Wrapped and Strapped by Lorelei James

  Jesus. He liked that little bite of pain. So he gave it back to her, sinking his teeth into her bottom lip.

  Her soft gasp just fueled the fire.

  His hands came up and wrenched the top of her dress down, revealing her breasts. “You’re gorgeous here. Creamy white and pink.” As he plumped and squeezed the small mounds of flesh, Harlow arched into him, moaning loudly when his tongue connected with the hard tip of her nipple.

  He kept at her until she turned almost feral in her need for him.

  Her hands were frantically yanking his shirt free from his jeans, then pulling hard until the pearl-snap buttons gave way and his shirt hung open. Her fingers were unbuckling his belt. Undoing his zipper.

  Through the haze of tasting her, touching her, when he felt her cool fingers stroking his shaft, he realized he’d lose control if she kept that up.

  Hugh bent down and hooked his arm behind her knees, bringing them to the floor. His mouth immediately returned to her nipple, nursing vigorously on the right side while he tenderly stroked the swell of her left breast.

  Harlow continued to twist and writhe, her eyes closed, her teeth digging into her bottom lip, her hand alternately pulling his hair and pushing him away.

  Hugh clasped both her wrists above her head. He sucked her lower lip into his mouth, catching her surprised gasp with his kiss. His right hand slipped beneath the hem of her dress, and trailed up the inside of her thigh until his greedy fingers reached the hot, wet heart of her.

  He stroked the rise of her mound over her soaked panties, and then pulled them aside to tease her petal-soft, hot and swollen pussy.

  She bucked upward at the first touch and he pinned her leg down with his, as he opened her thighs wider.

  Then his mouth attacked her nipples as he slid one finger inside her. Pushing and pumping, stretching her until that moment she canted her hips and he knew she was ready for more. He added another finger, driving into her harder. Deeper. Her wetness coating his hand and the insides of her thighs.

  He growled against her breast and finger fucked her, purposely avoiding her clit.

  “Hugh. Please.”

  “Come like this,” he panted against her damp skin. “Come like this and I’ll make you come again with my mouth.”

  Three more pumps of his hand and she arched, her cunt spasming around his fingers, and she cried out his name.

  Hugh looked up and watched her come apart, his cock jerking against his zipper in anticipation.

  When her body went limp, he eased his fingers out and moved between her thighs. He planted soft kisses over her mound, ran his tongue and his beard along the creases of her thighs. He breathed her in, kept her primed even as he allowed her to settle.

  She twined her fingers in his hair and attempted to direct him to her clit.

  He resisted.

  She insisted.

  He rolled onto his knees and waited until she looked at him.


  “Put your arms above your head and leave them there.”

  “But I want—”

  Hugh got right in her face. “You want my mouth on you?”


  “Then do it.”

  “God. You are so fierce right now.”

  “Are you scared?”

  She petted his beard and dragged her knuckles along his collarbone and up his neck. “Far from it. I see how fast your blood is pumping right here. I want to press my lips there and taste it.”

  He angled his head, lightly sinking his teeth into that spot on her throat.

  Her fingers tightened on his beard. “Yes. Just like that.”

  “Harlow,” he breathed into her ear. “Put. Your. Fucking. Hands. Above. Your. Fucking. Head. Now.”

  She complied so fast they whomped against the rug.

  He allowed a quick grin against her neck before he pushed up and moved back down, placing his big hands on her inner thighs and pushing them wider.

  Feeling her eyes on him, he flicked a glance up at her. “Those arms move, I stop. Understand?”

  She nodded.

  Hugh spread her open with his thumbs. He growled, seeing the glistening pink flesh. Her pussy lips full. Her clit peeking out. He breathed in the scent of her arousal and lowered his mouth.

  Harlow kept her hands in place, but her hips jerked up.

  After one long thorough lick up her wet slit, Hugh zeroed in on her clit. Swirling the tip of his tongue over the nub until it swelled enough he could get his lips around it. Then he started to suck. And he kept his mouth suctioned to that needy part of her, swallowing her sweet juices as she came in a grinding wet rush against his face.

  Fuck. He loved that.

  Loved it.

  Before Harlow floated down from her orgasmic high, Hugh yanked his jeans and underwear down to his knees and slammed into her still spasming cunt.

  She cried out and bowed upward and he fucked her relentlessly.

  He buried his face in her neck. Sucking and biting on the delicate skin. He probably left beard burn, but the full access she freely gave him indicated she didn’t care either.

  When he reached the tipping point, he put his mouth on her ear. “Only with you has it ever been like this.”


  “Say you believe me. Say I proved it to you.”

  “You did. Yes. Please don’t stop proving it.”

  He bottomed out with the force of a battering ram twice more and then came in a breath-stealing rush. Polka dots danced behind his lids, his hearing went haywire and his body continued to move of its own accord.

  If Harlow hadn’t hooked her leg around his hips, he wondered how long he would’ve stayed like that. Then she fastened her mouth to his and leveled him with sweet, teasing kisses.

  He looked into her eyes. But he didn’t know what the hell to say. He kissed her quickly and retreated. Pulling up his clothing, he stared down at Harlow, still wantonly spread out. He tucked his cock in and smiled at the crazy static mess he’d made of her hair. Zipped up and buckled, he crouched and scooped her into his arms, peeling off her dress completely before he carried her down the hallway to her bedroom.

  After he’d slid her between the sheets, she opened her eyes.

  “Now I’ll go.”

  She touched his face. “What if I want you to stay?”

  “I’d say I’ll take a rain check. I hafta be up early.”


  He gave her one last kiss. “Night, doll. I’ll lock up and see you tomorrow.”

  Chapter Sixteen


  For the first time in . . . well, ever, Harlow had her family standing around waiting to say good-bye to her before she left on her latest travels.

  It was weird.

  Her dad had hugged her for a long time, and asked her to stay in touch. It amused her that during his recovery he’d become proficient with his cell phone, almost to the menace stage with the pictures, videos and memes he shared. As she’d hugged him, she was reminded how frail he was.

  “You’re sure you want to do this?” Tierney asked.

  “I’m looking forward to it. Road-tripping through the heartland.”

  “Itchy feet,” Tierney murmured.

  “I can scratch your feet, Aunt Harlow,” Isabelle said from her spot on the ground, where she searched through the grass for four-leaf clovers.

  “Thanks for the offer, bug, but I’m good.”

  When an unhappy-animal noise echoed to them, Harlow looked to the source of discontent. Hugh, Renner and Ike were at the loading pens with the semi, loading the bulls.

  Tierney had Rhett swaddled and tucked close to her body. She pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose after giving Harlow a one-armed hug. “I don’t know why I’m crying. I wasn’t this upset when you went to Haiti.”

  “That’s because you didn’t see me off.”

  “Were you hurt about that? It’s occurred to me that’s something I should have asked you sooner.” Tierney
reached out and straightened the seam of Harlow’s T-shirt. “Or was it worse having no one to meet you when you came home?”

  Harlow shrugged. Confirming her sister’s guilt would serve no purpose. Even hearing an I’m sorry now wouldn’t negate the sense of isolation and disconnection she’d felt then, sitting on a bench waiting for a bus as she saw her friends and coworkers surrounded by loving and supportive family members.

  “Although the circumstances haven’t been ideal, I’ve loved having you close by, Harlow. And I . . .”

  “And you what?”

  Tierney sniffled, but her eyes were dry when she met Harlow’s gaze. “I wish we could get back to the closeness and trust we used to have. You used to talk to me and I don’t know why you suddenly stopped.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “You went through something bad in the year you were overseas. It kills me not knowing what happened. It bothers me that you didn’t give me a chance to be there for you when you’ve been there for me whenever I’ve needed you.”

  Harlow’s stomach tightened into a knot. She broke eye contact and turned her face toward the breeze. “Maybe I’ve finally grown up.”

  “I hate it when you do that. Cut yourself down, but in such a manner that you think no one notices.”

  No one does.

  “I notice,” Tierney emphasized, as if she’d read Harlow’s mind.

  “That’s because you’re the nosy big sister.”


  And Harlow felt guilty for not letting Tierney know what she’d been through. Even her counselor had encouraged her to tell her sister about it. If not the full details, at least something that’d show Harlow had healed and moved on. She inhaled a deep breath. “I promise when I get back, we’ll crack open a bottle of wine and I’ll tell you about my lost year in Laos.” She paused. “It’s not pretty.”

  Tierney set her head on Harlow’s shoulder. “I figured as much.” She paused. “Thank you for letting me in.”

  “It’s not easy. I keep everyone out. Especially about this.”

  “That’s where you’re just like Dad.” She lifted her head. “Does Hugh know what happened?”


  Silence. But it didn’t feel judgmental.

  “Good. I’m glad you could talk to him about it. So is it serious between you and Hugh? You seem to spend all of your time together.”

  Meaning . . . would this “thing” turn into something important enough in her life to tie her to Hugh, which tied her here? “This trip will be a test of our compatibility outside the bedroom.” She shot a quick look to Isabelle, but she hadn’t been paying attention.

  “Yes, nothing tests the course of true love like being ankle deep in manure as you’re both trying to impose your will on a willful animal.”

  Harlow laughed and gave her sister another good-bye hug.


  An hour later Harlow loaded her cooler in the front of the horse trailer on the floor next to the built-in mini-fridge. She opened the cupboards above the sink and found them empty. Where was Hugh storing his food staples? She glanced up at the low-ceiling area where they’d be sleeping and saw an oversized duffel bag. Even when they’d be living together, she still didn’t feel comfortable rifling through his belongings to see what he’d brought with him.

  She stepped outside, blocking the bright sunshine with her hand.

  Hugh, Renner and Ike were getting ready to load the horses. Riss had already taken off with the bulls. She looked at the truck they were taking to haul the horse trailer—not Hugh’s pickup, but a double-cab dually—and decided to check inside. She hopped up on the running board and peered inside the backseat behind the passenger’s side.

  Someone had loaded her case of water and her suitcase. Behind the driver’s side was a big black laptop bag with cords hanging out everywhere, a pair of rubber boots and a stack of bedding.

  That was it?

  He’d assured her he was completely prepared for this trip.

  For the next half hour, Harlow stayed out of the way as they loaded the horses. Then the cab jiggled and Hugh climbed in.

  He smiled at her. “Ready?”

  Are you? “Sure.”

  He popped the emergency brake, checked the oversized mirrors on both sides and dropped the truck into gear. The long gravel driveway leading to the chutes was at a steep angle, so they inched down the incline with such a heavy load behind them.

  Hugh didn’t speak until they were on the blacktop. “You’re quiet.”

  “Just watching and learning.”

  “Any questions so far?”

  Too many to name. She adjusted her seat forward. “How far are we going today?”

  “Legally Riss and Ike can only be behind the wheel eleven hours a day before they’re mandated to rest. We won’t be on the road that long, but once we’re stopped, it’ll be for the required ten-hour break. Why?”

  “I’m just wondering when we’ll stop for food and gas.”

  “This truck has a dual gas tank, which oughta get us five hundred miles before we have to refuel and check the animals.”

  “And get food?”

  He shrugged. “Usually whoever is in the lead makes that call. Or we wing it.”

  Harlow turned to look out the window. She wasn’t a “wing it” kind of person. At all. In the years she’d spent volunteering, they’d had to plan for every contingency. She preferred rules and protocol and a detailed itinerary, at least during the travel stages. Winging it would definitely take some getting used to.

  “You tired?” Hugh asked. “I kept you up later than I’d planned.”

  Late last night after she’d packed and tidied her trailer, to try to calm her restlessness—always an issue for her prior to embarking on a trip—she had rolled out her yoga mat. But she couldn’t focus on asanas and her balance seemed to be out of whack. Switching to deep breathing and meditation helped . . . until Hugh had walked in.

  Normally the man wore jeans and starched shirts. Boots. Either a cowboy hat or a baseball cap. She’d never seen him in a sleeveless T-shirt that showcased his muscular arms and defined chest. Or in baggy cutoff sweatpants that rode low on his lean hips, providing a peek at the strip of hair that disappeared beneath his waistband. It floored her, how much younger he looked dressed like that.

  “Looks like we had the same idea,” he had said gruffly, stopping at the top of her yoga mat.

  “Where have you been?” she asked.

  “Fitness center. Me’n Tobin work out a couple times a week. Why?”

  “I didn’t know that. I mean, you’re in great shape . . .”

  “But you thought it was natural?”

  She’d nodded.

  “I lost eighty pounds once I got back in shape after my divorce and I’m never packing it back on, so I work to keep it off.”

  “It shows.”

  “Are you done with”—he gestured to her mat, block and strap—“all that?”

  “Yes. I’m just cooling down.”

  Hugh had stalked over to her. “Gonna be a problem if I heat you back up?”

  Little did the man know that the look in his eyes had already done that. “Ah, no.”

  “Good.” Then he’d pounced on her.

  They’d rolled around on the floor, kissing like crazy, laughing as they wrestled to see who’d end up on top.

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