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planned his whole life, and then he went in another direction to become a country doctor. He loved the work. But his fiancé refused to consider living in a small town. Rand questioned his feelings for her. He found it too easy to go without her. Now he's looking forward to being free of any commitments.
Then he meets Marian Gaenor. She wants a husband, a home, and family. When they meet for the second time, they both realize the spark is there and they can't ignore it. But Rand wants to have fun and Marian wants more. Rand's receptionist gets sick and Marian fills in. They're thrown together in a different setting, and Rand is impressed with her work. But Rand's friend keeps reminding him to play the field. After Marian leaves without telling him, Rand fears he's let the best thing in his life go.
Prologue Randolph Brodie wandered around the people gathered at his brother’s wedding reception. Dirk and Chelsea had said their vows at the small church in Frontier City. Their reception at the ranch was a large barbecue. Children ran around playing while their parents and other guests enjoyed visiting. Dr. Neels strolled over to him. “Let me introduce you to some of the townspeople. If you’re really serious about joining me, then they’ll want to have a look at you.” He grinned. “We’ll start with the most difficult, Mrs. Lacey. She’s a determined, nosy old lady, but you’ll come to love her as I do.”
Rand followed Dr. Neels, and he introduced Mrs. Lacey. She was sharp tongued, gave him a once-over, and told Dr. Neels he could do worse. “At least he’s easy on the eyes,” she said. They were both chuckling when they moved on. After meeting too many people to ever remember all their names, Dr. Neels took mercy on him. “I see a pretty girl standing alone under that tree.” He nodded to the right. “If I was young, I’d go introduce myself.” Glad to have a chance to wander off, Rand headed toward the blonde who’d stood up with Chelsea at her wedding. “Hello,” Rand said. “I’m Rand Brodie.” “Marian Gaenor.” She put out her hand. “Chelsea’s my best friend.” He wrapped his hand around hers and stared into sherry-brown eyes. She smiled, and his body jumped to attention. Her sweet floral fragrance blew across his face. He suddenly wanted to pull her body close against his. Wow, he hadn’t expected such a response. He liked women, but this was different. He dropped her hand like it was a hot potato. “It was a nice wedding,” he said. His brain was refusing to work on all cylinders. “I’m happy for her. Your brother, Dirk, is a great guy. I think they’ll be very happy.” Rand glanced at the newlyweds. They were glowing and staring into each other’s eyes. Friends and family looked on, smiling. He turned back to Marian. “If you’d like, I’ll introduce you to some more of my family.” “Please do. I’d love to meet them. I arrived late last night and missed meeting everyone at the rehearsal dinner.” He watched her as he made the introduction to his mother and Clay. Actually, he couldn’t take his eyes off of her. He managed to stay at her side while they meandered around the yard. But then, when they got to Dirk and Chelsea, Marian stood to the side to talk with Chelsea, and Dirk turned to Rand. “I’m sorry Anna couldn’t come.” “She had previous plans.”
“You still planning to move here?” Chelsea and Marian had been talking, but he knew they heard his and Dirk’s discussion. Marian glanced his way. His brother had burst his balloon. Not on purpose. “Yes, I’m pretty certain I’ll take the job.” “Anna’s agreeable?” Dirk asked and raised an eyebrow. “Maybe. Well, actually, I haven’t told her yet.” “Ah!” “I’m going to tell her as soon as I get back to the city.” When Rand glanced toward Chelsea, he saw Marian had walked off. “She has to catch a plane in a few hours to get back to New York for work tomorrow,” Chelsea said. “She said to tell you good-bye.” He could run and catch her. But for what purpose? He was still engaged, and she was too appealing. He had enough problems to work out without adding temptation to the list.
Chapter One Randolph Brodie dreaded the upcoming date with his fiancée, Anna. He’d been back a few days since the wedding, and because he and Anna were both busy they hadn’t had time for any long discussions. She wasn’t going to be happy with his plans. He parked in front of her apartment building and went inside, up the elevator, and knocked on her door. “Rand darling.” Anna drew him inside. “I’ve missed you. This past week has been rush, rush, rush. Sit and I’ll pour you a glass of wine.” She went to the small bar built into an alcove off to the side of the living room and filled a wineglass from an open bottle of zinfandel. “Enjoy. I’ll just be a moment then I’ll be ready to leave.” She started to walk toward her bedroom. “Anna, please join me. Before we go out I need to talk with you about something.” She sat across from him on the sofa. “You look worried. Don’t tell me you haven’t decided between the two offices you looked at last week.”
“I’m not going to get an office here in the city.” Anna frowned. “I don’t understand.” “As you know, I’ve made several visits home in the past few months. I’ve been stopping in to see Dr. Neels.” He stopped and took a swallow of his wine. “The country doctor that took care of you and all your family. I remember you mentioning him in the past.” “Yes. He’s gotten older. He’s going to fully retire in another year or so. I rode out with him on some calls, and I realized I want to be a country doctor. It’s so different. You really know your patients, and every day is interesting and challenging.” The shock on her face did not bode well for him. “You’re kidding.” “I’m sorry, but I’m not. I hope you’ll come with me.” “To live and practice in the middle of nowhere.” Her voice rose to a high pitch. She jumped up and paced across the living room floor. Anna was a beautiful woman. Her long blonde hair swished around her. She was tall and had lush curves. Any man had to be insane to take a chance on losing her. But he’d thought about his decision for several months and had applied for his Montana license. If he gave up this opportunity for Anna, he wouldn’t be happy. Eventually their relationship would suffer. She stopped pacing and sat down. Her porcelain skin had turned a rosy red. “I will not live on a ranch or in a tiny town. My job is here. You know I’m considering an offer from one of the top dermatology clinics in this area.” She put her hands out toward him. “I’m sure you enjoyed seeing the old doctor. It’s natural you had a sudden thought that you might like to work with him. In a week or two you’ll realize what a big mistake that would be for your career.” She got up. “I’ll finish my makeup. We’ll go on to dinner.” Stepping in front of him, she leaned down and kissed his mouth. “Wait and see if I’m not right.” It had not gone as he’d expected. Surprisingly, she had not thrown her ring at him. In a way he wished she had. This was going to be much more difficult. Still, she might be right. He doubted it. Anyway, he’d wait as she said for a few more weeks. Then, if he still felt the same, he’d call Dr. Neels and accept the job. ****
Rand’s best friend, Andy Joyce, had invited him to lunch in the hospital cafeteria. Andy had chosen a small table in the back of the room. Evidently he wanted privacy. Anna must have asked him to talk to Rand. “Thanks for the invite to such a luxurious eatery,” Rand said, putting a teasing note in his voice, hoping to ward off any serious conversation. Andy grinned. “I know it’s your favorite place.” Rand put his plate on the table and then set the tray to the side. “How are you doing?” “Been busy as we all have since finishing our residencies. I’m thinking of joining one of the internal medicine groups here in the city,” Andy said. “They’d be lucky to get you. You’re a damn fine internist.” “How about you? How long are you going to work part-time in the emergency room? I know you’ve had several lucrative offers.” “Anna called you.” “She begged me to talk with you. You know I’m a pushover for any woman who gets tears in her eyes. Have you changed your mind?” “No, and I’m not going to. When I went home for my brother Dirk’s wedding, I took time to see Dr. Neels again. I went on a few calls with him. I’m convinced the job’s the right one for me. Anna has the perfect job for her here. There isn’t any way to make it work.” “Bummer. You’ll break the engagement?” “Hopefully she will. It hasn’t been an easy decision. But I think she and I might have just gravitated together during our medical school years.” Rand took a bite of his sandwich. “What do you mean?” “I’m not sure how much true emotion was involved. I took an extra year of residency in gerontology so we’d finish together. We had our plans laid out. It was almost a businesslike decision.” Rand shook his head. “I shouldn’t be able to turn away from it all so easily.” “Women are different. I doubt she’s going to feel the same.” Rand took a deep breath. “No. I expect it will get nasty before it’s over.”
“Man, I don’t envy you. I warned you, you needed to take your time before tying yourself down. Play the field, man. Don’t jump into the frying pan for a long time after this.” “I won’t. Damn, this is a mess. I don’t want to hurt her.” **** Anna opened the door. She wore a silky blue top, black slacks, and black sandals. Her blonde hair was pulled back into her familiar bun. “Come in. I thought about suggesting we meet at Manuel’s for dinner, but this is better. We need privacy.” She went to the bar and poured him a bourbon and water and her a martini. “We’re hitting the hard stuff tonight.” Rand tried to tease and smile, but it fell flat when she frowned. “Sit down. This is not a joking matter.” Anna sat in a chair beside an end table. Rand took the couch. “I can’t believe you’re going through with this. We’ve planned our lives together. Why are you determined to destroy everything?” “Anna, did you ever think maybe we’d be better friends than we would be spouses?” “What? We get along, and we’re good in bed together.” “Yes, but is there the excitement you expected?” He knew he was on rocky ground and any minute might get her martini in his face. Anna had a temper. “How ridiculous. Have you been reading romance novels?” She gave a harsh laugh. “All that nonsense about rockets going off and being overwhelmed. It’s all in the writer’s mind. We’re normal, happy people.” “I went to Dirk’s wedding.” “I know. I’m sorry I couldn’t go with you.” “It’s all right. I understood you’d already made other plans. But I watched Dirk and his new wife, Chelsea. They were glowing, and they kept touching each other every chance they got. We’ve never been that way.” “I’m not a touchy person. You know that.” “I do. I’ve taught myself to not touch you too much. But I want a wife I can touch. One who’ll glow for me. My hope for you is you’ll find a husband who can make you feel that way. I don’t.”
They’d be successful doctors in their field. Now it’s about us? Is this how you justify ending our relationship?” She took another swig of her drink. Anna went in the kitchen and checked her freezer.” He started to move closer. I’ll call you when. **** Anna shut the door and freshened her drink. I want to see you. and in a few minutes Rand had torn down every block she’d built in the plan for their life. everything a man could want. But she was a great pretender. smart. In about five years they’d have their one child. she’d never suspected he wanted fireworks and lots of touching. Evidently she hadn’t fooled Rand. “Wait a minute. She turned on her classical music. Let’s wait a few days and talk again. She wasn’t fond of children. Good grief. In the dermatology group she was going to join. Anna emptied her drink and walked out on her balcony.” “Look. “Get back on the couch. He hadn’t handled that well. When she reentered her living room. I think we both deserve more. she hadn’t discussed that with Rand. Rand Brodie was not the man she thought she knew. Twinkling city lights shone in every direction. He had a firmness she’d never expected. Mozart’s music soared to the ceilings. I thought this started about you wanting to take a job in Montana. personable. His stomach knotted. She ticked them off in her head. Anna waved him off. She was a planner. Well. and making themselves known in the right circles. nor sex really.” Her face hardened. and lay on the couch. This was where she belonged. She gulped her martini and went to her bar and refilled. “I want to be honest.Anna stared at him. She grabbed a frozen dinner and put it in the microwave. He came from a family of six. kicked off her shoes.” Rand left. speechless. You’re beautiful. Anna shuddered at the thought he might want a large family. or if. I really don’t want to hurt you. That made me think about us. The beat of the busy metropolitan area hummed through her. She intended to get soused. she might . “Get out. She’d make a new plan.” “Except you. The man she wanted would be easily molded into the right husband. I realized it shouldn’t be easy for me to leave you for a job. For the first time in his life he felt like an ass. No. busy with work.
Rushing inside.” “No. Still. She got the dinner out of the microwave.” Her arms were full of a large pizza box and a cake box.” . She was bone tired and wished she hadn’t promised Bob. Chelsea was at her door. She wouldn’t let him out of his engagement. I’ll get the cabbie to stop for pizza and be there shortly. She’d grab the subway home and curl up with a good book. One of the partners had already made overtures. Chapter Two Four Months Later Marian Gaenor shut her office door. Come on. Wish you were here. Her phone was ringing when she got to her door. Only after she’d found the right person to replace him. I have wine but no pizza. All the way home she debated canceling or going. to please her. Not yet. do you? I should have checked. Rand was such a nice man. poured herself a glass of iced tea. Her appetite was returning. the man she’d been dating casually these past three weeks. She should celebrate. Ah. Rand Brodie was not the man for her to marry. An hour later. “Hi. And when the time was right. Maybe she’d call and cancel. The cabbie agreeably stopped. She’d change into jeans and open the wine she’d been saving for a special time. But it was her thirty-first birthday. she picked up the receiver just in time. that she’d go out with him tonight. “I’m here. that felt good and freeing. but I wanted to surprise you. You don’t have other plans. “I saw a cake place. He’d go along with their engagement. She’d flirted back. and sat at the small kitchen table. But she’d make him pay first before setting him free. she’d be the one to end their relationship. It’s great to hear your voice. She was back in control. I can’t wait to see you. have any pizza?” “Chelsea. I’m at the airport. for a while.” “I am. she’d teach Rand a lesson.find just the type of man for her. she called and cancelled her date.” As soon as Marian hung up. girlfriend.
it is something. Rand.” She waved her hand before Marian could speak. But I hate seeing you so down about yourself and about not having a husband and baby. “Are you OK? I don’t think I’ve seen you cry except at sad movies. Marian handed Chelsea her wineglass. Dirk is bursting with pride. This is my best birthday in years. “How are you feeling?” “I’m more tired than usual.“Wow. Then you can tell me how you got off for a night without your husband. “I do love these evenings of pizza and talking. Water will be fine. And I’m getting more confident about my skills as a momma. “No. I’m pregnant. “The good news is I think the engagement will end soon. I’m thirty-one. “‘Happy birthday to my best friend. You’d have them fighting over you.” “It’s nothing. too. I know just the guy for you.” She hugged Chelsea. Let’s carry our food into the living room. But we’re so happy. Dirk will be a wonderful daddy.” “I’d settle for one. I know it. I’m going to drive Lily crazy asking questions. She opened the lid. He’s moved to Montana to be a country doctor.” Marian ran around the table and hugged her. His fiancée isn’t happy. Wait. “I can’t drink wine. Dirk’s brother.” “Come to Montana. If he wasn’t engaged. That doesn’t sound like too much to ask for.” . and you would be the perfect match. and they walked into her tiny kitchen. My clock is definitely winding down. One good man. Come on in. We wanted to begin our family right away.’ Ah.” Marian took the cake box. You’ll find the right person.” “How about you?” “Me.” “No wine?” Chelsea smiled. I’m shocked and pleased. Well.” “Thanks.” They sat around the low living room table and ate pizza.” “I’m so happy for the two of you. but we’ve had some experience with Ty and Lily’s baby. I’m not greedy. thanks. There’s lots of handsome cowboys around. I’d be more scared. trying to hide her tearful eyes.” Chelsea took a bit of her pizza. She’s made two short visits since he’s been there.
I wasn’t sure I’d be able to convince you to take me up on my offer.” “What is it?” Marian asked. Come for a long visit. If I put in for the month off on Monday. Chelsea ate another piece of pizza while Marian thought about taking a vacation. More fun. then my boss will have plenty of time to get over his snit before I leave. you’re my best friend. “He’s a handsome man. “I’ll do it. I have six weeks saved.” “I wasn’t. You get the bed. I’m so lucky to have you. I’ll plan on arriving on Saturday. You can stay there and have your privacy.” “This is great.” Chelsea said.“I remember him from your wedding. He had on a light-tan cowboy hat. Dirk has a small cabin he lived in until our house was built. depressed and tired. I need a break.” “No way. two weeks from now. “The offer is tempting. But I can’t wish for someone to break up. Of course the boss will holler. “Let’s see. “You always have lots of vacation saved. “There must be a good horror flick on. as planned.” She jumped up and got a calendar. but I’ll shout back. or I’ll put you down to second-best friend.” “You really are down. It was a small airport. But don’t forget the hunky men. “I suppose I’m sleeping on this couch tonight. It took her a second to realize it was Rand headed in her direction.” Marian took another sip of her wine. **** Two weeks later. You’ll get to meet the clan. You’re a pregnant lady. and jeans that hugged his slim hips and long legs. But let’s not go to sleep yet.” “I was teasing. Chelsea.” And I haven’t been able to forget him. I think you’re ready to hear my suggestion. And there’s no guarantee he’d even be interested in me if he was free. “This calls for a shopping trip.” “I knew you couldn’t stay sad for longer than a second. as I call them. Marian got off the plane and looked around for Chelsea.” “You caught me in a weakened state. We can visit every day.” Marian said. On that Sunday we’re all going to see Dirk’s mom.” Chelsea grinned. and there weren’t many people waiting.” She laughed.” She turned on the television and went to pop the popcorn. . I’ll show you around and introduce you to some cowboys. gray shirt. She’d started toward the baggage area when a tall cowboy came striding in the door.
“Do you always say exactly what’s on your mind?” “It’s a bad habit of mine. “Oh my. They were in pink to match my hair. Soon they were on a two-lane highway.” Rand chuckled again. Several people looked their way. and wear platform shoes. “Why do men have to have such huge vehicles? I think it must be a sexual thing.” He raised an eyebrow and gave her that heart-stopping smile. He’d slipped on dark glasses and gone quiet. He opened her door. I told her I’d be glad to take her place. dimpled grin.” Marian had to take quick double steps to his one as he strode off to the luggage area. He opened the driver’s side and got in.” “In red I suppose?” he spoke dryly. I often have periods of flamboyancy. “Bright red. Mine’s bigger and better than yours. “Are you all right?” He howled in laughter. “Mine’s the two red ones.” Rand studied her for a moment and then laughed out loud. dress in red. I tend to be the opposite. so you can’t miss them.“Marian. She was quite enjoying herself. My family says I’m too serious.” He nodded his head to the right.” He glanced around. and she swung up into the big monster. I could get beeped at any moment. ‘Look at me. Rand put the cases in the backseat. I’ve been known to dye my hair pink. Chelsea called and said she was having a difficult morning. he grabbed her bags and led the way outside to the parking lot.” . no. Still chuckling. Marian followed him. There were only a few bags left on the rotating belt.” “Thanks. but it didn’t seem to bother him. Far too much red. welcome to Montana. more than she had in a long time. “We’d better get your luggage. “I hope you don’t mind me picking you up. her heart fluttered. “My truck is the black one.’” She heard a choking noise. “Thanks for the laughs.” When he swept his hat off and gave her his lopsided.
He’s bleeding pretty bad. “Yes.” As soon as she shut the door. grabbed his bag. Marian sat on the step closest to them.” A beep sounded loud in the cab of the truck. Chelsea got out more slowly. He pulled to the side of the road.“I’ll be happy to cheer you up anytime you need it. We have to make a stop on the way to Chelsea’s. He’s a good doctor. She walked along the roadside.” “No. She stood still for a second to catch her breath and settle herself. In the distance were snow-covered mountains and trees losing their colorful leaves. Rand slammed on the brakes. If I’m at work. I have to make this call. Rand drove his truck forward to pick her up. Chelsea held onto her door handle as the truck bumped over the ruts. I’m Marian. Maybe I can help calm the family. Then she started walking to the farmhouse’s porch. Mama’s with him. They’re probably hysterical. he took off. “I’ll bet you’re worried.” After riding about six miles. Just call. but we’re closer. I’ll leave a recording of jokes. “Wait until I see her. they turned down a two-lane dirt road. Three children huddled around each other and stared across the yard in the direction Rand had gone.” She got out as he punched in some numbers. She buttoned her light jacket. I’d like to get out.” . “Hi. It is your father who’s hurt?” A little blonde girl about four years old came to sit beside Marian. “An emergency?” she asked.” He glanced her way.” “She did?” Marian put her hand up to her chest and pretended to be surprised. but Dr. “Daddy’s hurt. I’ve told them to call 9-1-1.” “Go ahead.” “Now I know what Chelsea meant when she said you could be incorrigible at times. Brodie is taking care of him. A farmer cut his arm. They turned and stared. “You can stay in the truck if you want to.” She moved slowly. We’ll get there first. “Teddy”—she nodded to the taller boy—“said Daddy’s bad hurt?” “Dr. Brodie’s here now. “Excuse me. I’m going to stretch my legs. No problem. “Not good.” Her little forehead wrinkled. Fall was here and quite cool in Montana. He’ll take care of your father. He got out.” Rand commented. and ran toward the barn area. “Get in.
but they’ll fix it at the hospital. The two boys had come closer. I’m a friend. and sirens howled as they headed back down the road. “I like your friend. I’m here to visit my best friend. My neighbor will take the kids for the night. “Is Daddy dead?” “No. Susie threw her arms around his neck. they carried out a stretcher. brown-haired woman and Rand walked toward the porch. An ambulance came barreling down the rough terrain and drove straight to the barn. Dr. He’s learned as he’s worked. and the little girl kissed her cheek. too.” The sound of the siren had them all looking at the road. Neels. Susie looked up at Rand as Marian straightened. “Experience is learning by doing. Nettles.” the taller boy spoke. sweetheart. A short. “Are you the doctor’s wife?” the older boy asked. and the older one nodded. I’ll be there myself later today.” “All right. We’ll be fine. “Thank you. are you ready?” She turned to the three children. Shortly afterward.” “What’s exper—whatever that word was?” the small boy asked. Brodie has good training. do you need anything?” “I can’t thank you enough for getting here so fast. Chelsea Brodie. He’ll be home in a day or two.” Rand smiled and sat her down. He’ll be fine. I’ll join Clyde at the hospital. The younger one. “No. He picked me up at the airport. Neels has been a doctor for many years. “Mrs.“Daddy told Mama Dr. . Does that make sense?” Marian asked. “Dr. Marian. sat on her other side.” the little boy piped in.” Susie kissed his cheek.” Susie motioned for her to bend down. He’ll get the experience. “Me. about five or six. Marian did. Brodie is young and has a lot to learn to catch up with Dr. “How’s Susie today?” he asked. Rand ruffled the younger boy’s hair and then picked up the little girl. obviously reciting words he’d overheard. “It was nice meeting you all. He hurt his arm.” Susie said.
and a lone hawk circled the sky above his prey. The place was all wide-open spaces and vast stretches of blue sky. She’d walk down the path and see Chelsea. and they hugged. She couldn’t help but have a great vacation. but she doesn’t get it. Her shoulders were already relaxed. It’s nice. and soon she and Chelsea would have a nice long chat. I thought you’d never get here. What a difference from her noisy days back home.” Marian jumped out of the truck. Marian Gaenor. Insects buzzed around the few fall flowers.” They waved and walked to the truck. It certainly started out right being met at the airport by Rand.“I’m glad. Marian watched until he was out of sight.” He winked and went around to get in. Marian loved the setting. as most things are today. She closed the door and pocketed the key left in the lock for her. “Thanks for the ride.” “My grandmother used to talk about doctors who made house calls. I tried to explain that to my fiancée.” He waved.” . “See you. “Sorry about the stop. “I like you three also.” His expression changed as though he wished he hadn’t become personal. Rand opened her door and put his hands around her waist to lift her onto the seat. “Next stop Chelsea’s. She grabbed Marian. This was what she needed to regroup.” Chapter Three Rand parked in front of a small cabin.” He put the cases inside the door. “This is where Chelsea said you’d be staying. “Not so impersonal. got in his truck.” Marian said. Chelsea saw her and came flying out the door. You can see the big house from here. “You are full of surprises. but those types of situations happen when you’re the only doctor around. and turned to get back on the road. That cowboy might easily steal my heart. You get to know the people you take care of in a different way. and then I have to go. I’ve got to get him out of my head.” “Exactly.” She shrugged. I’ll take your suitcases in. “We’re going to have so much fun. A cool breeze blew across the prairie.
The room smelled of baking chicken.” “Only you. I’m not sure I’d like living here full time.” “All right. how about you? You must be feeling better. I love to find new recipes and try them. Who’d ever suspect I had such hidden talents?” She grinned. The morning sickness comes and goes. I still have two weeks’ vacation left. you don’t have to try and fix me up with a job or a man.“We’re late because Rand had an emergency stop. “Give me time. I miss you. His wife was taking care of him. You got to meet Rand again.” She held up her hands. And see you’d make a perfect doctor’s wife. It’d be such fun to have you as a neighbor. Some mornings I’m fine and others not so much.” “Stop.” “We have to find you a job here at the ranch or in town. he’s more hot air than real threat.” “Yeah.” Chelsea led her into the kitchen and poured two glasses of iced tea. I see the matchmaking twinkle in your eye. One must need a manager.” . A man had been injured. I talked with them to calm their fears.” “Chelsea. “How long can you stay?” “I’m taking a full month. But this worked out good.” “Surprisingly. I know several other good candidates. There are several businesses in town.” “I am. but I am going to call Rand and invite him to dinner. “That’s all. Just because you’re so unbelievably happy doesn’t mean you have to marry off all your friends. I’ll ask around. They were afraid their father would die. The boss ranted and raved then threatened to fire me if I ever take this much time again.” Marian said.” “I can’t imagine what it would be. right. I’ll think of something. And if Rand isn’t the one. “I hope you aren’t putting yourself out for me by cooking when you’re not well. You keep your office staff in fine order. I promise. Let’s relax and see how things go. As you know.” Chelsea sat a bowl of green beans on the table and snapped the ends off then split them in half. That was all teasing. It felt good to be able to help.” “But. so the children were left alone and had huddled together on the porch. “Dirk says I’ll have him fat if I don’t stop.
Outside. even at the wedding. and one pair of sexy high heels. What was the matter with her? She didn’t usually have such erotic daydreams about someone she hardly knew. I’ll concentrate on them and forget the doctor. walking shoes. Brodie. When he’d put his hands around her waist to help her in the truck after his doctor’s visit her body pulsed with the desire to feel him touching her in much more intimate places. a pair of boots. when their hands connected she’d felt a buzz go through her body. She’d been sleepy. warm shirts. insisted Chelsea rest. she’d seen a spark in his eyes. She needed to stretch her legs. She’d put on her walking shoes and go for a brisk hike. sweaters. Her face heated at the thought. “I’m going to the cabin. Dr. From what he said. She must have a strong hold on him. Marian glanced at the clock.” The cabin was small but cozy.” The rest of the day went by fast.” “I will. the cool air perked her up.” “Be back here at six. Liar. Her mind went back to the handsome Dr. But I have to try. She knew just who she’d love to have that hot date with. In New York she didn’t get near enough exercise. This was better than lying down. He sent her heart to fluttering every time his silvery-blue eyes looked at her. **** “Rand.Chelsea laughed. And if she wasn’t mistaken. “All right. Chelsea had said there were other options. since they were living in separate states. When she returned. around two o’clock. I’m glad you could make it. All’s quiet out there?” . A woman couldn’t be blamed for hoping for at least one hot date during the month. Still. I’ll zip my lip. Brodie. Hopefully we won’t see much of each other after dinner tonight. It didn’t take long to clear her two suitcases. She’d brought jeans. other cowboys. I’ll be unpacking if you need me. I admit it won’t be easy. he hadn’t broken off his relationship with her. she’d shower and dress for the evening. Then she’d heard him and his brother talking about Anna and later discovered he was engaged. already. Bummer. Marian helped cook and.
” “I went for a walk and then lay down for a minute that ended up much longer. I don’t know how he did it alone all these years.” “I hope not. too. “In about nine months. I may have the same problem.” He strode out and along the path to the cabin. you can’t get him out of your mind. Although living in New York I don’t have a lot of contact with them. Wasn’t there anyone else in your class who might be interested in this type of medicine?” Chelsea asked. You seem comfortable with kids. all. Dr.” He walked slowly back to the big house. I don’t know what it is about cowboys.” Dirk breezed into the kitchen.“For the present. My brothers and sister all stayed in North Carolina. He said he and the doctor in the next county covered for each other. I need to find a partner by then. “Sure. “I missed you. I like babies and children. Go shower. . The green beans were bubbling.” “Your cheeks are pink. He stopped to pull Chelsea into his arms and kiss her. We’re embarrassing your brother. big head.” “It’s nice you have him available. darlin’.” “It’s our lethal charm. “I missed you. I try to visit twice a year to get my nieces-and-nephews fix. She pulled the chicken out of the oven and placed it on the counter. Marian will be here any minute now. You got some sunburn. Apparently he tried several times to get new doctors to join him.” “Get out of here.” “I didn’t think about using sunscreen with it being so cool. but they all said no after riding with him for a day or two. “You were good with the Nettles children. But I ought to have known better.” Chelsea glanced out the window. When is he fully retiring?” Chelsea asked. The excitement about my first vacation in ages kept me awake last night. Once you love one.” “Thanks. It caught up with me after the fresh air and exercise. “Hi. “Why don’t you go to the cabin and tell her to hurry?” she asked Rand. Neels is covering for me for the next few hours. Thanks again for the help. “I’ve been sent to bring you to dinner. Marian was coming out the door as he arrived. Supper won’t be long.” She grinned at her husband.
His hair was still damp.” Dirk teased. I was the first girl. Mom had her hands full.” She grinned and held the door open. **** “They look a lot alike. Dinner’s ready.” Chelsea nodded as she started cutting the chicken. I might get a call later. The major delight was not having to share the bathroom.” Chelsea handed him a can and shooed him and Dirk out of the kitchen. “Be good. And. When Rand walked past her.” “All right. I’ve been at home or in school with roommates up until now. no matter how small.” “Believe me. Chelsea swatted him with a kitchen towel. I fully understand.” “Is that why you became a career girl? To get away from domesticity?” “No. Rand never blushes.” Dirk and Rand took their drinks and left the kitchen.” “No way. He’d changed to a clean pair of jeans and a dark-green shirt.“I’m the next to oldest of seven. “You two are the slowest walkers I’ve seen. “You two look like a couple. And at first having my own apartment.” Chelsea added. “I’ll call when dinner is on the table. I’m a late starter. They’re both blushing. was a treat. But I do apologize if I embarrassed you. Dirk came into the kitchen. The sister is dainty and a blonde. and the younger brother has light-brown hair. “Would you like a beer.” Chelsea came to the door. You’ve embarrassed our guests. but you’d still know they were all from the same family. he glanced back and saw Chelsea wink at Marian. “They all resemble each other. “I’ve heard Anna is .” His eyes were lit with mischief. Marian and I are going to visit and finish your meal. Marian. I’d fantasized about working and living in New York for years. so I learned a lot early on. Rand?” “I’ll take a soft drink. You’ll see tomorrow. My small place in town is the first time I’ve lived alone.
” Suddenly the air went still. too. Rand stared into her eyes and then at her lips. “It’s been a long day. Rand helped Marian into the truck. I haven’t met her yet. For a second. “This is home. who’d come back to her side. I’ll see you tomorrow.” “No.” He stopped in front of the cabin’s door. but I don’t really need the money. “Have you regretted taking this job? I’m sure you must have had offers to join profitable groups in the city where you trained. she thought he might lean forward and kiss her.” Dinner was delicious.” “After being away except for short visits from college and medical school.” “Wait.” “Don’t start putting us together. “Good idea. Marian said she’d go. Just a sliver of moon but millions of stars. Then he went around and got in on the driver’s side. I experienced some of the same reactions.” “It’s only a minute drive to your door.” “But for a city girl the darkness would be scary.” He spread his hands to encompass the vastness of the area.” “Not for long. It was total darkness in the direction of the cabin. I love my job. I want to do something meaningful. “I’ll drive her. I’m glad to see you and Rand are getting along great. and Marian enjoyed watching the camaraderie between the three others at the table. Marian turned in his direction.” “You are a very nice man. whip up the potatoes.” Chelsea put her arm around Dirk. I’ll get my flashlight and walk you to the cabin. See if I’m not right. . I can’t believe how quiet and dark it is.actually going to be there. “I’m sorry to put you to this trouble. Remember there’s a third. When Rand excused himself to leave. In the city you forget stars are even up there. Marian’s heart skipped a beat.” Rand said. But he blinked his eyes and looked out the windshield. I’ve done some readjusting myself.” Dirk started out of the kitchen. his fiancée. Here. I’ll put the chicken on the table. I won’t make as much doing this work.
” . He laughed again. Moving home had changed his outlook on his life. it was his old friend Andy. and a hint still lingered inside the truck. **** Rand drove slowly back to town. very soon. He’d given Anna enough time to adjust to what he’d said. She’d better get Chelsea to introduce her to a different cowboy.” His words yanked them both back from the precipice. “Hi. He’d realized just in time that marrying her would be a mistake. She wasn’t going to move to Montana.” “I’ll watch until you turn on the lights. They needed to talk. “Are you sitting down?” “I am now. the whole day had been better since Marian Gaenor arrived.“Wait until you get to know me. and his feelings hadn’t changed about his job or her since their last conversation. She waved as he drove out of sight. enticing woman. She had wanted his kiss and his touch. Her face felt hot and her body frustrated.” Marian flipped the first switch by the door. He was breaking the engagement. remembering her comment about the big truck. what’s up?” Rand asked. “I’d better get inside. He’d been very tempted to kiss her rosy lips. I’m sure my fiancée wouldn’t agree at this point. He was glad it was almost over. Surprisingly. He answered as he parked his truck by the upstairs apartment he’d rented over his office. This evening had been fun. It was difficult to keep reminding herself he was engaged.” Rand sank into his only lounge chair. Anna was going to be here. “I was going to tell the internist group I interviewed with about a month ago. She was a pretty. Then I went home to visit my folks. Tomorrow. In fact. Just as he reached town.” “I’m certain they recommended you accept the offer. his phone rang. He’d like to show her something else big of his. This was probably an overreaction to his celibacy of late. He unlocked his door and went inside. She’d visited two days since he moved. But he remembered he’d felt much the same at Dirk’s wedding when he first met her. Thanks for the ride. She hadn’t given this place a chance. Her light floral fragrance fit her. His dick throbbed with the desire to sink into her pussy. They’d asked me to return for another meeting and I did. yes.
” “I am. I flew here a couple of weeks ago. “After you left I was at loose ends. But I told them what I’d really like to do. Your taking a leap and doing something different appealed to me. Neels until he leaves. Yours and Dr. Within an hour. Dr.” “You didn’t call me.” “What?” “Care to have a visitor? I landed about ten minutes ago. I’m anxious to hear all about what you want to do and what your parents said. and I’ll head your way.” Rand said.” Andy put his chin up. what the heck.” “Which sometimes leads you astray. You remember I’m on the main street. “You certainly are. Neels called me and said they . “I am good at my job. Now you live hundreds of miles from me. At Andy’s words. he fell forward.” “Just like that?” “Yep.“They did at first. This is different. Be sure it was right for me. I sent off my application for licensure in Montana a month after you left and put down Dr. maybe I’m ready to do the same. You know I’m a creature of impulse. I’ve rented a car. I wanted to make my decision on my own. Neels’s name as my supervisor and your name second.” Rand had tilted his chair back. “True. We were roommates all through college and medical school.” “I know.” “What decision? Get it out. I’m surprised but pleased you’re visiting me in Montana. But you’re not serious.” “Can’t you guess? I’m asking for a spot as your partner. Especially since you must be right in the middle of negotiating your future job.” Rand refilled their coffee cups. I thought. We’d be lucky to get you. they were sitting at Rand’s kitchen table drinking coffee. See you soon. My place is above the office.” “No.” Andy clicked off. Andy stretched out his long legs.” “Wow. “Tell me all.
But I’m from this area. “It is.contacted him. you’d better be sure. Tomorrow will be a hectic day.” He grinned.” “I’d have thought that would be over by now. and I’d had enough drinks to punch you in the nose. The family hasn’t seen you in ages. “I did the checking later. I told him you didn’t know about the application and I’d rather tell you myself.” “What? You didn’t give yourself time to think about it or check out the town. Neels did that two weeks ago.” “You won’t get a fight from me.” “I think I suggested the same to you. luckily. All but the shouting. But you don’t have to sign me up. Dr. he hoped.” Andy shrugged. They were asking about you recently. How much influence did meeting Marian have on his determination to end the engagement? None. I have two bedrooms. He knows Anna is coming for the day.” Andy said. Andy warned him months ago not to jump back into the fire too soon. Neels is filling in. After I made my final decision. Aren’t you pleased? We’ll make a great partnership. He explained he’d notify them of my exact start date. . but I hope you haven’t made a mistake. Rand hadn’t made a firm decision until today. “Then we became friends. He’d better remember his advice. Tomorrow I’m going to take you with me to my mom’s. It never hurts to be licensed in two states. We’re going to sign you up on Monday before you have time to change your mind.” “Boy. I do know how to ride. “You did. You’ve never lived in a small Western town. or you’d be sleeping on my lumpy couch.” He hoped he was wrong about the shouting. Your mom is a great cook.” “Of course I’m happy.” Rand grinned.” “Are you off?” “Dr.” “Then let’s turn in. Just in case I decided on changing my direction.” “I’m that rich Eastern snob you called me shortly after we met. but he doubted it considering Anna’s temper. I’ve visited Texas and Wyoming. I like the looks of this area.
Her throat tightened.” “Yes. “You know that after having six children.Chapter Four Marian got into the back of Dirk’s truck. “Come right in and sit. no matchmaking. Maybe you’ll settle here. How are you feeling?” “I’m fine. Chelsea got in the front. I’ll be fine.” She sat back to enjoy the ride. “You met most of my family at our wedding. Brodie will be out here before we can knock. Chelsea glanced around from the front to see Marian. He glanced in the backseat at Marian.” Marian reminded her. and Dirk went around to the driver’s seat. She had a hunky husband and was expecting their baby.” “I’m looking forward to it. she flew out to meet them. I like this open country.” Chelsea hugged Mrs. and I won’t break. Brodie. This will be my first grandchild.” she teased. Sure enough. “You’re our guest.” “Great.” “I’m enjoying the view.” Chelsea laughed and swatted his arm. “That’s like asking my darling wife to sew her lips shut. I’m not going to split up the lovebirds. “It’s quiet back there. She tried not to be envious of her best friend’s life. They parked beside several other vehicles and walked toward the front door. Chelsea was lucky.” . Dirk can point out places of interest. The drive didn’t take long. but today you’ll have more time to get to know them all.” “Remember.” Chelsea said. “I don’t mind riding in the back. but let me fuss.” Chelsea said.” “You said it wasn’t far. “Mrs. She’ll never be able to keep that promise.
“See what I mean about coming here? It’s great and always interesting. and Marian guessed he might be an inch or so taller than Dirk. Graham. I’m Mama Brodie or Jane to everyone. Sam shook hands with the new man. Brodie said. Rand and another man followed her in. “Hello. was. Andy. “Two fine doctors wasted in the country. But she’d noticed he had frowned once or twice during the wedding activities and again today during his discussion with his brother. yes. “Excuse me while I check on things in the kitchen. beautiful blonde dressed in a short. Mrs.” “That’s what grandparents are for. She saw what Chelsea meant. slinky. He looked similar to his brothers. They’ll be here any minute. according to Chelsea. athletic body. “You all remember my old roommate.” Chelsea whispered. Not the best personality of the bunch. He’s going into partnership with me. whom she’d met very briefly when leaving Chelsea and Dirk’s wedding reception. my dear.“And he or she will be spoiled rotten. but there were differences. The other brother. and he had hooded blue-gray eyes. the eccentric. Welcome to my home. yellow dress and wearing high heels came in the front door.” .” She rushed off. She had walked up behind Marian. He’s bringing his fiancée and a friend from medical school. His face was ruggedly handsome. They both stopped talking and smiled when their mother introduced her. we didn’t get to talk much at the wedding. Clay was movie-star handsome.” She smiled at Marian. You are?” “Marian Gaenor.” “Ah.” “Have you all gone crazy?” Clay’s hard tone had everyone’s attention.” Grace said. Brodie walked Marian around and reintroduced her to Sam and Grace. “They are an intriguing family.” Dirk held the door open while his mother motioned them inside. and we didn’t have much time to talk to all of them. He had the same tall.” Mrs.” Marian heard the door open and looked across the room as a tall. His dark-reddish hair appeared uncombed and longer than the others’. Sam and Grace went to meet them. There were a number of new people. “Everyone is here but Rand. Sorry I forgot. Rand raised his voice. Then she led her across to where two of the brothers appeared to be in a heated discussion. “I love those shoes.
He glanced down at her hands on his arm and her body standing so close. “I’m going to mingle. Beautiful. Looking directly at Marian. He won’t budge. smart. **** “Darling. White or red?” She ran her tongue along the edge of her white teeth.” Anna joined the group around Clay. Mrs. No wonder Rand was hanging on to her. Brodie had returned to the room and had a concerned look on her face. Anna looked to see who he was greeting.” Anna gave him a big smile. “Didn’t we get that trait from Dad?” “Yes. At least not seriously. Her eyes narrowed. “But I wouldn’t have asked for the job unless I was excited about it. I’m sure your moving influenced Andy. He smiled and waved. He still hadn’t had the discussion to finalize their ending the engagement.” “Well. Mrs. he wouldn’t be interested in me. Her fingers trailed down his arm before she walked away. He belonged to her. it was his only fault. a doctor for goodness sake. “Sure.” “Maybe. The message was loud and clear. and accepted by the family. She’d flown in and was flying back late tonight. She’d arrived late this morning. “Sure. Even if they broke up. Rand shook his head then went to get her food and wine. Puzzled. Atypical behavior for Anna.” “Too bad we’re all so stubborn. . Brodie had hugged her. But not from two men who graduated at the head of their class and have unlimited potential. “I’ve tried my best to change Rand’s mind.“You don’t think our local people deserve good medical care?” Rand walked up and stood right in front of Clay. He smiled at his mom. I definitely don’t fit the bill for the type of woman Rand likes.” Andy said. Anna took Rand’s arm and brushed the side of her body against him.” Clay said. “Red wine and some of the slices of cheese. would you get me a glass of wine?” Anna purred into Rand’s ear. Marian took the time to study Anna. I’m glad someone in this family has good common sense. A faint flare of desire stirred inside him. the fiancée.” She nodded toward the table holding hors d’oeuvres.” That brought a laugh from them all. Clay. Rand turned and saw Marian.
They’d enjoy the time she had and say good-bye with no regrets. too. she sauntered off in Marian’s direction. I’m going to rescue…what was her name?” “Marian. I like her. “Darling. including my brothers. The dislike between the two women would be obvious to anyone watching them. Anna had stopped to talk with Andy. I know just the place. He’d like to hear what they were saying. You look at her like a man starving and not for food.” Rand looked to the left.” .” Grace gave him the once-over. who were both talking with Marian. Then she casually turned and stood in front of Marian. He planned to end his engagement today. he took a breath and stepped forward. “Men. He couldn’t see Anna’s. She’s a barracuda. and their eyes connected. It’s so romantic sitting by the lake. She’s a genuine person. Rand needed to enjoy his freedom. She saw Rand and stopped. Rand saw it in their posture and in Marian’s expression. When she looked away.” “And you know this after meeting her thirty minutes ago?” “It’s called woman’s intuition. don’t be so blind. don’t understand or appreciate our intuition. He started across the room to join Anna and his sister.” “You liked her when I first brought her home. “I thought you remembered. “The woman she’s talking to is Chelsea’s friend. Maybe he could. Who do you think? Your precious fiancée. I hadn’t been to New York and met other barracudas. Grace was filling a small plate with hors d’oeuvres. Marian raised her head. But I met her briefly at the wedding.” Laughing. He didn’t want another woman in his life except for fun.” Grace grinned at him. What the hell? I have to be careful. As Andy had said. We’ll go to the gazebo. Not now. Not for a long time anyway. “Who are you talking about?” “Rand. Rand poured red wine in a glass and put some crackers and cheese on a plate. I don’t want to be that attracted to anyone. Marian was here on vacation.” “I was still young and impressionable. I am thirsty and hungry.“Better watch out. Anna turned to walk off.” He looked around the room. Let’s go outside and talk while I sip my drink and eat the crackers and cheese. She stopped him for a second in midstride. thank you for the wine and food.
How many other women have you been with since you moved here?” Rand seldom got mad. Perhaps I did have a short fling with one of the partners. we are hardly engaged. She sat. “Sit down. “Please excuse us.” “I saw the way you looked at her. I’ve given you months. You’ve been cheating on me this whole time. He’d have a chance to tell her their engagement was over. but I remembered our agreement. We’ll have money.” The quick flush on her face gave him her answer. I’m out of patience. “We can make this work. If you do it again.” Rand said. “First. puzzled. She stomped across the terrace and down the slope to the lake. She’s barely been here a day from what she said. When they got to the gazebo she went inside. He could almost see the steam coming out of the top of her head. Better to get her far away from the others. I have no idea why you slapped me. Something in his tone must have got through to her. this conversation is over before it starts.” He kept his voice level but firm. I’d bet you’ve been hunting for another husband and cheated on me.” he ordered.” . because I saw what you really are and called you on it. “I didn’t want our talk today to end in an argument.” “Hah. taking long strides to the front door.” “And what do you use as proof? The fact I talked with another woman.“Good idea. He took a deep breath before answering. Our engagement is ending now. And I saw the way you looked at Marian. “I’ll do as I want. I wanted to. put down her wine. “I’d hoped we might have a civil discussion.” He smiled at Marian and nodded to his sister. “I’ve never even kissed her. but fury swept through him. a good life.” She flung her body against his and put her arms around his neck. and turned before Rand had time to take a seat. And by the things you said about our relationship. Leave this place and return to the bustling city.” His harsh laugh had her looking at him. important friends. She was pissed. It meant nothing. Her hand flew out and hit his cheek. You wanted time and to end it yourself.” “I was hurt after you left. Anna led the way. “I’ve been wanting to do that since the first day you told me about this absurd job. today.” Rand said. I think you’re throwing these accusations around because of your guilt. Second.” “Please sit down.
This appears to be an impulsive move for him. Let’s go have a beer. It’s over. I took it out on you.” He looked at Rand. “Don’t start again or the beer will be on your shirt. since you have to leave for the airport soon.” Rand and Clay chuckled as Andy mumbled all the way out the door. Keep the ring.” Laughing. I’m sorry. I can’t believe it.” “You’d better. “Excuse me. Not for me. now? “She’s not leaving until tonight. “Only with words.” “Why don’t you encourage him to stay in the city? I’ll bet he’s never lived in the country. Anna put me in a pisspoor mood. Now you’re trying to control someone’s life that’s not even family.” “You never accept people’s decisions if they aren’t what you’d do. “By the way. “A good life for you. where is your skinny model?” Rand asked. would you take Anna with you.” Andy held his head. He walked across the room to where Andy was talking with Clay. Where does your butting yourself into something that isn’t your business end?” Irritated. “Don’t act like Dirk. “You have a good. **** . You disregarded all of our advice. She may beat me up.” Rand saw the hurt in his brother’s eyes before he hid it.” He strode out of the gazebo and back to the house. He might be happier living in the big city. “That’s the worst. Rand turned to walk off. “I’m sure she’ll find an earlier flight. You’ve come home. “The best. I’ll make this up to you. No one stopped you. If anyone noticed his face. officially and forever. I’m not controlling. puzzled.” Clay pretended to glower. I’m taking a tiger in my car. No one controlled you. Andy. loyal friend in Andy. I hope he’s making the right decision for him with this move.” Clay said. “She’s usually an ornament on your arm. You owe me big. Clay took hold of his shoulder. they didn’t comment. which he was sure they did.” Rand managed to laugh. Just suggesting. they headed for the refrigerator.Rand pulled her arms from around his neck and moved her back toward her seat. a grin on his face. “Clay.
potato salad. Although several brothers disagreed. Rand explained. Rand spoke from over her shoulder. She did eat her pie. ham.” Rand said. “Dad said any good looks we had were credited to Mom. He needs a woman with a good heart. He said he’d been surprised when he lassoed such a handsome filly. We all love these dinners Mom has to keep us close together. Bowls and plates heaped with chicken.” “Your mom raised a nice family and a good-looking one. May I pull this chair out for you?” She nodded yes and once she was seated. They’re wonderful. and baked beans were passed around. “You can sit anywhere. “Is anyone other than me ready for my lemon meringue pie?” Several hands raised. Mrs.” “We get our good looks from you. She nudged Marian in the ribs with her elbow and grinned. Laughter went around the room as easily as the food. But occasionally we do. and Andy left. Anna didn’t come back in the house. “I have to ask your mother for the recipe. Brodie bent over and hugged Marian then whispered in her ear. Brodie headed to the kitchen. Mrs. I like you and expect you to lasso my boy Rand. glazed carrots. baked potatoes.” Marian said. When they gathered at the table. Mom?” Rand called down the table to her. The rest of you take your time finishing.Marian was puzzled by what happened before dinner. Conversation flowed. None of us wants to miss a single one. He looked at her almost-full plate. Brodie got out of her seat and came to her chair. “I’ll get it. sweet Marian.” “We are diverse in our interests and careers.” Marian blushed when she kissed her cheek. “Don’t leave too soon.” . the extra plates had been removed. I’ll bake it when I go home for Thanksgiving. Though the delicious food couldn’t keep her attention long.” “I’d like to have met him. there were no raised voices or anyone getting upset. I hoped you might be my dinner companion. “I’m fascinated by your family. don’t we. Everyone burst into laughter.” Marian ate most of her meal. But since Andy had to get back to the city and he took Anna to the airport with him. Brodie was seated at the end. It’s obvious he was a strong influence in your lives. She was taken back when Mrs. Chelsea sat to her left. Rand took the place to the right of her. She saw Rand grin at her as she practically licked her lips at the end. Mrs. “You aren’t eating much. Not when so much was going on around her.
He grinned. “You were in such a hurry. “And for your information Dirk is my happy pill.“She’ll give it to you. May I drive you to the cabin?” “That would be great. Think positive.” Rand leaned across the small space between them and kissed her. But. “Not at all. we’ll be breaking up soon.” “Are you still engaged?” “No. Look.” “For sure?” “Without a doubt. “Let’s tell the others good-bye and head out.” “You never know.” “He’s driving me back to the cabin. I have to remember that’s all it is. he isn’t going to want anything serious.” “I’ll let Dirk know I’ve got you. They knew I wanted you to myself.” She found herself saying quick good nights. It’ll please her that you asked.” “They won’t. I hope they don’t think I was rude.” Rand strode off to find Dirk. “He’s showing a definite interest in you. I’m sure the engagement is off. Just handle with care. Chelsea.” “I think Dirk is feeding you happy pills and you want everyone else to be happy.” “Ready?” Rand came back to her side.” “Not a bad thing to wish for your friend.” Chelsea said. Rand put his arm around her waist. Chelsea came to her side when Rand left. “I’ve been wanting to do that since we first met. “You don’t mind me borrowing Marian. A good time.” Chelsea winked and left them. Not that I’ll turn down a date if he offers.” . Rand had her in his truck in no time. do you?” he asked Chelsea.
” “Rand. “Aren’t you going to invite me inside? I’d love a cup of fresh coffee. Otherwise there was silence. . you need time. yes” at her and ached for his touch. She went into the small bath. showered. I had dropped a sudden surprise on her when I decided to be a country doctor. Dating him for fun is dangerous to my peace of mind. They were both quiet as he drove along the highway. Time would tell if she had made the right decision. When she slipped inside. Dr. she lay against the closed door and listened to him drive off. Marian stopped him with her hand on his chest. Neels and his wife are going on a three-day cruise. One little push and I could fall right over the cliff into love. She curled her legs and feet up and stared out the window.” Marian opened the truck door and ran to the cabin.Marian touched her lips. yes. and put on her nightgown. Marian sat in a soft chair in the living room. The food was solace for her disappointment at having to say no. I don’t intend to be a quick fix for you suddenly feeling lonely and horny. Chapter Five The lights she’d left on outside the cabin and inside by the front window welcomed them when they arrived.” “I’ve had months.” Her hand went to the door handle. I tried to end it before I moved here. Rand started the truck. In the distance a dog barked. The moon cast a silver glow across the land. We waited to give her time to get used to the idea. Her body had shouted “yes. Give yourself some time to regroup.” He leaned forward again. She liked Montana and the people. But she didn’t want him this way. she poured a glass of milk and put three cookies on a plate. “Still.” “Good. In the kitchen. It will keep you busy.” “I’m working and on call the rest of the week. on the rebound. tonight you broke your engagement. “Thank you for driving me back.
she’d go to town and check for jobs. After popping it open he slouched in his lounge chair. Hell. He’d never been a player who went from one woman to the next. Why did they all want practically a commitment before saying yes? It wasn’t like they were young children. Rand dressed in his wool shirt. it’d been months since he’d had sex. She must be that age or close. He wasn’t going to let them know. jeans. She’s at the hospital. After seeing Rand’s family today. He was thirty-one. “Eloise is sick. . She ate the last cookie and finished her milk. she’d go home to North Carolina and have her family close to her. This was the first time Dr. They think she may have had a heart attack. The next week promised to be very busy. Marian didn’t appear to be anxious to only have fun.” “I’ll be there in a few minutes. Why not give her and Rand time to see if there was a strong enough attraction between them to last for the long haul? If not. His cock got hard every time he thought the word. She’s not going to be in today for sure and probably will be out longer. He’d put Marian out of his mind and look forward to the new challenges facing him. He stepped out and dried his hair and body then pulled on his jeans. He was pushy. Rand knew his job.Like Chelsea. She was his right hand. Tomorrow. Maybe his attraction to her was just his hunger to sink into her pussy. He took a couple of swigs of the cold liquid. When he hung up.” Rand assured her husband. She was right. she was tired of the rat race in New York. Neels had been gone. The husband of the woman who handled the office with a firm but gentle hand called. But he didn’t think so. How the hell would he manage without her? Dr. It was a good plan. Neels and his wife were leaving town early today. He needed to sleep. **** Rand got in a cold shower. She might sleep tonight after all. There was beer in his fridge. It was late. it hit him. Marian realized how much she needed people who cared around her. Early mornings were cold. and boots. He grabbed his jacket on the way out. What could happen? **** At six that morning he wished he hadn’t had the earlier thought.
” “I agree. He had twenty minutes before office hours. But within the next few weeks I want you to make an appointment to see a cardiac specialist for a more complete workup. not fine.” Rand said. I’d have to fly to the city to one of those large impersonal hospitals. Seeing her might work better than any medicine. but I feel so bad. The doors opened at nine. Well. Brodie. Maybe she knew of one of the cowboys’ wives that would like to make some extra money for a few weeks. good to see you. I’ll miss you. Neels is gone and now me.” “Thanks. I’m going to start you on some mild medication. “Also.” “It was.” Fear showed on her drawn face. and call Chelsea. “If it’s real serious. Eloise was still in the emergency room when he arrived. Eloise has been so healthy. She took his hand and held tight.” Rand left and headed for the office. Brodie will check you. Go home and rest. Dr. no work this week.” The ER doctor came into the room. Next week Dr. “Dr. Your problem might be managed by medicine. I want you to see the specialist within the next month or sooner if you have another episode. Momma here”—Eloise’s husband nodded at her—“is a bit of a worrier. “You were lucky. I’m pretty certain this was an anxiety attack. “They say it might be my heart. . She’s having her first baby. eat some cereal.” “Well. “This must have been frightening for both of you. He could take afternoon calls while he was out and about. Is there something going on you’re worried about?” “Our youngest daughter is in Wyoming.” He turned to Eloise and her husband. Neither of us expected this. Eloise. just come in anytime a week from today.” Rand shook her husband’s hand. Dr. I don’t want to go. Brodie. “I’ll see you when you get there.” “Wait until we hear the results of your lab work and X-rays. he kept trying to think of someone to fill in during the morning office hours. then fly to visit your daughter. She’s had problems with her blood pressure. but I can manage. He’d run upstairs to his apartment. If you feel all right and he says you can travel. He dialed Chelsea’s number as he climbed the stairs.During the drive to the hospital. How will you manage?” “I’ll do fine. Just to be on the safe side.
“Chelsea. “Chelsea.” “Marriage has made you bonkers. If I find someone. Anyway. she’s going to be out for several weeks to a month. Let’s walk back toward my house while we talk. If not. You are going to have a busy day. “When does he need me?” . “Anyone who can deal with people and answer the phone would be fine.” “You look excited. Hell. He’s in a pinch. and then he was going to have a very busy day. You are the answer to his prayers.” “I’ll see what I can do. A quick breakfast. she’d taken bigger chances on men who were nowhere near his caliber.” “I’m not sure that’s true. She ran a comb through her shoulder-length hair and added pink lipstick for her only makeup. In a minute they were back in the big house. I’ll call you back. This might be the best opportunity for them to become better acquainted. This is your chance to impress him with your charm and your beauty. He needs help right now until he can find a replacement. she strode out of the bedroom and across the small living area. I’ll send them to town.” Puzzled. you’re early. “I’ll pour our coffee. her heart rate had increased from hearing his name. Hearing a knock on the door. **** Marian had tucked a white cotton shirt into her jeans and pulled on a light-green sweater. His secretary had some type of anxiety attack earlier today. “Eat up. Beauty? Did you see his fiancée? She’s way out of my class in the beautiful department. They thought it was her heart at first. I’m in a fix. Are you all right?” “I’m fine. this is Rand.” “No matter. Rand called. But I don’t mind helping.” In fact.” Rand thanked her and hung up. a piece of coffee cake. I’m desperate. Chelsea sat a cup of coffee. Sit. and a banana in front of Marian. Marian did as she said.” He explained about Eloise being ill and how he’d be without help. But she risked putting her heart out to be trampled on. What’s up?” Marian asked as she shut the door and matched Chelsea’s long strides.
“Good morning. “Go show that cowboy what you’re made of.“At nine o’clock. Chelsea hurried her out to the car and had her on the way to her temporary job. He came to a halt when he saw Marian.” “I can’t help it.” Chelsea said as she dropped Marian off at the front door.” One less for today.” She waved then drove back toward home. She glanced at the tired-looking mother with two boys arguing and a baby crying. She put down the receiver. Rand came out of an exam room and darted into the reception area. Dr.” Marian laughed. Marian answered the ringing phone. “Is there any way I can help?” The young mother looked at her like she was a life raft thrown to save her. “Come back here. you can call back later to make another appointment. Brodie’s office. The phone was ringing. The young woman looked ready to cry herself. and a baby cried. “Looks like the doctor is busy. The least Rand can do is bring you home. and banana. “Her bottle needs to be warmed. She walked into the room to the reception desk.” “You weren’t expecting me to resist. and Rand was nowhere in sight.” She grinned. Marian almost saw the other patients taking a deep breath and relaxing.” “You’re being a matchmaker again. and they’re thirsty and tired. “How do I get there? I’m late already.” “I’ll drive you. cake. .” Marian finished her coffee. The room was packed. Two children were fighting. We’ll warm her bottle and see what we can find for the boys.” She motioned to the boys. the anxiety in the air floated to the ground. “Have fun.” Once the children quieted. Six people had signed their names and time of appointment. You need to cancel? No problem. Yes. Marian stopped inside the door.” “I knew my friend wasn’t stupid.
” The locals looked her up and down and thanked her for being willing to work on her vacation. Nettles. Marian saw the last patient out. “This is Marian Gaenor. Marian would have loved to tease him. Especially dull since my best friend married and left me alone. He glanced around the room. “It looks nice. Maybe you’d like to ride along?” “Absolutely. I’m certain the other patients won’t mind. “I heard you needed help. We can walk and enjoy the fresh air. She was a big help this morning.” .” Marian grinned when the others frantically nodded their heads to reassure Rand it was all right. Frontier City is exciting?” “I live a dull life.” Marian said. I’ll buy you lunch at the world-famous Hamburger Bar down the street. “Wow.” “Take this lady and her children next.” They strolled along the sidewalk. At one o’clock.” “After New York. a friend of Chelsea’s. It’s different from being in New York. Everyone they met stopped them to ask him about his receptionist and about how he was managing. Each time. Thanks. and cute.” Marian straightened the waiting room then washed her hands and got her purse. Rand stretched. Let me put my white coat on a hanger. “I love it. I go to work and back home to a small apartment. Finally they got to the diner and were seated. Rand met her at the front door. The rest of the morning went fast. I find this all very exciting and interesting. Peace and quiet.” “You’ve already created a miracle.“What are you doing here?” Rand asked. Rand introduced Marian and explained. If he hadn’t looked so confused. “You still have patients to see this afternoon?” “Yes. Then I’m going to check on Mr. you were a lifesaver. You have beautiful country and nice people here in Montana. Two at the hospital. in his doctor’s white coat.
No one looking at them would ever guess what he’d said.” he said in a soft voice.” “My mother said that all the time I was growing up. and her lower abdomen tightened. “You’re a strange lady. She took a deep breath and jumped off the deep end. no. They ordered hamburgers. This is heaven.Rand shook his head. my darling girl. The scent of food floating in the air made her hungry.” Rand grinned and deliberately looked under the table at her hips. She didn’t think her body had responded this much to any other man. “I want to make love to you. “Would I be considered fast if I invited you to my place tonight?” A slow smile spread across his face. She picked up her menu. Too much fat for my arteries and more importantly for my hips. “I’d think you were being cruel if you made me wait any longer. I’ll go home with a broken heart. She topped off their cola and went to serve another customer. It’s too soon. “When’s it going to be?” Marian hesitated. ‘You are strange.” “I don’t remember a problem with your hips.” “I gather you don’t eat many of these.’” She made him laugh. Desire had made his eyes look like molten silver. But he’s so nice and so delectable. It had been a long dry spell since anyone affected her like Rand did. “Ah.” “I’m never cruel. Marian bit into the hamburger. When he looked up.” . “And I will. She so wanted to say yes. today or tomorrow or the next. I’m going to have you. no. he smiled at her. No. And it won’t be on the rebound. His sexy smile melted what little resistance she had.” “Nope.” Her heart thumped in her chest. The waitress brought them and hot fries to the table. After a couple more bites and a long drink of soda. But sooner or later. It was worth the gamble. Marian. He’d picked up his hamburger and taken a bite. I don’t care. her breath caught. and his shoulders relaxed. and yet her rational mind scowled at her. if I die now.
We have a house call to make. “Whatever you call it. I want to get to dessert quickly.” She stood beside the nurses’ station while he checked his two patients. I know this will heat up the gossip lines for days to come. “We get patients from all over the county.” He waited while she settled in the seat before going around to the driver’s side. Chapter Six . Are you complaining?” “Yes. “No. Marian. Frontier Hospital sat on the outskirts of the small town. She worked a half day and went home. His hand touching her back kept her thoughts on later this evening. Friday night you can take me out for a fancy dinner. The nurses gave her the once-over.” Rand walked up behind the nurse. “Did your receptionist go to the hospital and on house calls with you?” Marian asked as he held the car door open for her.He paid the bill. “I heard your question. I always liked dessert best.” She winked at him.” the nurse protested and smiled. and lastly check out your cabin.” “Hmmm. “Are you his fiancée?” one of them asked. “We’ll drive to the hospital.” Rand opened the door and put his hand at the small of her back during the walk to his car. then see the Nettles. Come on.” “We don’t gossip. To clue in the curious. “They built this about five years ago and have already added an extra wing. I’m Chelsea Brodie’s friend. We’re just interested in the welfare of our residents. “No. But tonight we’ll pick up a pizza. Remember I grew up very close to here.” Rand explained when Marian was surprised at the size and newness. “It’s a bargain. I’m used to the gossip circle. I might need a raise. I just offered to help in the office today. I’m no longer engaged.” Rand escorted her out of the hospital.
” Rand put the pizza on the counter. She wet her lips. alluring to a starving man. Marian opened the front door. Light. and Rand followed. His teeth teased the tips. Her body bent into his.” He walked toward her. lean legs. across the line of his nose. and an unlit candle. His fingers ran through her hair. He kissed each rosy nipple. Her hands ran across his wide chest. “I suppose we must be civilized and eat first.” His lips on her neck sent heat down her body. I do like your idea. giving him greater access. Marian brushed her lips across his sensual mouth. Her fingers traced around his dark eyebrows. They looked at each other. and brushed over his sexy lips.” Rand finished unbuttoning her blouse then unfastened her bra. Rand let her body slide against his until her feet touched the carpet. Marian called to reassure Chelsea that Rand was bringing her home and they were having dinner at the cabin. “Rand. settling in her core. He kissed the sensitive spot behind her ear. and his hard cock pressed into her abdomen. A small note read. carrying the pizza. Had it only been yesterday that she’d resolved not to get involved with him? But he was temptation walking around inside long. Marian moaned. a muscular body. “Shall we start with dessert?” His fingers undid her first button. Shivers of delight zipped along her body. Her breasts touched his hard chest. Rand nuzzled her neck. we might be more ready to eat. The pizza they bought scented the truck with the wonderful fragrance of warm bread and melted cheese. and a smile that melted all resistance. and he sniffed her hair and neck. She took her . “I love your fragrance. Desire surged like a wildfire out of control. He threw both items toward a chair. When his warm hands cupped her breasts. But then I’m not very hungry. Soft brown hair arrowed down to below his belt buckle. “Have Fun.” Rising on her tiptoes. “What do you think?” he asked as he reached her. The pizza is hot. and the feeling had increased by the hour since her arrival. “Perhaps if we took care of this other hunger first.Visiting the Nettles had gone well. and Rand’s eyes darkened.” He scooped her into his arms and took long strides into the one bedroom. and Marian stuck the tea in the fridge. On the table was a chocolate cake. a tall pitcher of iced tea. She leaned her head back. “Let’s get rid of these clothes. He’d woken something inside her at the wedding. She unsnapped his shirt and let it fall. sweet.
“You ended your engagement yesterday. “I want to see your whole body. Rand groaned when she licked it off. Her fingers traced around his cock. and long legs. “Surely you’re not bashful. and chest tapering down to a flat stomach. “Is that how you think I see you?” She swallowed around a lump in her throat. It’s all right. Marian gasped as his firm. Feeling vulnerable. smooth cock almost jumped into her hand. From one of his jeans pockets he pulled out a condom and sheathed his dick.” She rose up and kissed his mouth. She continued downward. Rand lifted her to the center of the bed. wide shoulders.” Why get into a deep conversation right in the middle of what promised to be the best sex she’d had in years? But his comment had almost brought it all spilling out. He stepped in front of her. lean hips. Then she undid his buckle and unzipped his jeans. She admired his naked. Her hand gently held his balls while she moved her head up and down. . “I’m ready for my dessert. “A little shy. His fingers ran through her hair as she touched him. “Like what you see?” She reached out and ran her hands down his legs and then back up. I doubt you’re looking for another serious relationship. in one move. Everyone who lives in New York is not one of the party girls.” He removed his boots and pushed his jeans the rest of the way off. The pearl of salty essence gleamed on the crown of his dick. Marian put her hands across her body.” His lopsided smile had her heart racing and her pussy clenching tight. Her breath blew across the crown. and now he moved to her side. muscular body. Any more of that wonderful attention and I’ll be through.” “Then I don’t have to stop?” “Absolutely not. tall. Her tongue licked along the bottom of his cock and around.” Rand had been straddling her. He sat on the side of the bed. I decided last night I want to make love with you. but then Rand stopped her. kissing all along his hard six-pack. “We’re going to take it slow and easy. Marian had sat on the bed. pulled them and her panties down. Marian licked across the crown again before taking him deep into her mouth. Rand pulled them away.” He unsnapped her jeans and.time kissing his chest and rubbing her fingertips across his nipples. He stopped to yank her boots off and then the pants.
a family and a home. but he continued moving down her body. Leaning forward. He slid farther down and breathed in the scent of her wet curls covering her pussy. he caressed each one. bringing her full attention back to him. “This is our first time. hoping to encourage him to move faster.” His hands roamed along the sides of her body. I love your lush curves and those soft. Rand’s mouth covered her breast and sucked.” “If your damn beeper goes off before you make it memorable. he whispered.” Ignoring her. When you say that out loud. and around her pelvic area. She’d hoped he’d thrust his hard cock into her. “What have we here?” He licked his tongue lightly across the swollen nub. I’m going to hit you.” He licked along her lower lips to her pussy opening and flicked his tongue inside while his fingers lightly pinched her tight nipples. “Yes. His leisurely exploration increased her craving to have him deep inside her pussy.” Marian was sure her whole body flushed. holding his face close to her as his mouth fueled her desire into a roaring fire rushing through her body. He kissed the inside of her leg and the sensitive area behind her knee. making her pussy ache for him to fill her. Her tension ratcheted higher the longer he took to touch her in her most sensitive spot. “What a feast.This was the last short-term relationship for her. He sat back and grinned at her. Her fingers dug into his hair. When he got to her feet. yes. he kissed her toes. Desire shot straight to her core. Marian’s hips came off the bed. love. She wanted to find someone who had the same dream as hers. and his finger went between her pussy lips to uncover her clit. Finally he spread her legs wider. Marian yelled out his name. back up her leg.” she said.” “Then hurry. I’m going to be sure it’s memorable. She moved restlessly. sweet breasts. “You are one hot lady.” “Be quiet. her instep. . He teased her other nipple with his fingers. it might make it happen. “Take me.
” He held her close for a few more minutes. and drew him farther in. then went faster again. I’m afraid we may be in different places in our lives. “You’re toying with me. When her orgasm hit. Gradually her breathing slowed. The handsome features of his face were covered in shadows. Marian dressed. He positioned his hard cock at her opening and very slowly moved inside her tight pussy.” He brushed his lips across her mouth and licked the tears from her cheeks. Rand came out of the bedroom and sat to pull on his boots. “Did I hurt you?” Rand anxiously asked. I wouldn’t want you to have to work tonight on an empty stomach. She grabbed him tightly as the only stability in a world exploding in joyous rapture. more silver at this moment. But she saw the stark glow of his hunger reflected in his silvery-blue eyes. he walked closer to her.Rand raised his head. She grabbed his ass. It was just so…overwhelming. I want to be free for a while. “Damn. He brought her almost to the peak and slowed. he took hold of her hips and plunged in to the hilt with his sac against her buttocks. Shivers of pleasure began to roll over her. Her heart beat so hard she expected it to burst out of her chest at any moment.” She wiggled and clenched her pussy tighter around his large cock. you’re tight.” “But it’s so much fun. She was embarrassed she’d cried. “I hate to. Stars swam in front of her eyes. she heard him shout. “I have to be honest. Shortly afterward. but I’d better get dressed. You are incredibly warm and soft and giving. “I know. you’d have killed me. “If it felt any better. A slight frown marred his handsome face. Rand moved in and out quicker. “I thought we’d better eat. it took her breath. Soon she met his every stroke.” She tried to smile. She hurried into the kitchen and heated the pizza. When he stood. Not for a long time. I’m not looking for anything serious. His arms clamped tighter around her as his cock pulsed against the sides of her pussy. “Sorry about the tears. raised her hips. She’d never had that reaction before.” He grabbed his clothes and headed to the bathroom. Tears rolled down her cheeks. In case I get a call.” Watching her intently. Your face is beautiful with your desire shining in your eyes. He pulsed against her inner walls. It feels so good.” He bent his head and kissed .” Marian felt the tension in the air around them.
She was mad partly at herself and partly at him.” The pizza was good.her. and then he had made his comment. And we can’t waste that delicious chocolate cake.” “Do you want me to help out again? Just the morning. for her. “I’m sorry. Then she stood at the door and watched his truck until the red taillights went out of sight. Tomorrow will be another busy day. but I think I’ll skip the casual dating. I’m pretty tired. I’m enjoying myself. ‘She was a real sweet lady.” Rand studied her for a moment.” “I’d really appreciate it.’” He grinned. she sent half the cake with him. I’ll pay you. I’ll take a slice of the chocolate cake with me. After thinking about it last night. She’d never wanted that. Her heart was in serious danger. “If you don’t mind. A few glasses of wine helped relax her. In spite of her disappointment and letdown. he would never be just a casual date. We can still be friends. She’d had nothing but casual movie or dinner dates for the past year. Rand didn’t drink for fear of getting called out. But her body’s reaction to him scared her. “Open the bottle of wine. Rand was different. . She knew.” “Forget it.” Although he tried to protest. So she’d stopped having sexual relationships. “I love your zany sense of humor. Marian ate. I’d still like to date and have a good time together during your vacation. “We’ll definitely be friends.” She forced herself to smile. It had taken her a while to realize that the men in her life weren’t looking for what she wanted. If you agree.” “Let’s eat. I want to spend more time with Chelsea. I’ve warmed the pizza.” Marian went to the stove.” “We’ll see how you feel after a few days. she’d resigned herself to having a good time and not taking him seriously. “That’s what I’m going to have engraved on my tombstone. You’re a real sweet lady. but mostly she was sad. No more sex because she was starving for attention or it was just fun. As usual.
She handed him the last chart. he gave her that special smile.” “We can have a real girl’s day out. This is your vacation. tonight I’m paying you with a fancy dinner. I’m feeling good. she’d know soon enough. but nothing personal slipped through. she couldn’t resist being here with him. Her annoyance must have shown. “Dr. I love the work. Could she handle another week? Of course. I was teasing. we’re going to Wagon Wheel. Mullins and you’ll be finished with office visits. “Sorry I asked. He closed the exam room door. smiled. then tomorrow. They have a movie theater. Thanks for all your help this week. but can you fill in next week. . Whether that had been a good move or not. She sensed anytime he was close. no. “I’ll call you in the morning about the dinner tomorrow night. “Are you going out with Chelsea? Remember.” He’d treated her like an employee all week since the night he’d left her cabin. I was thinking of something else. It’ll be fun. stopping any further protest. “See Mr. too? Eloise hopefully will be back after that. I’d be glad to help.” Marian said. I’ll be through here in about thirty minutes.” “I insist. She had committed herself to work with him. **** The office phone rang.” Rand had walked up behind her. Her heart ached. and her knees went weak.” For the first time in a week.” Rand nodded. “You sound so professional. Of course not. Brodie’s office.” “No. You don’t have to pay me with dinner. I don’t know when we’ll get back. She’d have a good pity cry and go to bed. A girl’s day out was just what she needed. I don’t keep the office open on the weekend. and was appreciative of her work. Talk about being a weakling. Look. Tears welled in her eyes.” He leaned his head around the reception window and called his patient back. that was her. He was pleasant.Marian curled up in a soft chair and sipped on another glass of wine.” “Yes. So I thought we’d go to Wagon Wheel for the rest of the afternoon. It’s bigger than Frontier City. Marian rushed to straighten her desk and the waiting room.” “I’ll pick you up. If not tonight.
“Really? You’re that serious about wanting to settle down and give up your career?” “This week has been an eye-opener for me. Her determination wasn’t very strong. It’s been forever since I’ve been excited about work. Sweet and Sour. “You know.” Chelsea said.” It took several trips around the downtown blocks before they caught someone pulling out right close to the restaurant. pulses. Luckily one of the two tables left was by the windows. Let me see. “Our lucky day. You get to choose. I’d hate you. and do blood pressures. I love those days. I have to admit if you weren’t such a good friend. After all.” “I’m starving. ask what’s wrong. stands for her two most popular items. “Here’s the movies and the times. Gradually her body relaxed. Find a place to park. Once seated. Then work for a doctor and see if I want to go further.” “These aren’t too current.” “We have to celebrate your new direction. I don’t think I ever was this excited.” Chelsea slowed down as they entered town. and take their vitals.” “Could be. and your sister is a nurse. Do you mind seeing it again?” .” “Maybe the medical gene in your family was there all the time and just came out.**** Chelsea chattered on in the background while Marian sat back and enjoyed the drive. She and Marian followed the waitress.” “When you live out in the far reaches of Montana. I think I may take a medical assistant's course. two of your brothers are doctors. She stared out at the ranches and farms as the car sped along the highway. If we’re real busy. She couldn’t decide whether to relent and go out with Rand tomorrow. “I know a place that has great sandwiches and wonderful pies. A small one where you do lots of things. She was pretty sure where they’d end up. Chelsea handed her a slip of paper. In fact. I love working in a doctor’s office.” Marian said. There it is. Rand taught me how to take temperatures. I fill the rooms. coconut pie and a Reuben sandwich.” “I always loved Pride and Prejudice. it takes a longer time for them to get here. It’s right along Main Street.
I put in lots of ice.” Marian stared at the huge stacked Reuben. You never heard me. Silly girl. “Want to tell me what happened between you two?” Marian started to respond but stopped. why?” “I’ve gained more weight than usual for the length of my pregnancy. not yet.” The waitress sat their tea and sandwiches down in front of them. at least not in my life. Let me see if I can open my mouth wide enough to eat this half. You know I was teasing.” Chelsea grinned at Marian.” “I’m a sucker for tall. Even though she and Chelsea were best friends.” “You do.” Chelsea grinned. so you’re forgiven. To change the subject. You know who. “Oh. But I admit it’s very rare.” “Give me a break. goodness.” she said in answer to Chelsea’s question.” Marian said. Did I tell you I had a second sonogram this week?” “No. “I love Darcy.” Chelsea said. Half of this is going home. “Let’s have a good day. On one level she’d known he didn’t want to get serious. No sad stories. but not lately.” “I brought my cooler.” “Great. It’ll keep the pie and sandwich from spoiling. “I never holler. “I’ll need a knife and a box.” “My thoughts were on someone else. In fact. I’ve seen how wide your mouth can go when you holler at someone. “You’re blushing. Dirk said I couldn’t come home unless I bring a whole pie with me.” . it never works that way. I told you something important on the drive here. handsome men. my.” “I do. I’d love to see it a final fifth time. she didn’t want to go over what occurred earlier in the week. and then you’re embarrassed and practically give the person you were dressing down a promotion. but deeper she had had hope he’d feel differently for her. “Nope.“We’ve watched your DVD at least four times. The feelings were still too raw.” “I thought maybe you were further along than you thought. too. my weight has jumped up this past month.
“Ah. The job has helped. She ran her hand across the soft knit. Afterwards. I called my mom. I’ll be an adopted aunt.” Marian offered to drive. they headed in to see the show. She said there had been twins in the family a long time ago.” “That’s the idea. so you did notice." Marian paid the bill.” Marian grinned. “You must buy it. you need a job here. I’d never ask why you were getting so fat. I will. and excited.” . and apparently Dirk forgot to mention his twin aunts.” “All right. His mother is deliriously happy. Let’s not plan that yet. and parking places were at a premium. Dirk assures me we’ll have plenty of help and manage.” “I can help. and they walked to the theater. Arms full of popcorn and drinks. It’ll be perfect and keep you warm. The barn’s pretty cold this time of year.” “No. How do you feel?” “Totally shocked. She’ll be able to teach me all I need to know. This will be our last dance until late. Marian found a lovely gold sweater.” “Well. Make him jealous. And I’m going to need all the assistance I can get in spite of Dirk’s reassurances.” “That is really a surprise.” “I’m not sure about moving. but Chelsea told her to sit back and relax. Maybe this vacation is good for you after all. Here goes more vacation to come to Montana. The thought of twins both scares me and excites me. they went shopping. “This is my treat. late spring or early summer. It wasn’t far. It’s time for our movie.” “Yes. changing the subject. I’ll want my best friend close by. I was worried whatever misunderstanding you and Rand had had ruined it for you. The price is reasonable.” “What?” Marian shouted. “You sound like me at the doctor’s office. “What were the results?” “We’re having twins. And next weekend I might meet another handsome cowboy. “This is the most chilled out I’ve seen you in a long time.” Marian said. We’re having a barn dance next Saturday night at the ranch. overwhelmed.
“We’re in different places in our lives. no more trying to fix me up or trick Rand into spending time with me. Being here has helped clear my head. I’ve been thinking about doing something different. and not at the best time. You might want to wait until you’ve been back at your job a few months. to have babies.” Marian had barely put on her lights when the phone rang. a home. somewhere different for the last six months. He wants to play the field.” “I won’t ask what that means. and hopefully be starting a family. but please.” “You’re back. You really don’t want to stay in New York. Chelsea.” “You two actually talked about what you want?” “Sort of. I’m changing my life. I wanted to see you happy like me.” Visiting Chelsea. See you tomorrow. meeting Rand. But I’ll probably have to leave Frontier City to find him.“Whoa.” Rand’s deep voice vibrated from her ear down her body. But I will back off. “Sure you don’t want to join us later?” “Thanks. Then see if you still want to move. She wanted it with Rand. My mother would be overjoyed. Knowing you like I do. but he wasn’t available. “I wondered if you were too tired to go for a ride. and seeing how it was to live in a small town like Frontier City had made Marian realize what she really wanted. Chapter Seven Chelsea left Marian at the cabin.” “It wasn’t a fast decision. A year from now I am going to have a husband.” “This is happening fast.” She turned toward her friend. She would not admit defeat. have a good time. no commitments. but I’m tired. Perhaps I’ll return to North Carolina. There had to be another good. I appreciate you wanting me to have a good man and marriage. Unless you’d rather do a late dinner tonight. I want a husband. “Hello.” . I’m the only one who moved more than fifty miles away. do you?” “Not a bit. handsome man who’d excite her body and make her dreams come true. a job I like.
No one has aroused me like you do. A spritz of perfume and she was ready at his knock. He pulled back and looked down into her face. She didn’t want to resist him. warmed her heart.“I’d like the ride. my beating heart. Rand smiled. His tongue tangled with hers as his fingers slid through her hair.” He swooped her into his arms and onto the passenger seat. If she was smart. For an answer to his question. In case we find a good place to stop. along his neck. I hope so. The doctor may be a romantic.” “Be still. Honestly. I want to smell your hair. sweet pussy. Do you mind?” “What are you waiting for. But her body didn’t listen. “I’ve been over her for months.” She glanced at his face. We’ll date and do this right.” His laugh. she brought his head back down and kissed his lips. Will you take a chance on us?” Was she dreaming. doctor? Let’s go. kissed the tip of her nose. The truck door slammed as she finished combing her hair out.” “I’ll be right there. But first we’re going on that ride. and her body wanted to stay cuddled against his hard frame. she’d push him away. Rand stepped inside and pulled her to him.” The phone went dead. and the arm he put around her waist to escort her to his truck. and at the curve between neck and shoulder. Not for years. “I expect it’s going to beat much faster before tonight is over. She’d save the gold one for the dance. “I don’t know where this will go. All her thoughts from earlier today flew out of her mind. or did he really want them to have a relationship? She knew it was too soon. . “I have a blanket in the backseat and a cooler full of soft drinks. But his warm. if ever. “Your pulse is beating fast. and sink into your hot. and went around to get in. sensuous smile curled her toes. When she opened the door. I was letting her get used to the idea of the breakup. She rushed to shower and changed into casual slacks and a white sweater. touch your soft skin. Her mind told her she was a fool. but it’s driving me crazy seeing you every day and wanting to touch you. He kissed her mouth like a thirsty man taking his first drink in a long time.
Farther down the road. “I’m thinking of buying some property and building a house. He leaned his body against hers with her back touching the cool metal door. Near where I’d build the house is a small stream that meanders through the property. Leaning down.” Rand took her hand and led her around the area near the car. They stopped. Rand didn’t immediately open it. I won’t have time for keeping up with too many animals. “If this is dream. but in the afternoon I could be anywhere in the county. You can see some big bushes and thick vegetation in spots.” “The few trees are at the end of the property around the stream. The first one you’re going to see has more flat land but a nice stream toward the back of the property. “You can’t tell as much at night. what more could a woman ask for? Marian glanced at Rand as he drove through town and went on following the two-lane highway south. Let me see. “You’re even more lovely by moonlight. but I’d probably build the house a little farther on and off to the side of the road. I’d definitely put up a fence whether I had cattle or not.” He sniffed some strands he held in his hand.” “This is the closest to your office. we turn east and drive about five miles then turn south again.” A night sky full of stars and a handsome cowboy who made her heart race.” “Yes. “Would you raise cattle?” “A few and two or three horses. and Marian got out. “This is the first property. Come on and I’ll show you the next place. Your hair glows.” When they got to the truck door.” An almost-full moon shone across the vast prairie. our local realtor showed me several properties. his lips softly touched hers.Marian glanced at the star-studded sky. The last place has more trees and is a little hilly but still has flat grazing land. I thought you might enjoy seeing my two favorites. “Yesterday after work. What do you like best about each one?” “Good question. “Sweet. It’s about five acres bigger. “don’t wake me.” he explained.” Rand slowed and turned onto a two-lane dirt road.” .” “Sounds like fun.” she whispered. all of you is sweet. from your head to the scent of your arousal. What do you think?” “I like the wide-open spaces.
and trees clustered at the edge. got out. “Spoilsport. the land changed. They rode on. but this one had been paved. A silver stream shone in the moonlight. “It’s cold.” Marian grabbed a cup and took a long swallow. “We’ll see how that works. He pulled two big thermal cups out of the cooler. “I lied. and they drove over small hills. Then they arrived at an open area with a vast panoramic scene of the prairie and far mountains.” Rand opened the door and lifted her inside. and reached in the back for two blankets.” Rand ignored her and arranged things as he’d said. We won’t be able to stay long.” She pretended to pout. Marian shivered. “Wonderful. The land sloped gently before it flattened out. “We’ll drive to the stream and stop there for a few minutes. and he pressed against her abdomen. Rand turned again onto another two-lane road. I put down the real blanket.Marian put her arms around his neck and rubbed her breasts across his hard chest.” “We’ll stay warmer in the sleeping bag if we take off our outer garments.” he whispered in her ear. “I drove along here yesterday and didn’t see any significant holes.” “That’s the first time I’ve heard you complain.” She looked at him skeptically. and I don’t like to be cold. Rand stepped back. “We’d better stop. I guess I’ll have to admit this larger blanket is actually a sleeping bag. After he made the second turn.” He stopped near the trees. This is hot chocolate. and he carefully maneuvered across the prairie.” Rand said. I really want you to see this next property before we play. Her lips nuzzled his neck. Trees lined the road. but it’s best to be careful. Trees initially blocked the view.” “Where’s your spirit of adventure?” “I don’t have one. After about thirty minutes.” “My hero. I have a perfectly good bed at the cabin. then we get into the other and zip it up for warmth. First. “Anticipation only makes the desire more intense.” . They got back in the truck. letting her feel his aroused cock.
An all-consuming desire sent heat soaring in every vein. Marian hated to admit it. A shiver of delight shook Marian. He pulled her against his chest and wrapped his legs around hers.” He started moving fast and hard.” He moved down and raked his teeth across her pebbled nipples then his mouth suckled each breast. He found and touched her sensitive spot. She screamed his name as he moved his cock into position and plunged into her wet pussy. he managed to get her sweater off and then quickly her slacks. “You first.” He laughed and caught her arm just before she ran.” Holding one arm. but I want to see your face when you come. His tongue sensually stroked the inner walls and her tongue. She closed her eyes. and his face was taut with his desire. . “I will.” In minutes he was undressed.“You are insane.” she pleaded. she moved her hips to encourage him.” He held her clothes away from her.” He sat her cup on the ground and pulled her close against him. When his fingers ran across the length of her lower lips and sank into her pussy. and got all the way into the sleeping bag with her. His eyes shone silver. his musky scent filled her lungs. No way. She clenched and unclenched her inner pussy walls around his wide. Rand stopped for a moment.” Rand chuckled. and her body trembled with joy as her orgasm overtook her. “No way. “Don’t stop now. taking him in deeper. had sheathed his cock. “Are you cold?” “No. “See. His hard cock pulsed against her abdomen as he began to ravish her mouth. Her body exploded with pleasure. Rand reached around and unfastened her bra then slipped her panties down. sweetheart. She raised her hips. “Oh. A swell of euphoria swept through her hot body. “Get in the bag. hard cock. but she was quite toasty. our body heat will keep us warm.” Rand groaned at the end. “Drink your hot chocolate. His mouth sucked on her breast as he began to slowly go in and out. Every time she took a breath. His hands and mouth explored every spot of her chest and abdomen. And when you get in I’m going to hit you.
” Marian squirmed around and got her panties and bra on without help. “I think we inaugurated this property. Rand tried to move partially off of her. The first one is closer to town.They lay panting and sweaty. Stars twinkled in the dark.” he said.” It didn’t take long for the truck to get nice and toasty. I’m going to be an expensive date. “I’d better help you dress before you get cold and take you home.” “I’m leaning toward the second property. She was getting in deeper each time they . She smiled. Rand shook out the bag and blanket. Soon he had them on the way back to the cabin. It’ll be your house. Tomorrow evening dress up for a fancy dinner. “Get in and put on the heater while I put all our stuff in the backseat. Then Rand reached for her sweater and helped her get it over her head.” “Finally you agree.” “Whoever you marry might not like to know about that memory. We’ll go into Wagon Wheel.” Rand put his arm around her waist and headed to the truck.” “I think I can afford you.” He and Marian cuddled and watched the leaves flutter in the slight breeze. I plan on being hungry.” He unzipped the zipper.” “I’m looking forward to it. Of course now it also has a fantastic memory for me.” He kissed her good night in the truck and waved after she was safe inside. folded them. “It’s cold out here.” “We’ll see. “I’ll drop you off and head home to get some sleep tonight. “They’re not very warm. and jumped into his clothes. Warm water soothed all her muscles from the activity on the hard ground. Marian locked the door and went into the bathroom to shower. You have to decide. Their hearts pounded together. I like the trees and that some of the land isn’t so flat. Which property did you like best?” “They’re both nice. remembering. handed her slacks to her. “I think the slacks will go on quicker with you out of the sleeping bag. and grabbed the small cooler.” Marian took a swallow of her chocolate drink and gave Rand’s to him. “I’ll never look at this place and not think of us.
**** Rand let himself in to his apartment. He and Marian fit together like a pair of gloves.” “I’m looking forward to being a country doctor. Dr. I spent some time with my parents.” “I’ll be glad to see you. but they want me to be happy. his life had completely changed. and went to the kitchen. Neels was taking call this weekend. “Hello. Then in the evening.” Andy hung up. good. but it was over. Rand tossed around on the bed and tried to shut off his mind. The first rays of dawn streaked across the sky. and I can have a social life. because of the cold. He made coffee and poured a cup. He’d shower and go to bed.” “You’re awake. he’d have dinner with Marian. so Rand planned to make the most of it. she had followed his lead. Being close to family had been an extra plus to the job. interesting. Can I bunk with you until I find a place?” “Sure. But she couldn’t or didn’t want to stop herself. And although she had been reluctant at first. He was bone tired but happy. They have mixed emotions about my big move.” Andy said. He’d stop by tomorrow to see his mother. she’d manage somehow. In the last three months or so. If he let her leave. Thank goodness it wasn’t a work day. You know what this means?” “No. He’d taken the first sip when his phone rang. what?” “Soon we’ll be sharing call. He hadn’t taken the time or had the time to think about how he really felt. He slept fitfully. Finally he gave up. She’d give him good advice about the property. pulled on his jeans. . and they’d had great sex. “Do you know the time? Are you all right?” “I’m great. I can start Monday. Breaking his engagement had taken longer than he wanted. The work was demanding. When he sank into bed.were together. Are you ready to go to work?" “I’m all set. he found he was wide awake. and he loved it. See you around noon. I’m letting you know I’ll be in Frontier around noon.
he needed time. A nice lady but not the right one for you. He wanted to get the land bought and the house built.Rand paced the small apartment. Well. he was shy of getting too involved too soon. He doubted he’d be ready to propose to anyone for a long time. He had to touch her.” “You weren’t sorry I ended the engagement?” Rand grinned at her. He could hardly wait to have lots of space in his home and outside. but doctoring in the country is difficult and challenging. and sweet fragrance had his desire spiking whenever they were together. He’d thought after making love again the intense desire might cool. have you been on the job long enough to know for certain it will be your life’s work? I love having you close. I’m not sure what you were thinking when you proposed to Anna. lush curves.” . smell her hair. He’d chosen to follow her lead in the direction of their careers and where they’d live. It hadn’t. tight pussy.” She studied him for a minute. A few weeks weren’t enough. “You were always that way. Still. But with winter weather coming. Once you made up your mind you didn’t change it. He’d ignored all the warning signs that they weren’t compatible. you’d make much more in a big city. You have an innate way of knowing what’s best for you. Marian and Anna had nothing in common. The mistake with Anna was his fault. But what if he passed up the right woman? That would be stupid. I’m sure. Her light-blonde hair and sherry eyes. After just having missed making a major mistake.” “Dad said he fell in love with you the first time you smiled at him. You don’t need the money. Marian flashed in his mind’s eye. She wanted permanency. as all of ours have. Still. it probably wouldn’t be started before spring.” “Mom. Chapter Eight “You’ve found two good parcels of land. thanks to Clay. Your inheritance has grown. Choose more carefully the next time. except for women. sink into her hot. “Not one iota. “My only concern is.” Rand’s mom said as he drove her home.
Then she’s going to visit her pregnant daughter. It might take a week. waved without turning. Had Mom just put her stamp of approval on Marian? What she said surprised him. How is Eloise and the new receptionist? “Eloise will be in next week for me to check her. We immediately knew we were the one for each other. Andy swung out of the driver’s seat. Why make two trips?” . He’d better get back to his apartment. I’ve been here ten minutes. You don’t really know someone that fast. six months. “Thanks for going with me to see the places and for the advice. It was eleven. He glanced at his watch. “By the way. She takes her time with them. She has a way with people. Plus.” “You date until you find the one you can’t forget. but better than Eloise.” His mom got out of the car. and I did. how nice. “Good timing. she doesn’t get excited or faint at the sight of blood. Several patients have complimented her to me. He’d never known her to interfere in any way with her adult children’s decisions. I heard you had a new helper last week.” Rand parked and turned in the seat to face his mother.” She started to get out.” “So I ought to take my time and play the field? Andy suggested that. She’d make a doctor a good wife. a year. That can be dangerous.” “And your assistant?” “Is temporary. Marian offered to help. A medium-size moving van had parked behind the office. “He did. but it worked for us. She’ll be out for a while. Andy had probably arrived.” “You are serious? Everything you own must be in that truck.She smiled and patted his arm. and went up the steps. or more.” “Does she do a good job?” “I hate to admit it.” “It is.” “My.
” Rand shrugged and headed down the outside steps. I want to see you. He invited them to come tomorrow for Sunday dinner.” Dr.” His tension eased at her words. You’ll have to get out what you want to keep here and then drive to Wagon Wheel.” “No. Neels was pleased Andy had arrived so quickly. It takes about forty-five minutes. I want you two to get better acquainted. Rand strolled into his crowded living room. We talked about you. **** Marian put on casual brown slacks with a V-neck. Rand saw time slipping away as they unpacked the items on the truck that Andy didn’t want to store. But. We’re taking you with us. “I’m going upstairs to call Dr. no. Had he expected her to have him jumping through hoops like Anna would have done? He had to quit comparing them. Three’s a crowd. Neels.“The nearest place to return the truck and store your stuff is in Wagon Wheel.” Rand looked at his watch.” she said. The long sleeves would help keep her warm and the ruffled front added a dressy look to the outfit.” “Oh. “How’s your day going?” “Not as I expected. but I didn’t realize how soon you’d arrive. I can start unpacking these boxes. we can cancel if you want. They could visit and make plans. but Marian had a much easier way about her. He slipped into his bedroom to call Marian.” He told her about Andy’s unexpected arrival.” “Not necessary.” “Seven it is then. “Hi. Start picking out the things you want to keep in the apartment. “We have to get the truck and the rest of his stuff to Wagon Wheel by five. She pushed her ash- . Is it all right with you if we change our dinner date to seven and include Andy?” “Sure. The living room was filled with boxes. you need to eat.” “This doesn’t sound like casual dating. taupe sweater. We need to get the truck and cargo taken care of so we can pick up my date for dinner. It wasn’t fair to either. “That’s enough stuff.
” He opened the front passenger-side door to assist her. The dinner was slow and leisurely.” Rand said.” Then Andy began with funny stories that occurred during medical school. With that inside you. like another brother. Rand put his arm around her shoulders on the way out. Marian regaled them with stories of Chelsea and her in New York. You missed a wonderful dinner.” Andy smiled and nodded his head. Her nerves were on edge. You and Andy are different. you can solve the problems of the world. She’d thought he’d take her home and leave. Rand went around to drive. She wanted to make a good impression on Andy and of course on Rand. They weren’t far from the apartment. you can drop me off at the apartment.” She opened the door for them to come inside. Andy waved at them on his way up the steps. “We’d meet at least once a month.blonde hair behind her ears and added antique gold medallion-shaped earrings. It was too bad you had to leave early.” Rand said. and Marian was surprised it was nine thirty by the time they finished. “That can happen the first time you meet them. “Good evening. “If you two want. “My family had her mesmerized. and Andy got in the backseat.” “I think we’ll take you up on the offer. if it’s all right with Marian.” “It was. “Fine with me. “We don’t have time to visit.” . and drink a bottle of wine. They weren’t too dressy and were a little sexy.” “Which she didn’t eat much of. and picked up her bag when they knocked.” Her heart did a little dance. Rand put his hand on Marian’s thigh as they drove toward the cabin. Yet you complement each other. The time flew. put on her perfume. “You remember Andy. We’ll just make it.” Rand waited as she locked the door.” “Yes. I’m going to spend a good part of the night unpacking. She’d touched up her lipstick. Rand had mentioned Andy was his best friend. eat a whole pizza. “This was fun tonight. They were on time. Our dinner reservation is for eight.
he rubbed his nose across her lower abdomen. then her pants. he flipped her under him.” Rand came around and lifted her out of the truck.” His finger traced the edge of the ruffled sweater. Lightly.“We met the first day of college and were roommates all through those four years and then medical school. When she reached for his fully erect cock. His mouth kissed her forehead. Sir. “Lock it. We just clicked. pinched his nipples.” He parked the truck and pulled her into his arms.” “I wasn’t through. He stilled. where he dumped her on the bed. Her sweater and bikini panties were left.” . Her sweater and bra flew across the room. her cheeks. “My turn. Rand stepped back and gave her a lusty look. She nibbled at the edge of his hard jaw. and then her mouth. His teeth nibbled at the edge of her earlobe. He put a condom on the bedside table and lay on the bed beside her. “The fragrance of your desire is intoxicating. He held her tight in his arms as she reached out to unlock the front door. His skin was firm and had a woodsy scent with a touch of musk. Once they were inside Rand kicked it shut. her hands inspected his broad chest. “Would I be pushing it if I asked to come in?” “I’d be disappointed if you didn’t. Chelsea and I got introduced right after we started working for the same company.” Stepping away from the bed. “All the curves.” “I know what you mean.” Leaning forward. She trembled at his touch. “I like your outfit. “There.” He strode across the living area and went right into her bedroom.” He pulled her upright.” “Yes. Her fingers traced the shape of his face and the edge of his lips. and his fingers rubbed across her tight nipples. Marian rolled her body snug against him. Her boots came off first. raked along his tight abs. letting her take the lead. he removed his clothes in a minute. in all the right places. Then he removed her panties.
Her soft breath tickled his neck.” “So we’re good. Vaguely in the background. he’d forgotten. Her body tingled from her feet straight up to her head. She laid her hand on his chest and looked up at him. I’m on the pill. He rolled toward the bedside table and saw the condom. She bucked under him as his tongue lashed across her clit. “Sweet as honey.” “Yeah. “Wow. He had lots to do before he got serious. I’d better dress and go help Andy. Her orgasm caught her by surprise. I want to taste you. sending her into a higher twirl.” His tongue flicked into her pussy opening. “Look.” But he saw the concern in her eyes.” “Sure you can. too soon.” . rushing through her blood.” He didn’t know what he wanted to say. She fought to catch her breath and held on to his strong body as the tide of her orgasm rushed at her all at once. She wanted him inside her and yet didn’t want him to stop what he was doing.” “I have. She raked her hands through his soft hair. He quickly thrust into her with his hard cock. “I can’t take any more. She smiled.” He slid down her body and spread her legs wide. His mouth continued to taste her essence as his fingers went into her pussy to find the hot spot that made her lower body throb. Marian cuddled against him. He licked from her clit to the opening to her pussy. Rand raised up and positioned his cock at her opening. Neels tomorrow. fireworks. “No problem. Pleasure spilled into every vein. She’d felt his withdrawal from her before the condom came up. His fingers separated her folds. Marian noticed him stiffen although he’d tried to hide it.“You were too slow. Don’t worry.” Marian raised her hips and moaned. We have to visit with Dr. Part of him wanted to jump up and shout. This was too much. you’ve been very careful in the past. The other part wanted to run. and I’m sure. Her body exploded in a frenzy of delight. Damn. **** Rand fought to take air into his lungs. His orgasm had shook his whole body and felt like it came right through the top of his head. she heard Rand shout out his release. being a doctor.
But he wished he hadn’t run out of the house. . huh? I told you to keep it light. Again. Andy took one look when he came in the door and got up and poured them both a bourbon. Andy had an easy way about him and had charmed most of the townspeople. At least Andy could help him in the office this week. Her feelings for him took over. All the local people were arriving in droves. I need to cool it. Chapter Nine Music spilled out of the barn into the night. She’d go to that barn dance and meet some other cowboys. his chest hurt. When she got out. The lonely nights were the worst. No need to have Marian come in. She’d given too much too quickly.” He waved and hurried to the truck. He’d gotten scared. He tossed and turned. He felt like he’d jumped off a cliff without a parachute. He hadn’t mentioned her working for him next week. but this was different. But it was better now than later. “Can’t Make Up His Mind” Brodie. and he didn’t like himself much. She would have a good vacation without Dr. he was putting space between them.“I understand. So the rejection hurt much worse. But it was a long week. They needed to cool it. She went into the kitchen while he dressed. He’d call her in a few days. That was deliberate. She got in the shower and let the tears flow. Many of them stopped to say hello to Rand and to meet the new doctor they’d heard about from this week’s patients. He’d done the right thing. but you need time to meet more of them. Rand and Andy got out of the truck and joined the crowd headed inside. He kissed her briefly on his way out. “Later.” Marian got out of bed and put on her robe. No more tears. She’d spend more time with Chelsea. She’d seen it before to a certain extent. “See you in the morning. He’d probably hurt her feelings. she’d made up her mind.” Rand showered and lay in his bed. “That bad. Still. **** Marian watched the lights of his truck fade in the distance. She had let herself open to him in a way she hadn’t to any other man.” They worked another hour on the unpacking and stopped for the night.” “Right. She’s a nice lady.
They seemed to be having a spirited conversation. Purposefully. “There she is. and Rand’s body ached for her touch.” “Thanks. “You look beautiful. Then she said yes.” Damn. She never once looked his way. But the office didn’t seem the same without her.When they got inside. she stiffened. but he wanted to walk across the dance floor and pull her out of Tom’s arms.” Andy nodded his head toward the dance floor. Marian. Rand glanced around the crowded room to look for Marian.” Andy strolled off toward a line of pretty ladies smiling at him. but gradually her sweet curves fit against his body. she wasn’t making it easy. her particular scent. They got killed in a car wreck about a year ago. “Hi. . Rand put his arm around her waist and led her into the dance. Marian was smiling. he strode toward where she stood with Dirk and Chelsea.” “I’ve been meaning to call. and her short answers meant he had to keep talking. and his heart started to beat again. Andy had agreed Rand had done the best for both of them by cooling it. He noted her hesitation. everyone. How are you feeling. Feeling in the spotlight. “She’s with a tall. I’m past all the morning sickness. She wouldn’t make eye contact. I’m going to. He pulled her closer to him and let the music flow over them. He has a good sense of direction.” Rand barely heard what Chelsea said. Chelsea?” “Much better. A lot of the ladies are looking our way. so he’s learning his way around fast. “Ask someone to dance. Inherited it from his parents. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Marian dance by. blond man. trying not to be obvious. He danced with a number of different women. He didn’t want to make the mistake of showing any partiality.” “Tom. but we’ve been busy orienting Andy to the office and the afternoon visits. May I have this dance?” The country band had started to play a slow number. About halfway through the dance.” “That’s good. Rand hurried to follow him. Rand couldn’t stand it any longer. and the ache of desire pulsing in his body. Hopefully. At first. He was totally focused on Marian. he owns a large ranch to the north of town. mostly with Tom. “It’s good to see you. her sweet face.” Rand never thought he was the jealous type.
I’ll live there until my house is finished. He needed to think. Andy will take the upstairs apartment.” he whispered in her ear. This parcel of land anchored him to the town. The past week had been busy. Rand poured out most of his beer and headed to his car.” She smiled.” “That will be nice for you both. he is. You both looked miserable. I’m sorry about this past week. “Chelsea and I’ve had fun this week exploring the surrounding little towns. What you need is to meet a local woman to date. I had a great week. Otherwise he’d have gone crazy thinking about Marian.” “Yes.” The music ended. They can get it done quickly. Hell. Marian was dancing with another cowboy. We were only casually dating anyway. And I’m having a small cabin built. . Andy would find a ride back to the apartment.” “Right.” he mumbled and headed toward Andy. “I’ll have a beer. and to continuing to be close to his family. He’s a nice guy. I saw you dancing with Tom. Rand leaned his head back against the headrest. “Thank you. She turned and walked quickly to the side. and the shadows of the trees looked like sentinels standing guard. he wanted to get out of here. The river shone like a silver ribbon in the moonlight. so he drove toward his new property. He hadn’t expected the feelings of loss he’d carried around with him all week and the feeling that he’d acted ungentlemanly in the way he’d left. Did you buy your property?” “I did. No need to get too involved when I’m leaving in a few weeks. “Thank you.“I’ve missed you. who was standing at the bar set up in the corner.” “No problem.” “I saw you dancing with Marian.” They were back to short answers. He turned onto his land and parked his truck.” Andy waved and walked toward a smiling blonde he’d danced with earlier. probably sometime next summer. Keep looking. You’ll have your privacy. his job. “As I said. I really have been busy.” Marian said. “Look.
and Friday night we’re going to a movie in Wagon Wheel.” Lily smiled.” They reached Ty and Lily’s house. That was part of the job’s charm. He was tired. But what if he passed up the right woman because it was the wrong time? He shook his head and went back to his car. “What? I’m smiling. and followed him down the hall.” Chelsea said. if that smile is your happy face. “Your eyes are sad.” “Good. The house needed to get built.” Dirk kissed Chelsea. I have a dinner date with Tom on Tuesday. Lily grinned. He envisioned the house and the barn with a few horses. His sleep had been disturbed most nights since he left Marian. “She should have. “It was great fun. “All the single cowboys were lined up to dance with her. “If it’s any consolation. grabbed a beer from Ty.” “She’s right. haunting him. She wasn’t going to give him the time of day.” . I’d hate to see you really sad. But Andy was right.” Marian said. And he left right after you two danced. and he needed to get settled into the routines of the job. she’d be there with her sad eyes. He got out and walked across his land. When he closed his eyes. She pasted a smile on her face. Dirk.” Chelsea said. Maybe tonight would be different. “Oh. Lily.But he might as well forget her. **** “Did you have a good time?” Chelsea asked Marian as she.” “I’m fine. Marian.” Lily said. In the house he pictured a wife and children. He didn’t blame her. “Come in and have a beer. Although any routine was a very flexible one.” “Sounds good to me. At least you’re giving someone else a chance. He’d held her soft body in his arms and smelled her sweet fragrance. No. I think the ladies want to talk. “Men run when you start talking about feelings. Dirk. You are both worried about nothing. We’ll go to my office. Rand looked as unhappy as you. and Ty walked back home from the barn dance.
Marian was glad to not be the center of attention any longer. “I’m not disappointed. and we’ll walk you home. hearing his voice. I didn’t. She didn’t think anything could get him out of her mind. His particular male scent had desire coiling in her lower abdomen. “Don’t worry. and she ached to feel him holding her tight.” But not really. but it didn’t make a dent in the ache in her heart.” She laughed. You might be surprised and like him more than you think.” Lily went to her counter and uncovered a chocolate cake with chocolate icing. she’d determined to forget him.” Soon the conversation turned to babies.” Lily said.” She gave Marian a quick rundown of her story. smelling his scent.” “Give me a big piece. and then it all worked out in the end. She’d hoped he’d change his mind and call for her to help at the office. but I love chocolate. “This and a cold glass of milk will make most any disappointment a little better. When he held her in his arms.” both Chelsea and Lily spoke at once. but keep up with us. you’re right. and Chelsea knew Dirk loved her. “Dating Tom is going to drive him crazy. “A lot of the time I thought he hated me or at least wanted me to move away from the ranch. “If you love him. don’t give up.” .” Chelsea said.” “But is it fair to Tom?” “You can decide what to tell him after your date. The cake was delicious.” “Liar. When he didn’t. I thought I’d lost Ty for sure.” “But you knew he loved you.” “No. “We need chocolate. Their explosive coming together last weekend had frightened them both but him the most. But one look tonight and one dance touching him. “Sorry. It’ll help you to stop thinking about him. she hurt. had her weak in his arms.” Marian smiled. Lily patted her arm. “Now I’m going to get my husband.” Chelsea shook her arm. “No feeling sad. It had taken all her determined willpower to not throw herself at Rand. “I know we’re boring you with the baby talk.” Chelsea said.“I didn’t notice. It’s past my bedtime.
She made herself some hot chocolate and tried to read a book Chelsea had loaned her. that he’d call? That’s not going to happen. and if the cardiologist agrees. finally going to sleep around five. I’m sure they’re anxious for you to get back to work. At ten.” “Our signal to leave. What did I think. “Sleepiness is all part of it.“I’m right here. Marian envied the love she saw in their eyes. darlin’. “Alive and well. you know stubborn men. Neels and Dr. She swallowed around the lump in her throat and followed Dirk and Chelsea out. as I expect he will. She’s usually in bed by nine lately. “You smell good. Franklin gave a hearty laugh. Brodie are attracted to each other and have had a falling out. Tell them I sent you. “Hello. She tossed and turned. But the reason I called is I’m not going back to work at all. How are you?” “I’m doing better. He leaned down and kissed her cheek.” “Miss Gaenor. In her cabin the silent phone mocked her. I figured you’d be getting sleepy.” “There really is a gossip line?” Mrs. Wouldn’t you consider going in today to help them?” “They haven’t called and asked me. Brodie this morning. But this episode was an eye-opener. They were great couples. then we’ll start planning our first trip. I told Dr. When her eyes crossed. You just pick yourself up and march in there. she gave up and headed to bed but doubtfully to sleep.” Dirk teased. I’m retiring. “I’ve been told you did an excellent job the first week I was out.” “Well. If you want to know anything. Rand has mentioned you. that my attack was anxiety. “The office was in chaos this morning. It’s full of kids with colds and adults not feeling good and glaring at the mothers for the noise.” . We want to travel.” She took a breath.” Lily agreed. you don’t know me.” “The doctor’s receptionist. her phone rang. I intend to spend all my time with my husband and children. you check with one of the girls. Ty had come in and stood behind her. I suspect from the gossip line that you and that handsome Dr.” Dirk said. This is Eloise Franklin.
They’d welcome her with open arms. The list of patients was long. I was going to cancel like that man did and reschedule. All heads turned in her direction.” “You still can.“Amazing. I’ll take a group over here in the corner and read them a story. Two girls and three boys raced to the corner and arranged the chairs. “We’ve got toys back here and some reading books.” she said. Have fun.” “I’ll come get you. “Of course only the ones who can sit quiet and not fight can join me. I’d better hang up. “Let’s see what we can do to help you folks.” The children stopped and looked at her. “I’d like to change my appointment to next week. Did she dare? She’d seen how chaotic it could get that first day. Thanks.” “Actually. You can tell me the details on the way. Well. he hurried out of the noisy room. “Give me the books. My husband and I are going to drive to Wagon Wheel and have lunch. Marian handed the lady two books. and with relief. All exam room doors were shut. They’re good-hearted ladies.” she spoke to the room in general.” **** Marian slipped in the door. She’d do it. better than all our modern devices. Yes. Some children ran around the room. No one ever gets nasty. who’d begun to push each other. Earsplitting screams filled the air.” The phone clicked off. “Chelsea. A brown-haired. I didn’t want to walk out without an explanation. “And much more fun.” .” Marian cheerfully helped him change his appointment.” She cast a faint smile at Marian as the boys stood straighter. “They can decide. you just caught me. and others lay sniffling in their mothers’ arms. She went into the reception area. The few adult patients looked haggard and tired but perked up on her arrival. I’ll read to them. middle-aged woman ignored her at first and then studied the children. would you drive me to town? I’ve been informed the doctors need help. One of the men got up and came to the window.
“At least we don’t need to worry about patients. Even at work. anything to entertain children. Andy caught her arm. he smelled good and sexy. but I believe you’re an answer to a prayer. my one sister is a nurse. Mrs. Ignoring him. Soon the noise level had returned to normal. Andy came up to the front and stretched. Hopefully he didn’t see the tremble in her hands. “I don’t know how you got here. I like to help. I should have straightened up and given them my professional frown.” She went to walk by him. “I knew when I stepped out of the exam room magic had happened again and you were here. the patient area was empty. but Marian had difficulty being friendly.” “Do you like the job?” “Sure do.” “I’m a supervisor at my real job.” “Not far off. The other four of us have different professions. “You don’t like me. and when Dr. and some up-to-date magazines for the adults.” She picked up her purse.” “You’re welcome. in two months.” Rand leaned into the reception area and smiled.” She brushed by him and took a deep breath. She suspected he had been an influence on Rand’s decision to cool it. I’ll bring them in the exam room while you take a breather.“And answer the phone and fill the rooms? No. He carted out the trash from both areas and then came back to her window. we’ll be running to keep up.” She took the books and went to the corner.” “You remind me of a schoolteacher. Thanks. You’re good at managing people.” He smiled. Andy followed her lead and surprised her by cleaning up the messy waiting room. and I helped my two older brothers in their office when they first started.” “You come from a medical family?” “My father’s a retired doctor. “Thanks for the help. Hawkins and her three children are next. Plus. “I’m going to shop the stores for toys. By one o’clock.” . I’m the principal of our elementary school. and two brothers are doctors. Neels retires fully. she began to arrange papers and put files away.
“I don’t know you. . we had our opportunity. “Help her look for the safe or wherever they might hide the stuff. She unlocked the front door and stepped inside to put the toys in the back. All the new gadgets. Two men pushed her back and rushed in.” “I don’t know where they’re located. hoping they’d leave. They started at the reception area and walked through each exam room. and more books. but many would only add to the noise level she wanted to lower.” She nodded and left before having to see Rand again. Her arms were full when she left the store. I’ll have Rand get a new one made for me. When we saw you return. “Told you she was alone. “What do you want? Neither doctor is here. Whoever we hire as receptionist ought to have one of their own. “I’ll keep a watch out. Marian started to leave. She wanted him to wonder what she was thinking. She’d snapped her cell closed and started back out toward the front when she heard a knock at the back door. Hurry.” She glanced down the hall. Lock the front so no one else wanders in. She browsed further and found games. “Can I borrow your key? I’ll bring the stuff back here and leave the key by the desk. so she’d heard. But seeing as they were both armed she doubted they’d leave peacefully without the drugs. you’d better find them fast.She pulled free. She’d seen Rand get pills out of a locked cabinet in the equipment room. puzzles. she opened it. She took her time pretending to look. they still might shoot her.” the tall. The door to the exam room he was in remained closed. And even when they found the medicine.” Marian’s heart pounded.” The slimmer man shoved her. bulky man ordered his partner. The toy store was fun. She had lied. A little mystery helped. and sirens blowing on cars were entertaining. “For your own sake. Not thinking. talking figures. We’ve been scouting this place a few days. especially the one holding his gun. She’d take these back to the office and then get the magazines while she waited for Chelsea to pick her up.” “We know. Tell Rand I’ll help out the rest of the week as needed.” The bigger man’s hands shook.” He waved a gun in her face and started to pull her down the hall. She called Chelsea and arranged to meet her in front of the local drugstore in about thirty minutes. Something for every age group. You”—he leaned into her face—“are going to give us all the narcotics.” “Sure.
“We aren’t kidding. He drove back through the downtown area. Did you check around? She may have decided to go in one of the other shops.” The man following her grabbed her hair and put the gun to her temple. “We’ve killed once.” He glanced down both sides of the street. The druggist and Abby at the cash register said she never came in.” “I’m worried. I think. Rand had checked on his three inpatients and gone to his car. Get us the stuff or we’ll kill you and move on to another town. When he saw Chelsea waving. which also gave them time to go by the hospital first before heading out. She prayed her friend would call Rand and not come here to look for her. I’ll check. Chapter Ten Rand and Andy had split up the afternoon home calls.” “It’s a small town.” A chill ran through her.” . “Where did she call from?” “Your office. If she did. These weren’t local boys looking for a high. The clock on the wall told her Chelsea should be at the drugstore.“Hurry up.” “Marian’s reliable. She said she was going to leave toys she’d bought there and go to the drugstore to get magazines to bring in tomorrow. She’d known that at the first.” He sneered. she’d never leave me waiting this long.” “I can’t imagine what would hold her up this long at the office. “What’s up?” “Marian called and said she’d meet me here fifteen minutes ago. Marian had run out of time. Go inside the drugstore and wait for my call. His first patient lived about fifteen miles away in that direction. he pulled over and parked. But she feared as soon as she showed them the cabinet and opened it her life would be forfeit. She’d better think of a plan to save herself. so it doesn’t matter how many times after that. and quick.
Was she dead? She didn’t hurt. I might need help. So they’ve escalated to being very dangerous. But they killed the last person to give them drugs.” He told the sheriff what Chelsea reported to him. “What can I do for you. she went into the equipment room. Doctor?” Sheriff Grady asked.” He shoved the gun under her chin. Every time they started to look down at her. they’d have no witnesses.“She’s fine. .” He let go of her and waved the gun in her direction. Once Chelsea had gone inside. “What the hell? You want to announce we’re here. she was alive. He had a bad feeling that the robbers were there. And they had nothing to lose.” Rand looked at the two men pictured on the paper. “Hurry. But she lay very still and watched them through a slit between her eyelids. The robber yanked pictures off the wall and found the locked cabinet behind one. It sounded like they were talking through a long tunnel. Maybe we can take them as prisoners. “Open the damn thing before I blast the top of your head off. he shot at the door to the cabinet. “You knew where this was hidden. I was going to contact you when you got back to town. it just came in about an hour ago.” But he didn’t believe what he said. “There’s probably a simple explanation. Shoot if necessary. **** When Marian knew she couldn’t put it off any longer. His partner ran into the room. “I’ve got a missing receptionist. Marian heard their voices. Marian fell to the floor. “I know you can shoot. No. “Those two guys have been hitting pharmacies and doctors’ offices in this state and others. neither did she.” Sheriff Grady stood and walked to his gun cabinet. They left the sheriff’s office and walked toward his. but if not I’d like you and your gun handy.” Rand’s heart jumped. If they killed Marian. Look at this flyer. From Chelsea’s expression. and you haven’t even got the damn drugs yet. smelly body. she closed her eyes. She probably forgot the time arranging what she bought. he crossed the street and went to the sheriff’s office. He pulled Marian tight against his thin. He handed Rand a rifle and a set of handcuffs. We’ll be prepared just in case they’re in your office with Marian.” Wildly.” When he shot the gun. Her right ear rang from the sound of the shot. You’ve been taking us on a wild-goose chase.
then he shifted his position and shot.“Damn woman fainted when I pretended to shoot her. The sheriff shot the other robber’s gun out of his hand. but right this minute he wanted to shoot the men standing over her.” “Handcuff that guy lying on the floor.” He stepped lightly down the hall.” Tears filled her eyes. Rand whispered. He’d been taught to preserve life. Rand saw Marian lying on the floor.” Rand jumped up and put his handcuffs on the other thief. . Rand ran to Marian’s side and pulled her into his arms. Marian threw her legs up and kicked.” Sheriff Brady said. His gun flew across the room. When I woke I wasn’t certain if he’d wounded me or not.” **** Rand and the sheriff ran when they heard the shots. They heard the men talking in the back and pounding on the locked cabinet. He sprawled on the floor. I know which room they’re in. I’ve got this one. When he got to the door of the equipment room. “The skinny one scared me. You’d fit right in with the other women in this town. Rand’s heart stopped then beat so hard he thought it would come right out of his chest.” Sheriff Grady said. Marian stood. “I thought you were dead or badly wounded. They said they killed someone at their last robbery. little lady. “Let me lead the way. They’re real spunky. I briefly fainted.” His hands ran across her body. It took me a second to realize he’d moved the gun farther away at the last moment. and the sheriff was right behind him. “You two can talk later. “Drop your guns and come out. he stopped. Sheriff Grady pushed past him and went in the front door first. He pictured Marian in a pool of blood. Fury shook him. He had the gun at my throat.” “Sorry. “I was afraid they’d do the same to me. dying. We have you surrounded.” The bulky robber whirled and raised his gun. Sheriff Grady yelled around the door. “I pretended to be unconscious. “You’re not hurt?” “Not except for some ringing in my right ear.” “You did great. She said she didn’t know the numbers to the lock.
” Rand nodded toward the drugstore. Since you weren’t hurt. I’ll stay with Chelsea. All the people had come out of the buildings on hearing the guns. Chelsea saw her and came running. She hailed me down. Sheriff. and she really did feel bad. She’ll take care of me. “You are my other hero. killed you. to feel her heart beating against his.” “Help me walk these two over to the jail.” “Have all the fun you want.” “A reaction to all of this. then he’d get the glory.” Marian said to Chelsea. My two deputies are on patrol. The sound of the bullets still echoed in his head. He was sure they’d come to his town. “I can’t wait to tell Jack. She was tired and needed to lie down. I’d already decided to go down fighting. worse.” Chelsea said. “But as soon as I’m finished here I’ll come check on you. His feet wouldn’t move fast enough. please. That gave him two hours to visit with Marian. **** Rand rushed through his calls.” The sheriff grinned. Miss Gaenor.Rand hugged her.” He hugged her tighter.” Rand said. After calling Dr. the ringing in her ear had almost stopped. “Can we go home? I feel weak and sick. he had to hold her body close. Finally. I was sure they’d wounded or. He’d go there from here. that I got the outlaws. A feeling of loss had smothered him. “I didn’t know if anyone would arrive in time. You and Rand saved my life. “She went to the cabin about an hour ago. The ranch wasn’t far. But I hoped Chelsea would get worried and send help. they had decided to meet at the office at seven. You have calls to make. He stopped at Chelsea’s house first. I don’t suppose you’ll mind me ragging him a little. Visit? Hell. he waved good-bye to his last patient. He had to see Marian and check her before he’d be completely convinced she was all right.” “She did.” She didn’t want to sound too eager.” “May I come after my calls?” “All right. “When I heard the shots. Neels and Andy. and I got the sheriff.” “No. It’s not necessary. On the plus side. the sheriff in Wagon Wheel. .
he checked for soreness and bruises. she sighed. Starting at her feet.” Rand jumped in his truck and drove the short distance. and his mouth trailed a line of kisses up to her lower lips. “I must be thorough. Rand stepped in. Maybe she left a window open and he could climb through.” He’d seen the teasing light in her eyes.” “And kissing’s part of the checkup? “Only for you.” When his hands cupped her breasts.” He scooped her into his arms and headed to the bedroom. He bent and licked the pink. Just tired.” . thin cotton nightgown. “Is this how you check all your patients?” “Heavens no. She wore a short.” Rand laid her gently on the bed. “You’re hurting my ribs. “You have beautiful breasts. locked the door. rounded nipples. Touching her soft skin had his dick hard as a rock. No answer. He knocked. “You’re special. He heard a sound of annoyance.“I’ll go check on her. Marian stood in the entranceway. He went around that area and stopped to check her abdomen.” “Sorry.” He loosened his grip just a bit. “I thought it was you. Anyone else would have left after the first knock. In a few minutes.” She gave him a sleepy-eyed frown. He pulled the thin nightgown over her head. The front door was locked. Her golden hair was tousled. The bedroom was at the back left corner. “I’m coming.” His hands caressed her legs. “I’m going to take off that gown and check your whole body. “I’ve been crazy wanting to get here and see you again. floral fragrance. and pulled her into his arms.” “Don’t be silly. He took a deep breath of her sweet. He pounded on the door. But he might get shot after what she went through today.” a grumpy voice called out. darlin’. and a little bruised and sore from falling to the floor. After that he stripped his clothes off. I needed to reassure myself you were really all right. I’m fine.
” He started to rub straight down.” Her sultry voice made his heart race.” “Turn over.“I’ve heard that before. feeling her neck. She clamped her inner muscles around them. He touched it gingerly. “Headache?” “A little. I want to make love to you. My weight won’t press down on you so hard. This might be the best position. His hands moved her head around. but I haven’t eaten much today. He straddled her body. My decision might be for my own benefit.” .” He moved away so she could do as he asked. I’ll be sure I get my benefit out of it.” Rand put his arm under her waist.” “I’ll avoid that area.” She moaned with pleasure as he massaged the rest of her backside.” “I’ll give you a back rub. and he slipped his fingers between her folds and into her tight. “As you might have noticed. “That hurts a little. “You’re good for me. “Any pains in this area?” “No. she smiled. His hands kneaded her sweet ass. too. “From you. darlin’. wet pussy. darlin’. He suspected he didn’t want to hear what she’d been about to say.” His frown switched to laughter. Do you feel up to it?” “You’re the doctor. Rand ran his fingers through her hair and felt for any bumps. He stopped. You lightened me up. seeing a bruise on the right side of her back. not much. “Get on your knees. “Don’t worry. “I’m under the influence of a sexy female.” She started to say something but didn’t.” When he frowned. Tell me if anyplace hurts. You tell me.” Her soft laugh warmed him all the way through.
“I have a meeting at seven with Dr. Her inner muscles grabbed tightly around him.Her ass came up and against his hungry dick.” Her ass pressed harder against his cock. “Shall I cook some bacon and eggs for dinner?” Marian asked.” With his other arm he pulled her close. Pleasure shot up his spine and to every cell in his body. rest. Still. She was pretty sure what he’d been thinking. Tonight she couldn’t watch his lights disappear for the last time. He thrust his fingers in and out and pinched her nipple. “Until tomorrow night. When the ripples began to flow over his cock and her muscles squeezed the hardest. Rand slid two fingers into her pussy opening and rubbed across the most sensitive spot. He wanted to enter her right them. I’ll call. It barely registered in his brain to roll to the side so he didn’t hurt her with his weight. Rand glanced at his watch.” She locked the door and leaned against the wood. Her buttocks moved hard against him. his fingers rubbed across her pebbled nipple. He held her close and rubbed her silky bottom. He kissed her lips. After all that had . darlin’. What was he going to do? She’d be leaving soon. “Deep thoughts?” He grinned. “I hate to rush off. I’d better shower and go. Her breathing had quickened. Trying to ignore the demands of his dick.” “Thanks. “Just trying to get my breath. Neels and Andy at the office.” Marian had raised up and stared at his face. Every time was better. taking him deeper. His cock pulsed. She met his back-and-forth motion. she’d admitted she and Dad had been lucky it worked out. he separated her folds and put pressure against her nub. and he suspected she knew it. I’ll see you in the evening. her body stiffened and she shouted his name. Don’t worry about coming in tomorrow.” He got up and took his clothes into the bathroom. With his other hand. Their time together was too short to make permanent decisions. “That feels so good. He let himself go and surged forward. Reaching forward. and his balls ached for completion.” He kissed her. He positioned his cock and slid inside her warmth. “You can take this with you. The coffee was perking when he came out. **** Marian went to the closet and put on a warm robe. “You’re very quiet. but he slowed himself. She tied the belt snug and went into the kitchen. And yet he remembered his mother’s words.” he lied. She poured coffee into a to-go cup for him.
Then she’d go home. We women always want to make it more.happened. Tomorrow. Her neardeath experience had changed Marian’s outlook and had shaken her world. She took another bite of ice cream. slightly easing the tension. But she had to blink her eyes to keep the tears back. The chocolate melting temporarily raised her spirits. It was time for her to take firm control of her future and not wait for someone else to do it for her. His gentle. Marian put the eggs and bacon she planned to cook back in the refrigerator. She put a large spoonful of the ice cream in her mouth. whether it had been three weeks or three years. . she settled on the sofa. This time had been the best yet. Chapter Eleven “You are certain this is what you want to do?” Chelsea asked for the umpteenth time. With all her goodies in hand. She loved him. The sweet. There was a pint of chocolate ice cream in the freezer and her favorite Fig Newton cookies in the cupboard. She’d known although he’d been caught up in the lovemaking he still wasn’t sure about his feelings or didn’t want to admit them. But she couldn’t stay around waiting to see if or when he’d choose her. She seldom allowed herself to splurge. In her heart. she knew he was the one for her. she’d sensed his deep thoughts. She wanted to have her mother’s arms around her. Maybe to him it was just good sex. Chelsea had agreed to drive her to the airport. cold chocolate slid down her throat. she’d fly to New York and give her notice. It had woken her up. He continued to pull away after making love. “And you’re not even going to let him know?” Marian took her eyes off the passing scenery. to sleep in her old bed. But afterward. He resisted sharing his thoughts. She’d almost died this afternoon. making love to him and knowing his struggle. At home she’d think about what changes to make in her life. was too difficult. slow seduction had her whole body responding hungrily to his touch and to his gentle invasion. but tonight was the exception. Seeing him every day. The quick development of their relationship worried Rand. to be comforted by her family. he still couldn’t admit she was special to him. Marian didn’t want to bounce back and forth like a Ping-Pong ball between him wanting her for a lover and then not.
The day flew by.” Chelsea pulled into a parking space. Neither is wrong.“We’ve gone over this. she wandered through the terminal. He just ended his engagement. After checking her bags. telling him to leave a message. There was a long hour before her flight. She must be at Chelsea’s or out riding. That was strange. But he’s too uncertain of his feelings. He’d try her again. He was calling as promised. I can’t wait to meet them. too. Rand closed his cell and went to call his next patient. “Hi. I want permanence. The one has wheels. Marian hoped she’d made the right decision. If he loved her. he has a new job. At a small eatery. He wants his freedom and to have fun. she turned off her cell and entered the plane. if both the people involved want the same thing. With a heavy heart. She found a shop selling papers and books and bought a paper to read on the plane. “You promise?” “I do. The same recording. She waved as she headed inside the terminal. Before driving off from his last visit. Don’t get out. You cut your visit short. She’d made reservations by phone. I can take care of my bags. As they called her flight number her cell rang.” “You know I’ll come when the babies are born. **** A recording answered. he realized he hadn’t called Marian back. She got half of it down past the lump in her throat. It was Rand. to leave a number or message. and the other isn’t that heavy. I don’t blame him. and he had three home visits to make. At five. she tried to eat a sandwich. If he found someone else. Rand called Chelsea. later. he’ll convince me to stay. and I have an idea you won’t be back for a long time. Is she with you?” .” Marian gave Chelsea a hug and got her suitcases from the trunk. he got in his car and dialed her number. Patients kept him busy. If I tell him. I’ve tried to reach Marian twice today. You’ll need help then. It was too late to question herself now. But it wasn’t the promise she needed. she and Rand weren’t to be. he’d still be around when she came back. “We met at the wrong time.” “I’m going to miss you. there’s a lot on his mind.
he zipped up his jacket. His truck ran smoothly over the paved road onto his property. His mind tricked him. don’t come to any conclusions until you talk with her. it wouldn’t hurt any more.” “Leaving what on you?” Rand’s throat tightened. For a second he smelled her. “Marian left this morning for New York.” “Did her boss call her back?” “No. And when what he was looking for came right to his door. and her soft body seemed to brush against his hand. The memory of their night together in the sleeping bag haunted him. “If she did. No “on call” tonight. I think she’ll be calling you later to explain. Had he made the worst decision of his life? Obviously.” “Rand. “Didn’t she leave you a message?” Rand chuckled. Well. He took his six-pack and headed toward the stream and the trees.” “I hate her for leaving this on me. Cold and lonely. he wasn’t very good at relationships. I wouldn’t have to call you. He clasped his head in his hands. It was just for fun. He was cold. Andy spotted him and strolled in his direction. But I’m angry at her. He grabbed the blanket he’d hoped to use tonight when he made love to Marian in the moonlight. He was pretty sure he didn’t want to hear her answer.There was a long hesitation. with no one to warm him. After the third beer.” “I think her silence says it all. . A car turned down the road toward him. He’d stayed engaged for three years to a woman he didn’t love because it was comfortable. He recognized Andy’s vehicle. he ran for fear of losing his independence. She cut her visit short. He bought a six-pack of beer. He started the car and stopped at the convenience store on a road headed to his new property.” If someone had hit him in the chest with a board. He’d get over her.” “I see. She’d left without a word. He’d kept telling her that until she believed him. not really.
I might punch you. Andy shut off the engine and turned to Rand. concise writing. She just got on the plane and flew off. I didn’t have the strength to hear your voice and have you try to change my mind. . The drive back was quiet. straight to his bedroom. but my determination was weak. You were right. He sat half the night waiting for the call that didn’t come. “I had to find my best buddy. Not anymore. with all the trimmings. “Don’t.” “Forget it. “I promise not to advise you ever again. I keep it light. Three days later. Nothing’s wrong with that. I’m sorry about not calling. playing the field is fun. her letter arrived. Her scent wafted on the breeze to his nose. talked about the porches on three sides. I made a big mistake. I’m going to change my life. I want a home and family. She hadn’t put a return address on the envelope. I think it’d make me feel better.” He sat on the ground facing Rand. I’m not sure what yet.“Can I have one of those beers?” “You came a long way for a drink. Rand joined him and pointed out the boundaries where the cabin would be situated and face the stream. He ripped it open. He walked slowly up the stairs.” Rand handed him the beer. You’re ready to be free and play. We are at different places in our lives. I wish you happiness and success in your career. I’m itching to hit something. Rand had finished seeing his morning patients and stopped at his mailbox before going to his apartment for lunch. Then Andy locked Rand’s up. No message. do something totally different.” Andy stood. and then stared silently at the dark night. We’ll get your car tomorrow.” Rand let Andy lead him to his car. Might as well get it over and done.” Andy started to speak. Rand recognized her neat. And if I’ve made you lose someone important. Dear Rand.” “All right. but I couldn’t be the playmate. Show me around this place and tell me where the cabin is going. You can’t. I hope you will read this and not tear it up. feel free to punch me. “I’ll drive you back. For me. It hurt too much. When they stopped outside the apartment.” Rand got out and went upstairs. “Want to talk?” “Marian left.
I don’t come cheap. He heard Graham stirring and then saw him sauntering toward the front door. Marian had been gone six weeks. Andy had gone out on call. The contractor said they’d be done in a week. But it took a lot of encouragement from his brothers to get Graham to join them. This time he’d be ready for Marian. The comment was so like his brother. “I thought you might like to get out of here. He’d been the loner from the day he was born. he’d visit his brother Graham. On the way. I bought some property recently. His face muscles felt stiff. Chelsea’s babies were due in about five months. He’d know his answers. but time still went by slowly. Graham had built his home toward the back of his land.” Rand laughed.Marian She’d been braver than him. He’d ride to his property and look at his cabin. I guess I need to eat. he’d add on. As Graham had said. and he was usually on the winning side. If he needed more. Rand had the weekend off but wished he was working. He hadn’t smiled or laughed much since Marian had left. building projects. We’re going to Millie’s place. it was all he needed. Want to ride along?” “Are you buying breakfast?” “Is that the price of your company?” “Yep. Rand knocked and waited. **** His weeks were busy. and I’m going to check on the cabin I’m having built. to what do I owe this visit?” Graham grinned and unhooked the screen. Rand wandered around the small apartment. He liked sports. He’d fought back and forth with his feelings. But she’d be back. aren’t we?” . or riding his horse. He’d let the joy she gave him scare him away. They hadn’t had contact since her letter. “Well.” “Let me grab my hat. It was smaller than Dirk’s. He had entertained himself with books. too. “Sure.
“Best place in town. As you said, you don’t come cheap.” Rand heard Graham chuckling as he walked off. He’d often wondered what haunted Graham. Since he’d returned from his overseas travels, he’d become more of a recluse. He wouldn’t talk, not even if you asked him. Graham was a no-comment man unless he was ready. Millie greeted them at the door. “My, my, two of my favorite cowboys done come to see me.” “You say that to all the men,” Rand teased. Millie was short, with a round face surrounded by snow-white hair. Rand didn’t remember it any other color. She was a good cook and always cheerful. Her café did a good business, especially on the weekends. She led them to a back booth and brought two cups of steaming black coffee. “I’ll be back for your order.” Graham sipped his coffee. “What brought you in my direction?” “Couldn’t I just be missing my brother?” “Maybe. But your face looks haggard, and I’ve heard rumors your lady left town in a hurry.” “Damn that gossip line.” “Now I may have to hit you if you’re insinuating I’ve been listening to gossip. Mom’s worried about you.” Millie came back before he could answer. She took their orders and hurried off. “When have you seen Mom?” “She visits every few days or I go by to see her.” “I’m glad you bought the property next to the home place. One of us needed to be close to her. Not that any of us seem to stay gone. We’ve all, except Clay and Grace, come back,” Rand said and grinned. “You surprised me the most,” Graham said. “And you broke off your engagement to a beautiful woman.” “We weren’t suited.” “It took you three years to see that? I could have told you after the first meeting.” “What?”
“I’m a writer. I study people. Always have.” Rand sat back. “Well, I’ll be damned.” “Here you are, boys.” Millie sat hot, steaming plates full of sausages, eggs, grits, biscuits, and another smaller plate of pancakes in front of them. “If that don’t fill you up, you’d better see the doctor.” She walked away laughing at her own joke. “She makes this place. When she’s gone it won’t be the same,” Rand said. He faced Graham across the table. “Tell me how you knew.” “Eat. My food is hot. The way I like it.” Graham poured a layer of syrup on his pancakes and, ignoring Rand, started eating. It didn’t take long to polish off the food and several cups of coffee. Graham took the bill. “My treat,” he said. “You pulled me out of my dark hole and drove me here.” “What dark hole?” Rand asked as they walked to the car. “I’m stumped with my story. And I needed the company.” Graham opened the car door and got in. When Rand got inside, he stared at Graham and glanced around them. “What are you looking at?” Graham asked. “I thought the world must be coming to an end for my brother to admit he needed company.” “Very funny. Shut up and drive.” More relaxed than he’d been in weeks, Rand headed out of town. “Mom had told me you’d bought some property,” Graham admitted. “She did? Were you surprised?” “Nope.” Rand shook his head. He might as well enjoy the drive. Graham was back to his usual short, tothe-point answers. They walked around Rand’s land and inspected the cabin. “It’s small, but it will suffice, for now.” He showed Graham where the bigger house would be built in the summer. “This cabin will be a great place for visitors.”
“You expecting a rush of people to visit?” “Maybe, sometime in the future.” “I like the cabin and the land. When are you getting married?” “What? I’m not settling down yet.” Or at least not until I talk with Marian. She haunts my dreams and my daylight hours. “Word has it you aren’t dating at all.” “Mom or the gossip line?” Graham grinned. “The gossip line this time.” They both hooted with laughter. Rand took a deep breath. “I needed that.” “Glad to be of service. Take me home. I think I’m ready to write. And if I were a gambler, I’d bet you’ll be leaving town soon to see your lady.” “But I haven’t known her very long,” Rand said, reminding himself again of the short time he’d known Marian. “Damn, man. You were always so serious, checking everything. It’s good for a doctor but not necessarily for deciding your life. I’d bet it took you over a year of dating to propose the first time.” “It did.” Graham opened the car door. “Do what you want. I’m not your psychiatrist.” The old Graham had returned. Rand got in and started the car. Back on the highway, he glanced at Graham. “You never talk about the job you had when the family all thought you were just exploring Europe.” Graham jerked his head around and frowned at Rand. “How’d you know?” “A good guess.” “I leave the past in the past.” “And that’s all you’re going to say.” Rand turned into the drive to Graham’s place. “Who’s the woman standing by that blue sedan?”
She took another week to pack up and move her and her stuff home to North Carolina. She didn’t expect to hear from him.” She’d dressed to go to the store for Mom.” Marian hesitated. Rand hadn’t responded to her letter. She knew her oldest brother had a soft spot in his heart for all his siblings.Graham didn’t answer at first. and the outfit she had on was fine for Mike’s office. If he even read it. Her mom called out. Mike has an offer. grabbed her legs. She puttered around the house. Thanks for breakfast. willowy brunette dressed in a rosecolored suit. Her nieces and nephews ran to her. Her father kissed her cheek and said he’d missed her. worked in the flower gardens. Neither asked questions. . “See you. Mom welcomed her with open arms.” When Rand stopped. “Hi. Graham got out. Marian.” “I’ll be there in thirty minutes. Can you fill in for the day or until she returns? I’d appreciate it. “The phone’s for you. Which was a relief. He was staring at the tall. “You’re sure you didn’t just give her the day off?” “No way. What’s up?” “My receptionist is sick. helped her mother paint a bedroom. In his rearview mirror. But deep inside.” Puzzled. Chapter Twelve Marian had given her two-week notice at work. She suspected he was making a place for her. especially his two sisters.” Rand knew that was his cue to leave. Marian picked up the extension. It was good to be cuddled inside the loving arms of her family. “She’s part of the past. Mike. a tiny flame of hope refused to go out. and visited all her siblings. She didn’t think she could talk about Rand without crying. he saw the woman smile and step toward Graham. and begged for games.
The receptionist had to have emergency surgery but was expected back in another week. she stiffened her shoulders. “He mentioned wanting to find a job for you in someone’s office. is that you? You have company. and then winter would have fully arrived.” “You know he wouldn’t lie about one of his staff.” “He says his receptionist is sick. “How did you get here?” “I flew. No.“You knew he was going to call.” “Mike? You’ve got to be kidding. At least part of the day. **** Seven weeks and counting. Ignoring them. She’d see him when Chelsea’s babies were born. “Hello. memories of Rand swamped her.” Her mom handed her car keys to Marian. Don’t be so suspicious. “Marian. Sis. and me combined. Marian. Thanksgiving was next week.” Marian’s heart lurched. smiled at the patients. don’t get excited.” Rand’s husky voice poured warmth into her cold body.” “Go. Marian thought as she left her brother’s office. Her temporary job had lasted longer than she’d expected. But a tall man stepped through the doorway of the living room. She went in the back door of her parents’ house. You told him how much you’d enjoyed helping out while you were on vacation. She’d go freshen up before helping Mom with dinner. He’s more softhearted than you. He wouldn’t come. A cold wind flipped her coat apart at the bottom.” she said to her mother.” His lips curled up in that lopsided smile. and soon was immersed in the busy cardiology office. When Marian walked into the medical office. “Why?” . I’m sure the opportunity just opened up. The job had helped keep her busy and her mind off of Rand. then Christmas. He may be a terrible taskmaster. See how you like it.
I mustn’t get my hopes up. shut the door. “Do we? You just pop in here after two months and say we have to talk?” “Seven weeks. Not that she needed anything. I hunted there a long time ago. She’d wear her creamcolored coat to keep her warm.” He looked straight at Rand. “Follow your heart. She put on her coat and buttoned it up. “He’s the one that sent you flying home looking like you’d lost your best friend or lover. Spiked cream-colored shoes completed the outfit. Both were smiling. This doesn’t mean he’s going to ask me to marry him. or so he said. Just looking into his blue eyes and seeing that smile had her blood running hot. Brodie to join him for a drink in his study. darling. She would not cry. Seven weeks and two days later. “Your dad asked Dr. I’ve been counting. but you can’t take the doctor out of the man. I’m sure they’re talking medicine. Beautiful country.” Her mother studied her. We aren’t that old now.” She practically ran to her room. He’d been counting just like she had. long-sleeved dress that fit snug and short. He was here. Sit.“To take you to dinner.” She swallowed and took a breath. She tried to rouse her anger at him for leaving her all this time without a call or anything. Her mother was alone in the living room when she came out.” “Momma!” Marian knew her face was beet red. Her dad patted Rand on the shoulder. Might as well let him get the full view at dinner. multidraped. Her legs were putty. Her father and Rand strolled in. “I meant it when I said I’d visit to see your operation there in Montana. and leaned against it.” Marian blinked her eyes. Your dad and I were young once.” .” They both looked around when they heard male voices. and her heart pounded. Her heart sank. But I’ll wait.” “You look great to me. and they’d both been counting. Will you go? We have a lot to talk about. “Really. But that’s how I left him initially. Your father may be retired. “I like this young man and what he’s doing.” She smiled at Marian. She looked through her closet and finally chose a pale-yellow. “I have to change clothes.
” He sniffed her hair and tickled her neck with a kiss. “We have champagne and hors d’oeuvres to start. Tenderly. Our dinner reservation isn’t for an hour. Sweet melodies filled the air. you do look great.” Rand took a chocolate-covered strawberry and held it to her lips. She took a sip. a light flurry of snow melted before it hit the ground. “For us?” Marian asked. Reaching behind her. They made me laugh. . Desire stroked her belly and spread to every nerve.” His lips kissed the pulse beating rapidly in her neck. He nibbled at her bottom lip.” His fingers ran around the outline of her mouth. “I’ve missed your scent.” He opened the door. The driver had put on the radio. To you. Rand took her glass and set it and his to the side. Ty said Lily loved their limo ride. he pulled the zipper down and lowered the top of her dress to her waist. “When we got old enough Mom and Dad would let us have a tiny sip of champagne at Christmas. I always loved the bubbles. “Ready?” “Yes. He finished the rest. my love. a limousine waited. giving them privacy. “Guess I’m holding you two up. “I thought I’d do this up right.” Rand told the driver and then pulled the curtain down.” Rand took Marian’s hand. The bubbles tickled her nose.” The tiny flicker of hope flared into a fire in her belly.” Rand popped the cork and poured the sparkling wine into two glasses. Then he closed the side curtains and pulled her close. Marian got in and slid across the seat. “Take us for a ride. By this time her heart was pounding so loudly she thought surely he and the driver could both hear it. He unbuttoned her coat and pushed it off her shoulders. Enjoy your dinner. “And I’ve missed your smile.He glanced at Marian. “A toast. Outside. He handed one to Marian. She took a bite. “Wow.” In the drive. he cupped her breasts.
settle in. and his warm hands caressed each breast. I might never have realized Anna and I didn’t have that type of relationship. and then find a wife.” Rand pulled her dress zipper up and pulled her coat around her. After we eat there’ll be plenty of time to talk and play. boy. “Down. Being with you was so different than anything I’d felt before. and pulled her dress up to cover her shoulders. The restaurant was elegant with red satin wallpaper. He came all this way. I’d planned to take my time getting used to the job. there I go pushing him to prove to me he means it this time. and I touched your hand and got zapped.” . like an electrical charge to the heart. crystal chandeliers. He leaned close. fastened her bra. I don’t want to go through what I have these past weeks. She held his head fast to her chest. “Not so good. I intend to order the most expensive item on the menu and take my time eating it.” Marian put her hand on his chest.“I love these front openings on your bras. That dress hugs every delectable curve. build a house. “Just touching you still gives me a zap.” The words slipped out of Marian’s mouth. I’m a great planner.” “Don’t stop now. At least not until it was too late. His hands held her lapels together. “You look incredible. I knew I’d never make it through dinner without tasting and touching you. “I’m rushing again. It got me into a long-term engagement with another planner. but I’m afraid to believe him. Raising his head. he said. long legs. After I saw you. His teeth rubbed across her pebbled nipples. “We’ll be getting to the restaurant soon. Rand removed her coat and handed it to a waiter.” “Sheer torture. If I hadn’t seen how ecstatic Dirk and Chelsea were at their wedding.” “How does that work for you?” Rand shrugged. soft. and those sexy shoes highlight your smooth.” In a minute he’d opened the bra.” Darn. But then I also saw you that day.” “I can’t. and a three-man band playing easy-listening music. She shivered. One touch or taste is never enough. “I guess I’m afraid that tomorrow you’ll change your mind like you did several times in the past. He must. You scared me.” “Yet it took you seven weeks to get here.” He kissed the tip of her nose as the limousine slowed to park. “I was wrong.
He started to ask a question but instead shook his head and walked off. She looked at the face of the man she loved. Marian giggled. Your wish is my command. “I ought to make you suffer more first. His tall. I can’t wait. and baked potato. Yes. “This is the Rand you have created. “Hell. He made her move so he could sit close beside her. medium rare. dark-blue suit. he slid out of his seat. well-built body wasn’t hidden by the silk.” “Don’t blame it on me. I love you. All eyes were on them.” Suddenly. And the feline grace in his walk was enough to make a woman moan.” Rand took the hand she’d been waving around.“You deserve every bit. but I can’t.” “Money is no object. Every woman they’d walked by had stared. “The lady will have the most expensive item you have listed. I might not like it. took a small box out of his jacket. Please put me out of my misery. The maitre d’ looked surprised. have my children? I’m madly in love with you. and then the other diners clapped and cheered. Tears filled her eyes. madam. He kissed the top of her fingers. A deep sigh went around the room. .” She threw her arms around his neck.” She didn’t tell him how sexy he looked. and went down on one knee. The room went quiet. love me. It was as though the whole room held its breath.” Rand handed the menus back.” “All right. Rand slid the diamond ring on her finger. When he kissed her. It might cost over a hundred dollars. I’ll marry you. He let go of her lapels and motioned for her to sit. Who are you? You are not Rand Brodie. “I can’t believe you did that. The maitre d’ brought them a menu covered in red satin and thick enough to be a small book.” The band had quit playing. “Will you marry me. she hugged him tighter.” But she couldn’t stop beaming from ear to ear. I’ll take a steak.
“I’m the doctor. In the small kitchen on the other side of the suite. She’d said yes.” Rand helped her undress and covered her with the blanket. “Maybe I’d better warn you.” Her soft snore brought a smile to his face. That was all that mattered.” She slammed the door in Rand’s face and locked it. His hard cock jerked in response.” Rand and Marian waved their thanks as the cork popped out of the bottle. “No playing tonight. The lady has retired for the evening. I’ve got the top suite at the hotel. Marian was curled on her side. smelling her sweetness and touching her soft skin. I found a packaged toothbrush and toothpaste in the bathroom. . When he came back. but he’d make up for it. Marian had lobster and steak with a special sauce. “Try this.” “I don’t guess I’ll get to see that wild woman tonight. He lay against her backside.” “Just as well. asleep. “The couple across from you has sent a bottle of champagne to offer you congratulations. he found tea and crackers. Marian wandered into the kitchen. “Stay out.” He heard mumbling. “I get a little wild when I drink too much of this sparkling wine. He planned for it to take him the rest of his life. “How about a few crackers?” “Just the tea will do. No one will hear you chase me around the room.” “Wonderful. buddy.” the maitre d’ said.” “None. At least my mouth tastes better. He’d noticed she’d lost weight. Then he went to the bathroom to brush his teeth. He had hurt her. She’s gone. Let me in. We need to cuddle and talk.” **** When they arrived at the suite.” He handed her the cup. He poured her a cup of tea.“Sir. All the rich food and drink had not agreed with her stomach. The meal had been delicious. she ran into the bathroom.” Marian whispered. She ate every bit and the chocolate cake with rum sauce. He undressed and got in beside her.
“That’s a good start. He pulled her hair to the side and kissed her neck. he spread her legs wide. Her breathing became more rapid. and then he kissed her abdomen.” Rand took his time tasting each breast. It felt like he’d just gone to sleep when Marian stirred.Tomorrow. I won’t let you change your mind. And”—she looked at her ring finger—“I’m wearing a diamond ring. His tongue ran over and around her nipples. “Oh yes. and her hips moved restlessly. He wanted it soon. “Good morning. A bed and some chairs. As he suckled her nub. Rand removed his fingers and flicked his tongue inside her opening again. His mouth covered her clit. After all his doubts. sensual scent hiked his desire to another level. that feels so good. they’d work out all the plans and the wedding. When he slid farther down. he moved his fingers in and out. there really is a handsome cowboy in bed with me.” He tasted her sweet honey from her clit to the opening of her pussy. “No. His tongue flicked inside. But Rand saw daylight peeking between the slit in the curtains.” “You said yes. Randolph Brodie.” “Hmmm. he couldn’t wait for her to be Mrs. He put two fingers into her pussy opening.” Marian twisted around onto her backside. . Marian called out for him to go inside her. With his fingers. “What a nice way to wake up. In fact.” Rand moved closer against her buttocks and cupped her soft breast in his hand. he didn’t want to return to Montana without her. he separated the folds that hid her jewel.” “You mean like this?” He bent his head and kissed her breast closest to him while he rubbed the other peak between his fingers. maybe you’d better remind me why I said yes. Her sweet. I was afraid last night might have been a dream. Chelsea had helped him choose a few pieces of furniture for his cabin. His tongue licked across her nub. He and Marian would pick the rest.
Then he went in and out rapidly a few more times until his orgasm hit him hard and vibrated through his whole body. a wife.” “Where and when?” “I’d like a place outdoors with both our big families all there and our friends. She lay half across him with her chin balanced on her hand. but he held back until he heard her cry of fulfillment. Chairs could be set up for the guests. Leaning forward. his dick pulsed against her inner walls. Inside her.Quickly positioning his cock. She clamped tighter around his hard dick. he nipped at her sensitive nipples. “Do you have any suggestions?” “Here or in Montana?” “I’d like my family to see where we’ll live. His hard cock throbbed for release. Leaning over her. His eyes connected with hers as he pounded in and out until they were both glistening with perspiration and shivering from the reaction to their connection. he kissed her sweet mouth. He saw Marian’s eyes glaze over and her body stiffen.” Marian said. Slowly he withdrew then thrust back in. He rolled to the side but kept her close. the whole works. Do you think your mother would mind if we had the wedding at the gazebo? It’s a beautiful setting. We’ll start building the bigger house in the spring. hot pussy.” “What about children?” “I’m ready when you are. Marian grabbed his buttocks and pulled him deeper.” . “I want to wake up to you every morning for the rest of my life. That’s a project I’ll definitely enjoy working on. Once more Rand pulled back and pushed in deep. he plunged inside and sank deep within her tight.” “Then let’s get married. Can we plan our wedding for very soon? I want to take you home to our cabin. children. a home. I’ve had plenty of time to think about what you wrote and how I almost lost the best thing that ever happened to me. They lay together rasping for breath. he pulled the cover back over them. “I want it all just like you do.” “You got it finished?” “I drove the workers crazy going by every day and urging them on. When their bodies cooled.” He brushed her hair off her forehead and rubbed the silky strands between his fingers.
“Let’s get dressed.” she said.” She put her arms around his neck. A sharp bolt of desire shot straight up his spine. We have a lot to do. Dad’s sort of old fashioned. She turned back. I’m sure she’d help with that.“Mom would love to be in the middle of it all. “Happy?” he asked. “Know what?” “I asked your father for your hand in marriage. But they’ll be pleased. Her soft breasts rubbed against his hard chest.” Marian had started to get off the bed.” “Same here. His mouth plundered hers as the warm water cascaded across their bodies. I’d better call.” “We haven’t told them about our engagement yet.” she purred in his ear. It was a long seven weeks.” . “I’m still hungry for you. scooped her up in his arms. He stepped to the side and held her against the tile wall as his cock slid deep inside. and my sister is great at decorating.” “I’m sure you’ve won Mom and Dad’s heart with that gesture. They might be worried. They know. “Deliriously. He said he’d be glad to have another doctor in the family.” “Let’s shower and check the plans out with your parents.” “They won’t be.” Marian wiggled her hips and laughed. “Our plans and seeing your parents can wait a few more minutes. Rand ran to her. and joined her in the shower. “Because I love you so very much.” “Good.” “Our families can mingle and get to know each other. darlin’. He began to move in and out while watching the glow in her sherry eyes. She kissed his neck and bit the edge of his shoulder.” She headed for the shower. Her pussy clamped around him. “I’m never going to get enough of you. and he pulled her legs up and around his hips.” He adjusted the water to warm.
She thought she might even forgive Andy and come to like him. It was her wedding day. darlin’. “You might be called to testify about how they mentioned murdering someone.” Rand said. She put her arms around him and kissed his chest. His hands clamped her sweet ass tight.” But he wasn’t so sure right now. But these things take time. or we won’t make it to your parents’ today. Her mother. “We need to get our wedding planned and soon.” He kissed her mouth and then the ring shining on her finger. She’d been relieved to know she didn’t have to worry about dealing with that unpleasantness with all the rest she was juggling. I want to go home to your cabin. “We’d better finish this shower and dress. and she flew to Montana a week later. Her soft giggle warmed him through and through. “Our cabin. She had returned to her job at the doctor’s office.Marian moved her hips and took him in deeper. Rand had had to return to work the Monday after he proposed. Everyone had seemed pleased to see her back. Sheriff Grady had notified her that the robbers were being sent to South Dakota to be tried for the murder they’d committed. It won’t be soon. His legs felt shaky. When her body trembled. not with me holding you.” His hands cupped her face. father. . Marian took up residence in Chelsea and Dirk’s cabin. The past month had been hectic. She snuggled back under the covers for a few more minutes. He gulped for air and heard her yell his name as unbridled joy ripped through him. She stepped back. he pushed in harder. He slowly let her legs down.” “Never. Her parents stayed with Mrs. He quickened his movements. She leaned into him.” he’d told her. “Don’t let go. I might fall. Her pussy walls clenched and unclenched around his cock. Brodie. Chapter Thirteen Marian woke early to a gentle rain blowing against her window.
” “Good to hear. “Good morning.” Marian still pinched herself occasionally. I’m due at eleven to marry a handsome cowboy doctor. Marian went to the window. Brodie became instant friends. “I’ll be right there. I love you.” Marian pulled on her fluffy robe and tightened the belt. She and Rand had talked. Raindrops glistened like diamonds on the leaves of the trees as the sun came out bright and clear. Rand’s sister.” “I’m glad Dan and Mary could get here. I still wanted to hear your voice. Brodie will have them picked up and driven to her home for the wedding and reception. She was getting all her wishes. She smiled. Just you and me in our cabin with a fire and a glass of champagne. “The last of the family arrived late last night. This time I want to see that wild woman you tempted me with and not have her sick and going to sleep on me. loving man. I love you. Her mom was beaming. Mrs. She’ll be waiting at the cabin. and furnishing the new cabin. seeing Rand’s name. Nothing will keep me from that date. had made several trips home to help with the planning.” . Heaven.” “Don’t worry. are you awake?” her mother’s voice called from the living room. “Hello. too. a good. They’re all staying at the little inn near the edge of town.” “I know the groom can’t see his bride before the wedding. especially the decorations. Grace. Her cell rang. and she had stopped her birth control pills yesterday. It would be dry and beautiful by eleven. a home. but I’m going to hang up. It takes a lady a long time to prepare herself for her wedding. Are you all right? You haven’t gotten cold feet and changed your mind?” “No. and hopefully before much longer a child.” “We’ve discussed this. You’re sure you don’t mind only having a three-day honeymoon? I’ll make it up to you later when I can get a week off. their jobs.” “But not too much sparkling wine.” “See you soon. Her mother and Mrs. they’d managed to arrange a wedding. The rain had stopped. It was hard to believe her life had changed so much in a little over three months.In between the families getting acquainted.
We’ll be living in the same area.” “Everyone has been wonderful about helping us get our wedding planned in a short period of time.” “For my something blue I borrowed Chelsea’s blue garter. “It’s great having everyone’s approval. some toast and coffee. with long sleeves and a high neckline. “I have a surprise for you. and a wide area at the hem.” She slid it up her leg. Rand had given them to her mother to present them to Marian just before the wedding.” Marian ran her fingers across the smooth pearls.” “Just a little. “I can’t eat. Dirk went to the airport to meet them around eleven thirty last night. but you know him. this wouldn’t be happening. She wore a lovely flowing blue gown. Rand is a good man.” . How neat is that?” “If you hadn’t kept encouraging me. It was one of his first patients. We can’t have the bride fainting. the ends of the sleeves. “They’re beautiful. “I’m ready. “We’re very happy for you. He wasn’t on call. The fabric fit snug and flared at the bottom. Jane and I have found we have lots of common interests.” **** Her wedding gown was a creamy-white light wool. Marian.” “You’re marrying into a fine family. pinkish-colored sequins and cream lace edged the neck.” “I’ll fix your breakfast while you shower.” Dirk drove Marian’s mother. I saved the bracelet for you. Our children will grow up together and be cousins. Chelsea hugged her the best she could around her large belly. too.” her mother said and winked.“He had an emergency just before he left. This can be your something old. besides being very handsome.” Her mother fastened a gold bracelet that had been Marian’s grandmother’s around her wrist. Tiny. He stayed until the man was stabilized. For jewelry she wore a long pearl necklace with a diamond clasp and matching earrings. “Your sister got the earrings. and Chelsea to his mother’s house. “I’m so happy. go get ready.” Marian kissed her mom’s cheek. She’s coming to North Carolina for a visit in the spring. Shoo.” her mother said. He dropped them off at the back door so they could slip in without being seen by Rand.
Rand’s expression told her he was thinking of the same time. Rand tightened his grip on her hands and smiled at her. bent her backward.” They hurried toward the crowd sitting around the flower-covered gazebo. we both love Rand.“I don’t believe that. “I now pronounce you man and wife.” Rand swept her into his arms. “Two beautiful. “There’s the music. The flare of electricity that sparked at their touch brought back their first meeting. he smiled and took her hand. When it was her turn. it’s time. “We’re going to be good friends. She’d told him she wanted to be sure all those single women knew he was taken. She said her words and slid his on.” She ushered them to the front door.” She grinned. Brodie and Marian’s mother hugged her. Rand’s eyes were on her the whole way. when the distance seemed right. when the music starts.” Marian watched Chelsea. It just might have taken longer. her voice trembled slightly. She had difficulty believing her dream had come true and this handsome man was really in love with her. “Ladies. and gave her a big kiss. He’d responded by reminding her that the gossip line would see that the information got around. She hugged him. Then. After the wedding. you’ll follow the white satin runway to the gazebo. Rand spoke in a firm. Marian will walk a short distance behind you. The two families meshed like they’d known each other for years. Andy congratulated them and apologized again to Marian. Marian was certain everyone could hear him. the reception in the house was full of laughter and people enjoying meeting and talking. The minister started the ceremony. Rand had his eye on you from the start. “Chelsea. Rand slid the wedding ring on her finger then kissed her hand. She took a deep breath and the words came out clearer.” Chelsea said. You may kiss the bride. She saw Rand in a tuxedo with Andy beside him as best man. “Be happy. warm voice. sweet daughters-in-law and soon grandbabies to spoil. After all. When she got to him.” Mrs. She kissed Marian’s cheek. “Good luck. His eyes never left her face. Her mother whispered.” . she started down the runway. He told her he was truly sorry for interfering. It was a bit wider than usual. The guests cheered and clapped.” Mama Brodie beamed.
He lit a match. Brodie. She carefully removed her gown and bra. She moved completely out from behind the door and walked to the fireplace. and said hello to everyone. The cabin was homey and comfortable.” She put her finger across his lips. Before she went back to the great room. Rand carried two glasses of champagne and almost dropped them. “I was just an ass when I wouldn’t accept you sooner.” “Good. “Drink up. wild woman. It took very little time to get to their cabin. When she opened the bedroom door. my father.” He handed her a glass. and they were always touching each other. she put one leg out and peeked. They rushed to the truck. “You were the prettiest bride ever. You glow. their brothers and the two sisters threw the birdseed. She left on the lacy panties and her garter belt and white hose. they glowed. I can’t wait to see you in action. You let me know you’re there. but I do now. and Dirk. and the paper arranged around the logs caught fire. And we’ve had toasts from Andy. “When I saw Dirk and Chelsea at their wedding. Now where’s that champagne? You open it. I’ll be right back. this picture of you will still be burned on my brain. I didn’t have that. The flames flared bright. What a great gift. and you’re always reaching for my hand or touching my arm.” . they moved toward the back door of the house. I put us both through unnecessary anguish. Her sheer white nightgown slid down her body. I have my truck parked in the back. “You didn’t really think you’d escape us.” Marian admired the bedroom furniture they’d chosen and the cheerful bedspread and curtains. “On the day I die. “I’m so glad I woke up to what I really wanted.” Casually.” Rand cupped her face and kissed her. Rand carried her over the threshold. Rand lifted her in. she slipped her high heels back on. we’ve cut the cake. did you?” Dirk yelled.Rand pulled her away from the crowd and whispered in her ear.” Then he gave her his lopsided grin. and they took off with cans rattling along behind them. had the pictures taken. “Welcome home. “Nothing but good thoughts from now on. Mrs. “Do you think they’ll miss us if we run away?” “No.” He put her down in front of the large fireplace. But as soon as they came out. We’re married.
Her breath caught when his warm hands cupped her full breasts. The aroma of their desire steamed around them. but he managed to stay out of reach. he massaged her toes and her instep then kissed her ankle and the tender spot behind her knee. he moved into position. she pushed his shirt and jacket off.” He lifted her and laid her on the thick rug by the fire. He did the same to the right leg. Heat flowed like warm honey through her veins.” Rand caught the hem of her gown and pulled it over her head. “You’re overdressed for the occasion. he removed it and her panties. Her body shook with desire as his mouth sucked on her clit. whetting their appetite with deliberate. Then she started on the buttons to his shirt. my love. trying to get him to move deeper and quicker. He kissed her skin as he uncovered her. Rand rolled the hose on her left leg down. “Now to unwrap the rest of you. “To us. Then he explored every spot on her body with his mouth. He took them and his socks off. When they were all undone. **** . But he held back. transporting them both into blissful pleasure. A desperate craving hit her. he put his arms around her and unclasped her garter belt. He kicked off his shoes and undid his slacks. He kindled her desire from a spark to a voracious hunger. He pressed in slowly. his hands. “Much better. In one sweep. sliding glides in and out. Both of them were breathing hard when he pulled back. She raised her hips. His tongue moved inside her mouth and ran along the edge of her teeth before exploring the rest. “My turn. He licked along her lower lips. He kissed her mouth and sucked on her breast. She trembled from his slow seduction. bare chest.” He made the toast. They clinked glasses and drank. long. Although seeing you in that garter belt and hose made my cock rock hard. She stared into his silvery eyes as his fingers raked across her peaked nipples.Marian took a sip of the cool liquid. She moved against him and rubbed her nipples across his hard.” His eyes gleamed with lust. Moisture flowed out of her pussy. Her arms went around his neck. sometimes his teeth. Rand kissed her. Marian raised her hips and clenched tight. At her foot.” She put down the glass and undid his tie. She wanted to touch his cock. Her heartbeat pounded in her chest. Inner contractions in her pussy caressed his pulsing cock. and as Rand slid in one more long stroke. At last.” Spreading her legs wider. “Ambrosia. He handed her glass of champagne to her.
Rand had gone to the barn/garage to get the truck and drive it to the front door. Mom is bound to forget and tell your mother.She fell asleep in his arms. and they were both curious as to her identity.” Marian cautioned. Rand carried her to bed and pulled her back against him. and got into the truck.” She kissed him. “You made me nervous jumping the puddles. “No. Everyone came to the dinner. We’ll wait a while until everyone has settled down and then drop our news. They didn’t have to go far. stepping around puddles. After the big house was built. He spooned into her s ss softness. and the Brodie family finally had another girl. She glanced around the cabin she’d come to love so much. Rand had told Marian about her. “We’ve managed to keep our secret. She waved to stop him. and anyway I’m fine. the better. had resulted in a pregnancy surprised and pleased them both. “Are you feeling all right?” Rand asked. I didn’t jump. Then she hurried out. Shall we share it today?” “I’m not sure I can hold it in much longer. Epilogue Five Months Later Marian pulled on a light jacket over her short-sleeved blue shirt. Everyone was overjoyed they were healthy. and the blowing wind made the air feel cool. Mama Brodie was having a party to celebrate Dirk and Chelsea’s twins being three months old. or sometime soon after. Finding out their sexy honeymoon. .” “You exaggerate. but the doctor said it sometimes happened that way. Now that my parents know. Rand started to get out for her. He was finally really home.” “The sooner.” Marian said. but he still mentioned nothing about the mysterious lady visitor he’d had. this place would still always hold a special place in her heart. “We don’t want to steal the show away from the twins. It had rained earlier.” Rand said and he grinned at her. Marian hadn’t been off her pills long. Graham came. When the fire died down.
and tears sparkled in her eyes. “And she doesn’t even need champagne. “We’re having a baby in about four months. Are you all right?” “I’m fine. “But you don’t look big enough.” “Oh my. “We’ve just found out we’re expecting a girl. Marian?” “I didn’t want any today.” Rand took Marian’s hand. Here’s a toast to all my grandchildren. “Here’s to my wild woman. “Where is your wineglass. Rand kissed her hand. who’d gone to sleep after all the attention. future and present. “Happy?” “I’m giddy with happiness.” Rand added. “I’m tall enough to hide it behind loose slacks and tops. everyone raised their glasses in a toast to the twins.” he whispered in her ear.” All heads turned to Marian.” He raised his glass to her.” Mama Brodie clasped her hands.” her sister-in-law said.” Marian glanced around the room and saw the love in all their eyes. “Another darling granddaughter. Not that we don’t adore our one grandson.” He glanced down at Marian with his lopsided smile that always made her warm and tingly inside. “This seems to be a good time to tell you all our surprise.” She held up her tea glass. She could almost see Mama Brodie’s mind whirling.” “The other big news.” He winked and kissed her. THE END . She glanced down the table. “You haven’t drunk wine at any family gathering since your wedding.When Mama Brodie had them all at the table. And we haven’t been out much. How wonderful.
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