I watched Ezra flirt with me across the table in front of the others and counted myself the luckiest man in the world. I'd fallen in love with him almost immediately but he had walls a mile thick and two miles high so I set my sights on him and waited for him to come to me. I couldn't hardly breathe when he flirted back this morning over breakfast. Finally, finally he was ready to be mine.
Killing Chris would have been a real pleasure when he screwed up our plans for the afternoon. I probably would have eventually regretted killing my oldest friend but damned if I weren't still pissed at him for putting Ezra in harm's way. 'Course, nobody else could have acted like a bank manager the way he had and saved both Mr. White and little Rosemary Murphy.
So I just sat back and watched Ezra be charming while we ate our dinner. I even ate more spinach just because he looked at me with that little pout of his that turns my knees to water. And with a squeeze of lemon, it didn't really taste that bad. But I wasn't telling him that any time soon. He'd probably try to make me eat healthy all the time.
Ah hell, who was I trying to kid? All it would take was one look from emerald eyes and I'd be doing exactly what he wanted. Strange to say, Nathan and Chris had taken to the change between us real well. Vin had smiled that slow smile of his that said the world was a real good place and made my Ezra blush with a low voiced comment that I couldn't hear.
Josiah was watching me like a hawk and I kind of felt like I should be asking permission from him to court his son. But Ezra had just laid a gentle hand on his sleeve and said something very quietly to him that finally brought a smile to his face. He was a good man and he probably thought that I wasn't good enough for Ezra. Hell, I knew that but I couldn't give him up either. I would just have to 'walk softly before the Lord' for the rest of my days in thanks for him saving Ezra for me.
And that left JD to tell and there I didn't know what to say or how to say it.
I liked being a big brother to him but I wasn't sure how he'd take the revelation that I was giving up women for a man. But what a man Ezra was, kind, gentle, smart as a whip and beautiful in every way. Women are wondrous creatures and I dearly loved to make them smile but Ezra ... well, Ezra was the one I wanted for always.
"Hi, guys, we're back. Mrs. Potter got a load of oranges in and she gave me some to share with you." JD bounced in and sat down beside me with a basket full of the bright orange fruit. "Did anything happen while we were gone?"
Our eyes met across the table and I saw Ezra brace himself but Chris of all people hurried into speech with a laconic telling of the bank robbery story. JD's eyes got real big and he looked back and forth between us as if Chris was telling a tall tale instead of truth. He had questions and he looked real concerned when he heard that Ezra had been shot. Just thinking about that made my skin twitch and I had a need to hold him close and never let him out of my sight again.
But when he volunteered to help Ezra if he needed it, I piped up that I would be helping him while Ezra blushed a little. JD looked from him to me and back again before smiling. Then he told us congratulations, he was glad that we'd finally woken up to the fact that we loved each other. The whole table went silent while we all looked at him as if he'd grown another head.
He just smiled back and said his uncle had come home from the War with a buddy and they were real happy together. I shook my head and thought to myself, you just never knew about people. Inez brought him his dinner and we shared the oranges around the table while we talked about a little bit of everything. But I kept a close eye on Ezra and noticed that he was fighting to keep back his yawns.
Getting shot gives you a real surge of energy but when it leaves, you feel drained. Nathan was watching too and he finally shot a look at me with a little tilt of his head that told me it was time to take care of my lover, my soon-to-be-real-life lover. I slid back my chair and stood up, coming around the table to Ezra's side and he looked up with that twinkle that told me he was ready.
We said our goodnights and I steadied him when he stood up and faltered. Nathan told me to watch him on the stairs because he might get dizzy and I just nodded. I'd be watching him anyway and if I had to I'd just carry him the rest of the way. He was back to blushing again and I wondered if he'd lost his poker face completely.
Nah, it was just put aside for now and would probably return as soon as he sat down with the cards. I loved watching him deal to a table full of men just itching to lose their money. But right now, I wanted to see those graceful hands undressing me while I peeled off all those layers that he wore.
At the top of the stairs, he looked at me and handed me the key to his room. "I don't think I can open the door, I'm shaking so badly."
I'd felt the little tremors run through him and I took the key. "I'll do whatever you want, Ezra. Just tell me and we can sleep together without doing another thing but cuddle."
He smiled at me. "I may be tired and aching, Buck, but I definitely want more than a cuddle from you."
I unlocked his door and we went inside, shutting it behind us. He came into my arms as if he'd done it a hundred times and I held him tightly, only then thinking about what would have happened if I'd been slower getting to him. He wasn't the only one shaking when I thought about the 'what ifs'.
"Ezra, I'm so glad you decided to seduce me this morning." I said into his hair and felt him hug me tighter.
"I hoped you were ... all right with it. You'd been flirting with me for some time and I thought you might mean it." He licked the little bit of skin that showed over my top button and he had to stand practically on tiptoe to do it.
"I mean it, Ezra. There's nobody I've wanted since almost the moment we met. I still like to flirt with the ladies, Ez' but you're the only one who makes me feel real. Shoot, I don't have the right words to tell you what you mean to me." I sighed and rested my chin on his hair.
"You're doing just fine, Buck. I know that I am not the most . . . trustworthy of men but I do want to be someone that you can ... trust." He was practically whispering and every word was like a blow to my heart.
"Don't ever say that about yourself, Ezra P. Standish. I trust you more than anyone I've ever known." I moved my hands up to his shoulders and gave him a little shake. "And so do the others. It was a trusted man who took over this afternoon and saved a young girl, an old man and the hard earned money of half the town."
In the dim light of a fading sunset, I could see him blush and suddenly I just had to kiss him again. His hands held my vest while my mouth took his with all the fierce need that the afternoon had born in me. But when he moaned and flinched I realized that I'd put too much pressure on his bandaged forearm.
"Oh, Ezra, don't let me hurt you." I gentled my lips and scattered kisses over his face. His eyelids were petal soft and his eyebrows silky smooth. I wanted to taste him every where and that meant I was going to have to start peeling off those layers. So I did, slowly making sure that each touch was all right with him. I had the feeling that he'd been hurt in the past and I wasn't about to add to that pain.
His little whimper when I lapped at the hollow of his throat went straight to my groin and I speeded up our undressing because I had to feel his skin against me or die. I'd never been so hard in my life and when I slid his pants down I discovered that he was right there with me. He was beautiful and I just had to push his foreskin back and taste him. His hands were shaking as they carded through my hair and I realized that he'd fall if I didn't take better care of him.
I slid back up his body and lifted him in my arms, carrying him to the bed and laying him gently down so I could get rid of his boots and pants. He was panting and I could see his cock leaking a little with need. I came back to his side, leaving his pants in a heap on the floor. He'd have a fit in the morning but right now something more important had come up.
He was a delicious shade of plum and I sucked him in gently, afraid that I'd hurt him by being too quick. He moaned and I smiled around his thick length. "Oh, Buck. Oh, Buck."
I liked the sound of my name moaned by those beautiful lips of his. But he was shaking and I was afraid that if I prolonged this too long, the pleasure would turn to pain. So I rolled his balls between my fingers and sucked a little harder, listening for what he sounded like when he came. And there it was, a breathless moan of my name before he released into my keeping.
He relaxed all over and I sucked gently, knowing that his flesh would be sensitive now. Salty, somewhat bitter but I was addicted just the same. He hadn't moved since he came and I suddenly worried that I might have hurt him. But before I checked, I had to get out of my pants before they strangled me. Kneeling up, I thankfully unbuttoned my fly and let him pop out. Then I sat on the edge of the bed and took off my boots and pants with a sigh of relief.
I'd never heard his voice sound like that before, lazy and satiated. I wanted to hear that again. "Ezra, you okay?"
"I'm fine." He sounded as if he were still half-asleep. "No, I'm better than fine."
I chuckled and started unbuttoning my shirt. "Well, I'd like to thank you for my dessert, Ezra. You were quite tasty and I believe that I may need to coax out a little more."
The bed shifted and I felt his heat against my back, his arms coming around me to help me unbutton. "I'm glad you enjoyed it, Buck. However, I believe you are in possession of a rather unique vintage that only the most discriminating connoisseur could appreciate."
Those big words all ran together in my head until I wasn't sure which way was up. But he'd already pulled me completely onto the bed and sent me sprawling on my back while he knelt by my hip and reached out a hand for my cock. "Ezra, don't hurt yourself. Oh God."
I'd never been touched with so much love in my life. Those slender hands that dealt cards so quickly were slowly sliding over my rock hard cock like feathers, barely there and yet branding me with their heat. It was my turn to whimper and I felt him smile against the tender spot just beneath my crown before he ran the rough edge of his tongue there. Then he was nibbling along the flared edges and gently kissing the small slit that was starting to leak bitter tears.
A slight suction and he was humming at the taste. I almost came then but he knew about that nerve at the base of my cock and he pressed it so I didn't release. He did something then that no one had ever done to me before. Sliding his tongue down my shaft, he real gently took one of my balls in his mouth and sucked just a little while I had to bite my hand to keep from shouting.
Then he did it to the other one and I was shaking all over as if I had the chills. Cupping them in one hand, he came back up and sucked the entire crown into that moist hot haven. I'd wanted him for so long that I just didn't have the stamina that I should have. Before too many more minutes had passed, I was back to biting my hand and spurting between those beautiful lips. I was still shaking when he let me slip from him. I reached down a long arm and brought him up to my chest, hugging him close and feeling like a train had run over me.
"Was it all right, Buck?" That slightly timid voice didn't belong to the self-assured man who'd just pleasured me so well.
"Ezra, if it had been any more all right, I'd have passed right out and you'd be calling on Nathan to revive me." I stroked a hand down his back and realized that he was perspiring more than he should be. "Sweetheart, how do you feel?"
"All right." He was shivering a little and I felt alarm bells ring in my head. Rolling him to one side, I reached for the matches so I could light the lamp I'd seen earlier on the side table. The first one broke and I cursed it silently while being a little more careful with the second one. The flame showed me an Ezra who was pale and shaky as if he was going into shock.
"Sweetheart, how does your arm feel? Did I hit it or something?" Alarmed was the least of what I was feeling.
"It aches a little." He said slowly and I knew that meant that he was really in pain.
"Stay right here, Ezra and I'll go get Nathan." I leaned in and kissed him slowly, judging his temperature with my lips. He was hot, too hot. "Sweetheart, are you feeling a little warm?"
"Um, just a little." He licked his lips and I hurried into my pants without bothering with anything like underwear. His eyes were glazed and I found myself praying that the damn bullet hadn't had some kind of infection on it.
I shrugged into my shirt and hastily tucked it in before tugging on my boots. "Ezra, I'll be right back. Okay? Ezra?"
Those green eyes opened and the sweetest smile crossed his lips. "Love you, Buck."
I had to bite my lip at the drowsy declaration. "I love you too, Ezra. Let's get you under the covers now."
"No," he shook his head. "Too hot."
"Sweetheart, please, just for me?" I tugged the blanket and sheet out from under him and tried to cover him up.
"No." Suddenly I could just see a five-year old Ezra being stubborn.
"Just the sheet then. I don't want Nathan to see all of you unless he has to." I pushed the blanket off the bed and pulled the sheet up over him.
"Nathan's coming?" He frowned at me.
"In just a minute, sweetheart. So stay right here for me and I'll be right back with him." I kissed him again and practically ran from the room. At the top of the stairs, I could see he and Josiah still talking together. Some healing instinct must have brought his eyes to mine because without a word being spoken, he was on his feet and heading up the stairs with Josiah right behind.
"He's burning up and he said his arm ached." Was all I had to say and then we were in Ezra's room. He'd pushed the sheet down to his waist but he was perspiring so much that he might as well have been naked.
"Ezra, I'm going to unwrap the bandage now." Nathan's voice was low while he sat on the other side of the bed and picked up Ezra's left hand. The whimper from my lover almost buckled my knees. "Josiah, go to the clinic and bring me back some alcohol and more bandages. Oh and some Epsom salts, they're in the big jar on top of the cabinet."
The big man nodded and left while I picked up the clothes that we'd flung all over. If I hadn't been so intent on seducing him maybe I would have noticed sooner that he was sick.
"This is not your fault, Buck so just stop blaming yourself." Nathan read my mind with ease. "I must have missed something when I cleaned it out." He unwrapped the bandage and even I could see that the angry red and purple of the graze wasn't right. "Damn, there must be a thread or a speck of dirt or something that I can't see. It's all right, Ezra; it's going to feel better soon. Buck, lay down beside him so he's not alone."
"I won't hurt him?" I wanted to in the worst way but I didn't want to hurt him more.
"Nope, big guy, you'll just make him feel safe and loved." Those dark eyes looked straight into my heart. "If I didn't think it was love then I would have told him so and protected him from you. I don't know why it took me so long to see his wounded spirit but once I did, I finally understood that he is a kind man. You'll be good for him. Make him laugh, lighten those spirits that sometimes sink into despair."
I slid in beside Ezra and gently slid an arm under him so he could feel me in more than one place. He murmured my name and I almost cried. "I fell in love with him almost the first time I saw him. But that was mostly lust until I began to know him ... really know the man inside." I soothed a quiet hand over his cheek. "I just ... I just want to make him happy instead of sad. Let him know that it's okay to laugh out loud or show pain when it hurts."
Nathan chuckled and brought the bowl of water from the dresser over to the bed. "I think those are real good goals, Buck. And so will Ezra once we get him past this little infection."
He wrung out a cloth in the cool water and wiped the sweating brow of my comatose lover. Ezra sighed and I felt those tears burning my eyes again. It wasn't long before Josiah returned with the supplies that Nathan needed and I had to watch while he cleaned the wound again with an abrading motion that had Ezra whimpering continuously until he was done.
The wound still looked angry but Josiah brought up hot water and Nathan made a poultice of the Epsom salts that made Ezra hiss then go limp. That scared me to death and I probably would have done something foolish but Josiah was there to keep me calm. The next hour passed so slowly that it felt like a week. The big man brought up two chairs from the saloon so he and Nathan had a place to sit.
They talked quietly about a lot of things while I kept wiping Ezra's face and chest with the cool water. Nathan changed the poultice every fifteen minutes or so and Josiah had brought up more hot water twice when I noticed that Ezra wasn't sweating anymore. Nathan removed the poultice and the angry red streaks were gone.
"Hallelujah, brother." Josiah was quietly jubilant and I was singing inside my heart. He patted my shoulder. "Take good care of him, Buck. I'll check on you tomorrow."
"Thanks, Josiah." I was suddenly as tired as if I'd been working hard.
"Rest, Buck. He's going to be a handful when he wakes up." The big man chuckled. "Nathan, you want me to take some of those supplies back to the clinic?"
"No thanks, Josiah. I'll watch for a while longer, we might want another poultice in the morning just to be on the safe side." Nathan smiled at him. "Good night."
Josiah let himself out and I curled a little closer around Ezra. Nathan was humming softly while he lightly bandaged the now clean wound. It was a soft sound, kind of like my mama sang when I was real little. One minute I was just closing my eyes for a minute and the next I knew it was morning.
The sun was peeking in through the windows and I looked around for Nathan only to find him gone. Ezra was snuggled close in my arms and he was just as cool as could be. I'd need to go to Josiah's church to give thanks to the Lord for saving my Ezra. It wasn't quite the night that I'd had planned but nothing mattered but the fact that he was okay.
"Buck?" His sleepy drawl made me smile. "Did something happen last night?"
"What?" I tried to sound shocked. "You don't remember subduing me with your animal magnetism and taking me over and over until I had to plea for mercy?"
Sleepy green eyes looked up into mine. "I did?"
"Yep, you were so masterful that I almost swooned." I nodded sagely.
"Really?" He was awake now and his eyes searched the room "Then why do I remember Nathan and Josiah here, too?"
"Well, you were just too much for me, Ez' so I had to call in reinforcements." I tried to keep a straight face, I really did but that arching eyebrow did me in and I started snickering.
"Ow!" He moved his arm and I sobered immediately.
"Let me see, sweetheart." I sat up and grabbed for his arm.
"It's just sore, Buck. Why was the pillow under it?" He let me hold his arm.
"It got infected and Nathan was here most of the night changing the poultice. He and Josiah stayed for quite a while before Josiah left and I fell asleep." I admitted and gently peeled the bandage back to check the wound. "Oh good, it still looks okay."
"Goodness, I don't think that I ever had three gentlemen in my bedroom at one time." Ezra smiled at me and I fell in love all over again. "Now about this animal magnetism you mentioned?"
And I settled in to let him seduce me again. It was going to be a beautiful day.
The end for now