Curves and the Russian Wrangler (BBW Romance - Coldwater Springs 6) (4 page)

BOOK: Curves and the Russian Wrangler (BBW Romance - Coldwater Springs 6)
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“Thank you,” she said breathlessly, “for a lovely picnic.”

“Thank
you
, Amber.” He looked deep into her eyes.

She quivered at the way he said her name. He made it sound so exotic, as if she were a beautiful woman he wanted. Needed. But she knew that she was just plain old Amber Dawson, still single at twenty-seven. With a generous bust, rounded tummy and hips.
No wonder she was a spinster.

“What’s wrong?” His dark brown eyes narrowed in concern. “Tell me.”

“Nothing.” She shook her head, mortified that her feelings had shown on her face. Trying to tamp down the blush she felt rising, she took a deep breath. “I’m fine.”

“You did not enjoy today?” His thumb brushed her cheek.

She found it hard to think straight. The pad of his thumb blazed a path down her cheek.

“Of course I did,” she protested. “It was very kind of you.”

“I did not do it to be kind.” His voice lowered, deepened even more. His thumb still traced her cheek. “I invited you because you are a beautiful woman.”

He’d called her beautiful! That was her last thought before his lips descended. His mouth claimed hers, seeking, tasting, teasing. With a small sigh, she gave herself up to the wonder of his kiss.

Minutes later she was wrapped in his arms, her small hands clutching his wide, broad shoulders. Clinging. Breathless.

When he finally lifted his mouth, she slowly fluttered her eyes open.

Best kiss
ever.

“And one I would like to know better,” he continued, as if he hadn’t just given her a mind blowing kiss. “Much better.” He stroked the small of her back, the heat of his touch scorching her flesh through her turquoise cotton shirt and matching t-shirt.

She gave him a wobbly smile, hardly daring to believe that this was happening to
her.

“I’d like that,” she whispered.

“I will be in town on Tuesday. We can have lunch together.”

“Okay. My lunch break is noon,” she said, amazed her brain was functioning so well.

“Perfect.” His smile lit up his face. “I will pick you up.” His lips snared hers for another wonderful moment. “Until Tuesday.”

 

***

 

The next
six weeks passed in a blur. Ever since she’d had lunch with Mikhail that Tuesday, they’d become an item. They went horseback riding on the weekends, and usually had dinner together as well. During the week, Mikhail took her to lunch, and she’d invited him to dinner at her place. She’d even closed the boutique a little early that day, so she’d have time to cook him beef pot roast with steamed baby vegetables. His praise of the simple but tasty meal had made her blush, but unfortunately the fare hadn’t tempted him to suggest he stay the night.

Each time she saw him their kisses became even hotter, but he’d never once suggested she spend the night with him. Make love with him.

As well as dating Mikhail, Amber made a conscious effort to devote more time with Barney, and to her relief, he hadn’t bitten her again.

Yesterday afternoon, she and Mikhail had ridden the horses through his patch of woodland. Afterwards, they’d had dinner at the farmhouse; Mikhail cooked Beef Stroganoff. And she’d been ready and waiting for him to make a move on her afterward.

Amber frowned, barely noticing the sunny day as she drove to Mikhail’s. She’d been positive that last night would be
the
night, the night when Mikhail would take her to bed, but once again her hopes had been dashed. She’d even bought pretty silk lingerie from the boutique, grateful for her staff discount, and had worn the matching cream bra and panties set last night, under her horseback riding attire of jeans and a new plum shirt that brought out the green flecks in her hazel eyes.

But after their evening coffee, Mikhail had walked her to the barn, helped her load Barney into the trailer and given her a scorching kiss goodnight. No dragging her off to the bedroom, darn it, or unbuttoning her blouse and being tempted by her new lingerie, or even snuggling together on his comfy leather couch in the living room.

Although he
had
offered to let Barney stay the night, so she wouldn’t be troubled by unloading her horse from the trailer in the evening gloom when she arrived home.

She nibbled her lip, glad she could see the amusing side of her horse being invited to stay over while she wasn’t.

But while she’d been disappointed as she drove home last night, she had to admit, she felt the tiniest bit relieved.

He hadn’t seen her naked yet.

Perhaps when he did, everything would change. Perhaps he wouldn’t want to see her anymore. She was ordinary Amber Dawson, manager of a little boutique in a small Wyoming town. She also had a bust, hips and a tummy.
Curves.

If Mikhail saw her nude, then he might realize that he wasn’t attracted to her after all. He was tall, handsome, sexy, with an exotic Russian accent, a talented horse trainer, and owned his own ranch.

Apart from their love of horses, what did they have in common?

When she’d shyly told her girlfriends that she was dating Mikhail, they’d been happy for her. They’d made her feel that it was entirely natural that a gorgeous man like Mikhail would be attracted to her.

But when she was alone, sometimes she would wake up in the middle of the night, wondering if tomorrow Mikhail would come to his senses and decide he was no longer interested in her.

To her relief, that hadn’t happened - yet. But she knew she had to be prepared in case it did.

Today, she was meeting Mikhail for lunch at the farmhouse. Last night, when she’d been undressing for bed at her cottage -
alone
- she discovered she’d lost her cute pink bead bracelet. She
knew
she shouldn’t have worn it out riding yesterday, especially since she suspected the clasp was a little loose, but she’d wanted to look pretty for their date, and had succumbed to temptation. The bracelet hadn’t been expensive, but it was her favorite, and she didn’t want to lose it.

This morning she’d looked in the yard, the garage, the driveway, Barney’s stable and paddock - everywhere, including the cottage - to no avail. She’d called Mikhail early this morning about it, and he’d suggested she come over for lunch and afterwards, they could go for a walk in the woods and see if they could find it. He hadn’t noticed it when he fed the horses at six o’clock that morning.

It was her day off from the boutique, and she hadn’t made any plans.
With any luck, they would find it after lunch.

Amber pulled into Mikhail’s driveway, slowing down on the gravel road. She’d left Barney at home today since this would hopefully be a romantic stroll through the woods as well as looking for her bracelet.

After last night, when Mikhail hadn’t suggested she stay overnight, she’d decided not to get her hopes up today. Instead of wearing expensive silk lingerie, she’d opted for her usual good quality but practical underwear. At least she wouldn’t have to worry about him seeing her naked today.

She parked outside the farmhouse and got out of the car. “Hi,” she called out, spying him near the barn.

“Amber.” He smiled, striding toward her.

Butterflies fluttered in her tummy as she watched him come nearer. Was she really dating this gorgeous guy? How did she get so lucky? Resolving to push away the lingering doubts as to why he wasn’t urging to take their relationship to the next level, she decided to just enjoy his company today.

He cupped her face and kissed her. When she was in his arms, she believed they could have a future together as a couple, that he
was
attracted to her, curvy figure and all. It was only when she was alone that doubt assailed her.

“Our lunch is ready.” He put an arm around her, bringing her close to his side as they walked to the house. “Afterwards, we will go and look for your bracelet.”

“I can’t believe I lost it,” she said ruefully. She relished the touch of his hand on her curvy waist, and cursed the fact that it was only a few steps to the porch.

“We will find it.” He smiled down at her. “Don’t worry.”

After a lunch of free-range local ham and salad sandwiches using sourdough bread from her friend Kate’s bakery, Amber helped with the dishes.

“Come.” Mikhail held out his hand. “We’ll stroll through the woods and locate your bracelet.”

Just as Amber put her hand in his, her pulse stirring, his cell phone rang.

“Damn,” he muttered, looking at the caller ID. “I’m sorry, Amber. I should take this.”

“Go ahead.” She released his hand, a small arrow of disappointment quivering through her. Outside, the sunny spring sky beckoned to her. “I’ll meet you in the woods.”

“I will be there,” he promised, giving her a smile that made her knees wobble, before focusing on his phone call.

Letting herself out of the house with a sigh, she strolled in the direction of the woods behind the farmhouse. It would have been so romantic to walk hand-in-hand with Mikhail, but hopefully he would catch up before too long. After six weeks of dating him, she knew when he said he’d do something, he’d do it.

Perhaps she’d be able to find her bracelet quickly, and spend the rest of the afternoon doing something interesting with Mikhail.
Much
more interesting.

With a smile on her lips, she entered the woodland. Tall pine trees and small flowering bushes sporting white flowers beckoned to her, and she told herself to stop thinking about her sexy Russian and to concentrate on looking for her pink and silver bracelet.

She crinkled her brow, trying to remember which way they’d ridden through the woodland yesterday.

“Over here,” she murmured, walking towards a group
of orange wildflowers next to a fallen log.

A flash of silver winked in the sunlight. She headed toward it, hoping it was her bracelet. A bird trilled a pretty tune to her right and she turned her head, trying to sneak a glimpse of it. Could it be a yellow warbler?

“Ow!” Amber caught her foot on the log and sprawled forward, her hands hitting the grass and dirt on the other side of the log. The rough wood of the fallen pine tree bit into the soft flesh of her stomach as she fell over it. When she caught her breath, the throbbing of her left ankle reminded her of her clumsiness.

She managed to push herself off the log, the pain in her ankle intensifying. Carefully resting her scraped hands on the pine-scented log, she maneuvered herself around and lowered herself onto the fallen tree.

She looked down at her ankle. Her sturdy walking shoe was still secure on her foot, but as she peeled down her sock, flinching when her fingertips touched her injury, she could see that her ankle had started swelling already.

“Please don’t be broken,” she muttered, then looked around the clearing. There was no sign of Mikhail and she wasn’t sure if she could limp back to the house without someone to lean on.

Maybe if she called him. He might have finished his call and be on his way now. Patting the pocket of her beige capris for her phone, she realized she’d left it in her purse at the farmhouse. Her shoulders drooped. Great. What was she going to do now?

Make sure she picked up her bracelet, she told herself grimly, heaving herself up and hobbling over to the cluster of orange flowers she’d noticed earlier -
before
she’d fallen over.

Snatching her bracelet off the ground, she rested most of her weight on her good foot. Amber examined the broken metal clasp, then put it in her pocket with a sigh. At least she’d found her favorite piece of jewelry, but there was still no sign of Mikhail.

She hobbled back to the log and sat down. Perhaps if she shouted for help, he would hear her.

 

***

 

Mikhail finished his call and shoved the phone into the pocket of his jeans. His new client, an elderly man, liked to talk. Since his client lived alone, Mikhail surmised he was lonely, and did not mind spending a few minutes longer than necessary on the phone with the old man.

But today, he’d been looking forward to spending time with Amber. He had been close - so close last night - to asking her to stay the night. Not even asking, but seducing her. But when the moment came, he had put his base desires aside and tried to focus on what was right.

But he didn’t know how much longer he could last without undressing her, seeing her beautiful curves for the first time, showing her with his hands - and lips - just how much he wanted her. Needed her.

Soon, he promised himself, aware that he’d been telling himself that since the first moment he laid eyes on her, when those two boys had almost knocked her down in the street.

But while his groin tightened every time he saw her, he wanted the moment to be right for both of them. Although his kisses had become more demanding and passionate in the last few weeks, he did not want Amber to feel pressured into making love with him.

And they
would
be making love.

His jeans tightened at the thought of her, laid out before him on his king-sized bed, flushed with desire, and waiting for him.
It had to be soon.
Because the waiting was killing him.

He strode out of the house, determined to give Amber a romantic stroll in the woods. And if they couldn’t find her bracelet, he would buy her another. Ten of them, if that would make her happy. And he did want to make her happy.

His breath caught whenever she smiled at him. And when she kissed him he couldn’t believe he’d been able to show such restraint.

He told himself to focus on more mundane thoughts as he entered the wooded area behind his house. The horse trails, the small patch of woodland and the wildflower meadow were all part of the reason he’d chosen to buy this ranch out of the dozens he’d looked at in Montana and Wyoming. For some reason, this place felt like home.

“Amber?” He passed the clearing where they’d had their first picnic, a smile lightening his features as he remembered touching her cinnamon colored hair for the first time, soft as silk under his calloused fingers.

When there was no reply, his smile faded. Although the area of woodland was relatively small, it would take a while to check every inch of ground for her bracelet. Perhaps she had gone into the furthest reaches of the woods and was working her way back.

BOOK: Curves and the Russian Wrangler (BBW Romance - Coldwater Springs 6)
5.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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