Amazon Central: amazon.com/author/calliehutton
Damian pushed his plate away, leaned his forearms on the table, and nodded at her half eaten dinner. “Is that all you’re going to eat?”
“Are you kidding me? I’m stuffed. It was a really big serving.”
The band had been on a break, and started a new session with a merengue. Damian hopped up and dragged her to the dance floor.
Kerry held back, laughing the whole time. “I can’t do these fancy dances.”
“Sure you can. Follow my lead.” He took her in his arms and within minutes they were spinning on the dance floor as if they’d done it together for years. Every time they took a turn, Damian tugged her closer. The scent from the flower in her hair combined with the light perfume she’d used was an aphrodisiac. He slid his thigh between her legs, and spun her halfway across the floor. Her skirt billowed out, and her curls danced in the light of the lanterns.
Kerry threw her head back, her throat muscles moving as she laughed. He did some different movements, and each time she followed him with ease. Her beautiful hazel eyes sparkled and her cheeks flushed a deep pink. Was this how she would look in the throes of passion?
The music reverberated through his body, tightening his gut as the woman in his arms held him captive. Her scent, her feel, her softness. His gaze met hers and her smile faltered, a note of anxiety on her face.
The band finished the merengue and moved quickly and easily into a slow number. Damian cupped Kerry’s face and lowered his head. His lips pressed against hers, and she slid her palms up his chest to circle his neck. Slim fingers played with the hair at his collar. He turned their fused bodies slowly in a circle and ravished her mouth. He pressed against her lips with his tongue, demanding entrance. She opened, granting him access to the sweetest nectar he’d ever tasted.
Anna was quiet on the walk to the café. Her eyes darted back and forth as she took in the sights around her, all the time fiddling with her ring, spinning the silver and black circle round and round. She continued to draw in deep breaths and chew on her lower lip, occasionally muttering ‘not possible’ under her breath, as if fighting an internal battle. Her natural color seemed to have paled, the light dusting of freckles more prominent.
Once they’d settled in their seats at the café and ordered dried apple pie and coffee, Wes rested his forearms on the table. “Tell me a little bit about this ‘Tulsa.’”
Anna cleared her throat. “It’s in Oklahoma.” She flinched when he shrugged, still not sure what she was talking about.
“Oklahoma. You know, the state south of Kansas?”
He narrowed his eyes. “The only thing south of us is Indian Territory, then Texas.”
“No,” she whispered, her eyes round as saucers.
Wes nodded at the waitress as she placed cups of coffee and two cuts of pie in front of them. She glanced at Anna, who stared straight ahead, taking in shallow breaths.
Once the waitress left, Anna nodded, as if she’d made a decision. “Wes, can I ask you something?”
She looked him in the eye, seeming to draw strength from within herself. “What year is this?”
His forkful of pie stopped halfway to his mouth. “What?”
Anna licked her lips and cleared her throat. “Just tell me, please. What year is this?”
He frowned and lowered the fork. “It’s eighteen hundred and seventy. Why?”
Then he leapt forward as Anna’s eyes rolled to the back of her head and her slack body slid to the floor.
“Dare I hope you saved a dance for me?” Jason covered her hand and brought it to his lips, his eyes twinkling as he met hers.
Why did this man affect her so? She should hate him for what he did to her, but instead she melted at his touch and got lost in his eyes. “Yes, I believe I have one or two left.” She smiled, irritated at the breathless sound of her voice.
Jason reached for the small card dangling from her wrist. “A waltz, perchance?”
“I’m sorry, my lord, but all four are taken.” Heat rose from her middle to spread to her face. She fought the urge to hurry to the French doors and gulp in air.
He turned the card over. “Lord Carstairs won’t be able to take his waltz, so you may put my name in his place.” He flashed her a lazy smile he most likely had perfected to get his own way since he was in the cradle. Bowing slightly, he left her and headed toward the gaming room.
The sky grew dark and campfires sprang up as the party continued. Standing with a group of women, Emma spotted Davis in a circle of men who apparently were having some fun at his expense. The joking and nudging led her to believe they were discussing what was to come when the party wound down. Davis seemed to take it all in stride, but when he glanced over she found her heartbeat speeding up. Glory be, what had she done?
In her focus on getting married again so she would have help for the rest of the trip, she had shoved the wedding night and all it meant to the back of her mind. Now it immediately presented itself to her full force. What was she thinking marrying a man she hardly knew? Would he insist on his marital rights tonight? Would he give her time to adjust to him?
She didn’t have a whole lot of time to dwell on it as Davis walked slowly over to her, his lips tilted in a half smile. He took both of her hands in his and gently kissed her on the lips. The distinct odor of whiskey wafted from his mouth. Perhaps she should have also dipped a cup into the men’s punch bowl to calm her nerves.
“Let’s go back to the wagon.” He whispered against her lips.
“Um, already?” Emma gasped. Davis chuckled and put his arm around her shoulders, guiding her away from the group.
Oh, dear, it didn’t seem as though Davis had any intention of allowing any getting to know you time before he took her to bed. She broke into a sweat and swallowed several times, trying to fill her lungs with air.
The walk back to the wagon used up no time at all. Her heart thudded so hard no doubt Davis could hear it. Apparently noticing her distress, Davis left her in front of the wagon. “I’ll have a smoke out here, to give you privacy in the wagon before I come in.”
Nodding numbly, Emma crawled into the wagon. Good grief, now what? Would it be acceptable to lie down fully dressed on the pallet? What if she only took off her shoes? Davis had cleared out a few things and re-packed so the bed would fit. It was a warm night, but she imagined newlyweds sleeping under the wagon would not be appropriate. Newlyweds. There was a scary word.
Reluctantly, Emma took off her dress and underclothes and put the same nightgown on. Hands shaking, she took the pins out of her hair and brushed the lengthy locks. She could hear Davis outside the wagon moving about. She lay down on the pallet and took a deep breath. Within minutes her new husband entered through the canvas flap.
The space seemed so small with him in here with her. Her heart sped up again, her breathing rapid. With the bright moonlight she could see his face as he sat alongside her. Tenderness seemed to radiate from him. He moved his hand slowly over her hair.
“You have beautiful hair, Emma,” he whispered. “I like it down. It’s like curly brown silk.” He picked up strands of hair and let it fall between his fingers. He then ran the back of his hand over her face, ending at her chin. He tilted her head up and bent slowly over her. Amazon
Miss Merry’s Christmas
by: Callie Hutton
Lips twitching, but maintaining his austere demeanor, the butler opened a large wooden door with elaborate carvings, and sniffed before announcing, “Lady Charlotte Spencer, Lady Clare Spencer, and Miss Meredith Chambers.”
The girls clung harder, making it practically impossible for Merry to enter the room. She dragged one limb, then the other, until she reached the massive oak desk. Breathless from her effort, she looked up into the most arresting brown eyes, with specks of gold, she’d ever seen. Above the eyes, sharp black eyebrows rose almost to the hairline of wavy black hair. Below the eyes an aristocratic nose led to sensual lips drawn into a tight line.
“Your Grace.” She puffed and attempted a clumsy curtsy.
The only sound in the room was the soft click of the door as the butler exited. Merry waited patiently to be invited to sit. Instead, the brown eyes kept staring at her, then leisurely slid their way down her person, and obviously from the additional tightening of his full sensual lips, finding her wanting.
Eventually, a long-fingered hand flicked in the direction of one of the two leather chairs in front of his desk. “Sit.”
Merry sat abruptly, feeling like a dog panting in front of its master. The two girls ended up on their knees on the floor, still buried in her skirts.
“Is there something wrong with the young ladies?” The deep voice rolled over her, setting her heart to pounding.
Merry grasped the girls’ arms and attempted to pull them to their feet. They held tighter. “No, Your Grace. They’re merely a bit anxious.”
How was it possible to put so much disapproval into one word?
After a moment, he settled back in his chair, his fingers clutching a quill pen he tapped on the desk. “I trust you had a pleasant journey?”
With all the liquid in her mouth dried up, she merely nodded.
“I understand from my solicitors you’ve had sole charge of the girls since their parents passed away a month ago?”
“Yes, Your Grace.” Good. She was finally able to pry her mouth open.
“And you cannot control your charges enough to insist they sit as proper ladies?”
Heat rose to Merry’s face and anger washed through her. The arrogant arse! “They’re confused and a bit distressed.” She bent and whispered furiously to the girls. “Please get up, His Grace is not happy.”
“No.” Two voices piped up, muffled in her skirts.
She smiled slightly at the duke and shrugged. If possible his eyebrows rose further, disappearing underneath the wave that rested against his forehead.
“It appears to me, Miss Chambers, that Lady Charlotte and Lady Clare have arrived here just in time.” He pushed his chair back and stood. “I arranged for a governess to train them in proper behavior. She will instruct the girls in the skills necessary for a lady.” He waved his hand. “Sewing, French, watercolors, and so forth.”
Merry stared at him, her jaw slack. Well over six feet, David, Duke of Penrose, was a sight to behold. Every inch the lord of the manor, his coat fit him as if it had been painted on. His white-on-white waistcoat hugged his impressive body above well-fitting tan breeches tucked into black Hessian boots. A snow white, intricately tied cravat was a stark contrast to his lightly tanned skin.
Lord Penrose rested one hip on the edge of the desk, peering down at her, his foot swinging back and forth. “I shall allow a bit of transition time for the young ladies. You may stay on for a week or two. Then I will see you receive a generous stipend to tide you over until you can secure another position.”
Two blonde heads popped up from behind Merry’s skirts. “No!”
“What I intended to say is, although I’m not sure about hiring you, I’m willing to try you for a week to see how you work out. Would that be acceptable?”
She quickly sat up, her eyes bright. “Yes, yes. A trial period would be fine.” Her mouth broke into a huge grin, and she wiped sweat off her upper lip.
What a transformation. Her smile changed an already pretty face into a beautiful one. The twinkle in her eyes, and her full lips revealing straight white teeth, sent his pulse racing. Something twisted in his middle he hadn’t allowed himself to feel in years.
He cleared his throat. “You understand you’ll have to speak with the customers?”
“I realize that.”
Michael stood. “I’ll need you to come in tomorrow at nine o’clock. We’re open from nine-thirty until six o’clock. You will have one half hour for lunch. We’re also open half a day on Saturday from nine-thirty until noon. Can you work those hours?”
“Yes. That’s fine.” She hopped up so quickly, she nearly upended her chair. Michael grabbed it before it tumbled to the ground.
“I’ll be here first thing in the morning. Thank you so much.” She grabbed his hand, and almost shook it off his arm.
Michael led her to the front of the store, unlocked the door and let her out. “See you tomorrow.”
“Yes, thank you very much. I’ll be here. Thank you again.” She backed away, then turned and walked into a light post.
“I’m fine.” She rubbed her forehead, adjusted her hat, and hurried away.
Michael shook his head. Strange woman. Hopefully he didn’t just commit a huge error of judgment.
A small wooden table in the corner drew her. She placed the glass on the table and eased her sore and tired body onto the chair. One leg shorter than the other three, the chair rocked as she settled. A woman the size of the counterman came through a curtain separating the area from whatever was in the back. With a brisk nod in Angel’s direction, she headed her way.
“Y’all one of them new whores Dolly’s expectin’? She asked me to look out for ya.” She jerked her thumb in the counterman’s direction. “Jedediah’ll git you out there as soon as the stage pulls out. Dolly’s sure needin’ the help. She cain’t never take a break herself.”
Angel sat in silence, her eyes wide and mouth slack as the woman continued. “Ya’ll gonna have to git rid of them black clothes, though. Dolly’ll fix ya up nice and fancy.”
Tears sprang to her eyes and she gasped, vigorously shaking her head. “No, ma’am, I am not one of the new wh-whores.” She stumbled on the word, and backed the rickety chair against the wall.
“Well, gosh darn. Thadda be a pity.” The woman shifted a wad of tobacco from one cheek to the other, expelling a stream of juice right next to Angel’s shoe. Her gaze roamed over her. “A looker like you’d make a lot of money for yerself. Men around here are dying for some new faces.” Then she thought for a minute and grinned. “And new bodies, too.” She threw her head back in laughter, spaces from missing teeth exposed.
“Jedediah, git yoreself back to work.” The woman shouted in the counterman’s direction as she returned to the back area.
Angel got up from the table and quickly headed for the door. I’d rather sit in the blazing sun. What have I gotten myself into?
Lucas released her lips and rested his forehead on hers. “You know I would never hurt you.”
Tessa pulled back, her eyes narrowed. “Why did you say that?”
He ran his knuckles over her cheek. “Because I never would.”
“I think I’d better go now.”
Lucas smiled. “Okay. I don’t want to scare you.”
Her chin came up and she stiffened her shoulders. “I’m not scared of you.”
“Good.” As he came around the vehicle, he stopped and stared at the building. “Tessa?”
She jumped down to join him. “What?”
“Didn’t you put the lights out when you locked up before?”
“I thought I did. But it appears there’s a couple still burning.”
He continued to stare at the building. “Get back in the jeep.”
Her mouth went dry as dust. “Do you think someone’s in there?”
“Probably not, but old training is kicking in.” His hand settled on her arm as he walked her back to the Jeep. “Where are your keys?”
She rummaged in her purse for the key ring and handed it to him. “Front door.”
“Stay here, I’ll come get you when I’m sure it’s safe.” He closed the door and gestured for her to lock both doors.
As soon as the back door opened, Lucas waved for her to join him. Heart pounding, she got out of the Jeep. As she came closer she heard him on the phone. “Tessa’s Treasures, corner of Main and Sixth.” He glanced around the room. “Doesn’t seem to be.” He squeezed her hand. “Okay, we’ll be here.”
She stepped through the door between the kitchen and the store proper, and gasped.
“Miss Henderson!” Max choked out. The woman stood before him, dripping wet, in trousers—trousers! Her unbuttoned coat displayed the man’s shirt she wore, plastered to her chest, the peaks of her nipples prominent against the wet fabric. Dripping wet pants outlined her legs as if naked.
She continued to laugh, and pushed the hair out of her eyes, raising her breasts, which pointed directly at him. Max yanked her jacket closed and buttoned it up.
His jaw tightened as he took her hand and helped her out of the trough. She covered her mouth with her other hand, trying to stifle her laughter.
“Miss Henderson, I don’t see any humor whatsoever in this. You are an upstanding citizen of this town, a member of a prominent family, and a teacher. A teacher!” He took her by the elbow and moved her forward. “I can’t believe you would appear in public dressed in trousers.”
Ellie pulled away from him. “I have to go back to the meat store and get my bag.”
Max took her elbow again and walked her in the direction of the bag resting against the large glass store window where she’d left it. Her shoes squished with every step she took, and she continued to shake herself like a dog. A trail of water followed them. She retrieved her package and turned, her lips blue, her body shaking with the cold. “Thank you v-v-very much, Mr. C-C-Colbert. I guess I will s-s-see you Monday.”
He continued to stare at her wide-eyed. “Miss Henderson, I have no intention of letting you continue to wander around town dressed in soaking wet trousers. You’ll catch your death of cold and miss school. I will escort you home.” He stopped and stared at her. “Where is it you live?”
She pulled her hair to the side and squeezed. Max jumped back when the water hit his highly polished boots. “The b-b-boarding house on Elm and S-s-seventh.”
“Very well. My house is closer. I’ll drive you home in my automobile.” He grabbed her elbow again, and Ellie stumbled along, taking two steps to his every one.
Memories of last night washed over her, along with shame and embarrassment. Dear God, what have I done? She allowed Jesse to make love to her, that’s what she’d done. She eased herself away from him. His strong arm pulled her back.
“Where you going?” Jesse’s sleep filled voice jolted her heart to a rapid rhythm.
“Jesse Cochran, you’re in my bed!”
Jesse turned her onto her back, then propped himself on his elbow, his face towering over her, one eyebrow raised.
“Yes, if I remember correctly, by invitation.” He had the nerve to grin.
“We’re naked!” she whispered, pulling the sheet up to her neck.
He wrestled the sheet from her hands, raised it, and glanced down. “So it seems.”
“Get up.” She shoved him with her foot.
Jesse grunted and frowned. “Ow! What’s the matter with you?”
“I can’t believe what you did.” Tori sat up, the sheet wrapped firmly around her.
“Honey, I hate to throw stones at your virginal righteousness, but what happened a few hours ago we did. Together. Both of us.”
“Oh, you would say that.” She fisted her hands. “You took advantage of me.” What a stretch that was. Not only wouldn’t he believe that, she didn’t believe she’d actually said it.
Jesse shook his head and sat up. “Wait a minute. I remember asking you if you were sure, and you said yes.”
“I wasn’t thinking properly. You should have known that. Also, my spectacles were on the table.”
He stared at her, opening and closing his mouth like a fish. “What’s that supposed to mean? You didn’t recognize me?”
She looked down her nose at him. “Oh, you would try to confuse the argument.”
“How? With logic? Something you are not at all familiar with, it appears.” He jumped out of the bed and pulled his pants on. “You know, lady, I always thought you were crazy.” His fingers worked frantically at the buttons. He reached for his shirt. “Now I know you are.”
“I am not crazy, and what about Rachel?” Tori said, getting out of the other side of the bed and dragging the sheet with her.
“What has Rachel got to do with this?”
“Exactly!” She raised her finger in the air. “You were so full of lust, you forgot why we’re even here.”
He stopped putting on his shoe and stared at her. “Full of lust? Did you just say full of lust?”
“Yes. Full of lust. A poor, helpless young girl is out there.” She threw one arm toward the window, her other hand clutching the sheet. “All you can think about is this.” She motioned toward the bed.
“Mr. Cochran, breakfast is ready if you and your wife would like to eat before you leave.” Catherine’s voice came from the other side of the door.
“Isn’t this just wonderful?” Tori whispered furiously as she bent to scoop the nightgown from the floor. “I’ll bet they heard your lust right through this door last night. In fact, I’ll bet you woke the animals in the barn.”
Jesse tightened his belt buckle, then pointed his finger at her. “You should be locked up for your own safety.”
Picking up his boots and socks, he left the room. http://www.amazon.com/Run-Love-Oklahoma-Lovers-ebook/dp/B006FQX866/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1391700639&sr=1-1&keywords=a+run+for+love