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Authors: S. E. Kloos

Southern Charms (10 page)

BOOK: Southern Charms
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He could feel her beginning her climb to the peak of pleasure, her walls beginning to flutter slightly, trying to keep him in as he pulled back again. Eyes locking, Xander once again picked up the pace, the force of hips growing as well. It didn’t take but four more thrusts of his hips before the serenity of the night was broken by the call of ecstasy falling from Elizabeth’s lips, followed shortly thereafter, by one from his when the vice like grip she had on him milked him for all he was worth.

Breathing hard, Xander rolled off her, lying on his back as he struggled to catch his breath. Rolling his head to look at her, he was just barely able to smother the smirk at what he saw. Even in the dark he could see the flushed tint to her cheeks, sweat replacing the lake water on her skin. As his eyes roamed her body, they paused a moment too long on her tits. They bounced a bit while she caught her own ragged breath, his eyes moving up and down right along with them, only to snap up to her face when she giggled .

“See something you like, Cowboy?”

Snorting slightly, Xander slid an arm under her shoulders and rolled her to his side, pressing a kiss to her brow. “Naw. Whatever gave you that idea?”

Giggling more, she hit his chest, mumbling something to the tune of ‘jerk’ before snuggling closer to him, laying her head on his shoulder. She watched at the fireflies for a moment before catching his gaze. “It’s gettin’ late. I should probably be gettin’ home.”

Xander looked down at her, brow cocked. “Got plans tonight, Little Darlin’? You never want to go home.”

There was a spark of mischief in her eyes as she shrugged, voice off hand. “Yeah, if my boyfriend tried to call, there’s shit for cell service out here. He’ll never get through.”

Eyes narrowing slightly, he rolled back over, his upper body hovering over her. “He can kiss my ass.”

Not bothering to keep the amusement out of her voice as she wrapped her arms around his neck, Elizabeth smirked. “Now who’s jealous?”

Xander just smirked right back. “Told ya already, Punkin. I ain’t got a problem with breakin’ the bones of some poor bastard.” Nuzzling noses with her, he lowered his voice. “I don’t share well, ain’t ever had. I’ll knock a fella cockeyed for looking at my lady, and never once think twice about it.”

At that, Elizabeth pushed him back enough to sit up, turning toward him with a serious look on her face. “Please, don’t go all caveman on me, Xander. I really don’t know if I can handle that right now.”

That was when he decided that if he ever saw her ex again, he was gonna beat him to death instead of shooting him. Sighing, he pushed himself to lean on his elbows, lifting a hand to cup her face. “Listen Sugar, I already told ya that I got a temper and that I’m a jealous sumbitch. That ain’t somethin’ that just changes over night, now. I also told ya that I would never take either out on ya. I understand that ya don’t believe me, I get it... but if ya gonna be comparin’ me to a sack of shit that don’t know his head from his ass, we gonna have a slight problem. Tell me. Have I once, in the time we been spendin’ together, ever givin’ ya a reason to actually be scared of me?”

She lowered her eyes to the blanket while shaking her head, “Well, no, but...”

He cut her off, “Or have I, in the last month, givin’ you a single reason to doubt that I
never
do what he did?” Again she shook her head, not saying anything before he did. “I get that you needin’ time to cope with all that, and that you needin’ some time to get to really know me. But I am here to tell ya, ya ain’t ever got a reason to ever think that I would be anythin’ like him. I know it’s my word against your personal experience, and that it’s an uphill climb for me to overcome that. However, if ya constantly waitin’ for it, you ain’t really givin’ me a fair shot at it.”

Dipping his head to catch her eyes, “I can say till I’m blue in the face that you ain’t gotta worry, but it’s up to you to believe it. I’ll give ya all the time ya need to fight ya demons, Sugar Britches. I just wish ya’d let me help ya with it, instead of waitin’ on me to become one, too.”

Looking away from his penetrating green eyes, Elizabeth sighed lightly. Biting her lip and taking a deep breath, she turned her gaze back to his. “I’m sorry, I really am, but it isn’t as easy as you try to make it sound.”

Dropping his head back on his shoulders, Xander groaned. “I wasn’t tryin’ to make light of the shit, Sugar.” Looking back at her, he explained, “All I’m tryin’ to do is get you to understand that I don’t take kindly at being compared to a thing like that, and that I am here to help ya in any way ya need me to. Will I fuck up a fella for makin’ a pass at ya? Ya damn skippy I will. Will I take that out on you? Hell naw. Will I get pissed off if ya actually go along with the fucker? Yeah, I will... BUT not to the extent that ya used to it goin’. I told ya, I don’t play games. I’ll just break up with ya, not break ya. I ain’t so over the top possessive that ya ain’t even allowed to talk to another guy. I don’t rightly care who ya talk to, as long it ends with talkin’, and I know that you comin’ home to me. I told ya, Sugar Britches, I don’t ask much. Just that if ya my lady, ya be my lady.”

A small smile pulled at Elizabeth’s lips as she nodded. “I can do that.” Then she moved to cuddle with Xander longer before she really did have to go home. After a moment, she snorted and lifted her eyes to his. “That had to be the most fucked up pillow talk in history.”

Chuckling, Xander just kissed her temple before wrapping his arm around her, pulling her flush to his side. They both fell silent as they listened to the sounds of the night around them.

 

Chapter 19

Xander was ripped out of his sleep by two things... his girlfriend’s shriek of surprise, and the freezing cold water that was just thrown on them.

Shooting up to a sitting position, he looked around until his eyes landed on his brother and the bucket in his hands. He gave him a deadly glare, “I’ma gonna fuck ya up.” Using both hands to wipe his face off before running his fingers through his hair, he winced hard when he found a tangle. “What the hell was that about?!”

Kyle tossed the bucket back into the truck bed where he got it from, crossed his arms, and glared. “If y'all wanted to stay out all night, dontcha think it mighta been a good idea to let someone know?” Nodding at Elizabeth, he went on. “Her kin been callin’ the house since nine this mornin’ tryin’ to find out if she alright.” Kyle then groaned when she shrieked and leapt up, eyes seeking the sky when it was apparent she hadn’t any clothes on, then looking back at his brother when she grabbed the blanket they were under to cover herself.

Xander made a noise as he grabbed the first thing his fingers touched, his hat, and covered himself with it. He turned to where is girl was hanging out the open window of the truck, trying to reach for her phone. It was then that he dropped his head into his hand, remembering that he’d left the radio playing, and there was a very good likelihood that the battery was dead. “Fuck.” Looking at Kyle, he asked, “Did you drive or ride?”

Kyle tilted his head to the truck next to his before smirking. “Ya killed the battery again, didn't cha?”

Xander shrugged and shook his head, “I don’t know yet, but prolly.”

Snorting while shaking his head, Kyle pulled out his truck keys. “Get up and dressed. I’ll jump ya so you can get the little lady home before her uncle has a fuckin’ heart attack.”

That was when Xander’s glare came back, “In what? Ya soaked my clothes ya bastard.”

Kyle just shrugged as he headed to his truck, “Not my problem. Should’ve made that call last night, huh, Dipshit?”

Later that afternoon, after both of them got read the Riot Act for staying out all night without telling anyone, Xander and Elizabeth were back at the Steele ranch. Elizabeth was on Laylonni as Xander continued to work with her on riding properly. She was doing really well in his opinion; she just got freaked out with anything faster than a trot. Trying to get her to overcome that was about to drive him nuts.

“It’ll be alright, Little Darlin’. I promise. Laylonni ain’t ever bucked no one off her. I doubt she about to start now, with as old as she is. She ain’t like Rocky. She won’t jump the fence like he would. I warned ya she gonna feed off whatever you feelin’, and if ya scared, ya gonna spook her. That is when accidents happen.”

She looked over at him, her face drawn a bit, “It’s a long way down, Xander.”

He didn’t dispute that, it was. “However, it’s gonna hurt worse if she rears and you fall off that way, Sugar Britches. You need to calm down.”

“I can’t help it if I’m scared.”

He leaned against the fence and kicked his booted foot on the bottom rung, draping his elbows over the top, “You can help if she knows it. Take a deep breath and ease into it. She ain’t gonna listen to you, if you wound up like a music box, baby girl. If she don’t listen, you gonna get hurt.” Once he saw her take a deep breath, he nodded, “Tighten ya grip up on the reins and give her a squeeze with your thighs. Once you do, don’t let up on your hold, but don’t add to it, either.”

Following the directions, she tightened her hands and tapped her feet to Laylonni’s sides, giving a squeak when the horse started to speed up from a trot to a slow gallop.

“Don’t do that, Sugar. You’ll spook her.”

Turning to look at Xander, Elizabeth gave him a look of terror, making him sigh. Stepping away from the fence and catching the bridle as Laylonni got within his reach, he turned her around in a circle a few times as he eased her speed. Once she was stopped, he ran a hand along her nose as he looked up at his girl, “She ain’t gonna hurt ya on purpose, Little Darlin’.”

As he was about to continue that thought, his mama called from the back porch, “Xander, Sugar, the Doctor just called. Said if you can be there in a half hour, he’ll get ya in today to see ‘bout that boot comin’ off ya foot, ‘sted of tomorrow mornin’.”

Nodding to her, Xander turned back to Elizabeth, “Ya wanna come along, or do ya want me to drop ya off at home on the way?”

Letting Xander help her off Laylonni, she thought about it a minute, “I still have to talk to Uncle Marsh and Aunt Steffy about leaving with you next week. This is as good a time as any, I suppose.”

Giving her a wink, Xander pulled Laylonni toward the stable to get her put up before taking his girl home, then heading to the doctor to get the stupid fucking boot off finally.

 

Chapter 20

After Xander pulled out of the drive, Elizabeth took a deep breath, heading up the steps and into the house. She called out for her aunt and uncle, heading to the kitchen when she heard the call back to her.

After grabbing a coke out of the fridge, she took a seat across from her uncle, who was reading the paper. Working out in her head what she wanted to say, she looked up at him, “Uncle Marsh, can I talk to you about something?”

WIthout putting the paper down, he smirked a bit, wondering when she was finally going to tell him what he had already figured out. “When y'all leavin’?”

Blinking at the paper, Elizabeth started at that, but answered in a guarded voice, “Monday afternoon. How did you know that was what I was gonna say?”

Chuckling lightly, Marshal put the paper down to look at his shocked as shit niece, “Eribeth, ya been spendin’ every second of the day with that boy for the last month. Figurin’ you was gonna wanna go with him when he left again, was as easy as slidin’ off a greasy log backwards, Sug. I was just wonderin’ when you was gonna tell us, is all.”

Tilting her head to the side a bit, her eyebrow slid up a bit, “You don’t mind?”

He snorted as he leaned back and crossed his arms, “You a big girl, Elizabeth, perfectly capable of makin’ up ya own mind on what ya wanna do. Farbeit for me to tell ya that ya can’t do somethin’ you clearly gonna do, with or without my say so. ‘Sides, I ain’t ya daddy. It ain’t my place to tell ya ‘no’. Ya came here to feel safe and it clear that Master Steele make you feel that.” It was then that he leaned forward to point a finger in her face, “However, that boy do anythin’ that you don’t like, ya call me and me, and his daddy’ll whoop his ass.”

Giggling, she got up from her seat, moving to give him a hug. “You’re the best, Uncle Marsh.”

He smiled as he patted her back, “You always gonna be my little Eribeth, no matter how old ya get. The only thing that matters to me is ya happy.” Looking up at her when she pulled back, he promised, “If Xander makes ya smile, that’s all I care ‘bout. Just ‘member what I said now. Ya call me and I’ll be there, rifle in hand, to make it all better.”

After another hug, Elizabeth went into the actual kitchen to help her aunt finish up dinner.

Across town, Xander was pulling into the doctor’s office. Once parked, he reached into the back seat, grabbing his long lost love of a cowboy boot before heading inside. He didn’t wait but two minutes before he was called back to see the doctor. After shaking hands, Xander sat on the bed in the room to take the boot cast off, the customary digging of his nails against his skin following, just like every other time it came off. Lifting his eyes to the doctor when he chuckled, he went right back to it. “Fucker itches somethin’ fierce.”

Smirking a bit, Dr. Smith batted Xander’s hands away before he poked at different areas of the ankle, looking for any sign of discomfort in the young man. “I have heard that once or twice. Never actually had to find out personally before.”

Xander snorted. “Ya don’t want to, either.” After a few minutes, he couldn’t help himself, “So, it comin’ off?”

Dr. Smith hummed, turning the foot side to side a few times before letting go. “Looks like. I wanna get an x-ray to be sure, but I ain’t really seein’ a need for you to keep it on right at the moment.”

Letting out a sigh of relief, Xander followed the doctor to the radiology area for the x-ray, then back to his room, where he waited for the final say on whether or not he was going to be losing the boot. If he didn’t, he was gonna be pissed.

It was about a half hour later when Dr. Smith came back in, a smile on his face. “Looks like you got lucky, Boy. I saw no reason as to why you need the boot any longer, but I would advise waiting at least another week before you get in the way of another pissed off bull.”

That was fine with him. He wasn’t registered for anything for another ten days anyways. Pulling on a sock before, FINALLY, slipping on the matching cowboy boot, he all but leapt off the bed. After shaking hands with the doctor and a stop at the front desk to pay, Xander left, heading straight to his girl’s house. Without the stupid boot on his foot, he could actually take her dancing and be able to bend his ankle.

Forty-five minutes later, when he pulled up to the Johnson farm, Xander gulped at the sight of Marshal sitting in a chair on the porch, his shotgun across his lap. Slowly cutting the engine and getting out of his truck, a shiver ran down his spine when he saw the smirk creep up on Marshal’s face. Mentally squaring his shoulders for this, Xander walked up on the porch. “Elizabeth home?”

Marshal smirked even wider. “‘Course she is. She ain’t with you, is she?” Nodding to the railing across from him, he waited for Xander to take the hint and man up. Moving his gun to stand on the butt beside his chair, Marshal crossed his arms, and then looked Xander square in the eyes once he was right in front of him. “So, my little Eribeth tells me that she gonna go with ya when ya leave again. This true?”

Leaning back on the railing with his palms on the top, Xander crossed his ankles, nodding, “Yes Sir. That’s the plan.”

Nodding back, “I want a straight answer out of you, Boy. What intentions you got with my niece? I get I ain’t her daddy and you don’t really answer to me, but her daddy a Yankee. He don’t realise we do things different down here. You ain’t, and ya know exactly what I’ll do to ya if you hurt my girl.”

That shiver down his spine was back. Without his permission, his eyes slid to the shotgun that was still well within the man’s reach, causing him to gulp again. Looking back at him, Xander took a deep breath before letting it out slowly. “I’ma be honest here, Mr. Johnson. I ain’t got any idea. I ain’t got any bad intentions, but we have only been datin’ for a month.”

Brows sliding up his forehead, he dug in. “Yet you willin’ to take my girl and go runnin’ all over God’s green Earth with her? You expect me to put my girl’s safety and protection in your hands, yet you don’t even know what you want out of your relationship with her? Are you outta your fuckin’ mind?”

When put like that, he did kind of sound like it… but at the same time, he knew he wasn’t. Crossing his arms, Xander never moved his eyes from Marshal’s, “Elizabeth and I talked ‘bout this a lot, Mr. Johnson. It wasn’t a spur the moment thing. As far as our relationship, you right, you ain’t her daddy. I do understand that ya want what’s best for her. I want the same thing. However, what my intentions are is somethin’ I really only need to be tellin’ her daddy when I meet him. If you wantin’ me to be tellin’ ya that my intentions are marriage and the like, well... with all due respect, it’s too soon to be talkin’ ‘bout that. If ya want me to tell ya I love the girl, it’s a li’l early for that, too. What I will tell ya -all I’ll tell ya- is that she means a great deal to me. I wouldn’t hurt her if I was paid to. If that ain’t enough for ya, g’on and shoot me, but that’s all ya gettin’.”

Marshal looked at the young man that wouldn’t break eye contact with him. There was something in his eyes that told him the boy was full of shit on at least one point he just made. The youngest Steele was smitten with his niece. After a moment, he stood to clap Xander on the shoulder, “I certainly hope ya got your shit worked out by the time ya meet Kenny. He retired military... won’t think twice ‘bout puttin’ a bullet in your head, and he got plenty of friends to help get rid of the body.”

Xander froze as he watched Marshal head into the house. He didn’t know how long he stood there before a small hand waved in front of his eyes. Jumping a bit, he moved his eyes to look at the brown eyed beauty, who was currently looking up at him with amused concern on her face. Giving his head a shake, he hope Marshal was just pulling his leg. “Ya daddy military?”

The giggle came before she could stop it, “Special Ops, actually.”

Looking at the roof of the porch, Xander groaned, “‘Course he is.” Then his eyes reconnected with hers, “Anything else I should know?”

Shaking her head while giggling again, she promised, “You ain’t got nothin’ to worry about. My dad is gonna love you, I know it.”

Xander smirked at her, reached out to hook his fingers through her belt loops, and then pulled her to him. Wrapping his arms around her, he laced his fingers together behind her back, pressing a kiss to her lips before smiling at her, “That a fact, Sugar Britches? And just how you know that?”

Elizabeth just shrugged. “Your name ain’t Brandon Westfall.”

BOOK: Southern Charms
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