Authors: Lynda Chance
The rest of the day, she worked companionably in the kitchen with her aunt. They spoke of trivial things, laughing over memories of the parents she had loved so much, and the younger sister her aunt still missed to this day. It was an afternoon spent with gentle memories of the past, and subtle anticipation for the future.
At six o'clock, Jake walked through and stood in the doorway of the kitchen. Both women turned to face him. "Ma'am." He tipped his hat to her aunt. His dark eyes swung to her.
Becky felt sparks hit her. Heat crept through her veins. His face was dark, his jaw shadowed with whiskers. A bruise marked one side of his face. Becky remembered the scene in the street, and a shiver ran through her. He was so intensely masculine.
Her aunt spoke. "Good evening, Sheriff," she looked from Becky to Jake and back again. She cleared her throat. "Well, now, I've got to get to the dining room. House guests, you know." With that, her aunt left the room.
Jake leaned against the door jam and crossed his arms over his chest. "Hello, Becky-girl." His deep voice ignited her insides. Just like that, she started to hyperventilate. He pushed his hat back and she saw his face was strained, a tic in his cheek. Excitement screamed through her.
She valiantly tried not to faint at his feet. "Hello." She gripped her waist. "Does your face hurt?"
He pushed off the door and came across the room. He reached around and pulled her to him. "Will you kiss it better for me?" he growled. He spread his legs and planted his feet solidly apart. He firmly pulled her all the way into him until her pelvis was pressed to his.
She gasped and her eyes flared into his. He held her and waited for her answer. She nodded and reached up to touch the bruise with her fingertips. She pressed too hard and he flinched. Her fingers jerked away. "I'm sorry." She tentatively held onto his shoulders and reached her lips towards his face. She brushed them lightly across the abrasion.
Jake felt the magic of her touch and his body clenched in need. His jeans tightened as he felt himself swell. He tried to calm the desire raging inside him. He needed to possess her, and soon.
After supper, he took her for another walk. He purposely steered her toward the retail section of town. He turned away from the saloons and gaming houses, where the many cowhands and drifters congregated and had earned the small town the name 'Six Shooter Junction.' He pulled her along, away from the bank, the courthouse, and the jail.
The establishments were all closing up for the day, but it was only dusk, and the moon was going to be full tonight. They strolled past the dry goods store, the milliner's shop, and the dressmaker's. When they passed the drugstore on the corner, he pulled her to the side of the building, away from prying eyes.
"Jake, where are we going?" Her voice was breathless.
He dragged her to the back of the building, next to one of the large, cotton warehouses that dominated the town. "Just back here. Did you know you can see the river from here?" He pointed in the distance. "The moon is going to be full tonight. You'll like it." His voice was seductive. He leaned against the building and pulled her around to face him.
She stumbled slightly at the quick movement and her hands landed on his chest. Lifting her chin with one rough, calloused hand, he put his other hand to her face. "I'm sorry you had to see that today, sweetheart."
"Are you okay? Were you badly hurt?" Her hand smoothed his bruised cheek. "Was the girl hurt? Will she be okay?"
"She's going to be fine. It'll take about a week before all her bruises go away, but she'll heal." He put his lips to her forehead and drank in her scent.
"And you?" She leaned into him.
"There's nothing wrong with me. Nothing you can't fix." He smoothed a finger over a slanted eyebrow and pushed his fingers into her hair. "You are so beautiful." He dipped his head and took her mouth with his. The kiss was fiery, intense. The only thing it had in common with the kiss from last night was the possessive thrust of his tongue into her mouth. This kiss contained heat, ownership. Opening her mouth wider for him, she reveled in his possession.
Jake tried to restrain the passion running through him. It was almost impossible. He had been aching for her for a long, long time. He moved his mouth away and leaned his forehead against hers. A shudder went through her and she whimpered softly.
"Do you like that Becky? Do you like me kissing you?" He ran one hand down the curve of her back and landed on her backside. He curved his hand around the softness there. She moaned. She didn't have enough sanity left to answer him.
With their foreheads together, he took his hand from her hair and slid it along the soft curve of her cheek, to her neck. He wrapped his hand around her neck and gently squeezed. She sucked in a breath. He left her neck, and continued the slide downward. His fingers slid over her dress and stopped at the valley between her breasts. He splayed his hand wide. His thumb and the bottom of his palm rested on the curve of one breast, his fingers on the curve of the other. He lightly pressed against her. "What do you have there, sweetheart?"
Still, she couldn’t answer him. He moved his thumb slightly and stroked it over her nipple, once, twice, then three times. A small cry came from her throat and her pelvis pushed into his. He continued the strokes that maddened them both. "Tomorrow, I'm going to strip you naked, and touch you all over." Their hips strained together. "You're going to like it, I can tell you'll like it. Are you going to let me touch you, like I've been aching to, sweetheart?"
His breathing was labored, his lungs pulling in oxygen. He swiveled his face and caught her mouth under his. Their tongues met and tangled. He lifted his mouth and demanded an answer.
"Yes, Jake," she panted. "Whatever you want." He reached for her mouth again. She pulled away. "And do I--do I get to touch you, too?
A barrage of images slammed into his brain. He was going to have a damn heart attack before tomorrow got here. He was going to explode if he didn't get this under control. He whipped her around and pulled her back against his chest. He wrapped his arms around her. The moon was rising above the river. "Yes, Becky. You'll get to touch me all you want."
The day of their wedding was dark and rainy. Jake barely noticed as he prowled back and forth like a tiger in a cage.
She was late.
He paced in the small antechamber next to the pulpit. The preacher and Tyler Jones, his longest-serving deputy and best man, waited with him. The small Methodist church had filled up quickly. Everybody in town wanted to see them tie the knot. The organist played in the background as they waited for the bride, the bride's aunt, and the matron of honor to arrive.
For the last fifteen minutes, Jake had been in agony. Ever since Sam Bolton and his wife had shown up. They were good people. Good citizens. Jake wouldn't let himself dislike them. Their attendance wasn't the problem.
There was no sign of Kyle. And Becky was late. Primal fear and anger raged through his system. He would give her exactly two more minutes, and then he was going to find her.
Becky was horrified when Kyle stopped them outside the General Store next to the church and made a final plea for her hand. She held onto Miranda's arm and wouldn't let the other two women leave her. Her aunt had an armful of flowers and stood behind Miranda.
Why wouldn't Kyle understand? Once again, she tried to explain. She tried to imagine how she would feel if Jake didn't want to marry her. All at once, looking at Kyle, she realized that his feelings for her ran deep. She tried to be kind and tender as she once and for all ended his pursuit.
"Kyle. I'll always remember you as a dear friend. But I love Jake. I always have. You'll find someone else, you will. You are the dearest, sweetest man." She reached out and put her hand on his sleeve. "I know that good things are going to happen. You have so much to give. The love you have in your heart--"
Becky stopped in a rush as Jake grabbed her hand from Kyle's sleeve and pulled her away. "You're late," he growled as he started to drag her off the porch and into the rain. She pulled away from him.
"Jake, stop. I can't get my dress wet. It's silk. It will ruin." Her words and tone conveyed her distress.
"I don't care. I'll buy you another one," he barked and picked her up in his arms and started toward the church.
Aunt Beth and Miranda hurried after them.
Jake shoved the church door open and carried Becky inside. She was damp, but not drenched. He dropped her to her feet. She heard the organ music playing and noticed in shock that the church was full and all eyes were turned and facing them. They had seen Jake carry her inside.
"I want to get this done," he snarled.
Unlike the events before the wedding, the ceremony itself went off without a hitch. Jake stood solemnly beside her as they recited their vows. He slid a gold band on her finger and kissed her with possession in front of the whole town.
The wedding was held at mid-morning and afterwards they had a traditional wedding breakfast. The rain eventually stopped and the sun began shining.
Her aunt handed them a wicker basket afterwards and whispered that it was food for them to enjoy that day, so Becky wouldn't have to cook.
Jake ruthlessly herded her back to his house and pushed her inside. He slammed the door behind him. Becky put the basket on the table. Her sewing supplies and the blue gingham material was still spread out on the table, where she had deserted them. She picked up the material and folded it, lovingly smoothing her hands over it. She glanced around the room. She hadn't seen it this untidy in three years. She turned to face him.
He lounged indolently against the door, his posture oozing satisfaction. Twin feelings of excitement and nervousness surged through her.
His dark eyes captured hers. "Well, Mrs. Cooper, what do you want to do now?" The knowledge that they were man and wife astounded Becky. She felt a bubble of euphoria explode inside of her. He was hers now. Happiness cascaded through her. She slowly walked toward him. She stopped when she was two inches away. His smell intoxicated her.
He made no move to touch her.
She reached out and put her hand on his chest. "I don't know, Sheriff. Any ideas?" His body clenched at her words. She gasped as he swung her up in his arms and pushed his way through to the bedroom.
He dropped her in the middle of the unmade bed.
"Jake, it's the middle of the day!" A blush rose on her face as she watched him begin to take off his shirt.
"Well, what did you mean out there? You asked me if I had any ideas. This is my idea. I think it's a damn fine one." He moved toward her and pulled her up on her knees. She wrapped her arms around his neck.
Her brain splintered as she felt the bare, hot skin of his chest for the very first time. "I thought we might kiss--"
He groaned. "Aaahhh. . . I'm ready for our wedding night." He took her mouth in a deep, slow, searing kiss. His hands ran up and down her back. He clasped her to him.
She lifted her mouth from his. "It’s not night yet." Her hands tangled in his hair as she put her lips back on his. Their tongues clashed and dueled. She lowered her hands and ran them over the hard planes of his chest. Their hips pushed together.
"Okay. We'll just kiss for awhile, then." He lowered his mouth to her neck and kissed her above her collarbone. She moaned. "I think it would be easier to kiss you if you weren't wearing a dress." His hand fell to the curves of her breast and found her nipple.
She panted. "Yes. N-no dress." His hands started on the row of buttons at her back. His movements were quick and jerky. He raised the dress over her head and tossed it aside. He groaned in frustration at the corset and petticoats. She hung in his hold as he removed them from her body. Finally, she was in nothing but a chemise and pantalettes .
He stared at her delicate beauty. "Come to bed, Jake." Her words were sultry. She pulled away from him and burrowed under the covers.
Although he knew it probably wouldn't slow things down, like he needed to do, he couldn't stop himself from getting rid of his boots and clothing. He was naked when he turned back to her.
She was looking at his erect manhood, and Jake didn't want her to dwell on it too much. There was a fair amount of panic on her face.
He climbed into the bed next to her. "B-but M-Miranda said it wouldn't hurt." Her voice sounded shattered.
He moved to comfort her. "No, Becky, it won't hurt, sweetheart. You don't have anything to worry about." He reached for her and carefully brought her face to his. He started over gently. Kissing and caressing her until she felt his erection pressing against her stomach.
"I d-don't know how that's not going to h-hurt, Jake," she whispered.
"That's because you're not ready yet. When you're ready, it'll just slide right in, and you won't feel any pain." He moved his hand to her nipples and started a beguiling touch of his fingertips. He took her mouth again. Within minutes, she was moaning again and undulating softly against him.