Big Man's Wife - Page 20

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As if he senses the coldness of my body, his arm lengthens, and he pulls my naked body all the way against his. His skin is warm, heating me all over. Butterflies zip through my stomach, making me smile.

Glancing over my shoulder, Ryder is still out cold. His face is nuzzled close, and I can feel his chest rise and fall as he breathes. Turning back around, I braid my fingers in his, and snuggle deeper into the blankets.

I could get used to this. It's nice.

I never expected to be here, laying in his bed, his arm holding me protectively. There are so many emotions running through me, I don't know what to think. He's opened a door inside me. Memories, feelings, laughs and smiles we shared all those years ago.

Ten years doesn't seem like a long time, but when you leave as a child and return as an adult, a decade changes everything.

My childhood wasn't easy, and Ryder knows this. My father abandoned my mother and me, leaving us to fend for ourselves. Mom did her best, she really did. Unfortunately, sometimes your best just isn't good enough.

When the opportunity presented itself in the form of a man with everything to offer, my mother latched on and never let go. And I willingly embraced it all. There was no more hunger or stress. There was no more wonder of where our next meal would come from or if we would still have a roof over our heads.

Troy whisked us away. He made life easier. Pushing the past away, cutting it out my life like a cancer, was the easiest thing to do.

But cutting Ryder out wasn't easy at all. He was kind, giving, and supportive. He'd share his lunch with me, and he helped me with my work so we could have time to play on the farm.

Kind is far too light of a word to explain Ryder's place in my life at that time. He had been my whole world. He was my light in the darkness.

He doesn't know it, but I cried every single day for months because I missed him. It got to the point where the pain was just too much, and I had to do something to stop it. The walls went up, and that's where they stayed.

I threw myself into the socialite world, embracing it with both hands, and using it to forget everything I missed. It changed me, it made me the person I am now.

What the hell am I doing?

My fingers loosen around his, and I brush the tips up and down his arm. I'm tracing the muscles of his forearm, and all the scars on his hands from working the farm. There's something about his hands that make my stomach tumble and my body ignite.

Strong, rough, but oh so gentle.

There's a faint noise coming from down the hall. Lifting my head up, I realize it's my cell phone. Looking at the clock, it's barely five in the morning, and there's only person I know who would call me this early and not care if they wake me up.

It's probably Troy.

Picking up Ryder's arm, I'm able to slip out from underneath without waking him. Walking on the tips of my toes, I go to my room and dig my phone out of my bag.

The light off the screen makes me squint it's so bright. I had been right, it's my step-father.

“Hello,” I say quietly, keeping my voice as low as possible.

“Well?” he asks immediately, not even bothering with the niceties of a good morning or how are you. “Is it done?”

Sighing softly, I sit on the edge of the bed and say, “Not yet, but it will be. I just need a little more time.”

Scoffing, his breath crackles against the receiver. “Come on, Jenna. I didn't send you there on a damn vacation. It shouldn't be this hard. You said you could do it.”

“And I can—I will.” My voice is short and firm. “It's just taking longer than I thought, but it's going to happen.”

“It better. I'm a busy man, I don't have time to come there and do your job. Which, if you forgot, is why I sent you in the first place.” He grunts. I can picture him clear as day in my head, massaging his forehead and smoothing out the thick wrinkles. “Just make the damn deal, Jenna, so we can finally move forward. I'm done waiting.”

“I wi—” I start to say, but I hear the line go dead.

Pulling the phone away from my ear, I have a handful of messages from some of my friends. There are pictures of them at a club, all of them smiling and dancing, holding their drinks up high. They're all dressed to the nines, in designer dresses and four hundred dollar heels. Their makeup is perfect, probably done by professionals.

Tags: Penny Wylder Romance