Lightning Heat

Originally published June 25, 2011 at Long and Short Reviews (formerly Whipped Cream Reviews)

Cash Masterson paced in front of the open barn doors cursing the thunderstorm raging across his ranch. Where the hell was she? Toni Keeps had taken her horse for a ride two hours ago and hadn’t returned. She’d gone off into the woods and probably didn’t see the sudden squall rolling over the mountains. Should he go after her?

In the bright flash of thunder that lit the yard, he saw her race out of the woods on her old sorrel. She hunkered low on Salsa’s neck, her hat pulled low on her head. As the horse neared the barn, it slowed, and Toni sat taller, guiding the nervous horse in, past Cash.

He jogged to where Salsa stood outside his stall and took the reins while Toni slid off. “The storm came up so quickly,” she panted, rubbing her hands together and blowing on them to warm them.

“Wasn’t forecast, either.”

She was soaking wet, and when she looked up at him, her lips were blue and her whole, petite body shook. “I wasn’t prepared.”

When she reached for the cinch, he said, “Vic can do that. You need to get warm.”

“No, I—”

“Vic,” he called. “Will you tend to Salsa?”

The ranch hand trotted over and took the reins from Cash, nodding to him then speaking to Toni. “I’ll take good care of her, Ms. Keeps.” Salsa nudged his shoulder and he gave the horse a scratch.

“Thank you so much, Vic.” She smiled through chattering teeth.

“C’mon,” he gestured out the barn door. “Let’s get inside and get you dry.”

She looked at him with surprised eyes. “I can just sit in my car until—”

“C’mon into the house,” he grinned. “I don’t bite.” Hard, he thought, wanting to nibble on every part of her. He put his hand on the small of her back, the touch sending sparks up his arm that centered low. Down in his cock.

They made a run for the house and hit the mudroom at full blast. He closed the door behind them and they each used a bootjack to take off their muddy boots. He hung his hat on a peg, and held out his hand. “Hat.”

She took off the wilted straw cowgirl hat and gave it to him.

When he hung it next to his, he had to force back the rush of longing threatening to overpower him. Lord, he’d wanted this woman forever, but she wasn’t available. Wasn’t interested. She was just a customer, boarding her horse with him. And he had to remember that.

He opened the door into the kitchen. “Down the hall, second door on the right is the guest bedroom. There should be a robe in the bathroom.”

She looked down at her clothes then back at him, her deep green eyes showing uncertainty for a second then her blue lips firmed into a tight line as she squared her shoulders. “Okay. I guess it would be best to get out of these wet things.”

He followed her into the house. “If you wash the mud off your jeans, you can throw everything in the dryer. Laundry’s to the left.”

She walked away then turned to look back at him, her bottom lip caught in her teeth. What the heck was she up to?

Cash walked to the living room and sat on his heels in front of the fireplace. He piled newspaper, kindling, and small logs in an expert pile and lit them, having imagined doing the same thing for Toni a hundred times. When she’d shown up at his ranch nine months ago, bruised and limping, her old pickup hauling an even older horse trailer with Salsa inside, he’d fallen for her.

She’d left her husband, she explained, and drove from Oklahoma to Amarillo to work for her aunt as a beautician at the Curl Up N’ Dye in town. She was staying in a little apartment over the shop and needed to board her horse.

Her eyes were red-rimmed that night, her face blotchy from crying, but she was magnificent. Small and fiery, her long brown hair in a ratty braid. But she held herself proudly, as proud of her choice to leave a bad marriage, as she was afraid of the future.

A few times a week she’d come out to ride. Alone. For hours. He always wanted to follow her, but he could sense she wasn’t ready for male attention yet.

The sound of her feet padded behind him, and he stood to face her. Toni, her finger-combed wet hair hanging down the back of the robe. His mouth watered and his rod stretched and filled as he realized she was damn near naked, and staring up at him with a mix of anxiety and excitement in her eyes.

He had to get away. He turned.

* * * * *

Toni put her hand on Cash’s arm as he swung away. Nice, hard biceps, just like she’d imagined them. “Your shirt’s wet.”

“Yeah, I’ll go—”

“No, wait.” She clung harder. He outweighed her by double, but he turned back to her. “There’s something I need to tell you.” She moved closer, working up her courage.

He looked at her with his soft, brown eyes. Kind. Always kind since the day she came here, admitting she’d run away from her husband. He always looked at her with that longing, hungry gaze, but he never overstepped.

Well, today was her day to overstep.

“My divorce was final Monday.”

He smiled, a tentative curve of lips. “Congratulations.”

Swallowing hard, she moved her hand from his arm to his chest and blinked up at him. “I wanted to wait to do this…” She unsnapped the first snap on his shirt. “…until I was free.”


It all came out in a rush. “Please don’t say no, Cash. We’ve had such nice, long talks. I feel like I know you so well, and,” her voice dropped, husky with desire. “I need you. I’ve waited so long that—”

He cut her off with his mouth. His lips brushed hers, then his arms came around her, pulling her tightly against him. His tongue eased into her mouth and tasted, tickled and tormented every crevice. Her mind spun with pleasure as a hot ache pulsed in her pussy.

Her hands were pinned between them, and she made use of the position to unbutton his shirt, tug the tails out of his jeans, then unfasten his belt. Lower, she felt his cock, hard and ready, and she unzipped his fly, easing her fingers in. Big. Hot. Hers.

He stepped back and untied the belt of her robe, pulled it off her shoulders, and let it drop.

“Goddamn, Toni. You’re beautiful.”

Her body flashed with tingles as he looked his fill of her. Then he ripped off his shirt, tugged off his jeans, and moved on her. “I’ve wanted you forever, woman. I’ve needed you in my bed. I can’t control myself any longer.”

His admission left her breathless, and she let him back her to the couch where he laid her along the soft leather. He knelt on the floor and kissed her, long and sensually as his fingers explored her body. Her nipples puckered as he rolled them between his fingers, and her stomach quivered as he brushed lower. Lower, until he cupped her sex, then his kisses followed, his lips leaving a heated trail down her body.

He was in a rush, but she didn’t care. They’d do this again, later, slow and sensual, but right now, they both needed fast and hard.

He reached her mound, and kissed, nipped, and nibbled her flesh until her legs spread of their own volition. He moved lower, lifting one of her legs over his shoulder. “You’re beautiful, Toni.” His eyes stared, heavy lidded. “Pink and wet. Full and soft.” He pressed his face into her, and the months of longing, desiring him, brought her to a peak too quickly.

He groaned and found her clit, licking and sucking until she shot out of her body, the storm in her mind overpowering the elements outdoors. She sailed and shook and tingled, barely aware of him lifting her legs, positioning her ankles on his shoulders. Kneeling on the couch, his hard, sheathed cock touched her swollen lips then slowly slid into her.

Cash’s eyes rolled back as he entered her, then his gaze locked with hers. “I’ve dreamt of this moment.”

Her core contracted around his shaft, her orgasm building, tensing as he moved inside her, faster, more powerfully with each stroke until only minutes later, they both shouted. The room flashed brilliantly as lightning shattered around them, thunder rumbled, shaking them.

Cash collapsed next to her, pulling her tight to his chest and kissing the top of her head. “Stay the night. Stay the weekend.”

“As long as you want, Cash.” She kissed his hard chest, feeling his heart beat faster at her words. “I’m yours.”