Strong, Silent Type (Rough Riders 6.5) - Page 5

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Libby clutched her fork. “You really interested or are you just making conversation?”

“I’m interested, Lib, I’ve always cared about what you do at the school.”

Satisfied with his answer, she said, “I’m gearing up for the summer reading program.”

“Betcha already got quite a few kids signed up for that.”

“Yes, actually I do. How’d you know?”

Quinn gave her a noncommittal shoulder hitch. “Because you’re you. You never do anything half-assed.”

“My, my, aren’t you full of compliments tonight?”

“I reckon I owe you more than three months’ worth so I’d better start makin’ up for lost time.” He swept his thumb over the smooth skin on the back of her wrist. “That okay with you, darlin’ wife?”

She squirmed at his term of endearment but didn’t try and shake off his hand, much to his surprise.

“I’m not used to you acting this way.”

“Maybe you oughta get used to it. Maybe I’ve realized the error of my ways and I’m a changed man.”

“Is that why you behaved like that last night at Ziggy’s?”

“Like what?”

“You know how you behaved.”

Quinn chewed slowly and swallowed. “You lookin’ for an apology?”

“Maybe.”

“Okay. I’m sorry that sonuvabitch who had his paws all over you didn’t spend all goddamn night pickin’ his teeth up off the floor after I knocked ’em clean outta his mouth.”

Libby stammered, “B-but, you didn’t do anything! You just left.”

“Huh-uh. Ben said he wouldn’t post bond if I beat the snot outta that snot-nosed punk. With you and me on the outs, I figured I couldn’t count on you for bail money either, so I let Ben drag me away, against my will, I might add.”

“So you’re not apologizing?”

Quinn flashed his teeth. “For actin’ like a man and for protecting what’s mine? Hell no.” He leaned closer. “Does that shock you?”

“A little. Lord, Quinn, that was completely out of character for you, cussing, threatening a guy and causing a public scene.”

He shrugged. “That’s because I keep that side of myself to myself.”

“Why?”

Should he answer? Could he?

Yes. No more hiding. Balls to the wall.

“Quinn?”

“Because it’d scare you worse than it does me.”

“I’m not exactly a delicate flower,” she retorted. “And I’ve known you all my life.”

“Yeah? Then did ya think I’d go with my original impulse of draggin’ you back home by the hair and provin’ to you just who has the right to put his hands all over you?”

Libby’s amazing blue eyes widened, not with reproach but with…interest.

Goddamn if his c**k didn’t take notice.

Quinn grinned at her. “Eat your supper ’fore it gets cold.”

They managed normal conversation for the remainder of the meal. Afterward, they even washed the dishes together, something they hadn’t done since the first year they were married. Over coffee and cake, Quinn said, “I have plans for us for tomorrow afternoon.”

“Plans to do what?”

“It’s a surprise.” He sipped the last of his coffee and added, “A romantic surprise.”

Quinn read the emotions warring on Libby’s face. The need to question him further. The disbelief of his casual use of the word “romantic”. But mostly he saw a response that’d been a long time coming—

hopeful curiosity.

“What time?”

Thank you, Jesus. “I’ll come get ya at twelve-thirty. It starts at one o’clock. We can ride together.”

“You aren’t telling me where you’re taking me, are you?”

“Nope.”

Libby smiled. “You know it’s gonna drive me crazy.”

“Yep.”

“Why are you doing this?”

“What? Drivin’ you crazy?”

“No. Acting so unlike you.”

“Because, you don’t believe I can change, so it’s up to me to convince you otherwise.”

Her smile dimmed. “But what if it doesn’t change anything?”

“What if it does?” he countered.

Silence.

Might as well get it all out in the open. “It hasn’t always been like this between us. We were good together, weren’t we?”

“Quinn—”

“Has every year of our marriage been pure hell for you, Libby?”

“God. No. Not even close.” Libby started to say something else but snapped her mouth shut, choosing instead to fiddle with the lace edging on the placemat.

“Good to know.” Quinn stood. He ached to stay, but he’d left her enough to mull over for one night.

On the porch, he paused to absorb the beauty of the place they called home. Dusk had fallen, turning the sky purple-gray and dusting the tree line in the distance with fluffy pink clouds. A brisk breeze rattled the bird feeders. The dark, ripe scent of wet earth filled his lungs. It seemed as if he’d taken his first real breath in months.

The heat of Libby’s body behind his made him turn around very slowly, even when his heart raced like a snared rabbit’s. With forced casualness, Quinn said, “Oh, one other thing.”

“What?”

“This.” Quinn cupped her face in his hands. He pressed his mouth down, allowing his lips to reacquaint themselves with the softness and shape of hers beneath his. One smooth brush of his lips morphed into a dozen drugging kisses. At the insistent glide of his mouth, teasing nips of his teeth, tiny flicks of his tongue, Libby’s lips parted on a soft sigh.

His tongue slipped inside and her flavor burst in his mouth, sweet coffee, sweet Libby and sweet temptation. It’d been an eternity since he’d kissed his wife this way, a slow seduction. A promise. A renewal of intent.

Quinn tilted her head, kicking the kiss from lazy exploration to undeniable hunger. For her. Only ever for her. A wet, wild reunion of dueling tongues, stuttered breaths and the powerful slide into passion they’d either forgotten or had denied themselves.

Despite the heat and the sense of yearning, he kept their bodies apart, because what was blossoming between them again was too important to rush.

Tonight. Tomorrow all bets were off.

He forced himself to break the kiss. His hands fell away and he buried his nose in her apple-scented hair. “I miss talkin’ to you. Touchin’ you.” He kissed the start of her jawline beneath her ear. “I miss the way you smell. The way you taste. The way you feel. Goddamn, I miss the everything of you, Libby.”


Tags: Lorelei James Rough Riders Billionaire Romance
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