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Tied Up, Tied Down

Tied Up, Tied Down

Tied Up Tied Down 32

Page 32

  thanks. ” He kissed Kimi on the top of the head. “See ya, Grama. ”

  Once Eliza was in her car seat in the back of the deluxe cab, and they were driving down the dusty road, Skylar scooted across the bench seat to sit right next to Kade. She set her head on his shoulder and sighed.

  Kade didn’t say a word. He just wrapped his arm around her and smiled like he knew exactly what she was thinking.

  Her last thought before she floated into sleepy contentment was maybe she wasn’t so smart to keep saying no to this man.

  Chapter Eighteen

  The second they walked in the door, Eliza was all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

  When it became obvious the baby wasn’t interested in napping, Skylar begged off to finish paperwork at the manufacturing plant.

  Kade had noticed a few things outside Skylar’s place that needed further inspection.

  He tied a hat on Eliza’s head, and dressed her in an outfit which completely covered her lily-white skin. Took him some time to decipher how the baby pack worked. Once he’d strapped her to his belly, facing forward so she could see the world, her legs kicked like a frog’s.

  “You like bein’ outside. I’ll bet you’re gonna be a tomboy. ” He adjusted his ball cap and wandered to the old wooden barn. The building listed to the right in a bad way, presenting a serious hazard. It could collapse at any time. He’d talk to Skylar about knocking it down before the first snowfall.

  A long prefabricated metal barn was kitty-corner from the house. It wasn’t in too bad of shape, but it’d been jam-packed with all sorts of junk—antique machinery, tools, rusted paint cans and empty feed sacks. Rope. Lots of rope.

  He unhooked a chunk of rope that wasn’t too thick or too thin. He jerked a foot-long section of it between his hands. Plenty of give. Could use it for quite a few things. Might come in handy.

  A flash of inspiration struck him. He knew exactly how he could put the rope to good use. He draped it over his shoulder.

  Kade always did things with purpose, so it was nice just to meander, no destination or agenda in mind, talking to Eliza as they wallowed in the lazy afternoon. It pleased him Skylar hadn’t cultivated the stereotypical suburban lawn, but allowed the landscape remain natural. Rugged. A backdrop of long, gold and brown grasses, stubby groundcover the color of cinnamon, sagebrush, and the occasional yellow daisy popped up, all blended seamlessly past the barbed wire fence and across the pasture.

  An oak tree with gnarled branches grew in the middle of the backyard. Usually only scrub oak survived and they never reached that size. He stopped under the canopy of shade and looked up. A sturdy branch stuck straight out from the thick trunk.

  “Whatcha think, Eliza? Nice and peaceful in this spot. Shady. That’d be a perfect place for a tire swing, wouldn’t it? Made outta one of them big tractor tires?”

  She grunted.

  “No? Would you rather have a wooden swing so you didn’t get your pretty pink clothes coated with black rubber?” Her feet moved. Kade laughed and wrapped his hands around her chubby calves. “Wooden it is, though it’ll be a few years before I’ll let you swing on it, darlin’. ”

  If you’re even around.

  He refused to consider he might not be living here in the future. He was making progress with Skylar, slow, but it was still progress. Whether she’d admit it was a whole

  ’nother story. Then again, earlier today, she’d admitted she wanted him. And she’d been willing to toss caution to the wind to have him. One week ago he couldn’t fathom Skylar banging his brains out in a strange house, with strangers around, and chance they’d get caught.

  Man. It’d been hot as hell, hoisting her against the wall. Feeling the hot, tight caress of her pussy around his cock without a layer of latex. Sky’d matched him thrust for thrust, move for move, kiss for kiss. Those noises she’d made in his mouth when she came…damn.

  The self-assured Skylar hiding in his aunt and uncle’s upstairs bathroom had knocked him for a loop. When she’d reached out, touching him so sweetly, telling him, and showing him she did need him on an emotional level as well as a physical one, he’d been tempted to blurt out— Baby, I love you, right then.

  Luckily he’d refrained. Talk about spooking the woman. India might be of the no pain, no gain school of thought, but these days, Kade was more inclined to follow the old saying slow and steady wins the race.

  Kade circled the perimeter from the house to the barns, to the granary and machine shed. He’d been pleased to find the chicken coop in relatively decent shape. He rested his boot on the bottom rung of the fence, scrutinizing the field. He studied the green patches of high grass, noting cattle or horses hadn’t grazed in it for a number of years. It looked healthy. How much land did Skylar own? He racked his brain trying to remember if she’d told him.

  “Baby girl, what’s your mama’s acreage?”

  Eliza grunted.

  “I know, never ask a cowgirl the size of her spread. If I could fence that area off, it’d be a perfect place for your pony. Still want a white one?”

  She grunted again. Then Kade knew why she’d been grunting.

  “Whoo-ee, are you Miss Stinky Britches. Let’s go in and get you changed. ”

  How one little thing could poop so much boggled his mind. By the time he’d bathed her, dressed her, changed his clothes and fed her, they were both yawning. Kade stretched out on the couch. Eliza was sound asleep on his chest and he didn’t have the energy to move. Truth be told, he didn’t want to move. It was an ideal way to spend an afternoon, at home with his family.

  He tucked the blanket around her, kissed her sweet-smelling head and drifted away.

  That’s how Sky found them. Father and daughter snuggled together like it was the most natural thing in the world.

  It is. He belongs with her. He belongs here. He could belong to you.

  But would he? Despite what he claimed he’d written in the missing letter, part of her believed Kade wouldn’t be here, with her, if it wasn’t for Eliza. Another part of her believed the reason he’d become so sexually demanding was not in an effort to get her to open up to new sexual experiences, or to give him control of her pleasure, but so she’d willingly provide him with enough sexual variety that if she did accept his marriage proposal, he wouldn’t be tempted to look elsewhere for the kind of kink he needed in bed.

  If that’s true, then why did he ask you to marry him before he revealed that side of himself?

  Still, she couldn’t deny Kade had lovingly brought out a side of herself she’d ignored her whole life—her sexuality. And the man hadn’t exploited it; he’d reveled in it.

  Sky was judging him harshly on either scenario. Why? So she covered her bases for when he (invariably) took what he wanted and bailed?

  Lord. India was right. She could over-think everything.

  One thing Skylar couldn’t deny was Kade’s commitment to Eliza. His actions spoke louder than words. She leaned against the doorjamb and watched them sleep for a good long time before she turned away.

  An hour later she heard them stirring. She warmed up a bottle and put the finishing touches on supper.

  Kade came around the corner, barefoot, wearing ratty surfer shorts, a threadbare tank top, sporting a five-o’clock shadow and his hair stuck out every which way. He looked so damn cute she grinned at him.

  “What?”

  “Nothing. You hungry?”

  Eliza cried.

  “Guess that answers that. ” Sky reached for her. “Gotcha covered, baby girl. Let Daddy eat. ”

  She popped the bottle in Eliza’s mouth and looked up to see Kade looming over her.

  “What?”

  “This. ” He slid his tongue over the seam of her lips, until she opened her mouth for him fully. His kiss pacified and inflamed, both sweet and spicy. Kade eased back without a word, which was A-okay with Sky, since she was thunderstruck anyway.
r />  The evening passed uneventfully, which was fine by her. She never dreamed she’d be so…happy to sit on the porch swing, holding hands and admiring the stars. When Eliza dozed off Kade put her to bed.

  But the man who returned downstairs didn’t look like Kade, the sweet, loving father.

  He looked like Kade, the dark, demanding lover.

  Desire rolled over her like a hot summer breeze.

  “Skylar. C’mere. ”

  She walked to where he stood at the bottom of the staircase with his legs braced apart, his arms behind his back.

  “Pick a hand. ”

  “Why? Do you have a present for me?”

  “A present of sorts. Pick. ”

  “Ah. Okay. The left hand. ”

  Kade’s instant grin was decidedly predatory. He thrust out his arm. A length of rope dangled from his fingers.

  “What’s that for?”

  “What do you think it’s for?”

  “A new clothesline?”

  “Wrong. Try again. ”

  “Are you going to tie something up?”

  “Yep. You. ”

  Her stomach pitched. “Why?”

  “’Cause it’s gonna be fun. ”

  “Umm. Where is this private rodeo event going to happen?”

  “Your room because that’s what a four-poster bed was designed for, sweetheart. ”

  “But, Eliza—”

  “Is sleepin’ in the guest bedroom. ”

  “Oh. ” She swallowed hard. “What was in your other hand?”

  He grinned again and held out…another length of rope.

  “Hey! That’s cheating. ”

  “I already warned you I wasn’t gonna play fair. Get upstairs. The nekkid rule is now in effect. ”

  Her bare feet shuffled on the rug.

  “Or would you rather I trussed you up, tossed you over my shoulder and we played out my pirate and the wench fantasy?”

  Skylar’s mind created the image of Kade in a billowy white shirt, his gleaming chest muscles rippling like the sea. Knee-high glossy black boots gave way to tight breeches, which accentuated the size of his big…sword. His visage was topped off with a silky black eye patch and a shark-like smile.