The metal head doesn't move, instead it sticks like a dart in a dart board. Digging my toes into the mud, I push down on the handle, and give it a good hard shove.
The ground beneath me is wet and slippery, causing my feet to slide out from underneath me so I face plant in the mud. Lifting my head, I push myself up onto my knees, and wipe the muck out of my eyes.
“Ha!” Ryder laughs loudly. His deep laugh echoes across the field as he drops forward and holds his stomach.
For a split second, my blood starts to boil and I'm ready to yell at him. But as he continues to laugh, I realize he's not laughing at me to be malicious or hurtful. He's laughing because it's honestly funny. His chuckle is full of innocent banter, not to be mean.
Suddenly, I'm laughing with him. I'm laughing so hard my stomach starts to hurt as I continue to wipe globs of mud off my face and throw them at him playfully.
Swatting and dodging away the mud snowballs, he comes to my side and reaches out his hand to help me up. “That was classic. I wish I had a hidden video camera. You'd go viral.”
Giggling, I hold out my arms and scrunch my face. “I smell like shit.”
“I think you smell like home.” He smirks, and winks as his fingers tighten around mine and he leads me to the back of the house.
His grip is strong, comforting, and makes my heart pound in my chest. He opens his hand, wriggling his fingers and securing them around mine tighter. My breath hitches at the warmth and comfort I feel from my hand in his.
Bashfully, I look away. My cheeks flush and my stomach flutters like a swarm of locusts.
“Here,” he says, bringing me to an outdoor shower. “This will get rid of most of it.” He starts the water, adjusting it until it's warm.
Stepping under the water fully clothed, I scrub my face and hair. Glancing at Ryder, he's still smiling.
“Why are you still smiling?” I ask as I rub the mud off the front of my shirt and pants.
“Because I can actually see the real you. The big city didn't get to all of you. A small piece of the farm girl still exists.” His eyes steady on mine. “New York is only a high fashion gloss. You can't take the country out of the girl. I'm glad I didn't lose you after all.” His voice lowers, and he bites his bottom lip.
The way he says it does something to me. The richness of his voice ripples through my chest. I can feel his words all over me. It breaks me wide open, undoing the knotted box inside my soul.
Launching out of the water, I kiss him. My arms are around his neck, hands sweeping through his hair and latching on tight. Ryder accepts my kiss, opening his mouth to let my tongue in his mouth.
His lips are hungry. His tongue is thirsty. Our tongues collide, greedily licking and tasting, dancing around each other. Raking his thick fingers through my hair, he cups my face and kisses me deeper.
Walking me backwards, we stand under the hot stream of water. It's pouring down our faces, but it doesn't stop our kiss. His fingers slip under my shirt, and he kneads my breast. A soft moan vibrates under my lips. The rough pad of his thumb rubs circles over my nipple, the lace of my bra making it extra sensitive and bringing my nipple to a hard point. My hands grab at his ass, bringing him closer to me. We break away for a moment as he tears my shirt over my head, but our lips quickly find each other again.
His mouth works its way down my neck, licking after the stream of water dripping down my neck, leaving a delicious trail of heat that doesn’t just end where his mouth touches me, but shoots straight down between my legs, leaving me wet and pulsing with want. My hands fumble between us as I try to work open his belt buckle. I’m momentarily distracted by the hard bulge beneath his jeans. Is it my imagination or is it hot to the touch? My palm takes in his hard length, and his hips respond, rocking up into my hand, and I feel him getting harder. I finally open his belt buckle and slide his pants down just under his hips, my fingers grazing his bare ass. Just as his fingers venture past the waist band of my own pants, I freeze. Through labored breaths, I speak against lips. “This is a bad idea.”
“It's a horrible idea,” he says. Ryder pulls his head back and looks at me. His eyes shift between mine, darting back and forth rapidly as his chest rises and falls quickly.