurable kind.

I smiled and apologized as he removed his hand. Then he flipped me over and nestled his head in the cradle of my neck and he wrapped an arm around me. I knew he was tired, not just from the sex, but from the long day of working the ranch as well.

"I should let you sleep," I said softly, knowing he was starting to doze off.

"Mmm, stay right as you are and I'll be asleep in a couple minutes." His voice was sleepy and content.

"Tripp, I can't stay tonight..."

"Yes you can, California," he whispered in my ear.

I smiled at his use of the nickname. "I had to sneak out. My family thinks I'm sleeping, and there will be hell to pay if I'm not there when they wake up."

Tripp groaned behind me. "Nineteen years old...your parents don't allow you to make your own decisions yet?"

"Of course, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't disapprove of me running off in the middle of the night into some guy's bed who I just met. Not to mention someone who's older than me by...how old are you?"

"Twenty-seven," he said dryly.

Well that wasn't that bad. "I wish you'd stop thinking of me as a child," I said, referring to his comment on my age.

"If I thought of you as a child you wouldn't be lying here naked in my bed." His hand cupped one of my breasts, as if to further his point. Even his lightest touch was electric.

I sighed. "Tripp, when you touch me, it makes me weak..."

At that point he shot up out of bed. "What did I say about talk like that?"

I giggled and turned around to look at him. His back was to the bed, and he was running his hands through his hair. Muscles rippled up and down his entire body, and I drank him in with my eyes. My God, I wouldn't doubt that the man had the nicest ass in the history of humankind.

"I swear, you're going to be the end of me, girl," he said teasingly as he pulled on his jeans before turning to smile at me. "If you must get back to your cabin though, I'll walk you there."

About ten minutes later, after Tripp had refused to let me dress myself, murmuring something about my wearing clothes being a sin as he slowly and quite agonizingly ran his hands across my body while putting back on my underwear and dress, we were walking back to the guest cabins.

"Favorite color?" he asked as we took our time.

"Purple."

"Green."

"Like your eyes," I smiled. "Favorite food?" This had been going on for a couple of minutes.

"Chili...although after tonight I think that's changed. I'd much rather eat you..."

"Tripp!"

He laughed. "What about you?"

"Mmm...chocolate covered strawberries, most definitely."

It went on like this as we walked. I wanted to learn him, know everything about him, read him as if he were a book. I wanted to know what he loved and hated about the world. I wanted to know what he was afraid of, what type of car he first drove, and the name of the street he grew up on.

But for now we had this, our hands intertwined and our bodies embracing in the night. It took us awhile to get to the main ranch. He kept stopping to kiss me and hold me. By the time we were approaching the cabin, I was dizzy.

"Spend the day with me tomorrow," he whispered as he nuzzled my neck, pressing me up against the back of the house.

"Yes...oh yes..." I sighed as his hands cupped my face and his mouth once again slashed over mine. I'd do whatever it took to see him as much as possible in the upcoming days. This was no longer a family vacation, it was a time for me to explore my inner most desires. He was my drug, and I planned to overdose.

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