Dedicated to my favorite avid reader, Rachel.
Her arms floated over the small of his back, his naked body pressed into hers. He felt so good in her arms, and she couldn’t wait to know what it meant to be a complete woman. Her fingers moved over his firm butt, delighting in the feel of his flesh in her hands. He began to move deep within her. She expected it to hurt, to cry because it was her first time, but it wasn't like that at all. Amazingly, it felt good. Corey looked down into her face as he began to slide in and out of her tunnel of passion, building the tension that grew in her body to a smoldering fire.
Megan was alive, floating up into the sky as if she were on a cloud. It was the ultimate high, something so foreign that she never expected. Her hips began to keep in time with Corey's every thrust, lifting up off the bed to meet him. His mouth came down and conquered hers in a smoldering kiss that left her breathless. Megan strived to reach that place that seemed so far out of her reach. Corey's lips left her mouth, trailing a blaze of fire down her neck.
She loved the feel of his hot mouth on her skin, the way he made sure she would respond to him. Wrapping his arms around her, he held her tight and rolled over. Megan was surprised that his member stayed deep within her womb. She sat up, looked down into his handsome passion-filled face. He was the most beautiful thing she'd ever laid eyes on, and he was all hers.
His hands covered her breasts, squeezing and molding them to fit in his hands. Megan moaned, and Corey sat up. He lifted one erect nipple up and brought his mouth to it. Megan sucked in a ragged breath, dug her fingers into his thick hair and held on for dear life.
As his tongue flicked over the nipple of one breast, his hand was quick to make sure the other wasn't neglected, the pad of his thumb brushing over the aching nub. Corey lay back again, sliding his hands down to her waist. He moved her up and down. Fire burned deep within Megan's body, sweat beginning to bead on her chest.
Megan's hands rested on the mat of hair that covered his chest, delighting in the texture that ran between her fingers. The peak was so close now, she could feel it, had to reach it and know this sweet ecstasy for herself. Corey's hips thrust into her core, driving Megan to new heights.
Her head fell back, the orgasm ready to explode as his thumb moved to her nub. Megan gasped, almost stopped moving, but the gripping sensation catapulted her senses. Her skin tingled, her heart thundered in her ears, drowning out every sound in the bedroom. One deep thrust and Megan's body took over, wave upon wave of molten heat washed over her in rapid succession.
It was happening, her first sexual experience had launched her into instant womanhood, and she wouldn't trade it for the world. He stiffened beneath her, his liquid juices flowing into her. Overwhelmed by the sensations that filled her; the way he made her feel, she smiled, her body over sensitized. Megan had a desperate urge to be in his arms.
"That was incredible, Cor..." Megan gasped, looked down into the familiar eyes that shouldn't be looking up at her. Her heart plummeted when she realized she'd been making love with Joe Adams.
Megan sat bolt upright in bed, her breathing labored, and a cold sweat beading her skin. Looking around her bedroom, recognizing her surroundings, she lay back on the pillows. That intense dream scared her to death. She had to tell Corey the truth. She'd been so close that night, but he'd stopped her.
MEGAN PULLED UP TO the sprawling ranch, sitting in the wide driveway behind the white BMW. The big truck remained, which could only mean one thing—Anna’s husband was still here. Showing up unannounced might be the worst idea she'd had. Maybe she shouldn't have come here, but she had nowhere else to go. Megan had two choices, she could get out of the car and follow through with what she'd set out to do, or she could go back home. The thought of being in the house with no direction was too much to bear. She had to make a move because her future depended on it.
Sucking in a ragged breath, she resolved herself to follow through. Megan got out of the car and approached the house, her heart hammering away. With a shaky hand, she knocked on the big oak door and closed her eyes. Birds chirped away, not a care in the world. Corey's face flashed in her mind, pulling the corners of her mouth into a smile.
"Hi, Megan," Nolan said, standing in the doorway.
Megan nodded, comparing Nolan's grin with that of Corey's. Those Brady boys were a handsome pair. "Good morning, Nolan. Is Anna busy?"
He opened the door wider, and stepped aside. Megan crossed the threshold, her heartbeat picking up its pace.
"Anna, Megan's here." Nolan headed out the door. "I'll call you later," he called, closing the door behind him.
Anna appeared with her light brown hair in a ponytail. No makeup adorned her pale face, but her vivid green eyes danced with excitement.
"This is a surprise."
Megan bit her bottom lip, hoping that she'd made the right decision. "I was hoping we could talk."
"Let's go to my workroom. I'm really behind. The Grayburgs' is nagging me about the new line. If Lisa calls one more time to ask what I've accomplished I swear I'll walk away from it all."
The big ranch-style house that Anna and Nolan lived in boasted all hardwood floors in an oak finish, with large, colorful rugs. Bold colors adorned the walls giving it a cozy feel. Large pictures hung on the walls of landscapes. Leather furniture dotted the living room, with wooden tables beside each piece.
They walked down a long, wide hallway to the back of the house, to the infamous addition.
Anna moved into the enormous room and went right to her sketches, studying them. She looked up at Meg and smiled.
"So, what can I do for you?"
"I want to know if your job offer still stands."
A slight smile tugged the corner of her mouth. "Of course. However, I got the impression you weren't interested. What changed your mind?"
Megan gulped air. "The will."
Anna frowned. "That bad?"
Megan nodded and moved beside Anna, staring down at the sketches and fabrics on the table. "Dex got everything, even my car. He and Karen have decided to move back to Endurance." Bitterness clung to her voice. Megan hated that she couldn't bury her hurt and anger.
"Ouch. I'm sorry."
It was time to make some drastic changes, and getting a job was her top priority.
"Don't get me wrong. I love my brother, but I don't want to live in that house with him and his family. I'd only be in the way, intruding on their family time."
Anna nodded. "That's understandable. Well, can you sew, answer phones, run errands, spend time at the boutique and do whatever else needs to be done?"
Meg nodded. "Yes."
"Great. You can start today."
Meg threw her arms around Anna, excitement rushing through her veins. "Thank you so much, I won't let you down." One big step accomplished.
"We'll work for a bit here, and then I'll take you over to the boutique and Lisa can go over the details of your job and get your paperwork filled out. Let's get started."
Anna showed Meg where everything belonged, her lists of suppliers, and then they took Megan's measurements. Instead of having a mannequin, Anna got to work with a live person. Meg couldn't help being a little wary, never having done anything like this in her life, but Anna assured her that everything would work out.
Anna laid out different fabrics, styles of clothing, patterns and explained how she sorted them. It overwhelmed and intrigued Megan at the same time. Sketches covered one wall from floor to ceiling, drawing her attention. Black and white being the dominant color scheme, with a few colors mixed in with the bunch. One dress, in particular, stood out, catching Megan's eye. The stunning emerald green gown with a pleated bust-line took her breath away. A piece of satin fabric hung on the picture and she reached out and ran the tip of her finger over the silky fabric.
"Ah, you like that one," Anna noticed.
Megan blushed. "It's beautiful."
"It's one of my favorites. Are you ready for some lunch?"
"Umm," Meg began. She never expected to get the job and didn't come prepared. "I'll just go home. What time should I come back?"
"Nonsense, we're going to the diner. I want you to meet Lisa, get familiar with the boutique and acquainted with the other girls."
She wished she'd worn better clothes instead of her faded jeans, even though Anna dressed in a similar fashion. "All right. I just need to tell Dex that I won't be home until..." She stopped, her forefinger resting on her lips.
Anna laughed at the puzzled expression on Meg's face. "I'm not a slave driver. I try to finish up by four so I can get dinner ready for Nolan."
"I need to grab a few papers, I'll be right back," Anna said heading out the door as the phone rang. "Can you get that?"
Meg squelched the awkward feeling that came. Answering the phone would be a job requirement and she'd have to get used to it. "Brady residence," she said cheerfully.
"Meg? Is that you?" Corey asked.
"Hi, Corey." Her voice cracked a bit, but she believed she'd covered it well. Thoughts of this morning's dream rushed into her head like a fast-moving river.
"What are you doing there?"
"Really? I didn't know you wanted to go back to work so soon."
"It's a long story. I'll fill you in later."
"Okay. Where's Anna?"
"I'll get her," she said setting the phone down, her heart racing.
Anna returned as Meg cradled the phone in her hand. "Ready?"
"Corey's on the phone. I'll wait for you outside."
Anna took the phone and pressed it to her ear. "Hey. What's up?"
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" Corey demanded.
"I have a line to get ready, she needs a job. Lisa's been all over me to get an assistant, now I have one."
Corey groaned. "I can hear the wheels turning in your brain. This is your subtle way of interfering. Just in case you didn't hear, Megan and I are fine; you don't have to help me out."
"Good to know."
Corey shook his head and looked up at the ceiling. Anna would never back off until he settled down. With any luck, he could do just that, and keep her from messing things up with his love life. "Mom wants you and Nolan here for dinner."
"We'll be there." Anna hung up before he could say another word.
Corey stared at the receiver fuming. He knew what she was doing. Didn't I just warn her? Did she even hear what I said? As much as he loved Anna, sometimes he just wanted to strangle her with his bare hands.
Corey trudged back outside as his father pulled up at the stables. Seemed like he was destined to spend the day apologizing. "Hey, Dad. Sorry, I'm running a bit late today."
Tom Brady eyed his son but didn't say a word. Corey hated that look, and the silent treatment even more. His father's ability to sit back and wait for an explanation always irked Corey. No other man had that kind of patience, able to go for days without saying as much as a word. His father always gave sound advice, a well-known fact, but sometimes, Corey wanted to work things out on his own.
"Looks like I'll be heading out of town for a few days. The Wilson's found two horses they're interested in online." Tom shook his head. "Can you believe that? Whatever happened to driving out to a ranch and getting a firsthand look?"
Corey chuckled. "It's the wave of the future."
His father scowled, ran a hand across the stubble on his chin. Corey realized he didn't shave that morning. The fact that he skipped his morning ritual made Corey feel guilty, that news of his bar fight had reached his parents.
"When it gets to the point that I have to start surfing the internet to find a good sire or mare, I'll give it all to you."
"I always assumed that you'd be on hand and help teach my kids about horses."
His father's hazel eyes stared at him for a long moment, but no readable expression crossed his rough face. "Is something on your mind, Son? Are you in some kind of trouble?"
Corey tore his eyes away from his father's intense gaze. "No. I just really hope that my children will learn from the best, and you're the best."
"Well, last I checked, you need a woman to have children and as far as I know, you don't even have a girlfriend."
Corey laughed and shook his head. "Things change."
"Does this have anything to do with last night?"
Corey hung his head and sighed. "You heard?"
His father walked around the truck that sat between them, and stood at his side. "I work with you every day. I see and hear a lot of things on this ranch." He turned toward him, rested a firm hand on his shoulder and smiled. "Besides all of that, I'm your father."
"And I'm glad that you are. Dex and Dirk hated each other. I can't even wrap my mind around that one."
"Dirk was a good man in his younger days. Losing Mary destroyed him. He let the loss turn him into a drunk instead of being grateful for the time he had. It's a miracle Dex and Megan survived it all. People tend to build walls around their hearts when they've been hurt because they don't want to get hurt again, even if that means missing out on life, on the bigger picture, and learning to enjoy what little time we have here with those we love."
"Is that how it was for your father?"
He sighed and crossed his arms. "My Daddy was a hard man to please, and when he took to the bottle, nothing anyone did was good enough. So the next time you feel like your world is crashing down on you, the last thing you should do is wind up at The Stix, drinking, and fighting."
Corey gaped at his father, knew that he'd heard the entire tale. What does he think of me now? "It wasn't as bad as it sounds. It was rather tame for a fight. I can't believe you were already informed of it."
"Like I said, I pretty much know everything that goes on around here. If you're interested in Megan Evans, then I suggest you concentrate on her. Going after Joe Adams is stupid. He's been her friend for a while now, and you are going to have to deal with that fact."