A Journey of Passion Ch. 09


"I'm here." She hadn't moved, just looked deep into his eyes with love and adoration.

Seth slipped one strap down her arm until he saw the tip of her nipple peeking over the cup of her bra. His tongue slithered across the creamy flesh and stopped just short of the hard tip. The instant surge of blood to his groin was almost painful.

Gabriela arched her back to bring his mouth closer to her aching body. Soft whimpers escaped her throat as he teased and tasted her skin.

"Seth, please."

"What, love, tell me."

"I need to touch you, to feel you, next to me, your skin ..."

"Yes, baby."

He stepped back and kicked his shoes off. He fumbled with his belt until she reached over and helped. His hands shook with desire and longing. The buttons slipped through the holes and soon he stood naked in front of her.

"Look, Gabriela, look at what you do to me."

His words came out as a growl, deep and sensual. Gabriela took her time running her fingers over his chest before going lower. Her knuckles skimmed across his thighs as she sank to her knees on the carpet.

Seth couldn't breathe. His body was betraying him. Every nerve in him was on fire as her tongue snaked over his throbbing erection. His knees buckled when he felt her slip it into his slit. She lifted his sac and nibbled on his skin only to slurp one of his balls into her cheek. Never would he tire of this woman, he knew, and not just because of what she did to him.

"Baby, oh god, I'm so hard."

"Mm, I know. I love it when you're like this."

Her teeth grazed his shaft as she took him deep into her mouth. He thought he was going to lose it when she massaged his sac at the same time. Beads of sweat trickled down his spine and on his forehead. Seth gripped her hair and tugged her up to take her lips. His flavor on her tongue was intoxicating.

Seth ground his lower body into hers and deepened the kiss. One hand found the clasp on her bra to release it, spilling her breasts onto his chest. Impatient, he ripped the panties off and threw them over her shoulder.

"Now, baby, I need you now."

He pushed her into the wall and lifted her up. She spread her legs wide to give him free access as he plunged into her slippery center. Her teeth sank into his shoulder as he pounded and slammed into her. Gabriela clawed at his skin as she let herself go. Seth couldn't think, he couldn't see, his body screamed for release. He buried his rigid member further and emptied his seed into her center.

"I love you Gabriela, more than life itself."

"You're mine, Seth. I love you, too."

She slid down his body and hugged him close. The emotional bond between them left her raw and vulnerable. Yet there wasn't anyplace on earth she'd rather be. He was hers, forever.


Hundreds of lights sparkled from the tree and along the banister. Seth studied the beautiful woman wrapping yet another Christmas gift at the table. This was her favorite holiday she'd told him when they first began sharing tidbits about themselves so many months ago.

"Honey, do you think I should get something else for Shelby?"

"I thought you were finished with your shopping."

"Yes, but I've been thinking. Maybe I should find a gift for her that's from just me."

"That's up to you, but she'll be happy with whatever you choose to do."

Gabriela finished marking the tag and tucked it under the bow before adding the package to the growing stack near the tree. Another name crossed off the list, she thought to herself and smiled. That left just Seth and she still didn't know what to get for him.

"Did you ever make a list for me, Seth?"

"I have everything I want and need — you."

Seth stood in front of her as he spoke and gazed into her blue eyes. The faint musky scent of her cologne tickled his nostrils as he pulled her closer.

"It's going to be difficult to wrap myself and lay under the tree Christmas morning for you," she said with a grin.

"Just imagine all the fun I'll have unwrapping you, though. My hands can twist you and carefully take each layer of paper off you ..."

"Seth," she moaned.

His hands rested on her hips as he leaned in to give her a soft kiss. "Yes, baby?"

"That isn't what I meant and you know it. How can I buy you a gift if I don't know what you might want?"

"Find a big bow and put it on yourself. You can be my present," he said before he went into the kitchen.

"Seth Flynch, that is no help at all."

He laughed as she threw a glittery gold ribbon at him. "Then you'll have to just skip buying me anything this year."

"Not on your life will I do that. There's still plenty time for me to find the perfect thing."

Gabriela pretended she was mad as she cleaned up her mess. She'd already shopped several times for the handsome man in her life but only found some small items. The right gift was out there if she looked hard enough.

Seth grabbed a bottle of water before heading upstairs. His mind was on his gift to Gabriela. The diamond engagement ring was beautiful and he couldn't wait to see it on her hand. Right now, it was locked away in his safe where she couldn't find it. He only hoped he wasn't mistaken and that she'd say yes. A quick check on the computer showed nothing pressing to cover. It was late and he was tired. Tomorrow he'd think again about when he'd propose.


Seth looked forward to the holidays for the first time in several years. He'd gone through the motions for his daughter before but didn't really feel the joy of the season. This year he found himself in the midst of it all. He and Gabriela had gone shopping together several times to find the perfect gifts for those on her list. They'd wrapped presents and put them under the enormous tree until he didn't think they could find room for another one.

Now he found himself mixing the ingredients for fudge. Seth chuckled as he imagined the reaction on his friends faces if they saw him now.

"Mixing fudge is funny?"

Gabriela loved how Seth didn't act too macho to pitch in when she asked for help. Christmas was her favorite holiday and this was their first one together. She wanted to make it special for their families.

"I was thinking about people's reactions if they saw me helping like this is all."

"Ah yes, the big tough guy image," she said and laughed.

"You know me too well for that. So what do I do next?"

She gave him the next steps and went back to melting chocolate for peanut clusters. They worked throughout the afternoon until Gabriela declared the day a success. Trays of dipped chocolates, fudge, pecan cups and more filled the refrigerator and covered the table.

"Baby, you're the best. Thank you for helping me with all of this today."

"You're welcome, honey. It was fun, really." Seth grinned at the admission.

"There's nothing like homemade goodies to me. They might not look perfect but it's the love that goes into making them that counts."

They finished packing the sweets away and cleaned the kitchen up. Gabriela felt a deep closeness to Seth that she could never quite explain to anyone. Times like this she knew would always be special memories for her.

"I think I need a shower, Seth."

"Oh, I know you do and I think I should make sure you don't miss a spot."

"Mm, I love how you think."

His lips touched hers for just a moment before he backed her against the wall. Strong hands ran over her hips and traced her stomach. "You're mine, Gabriela."

"Yes, I am."

He held her hand as they walked through the cheery house. Christmas was a time to celebrate and he intended to begin right then.


She wasn't really homesick, yet it didn't seem the same either. Gabriela looked around at all the Christmas decorations and wondered what was missing. Seth had a gorgeous home and she loved it there. They'd blended some of her items in with his for a tasteful look that suited them both. She'd shopped for some new ornaments to add with what they each had for an eclectic mix. However, it didn't feel quite right.

"Honey, does this look okay?" she asked Seth when he came into the room.

"It looks fine to me."

He looked around at the tree with its miniature lights and multitude of ornaments. The fireplace mantel had stockings for the girls and Dallas along with her favorite water globe collection. Assorted Santa's and angels sat on tables and the floor. Everywhere she'd transformed the room into a warm and cheery reminder of the coming season.

"I don't know but somehow it just doesn't feel right. Maybe it's just me."

Seth turned to her and tried to figure out what he was missing. Then it hit him. "I've got it."

"You do? Tell me then so I can fix it," she said.

"Oh you can't do anything about this. It's something you'll have to learn to live with, I guess."

"Seth, what are you talking about?"

"Honey, you have everything here looking gorgeous. The lights outside are beautiful at night. Everywhere it's Christmas."

"Then why does it still feel wrong?" she asked again.

"Look outside and tell me what you see."

The sun is out," she replied.

"Yes, now what don't you see?"

Gabriela gave him a puzzled look before it dawned on her what he meant. "There's no snow!"

"This is the first Christmas in warm weather for you. It's going to feel different no matter how much you do things the same as you did in Indiana."

"That's it, Seth. It was always cold and snowy by this time of the year back there. I'm not used to swimming outdoors in December." Her chuckle let him know she wasn't unhappy at all about that fact.

"If you'd rather go somewhere else ..."

"No, this is your home —"

"It's our home, Gabriela, not mine." He cut her off to point out the distinction.

"We aren't going anywhere for Christmas. The kids are planning on coming over for the day. Now that you pointed out it's just the weather, I'm fine. Believe me when I say that I don't miss shoveling at all."

He grinned at her and picked up the newspaper. "Somehow I don't think I would either," he said as he sat in his easy chair.

Gabriela wrapped a few more things and then put away the supplies. She ran upstairs for a quick shower and slipped into a loose basketball jersey. The warm weather made it one of her favorite items for evening lounge attire.

"Honey, do you want anything?" she called out to Seth.

"Sure, thank you."

She stopped in the doorway and studied the man that had taken over her heart. Strong, commanding and confident, he sent chills down her spine. Drinks forgotten, she moved to his side.

"I want something, too."

He heard the huskiness in her voice and dropped the paper in time to see her whip off her shirt. One strong hand pulled her onto his lap without saying a word. Their lips told a message of desire and need that burned in each of them. Gabriela straddled his legs and pressed her body tight to his. Neither of them thought about the weather.


They were coming up to the holiday season. Gabriela had looked for weeks for the right gift for Seth and never found it. He didn't really like jewelry and things meant so little to him. Here she sat a week before Christmas without anything special. She began to write, the words teasing her but not quite fitting together. Line after line of phrases and thoughts followed the same pattern.

Gabriela ground the pencil into the paper and threw it across the room. Nothing sounded right and she knew it. Aggravation filled her at what should be a simple task. She looked at the clock and saw that Seth would be home anytime. Maybe tomorrow the words would flow better.


If he had to name just one characteristic that drew him to Gabriela, Seth knew he would struggle. Her compassion for others would be an option of course. The class and elegance she portrayed was obvious. He thought about the love she had for her family and friends. The woman had far too many outstanding traits for him to pick only one.

Right now, she sat at the table working on another craft project with his grandson. Dallas was too young to realize she also used them to teach the boy. Her patient explanations stuck with him because of the unique way she worded things. Dallas remembered weeks later a small tidbit that always surprised Seth. Gabriela just shrugged her shoulders whenever he commented on her ability. She didn't see that she was anything special.

Seth straightened his back and felt the aches that never went away anymore. He thought about some of the positions the two of them found themselves in and chuckled. She made him forget about the broken bones and surgeries that left him moving a bit slower at times.

Life today was nothing close to how it was a year ago. Shelby had tried to get him to date but he just laughed her off back then. His work kept him busy. Besides, he couldn't get involved with anyone knowing he might leave on a mission any day. He knew that was in part to blame for his divorce.

That didn't even cross his mind when he saw Gabriela's picture. Those first weeks he learned many things about her. The hardest thing was leaving on that fateful mission. Yet, he often wondered if their relationship would be as close without that series of events.

"You look quite serious, Dad," Shelby said as she joined him in the den.

"Just thinking."

"I'm happy for you two. She's a great person."

"Did I say Gabriela was on my mind?" he asked and grinned.

"You don't have to; it shows on your face. She's good with Dallas, isn't she?"

"She loves him, Shelby, just as if he was her own."

"So when are you going to ask her to marry you?"

Seth looked out the window before he spoke. "You'd be okay with it if I did?"

"Dad, I'm more than all right with it. You two have what I always wanted. I see how you look at each other and the way you always know where the other one is. Tons of women would jump at the chance to date you. They see your wealth and status, not the man that you are. Gabriela isn't like that. She loves you for you."

"I'm not the same man that I was with your mother. Life taught me many things along the way. I've accepted the way our marriage ended and moved on. Gabriela came into my life when I wasn't looking for a woman. She is more than I ever thought I'd find."

Shelby heard the emotion in her father's voice and smiled. "Go for it, Daddy."

Seth didn't answer as he thought about the engagement ring in the safe. He didn't have plans for when to propose but he knew the right time would present itself soon. Christmas was just days away. Maybe an extra gift given in private was in order.

The next days were busy with the last preparations for Christmas. Effie dropped in to see if Gabriela needed any help and the two spent the afternoon baking cookies. Seth's mother liked the young woman and could see they loved each other completely. She even overlooked how they lived together without being married because she knew her son would take care of that soon.

Christmas Eve Gabriela planned dinner for just her and Seth since the entire family was joining them the next day. Nicole was staying with Shelby and Dallas that night to give them some privacy.

Seth had been home for a while and they'd spent the time relaxing. Together they prepared a light dinner of their favorite foods. Soft Christmas music played and lights twinkled on the tree.

"I have so many thoughts in my head right now, Seth."

"Tell me."

"You've given me so much this last year. I never thought our relationship would take the turns it did. Those months when you were gone cemented it for me. I loved you and didn't want to lose you. That was my greatest fear."

"Gabriela, I'm sorry I put you through that. It wasn't fair of me to make you wait."

"Seth, I chose to wait for you. Never forget that. I needed to be there for you. Leaving you wasn't an option for me."

"I love you so much."

He took her hand and led her to the bedroom. It was time, he knew.

"Wait here, I'll be right back," he said as he planted a kiss on her forehead.

She sat on the edge of the bed and smiled. Her life was perfect right now and nothing could make it better.

Seth came back and scooted her over before joining her. He looked in her eyes as he spoke.

"Almost a year ago now you dropped into my life. Nothing has been the same since then. Before, I lived and now I'm alive. My work consumed me until I had nothing left. I never thought about why I got up each day or what I was doing. Today, I'm a new man because of you. Each part of me is revitalized and energized. You showed me that I needed more."

"Oh Seth," she whispered. "Loving you is so easy."

"Gabriela, you're everything to me. I'm hoping that you'll make me even happier." He opened the velvet box as he spoke and held it in front of her. "Will you marry me?"

"Seth, oh, oh, I love you. Yes, yes, I'll marry you!"

His fingers shook as he lifted the ring from its nest. Tears ran down her cheeks as he slipped it on her hand.

"It's gorgeous. Oh, honey, it's ..." She didn't know how to describe the exquisite beauty sparkling on her finger.

"I love you with all my heart and soul. You saved me when I was hurt. There's nothing I won't do for you."

"Just love me, Seth. Forever."

"Forever, baby. Only you."


Christmas morning Gabriela rose early and snuck out of bed. She slipped into her robe and made her way through the quiet house. Everything reminded her of Seth. They'd made love long into the night after his surprise proposal. Her body hummed just thinking of all the things they'd done.

She made a quick stop in the kitchen for some juice and then went on to the living room. The ring glittered in the sunlight when she opened the curtains. Her heart pounded just as it had when Seth slid it on her finger the night before. She sat on the sofa to daydream and fell back asleep.

That's how Seth found her about an hour later. He took in how she cradled her hand as if protecting her ring and smiled.

"Good morning," he said near her ear.

"Seth, hey, what time is it? I need to get ready."

"It's early yet. Shelby just called and said Dallas is having fun with Nicole. They'll be over at ten like we planned."

"Have I said how very much I love you?" Gabriela needed to say the words.

"I think so, but you could show me if you'd rather," he said and grinned.

She didn't have to be persuaded.


The house was alive. Seth sat back and felt the love and joy of his family surrounding him. He'd made love to Gabriela next to the Christmas tree just hours ago. They'd teased each other with their hands and mouths until neither could think. Time slipped away from them and they'd had to rush to shower and get ready before their families showed up.

She had decided to wait and not say anything about the engagement until someone noticed her ring. Seth knew it wouldn't take long for that to happen, though. He remembered the conversation he'd had with his daughter and figured she'd be the first to see it.

"Oh my god, it's gorgeous!"

Nicole's loud statement brought the other women over to where she was. Effie and Shelby stood next to her as they stared at Gabriela. Screams erupted and they all began talking at once.

"I can't believe you didn't tell us," Shelby yelled.

Effie looked closer at the ring then added, "From the size of this I'd say you must be treating my son darn good."

"Mom, why didn't you tell me?" Nicole said.

Gabriela looked at Seth for help. "Honey?"

He calmed the group of women down and told them how he'd proposed. They all had questions and the newly engaged couple did their best to answer them.

"When's the wedding, Dad?"

"Gabriela and I haven't talked about that but it's up to her. Tomorrow works for me, though," he remarked with a soft smile.

That brought on talk of plans and dresses and Seth just shook his head. "I'm easy, honey, you do whatever you want."

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