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The Complete McKenzie Series

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The Original McKenzie Series: Three handsome, eligible brothers and the unlikely women who win their hearts.


Second Chances: Aidan's Bride


She was looking for a fresh start, but she didn't realize she would find true love. Two years after becoming a widow, Naomi Tisdale is determined to make a new life for herself in Oregon. She is not interested in marriage. In fact, she really just wants to be left alone. But when she meets her new neighbor, she is no longer interested in solitude, and she's determined to gain more than just his friendship.


Aidan McKenzie knows immediately that Naomi is the woman he wants for a wife. With her beauty, charm, intelligence, and willingness to work hard, she embodies everything he has been searching for. But scars from her first marriage remain, and Aidan wonders whether he can convince her to take a second chance on love.


Naughty Angel: Brian's Bride


When a devilishly handsome man discovers a beautiful, naughty angel, it could be a match made in heaven. When Sarah Martin wakes up at the McKenzie farm, she can't remember anything about her past. She has no idea whether she is married or engaged. She only knows that her rescuer surpasses every fantasy she has ever had about her ideal man. She quickly learns that absolute pleasure can be hers, but only if she is willing to submit to him.


Brian McKenzie had given up on finding a wife. He knows that he needs a woman who is willing to accept his domination. When he discovers just such a woman in Sarah, theirs seems like the perfect match. But secrets from her past threaten to destroy their happiness, and it is up to Brian to protect his naughty angel and secure her as his bride.


Trailing Home: Liam's Bride


Sometimes, the long and winding trail is the one that leads to love. Selena Darcy thought she would never marry. Her stepfather's abuse has left her wary of men. She wants only to get as far from her stepfather as possible by joining her sister in Oregon. But when she meets a handsome stranger who can help her travel across the dangerous Oregon Trail, she realizes that he might be the one man she can trust with her heart.


When Liam McKenzie agrees to help Selena, he doesn't realize she will turn his world upside down. He is sorely tempted by her beauty, but he isn't ready to be tied down to a wife. But as they make the grueling trek over more than two thousand miles in a covered wagon, he can't help but fall in love with his travelling companion. Now, if he can only convince her that he is the husband she needs before they reach the end of the trail.


Publisher's Note: These three historical western romances contain steamy, graphic scenes and a theme of power exchange.


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Published 04 July 2020
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EAN13 9781645634362
Language English

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THE COMPLETE MCKENZIE SERIES
ALL THREE ORIGINAL BOOKS
LYNN COPPERSMITHPublished by Blushing Books
An Imprint of
ABCD Graphics and Design, Inc.
A Virginia Corporation
977 Seminole Trail #233
Charlottesville, VA 22901
©2020
All rights reserved.
No part of the book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and
retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The trademark Blushing
Books is pending in the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Lynn Coppersmith
The Complete McKenzie Series
EBook ISBN: 978-1-64563-436-2
v1
Cover Art by ABCD Graphics & Design
This book contains fantasy themes appropriate for mature readers only. Nothing in this book
should be interpreted as Blushing Books' or the author's advocating any non-consensual
sexual activity.C O N T E N T S
Second Chances: Aidan’s Bride
Naughty Angel: Brian’s Bride
Trailing Home: Liam’s Bride
Lynn Coppersmith
Blushing Books
Blushing Books NewsletterSECOND CHANCES: AIDAN’S BRIDE
THE MCKENZIES - BOOK ONEFor all those who have had their hearts broken and still have the courage to take a
second chance on love.
LCCHAPTER 1
WILLAMETTE VALLEY, OREGON, LATE AUGUST 1852
aomi Tisdale drew her horse to a stop and patted his neck absentmindedlyN as she surveyed her new home. She had wondered how much of a house
and farm her thousand dollars would buy, sight unseen. She smiled ruefully as she
scanned her new home. Apparently not much, she thought dismally.
Her horse, Shadow, gave a snort and waggled his head from side to side as if he
were disgusted. She stroked behind his ears fondly.
"I know," Naomi said with a grin, "it certainly doesn't look like what I pictured. Still,
we will make it work for us."
The house was really not much more than a rustic, very small cabin. Still, it looked
solid and sturdy, and she didn't really need much space. It was just herself, after all.
The kind of space she needed was from pitying glances and disapproving frowns. She
needed space to make her own decisions and to be an independent woman. She
thought, perhaps, this place would provide what she needed. She desperately hoped
so.
The cabin sat nestled beneath several majestic oak trees that would shelter it from
storms and shade it from the summer heat. A covered porch ran the length of the front
of the cabin, and there was a sturdy looking rocking chair angled to take in the view of
the meadow. There was a river burbling nearby. A stone well, complete with a bucket
and rope, stood in the front yard. At least it didn't look like she would have to worry
about having fresh water handy.
What was once a large vegetable garden stretched out from the side of the cabin,
and she could tell the soil was black and fertile even though the patch had mostly gone
to weeds. On the other side of the cabin, was a barn that looked like it was large
enough to house a few horses and maybe a few cows. It had fallen into disrepair. One
of the double doors was hanging askew, and several boards were missing from the
sides. There was also a much smaller building nearby and what looked like a
smokehouse.
A crude fence had been erected around the side of the barn, forming a corral.
Naomi dismounted and led her horse into the enclosure.
"Let's get you more comfortable, Shadow," she murmured as she removed the
horse's bridle and scratched him behind his ears.
The horse nudged her, burying his nose under her arm as he begged for more ofher attention. Naomi laughed and obliged him by stroking his velvety nose and hugging
his neck.
"Yes, you are a good boy," she cooed with an indulgent smile. "Let me get these
bags off you, and then we can settle you into your new home."
Naomi untied two small suitcases and several saddlebags and set them beside the
gate. Then, she unsaddled Shadow and placed the saddle, blanket, and bridle inside
the barn. She located a bucket and carried it down to the nearby river.
She filled the bucket for him and carried it back into the enclosure, careful to latch
the gate. The horse sank his face into the bucket and drank deeply. While he satisfied
his thirst, she located another bucket for feed and filled it with oats. The oats were
almost gone, and she would soon need to replenish her supplies. There was supposed
to be a town a few miles farther down the road. She would have to visit there within the
next few days.
Shadow ambled over to her and began happily munching on the oats. He was
obviously content with his new abode. With one last pat to his neck, she retrieved her
belongings and turned toward the cabin. It was time to see what her new home could
provide in terms of comfort and shelter.
Naomi opened the front door and stood in the doorway, waiting for her eyes to
adjust to the gloom. The thought that there might be other creatures inhabiting the
cabin made her shudder. As long as there weren't any rats, she could handle just about
any other kind of critter. The wood floor seemed sound enough, and she was relieved
not to hear any scurrying sounds as she walked to the center of the room. The boards
beneath her feet seemed sturdy, even if they were a bit squeaky.
A small table with four rickety chairs stood in the kitchen area. There were a few
cupboards built along the wall, and a cast iron cook stove took up one corner. A low
bed with a lumpy cotton mattress occupied the opposite wall, making up the last of the
furniture. A large wardrobe stood at the foot of the bed. It looked well built, with just a
few scuffs and a broken piece of trim at the top edge. A rock fireplace was centered
along the back wall of the cabin, and a small stack of firewood was piled nearby. Every
surface was covered with dust, grime and cobwebs, and a sour, stale smell hung heavy
in the air.
There were four small windows, one on each wall of the cabin. They all had wooden
shutters that were closed over them from the inside. Naomi opened the shutters and
pulled open the windows. She was pleased that light streamed in, and a fresh breeze
blew through the cabin, bringing clean, fresh air.
So, this will be my refuge, Naomi mused. She had come here seeking solitude,
hoping to find some remnants of peace and happiness.
It had been two years since her husband died. For two years, she had agonized
about all the ways she had failed him. She had failed to make him happy. She had
failed to save him when the fever had him in its death grip. She had failed to give him
the one thing that he had wanted most in the world.
Given her many failings as a wife, she had decided that she would never marry
again. It was far better to remain alone than to see her husband's love for her die a
slow death. She couldn't bear to ever go through that again.
She had travelled for weeks to get here from San Francisco. She had travelled
alone, braving the wild, living rough and doing her best to avoid mankind in general. Itwasn't that she didn't like people. However, she knew there were plenty of people,
especially men, who would prey on a woman travelling alone. She didn't want to take
any unnecessary chances, and she certainly didn't want to attract any undue attention.
She just wanted to be left alone.
Naomi had felt it would be prudent to dress as a man, so she could travel mostly
unnoticed. She smiled, remembering the San Francisco shopkeeper's raised brows
when she had purchased britches, shirts and boots for herself. A loose but lightweight
coat and a wide brimmed hat had completed her ensemble. She had been pleased with
the result. With her long auburn hair tied into a bun and tucked into her hat, she had
passed as a young boy, at least as long as she didn't come too close to others. She
had also found it much more comfortable riding a horse in britches.
Once again, thoughts of her husband and his parents came to mind. They would
definitely not have approved of her dressing as she was. But then again, his parents
hadn't approved of her no matter what she did. They had always viewed her as not
good enough for their son. At least, here, she didn't need to worry about what they
thought. She had found a small refuge where she could assert her independence, and
at the age of twenty-four, she was more than ready to do so.
The only good thing that had come from her husband's death was that it led to her
becoming self-reliant and resourceful. She had learned that if she wanted something,
she would have to get it for herself. She could not depend on a husband or family. She
couldn't depend on so-called friends. They either disappeared into the woodwork when
needed the most or tried to interfere too much. She had only herself. She would make
her own way, and then she wouldn't have to answer to anyone.
By all appearances, it was good that she had become so self-reliant and
resourceful. Those traits would continue to serve her well as she made this farm
livable. Everywhere she looked, there was work to do and the magnitude of the tasks
threatened to overwhelm her.
If only her husband hadn't died. If only his family and friends had been more
supportive. She would not have had to flee to here if she had not been subjected to
such contempt and disapproval.
If only you had been a better wife.
Naomi heaved a heavy sigh as she set her saddlebags and suitcases on a chair
and began rolling up her sleeves. This was no time to get lost in morose memories.
First things first, she thought.
She might as well start cleaning. There was no way she was going to spend even
one night in this filth. It was already late afternoon, so if she intended to get to bed
before midnight, she had better make the most of the time she had.
It took only a few minutes to get a fire going in the cook stove. She located a large
pot and carried it outside to the well. She lowered the bucket into the well, happy to see
that all appeared in good working order. It took only a minute before she retrieved the
bucket, and she was pleasantly surprised that the water was clear, cold, and smelled
clean and fresh. She tentatively took a sip from a dipper hanging on the side of the
well. It tasted delicious, and she sighed with pleasure as she drank her fill.
She filled the pot, carried it back inside and placed it on the stove to heat. Then, she
located an old broom and thoroughly swept the cabin, moving furniture and sweeping
cobwebs out from under the bed and from all the corners. By the time that was done,the water was warm. Naomi found a brush, some cloths and a large bar of lye soap in
the kitchen, and she set about scrubbing every surface. She removed what looked like
years' worth of grime and grease. When she was finally satisfied, every surface
gleamed.
Naomi turned her attention to the bed and the pile of dusty blankets covering its
surface. She sighed. For a few brief moments, she missed her comfortable home back
in San Francisco. Her feather mattress, with its clean white sheets, had been a haven.
She would have loved to sink into it at that moment. Her back and neck were aching,
and she would have liked nothing better than to have a comfortable and clean bed.
She reminded herself that those creature comforts came at a price, namely her
freedom and self-respect. All things considered, she could manage to make a
reasonably comfortable bed in her new home. But before she could get any rest, she
would have to address the old, lumpy mattress and the filthy bedding. With a resigned
sigh, she gingerly began to lift the blankets and carry them out to the porch.CHAPTER 2
idan McKenzie hefted a large bag of flour and carried it to the counter ofA Thompson's General Store. The owner, Mr. Thompson, was just finishing up
with the banker's wife, Mrs. Roberts. Mr. Thompson and Mrs. Roberts were chatting
amiably, and Aidan was in no rush. He consulted his list, making sure he had
remembered to get all the supplies he and his brothers needed.
"It's such a pleasant surprise to see you, Mr. McKenzie."
Aidan inwardly groaned as he looked up to see Mrs. Roberts smiling at him. He
nodded his head and smiled politely. "It's nice to see you as well, ma'am. How is the
family?"
Mrs. Roberts preened. "Fine, fine. Especially my Sally. She just gets prettier every
day."
Aidan gave a noncommittal grunt that could be construed as agreement and began
to turn away.
"We would love to have you join us for dinner, Mr. McKenzie. Are you busy this
evening?"
"Thank you for the invitation, ma'am, but I really have to get home. I have a lot of
work to do this evening."
Mrs. Roberts gave a sad cluck of her tongue. "Well, another time then? We would
really love to have you come whenever you are free."
"Thank you, ma'am. I'll certainly keep that in mind." Hell would freeze over before
Aidan would accept her invitation.
With a last smile and wave to Mr. Thompson, Mrs. Roberts made her exit. Mr.
Thompson faced Aidan with a wide grin.
"It's the same story every time," Mr. Thompson said. "It's no wonder you avoid
coming into town very often. The way the women fawn over you and your brothers, it's
like bees coming to honey."
Aidan shook his head with a puzzled frown. "It's not as if we do anything to
encourage them."
Mr. Thompson laughed. "You don't have to. I hear the young women gossiping
about you all the time. Let me tell you, all the young women and their mamas go on
and on about the McKenzie men. You and your brothers are like the sweetest candies
in the store, and the fact that you don't even try to gain their favor only makes the
ladies want you more. Why don't you choose one so the rest of the young men in this
town can have a fair chance?"
"If only it were that easy," Aidan said with a snort. "I can't see spending the rest of
my life with any of the young ladies I've met in this town.""Don't you find any of them attractive?"
"Sure, there are quite a few really pretty ones. But then, when they start talking, with
their simpering smiles and silly notions, I find my mind just starts wandering. The next
thing I know, I'm thinking about what crops I'm going to plant in the north fields and how
I need to prune the fruit trees in the orchard."
Mr. Thompson shook his head and laughed. "Oh, to be young again," he sighed with
a teasing wink. "You're not supposed to choose a wife based on her conversational
abilities. Trust me…on a cold winter's night, what a woman has beneath her gown is
much more important than what she has between her ears."
Aidan chuckled and rolled his eyes. "I'm afraid I want both, my friend."
"Then you're going to end up old and lonely. You know as well as I do that men
outnumber women two to one here in Oregon. It's not as if there is an endless supply of
ladies to choose from. You're going to have to settle for someone or be a lonely
bachelor for life."
"Well, if settling means choosing someone like Sally Roberts, I'd prefer being a
lonely bachelor."
Mr. Thompson raised his eyebrows in consideration, but he ultimately sighed and
nodded his head in agreement.
"I see what you mean about her," he mumbled. "I wouldn't want her mother as my
mother-in-law, either. Can you imagine dealing with that meddlesome old biddy for the
rest of your life?"
"That's not going to happen," Aidan said firmly. "Besides, my brothers and I aren't
lonely. We've got each other for company, and we've got our hands full with our farm.
None of us are looking to get married in the near future. Maybe in a few years."
"By then, all the pretty young ladies will be married."
Aidan shrugged. "Maybe. I'll take my chances. I'm not going to rush into the
parson's trap unless I find just the right girl."
Mr. Thompson shook his head. "Suit yourself." He looked down at the items Aidan
had collected. "Did you find everything you needed?"
"Yes. What do I owe you?"
Mr. Thompson added up the cost of the various items, and Aidan counted out the
money. As Mr. Thompson bundled his purchases into a gunnysack, he continued
talking.
"Hey, did you hear someone bought old Mr. Hatcher's farm?"
Aidan frowned, feeling a stab of disappointment. "No. Who is the new owner?"
"I'm not sure. I just know that it was sold recently. Far as I know, no one has moved
in yet." Mr. Thompson gave Aidan a wink. "Maybe the new owner will have a pretty
young daughter, and she will meet all your expectations for a wife."
"That would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath," Aidan said with a grin.
Mr. Thompson looked over Aidan's shoulder out through the store's front window.
"Uh oh," he said with another grin, "looks like the female population heard you were in
town. Brace yourself."
Aidan glanced over his shoulder and grimaced. A half dozen young ladies came
bustling through the door. They descended on him en masse, and he was quickly
surrounded by giggling, babbling, flirting females. They all began talking at once, and
the noise of their high-pitched chatter was enough to make him wince."Why, Mr. McKenzie. What a pleasant surprise!"
"We haven't seen you in ages!"
"Where have you been keeping yourself?"
"How are you and those handsome brothers of yours?"
"What brings you to town?"
They were talking over one another. None of them waited for him to answer. They
simply kept exclaiming and chattering until he felt his head might explode from their
nonsensical blather.
Individually, they were proper young ladies. However, in a group, they were like a
pack of hungry wolves slavering at his heels. He felt claustrophobic as they clustered
around him, each trying to vie for his attentions and get as close to him as possible.
He briefly locked eyes with Mr. Thompson, and his lips thinned as he noticed the
shopkeeper's mischievous grin.
"Thanks again," Aidan muttered, retrieving his purchases from the counter, and
hefting the bag of flour onto one broad shoulder.
"Come again soon," Mr. Thompson called with a smile.
Aidan made his way out of the shop, having to jostle gently through the pack of
eager young ladies. As he tied the bags of supplies to his horse, the women kept up a
constant stream of chatter.
A pretty blonde was clearly the leader of the group. She was even more forward
than the others, and she leaned against him, letting her breasts brush against his outer
arm. Aidan glanced down at her. She was wearing a floral printed dress with a scooped
neckline. He noticed that she had presented him with a daring view into her bodice. As
her eyes boldly met his, he was certain she was well aware of just how much he could
see.
"Surely, you aren't leaving so soon, Aidan," she purred. "Isn't there any way we can
convince you to stay in town a bit longer?"
He mentally shook his head at her familiarity. He barely knew her. He certainly
wasn't on a first name basis with her.
Aidan let his eyes drop to her bosom once more. He scanned the ivory mounds that
were pressed up on display. The girl was definitely pretty. He couldn't recall her name,
but he knew he had met her once or twice before. She was certainly daring; he would
give her that much. He was sure that with only a little encouragement, she could be his.
The thought was momentarily tempting, but he couldn't see himself taking such a
brazen woman as a wife. That would be inviting the worst kind of trouble. Aidan was not
the kind of man to share his wife's affections, and he knew this little blonde tart would
forever be seeking men's attentions.
No. While she was exceptionally pretty, she wasn't the girl for him. Aidan gently
pushed her aside and touched the brim of his hat politely. "I'm afraid not, ma'am. I must
get home. Good day, ladies."
With that, he mounted his horse. The young women groaned and pouted, each
trying to catch his eye with a wave as he turned to ride away. Aidan breathed a deep
sigh of relief and trotted out of town.
It was just over five miles from town to his farm, and Aidan was deep in thought as
he rode along. He really did want to marry. Eventually.
Experiences like the one he'd just had were common. Every time he or his brotherscame into town, eager young ladies soon surrounded them. It was one of the reasons
they avoided coming in very often. They didn't like being mobbed.
Living as a bachelor with just his brothers for company could get mighty lonely. The
nights were long, especially during the winter. Unlike his younger brothers, Aidan very
rarely availed himself of the services of the saloon girls at Harvey's.
Aidan didn't think that hiring the services of one of the saloon girls was wrong. After
all, a healthy young man had certain needs, and every once in a while, he needed a
woman to fulfill those needs.
It wouldn't be honorable to seduce an unmarried young lady unless he was willing to
marry her. Nor would Aidan ever seduce a married woman and have her violate her
marriage vows. Therefore, his options were severely limited whenever he sought
female companionship.
Still, there was something about paying a woman that took most of the pleasure out
of the act for him. Nonetheless, he did occasionally visit the establishment when his
loneliness was extreme. Whenever he did visit Harvey's, the saloon girls fawned over
him and were always eager for his business. While they provided physical relief for his
needs, Aidan would have preferred to have those needs met by a loving wife.
Aidan truly wished he could find a wife to settle down with. He wanted to build a
family and have feminine companionship every day…and night. He also missed all the
other comforts a loving woman could provide…home cooked meals, a clean house,
and an understanding ear. He wanted a woman who would love him and be a true
helpmate in raising a family.
He just wasn't in a big hurry. He couldn't summon any interest in the girls in town.
None of them was the kind of woman who could meet all his needs. Once again, he
thought about the pretty blonde. She struck him as manipulative and vain. While
bedding her might provide temporary pleasure, he would soon tire of her, and there was
no way he wanted to spend his life with the likes of her or one of her friends.
He knew his brothers felt the same. That was why all three of the McKenzie brothers
had sworn off marriage, at least for the foreseeable future.
However, as long as they kept avoiding women, there was no way that any of them
would find a wife. Perhaps it was time to start looking a little harder. Maybe if they
expanded their acquaintance to people in some of the nearby areas, they might find
women more suitable for them.
Aidan thought about his own parents. Their marriage was one based on love and
shared commitment. Their mother was a true partner for their father. She was strong
willed, intelligent, hardworking, and compassionate, in addition to being beautiful. It was
no wonder their father had fallen in love with her.
That was the kind of woman Aidan wanted. He wouldn't settle for less. It wasn't
enough for a woman to be physically attractive. If her head was full of nonsense, she
wouldn't make much of a life partner.
The thought of any of the young women he knew becoming his wife was ludicrous.
The young women he had just encountered were all pampered and spoiled. They
seemed more concerned with gossip and frilly dresses than with doing any honest
work. The McKenzie brothers were determined to make a success of their farm, and if
they married, their wives would need strength and fortitude. Their wives would need to
be willing to work hard to help their men. They would never be able to rest on theirlaurels, at least not anytime in the next few years.
Aidan frowned thoughtfully as he approached the lane turning into old Mr. Hatcher's
property. Remembering that it had recently been purchased, Aidan watched a thin
stream of smoke rising through the trees. He knew it must be coming from the cabin.
The cabin had remained deserted after Mr. Hatcher died the previous year. Aidan
was disappointed that someone had bought it. He had considered buying it himself,
since the farm that went with the cabin was prime land, and it bordered his own family's
farm. It would have made a nice addition to their property, but the McKenzie brothers
didn't have enough cash to make such a purchase yet. They were just getting their feet
on the ground after moving out from Kentucky two years before.
Aidan had hoped that, with time, they could raise enough money to buy the property
before someone else did. However, now that it was sold, he might as well meet their
new neighbors.
It was early evening, but Aidan decided to drop by and introduce himself and see
just who had bought the farm. The trail leading to the cabin from the main road wended
through a small forest, and when he emerged from the trees, Aidan paused to watch as
one of the new owners struggled to drag an old mattress through the narrow doorway.
From fifty yards away, Aidan judged the boy to be in his mid-teens. He was
somewhat scrawny from the way he was huffing and puffing to maneuver the mattress
through the opening. He was dressed in brown britches and a cream-colored shirt of
homespun cotton. As Aidan neared, the boy bent over further at the waist to get a
better grip, and Aidan's eyes opened wide.
That was definitely not a boy! Why on earth a woman would be dressed in men's
clothes was a thought that Aidan would later ponder, but at the moment, he was too
busy taking in the sights.
At closer range, he could see that she had long hair that had been wound into a
tight bun. The woman's britches lovingly stretched across the curviest heart-shaped
bottom Aidan had ever had the pleasure to view, and as he drew his horse to a halt, his
mouth watered as he took in the sight of a seemingly endless pair of slender legs.
Perfectly proportioned hips tapered up from her bottom, and a flashing image of his
hands gripping those hips as he plunged into her from behind made Aidan squirm a bit
in his saddle. A wide belt cinched the britches around the woman's tiny waist. Aidan
wanted nothing more than to get his hands around her waist at that moment.
The woman had been so preoccupied with the mattress that she hadn't noticed him
yet, so Aidan politely cleared his throat to announce his presence. She dropped the
mattress and whirled to face him as he climbed down from his horse. He removed his
hat and gave her his best smile.
"Good afternoon, ma'am. I'm Aidan McKenzie. I live just down the road, and I
thought I would stop and introduce myself to you and your husband."
NAOMI MANAGED to squelch her yelp of surprise, and she answered out of habit as shecautiously eyed her unexpected visitor. "I'm a widow, Mr. McKenzie."
Naomi's eyes widened further as she took in his appearance. He was several inches
over six feet, with tawny, sun-streaked hair and darkly tanned skin. His eyes were a
rich, soulful brown, and they were deep set beneath a pair of dark eyebrows. His
cheekbones, nose and jaw were perfectly sculpted, strong, and handsome, but it was
his mouth that drew her stare. His lips were just the right mixture of firm and sensual.
Imagine how they would feel cruising along your nape or pressed to your own lips.
The thought made her shiver with awareness.
Where on earth had that thought come from? Naomi wasn't usually prone to such
lustful thoughts, but for some reason, this man's appearance stirred her deeply. At that
moment, his lips were parted in a smile that revealed even, white teeth. She felt her
heart racing, and it was suddenly difficult to draw a deep enough breath. He was,
without a doubt, the most handsome man she had ever seen.
Oh, what must he think of her, dressed in these clothes? Naomi hadn't thought
anyone would see her dressed this way, and she fought an urge to squirm.
HER CLOTHES WERE the last thing on Aidan's mind. His smile had deepened when he saw
the woman's face. The knowledge that she did not have a husband, at least not a living
husband, pleased him immensely.
Delicate, creamy skin covered high cheekbones in a perfect oval face. Her hair was
a rich auburn color that caught red highlights from the late afternoon sun. Moist, pink
lips were parted to form a surprised O, and her wide blue eyes were tilted slightly up at
the corners, lending them a hint of mystery. At that moment, her eyes were transfixed
on his mouth, giving Aidan a chance to survey the rest of her.
If the sight of her backside had been appealing, the sight of her front made him
ache with lust. Her breasts were full and sumptuous, thrusting firmly out to test the
confines of her shirt. He glimpsed the edge of a white lace chemise above the V of her
shirt, and even beneath the layers of cloth, he could clearly see the outline of her erect
nipples. The twin nubs strained against the fabric, making it difficult to tear his eyes
from the sight.
Aidan couldn't help but compare this woman with the blonde he had left in town.
There was no contest. This woman's beauty put the blonde to shame.
Despite the fact that this woman's clothes were much less revealing, he found that
she appealed to him in every possible way. His smile deepened and he raised his eyes
to meet her surprised stare just in time to avoid being caught in the act of ogling her.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mrs.?"
Naomi started slightly and a delicate blush crept across her cheeks. She tentatively
shook his hand. Her skin tingled where he touched her, and she hoped he wouldn't
notice the light blush spreading across her cheeks.
"I'm Mrs. Naomi Tisdale. I'm sorry. You simply caught me by surprise. I don't usually
have to be prompted to remember my manners."Aidan shrugged and gave a small chuckle. "That's quite all right, Mrs. Tisdale. You
were so busy with that mattress that I'm not surprised you didn't hear me coming.
Please, allow me to give you a hand."
Aidan handed her his reins and bent to scoop up the mattress. He easily rolled it
under one arm and turned to her with one brow raised.
"Where were you going to take it?"
"Well, maybe you could hang it over the corral fence. It's horribly dusty, so I was
going to beat it clean and air it out. It might still be usable."
Aidan draped the lumpy cotton mattress over the fence and gave it a few hard pats
of his hand. Clouds of dust billowed out from the cotton, and they both laughed.
"Well, maybe not," Naomi said with a wry smile. "Would you like a cup of coffee, Mr.
McKenzie?"
"I would love one if it's not too much trouble."
"None at all. I already washed the kettle and cups, and I have coffee and sugar in
my supplies. Please, come inside."
Aidan tied his horse's reins to the fence and followed her, enjoying the gentle sway
of her hips as she walked. Once again, lecherous thoughts of her flitted through Aidan's
mind, and he grinned. He would definitely have to find a way to spend a lot more time
with his new neighbor!
He stood in the doorway, facing out to the garden to give his blood a chance to cool
as Naomi placed the kettle on the stove. The sight of her in those figure-hugging
britches was quite a distraction. As she moved, the fabric conformed to each sweet
curve, emphasizing her femininity even more. Aidan struggled to get his thoughts onto
a more innocent track.
"So, are you planning to live here all by yourself?" Aidan asked.
"Yes," she replied with just a hint of defensiveness.
Aidan wondered why his question had irked her. A woman as beautiful as she could
easily find male companionship, so if she was alone, he knew it had to be by choice.
"Sorry, I just thought maybe you had some children running around somewhere."
"No," she said quietly, "no children."
"Are you from back east somewhere?"
"No, I'm from San Francisco. My, you are full of questions, Mr. McKenzie."
Aidan was glad he was turned away so she couldn't see his flush. He shrugged and
found himself apologizing once again. "Sorry, I'm just curious about my new neighbor.
Please don't take offense."
"No offense taken," she said lightly, although her tone made him wonder whether
she was being honest.
NAOMI FINISHED MAKING THE COFFEE, and she set out two cups and a small tin of sugar. She
turned to invite him to sit at the table, and her breath caught in her throat.
He was standing with one hand braced high on the doorframe. His shirtsleeves wererolled to his elbows. His forearms rippled with muscle, and his wide shoulders and
chest tapered down to a pair of trim hips and a perfectly delectable bottom. He
reminded her of the statues of Greek gods she had seen in a book once. A fleeting
vision of them naked and with their private parts on prominent display appeared in her
mind's eye, causing Naomi's cheeks to burn with a heated blush.
What has possessed you, you shameless woman? Naomi berated herself harshly.
She had only just met the man, and she was fantasizing about what he might look like
without the benefit of his clothes.
Of course, her husband had been dead for over two years. Perhaps it was normal
for a healthy young woman to feel pangs of desire, especially when faced with such a
gorgeous specimen of masculinity. She hoped so. She didn't like to think of herself as
some wanton woman.
She gestured for him to take a seat. "Please, Mr. McKenzie. Won't you sit down and
be comfortable?"
"Thank you," he said, turning with a smile. He seated himself on one of the chairs
and laid his hat on another. "I prefer to be called Aidan by my friends."
Naomi gave him a shy smile as she leaned over his arm and poured a cup of coffee
for him. "All right, but only if you call me Naomi. I wish I had something to offer you to
go with the coffee. Unfortunately, I only arrived today, and I haven't had a chance to do
any baking."
Aidan shook his head. "I really didn't mean to put you to any trouble…Naomi." He
smiled at her and held up his steaming cup. "This is fine, thank you."
She poured herself a cup and settled onto the chair across from him. She gripped
her cup in both hands to disguise their trembling as she watched him add a bit of sugar
to his coffee and take a tentative sip. He sighed with pleasure and met her gaze.
"You make a great cup of coffee, Naomi."
Once again, Aidan flashed her a charming grin, and she returned his smile as her
cheeks flushed with pleasure. She gave him a shy nod to acknowledge the compliment.
Why it should be important that he like her coffee, Naomi didn't know, but at that
moment, it pleased her immensely that he did.
Aidan was struck by how different she was from all the other young ladies he knew.
She didn't chatter endlessly. In fact, she seemed quite comfortable with silence. He
was the one struggling to make conversation.
"Were you thinking of putting in a fall garden?" Aidan asked.
Naomi shrugged as she nibbled her bottom lip. "I wanted to, but I don't know
whether there will be enough time. I might just have to make do with store bought
foodstuffs for this first year, until I can get the place into shape."
"Hmm," Aidan said, sipping his coffee as his mind raced with possibilities. "I think
there might be a way we could help each other."
Naomi eyed him skeptically. She hoped he wasn't about to make her some lewd
proposition. She had just begun to like him. "Really? How is that?"
"Well, my brothers and I already have our fall crops planted this year, so I have a bit
of extra time on my hands. However, I also have a large crop of late peaches that need
to be preserved or sold. Now, we love canned peaches, but we don't know how to make
them. If you were willing to make them, I would not only share the peaches with you,
but I would be happy to put your garden in for you."Naomi's face brightened as she thought about his proposal. The thought of having
some help was appealing, and if she could do it without having to dip into her savings
to hire someone, all the better.
"I certainly know how to can peaches, if you bring me the jars, sugar and peaches."
"It's a deal then." Aidan drank the last of his coffee and stood. "How about I come
out first thing in the morning to get started?"
Naomi rose as well and followed him to the door. "Well, actually, I was planning to
attend church tomorrow morning. I'm assuming there is a church near here?"
She looked up at him expectantly, and Aidan stifled a sigh. He and his brothers had
been raised to attend church faithfully every Sunday. However, they had stopped going
in the last few months because of the fuss the local ladies made over them.
Aidan was reluctant to once again subject himself to that kind of attention, but he
was even more reluctant to see Naomi attend by herself. She was absolutely beautiful,
and as a newcomer to the area, the local men were sure to swarm her the minute she
showed up at the church.
"Sure, there is," he said. "If you would like to attend, I would be pleased to escort
you. Church starts at ten o'clock. Why don't I come by at nine tomorrow morning, and I
would be happy to drive you to the church service?"
Naomi shook her head. "That's not necessary. Just tell me where the church is, and
I can manage by myself. I don't want to trouble you."
"It's no trouble at all," Aidan insisted. "I really should attend myself, and I have to
pass right by here to get to church anyway. Please. I would love to introduce you to the
local folk."
Naomi searched his face briefly. His offer was tempting, but she didn't want to
impose. Still, the idea of spending more time with him was enticing. Only one other man
had ever drawn her interest, and even then, she hadn't felt an attraction this strong.
She certainly wouldn't mind getting to know Aidan better.
"Well, if you're sure you don't mind."
"Not at all. Shall I see you at nine tomorrow then?"
Naomi nodded. "Thank you, Aidan. I will look forward to it."
She held out her hand with a warm smile. "It was a pleasure to meet you."
Aidan clasped her hand as he met her eyes. A current of awareness passed
between them, and her eyes widened. He lifted her hand to his mouth, never breaking
eye contact with her. His lips were a delight on the back of her hand, both pliant and
firm. Naomi stifled a moan of pleasure.
Imagine how those warm lips would feel on other parts of your body. What on earth
was the matter with her? She definitely needed to attend church. She was becoming
more sinful by the moment. She blushed prettily.
AIDAN NOTICED HER HEIGHTENED COLOR, and he gave her a slow grin as he reluctantly
released her hand. When he spoke, there was a husky timbre in his voice. "I assureyou, Naomi, the pleasure of our meeting was all mine."
He was gratified when she shivered with awareness. She's attracted to you too. The
realization pleased him immensely, and he could easily have lost himself in the
luminous depths of her startled blue gaze. He hauled in a tight breath and turned to
leave, while he still had the ability.
"Good evening, Naomi. I'll see you in the morning."
NAOMI COULDN'T FIND her voice to respond, so she merely nodded. She watched as he
walked to his horse, mounted, gave her one last salute and rode off through the woods.
She slowly closed the door and leaned back against the planks. Her nipples were
hard, tingling nubs, and she could feel an empty, aching need in the pit of her belly.
She had experienced her husband's lovemaking during their five-year marriage. Her
husband had always been gentle with her in bed. However, he had never stirred such
blatant hunger in her. She suddenly felt disloyal for having such feelings about a total
stranger.
She told herself that her reaction was due to spending years alone since becoming
a widow. Aidan McKenzie was the most attractive man she had encountered. However,
the last thing she needed was male companionship. She was determined to keep her
new neighbor at arm's length. With a humph, she resumed her efforts to make the
cabin habitable.
AIDAN RODE the last mile to his farm with his brain in a pleasant fog. He had been
despairing of ever finding a woman who would peak his interest, and now fate had just
dropped Naomi into his lap.
He didn't remember ever feeling an attraction like this. Just remembering what she
looked like made him hard, and he squirmed a bit in the saddle to ease his aching
loins. But Aidan wasn't just interested in her physically. He wanted to know everything
there was to know about her.
He remembered how prickly she had gotten when he'd tried to ask her some
questions. The irony of the situation didn't escape him. Most ladies threw themselves at
his head and jabbered incessantly. Now, here was a woman he actually wanted to get
to know, and she was as close-mouthed as a clam.
He grinned to himself. At least that was one good thing about taking her to church. It
would give him a chance to observe and listen while all the other locals questioned her.
It was certain that they would. Any time a new resident moved into the area, they werealways the focus of intense curiosity. All Aidan had to do was stick close by her side,
and hopefully, he could learn a bit more about her.CHAPTER 3
idan drove up to her doorstep promptly at nine the following morning.A Naomi opened the door and greeted him with a smile. "Good morning," she
called brightly.
"Good morning," Aidan replied, jumping down from the bench of his buckboard
wagon.
He removed his hat and walked to the front porch steps. He smiled at Naomi as he
greedily took in her appearance.
She was wearing a dress of soft cotton. It was an unusual shade of teal, and the
color accentuated her red hair and blue eyes. The style of the dress was modest, but it
was tailored perfectly to her slender figure, and it conformed faithfully to the fullness of
her breasts and hugged her tiny waist. It was buttoned from the lacy white collar at her
neck all the way down to where the skirt flared over her hips. The sleeves were
adorned with more white lace at the cuffs. She wore a matching bonnet, tied beneath
her chin with a satin ribbon.
Aidan had thought she looked beautiful and tempting in britches the previous day. In
her dress, she looked good enough to eat.
NAOMI WAS EAGERLY NOTING his appearance at the same time. Aidan looked even taller
and more muscular in his dark brown jacket and britches. His Sunday shirt was crisp
white, and the color enhanced his dark tan. Her hands fairly itched to smooth the white
cotton over the expanse of his chest, and the thought made her blush.
She turned so that he wouldn't see her scalding cheeks. "Let me just grab my
reticule," she said breathlessly.
She retrieved her purse and joined him on the porch once again. She allowed him to
take her arm and lead her to the wagon. When she would have climbed up, he simply
lifted her, as if she weighed no more than a feather, and set her on the bench.
"Oh! Thank you," she said softly.
"You're welcome," he replied with a grin.
The feeling of his strong hands on her waist and the ease with which he lifted her
left Naomi more than a little breathless. Had she imagined that he didn't want to releaseher? It had felt as if his hands lingered slightly longer than necessary around her waist.
Once again, Naomi was shocked by the brazenness of her own thoughts. Her
cheeks flamed, and she fussed with rearranging her skirts so he wouldn't see. Little did
she know that Aidan was struggling with his own wayward thoughts.
SHE WAS SO tiny and soft. He wondered what it would feel like to sink into her while she
moaned his name. He stifled a groan of lust.
What was wrong with him? He was escorting her to church for heaven's sake. He
shouldn't be having such thoughts. She was a proper lady, not one of the saloon girls at
Harvey's. Even if she stirred his lust more than any of those women ever had, he
needed to remember that she deserved respect. So, woo her and wed her, and then
you can enjoy her luscious body.
Aidan cleared his throat as he untied the reins. He climbed up beside her, released
the brake, and flicked the reins to urge the horses into a comfortable trot.
Once they were rolling smoothly along, he turned to her with another heart stopping
grin. "It's a beautiful morning for a drive."
"Yes, it is," Naomi said with a matching smile. "Is it very far to the church?"
"It's just on the edge of town, about five miles."
"Tell me about the area," she said. "Are the people nice around here?"
"You'll see for yourself soon," Aidan replied. "Just like anywhere, there are nice
people and not so nice people. It's a pretty tight knit community, and people are usually
happy to help their neighbors. The downside is that, sometimes, they tend to meddle in
each other's affairs. Let me warn you, as a newcomer, they're going to be on you like
ducks on a June bug."
"Hmm, I'll keep that in mind," Naomi said with a grin.
They were passing by field after field of rich crops. Even though it was late summer,
everything was green and lush.
"Tell me, Aidan, what grows well in this area?"
AIDAN PROCEEDED to tell her all about Willamette Valley agriculture. She quickly realized
he was a wealth of information, and she listened with rapt attention. She was a novice
to farming, and she needed all the information she could get if she was going to
succeed on her little farm. She had no ambition to have a large operation; she merely
wanted to grow enough crops for herself and to have a small amount of surplus to sell
or barter for the other supplies she would need.Naomi was thoroughly enjoying Aidan's company. They reached the church much
sooner than she would have liked, and she allowed him to lift her down from the bench.
This time, she was a little more prepared for his touch, and she managed to keep her
wayward thoughts under control.
She watched as he tied the reins and patted the horses. There were many other
wagons parked nearby, and Naomi accepted Aidan's arm to lead her into the small
white church.
The service hadn't started yet, but the pews of the small church were packed. There
were a few seats left, in the back row. All eyes turned toward the two of them as they
settled into the back pew just inside the door. There was a moment of surprised
silence, and then heads came together and whispered voices rose throughout the
church.
Naomi swallowed and looked down at her hands.
Aidan leaned near to whisper in her ear, and his warm breath feathered the side of
her jaw. She had to suppress a shiver of awareness.
"I told you…ducks on a June bug."
Naomi grinned and looked up at him from the corner of her eye. His comment
helped to settle her nerves. In fact, she struggled to keep from laughing. Just then, the
preacher approached the pulpit and began the service.
All during the church service, Naomi was keenly aware of the large male body
beside her. She found her gaze drawn time and again to his tanned hands resting on
his thighs. They appeared strong, masculine and graceful. His hands were large, and
his fingers were long and blunt.
She should have been concentrating on the sermon, but all she could think about
was remembering what those hands had felt like around her waist. Those hands would
feel even nicer on your bare skin. Naomi ducked her head to hide her heated blush.
Since meeting Aidan, she felt little better than a harlot. The poor man had given her no
reason to lust after him, and yet she couldn't seem to keep her thoughts on a decent
path.
SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN ASTONISHED if she had known that Aidan's thoughts were every bit
as lascivious as hers. He couldn't ignore her intoxicating scent. She smelled clean and
fresh, like sunshine and wildflowers. Imagine if you were to part those soft, white thighs
and run your finger along her pretty pink lips. I bet she smells even better there.
He squirmed on the hard pew and tried to think of other things. But she was simply
too enticing. Her hair was pulled into a tight bun beneath her bonnet, but the breeze
had tugged several strands loose. They curled naturally around her ears and along the
nape of her neck. Her ivory skin was so fair, and he longed to spread kisses along the
curve of her jaw or to nibble along her nape. He could feel the steady ache of his
erection, and he hoped no one would notice the bulge in his britches.
The service finally ended, and Aidan and Naomi rose to make their exit. Of course,they were swarmed by interested townsfolk. He knew that Naomi had never dreamed
they would be the center of so much avid attention. The married couples were
extremely friendly, but it was a different story with the unmarried townsfolk.
It was obvious that the single young women viewed her with jealousy. Naomi
probably assumed that he was a hot commodity, and the local ladies did not appreciate
having new competition for his attentions. The young men were much friendlier. Many
of them eyed her with poorly concealed lust, and one handsome young man stared at
her so long and hard that she gulped and turned away. He was grateful to be by her
side. If she had come alone, he was certain the male admirers would have swarmed
her.
She was introduced to so many people, he knew there was no way to remember all
the names. She was bombarded by questions from all sides. Most were polite inquiries.
Where was she from? What brought her to Oregon? How long had she been widowed?
How did she like the area so far? Some questions were much more pointed, and some
were downright rude. There was one very pretty young blonde who seemed particularly
interested in Naomi's private business.
"How did you meet Aidan?" the blonde asked. "Just how well do you two know each
other?"
Naomi looked down her nose at the impertinent woman. "Pardon me, have we been
introduced?"
The blonde woman narrowed her eyes at Naomi. "My name is Miss Louisa
Templeton. My father owns the feed store and livery in town."
"Oh, how lovely to make your acquaintance," Naomi said. "I'm Mrs. Naomi Tisdale."
Her tone was polite but without any warmth. She turned away without answering the
woman's rude questions.
Aidan wanted to laugh, but he kept his features carefully blank. He was happy to
see that Naomi could handle herself. The eager interrogation she was being subjected
to would have overwhelmed many women. However, Naomi maintained her
composure, even in the face of Miss Templeton's rudeness and obvious dislike.
He took Naomi's elbow to steer her out the front door. They continued making polite
conversation with the townsfolk as they worked their way steadily toward his wagon. It
was a good half hour before the crowd began to thin around them. Finally, he was able
to lift Naomi to the buckboard bench, and he climbed up beside her.
"Good day to you all," Aidan said with a wave of farewell.
Naomi nodded her head to several of the new acquaintances. The townsfolk
stepped back and reluctantly watched as the wagon turned out of the churchyard.
Naomi cast a glance behind them, and she noticed all the townsfolk were talking
animatedly and still watching her and Aidan as they drove away. She waited until they
were on the road toward their farms before flashing a teasing grin up at Aidan.
"Well, you are certainly in demand with the ladies, Mr. McKenzie! Miss Templeton
didn't seem at all pleased that you escorted me to church. Should I be worried for my
safety?"
Aidan met her teasing grin with a pained grimace. "Believe me, Naomi, she has no
claim whatsoever on my affections."
Naomi searched his face. He didn't appear to look the least bit interested in the
other woman. "Hmm," Naomi said with raised brows, "I don't think she would agree withyou."
Aidan shrugged one broad shoulder. "I can't help what she thinks. I honestly
couldn't remember her name until she told it to you just now. I suppose she might
imagine there's a chance for some kind of relationship between us, but I assure you,
she's mistaken."
"You don't have to justify yourself to me, Aidan. I have no claim to your affections,
either."
No, but you could have. The wayward thought startled Aidan, and he kept silent. He
had only met Naomi the day before, but he already had strong feelings for her. He had
felt irrational anger seeing the men at the church eying her like foxes in a hen house.
Especially Matthew Lawrence. Aidan didn't trust that man as far as he could throw him.
Aidan was frustrated to realize that he hadn't learned anything new while people
questioned Naomi at the church. She was certainly close-mouthed about her past. He
wasn't worried by that, merely intrigued. She was a beautiful enigma, and he wanted to
get to know her much better.
"Would you join me for lunch?" Naomi asked.
Aidan slanted her a grin. "I would love to. But I don't want you to go to any special
trouble for me."
"No trouble at all," she replied. "I made a pot of stew and a pan of biscuits last night.
There's more than enough for both of us."
"Well, in that case, I gratefully accept your invitation. That sounds wonderful."
They chatted about inconsequential things for the remainder of the drive to Naomi's
cabin. Aidan saw to the needs of the horses while she heated the stew and biscuits.
Within a short time, they sat down to a hearty lunch.
Aidan tasted his stew and gave Naomi an appreciative grin. "This is delicious."
Naomi nodded her head in acknowledgement. "I'm glad you like it. I'm sorry I don't
have butter for the biscuits. I have to go into town soon to get some supplies."
"No matter. They're delicious too." He flashed her a wicked grin. "You know, if you
keep serving me such delicious food, I'm just going to keep coming around."
Naomi laughed and flushed at the compliment. "That's all right with me. I enjoy your
company."
THEIR EYES LOCKED, and it seemed as if their thoughts traveled a similar path. Naomi's
cheeks turned delightfully pink, and Aidan cleared his throat and resumed eating his
stew. Naomi watched surreptitiously as he brought the spoon to his mouth. She felt an
aching hunger begin to grow in the pit of her belly.
Maybe he could satisfy your hunger. You don't have to be lonely. Naomi rose to get
more biscuits in order to hide her bright red cheeks. She didn't know why that thought
had popped into her head. She had never even considered taking a lover before. Why
she should suddenly be focused on the idea with such single-minded purpose, was
unsettling, to say the least. She had no way of knowing that Aidan was similarlyafflicted.
HE FOUND it nearly impossible to calmly eat his lunch. His body was infused with
tension. It was a struggle to keep from snatching her onto his lap and kissing her
senseless. He noticed that she seemed somewhat preoccupied. She nibbled her
bottom lip with tiny white teeth, and hot blood pounded through his loins.
Her lips were so full and luscious. He wondered what they would taste like. Why
don't you kiss her and find out. I bet she tastes sweet and soft. He focused his eyes on
his bowl and tried to ignore the ache in his loins.
After Aidan had finished a second bowl of stew, he politely refused her offer of
coffee. "No, thank you, Naomi. I can barely breathe."
THE SMILE he gave her made her stomach do back flips. "I do appreciate the lunch, but I
really should be heading home. I still have chores to do today."
Naomi averted her eyes to hide her disappointment. "Of course. It was my pleasure.
And thank you for escorting me to church."
Aidan rose and offered his hand to help her up from her chair. Suddenly, they stood
face to face with bare inches between them. Naomi's heart pounded in her breast. She
was certain he was about to kiss her, and she held her breath.
And Aidan wanted to kiss her. He eyed her lush lips, and he could sense that she
might not mind. The only thing that held him back was that he wanted a serious
relationship with her. He didn't want to give the impression that he thought she was an
easy conquest. It would be much better to bide his time and get to know her better. He
reluctantly turned away and retrieved his hat.
"Thank you again, Naomi. I'll come first thing in the morning to get started on your
garden. Would that be all right with you?"
"Yes, of course. I insist that you let me make breakfast for you, though."
Aidan flashed her a grin of acceptance. "That's a deal. Would seven o'clock be too
early?"
"Not at all. I'll see you then."
Aidan snagged her hand and brushed another kiss over the backs of her fingers.
When his dark brown eyes met hers, she could swear they smoldered with passion. A
pang of desire shot through to her loins, and she swallowed hard.
"Until tomorrow then," he murmured.
With that, he left. She watched as he quickly hitched the horses to the wagon andclimbed to the seat. Her chest felt tight as he gave her a final wave and turned his
wagon toward the road.
Once he had driven out of sight, she went inside and closed the door. As she
undressed, her mind was busy. She reviewed every moment that they had spent
together. They barely knew each other, but she would swear that Aidan was just as
attracted to her as she was to him. Her womanly instincts were insisting that he had
hesitated, and he had almost kissed her. She wondered why he hadn't. She realized,
with some surprise, that she would have gladly accepted his advances.
Aidan was so very different from her late husband. Richard had been old enough to
be her father. In retrospect, his behavior toward her had sometimes been more similar
to a father than a husband. On the other hand, Aidan was young and vigorous, a man
in his prime. He left no doubt when he looked at her that he saw a mature and very
desirable woman rather than a young girl.
Richard had always been very particular about her clothes, wanting Naomi to dress
in a way that would reflect well on him. Aidan looked at her like he wanted to get her out
of her clothes.
Richard had always treated her with affection, but he had always remained
somewhat reserved. Aidan was anything but reserved. She had the impression that he
wanted to gobble her up. In fact, she could swear that he was struggling as much as
she was to hide the depth of his desire.
Remembering the smoldering heat in Aidan's eyes just before he left, Naomi
shivered with an answering hunger. He was not alone in his fascination. She felt every
bit as drawn to him as he seemed to be to her. She was almost certain that if she gave
the word, he would be all too eager to make love to her.
Having such lustful thoughts came as a shock to Naomi. She had never had such
lustful thoughts about her husband. In fact, lovemaking had never been all that
pleasurable for her during her five-year marriage. Richard had always been gentle
when he came to her bed, but he had taken his pleasure swiftly, with minimal fuss.
Richard had only come to her in the dark of night. He never undressed and he rarely
kissed or caressed her. He simply climbed between the sheets, lifted the hem of her
gown and thrust into her a few times. It never took more than a couple of minutes for
him to reach his climax. Then, he would deposit his seed inside her, thank her with a
kiss on her brow and return to his own bedroom to sleep.
Naomi remembered feeling frustrated and wondering whether there something
crucial she was missing. She would sometimes hear Richard snoring contentedly from
the next room while she was left feeling hollow, hungry, restless and confused. She had
always felt there was something more, but she didn't know what. And she never felt
confident enough to discuss it with her husband. There had been many nights when
she had cried herself to sleep.
However, when she asked, her women friends had always confirmed that the
marriage bed was only pleasurable for the man. Lovemaking was something men
enjoyed and women endured, they said. Not knowing any different, Naomi had
accepted their collective wisdom.
About a year after her husband's death, Naomi had overheard two of the maids
whispering about having sexual relations with men. Naomi's cheeks had burned as she
eavesdropped. The two girls had sounded vastly more experienced than she was.Some of the things they described didn't even sound plausible. But, the two maids had
spoken as if making love was fun and something to be enjoyed. In fact, they indulged
frequently, because it apparently brought them so much pleasure.
Naomi had been intrigued, wondering once again whether she had missed out on
something. However, at the time, she had felt she would never be with another man, so
she had pushed those thoughts to the back of her mind. There was no point in
speculating, since her lovemaking days were behind her.
However, since meeting Aidan, Naomi was growing increasingly curious about the
possibilities to be had between a woman and a man. With just a heated look or a touch
of his hand on hers, he made her ache with desire. For the first time in her life, a man
truly tempted her.
With Aidan, she felt desire all the time, and the intensity of her desire was almost
frightening. In fact, she found it difficult to focus on anything but her lust whenever she
was with him. She desperately wanted to know what it would be like to have Aidan
make love to her.
Would the strength of her feelings make it more enjoyable, or would they lead to
even greater frustration and longing? For some reason, she felt confident that Aidan
would know how to satisfy her hunger and not leave her wanting. Naomi frowned
thoughtfully as that instinct turned more and more into a certainty.
Naomi had come to Oregon to start a new life. She had no intention of ever marrying
again. She had her reasons, apart from dissatisfaction in the marriage bed. Her
reasons were valid ones and would not change. Marriage was simply not an option.
Still, she didn't relish the idea of living a lifetime of loneliness. She was only
twentyfour years old. Should she have to spend the remainder of her days as a lonely widow?
Perhaps she could enjoy physical intimacy, as her two maids had obviously done.
Aidan had shown up on her doorstep by fluke. Was it so very wrong to consider having
a temporary physical relationship with him?
The thought of taking a lover had never crossed her mind in the past. However, she
had never been faced with a man as handsome and charming as Aidan. She had never
felt an attraction this strong. She had never burned for a man's touch. Her late husband
had inspired her admiration but never her desire, and that realization caused her pangs
of guilt.
Still, she couldn't deny that she was terribly drawn to Aidan. She had been sorely
tempted to throw herself in his arms and kiss him while they were saying their
goodbyes.
Had Aidan not left of his own accord, she might very well have embarrassed herself.
She had wanted him to kiss her. In fact, she wanted him to do much more than kiss
her. She wanted to know whether Aidan could satisfy the desires that had been buried
inside her for so long. The thought made her gasp, but even as color flooded her
cheeks, a slow grin spread across her face.
The thought of taking a lover was beginning to take root more firmly in her mind.
She waited for her conscience to rail at her or for a terrible sense of guilt to wash over
her. Instead, she only felt a building sense of excitement and anticipation.
Why shouldn't she take a lover? She didn't want a husband, but there was no
reason not to enjoy a man's touch, especially when that man was as desirable as Aidan
McKenzie. Men took lovers all the time. Why shouldn't she? Who would be harmed byit?
Delicious fantasies of Aidan flitted through her mind. Did she truly have the courage
to seduce him? What if he rejected her? It would be terribly humiliating if he walked out
the door and never returned. Still, she had little to lose and a lot to gain. Her womanly
intuition was telling her that he wanted her just as badly as she wanted him. The way
he devoured her with his eyes certainly seemed to attest to that.
Naomi began washing the dishes as she planned for the following day. When Aidan
returned in the morning, she was determined to make her desires clear. If Aidan wanted
her half as much as she thought he did, it should be a simple matter to entice him into
her bed. A throbbing ache settled between her thighs, and she moaned softly. It was
promising to be a long, lonely, frustrating night.
AIDAN once again drove home with his mind in a fog. He had never felt so drawn to a
woman before. Naomi was not only beautiful; she was witty, mature, intelligent and
charming. He wanted her in the worst possible way.
He had never had to woo a woman before, and he was somewhat at a loss. Was
there some predefined script for courting a woman? Was he supposed to know her for
a certain amount of time before he kissed her? Were the rules any different since she
was a widow?
Perhaps the best thing would be to simply spend more time with her. Hopefully, they
would figure it out together. He had the sense that she was attracted to him too,
although she likely had no idea how intensely he wanted her. He would have to take
things slowly so as not to frighten her. However, he was determined to win her for his
wife, whatever it took.
He would have to be careful not to let his desire get out of control. He was ashamed
of the lustful thoughts that had plagued him all during church and during lunch
afterward. Maybe it had been too long since he had been with a woman.
He gave a disgusted snort. He knew that his recent abstinence wasn't what drove
his desires. It had only been a couple of weeks since he had visited Harvey's. The
saloon girls were all very pretty, and they wore extremely revealing clothes. Still, none
of them excited him like Naomi did when she was dressed as she had been for church.
Her modest dress had been buttoned primly all the way to her neck, and yet all that he
had been able to think about was unbuttoning it to reveal her lush breasts.
At least he didn't think he was alone in his desires. Naomi seemed attracted to him
as well. The way she had looked at him just before he left made him think she might be
open to more than just friendship. In fact, he could swear he saw desire in her big blue
eyes. But maybe he was just seeing what he wanted to see.
He would find out, one way or another, soon. He would let her know how he felt. He
would court her and woo her until he made her his own. With enough patience, she
would become his wife. And then, he would spend the rest of his days loving her and
making love to her.On that happy note, he turned the wagon into his drive.CHAPTER 4
he following day, Aidan rushed through his morning chores. He loaded cratesT of peaches, jars, sugar and paraffin into his wagon and drove to Naomi's
cabin. She had haunted his dreams and he couldn't wait to see her again.
He arrived just at the appointed time, and he jumped down from the wagon. He
could see signs of activity from inside the cabin, and he smelled bacon frying. He
knocked on the door and heard Naomi's muffled voice from inside, bidding him to enter.
The sight that greeted him as he opened the door drove his breath out of his chest and
sent hot blood pounding through his loins. He felt like he had been punched in the gut.
Naomi was dressed in a white cotton nightgown with only a soft blue wrapper over it,
belted at her slim waist. She was bent over, pulling a pan of biscuits from the oven. The
thin blue cotton molded lovingly to her bottom, and the hem of her gown had risen in
the back to give him a tantalizing view of shapely calves, dainty ankles and delicate
bare feet. Her bottom wiggled enticingly as she stepped back with the pan and closed
the oven door with one well rounded hip before turning to face him.
She flashed him a brilliant smile of welcome and set the pan of biscuits on the table
beside a platter of steaming bacon and eggs. Aidan ignored the food as his eyes made
a slow survey of her from head to toe. He wouldn't have been able to disguise his lust if
his life had depended on it at that moment.
Her cheeks were rosy, and her hair hung in thick, shimmering auburn waves down
her back. Her breasts were soft and unfettered beneath her nightgown, and he paused
for a long moment to enjoy the obvious outline of her nipples standing proudly erect. It
took every ounce of effort to drag his eyes back up to meet hers.
Aidan wished fervently that he had been beside her in bed when she woke up
looking so tempting and luscious. Naomi stood composed beneath his heated regard
and waited for him to meet her eye again before she let her smile deepen.
"Good morning, Aidan."
Aidan had to clear his throat before he could speak. "Good morning. Am I early? I
thought we agreed I would be here at seven o'clock," he said uncertainly.
"No, not at all. You're just on time. Come in. Sit down. I made you some breakfast,
and I hope you're hungry."
Had he imagined the heat in her gaze? It was inappropriate for him to see her in her
nightgown and robe, much less for them to be alone together when she was dressed
like this. However, she seemed utterly unconcerned.
Aidan had had dozens of women flirt with him over the years and offer him their
favors. He didn't want to misinterpret her intent, but unless he was grossly mistaken,
Naomi was offering him far more than just breakfast.He eyed her carefully. "Perhaps I should wait outside while you get dressed."
"Nonsense. I'm perfectly decent," she said with a smile. "Don't you think so?"
She raised her eyebrows questioningly. She stood still before him, inviting him…no,
practically daring him to take another look at her body. Aidan couldn't resist the offer,
and he subjected her to another lengthy inspection. His heated gazed lingered on her
many curves, especially her charmingly displayed breasts, her tiny waist, and her
sweetly rounded but slender hips. She was absolutely stunning. His cock throbbed in
his britches.
Naomi's gaze dropped to his obvious erection, and she didn't seem alarmed in the
least, even when he closed the door and deliberately dropped the bar in place while
giving her a pointed stare. He took several steps toward her, stopping with only a few
inches between them.
Their eyes met and held for several long moments. Aidan watched her for any sign
that he may have misunderstood, but she continued to stand calmly before him. Did
she know how close she was to being ravished?
Naomi cleared her throat nervously. "Please, have a seat and let me get you some
coffee. You must be starving."
She turned aside to reach for the coffee pot, but Aidan caught her hand in his and
turned her back to face him. He hadn't planned to make a bold pass at her, but the
sight of her in her nightgown had pushed his good sense to the very back corner of his
mind. If she was offering everything he thought she was, he wasn't about to refuse her
offer.
He pulled her slowly toward him, giving her ample opportunity to resist if she
wanted. Instead, she came willingly into his arms and sank against him, pressing her
succulent breasts against his chest. He tried to read her eyes, but all he could see was
anticipation in their cornflower blue depths. Could it be that she wanted him as badly as
he wanted her? He cupped her cheek in his palm and caressed the side of her neck as
he held her gaze.
"I am starving, Naomi, but not for food," he whispered, letting his gaze dip to the
tantalizing view of her breasts. "I feel like a feast has just been laid before me. Unless it
is your intention to land naked on your back on that bed over there, I suggest you put
some clothes on while I wait outside. I'm afraid my self-restraint is sorely strained right
now, and I'm finding it almost impossible to behave like a gentleman."
NAOMI WAS THRILLED by his response. His reaction was everything she could have hoped
for, and her own body was desperate for his touch. She shocked him when she
stretched onto her tiptoes to kiss his jaw where it met his neck. She traced a molten
path with her tongue to his ear, and her voice was sinfully delightful as she whispered
in his ear, "I'm willing to satisfy any appetites you might have, Aidan. I'm just as hungry
as you are. I couldn't sleep at all last night for thinking about you."
Her words sealed their fate. With a low growl, Aidan cupped her bottom in his palmand bent to devour her lips. Naomi felt as if she had been caught in a hurricane as he
plundered the depths of her mouth. She encouraged him to feast, and she responded
with her own hunger. Heat welled between them as their mouths melded and their
tongues tangled.
This was different from any kiss Naomi had experienced before. Her husband had
given her chaste pecks on the lips, cheek or forehead. Aidan devoured her mouth,
thrusting his tongue between her lips and inflaming her lust. Every fiery stroke of his
tongue caused a jolt of hunger in her loins, and she clung to him, doing everything she
could to encourage him to ravish her. Her responsiveness made Aidan ache for her,
and he deepened the kiss, letting their passions ignite.
Naomi fed the flames, stroking the hair at his nape and pressing her body intimately
against his. Her low moan seemed to inflame him even further, and he ground his hips
against her. The feeling of his rampant erection cradled against her soft belly only
intensified Naomi's need, and she moaned again. This was so different from anything
she had ever experienced, and she wanted more!
She met his every demand, only distantly aware that he had untied her robe and
brushed it over her shoulders. His fingers were impatient on the buttons of her gown,
and when he had gotten them all opened, he broke off from the kiss and met her gaze.
They were both breathing raggedly.
He reached inside her nightgown and cupped one naked breast in his palm. When
he kneaded the plump orb, Naomi gasped. Once again, he hesitated.
"Are you sure this is what you want, Naomi?"
His voice was dark and gravelly with passion, and she shivered. She felt starved for
his touch. His fingers were caressing her nipple, tugging, and twisting the sensitive
flesh. Her breast swelled in his palm, and she felt feverish. Her lower belly throbbed
with an empty ache. In that moment of blinding clarity, she was certain that Aidan could
satisfy her desires and not leave her feeling hungry and empty. She wanted what he
could give her more than anything she had ever wanted before.
"Yes," she whispered. "Please don't stop."
Aidan's eyes flared with possessive heat. He slowly and deliberately spread the two
halves of her nightgown and bared her body to his gaze. He brushed the garment down
over her shoulders and hips and let it slither to the floor.
She was even more beautiful than he had imagined. Her breasts were high, full and
firm. The generous mounds were topped with pouting, rose colored nipples that
practically begged to be touched and suckled. Her ivory skin was smooth perfection.
Her flat belly and tiny waist flared into generously curved hips. Her legs were long and
willowy, beautifully curved, and perfect for wrapping around his waist. A coy thatch of
reddish-brown hair covered her mound, and his eyes flared with desire as he
anticipated running his fingers through those downy curls.
Naomi stood naked before him, feeling consumed by the heat in his eyes but
allowing him to look to his heart's content. She had only been nude in front of a man
once before, and that had been a thoroughly humiliating and unpleasant experience. It
was all she could do to keep from covering herself with her hands.
However, she was pleasantly surprised at the feelings she was experiencing as
Aidan looked at her. Rather than feeling embarrassed or demeaned, she felt powerful.
Seeing the raw desire in his eyes boosted her confidence, and she stood very still sohe could look as long as he wanted.
Aidan took his time, and her pulse pounded wildly as he obviously appreciated the
sight of her. His eyes touched her everywhere, and beneath his burning stare, her
nipples swelled and hardened further until they were painfully hard nubs. She felt
moisture begin to pool between her thighs, and the sensitive flesh of her clit throbbed
and ached.
With a primitive growl, Aiden bent her back over his arm and seized one nipple with
his mouth. Naomi gasped from the flaming heat of his tongue on her breast. The
sensations he evoked were entirely new, but she responded eagerly and instinctively.
This was so very different from her previous experiences with lovemaking. Her husband
had never touched her this way. She had never known it could be like this, and she
loved it. She clutched Aidan's head to her breast, moaning his name. She felt
shameless and needy and desperate for more.
Aidan feasted. He loved the mewling sounds of her pleasure, and his hands
possessed her body with greedy delight. Her skin was heated silk. Her curves were the
stuff his dreams were made from. Her responsiveness called forth every barbarian
instinct he had, and he was focused single mindedly on claiming her as his woman in
every possible way.
It seemed Naomi understood his need. She cupped her breast and held it up to his
mouth as an offering to appease his hunger. Aidan ravished her nipple, drawing so
hard on the tender morsel that she cried out from the exquisite mixture of pain and
pleasure. However, instead of drawing back, she arched her back and pressed her
breast more fully into his mouth. Aidan nipped her with his teeth, and she quivered in
his arms but stroked his cheek in a wordless plea for more.
Her wanton responsiveness only made him more ravenous, and he shifted to her
other breast to see if it tasted just as sweet. Naomi was happy to oblige him, and she
threaded her fingers through his hair, clutching his mouth to her breast as her head
dropped back with a low moan of pleasure.
Possessed with an urgency he had never known before, Aidan scooped her into his
arms and carried her to the bed. He laid her cross ways on the edge of the bed, while
he remained standing over her. He noticed that she had made a pallet out of several
blankets over the rope bed frame. It was serviceable but not very soft, and he made a
mental note to bring her a better mattress. He had no intention of seeing her lovely
bottom get bruised from making love on a bed that wasn't soft enough for her.
Aidan's kisses had banished her modesty, and Naomi was thrilled by the
possessive heat in his eyes. She made no move to shield herself from his gaze as he
pulled her legs wide apart. He set her feet on the edges of the bed, exposing her most
private flesh to him.
There was no way Aidan could know that only one other man had viewed her thusly.
That man had not been her husband, and the experience had been traumatic and
utterly humiliating for Naomi. She would have thought that being so exposed once
again should have shamed her, but instead, Naomi felt aroused, excited, and eager.
The feelings were so different from the ones she had experienced in the past that she
felt as if an old wound were being healed.
Naomi watched Aidan's face as he stood beside the bed, lightly running his fingers
over her slick folds. He touched her with a possessive greed that took her breath away,and yet there was also reverence in his eyes. He inspected her leisurely, once again
taking his time as he touched every inch of her throbbing, glistening flesh. It was as if
he was memorizing her, learning her.
He located the pearl of her arousal and teased it, squeezing it firmly and flicking it
with his thumb. It began to swell and become even more sensitive as it grew in size.
Naomi bit her bottom lip and whimpered.
Naomi was dripping with musky dew, and he slid first one then two broad fingers
deep inside her. She was incredibly tight and hot, and he speared her rhythmically. He
continued to tease her clit occasionally with his thumb, as she began to flower
beautifully for him.
He relished her response, drawing forth even more of her precious fluid until she
was slick and swollen. He could smell her musky scent, and his cock throbbed in his
britches. Her pink outer lips spread open invitingly like a blossoming flower, ripe for him
to plunder. She writhed on the bed, moaning, and arching her hips against his fingers.
Aidan's touch was masterful, fondling her as if her sole purpose in life was to please
him, and his was to please her. He wasn't in a rush. He caressed and teased, probed,
and delved as she became hotter, wetter, and ever more desperately needy. He began
to squeeze her clit in time with his thrusting fingers. Finally, he pressed his probing
fingers against a very sensitive spot deep inside her, and she gasped. Naomi's face
registered shock just before she shattered.
She soared free, only dimly aware of her keening moans of pleasure. She could feel
her inner muscles clenching down on his fingers, and she clutched the back of his hand
to hold him deep inside her. It was the most incredible feeling she could imagine, and
she finally began to realize what she had been missing.
"You're so beautiful," he murmured, fluttering his fingers inside her to prolong her
pleasure.
Aidan was surprised that she was so obviously unfamiliar with what she was
experiencing during her climax, but he was so overcome by lust that he had no time to
further ponder that at the moment. He waited until she began to come back down to
earth, and then he stroked her more.
When she was once again panting and moaning, Aidan met her eyes and
unbuttoned his britches. He didn't bother to undress. He merely freed his magnificent
erection and stood stroking its length as he studied her eyes. She was staring at his
engorged shaft, clearly fascinated.
Naomi had never seen a naked man before. Her late husband had believed that
nudity was indecent, so she had never seen him naked. Faced with Aidan's massive
shaft, she was shocked that it was so large, and the idea of it fitting inside her was
slightly terrifying. Had she been a virgin, she might have quaked in fear. Instead, sharp
pangs of desire shot to her womb. She desperately wanted to feel him inside her, the
sooner the better.
Once again, Aidan paused. He hadn't planned to take her like this, like some
barbarian intent on ravishing her. He had meant to woo her and court her. He wanted
her as his wife, not his mistress. But he hadn't planned on being broadsided by the
sight of her half-dressed body so soon after spending a torturous night fantasizing
about her. Nor had he taken her enthusiastic response and downright eagerness into
account. She was far from the timid widow he had presumed her to be."Are you sure this is what you want?" he asked, holding his breath while he prayed
for the answer he needed. If she turned him away now, he would likely lose his mind.
Naomi swallowed hard but gave him a tentative smile and pulled his hips toward her
using her calves. "Yes! Please don't stop. I need you inside me."
He guided himself to her entrance and slid partway into her depths. She was
incredibly tight and hot, and he closed his eyes briefly to savor the sensation of working
himself gradually deeper into her snug sheath. He opened his eyes and watched her
expression as he pressed steadily farther into her with shortened strokes. It was
gratifying to watch her widening eyes as he invaded her body, inch by slow inch.
Naomi had never felt so incredibly full. Aidan's erection was much larger than her
husband's had been, and she began to worry that he might not fit. Aidan firmly gripped
her hips and held her pinned in place while he thrust inexorably deeper.
Just when she started to panic that he was too big for her, he flexed his hips and
thrust all the way inside her, forcing her breath out on a low moan. Her wide eyes met
his, and he held her surprised gaze as he withdrew and thrust into her forcefully, even
deeper than the first time.
When the broad head of his shaft butted against her womb, he gave a groan of pure
pleasure and closed his eyes to savor her molten sheath gripping him like the tightest,
hottest glove. Then, his eyes locked with hers once more, and he began to ride her with
deep, leisurely, mind-shattering strokes that coaxed a steady stream of pleasured
moans and gasps from her parted lips.
Aidan's features had hardened with passion. He wasn't hurting her in any way, but
there was a savage undertone to the way he handled her. He continued to hold her
down while he boldly plundered her body in the most intimate way possible.
Over and over, he demanded that her body receive him, and over and over, she
acquiesced. She had offered herself to him, and he had seized her, claimed her, and
now he was branding her as his. She felt possessed by him, his to enjoy and consume
as he wished. The feeling was glorious. She shivered with delight.
Aidan was completely captivated. Naomi was gorgeous. She eagerly met each
thrust, encouraging him to wallow in her wet heat with every probing invasion. Nothing
had ever felt so good before. The more harshly his body forged into hers, the more
readily she accepted him.
Naomi was struck by the differences between them. He was large, and she was
small. He was powerful; she was vulnerable. He was all hardness and steel to her
softness and velvety heat. He was clothed while she lay naked beneath him. The
contrasts thrilled her.
His wool britches scratched her inner thighs, highlighting her nudity and how
wantonly she was behaving. She loved the feeling of her body being exposed for him…
his to enjoy, his to take pleasure in, his to devour. His eyes burned as he assessed her
naked curves with proprietary satisfaction. She was delighted by his possessive gaze.
The heat in his eyes was obvious. She had never felt so desirable.
Her breasts bounced on her chest as he possessed her, and he reached to cup the
luscious mounds and squeeze her nipples firmly in his fingers. She shattered again,
clutching him with her thighs and screaming with surprised delight as her inner muscles
squeezed him in wonderful, rhythmic waves.
Sweat broke out on Aidan's forehead as he watched her second orgasm roll throughher. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, and he wasn't ready to have
their first joining be over so quickly.
He remained still inside her but caressed her lush breasts, trim waist, and sweetly
curved hips as she floated in a sea of blissful release. Her thighs were clamped around
his hips, as she tried to keep him still.
When he couldn't wait any longer, he suckled one nipple into his mouth and bit
down hard enough for her to gasp and come back to full awareness. She responded to
his unvoiced demand by unlocking her thighs and flinging them wide apart, inviting him
to plunder once again. He took full advantage, claiming her body with increasingly
blatant thrusts. She was so wet that he made slick noises with each pounding stroke.
Her nipples were sensitized from his earlier ravishment, and he taunted them,
suckling hard on them, and scraping them with his teeth as he wallowed in her velvety
heat. He reached down to grasp her clit and squeezed in time to his thrusts. She came
apart a third time, screaming his name as she clutched him deep inside her. The grip of
her inner muscles almost made him climax, but he held on to his control by a thread.
The feeling of pleasuring her was too intoxicating. He still wasn't ready for it to end.
Aidan abruptly withdrew from her and flipped her onto all fours. She whimpered from
the loss of his heat and looked up at him from over her shoulder. Her face was etched
with confusion.
"What are you doing?"
Aidan didn't answer in words. He couldn't. His throat was clogged by emotion. He
pulled her knees wide apart, gripped her hips and plunged into her, just as he had done
in his dreams. His hoarse groan of satisfaction made her shiver with delight.
"Oh! Oh my…" her voice trailed off with a gasp as he thrust deeper.
This position gave him even better access to her most tender flesh. Naomi tilted her
hips backward, flagrantly offering her body to him as he took her. With each harsh
invasion, she felt him battering against her womb, and she moaned. She'd had no idea
there were different ways to make love, but she was learning fast. She loved everything
Aidan did with her.
It was all so shocking for Naomi. The way Aidan handled her was animalistic and
wild. It made her wild too, and she gloried in every deep, probing stroke that
emphasized his control over her body. The more he demanded, the more blatantly he
claimed her, the more she wanted to surrender to his control. She yielded, and he
advanced. She softened around him, and he thrust ever deeper into her willing body.
Aidan held her immobile, his to use as he wanted. He was so much stronger than
she was. The feel of his masterful hands gripping her hips and anchoring her in place
made her shiver with delight. She loved that she was helpless to do anything other than
brace for his thrusts, and each one was forceful enough to lift her knees off the bed.
Still, she wanted to signal her acceptance even more. She managed to angle her
hips backward, giving him even better access. He responded by thrusting deeper with a
satisfied growl.
She was thrilled by the feeling of being his, possessed fully by him and held
completely at his mercy. Her body became his vessel, his to take and use as he
wanted, his to tease and torment, his to plunder. She gave her body to him
wholeheartedly, and he accepted her offering, flagrantly savoring her welcoming heat.
Aidan grabbed both of her nipples and twisted them until they throbbed. Naomiscreamed and climaxed yet again. This time, he continued, timing his harsh thrusts
with firm pinches on her tender nipples. Every stroke made her orgasm last even longer
until she thought she might go mad from the pleasure.
When she thought she couldn't stand the ecstasy for one more moment, he ground
into her depths and held her motionless with her bottom pressed snugly against him as
he pumped his seed deep into her body.
Naomi could feel his molten fluid bathing her womb in a series of endless, spurting
waves. She shivered from the intimacy. He had claimed her in the most primitive way
possible…flooding her body with his seed. Her body greedily welcomed him, milking
him in rippling contractions as he showered her inner walls with shockingly hot spurts.
When the last tremors finally faded, he slipped from her depths and released his
grip on her hips. She fell in a boneless heap on the bed. He kicked off his boots and
joined her, pulling her spoon-like against his chest. He cupped one breast possessively
in his palm and gave her nipple a final squeeze as he kissed her neck.
"Thank you, Naomi. I definitely needed that," he murmured drowsily.
Naomi smiled and snuggled closer against him. She pulled the blanket over them
both, completely content to lie naked in the arms of her lover. She could already hear
his breathing slowing down, and with a deep sigh of satisfaction, she fell asleep in his
arms.CHAPTER 5
aomi came slowly back to awareness, briefly wondering about the sense ofN total peace that she felt for the first time in as long as she could remember.
In fact, she never remembered feeling this contented. It took a few moments for her
addled senses to realize where she was and what had just happened.
She lay cradled in Aidan's arms, with his well-muscled chest pressed against her
back and one large hand cupped possessively around her naked breast. His strong,
steady heartbeat against her back was like a soothing balm to her soul.
Only she knew how astounding it was that she had seduced him. Prior to meeting
Aidan, the only man she had ever made love with was her husband. Nothing she had
ever experienced in her marriage bed had been like this, and she was shocked to her
toes.
Her instincts had proven sound. She had thought that making love with Aidan would
be different, and she had not been disappointed. In fact, nothing had ever been so
thrilling.
Naomi had never experienced sexual fulfillment before. Aidan had brought her to
climax not once, but several times. She felt like she was glowing with pleasure. She
had not had any idea that such delight was even possible. Now that she knew, she was
eager to learn more and to experience those incredible feelings again.
Perhaps she should have been feeling guilty and disloyal to her husband's memory,
but she didn't. She had done everything she could to be a good wife while her husband
was alive. Now that he was gone, she saw no reason to feel guilty for living. After all, it
wasn't as if she had gone in search of a man to become her lover. Chance had thrown
her and Aidan together. They couldn't help that they had felt an instant attraction for
one another.
Naomi's late husband had been as different from Aidan as night was from day. She
had met Richard when she was seventeen, and she had been instantly smitten with his
handsome face and charming wit. She had been full of girlish dreams of having a
husband and family of her own.
Naomi had been an only child, orphaned at the age of twelve. Having a big, happy
family of her own had always been important to her. Her parents had died in a house
fire, and she had been left homeless and alone. An aged aunt had taken her in out of
obligation, but she always let Naomi know that she was not really welcome in her aunt's
home.
Her parents had left Naomi a small inheritance. She knew it was more than enough
to compensate her aunt for her upkeep. However, her aunt always made Naomi feel
that she was a burden and that she was unwanted. Her aunt had a knack for makingher feel insecure and dreadfully flawed.
During the five years that she lived with her aunt, Naomi nurtured her dreams of
making a life for herself with a loving husband and children she could cherish. When
she met Richard, she had felt certain that he was the right man to fulfill her dreams.
However, at forty years of age, Richard had been more than twice her age. He
barely noticed Naomi at first. To him, she had seemed little more than a child.
Naomi had worshipped him from the start, and she had made up her mind that he
would become her husband someday. She had been dedicated to making him see her
as a woman and winning his affection.
Naomi had begun dressing in styles that were quite mature for her age. She had
begun circulating with women who were older and already married. Soon, she was
being invited to many of the same dinner parties and social engagements as Richard.
As several of his friends began to notice her, Richard took notice too. Naomi flourished
beneath his attention, growing ever more confident and mature.
It hadn't taken long for Richard to become enchanted by Naomi's beauty and sweet
disposition. She was the center of attention for the eligible men of their social circle.
Richard began to view her as a possible wife. The more other men vied for her
attentions, especially his good friend Dr. Morton, the more determined Richard grew to
have her for his own.
Even her aunt approved of Richard, and she told Naomi that she was incredibly
lucky that he was interested in her. Her aunt admonished her not to let him get away,
since it was unlikely any other man would want her.
The day he proposed marriage, it seemed that all her dreams were coming true.
Richard swore that her agreement to become his wife had made him the luckiest man
alive.
Their wedding was a lavish affair, with the best of San Francisco society in
attendance. Naomi felt like a princess in a fairy tale, and she was convinced she had
found her prince.
Richard was a caring husband, even if he was often distracted by his business
interests. He was a gentle lover, and he treated Naomi almost as if she were a fragile
doll.
When he came to her bed, it was always in the dark of night. They made love only
beneath the covers, and neither of them ever undressed. Richard sometimes caressed
her breasts or felt between her thighs, but his touch was brief and perfunctory. Then, he
would press into her body gently, thrust his hips for a few brief moments and then moan
in satisfaction.
Naomi had always been left feeling bewildered, restless, and unsatisfied, but she
had assumed those feelings were normal. Other wives seemed to feel similarly. They
spoke of "wifely duties" as an ordeal, something to be endured and tolerated rather
than something to enjoy. They reassured her that once she had a few children, her
husband would make less frequent demands on her.
Naomi was too embarrassed to explain that she actually wished Richard would
spend more time with her in bed. She hungered for something, even though she didn't
understand exactly what she was missing. She thought that there must be something
wrong with her to have such unseemly desires. Since Richard was so good to her in
other ways, Naomi never questioned him about their relationship in bed. She assumedhe knew best.
In fact, Richard ran every aspect of their lives. If he was sometimes a bit high
handed, impatient, or dismissive, she attributed his behavior to the difference in their
ages and the fact that he was always busy with running his business. She was content
to let him steer their relationship. She felt honored that he had chosen her for his wife,
and she assumed that all was well.
For a time, Naomi blossomed as his wife. It seemed for the first year that their
marriage was nearly perfect. Richard was a prosperous businessman in San Francisco.
He provided Naomi with a lovely home, lavish clothes, and fine furnishings. He
mentored her as she grew into a mature young woman, and he took pride in her
acceptance among his friends. His family became her family. His friends became her
friends. She built her entire world around her husband, and her life seemed happy and
full. She was no longer alone. She no longer felt unloved or unwanted.
Their life together had indeed seemed perfect, except for one very important thing.
The one thing Richard asked of her, she had not been able to give him. In all the time
they were married, Naomi never became pregnant.
They hadn't worried about it at first. In fact, during their first few months together,
Richard teased her that they would simply have to try harder. He began to come to her
bed every night rather than only once or twice a week. Despite her growing sexual
frustration, Naomi didn't complain about his nightly demands. She was desperate to
have Richard's child. He reassured her, confident that she would soon conceive.
They shrugged off the comments of family and friends who kept asking when they
were going to have children. Over time, the comments stopped, to be replaced by
pitying glances. It was obvious that everyone thought Naomi was less than a perfect
wife. She was a disappointment. She was a failure.
Richard's parents, anxious for grandchildren, didn't bother to hide their outright
disapproval of Naomi. They remarked on several occasions that a woman who couldn't
bear children was something less than a real woman. It gradually became obvious that
Richard felt the same, although he never came right out and said so in words.
As months and then years passed, their lovemaking became a desperate chore.
Even Richard no longer took pleasure in their coupling. Each time he came to her, it
seemed he was on a mission, finishing his business as quickly as possible and then
returning to his own bed to sleep.
Naomi often cried herself to sleep. Each month, when she had her courses, his
moods would alternate between despair and anger. He never said it in words, but the
blame was there in his eyes when he looked at her. After three years of marriage, he
stopped coming to her bed at all.
During the fourth and fifth years of their short marriage, Richard began to stay out
late, night after night. Sometimes he didn't come home at all, and he claimed he had
slept at the office. Naomi heard rumors that he had a series of mistresses. She didn't
feel that she could confront him, because she felt so guilty about not giving him a child.
Instead, she pretended not to know, and they drifted even further apart.
Then, just as quickly as Richard had come into her life, he was gone. One day, he
was a strong, vigorous man in the prime of his life, and two weeks later, he was dead.
Richard's illness progressed so quickly that Naomi was caught off guard. She had
thought he had a cold or influenza, but he developed a terrible fever, lapsed into acoma and never recovered.
To add to her pain, Dr. Morton, one of Richard's longtime friends and one of the
many men who had been interested in marrying her himself, said that Richard had died
from syphilis. The doctor insisted that she allow him to examine her lest she also fall ill
from the dreadful disease.
Naomi had never liked the doctor, and she didn't feel comfortable in his company.
He always looked at her in a way that made her slightly nervous. However, when he
mentioned syphilis and offered to perform the exam for her, she allowed him to do so.
He told her it would be easier than having some strange doctor do the exam.
Dr. Morton had instructed her to come to his office late one afternoon, soon after
Richard's death. The doctor had his nurse draw a sample of Naomi's blood, and then
he dismissed the nurse for the rest of the day. Naomi remembered feeling
uncomfortable being alone with him, but nonetheless, she had allowed him to continue
with the examination. She had no way of knowing just how humiliating the experience
would be.
Even now, two years afterward, Naomi shuddered as she remembered the ordeal.
The doctor had begun by making her undress completely. She remembered walking
out from behind the privacy screen, blushing while she tried to shield her nudity with
her hands.
The doctor had pulled her hands down to her sides and had instructed her to stand
in the middle of his office while he walked all around her. He had touched and looked at
literally every inch of her body. She remembered the feeling of his fingers stroking and
exploring her. Not being a physician herself, she had no real idea what he had been
looking for, but she had been too mortified at the time to question anything the doctor
did.
The doctor had spent an inordinate amount of time examining her breasts. Naomi
had fought back shudders of disgust as he arrogantly handled her breasts. Her cheeks
had flamed, and she kept her eyes squeezed tightly closed while he cupped her
breasts in his hands and pinched and squeezed her nipples. She could swear that she
heard him groan with pleasure at one point, but she felt too terrified to confront him. He
had explained that he was looking for lesions, rashes, or swollen glands. However, in
hindsight, she was convinced that he had simply been enjoying himself by humiliating
her.
Just when she thought the worst was over, he had instructed her to lie down on a
special examination table. To her everlasting shame, he had placed her feet into metal
stirrups and brusquely pushed her thighs wide apart. Naomi still remembered the small
sound of obvious pleasure he made while he stood looking down at her most private
and vulnerable flesh. She had squeezed her eyes tightly shut once again and gripped
the edges of the narrow table. His hands made her skin crawl as he stroked and
examined her for what seemed like an eternity.
She had protested when he inserted two fingers inside her, but he had insisted he
needed to feel for any lesions that might not be visible from the outside. Once again,
she had submitted to his will, inwardly cringing with shame. She still remembered the
mortifying feeling of his loathsome fingers moving inside her body. It had probably only
lasted a minute or two, but the excruciating ordeal was still burned in her memory.
At last, he had finally patted the inside of her thighs, still standing between them sothat she couldn't close her legs. She would never forget what he said to her as he stood
there, still staring down at her exposed flesh.
"You're very lucky, Naomi. I don't see any signs that you have contracted syphilis. In
fact, your body is quite beautiful." He had leered at her then, and she had felt like
vomiting. "After a respectable period of mourning, I hope that you will allow me to court
you."
She had barely been able to speak, and her reply had come out as a mere whisper,
"May I get dressed now, please?"
"Yes, of course, dear."
Naomi had nearly died from embarrassment as she jumped down from the table and
ran behind the screen to get dressed again. She had been greatly relieved when the
doctor pronounced that she did not have the dreaded disease. However, she had been
left with the knowledge that Richard's infidelity had led to his death.
The doctor had informed her that she had been extremely fortunate that Richard
stopped coming to her bed once he began consorting with mistresses. Naomi had fled
from the doctor's office, feeling utterly violated. She had firmly resolved to never set
eyes on the wretched doctor ever again.
Despite knowing that Richard's affairs had brought about his own death, Naomi was
filled with guilt and grief. If only she had given Richard a child, she was convinced he
would never have strayed from their marriage bed. She felt like the worst kind of failure,
and she sank into a pit of despair.
At first, her friends gathered around her, supporting her through her grief. They
visited her often, trying to comfort her. When her prescribed period of mourning was
over, they seemed to think she should carry on with her life, meet someone new and
remarry. She had several offers, including one from the lecherous doctor. However,
Naomi was not the least bit interested in remarrying. She declined the many offers and
ignored the advice of her friends to "move on with her life.”
Over time, the visits became less frequent, and finally, they stopped altogether.
Naomi was once again alone. She lived alone in her dead husband's house, with only a
handful of servants for company. At the age of twenty-two, she had felt as if her life was
over.
As far as Naomi was concerned, a second marriage was out of the question.
Knowing she could never have a real family of her own, she preferred to remain a
widow. In the two years following Richard's death, not a single man had stirred her
emotions or inspired even a hint of desire in her.
The idea of being some man's wife left her feeling completely disinterested. In fact,
after her experience in the doctor's office, the thought of a man touching her again had
been completely repugnant.
Naomi spent two years feeling depressed. She barely ate and very rarely left the
house. She had gone from being the center of the party to being a hermit. There was
no sparkle in her eyes, no smile to brighten her face. She felt like her life was utterly
pointless, without any purpose or goal.
Then, one day, fate stepped in to dally in her life once more. One of the maids gave
notice that she would be leaving Naomi's employment because she was getting
married and moving to Oregon with her new husband. Naomi began to dream about
what it might be like to go to a new place, where no one knew her or pitied her ordisapproved of her. She could be alone and not have to worry about the opinions of
others. She was sick of being told what she should and should not do. She was tired of
being judged.
Naomi began to read about Oregon. She began going to the library, tracking down
old newspapers and maps of the area. It sounded like a land of opportunity, a place for
new beginnings. It sounded like the place she wanted to be. When she came across a
newspaper notice of a farm that was for sale in the Willamette Valley, it sounded like it
was heaven sent, just for her. It sounded like this farm in Oregon might hold some tiny
bit of purpose for her life.
She had a small bit of wealth from her husband's estate. Without a second thought,
Naomi put in a bid on the farm. When she found out that her bid had been successful,
she sold her house and furnishings. She raised just over two thousand dollars, enough
to finance her move and see her through the first few years while she made a fresh
start. Without any explanations to anyone, she packed her things and left. She told no
one where she was going. She didn't want any reminders of her old life to follow her.
She hadn't been looking for a man. She had only been looking for peace and
solitude. For years, she had believed that any possibility of someday finding sexual
satisfaction had died with Richard.
Meeting Aidan had changed her entire perspective. She had been astonished to
realize that not only were her passions alive and well, they were stronger than ever
before. The desire she felt for Aidan was not the girlish infatuation she had felt for her
husband, but the full-bodied, overwhelming, mature desire of a twenty-four-year-old
woman. In fact, the passion she felt for Aidan was an all-consuming need that she had
never felt before.
Naomi knew she should probably be feeling ashamed or guilty. She had not only
seduced Aidan, she had encouraged him to totally ravish her. Yet shame and guilt were
not among the emotions she was feeling. She felt invigorated, amazed, incredibly
feminine, and desirable and surprisingly ready to repeat the experience. She had
thought that making love with Aidan would satisfy her hunger, and it had…beyond her
wildest dreams. However, she was surprised to realize that she was ravenous for more.
Aidan stirred behind her, and his hand tightened reflexively on her breast. Naomi
shivered, moaning softly as she pressed the mound against his palm and rubbed the
back of his hand in encouragement.
HE CAME AWAKE WITH A START, lifting his head to stare at her in amazement. She wasn't
just a fantasy, the result of his lewd imaginings. Naomi was actually lying naked and
thoroughly tempting in his arms. The sight of her nubile body writhing sensuously
against him shook the last few cobwebs from his brain.
Naomi turned in his arms to face him and feathered inviting little kisses along the
strong line of his jaw. "Hello again," she purred. She began unbuttoning his shirt, trailing
kisses down his throat and chest as she exposed more and more of his flesh. "I thoughtyou would never wake up."
She was like a child in a candy store. She was suddenly eager to explore his body,
and she rushed to open all the buttons.
At her prompting, Aidan shrugged out of his shirt, somewhat in a daze. This was not
what he had planned. From the first day they had met, which was only two days prior,
he had known he wanted a relationship with Naomi. However, he had been thinking
along the lines of courtship and marriage. He hadn't intended to seduce her or take her
as his lover, and he was struggling to comprehend how things had progressed so
suddenly and where they now found themselves.
Naomi pressed lightly on his shoulder, and he fell onto his back. She traced his
chest and abdomen, a look of fascination on her beautiful face. She began exploring
his chest with her soft lips, nipping, and suckling his nipples, and running her fingers
through the sparse smattering of hair. He gripped the sides of her head and lifted her
face until she met his eyes.
"Naomi, we need to talk. Everything is happening so fast. I hadn't planned to take
advantage of you. Believe it or not, I've never been a man who takes advantage of
honorable women. We shouldn't be behaving like this. It isn't proper."
NAOMI FOUGHT the urge to release a frustrated sigh. Talking was the last thing on her
mind, especially if it involved proper behavior and society's expectations of how a
woman should act. She had had more than enough of being told how she was
supposed to feel and behave. She had finally stumbled upon a man who made her feel
alive again. The amount of pleasure his touch evoked surprised her, and she wanted to
relish the sensations once again.
Naomi didn't want Aidan to be proper with her. She wanted more of the savage
barbarian he had been just an hour before. She shrugged out of his grasp and resumed
her exploration of his fascinating and delectable chest. She was determined to taste
every rippled, well-muscled inch of the broad expanse.
"I don't want to talk, Aidan," she said between kisses. "I want to make love again."
"Naomi, listen. I need to apologize to you. I wasn't trying to seduce you—"
Naomi placed a firm finger over his lips to silence whatever he had been about to
say. "Don't say another word, Aidan. I don't want anything to spoil the way I am feeling.
I couldn't be happier with the turn of events. Now shut up and kiss me."
THE FLEETING THOUGHT that he was the seduced rather than the seducer passed throughhis mind, but at that moment, Aidan didn't care. Naomi leaned over and kissed him on
the mouth, plucking at his senses with her moist lips and teasing tongue. He moaned
as she deepened the kiss.
She straightened once more and caressed his chest and abdomen with hands of
heated silk. She sat up on her knees between his thighs and trailed her dainty hand
over his ridged abdomen. He held his breath as she tentatively grasped his throbbing
erection. He moaned, and her eyes flew up to lock with his.
"Does that hurt?"
"No," he gritted out through clenched teeth. "It feels too good to be true. I think I've
died and gone to heaven."
Her grin was positively wicked, and she grasped him more firmly and began to
experiment. Her motions were those of a novice, but he didn't care. It felt incredible. He
guided her, showing her how much pressure to use and how to stroke him, and she
eagerly complied. His obvious enjoyment thrilled her, and she fondled him ever more
confidently, noting how he gripped the blankets and moaned with pleasure.
She leaned down and kissed him, and he gripped her head again, deepening the
kiss. He groaned in ecstasy as she stroked him, clutching him tightly as she slid her
tight fist up and down his length, just like he had shown her.
When Aidan began to kiss his way to her breasts, she surprised him yet again by
rising up to eagerly dangle the luscious orbs just above his mouth. Truly, he must be in
paradise. He nibbled on her sumptuous breasts while she kept him enthralled with her
tiny fist.
He was close to losing it, so he finally pulled her hand away from his shaft and lifted
her higher, until he could bury his face between her breasts. Naomi straddled his waist
as he clasped her breasts in his two hands and feasted.
The sight of her—lips parted on a moan, shimmering hair tumbling in disarray all
around them, ivory skin flushed pink with passion—surpassed every fantasy he had
ever had. The sensations of her, hardened nipple in his mouth, hands like velvet
caressing his shoulders, scalding wet flesh sliding against his abdomen, made him
ache like he had never ached before.
He lifted her and held her poised over his throbbing erection.
She locked her gaze with his and her eyes opened wide with shock. "Like this?" she
gasped.
"Yes," he growled.
He gripped her hips and pulled her down onto his shaft with excruciating slowness
while watching her reaction. When he was fully seated within her, they released mutual
moans of approval. He held her down and thrust even higher inside her. Her eyes
opened wide, and her mouth formed a surprised O. He stroked into her only a couple
more times before she caught on to what he wanted. Then she pleasured him, with
undulating strokes of her hips. She gripped him so tightly that he could feel every ridge
and hollow of her inner sheath.
"Like this?" she asked again, this time with a grin.
"Oh, yes," Aidan replied, his grin even more naughty than hers.
After enjoying the sight of her bouncing breasts, Aidan shifted his gaze down to
Naomi's glistening pink cleft. He stroked her outer lips, fascinated by the sight of her
stretched around him as she impaled herself over and over. His broad shaft wasglistening with her juices, and he enjoyed the sight of her taking him deep inside with
every downward stroke. She was absolutely enthralling.
He located her clit and teased it as she loved him. Every helpless moan he elicited
was like sweet music to his ears, and he gradually increased the stimulation until she
was nearly frantic. Rising onto one elbow, he urged her forward. He captured one
engorged nipple and suckled sharply on the sensitive peak. She climaxed with a gasp,
clutching his head against her breast. Her inner muscles squeezed him in delicious
rhythmic waves. He moaned with pleasure.
Aidan waited until the contractions began to ease. She had just begun to catch her
breath when he rolled, pinning her beneath him. He thrust into her forcefully, braced on
his arms to watch her face as he plundered her softness. She clutched him with her
thighs, encouraging him to sink deeper inside her with every stroke.
Their joining became frenzied as they struggled toward their mutual fulfillment, until
they finally reached their goal and their hoarse screams mingled in the air. He
eventually rolled onto his back and pulled her against his side, where she collapsed in
satiated bliss.
As they panted together, reality settled on Aidan like a leaden weight. He would
have to find some way to find his bearings and get them back on track. As much as he
relished her body, he wanted more from Naomi than just sex. She snuggled
contentedly into the crook of his arm and dozed once more. Aidan remained wide
awake and troubled.
He had never believed in love at first sight. Lust at first sight, yes, but love took time
to grow and develop between two people. That was what he had always believed
before this had happened. Naomi had just satisfied his lust with mind shattering
thoroughness, not once, but twice in the space of two hours. If lust was all he felt for
her, he would be feeling completely satisfied.
He was physically replete, but emotionally, Aidan felt anything but satisfied. He felt
confused, out of control, and lost about how to proceed.
He wanted Naomi in every way it was possible for a man to want a woman. He had
already decided he wanted her as his wife, before taking her to bed. He had recognized
from the first that she was different from every other woman he had known. She was
like a jewel among acorns, compared to the other ladies of his acquaintance. Aidan
wanted her love, her trust and her devotion for the rest of his life. Yet, he didn't know
anything about her.
How and why he could want her so desperately when he barely knew her, was a
complete mystery to him. Aidan didn't like mysteries. He liked to be in control of his
own destiny, not to have it knock him on his butt when he least expected it!
He hadn't been prepared at all for Naomi to boldly seduce him. If he didn't know
better, he might be tempted to think she was a woman of loose morals who'd had
multiple lovers. However, there were too many instances during their lovemaking that
had convinced him she was still a novice to sexual encounters. In fact, Naomi had
surprised him with her naiveté multiple times during their lovemaking.
As a widow, he had expected her to be much more experienced, but the way she
had tentatively handled his erection and been so fascinated by his naked chest let him
know that she was not accustomed to male nudity. He had also been completely
caught off guard that she was unfamiliar with different positions for intercourse. It hadbeen obvious when Aidan took her from behind and pulled her astride him that she had
never made love in those positions before. He could only assume that her late husband
hadn't been very creative in bed.
The biggest surprise by far had come when Naomi had climaxed. Aidan was
absolutely certain by her reaction that it had been her first time to reach orgasm. The
sensations she was experiencing had shocked her. Her amazement had been clear on
her beautiful face. That realization made Aidan think her husband must have been the
worst kind of fool. How the man could have been married to a woman like Naomi and
not taken care to bring her to sexual fulfillment, was a complete mystery to Aidan. He
certainly would never treat her so selfishly.
No, Aidan was certain that besides him, her husband had been her only other lover.
Strange as it seemed, it was almost as if she was virginal, at least in her knowledge
about lovemaking. There was no way she could so convincingly pretend to have such
fresh innocence in bed.
The realization that she was so inexperienced pleased him immensely. Her late
husband had had the honor of being her first lover, but Aidan intended to be her last.
And, he had the privilege of truly awakening her sexually. He definitely had the better
part of the bargain.
The possibilities intrigued Aidan tremendously. Naomi was his ideal woman. Not
only was she intelligent, mature, witty, and charming, she was also stunningly beautiful.
She was slender but with generous curves. She had a lush sensuality that called to him
on every level. She had been incredibly responsive to his touch. She had not just
accepted his advances. She had met them eagerly and made demands of her own.
Her sensuality was the stuff of Aidan's dreams. However, it was apparent that all her
voluptuous energy had never been truly explored or appeased. Aidan was definitely
eager to continue her sexual enlightenment, but he wanted more from her than that. He
wanted her as his wife. They had somehow gotten the cart before the horse, and he
wasn't sure how to proceed now.
If he thought she would accept his proposal, he would have asked her to marry him
then and there. The prospect of marrying a woman he barely knew didn't frighten him in
the least. For some reason, he knew with absolute certainty that he and Naomi would
be happy as husband and wife. He could feel their connection all the way to his bones.
However, he was equally certain that marriage was not what Naomi wanted, at least
not yet. He was determined to bring her around, but he knew that would take time and
careful wooing.
She was like a skittish filly being fitted with a bridle and saddle for the first time. If he
asked her to marry him now, he risked scaring her. She would bolt and shut him out of
her life. He needed to get to know her better and to win her affections before taking the
next step in their relationship.
As he lay stroking her hip, all the questions that had plagued him since he met her
two days before resurfaced in his mind. Why was a woman as beautiful as Naomi all
alone? Why had she come to this place? What were her hopes and dreams? Why
didn't she want to discuss her past?
Until he had answers to questions like these, there was no way to know how to win
her heart. Until he won her heart, there was no point in talking about marriage.
Naomi stretched and rose onto one elbow. She gave him an impish grin. "Now can Ifeed you some breakfast, Aidan? Everything is cold by now, but you must be hungry
after working so hard." She winked and her smile turned mischievous.
Despite his worries, Aidan made an effort to mimic her lighthearted humor as he
kneaded her bottom with bold familiarity and returned her smile with a crooked grin.
"Yes, ma'am. We have work to do. Stop trying to distract me with your luscious body, or
we won't accomplish anything today."
Naomi giggled. He gave her bottom a sharp slap and watched with interest as she
hopped up from the bed. She gave him a playfully petulant look of indignation before
tossing her hair over her shoulder and walking to retrieve her discarded nightgown and
robe from the floor. He was pleased to note that she had already lost most of her
shyness about being nude in front of him, and he watched her dress as he donned his
own shirt and buttoned his britches.
They shared a breakfast of eggs, bacon and biscuits. Even though the food was
cold, everything was delicious and Aidan mentally added another item to his list of
reasons he wanted Naomi for his own—she was an excellent cook.
Afterward, he unloaded the wagon, bringing in the peaches and other supplies
necessary for making canned peaches. By the time he had finished ferrying the items
inside, Naomi had cleaned the dishes from breakfast.
"Why don't you get dressed and come outside?" he suggested. "I want you to have
a look at the garden with me, and you can decide where you want everything planted."
Naomi smiled. "All right, give me five minutes."
Although Aidan would have liked to stay and witness Naomi dressing, he decided it
would be far better to wait for her outside. He needed some time and space to gather
his wits. If he was going to win her heart, he would need to show her that he was good
at something besides bedding her.
He scanned the garden patch, quickly deciding where each vegetable and herb
should be planted. He would have to get rid of the weeds first, but even so, the task
would only take him a couple of days to accomplish. After that, he would have to find
some other reasons to be near Naomi, because spending time with her was at the top
of his list of priorities. Not only did he thoroughly enjoy her company, he needed time to
get to know her and to find the answers to his questions.
Naomi emerged from the cabin looking fresh and feminine in a dress of light blue
muslin. Her hair was brushed and wound neatly into a bun at her nape, and she had a
white apron tied around her waist. Aidan was assailed by the thought that she looked
like a perfect farmer's wife. No one would ever guess that less than an hour before, she
had been a temptress in his arms. She crossed to stand beside him as they turned their
attention to the garden.
"Tell me, what did you have in mind?"
Aidan motioned with his hand as he showed her the boundaries of the imaginary
sections. "I thought potatoes here, then carrots, onions, garlic, beets, radishes,
cabbages, rutabaga, beans and herbs over there." He waited for her reaction and was
pleased when she merely nodded her head and smiled.
"That sounds perfect. I'm sure you know how to design a garden much better than I
do."
He grinned down at her. "I think you are the first woman I've ever met who doesn't
have to make a bunch of suggestions and changes."

)