Vin nodded goodbye and I waved him off. He was headed to the Indian encampment while I was heading home. Home - it had been a long time since I'd had one of those. The cattle behind me kept grazing and the calves played not too far away from their mothers. We'd effectively doubled the herd this spring with births and the elimination of a cranky old timber wolf Vin had shot in February.
I chuckled when Pony speeded up. He was almost as eager to get home as I was. We'd bought a palomino mare named Evangeline and if Pony had his way, she'd be pregnant six times over. Ezra confided to me that he thought she already was with foal but he didn't have the heart to separate them. Besides, he'd been real inspired when we watched him mount her and had taken me right there in the barn where we'd been waiting to see if they would suit.
Moving a little in the saddle, I eased my suddenly tight jeans. It had been two days since I'd held or tasted my lover and I felt sorely deprived. But he should be home by now and neither of us had to be back in town for another couple of days. Smiling, I rode towards the terra cotta walls of our stucco home. It nestled into the ground like it had always been there and I smiled at the growing sprouts of green that surrounded the house on all sides.
Nathan and Ezra had diligently planted an herb garden of both healing and cooking herbs that would grow in this climate. They'd had so much fun doing it that I was pretty sure we'd be building a green house come fall. They wanted to get started earlier with their seedlings and I had to admit it would be really nice not to have to tiptoe through my own house so I didn't disturb the trays of tiny plants.
Unsaddling Pony, I noticed Chaucer was loose in the corral and he'd already had a dust bath by the look of his coat. That made me frown a bit since Ezra usually curry-combed him after the ride out and I could still see the sweat marks left by the saddle blanket on his back. So, I shortened my care of Pony but he didn't mind since I released him into the second corral where Evangeline was waiting for him.
She flirted with a flick of her tail and a toss of her head that shook her white mane. It was the spitting image of Ezra's teasing little shake and my pants tightened at the thought. Heading across the slightly muddy yard, I followed the flagstones Ezra had laid out in a double curve across what would one day be more garden if he had his way. And I was definitely going to let him have his way since the results were sure to be great.
At the back door, I spotted his boots and made sure I took off mine to sit beside them. There was mud caked on his and I frowned down at the black leather, wondering what had distracted him from immediately cleaning them. Opening the door, I almost tripped over his socks, soaking wet. Picking them up, I spotted his red jacket dark with stains half hanging off the back of the kitchen chair and his gun belt with gun on the small table where I sat to shuck peas while he was cooking.
Just beyond them was his white shirt covered with black splotches in a heap on the red tiles. I stuffed his socks into the pocket of his jacket then picked up his shirt and kept on going into the dining room. I was moving more quickly although I could tell none of the stains were blood. His damp pants were barely on the dining room table and I gathered them in as well. By now, I was wondering just what in hell had gone on to get him so dirty. But when I reached the parlor and his silk drawers, all I could see was him, sprawled on the settee.
Face down, his beautiful hair sticking up all which-way.
Kneeling by his side, I breathed in that scent I'd missed while he was in town. It was rich and strong, which probably meant he hadn't bathed the entire time he'd been gone. Little goose bumps on his back told me he was starting to cool down and would soon be uncomfortable. I didn't want him catching a chill so I dropped a kiss on his bare shoulder, quietly got up and moved to the bathroom. Dropping the dirty clothes into the bushel basket we kept there, I lit the stove and made sure the water level was high.
Then I went in to the guest room and pulled the Star quilt off my old bed. Tiptoeing back to the parlor, I covered him up. He didn't even twitch and that told me he probably hadn't slept much for the last two days either. I could hardly wait to find out what the hell had gone on in Four Corners while Vin and I were out chasing cattle. But for now, I left him sleeping and went to make sure all the stoves had wood and at least three of them were heating water.
I can't cook worth a damn but I'd watched him make stew often enough that I thought I could at least get it started with the coneys I'd shot on the way back to the ranch. There wasn't any fresh bread baked but once he got rested up, Ezra would take care of that lack. I kept as quiet as I could while I worked, checking on my lover every fifteen minutes or so. But he never even stirred for almost two hours.
The stew smelled pretty good by then and my stomach growled at the same moment I saw his head move a little. Kneeling by his side, I gently stroked his hair with a single finger. A little sigh told me he was finally waking up. Watching him is second nature now that we're lovers. Every part of him is beautiful.
"Chris," his sleepy whisper accompanied a twitch of his mouth.
"Love you," I whispered back, kissing his ear.
"Love you, too," he mumbled. "Okay?"
"I'm fine but I'm not so sure about you." I teased him gently. "You know your jacket may never recover."
He snorted a delicate little snort and his eye cracked open. Shimmering green made my heart skip a beat. "You're probably right."
"What happened to wear you out so badly, Ezra? There anybody I need to shoot?" I asked him, watching him slowly and painstakingly roll up onto his side.
He gave my offer some thought then a small smile lifted the corners of that kissable mouth of his. "While there were several moments when I would have taken you up on that kind offer, I believe the prime miscreant was suitably punished. Unfortunately there was more than one disturber of the peace. There wasn't even a full moon upon which I could blame the sheer crazed behavior."
"Well, you can tell me all about them while we take a bath." I pulled back the quilt and ogled his naked body. "The water is hot, I promise you a soapy massage and then I'll feed you dinner in bed."
"Nirvana, beloved," He sighed and forced himself up onto one elbow. "I think I may need some help getting up, Chris."
I'll do anything that entails getting my hands on him. Pulling him upright, I hugged him close and ran my hands up and down his back. "You know I always like getting you 'up', Ezra."
His chuckle was tired but he pressed a soft kiss to my chest right above my heart. "Once I've gotten a little more sleep, beloved, I shall enjoy getting both of us 'up'." I felt his nose twitch. "Something smells heavenly and I know it can't be me."
"Rabbit stew, I hope it's as good as yours." I admitted, walking him backwards towards the bathroom. "After a nice hot bath, I thought I might serve you dinner in bed."
"Wonderful," he let me move him with closed eyes, tickling my skin with a big yawn. "It will be food fit for the gods, Chris. I just hope I can stay awake long enough to eat some. I can't remember the last time I sat down to eat."
I frowned. What the hell had gone on in town? "Once we're clean and full, you're going to give me the full story, all right?"
He nodded, taking a deep breath of the slightly steaming air of our bathroom. "Yes, of course I will, Chris."
I helped him into the tub and watched him slump against the high porcelain back. The look of bliss on his beautiful face made me smile and I joined him with soap in hand to start washing his feet. He loves it when I do that so I try to work it in whenever I can.
Those expressive green eyes were half-slitted in pleasure while I soothed caresses up and down the high arch on his right foot. "I'll give you a hundred years to stop that, my love."
Grinning, I splashed it free of soap and leaned over to suck his little toe into my mouth. The noise he made then made my cock go absolutely rigid and I eyed his shaft, which was only then even twitching. He really was tired, I thought.
"My very dear Chris, once we are out of this tub and in our nice soft featherbed, you are going to come inside of me with that beautifully rigid shaft." The toes on his other foot played with my balls and I shivered with the need to claim him all over again.
But he was still only twitching and I reined in my need to take care of him. "I'd be glad to do that, Ezra, but not until after I get you washed and fed."
He pouted, just a little but it made me want to kiss him again. "Very well, I shall accede to your wishes. I am a trifle hungry."
That meant he was starving and I speeded up our bath so I could get him into bed. He got in a few tantalizing caresses of his own and I was hard as a rock when we finally got out of the tub, drying each other off with the soft terrycloth towels he'd sent to San Francisco for. I walked him back to our bedroom and tucked him in. He was adorably sleepy and it felt like tucking in small Adam.
"Just a little nap . . . Chris . . ." his murmur was so soft I had to lean in to catch it. "Words of . . . wisdom . . . never get between . . . a woman . . . and . . . her . . . pig."
I blinked but he was out like a candle. I could hardly wait for the rest of that story.