Chapter 1 – Back In The Saddle


Friday night

One tug of his fingers on the tie at my waist, and the wrap dress came undone. His knuckles brushed my bare skin and I shivered. Not from cold but desire. The light material slid open and revealed my matching bra and panties.

“This is my new favorite kind of dress,” Huck murmured, his head dipped, his gaze on my body. His sandy hair was thick and curly, and I wanted to reach out and run my fingers through it. Yet I held still. I tried to catch my breath because he’d barely touched me and I was hot for him. The way his pale eyes darkened, the way his jaw clenched… he wanted me. I also couldn’t miss the thick prod of his dick against the front of his jeans. My pussy clenched, remembering how he’d felt inside me. We’d been in love, foolish, and—

“Baby girl, you’re even more beautiful than I remember.” His gaze flicked up. Met mine. Held. “And I remember often.”

Baby girl.

I hadn’t been called that in years, and only by Huck. Not since he broke up with me right before I left for college. I’d missed the endearment, along with him. The words reminded me it really was Huck Manning standing in front of me. Touching me. Hard for me.

Was I crazy doing this? The last time he’d had me—not only the last, but the first—I’d had my heart in on it. I’d loved him. Given him everything, including my virginity. I’d craved him and all he’d promised.

I wasn’t nineteen any longer. Didn’t have blinders on where he was concerned. I stood before him. Older. Wiser.

Still… this was Huck. I was in his bedroom, and I was close to naked. To hide my shaking hands, I raised them to his chest and gripped the cotton of his shirt. With a bold tug, the snaps gave way, revealing his broad torso.

He’d changed in six years. Filled out. Built muscle. His skin was tanned from the summer sun. His chest had a smattering of blond hair between dusky, flat nipples. When my fingertips brushed over his belly, his abs tightened.

“Fuck,” he murmured, then took my wrist in a gentle hold.

I looked up, wondered why he stopped me.

The corner of his mouth curled. “Keep doing that and we’ll be done too fast. I want this to last.”

“Just touching you?” I whispered, awe in my voice. Not because he might have a quick trigger, but because I felt the power I had over him.

“Yeah, just the brush of your fingertips could finish me.” His hand gently squeezed, and I looked up at him through my lashes. “We need to talk about this before we—”

I shook my head. The last thing I wanted to do was talk. I had a mission here. I had to stay focused on it. His touch… fuck, just his scent was making me lose my mind. He wasn’t the only one who could come from just a a brush of his fingers. My clit ached and my pussy clenched with anticipation. My pussy wasn’t in charge here though.

“No talking,” I whispered.

He released his hold, his hands sliding up my arms to my shoulders, where he pushed my dress back. It slid silently to the floor so I was only in my underwear and cowgirl boots.

He took a step back, looked me over. I tried not to squirm, because it had been a really long time. I wasn’t a teenager any longer. I’d filled out. He was too intense, his gaze heated. This was how he’d looked at me earlier across the crowded auditorium at the community center when I’d shouted out my bid at the bachelor auction.

It had only grown more intense once I’d won him and he’d hopped from the stage to join me in the crowd. To take my hand and lead me out of the building. To where we were now in his bedroom on the ranch with only a few articles of clothing between us.

It was as if he could stand it no longer and reached out, hooked a hand behind the back of my neck, and pulled me in. Kissed me.

Oh yes. This. I remembered his taste. The slightly rough feel of his hold. His barely leashed need. The gentle scrape of his stubble.

I pulled the tails of his shirt from his jeans as we kissed, my hands roaming now. His chest, his back, his butt over the denim.

He yanked me into him so I felt every hard inch. I was reminded of his size, a foot taller than my five-two. He could overpower me. Dominate me in ways that weren’t kinky or fun.

But he wouldn’t. The guy may have hurt my heart, but I knew he’d never lay a hand on me in anger. In his arms was the one place where I’d felt truly safe.

Now I was back in them, and it was as if the six years slipped away.

With an arm banded around my back, he lifted me, carried me to the bed, and laid me down so my head rested on his pillow. With a hand pressed into the mattress by my shoulder, he loomed over me. With the glow of the bedside lamp, his face was cast in deep shadow. I saw the gleam of need. The happiness.

Lowering his head again, he kissed along my jaw, down my neck, and to the swell of my breast above the lacy edge of my bra.

A whimper slipped from my lips, and I tangled my fingers in his hair. Tugged on the silky strands. I remembered his scent, like coming home.

My eyes slipped closed at the delicious feel of him.

What was I doing? I couldn’t lose myself in his touch!

I had a plan. A mission. But fuck, he felt so good. He remembered exactly what got me hot.

But he also knew exactly what had finished us.

I gripped the sides of his head and pulled him up. With a lift of my hips, I tried to flip us. He was too big to force, but he let me take the lead, rolling him onto his back as I straddled his waist.

His eyes flared with heat, and a slow smile spread across his face.

“Want to be in charge, baby girl?” he asked.

The fact that he asked proved that I really wasn’t in charge at all. But I already was. He just didn’t know it. I arched a brow and gave him a sly smile in return. “I did buy you at the auction.”

His hands settled on my hips, the pads of his thumbs caressing my lower belly.

He was calm, relaxed. Content, even. He wanted me in his bed with him. Was pleased with it. With me.

I swallowed back all the feelings that knowledge brought about.

“Yeah, you did,” he murmured. “You want a wild ride? I’ll give you what you paid for.”

I’d forgotten he was a dirty talker and seemed to only have gotten better at it. While we’d dated for a few months, we’d only been together, had sex, once. One night where he’d touched me in ways I’d never imagined. Never forgot.

But I’d been naive and unsure of what to do. He’d been gentle and careful. Obviously he liked this bolder version of me.

I shook my head—to tell him no and to clear the lust-filled haze—and looked to the chair in the corner of the room. Slung over the back of it was his utility belt. I climbed off him, went and grabbed the handcuffs. As police chief, he also had a service pistol, but it wasn’t in the holster. Since he had a small child living in the house, I had no doubt it was stored in a gun safe along with any other weapons the Mannings had at the ranch.

I dangled the metal restraints from one finger as I stood before him.

“You want to be tied up, baby girl?” he asked, his eyes darkening at the idea.

I shook my head. “No. I want to do it to you.”

His jaw clenched as he stared at me, looked me over as if memorizing me. “Fuck, you’re beautiful.”

He undid his jeans, pushed them and his boxers down over his hips so his dick sprang free. Only his shirt and pants were open; otherwise he still had his clothes on.

It was my turn to ogle him. I’d seen his dick before when we’d fooled around, touched it. Felt it deep inside me that one time. But I’d been young and a virgin then. I hadn’t known how incredible Huck’s dick actually was. Long, thick, and hard like it was, the crown flared wide. A little drop of pre-cum beaded at the tip. He gripped the base, gave it a rough stroke. Then he raised his hands over his head and gave me a wink.

“I’m all yours, baby girl.”

I took a deep breath. I wanted to straddle him and sink deep onto him. Ride him like a cowgirl. But that wasn’t the plan. This was Huck Manning. The guy who’d taken my virginity, told me he loved me, then dumped me. He’d taken my heart but left me with a part of him. That had died too, along with my hopes and dreams of being with him forever.

I’d follow through with my plan, and that meant going back to the bed and straddling him once again, panties staying on. Leaning forward, I grabbed one of his wrists and wrapped the cuff around, snapped it closed.

I gasped when Huck’s mouth enclosed my nipple. The way I leaned over, I’d offered the lace-covered tip to him. I took a moment to enjoy the feel of the hot suck.

“Huck,” I whispered, pleasure shooting from my nipple right to my clit.

He dropped his head back onto the pillow. Grinned.

I took another deep breath. My panties were drenched, and my clit pulsed with the need to come.

I quickly hooked the cuffs around a slat in his headboard, then affixed his other wrist. He gave a gentle tug to test them, and I smiled down at him.

Just how I wanted him.

“Before you take my dick for a ride, straddle my face. I want to eat that pussy before I take it hard.”

Oh. My. God.

I stared at him. Those dark eyes were filled with lust, but honesty too. He wanted exactly what he’d said.

“I never got a taste before.”

Because you dumped me.

It was time to leave him here, unsatisfied and unfucked, but Huck Manning was offering to go down on me. I’d been with two guys since Huck left me, but they hadn’t been all that great. College boys who needed a road map and a compass to find my clit.

The guy beneath me was all man, and I had no doubt his confidence was earned.

He wanted to eat my pussy? Hell, I wasn’t going to deny myself this opportunity for a man-induced orgasm, especially since he was restrained and couldn’t do anything else.

Shifting, I stripped off my panties, then gripped the headboard to move over his face.

“Will you be able to breathe?” I asked, looking down at him. I wanted to punish him, not suffocate the guy.

Huck’s gaze flicked from my pussy to my face. “Baby girl, it’ll be the best way to go. Now lower down on my face.”

He didn’t say more because I shifted, and even without his hands, he went to town. Licking, flicking, sucking, kissing.

I rolled my hips, using the gorgeous Huck Manning to get off.

Oh. My. God. He was good. This was good. Too good.

It took about sixty seconds to gasp and cling to the headboard as the best orgasm ever washed over me. I wasn’t sure if it showed his skill as a lover or the fact that I’d been so desperate to come.

My nipples were pebbled, my skin slick with sweat. I shifted back, caught my breath as Huck licked his glistening lips.

“Not done,” he said, his voice deep with arousal. “Grab a condom, climb on my dick, and let’s have some fun.”

I blinked. Looked down at Huck. I wanted to have sex with him. Desperately. It would be empty pleasure, though. He’d hurt me long ago. The wound had cut deep, and as I looked down at him, I knew it had never healed. I wasn’t going to do that to myself again.

Revenge was sweet, especially when it came with an orgasm.

I climbed off him, grabbed my panties, and slipped them on. “No, thanks.”

He didn’t say anything, only frowned as he watched me pull my dress back on.

“Baby girl, what’re you doing?”

“What I should have done all those years ago.”

I picked up my purse from the floor, pulled out the piece of paper I’d found earlier, walked over, and slapped it onto his bare chest.

He looked down at it, then at me. “I kinda can’t see what that is.”

“It’s a letter from a lawyer stating that Claire’s not biologically yours,” I explained.

His eyes flared at my words, and the cuffs clanged as he tugged against them. Yeah, he knew what I was talking about, but he hadn’t expected it here and now. Just like that bit of news had been for me earlier when I’d pulled his lawyer’s things from the totaled car.

“Sarah,” he said, the first time he’d used my name tonight.

“You lied to me. For years.” Anger laced my words. “You let me believe you had a baby with another woman.”

“I can explain.” The handcuffs rattled again as he tried to get himself free.

“No need,” I said, holding up my hand. “Fuck you, Huckleberry Manning.” I glanced at his still-hard dick. “Actually, I don’t want to.”

I turned on my heel and walked out of his room. Out of his life once again as I heard him shout my name. This time it was on my terms.

Vanessa Vale