tagRomanceThe Home & Family Pt. 02

The Home & Family Pt. 02


Chapter Five

After Dakota checked them in and introduced Luke to her friends, they headed up to their room. Luke was surprised when he opened the door and realized that, rather than a simple bedroom, they had a suite of rooms. A sitting room was in the center and two bedrooms opened off of it. Both bedrooms shared a common bathroom, which was almost as big as each of the bedrooms. Luke turned a questioning gaze back on Dakota, "Why all the room?"

Dakota lowered her eyes, "I wasn't sure you would go for my idea - or if I'd find a man that attracted me. If that happened, I wanted to be able to back out and say this was just a relaxing week-end away for the two of us. I figured I could still bring my bachelor up here and have a nice week-end together, make my donation to the Home and we would go about our merry ways. But then I got there and I saw you - I figured I had to go for broke! But if you are too uncomfortable with this, we can still make this just a friendly week-end - and you can have your own bedroom."

Luke walked over to face Dakota and placed one hand on her arm and tilted her chin up with his other hand, and said softly "Now, why would your lover stay in the other room? We've already had this conversation. I can't fulfill your fantasies if I'm not with you and I certainly can't if I'm in another bedroom. Let's get our stuff unpacked and take a look around." Dakota smiled a happy smile and Luke felt his own heart lift with the knowledge of having made her happy. He really liked this woman whom he had just met. He hoped that they could stay in touch and remain friends after the week-end was over.

After they had unpacked their bags, Dakota wondered into the sitting room and over to the bay window. She stood looking out over the mountains. Luke startled her when he came up behind her and slipped his arms around her waist. Her scent filled his nostrils as he held her close. Touching her, he could feel shivers run through her body. She closed her eyes and relaxed into Luke as his long, strong body molding itself to her own.

When Dakota finally opened her eyes, Luke was looking at her - not directly, but, rather, at her reflection in the window. He could see her face, and every detail of the emotions she had been feeling. He found himself enjoying looking at her, watching her reaction as she realized that he could see her. He saw her surprise, then he saw her bite her lower lip as she struggled to decide how to handle the situation. Luke didn't say a word, but continued to hold her tightly to him.

"It's beautiful, isn't it?" Dakota finally whispered, referring to the scene beyond the window.

Luke turned her around in his arms and looked down into her face. "Yes, you are," he said in a voice that betrayed his own surprise at the truth of his statement. And then he began kissing her. At first, his lips caressed Dakota's forehead in butterfly kisses, then he tilted her head back farther and brushed kisses across her lips. Finally, Luke pressed his lips to her mouth and deepened the kiss.

Dakota felt so much better than Luke had expected. She did feel like a doll, all of her bones seeming to melt in his kiss. But, unlike a doll, Dakota's body was responding to Luke as though it had desired him for years instead of only hours. When Luke finally broke off the kiss, they both gasped for air and held each other close.

"Wow!" was all Dakota said. Luke was having trouble reconciling his intense reaction to Dakota with the image that he had first had of her. She was certainly cuddly, but suddenly, he wasn't thinking about going to sleep when he got in the bed with her!

Right then, there was a knock on the door. Luke looked down questioningly into Dakota's face. "Refreshments . . ." she whispered.

Luke let her out of his arms and headed to answer the door. Hank, one of the owners, was standing outside the door with a plate of fruit and dips along with a couple of cokes. "Dakota thought ya'll might need something to tide you over till supper time," Hank said, with a wink.

Blocking the entrance to the room with his body, Luke reached out and took the tray from Hank. He realized that Hank had intended to bring the tray into the room, to make sure Dakota was not in an uncomfortable situation. But at the moment, Luke didn't want any intruders into his and Dakota's world. Luke moved enough for Hank to see Dakota standing safely in the middle of the room, then he blocked the door again. Hank raised his eyebrow suggestively, then smiled understandingly and waved as he headed back down the steps.

Luke turned around and brought the tray to the coffee table in the center of the sitting area. Dakota came around the couch, ooohing and aaaahing over the strawberries and fresh peaches. When she sat down in the floor rather than on the couch, Luke joined her.

Luke pulled the tray toward them and started to hand Dakota a strawberry, but then remembered just who he was supposed to be for this week-end. Instead of handing it to her, he dipped it in the melted chocolate and held it over her mouth for her to bite. Dakota giggled a lot, but Luke could tell that she liked this idea. He held the fruit at such an angle that Dakota was forced to tilt her head up to take each bite. As she did so, her neck was exposed to Luke's gaze. When she went in for her third bite, Luke dropped an arm around her shoulders and dipped his own mouth in for a bite, but not of fruit. He placed his lips on her neck and ran his tongue out over the soft flesh.

Dakota's first reaction was to pull away, but Luke's arm prevented her from getting far. As her shock passed and he continued to lick and nip her neck, she melted into him, moaning her pleasure.

After a few minutes of this, Luke pulled away. He reached over for a peach and dipped it into the chocolate. This time, instead of letting Dakota bite it, he asked her to keep her mouth closed. He rubbed the peach over her lips, letting the chocolate smear onto her skin. Then he opened her mouth with his thumb and slowly pushed the peach onto her waiting tongue. His own mouth swooped down over her's as soon as the peach was in her mouth. Dakota shared the taste of the peach with him as he ran his tongue over her mouth, licking off the chocolate and slurping up the peach juice. The rest of the refreshments were pretty well forgotten by this point!

Luke pushed Dakota backwards and together they landed on the soft rug. Luke looked down into Dakota's face. Her pupils were dilated and her lips were swollen with desire. Her hair fanned out around her face. She looked like a woman waiting to be kissed, in fact, she looked like a woman made to be kissed. And Luke was the man to do it. He leaned down and brushed his lips across hers again. This time, it was Dakota's tongue that came out to lick his lips. He chuckled at the intensity of Dakota's passion. He would never have expected his little cuddly doll to be so passionate.

Luke was somewhat surprised to find that his hand was resting on the flesh of Dakota's waist. It had ended up there when they had fallen to the floor. He marvelled at the softness of her skin. He began caressing her side and was pleased at her response. She seemed to be very sensitive to his touch and very verbal in her appreciation. He liked a woman to let him know how she was feeling during sex and he knew that he wouldn't have any trouble understanding Dakota's signals. She was making herself quiet clear.

Dakota continued to moan out her pleasure into Luke's mouth as his hand stroked up her side until he reached her breast. Dakota had full, firm breasts. As Luke gently kneaded them, Dakota gasped in pleasure. Luke recognized an aching need to feel her bare flesh against his. As he reached to remove her top, Luke suddenly realized what he was doing. Instead of pulling off Dakota's shirt, he reached for her hand and pulled her upright with him, into a sitting position.

"Luke?" Dakota asked, "What's wrong?"

Luke wasn't sure he could answer her. He had come on this week-end to fulfill an obligation. Just a few short hours ago, he had worried that he might have trouble performing his sexual duties since he had never made love to a plus size woman - let alone a plus size stranger. He had thought that her body might turn him off sexually. He had even tried to figure out some fantasy that he could picture to make the time go quicker.

What Luke hadn't expected was the almost painful reaction that he was experiencing from his own body. He was harder than he had been in . . . well, since he could remember. When he had laid on top of Dakota's body, she felt like the perfect combination of softness and fullness. When Luke touched her breast, he had worried for a moment that he was going to bring a super quick ending to their first round of lovemaking. Hell, he hadn't even imagined that a woman could feel that good. Maybe this week-end was going to be more exciting than he had guessed! But he wasn't sure how to reconcile that with his preconceived notions.

Struggling for some answer, Luke finally managed to stumble out, "I . . . I didn't bring any protection with me. Maybe we need to . . . maybe we should postpone this until I can go buy some . . . go get some condoms."

Dakota laughed. "Is that all?" she asked. Still smiling, she reached over to her purse and opened it. Out fell two boxes of condoms.

Cocking an eyebrow at her, Luke said, "Two boxes? Aren't we a little hopeful!"

Even though the issue of birth control had now been sorted out, the sexual tension of the moment had been broken. Dakota seemed somewhat relieved that they were cooling back down, and Luke wondered why that irked him. Did he really want this woman, who was practically a stranger to him, to be all hot and bothered over him? Yes, damn it - he did!

Dakota stood up and offered Luke her hand. She said, "Let's go down to the stables."

Luke looked a little surprised, but it was her fantasy - if she wanted to go to the stables, then they would go to the stables.

Chapter Six

When Dakota and Luke arrived at the barn where the horses were kept, they were discussing their experiences learning to ride. Suddenly, a man, about Luke's age, let out a war whoop and ran out of one of the barns. The man grabbed Dakota up in a bear hug and swung her around. Luke frowned at the man when he kissed Dakota before setting her back down on the ground.

The man kept his arm around Dakota's shoulders as the two of them turned back to face Luke. The look on Dakota's face was pure joy. Luke felt a sharp pang when he realized that he wanted to be the reason that she looked like that. But the stranger who had kissed her had caused that look. Dakota smiled up into Luke's face and said, "Luke, I want you to meet Marshall. Marshall, this is Luke Rydell. Luke's the bachelor that I won at the auction."

Marshall stuck out his hand and grinned at Luke. The man was a few inches shorter than Luke, but probably had forty pounds on Luke. He had the face of someone who had spent years in the great outdoors. The tan lines that shaped his face softened the harsh features of the hawk nose and high cheek bones, but, after spending years with James, Luke could recognize Native American features from a mile away.

Luke took the hand that Marshall was offering, as Marshall said, "So you are the sucker - I mean, lucky man!"

Dakota gave Marshall a playful elbow to the ribs, causing him to drop Luke's hand, and said, "Thanks a lot! I'll remember that next time I'm negotiating to the teeth for your lousy masterpieces!"

Marshall laughed. He dropped his arm from around Dakota's shoulder and staggered back, with a hand over his heart. He said, "Oh, the lady wounds me! She cuts me to the quick!"

Dakota just shook her head and smiled at the man's antics. Luke was beginning to feel like a fifth wheel in a party of three. He cleared his throat and Dakota looked up at him. A quick frown crossed her features before she seemed to realize that something was amiss.

"Luke, Marshall is one of the artists that I work with in my caravan. I take his work over into Asheville and other areas where Native American craftsmanship can bring a higher dollar than on the reservation. Marshall also happens to be married to my cousin. At least I think Linda Jane is my cousin. It's several times removed, but I'm sure we're related. Everybody is related up here!" Dakota explained, laughing.

Marshall nodded in agreement and replied, "When Dakota came out here from the West, we knew she was one of us by her looks. It took us awhile to find the connection, but it's there. You can't look as much alike as Dakota and Linda Jane and not be related." Then, turning toward Dakota, he added, "We'd love to have you two over for supper while you're up here."

Dakota smiled and thanked him, then asked about getting two horses for the next morning. She said, "We want to go on a picnic, then maybe we can come over to your place for dinner, if Linda Jane is up to it."

Marshall nodded his head thoughtfully and said, "She's had mostly good days lately. She is in her eighth month, though and she says that this one is more of a kicker than either one of the other three. Maybe I'll just grill out and let her have the night off! You all come on down whenever you get ready tomorrow morning and I'll have two of the horses ready. Nice to meet you, Luke, and Dakota, don't you be wearing him out too bad!" With that parting shot, Marshall waved good-bye and headed back to the horses.

When Luke noticed that Dakota was watching him, Luke realized that his face was still knit into a frown. Dakota put her hand on his arm and said, "Luke, are you alright? You seem lost in thought."

Luke wasn't really interested in explaining to Dakota just where his thoughts were at the moment. He wasn't used to dealing with feelings that he didn't understand. He was a social worker, for heaven's sake. He dealt with people on an emotional level all the time. Yet, here he was, having a running argument in his own head about what was going on inside him. It wasn't that he didn't recognize the emotion he was feeling - he didn't have any trouble identifying it. The problem was that he had never felt it before and he didn't like starting now. Luke was jealous and it didn't sit well with him.

Dakota was still waiting for an answer and Luke wasn't sure what to say. He shook his head, as if to clear it and fell back on his tried and true humor. He said, "I was just wondering how Marshall thought you might wear me out - you have any ideas?" He wiggled his eyebrows at her playfully and Dakota laughed. It lightened the moment and Luke wanted to keep things light. He would worry about the heavy stuff later.

The stable was near a creek that snaked through the property of the bed and breakfast. Dakota and Luke wandered downstream for a little while, talking about the mountains and other things. Luke was very interested in Dakota's work and she seemed equally interested in his. When they found a shallow spot in the river, Dakota sat down and took off her shoes. Luke looked at her like she was nuts, but when she waded into the river and kicked the water up to splash him, he couldn't resist her challenge.

"Oh, no you don't, you wicked woman!" Luke shouted as he kicked off both his shoes and turned up his pants legs. Dakota giggled at him and tried to get another splash in before he could retaliate, but Luke was too fast for her. Before she had the chance to even get in position to splash him, Luke was in the water. He bent over and began scooping up water and throwing it on her. In less than a minute, Dakota was soaked.

It was too late to worry about staying even half way dry, as Dakota ran toward Luke and knocked him down. Now they were both laying in the shallow, muddy creek, with water flowing all around them. They were laughing and wrestling, both trying to get the upper hand in their impromptu contest.

They struggled playfully with one another for a few moments before Luke suddenly maneuvered Dakota over his shoulder. With her screams of indignation coming through her bursts of laughter, Luke managed to get them both out of the creek without falling. Unceremoniously, he plopped Dakota on the creek bank and dropped down on top her. Although Luke had meant to resume their wrestling match, as soon as he felt Dakota's soft body under his, his thoughts turned serious again.

Dakota's own giggles died in her throat when she saw the sudden heat in Luke's eyes. He saw her swallow nervously as she stared up at him. She was waiting for Luke to initiate the moment and direct the action. Luke could see her willingness in her eyes.

And Luke could feel his own willingness. Luke suddenly realized that he was more than willing - he was right where he wanted to be. He wanted to be laying on a creek bank, in the middle of summer, covered in mud with a woman beneath him. But not just any woman - Luke realized that he really wanted his cuddly doll there.

With slow and deliberate movements, Luke lowered his mouth to Dakota's. Somehow, they had managed to not get their faces covered in the mud that coated their bodies. Luke doubted that it would have mattered too much, but it was nice to taste Dakota and not the mud from the creek. Dakota tasted good and Luke quickly found that he couldn't seem to get enough of her. He pulled back and kissed all around her mouth and then all over her face. He ran his hands lightly over her body and teased her nipples through her tee shirt.

With a pang of unexpected regret, Luke realized that Dakota's white tee shirt would have been see through if it wasn't coated with mud. He had to admit that he would have liked to have seen that sight!

Luke noticed Dakota shivering and was pleased that he could excite her so. It wasn't until her teeth started chattering that he realized that it wasn't excitement that had her shivering. She was freezing! It was getting to be late in the afternoon and, although the mountain air wasn't cold, it was chilly. Luke laughed as he pulled back his head and said, "Girl, you sure know how to burst a man's ego!"

Dakota tried to look sorry, but she was too cold to make it convincing. Luke stood and pulled her up with him. "Let's get you home and cleaned up!"

When they walked in the front door of the bed and breakfast, Andrea, the female owner, stopped them, her shock showing on her face. "What did you do?" she asked incredulously.

Dakota just laughed and Luke shot her a playful glare. He said, "She tossed me in the creek and tried to drown me!"

"I did not!" Dakota squealed. "He jumped in of his own accord. All I did was throw a little water on him to help him get acclimated!"

At the sound of Luke's indignant growl, Dakota took off running for the stairs. Luke shrugged at Andrea and then raced after Dakota.

Dakota managed to beat him to the room, but waited for him just inside the door. When he got to her, Dakota's eyes were dancing with delight, but he could detect a note of seriousness there, as well. She smiled up into his face and said, "Luke, I want you to know that this is the most fun I have had in ages. No matter what happens for the rest of this week-end, I want you to know how happy you are making me." She reached up on tiptoes to kiss his nose and then ran off toward the bathroom.

Luke stood motionless in the doorway. He was surprised at Dakota's comment, but he was more surprised at how it made him feel. He was used to people taking him for granted. He had worked in the same office with the same people for over ten years. His co-workers knew that Luke was good at what he did and they often gave him the cases others couldn't deal with. But they did it out of habit. No one really took the time to pay attention to him or to pay him compliments. And in his personal life, Luke had the same set of friends he had hung out with for years. They didn't treat him badly, but he also couldn't remember anyone ever telling him that he had done something well. It pleased him that Dakota had noticed that he was trying to do a good job. With an inward frown though, he admitted that it wasn't like he was having to try very hard - pleasing Dakota was coming way too naturally to suit Luke! It was a good thing he wasn't interested in any kind of emotional commitments.

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