Nick knew he shouldn’t touch her.
Maybe he had too much to drink with the old man Watson. A bit of rum always warmed him and helped him relax. He couldn’t refuse such a generous offer from a fellow stampeder.
When he saw Sarah’s arms peeking out of the layers of blankets, he couldn’t resist untying the laces at the cuff and glide his hands under the sleeve, caressing her soft skin. He hoped she didn’t wake. Not yet. It was madness; he knew. He should know better. How could he not touch her?
His hand slid down her arm and reached her small hand. Goosebumps covered her skin. His groin tightened as it did every time they touched. Lord help him. He desired Sarah, but he had no right. He reminded himself she belonged to another man. He recalled the telegram he intercepted at the hotel a few days earlier. His conscious told him he should have told her about it. But the devil on his shoulder whispered in his ear. “She doesn’t need to know.”
Lying on his back, Nick hoped his arousal wouldn’t take over his reason. He rubbed his cold hands against his face, wanting to scream at whoever put Sarah on his path and turn his life upside down. Turning on his side, he stared at the most beautiful woman in the world. A rare find like the precious stones he had discovered in a South American mine. Cupping her chin within his palm, he found her skin soft and warm despite the cool temperature outside.
She moved her head into his palm; his thumb brushed her lips. His groin tightened a bit more. Heat rushed through his blood. A breath caught in his throat when slowly, she opened her sleepy eyes and turned her head toward him.
“Is everything all right?” she whispered.
She let out a deep sigh and relaxed under his touch. Around them, nothing else existed. He moved closer and kissed her brow, her cheek; lingering his lips near hers. One kiss, that’s all he needed. Her hot breath teased him, and he wanted more.
“Nick,” she whispered against his lips.
A low groan escaped his throat when her hands rested on his chest. No longer resisting, he captured her lips; slow at first. Taking his time. Savouring.
Her arms wrapped around his neck, pulling his head down toward her. She slanted her mouth a bit more, giving him fuller access. He found her lips inquisitive. She wanted to learn, and he would teach her. While one hand held her head, his other hand found its way along her hot thigh under the blankets. Her body pressed against his, her leg wrapped around him. Desire grew within him. His lips left hers and slid down her neck; kissing, tasting her sweet skin. A faint scent of rosewater teased his nose.
She threw her head back, and he inhaled her hot skin. Encouraged, he claimed her rosy lips once more, tasting her, drinking in her beauty.
His fingers glided up her thigh while his lips devoured hers. Was this all a dream? He didn’t care. If he never had another night with her, at least he would keep the memory of her soft feminine form to keep him company in his cold nights.
Nick caressed her chin with the tip of his thumb until he reached her moist lips. Heat from her body penetrated his. With great ease, he gained access inside her mouth; gently coaxing her into a twirling dance. He groaned, moving his lips over hers. Then his mouth descended, drawing a path from the delicate part behind her ear and down her neck. With one hand, his fingers inched towards the inside of her thighs. She gasped.
As he touched her, her small hands slid down his waist until she reached his pulsing groin. Blood from his body centered in his lower belly. His head spun with desire. A breath caught in his throat as her fingers explored his hardness through his wool undergarments. He let out a low groan.
Startled, she pulled her fingers away.
“Please don’t stop,” he murmured. “Your touch pleases me.”
He guided her hand up his thigh until her fingers reached where his hardness throbbed with desire. His heart raced a bit more. He never desired a woman more than he wanted Sarah.
With great slowness, he caressed every inch of her body as she touched him in the most intimate way. He couldn’t remember the last time a woman touched him with such tenderness. His knee coaxed her thighs open and gave him access. He must show her how desirable and beautiful she was to him. Her inexperience excited him.
She gasped when his lips pressed featherlight kisses inside her thighs. He inched his way up her legs until he reached his prize. She arched her back, allowing him greater access. Suckling and tasting, Nick savoured her body. He nibbled and tasted until he felt her release and trembled under his fingers.
“Did I hurt you, love?”
She shook her head and said, “Kiss me,” she whimpered, touching every inch of his body.
He loved her passion and how she surrendered to his. It excited him. Staring into her eyes, he obeyed her request. How could he refuse her? Taking her lips hostage once more, he tasted and teased, and let her take the lead. She was an apt student and learned how he liked to be kissed.
Nick paused and brushed away a stray curl from her face. Sarah took his breath away and made him forget for a moment she belonged to another man. He let out a low groan and rolled on his back, holding Sarah against him and covered her with the blankets. His heartbeat returned to its normal rate after a few deep breaths. In a dark and quiet tent, he wondered what he had done right in his life for Sarah Callaghan to enter it. It didn’t matter. Once the trip was over, she will leave it as fast as she had entered. He squeezed his eyes and pushed away the frightening thought.
For now, she was by his side, and he would take advantage of every moment spent with her.