On Wildwood Mountain, passion burns hotter than prairie fire...
On the plains of Eastern Colorado, Mitch has a passion for only one woman – and that woman is Christine. She is his dream girl, and he is her dream man, and whenever her old man’s back is turned they’re quickly in each other’s arms.
When a tragedy brings reality into their lives, Mitch sets out to find out who he really is, and Christine finds herself facing a dramatic new life as well. Soon, both will find out if their love and passion will survive in the shadow of Wildwood Mountain.
Release Date: June 18, 2018
Genre: Western | Historical Romance
~ A PINK SATIN ROMANCE ~
There was something about sweeping the dusty old porch of their family’s ranch house that brought Christine Jones a pure, simple joy. In fact, the harmony she felt with a broom was the kind she imagined a musician might have with their instrument—not that she would know what that was really like, since she’d never been able to play anything other than a harmonica, and even that was just her blowing into it without any real idea of what in the world she was doing.
It was in St. Louis, while coming west with her family in a train of covered wagons, that her father had read about a violin recital being given. Despite their thin funds, he insisted on taking his daughter to witness and hear the woman perform. This is what they had come for, he insisted, and if they couldn’t have some kind of adventure and culture now, they might as well turn around and go home.
The woman was a real honest-to-God violinist, trained by a real music academy on the East Coast. Christine’s father, always a believer in the arts, believed St. Louis wasn’t just as a ‘gateway to the West,’ as the newspapers liked to call the city. He saw this as a golden opportunity to enrich his daughter’s life with a little wonder that she could hold onto forever.
That was a long time ago.
Christine, now twenty-three, had used this particular broom so much over the year or so since she’d made it that her palms had actually worn the wood handle smooth in the spots where she’d swung it side to side. This was something she did every day, though she had plenty of other chores around the family’s ranch; and though the task might seem like an ‘old lady’s job’ to someone of her young age, something about it stirred her body to the edge of excitement.
And as she swayed her full hips in time with the broom she thought, ‘wait, aren’t I supposed to be out at dances, kicking up my heels, making men swoon and other women jealous?’ She’d never really been that social, but if asked, she’d be able to swing around a dance floor with the best of them. And with the broom in her hand, she didn’t know quite what the connection was; maybe it was the way she leaned the weight of her hips side to side, dancing nimbly from toe to toe as she went, or maybe how she swung her whole body with the rhythm of her work. Either way, maybe it was just a chore, but it made parts of her tingle the way only one man had done before.
The sound of her name being called in the Colorado breeze blended perfectly with the last swoosh of the broom. For a moment she wasn’t sure she’d actually heard a voice. Maybe it had been her imagination.
She stopped, letting her eyes drift side to side. Then—when the Colorado breeze lifted again, and no voice came with it, she pushed the broom back into the warped boards of the porch.
Okay, she definitely heard that. Christine leaned the broom to one side and waited. She turned her head around to look in the direction of where she was pretty sure the voice had come from. Around the corner of the house, beside the spare bedroom her father and a crew of ranch hands had built a few years earlier, she could see the brim of a familiar hat sticking out. Rather than turn in the man’s direction and investigate further, Christine decided on a different idea.
She checked over her shoulder once more, turned and then hopped silently off the opposite corner of the porch. Her toes landed beautifully, gentle as a young dancer in the prime of her career. She dug into the soft, loose dirt of the yard and pointed her knee in the direction she wanted her young, lithe body to go. Quickly, yet still carefully, she darted around the corner of the house. In a few quick leaps she was soon rounding the corner of the add-on; she could see the man from here. Slowly, with the smooth handle of the broom pointed outward, she snuck up on him. She didn’t have to approach to know who’d been spying on her; she would recognize that build anywhere.
A gentle electric charge shot up the inside of her thighs at the sight of the familiar physique of her favorite man, Mitch Roberts. The cowboy version of him, the man he’d grown into, leaned against the north wall of the house. Both of his hands rested against the dry wood of the added-on section of the home; he was still leaning forward, looking for her. She pressed her toes gently against the gritty soil; it was a land that had grown so much for so many, a rich loam that seemed fertile to the point of being ready to give birth to a new crop with just the lightest amount of attention from a man’s hand.
Christine used her knowledge of the land and her light, agile toes to her advantage and snuck up on Mitch, undetected as the lightest prairie breeze. Here was the man who was her age, they’d been born within days of one another other; here was the one who loved to come catting around the house at just the right moment—a talent for which she’d rewarded him generously over the last year.
Mitch had just put his weight forward once more to look around the corner of the building when, suddenly, the unmistakable jab of a broom handle poked into him from behind.
The cowboy was caught totally off-guard and leapt a good four feet forward with a shout. A by-stander would’ve thought the ranch hand had come across a rattlesnake; instead, Christine stood her ground, broom slung beside her, laughing uncontrollably.
“Oh, you should see the look on your face!”
Mitch rubbed a hand against the spot in his pants where Christine had landed her little playful jab.
“You think that’s pretty funny, do you?” He smiled and took a few steps forward; Christine, seeing him coming, lifted the bristles of the broom again the way a lion tamer might thrust a chair at an advancing beast. She wasn’t too convincing; she almost couldn’t stop laughing at the surprise of her sneak attack.
“Yes, actually that was hilarious! And who do you think you are, sneaking up—”
“That’s right, sneaking up.”
“I was just...”
“Oh, you were just what...?”
“I just came by for a friendly....”
“Just a friendly, neighborly chat.” Mitch smiled.
“Is that what we’re calling it now?” Christine asked. “Neighborly chats?”
“Call it what you like, but yeah—let’s go with ‘having a chat.’”
“You’ve been stopping by for a lot of neighborly chats there, Mister Roberts. And your timing couldn’t possibly be better, could it? You just happened to come around at the very hour of the very day when you know my father isn’t around…”
“What? Father isn’t home, you say?” Mitch scratched his chin lightly and rolled his eyes innocently. “Well, how about that.”
With small, slow steps, Mitch kept making a slow approach toward Christine. She gave up a foot of ground here and there, a little at a time, just enough to keep a safe distance.
“Timing my eye. He went out with that group of ranchers to run fences and you know it. He mentioned it to you yesterday, I overheard him invite you to come lend a hand.”
“So he did. And here I am, ready to lend a hand.”
“Uh-huh, I bet. You know,” she said, as Mitch kept getting closer, “come to think of it, he would’ve had to pass your place in order to get into town for supplies.”
Mitch rolled his eyes again with the same innocence she’d seen him use to cover all his devilish ideas over the years. He took another step closer.
“Really? Hmm.” Mitch wondered aloud. “Passed right by my place, you say? Imagine that.”
“Yeah, imagine that.” Christine looked at him sideways. “Neighborly visit...”
“Oh, I certainly do mean to be neighborly,” Mitch said through a wide grin. His teeth were unusually straight for a cowboy. How had he not been kicked by something by now or lost them in a bar fight? She didn’t care. When he smiled, she felt a little weak. Maybe it was the smile, maybe it was the running around, but Christine definitely was getting a little slower by the moment.
Mitch looked past her, toward the barn he’d helped her father build. “How are the cows doing?”
“They’re just fine, thank you.”
“Anyone need milking?”
Mitch took another step, less toward her and more toward the barn. Either way, Christine took his advance with more than a bit of skepticism and put the broom back up in defense.
“Go on home, Mitch Roberts. Back to your ranch. Go milk someone else’s udders.”
Mitch kept coming slowly, a mischievous smile on his face.
Christine, despite the broom, wore a big grin as well. She couldn’t help it. Her defenses had never been particularly strong when it came to Mitch; they’d known each other since they were both new to the local school. Having been the ‘new kids’, they’d studied together, played together and counted on each other to explore things in the area on the long hot days when there seemed to be nothing else to do. He’d been the first boy she’d loved, though she’d never told him that, and definitely her first kiss. He’d been the first everything, and for years she’d allowed him to come calling just to feel that same rush she’d felt the first time. She was amazed that it never changed.
Now Mitch looked down at the broom. He kept approaching.
“That isn’t loaded, is it?”
That was just one of the other things she loved about Mitch. Any other cowboy in Eastern Colorado would’ve said ‘ain’t.’ Even his language was sexy and disarming.
“Just you keep coming,” she said, her smile not at all convincing. “You’ll find out.”
“Oh, I intend to. After all, how long do we have? You said your pop’s out riding fences with the Yarboroughs. So, he’ll be gone, what, maybe a few hours? All things depending of course. So. Hey, Christine...”
Mitch took another step.
Mitch stepped close enough that she could smell him now. Another wonderful thing about Mitch, he always smelled just right. He didn’t bathe every day, but he was no city dude putting on all kinds of talc, trying to find things to cover up the way a man should naturally smell. To her, Mitch smelled just right. A little breeze came up off the prairie behind the house and his scent wafted her way. For just a moment her eyelids drifted lower and she breathed him in. She wasn’t embarrassed to do this, not at all. There was something familiar and beautiful about that smell.
Without knowing she’d done it, Christine had lowered the broom just enough, so the bristles nearly touched the Earth. Mitch stepped in close enough to raise a hand to her face; he brushed away a smooth strand of loose chestnut hair from beside her cheek. The gentle touch of his hand, familiar and wonderful as it was, somehow startled her and she swung the broom quickly upward, sending it with a soft and quick thud between his legs.
Mitch let out a little gasp and lowered both hands to his waist. Christine dropped the broom and set her hands on his chest.
“Oh no! Are you okay?” Mitch slowly crouched closer to the ground. A slight gurgling sound came from his throat.
“Oh, Mitch I’m so sorry! You startled me just a second and I just...boy, I’m sorry!”
Mitch let out some inaudible sounds that sound like ’esss oookeee. ’Em fine...’
“I certainly didn’t mean to hurt you. Even a little. I’m...”
“’Ess ooo kee...”
“It was all just in fun.”
Christine rose back to her feet. She looked around quickly as if there would be a solution to the damage she’d inflicted. She spun on her heel; across the yard, the stone water well and its raised bucket stood in the Colorado sunlight. Yes. Water. Maybe a quick drink of water. She had just taken a step toward the well when—
Mitch, maybe having exaggerated his injury just a little, had taken advantage of the moment when her back was turned and picked up the broom. He’d taken a short step forward and swatted the heft of its bristles perfectly across her backside.
Christine let out a happy little yelp. She spun around and saw Mitch, in full possession of the broom, grinning like a wild man.
“Mitch Roberts, you put that down.” She took a step backward, but Mitch kept coming. He held the broom at elbow height; she knew if she turned her back on him she’d be feeling the sting of those bristles on her bottom the rest of the day. So she did what any warm-blooded, unarmed woman would do.
She backed up quick and took off running.
Mitch was in good shape, work had made sure of that, but Christine was no slug herself. She hiked her dress just above the knees and, with her old, soft boots pounding into the Colorado soil, she proudly beat him around the first couple corners of the house. Only one thing was slowing her down:
She kept laughing.
If someone had seen the two from a distance, it would have looked like a cat and mouse game. Mitch chased her around and around the small house until the two had finished three full laps. Then, Mitch suddenly switched tactics. She thought she’d beat him this time around and would have a chance at ducking in the front door. That’s when he’d stopped abruptly beside the front porch and doubled back.
Christine came charging around the corner of the house just in time to run straight into him. She squealed as she came to rest like a meteor, landing right into his chest. Not having expected him to be there, she ran right into the embrace of his slightly outstretched arms.
Along with everything else, Mitch’s forearms were defined like rope. He wasn’t tall, but he wasn’t short, either. Years spent on a horse made a man’s body lean, and Mitch’s years working around Eastern Colorado had shaped his body into something Christine enjoyed looking at from every angle. Now she had run right smack into those arms—and she wasn’t the least bit sorry.
So when he closed his arms around her, she didn’t struggle. He gently shifted her weight and spun her at the waist, backing her up against the front door. Both were panting lightly as he pressed himself against her. Christine ran her hands up his chest, coming to rest on his shoulders. Her voice, she quickly found, had lost everything but a dry, lusty sound.
“Don’t whack me,” she said.
She felt his lips come down on her neck. He’d set the broom beside the door. Now his hands glided gently up the front of her dress, his fingertips tracing her waist and rising to gently brush across her breasts. When she couldn’t take the tease of his hands anymore she turned around, exposing her back to him.
Mitch reached around and slid his left hand along the front of her dress, brushing her the way he had been. Her nipples ached, wanting to poke through the material of her dress as Mitch used his right hand to feel along her thigh; his fingertips rose up along her strong muscled leg, coming to rest on her soft backside. He began to rub her gently, with the pressure of a man who craved her.
“Don’t whack me,” she purred.
He moaned happily. She could feel the bulge begin to press gently against her back. “I promise,” he said. “Not out here, anyway.”
Christine turned back around. She looked down at his waist. That bulge was raging. She smiled, pleased she always had this effect on her favorite man. She looked back up into his eyes; she reached behind her for the doorknob and opened the front door.
“But once we’re inside…” she said.
“Once we’re inside though…”
Mitch kissed her as she opened the door. Then he drew away, smiled and looked to his left.
“I better bring the broom.”
Christine reached forward. She hooked her fingers under his belt and tugged him into the small house.
Mitch slammed the front door behind him. It was either the burst of air from the door closing or a gust of prairie wind that charged at the bristles of the broom, sending it off the porch and into the yard. The sun glinted off the spots where Christine’s grip had worn the handle smooth over time. In a few moments, she would be looking up at the top rail of her bed’s headboard, watching her fingers curl and uncurl around the cool birch in a similar way.
With the door now closed and the house to themselves, Christine wasted no time. She lowered to her knees and peeled away his pants, pulling them down with gentle, firm tugs. Mitch smiled and, trying to be helpful, wiggled his hips side to side.
“That’s right,” she said, “dance for me, partner.”
Mitch shook his hips harder. Soon his pants were around his ankles and she helped him step out of them; she tossed them off toward a rocking chair in the corner. Then she swung back around, and waiting there was that magnificent, throbbing organ. It didn’t matter if she was lying in bed, doing chores or sitting in church; she could be any old place around town, minding her own business and suddenly bam, there it was, right at the front of her mind. It seemed at least a few times a day she had to shake it out of her head just to focus back on her work. If that didn’t work, and sometimes it didn’t, she’d excuse herself from wherever she was just to find a private place where she could be alone with her thoughts of Mitch for a few moments, her hand pressed between her legs where she could relieve the pressure.
But now, there it was. Thank God he hadn’t gone out to mend fences like the other dopes in town, always ready to work hard and impress her father. Mitch knew she would be alone until sundown, and in turn, she was ready for him to come by.
She leaned forward, gently caressing his throbbing organ then pressed her tongue against the most tender part of it. She gently lifted him with one hand and held him firm with the other as he reached down and unhooked her dress. He had it done in just a few tries, and she raised her arms, so he could lift it over her head.
“Well, well,” he said, noticing her lack of undergarments, “looks like someone wasn’t expecting to just be doing chores around the house all day today.”
Christine did a quick pass on his organ with her mouth, then looked up at him. “Nope. But I couldn’t have just come out and told you that now, could I?”
“Sometimes I wish you would.”
“Mitch Roberts, when have I ever made things easy on you?”
“Easy or not,” he said, “they sure are fun.” He lifted her up then, first to her feet, then in his arms. She landed softly on the bed, and as Mitch knelt beside her, Christine spread her feet gently apart. She gave his arm a little tug and pulled his body closer.
“Don’t waste time. We’ve only got maybe a few hours,” she said, “and you’ve got a lot of work to do, mister.”
They smiled and kissed, and Christine gently lifted her hips, so he could slowly, fully thrust into her. She’d missed this feeling and helped him by placing her hands on his backside and pushing gently forward, again lifting her hips, so he could be as far inside her as the couple could go. When their rhythm truly started, she raised her hands up to the top rail of the headboard, gripped the wood as she’d done to the broom outside, and wondered how long it would take her to wear this piece of wood out in a similar manner. As Mitch arched his back and hit his stride, she clamped her fingers tighter around the bedpost and thought how she didn’t know, but she was ready to get started.