Author's note: Well, it's been an insanely busy spring and summer at my house. Hectic life has kept me hopping, but I FINALLY managed to get back to writing. I decided to do a contemporary story this time. I will submit the chapters as quickly as possible, but I apologize in advance for delays between chapters. As always, I love to hear what you think.
Leslie Drummond awoke with a smile, stretching languidly before rolling over to bestow a radiant smile on her slumbering bedmate. He lay relaxed, still soundly asleep. Her smile deepened as she catalogued every detail that was visible, from his thick grey hair, to the bristling growth of whiskers along his strong jaw, his broad chest, flat stomach and that tantalizing line of darker hair that trailed downward from his naval. He was beautiful. He was her love.
"Wake up, sleepyhead," she murmured.
She nibbled at his neck and shoulder, ruffling her fingers through the springy hairs on his chest. She teased his nipples to life before exploring his abdomen, snuggling against his side as her hand grew increasingly adventurous.
"Well, at least part of you is awake," she giggled, eyeing the bulge of his manhood that was hidden by the blanket.
"You're going to be the death of me yet," Cameron mumbled grumpily, but he was smiling.
He gave a heartfelt groan of appreciation when her hand slid beneath the blanket and she gripped his cock, slowly stroking him to full arousal in her heated palm. He cracked his eyes open and peered at her with a grin.
"For someone who was so reluctant to get involved in a serious relationship, you're turning out to be quite demanding," he drawled, reaching to pull her down for a kiss.
Their lips and tongues tangled as she stretched out on top of him. She smiled down at him as she stroked the hair at his temples.
"It's all your fault," she whispered. "Every time you make love to me, it leaves me wanting you even more."
He kneaded her bottom, trailing kisses along the sensitive skin beneath her ear. "You'll get bored with me one of these days, and then maybe I'll get a rest."
"Not in this lifetime," she laughed. Her eyes met his, and she sobered. "I love you."
"I love you too, sweetheart. It's a bit of a shock each day when I wake up and realize that I really am this happy, that's it's not just a dream."
She gave him a glorious smile and slowly impaled herself on his rigid length. "Does that make it more real?" she whispered.
"Oh yeah." Cameron gripped her hips and lunged deeper into her welcoming heat. "Convince me more."
Leslie rode him, sometimes with leisurely strokes, sometimes setting a frantic pace. She used her body to shower him with devotion. At his urging, she guided her breast to his mouth and moaned with delight when he teased and tormented first one swollen nipple and then the other. When she sat up, he savored the sight of her as she made love to him. He cupped her breasts in his palms, marveling at their plump softness. He craned his neck to watch his glistening cock as it parted her swollen folds and disappeared inside her with satisfying repetition. She was beautiful. She was his love.
They finally reached the pinnacle, and they clutched each other tightly to ride the waves of pleasure. His cock throbbed rhythmically, as he pumped his seed into her, and her pussy clenched down with gratifying strength to milk every drop into her depths. They collapsed in a sweaty, boneless heap.
They drifted, dozing briefly as they made their way back to reality. When they finally began to cool, she cuddled against his side, and he pulled the blanket up to cover them. He kissed her hair and grinned down at her.
"Now that's how I like to wake up!"
Leslie laughed delightedly and stroked his jaw. "We really should get up. The kids will be arriving in a couple of hours, and it wouldn't do for them to find us mating like rabbits."
Cameron chuckled at the thought and pulled her closer against him. "Just a few more minutes won't hurt. Nick isn't supposed to get here until early afternoon. What time did you say Jessica was coming?"
"A little earlier, maybe around lunchtime," Leslie said with a sigh, snuggling close. "I hope she's going to be happy with our news. She hasn't even had a chance to meet you. She might not like it that we're engaged."
"From everything you've told me, she just wants her mother to be happy. Aren't you happy?" Cameron asked teasingly.
"You know I am," Leslie murmured. "It's just that it might seem a bit sudden that we've decided to get married. I've been a widow for less than two years. Jess was always her daddy's little girl. She might take it hard that I'm remarrying so soon after his death, especially since I only met you six months ago."
Cameron stroked her cheek with his thumb. "If there's one thing that you and I have both learned by being widowed, it's that life is too short. I never expected to fall in love with someone after Tricia died, but I met you and it changed my entire outlook on life. I don't want to waste a single day of the time we have together."
"I know," Leslie whispered with a smile. "I feel the same way. I just hope Jess will understand."
"I'm sure she will," Cameron assured her. "Justine was happy for us, why should her sister be any different?"
"I know, but Justine had already met you a couple of times, and she's seen how happy you make me."
"And that's what this holiday is all about, remember? Giving Jess and Nick a chance to get to know us and share our happiness."
"Are you so certain that Nick will be happy about our relationship?" Leslie asked with a small frown. "What if he doesn't like the idea of his father marrying another woman? What if he doesn't like me?"
"What's not to like?" Cameron teased, rolling to pin her beneath him. "He's going to be eating out of your hand in no time, just like his old man."
He tickled her on her ribs, and the conversation degenerated into a laughing romp. When they finally paused to catch their breath, Leslie stroked his cheek lovingly.
"We'd better get up. They'll be here in a couple of hours."
Cameron flashed a devilish grin before bending to suckle her nipple into his mouth. He tugged it firmly between his teeth and then soothed it with hot strokes of his tongue. Leslie moaned and arched her back, pressing her breast more fully into his mouth.
"On second thought," Leslie gasped, "there's no rush."
Cameron chuckled as he tugged hard on her nipple. "My thought exactly," he replied.
Jessica Drummond gripped the steering wheel more firmly. She felt her car fishtailing as it struggled up yet another snowy slope. She had made good time until she turned off the interstate, but this back country lane leading to the cabin was barely passable. She had been forced to slow her speed drastically, and although she only had to cover a few miles, this part of her trip seemed to be taking hours.
She frowned thoughtfully, as she carefully negotiated a gentle curve. She wasn't looking forward to the week ahead of her. Her mother had invited her to join her and her boyfriend at his lakeside cabin for the week between Christmas and New Year. Jessica was skeptical that Cameron Mitchell would be as wonderful as her mother had made him out to be. Surely, he couldn't hold a candle to her father.
The thought of her dad made Jess's heart clench. Although it had been two years, it seemed like only yesterday when she had learned that James Drummond had died in a car crash. The shock and the pain of losing her father had only begun to diminish when she had learned that her mother was seeing a new man. Her parents had enjoyed a loving, happy marriage. The thought that her mother could so easily move into a new relationship made Jess feel angry and confused. How could she!
When her mother had invited her for this "retreat", Jess had been tempted to refuse, but her sister Justine had insisted that it was time she meet her mother's new man.
"Jess, I'm sure you would like him if you would just get to know him," Justine had insisted over lunch two weeks before. "Kevin and I have spent some time with them, and we both think he's just what mom needs in her life."
"How can you say that? How could Mom just turn her back on Dad like this?"
"Jess really! Grow up! Mom's only fifty years old. Did you honestly think she would remain a lonely widow for the rest of her life? Is that what you want for her?"
"Of course not," Jess protested. "I just didn't think she would get involved with someone so soon after Daddy died."
Justine's expression softened, and she leaned forward until she caught her sister's eye. "She didn't choose the timing, Jess. She met Cameron unexpectedly. It's not like she was on the prowl or anything. Besides, he's a really nice guy, and he makes her very happy. At least you should meet him before you condemn their relationship."
Jess had sighed with resignation, pushing her pasta around on her plate with disinterest. "I guess I really should go. I've refused several invitations to meet him already. Mom's starting to get frustrated with me."
Justine grinned at her. "You'll have fun, you'll see. Besides, you need a holiday. You've been working way too hard to finish your latest book. Now that it's done and off to the publisher, it's high time you kicked back and took in a little R&R."
"Okay, okay, I'll go," Jess said with a groan. "Stop lecturing me and tell me how my favorite brother-in-law and nieces are doing."
The remainder of their lunch had been spent with Justine providing all the details of her family's latest adventures. She had two daughters who kept her busy, and she was pregnant with baby number three. Jess had listened with fond interest, but she secretly admitted to being envious of her sister's happy home life. Her sister made finding the right man and settling down look so easy.
At twenty eight, Jess was beginning to wonder whether she would ever find Mr. Right. Every time she visited her nieces, she felt a longing for children of her own. Her biological clock was doing more than just ticking. Every alarm bell in her body was clanging to warn her of the passing years. If she wanted to have kids of her own, she had better get on the ball and find her man.
It wasn't that she hadn't tried. Jess had had several long term relationships, but none of the men had ever been able to measure up to her first love. Although she told herself to forget about the past, she was never able to completely forget the man who had stolen her heart in her first year of college. Surely he hadn't actually been as wonderful as she remembered him. Years of fantasies and poignant memories must have clouded her judgment. After all, if he was so fabulous, he wouldn't have broken her heart.
She rounded another curve, and the cabin came into view. Jess caught her breath from the beauty of the view. The cabin was very large but rustic, and it was nestled among a thick grove of tall pines and evergreens. The exterior was made of rough hewn wood and stone, blending harmoniously with the natural surroundings. Several inches of snow was piled on the roof, and a thin stream of smoke rose from a stone chimney. It looked both tasteful and inviting, and in that moment, Jess was glad she had come.
She parked her car and grabbed her suitcases from the backseat. She stomped her feet on the porch to get the snow off her boots and was just about to knock when the front door was flung open, and her smiling mother greeted her.
"Oh Jess, I'm so glad to see you," she cried, enfolding her in a tight hug. Leslie hefted one of the suitcases as she herded her daughter inside and closed the door. "Did you have any trouble finding the cabin?"
"No, the directions were perfectly clear. Wow, this is a lot bigger than the cabin I was picturing in my mind."
Jess glanced around until her eyes landed on the tall, distinguished looking hunk leaning one hip on the dining room table. He was muscular but lean, and his jeans and plaid flannel shirt lent him a casual air. He was fit and tan, and his stance practically screamed 'confident but not cocky'. Jess's eyes widened slightly as they collided with his, and he smiled. Jess hated to admit it, but he was one hell of a looker.
"Jess, this is Cameron," her mother said, placing her arm around Jess's shoulder and leading her forward.
Cameron shook hands with Jess, and from close range, she could see how beautiful his green eyes were, fringed with thick black lashes and sporting crinkled laugh lines at the corners. No wonder her mother had fallen hard and fast for this guy!
"It's nice to meet you," he said. "Leslie has told me so much about you. She's very proud of her girls, you know."
Jess nodded, returning his smile with a sheepish grin. "Yes, I know. She's told me a lot about you too. I'm glad to finally meet you in person."
"Why don't I help you with your suitcases," Cameron said. He retrieved her bags and motioned for Jess to follow him. "I'll show you around."
Cameron led her down a short hallway and deposited her bags in a cozy bedroom with a double bed, dresser and low chest. The bed was covered by a cheerful patchwork quilt, and through a large window, Jess had a lovely view of the lake behind the cabin.
"You have a bathroom here," Cameron said, indicating an ensuite bathroom, complete with a deep claw-footed tub and modern fixtures.
As he led her back down the hall, he briefly showed her two other bedrooms, each with a private bathroom. He showed her the linen closet in case she needed extra blankets, and then he led her down a short connecting hallway.
"And down this hall, you will find the sauna and hot tub," Cameron said. "Feel free to enjoy them while you are here."
He opened a door and leaned aside so Jess could see the interior of the sauna. The room was paneled with rough wood planks, and two tiers of wide wooden benches had been built along the wall. There was a brick pit filled with lava rocks and a tile basin of water nearby. Cameron showed Jess a timer near the door, and then showed her a door that led to an outdoor gazebo and deck built around the large Jacuzzi.
"Wow," she breathed. "This is awesome. I was expecting a quaint little cabin where we would be roughing it for a week. This is like some fantasy getaway."
Cameron chuckled as he led her back to the living room. "This place belonged to my grandparents, and they had a large family. I renovated it a few years ago, and I knocked down a few walls and converted bedrooms into bathrooms so guests would have more privacy. It was my wife's idea to add the sauna and hot tub."
"She was obviously a very clever woman," Jess said with a smile.
"She certainly was," Leslie said as she linked her arm through Cameron's and smiled up at him. "She married you."
Jess had expected to dislike this new man in her mother's life. Watching them exchange a brief but fond kiss, Jess was reminded of the closeness her parents had shared. Although she felt a twinge of nostalgia for the past, she was surprised to also feel a growing sense of acceptance and happiness for her mother's new romance.
"I don't know about you two, but I'm hungry," Leslie said. "Why don't we eat lunch?"
They pitched in to prepare sandwiches, soup and coffee, and they sat around the table to eat. The conversation was light, and Jess was soon laughing at the funny stories Cameron told of his life and his business. He owned a successful publishing firm that he had founded and built into an industry icon.
"You must be pretty busy with your work," Jess said, giving him a questioning glance as she hugged her mug of coffee.
Cameron shrugged and smiled at Leslie. "For the last few years since my wife passed away, I've done little else other than work. It helped to ease the loneliness. But then I met your mom, and that's all changing. I never thought I would be considering early retirement at fifty seven, but that's the way I'm leaning. Leslie and I want to spend more time together."
Jess swallowed hard against the lump of longing that had risen in her throat. She could already see that her mom and Cameron were blissfully happy, and she didn't intend to stand in the way of their joy. Still, it was yet another reminder of her own failure to find love. She thought she had come close once before, but that was a long time past. Ten years was much too long to spend regretting what wasn't meant to be. Her eyes clouded at the memory of her college romance, and she pushed the thought aside to focus on what Cameron was saying.
"I'm a big fan of yours, you know," he told Jess with a grin. "I don't usually read romance novels, but since I met your mom I've read all your books. You really are quite talented."
Jess blushed with pleasure. "Thank you. I try to keep a low profile, which is why I write under a pseudonym. That way, I can pursue my passion but maintain a normal daily life. That's why I refuse to let my publisher put my picture on any of my books."
"I just wish my firm was your publisher. With the success of your books, we could have made a fortune."
Jess laughed and shrugged. "Well, you never know. I just finished the last book on my current contract. Offer me a sweet deal, and maybe we can work something out."
Cameron nodded decisively. "I'll make sure we do that. My son handles most of the business these days. He's coming up today to spend the week with us, so you'll meet him. In fact, he should be arriving any time now."
As if on cue, they heard the approach of a car, and Cameron went to look out the front window. He smiled as he recognized the vehicle.
"That's him." He shrugged into a jacket and slid on a pair of boots. "I'll get us some more firewood and help him get his bags in from the car."
Jess rose and started to carry their dishes into the kitchen. Leslie quickly joined her, glad to have a few moments alone with her daughter.
"So what do you think about Cameron?" she asked.
Jess hugged her tightly before holding her at arms length to give her a smile. "I think he seems very nice, Mom. And he's certainly nice to look at. The two of you make a lovely couple, and I can see why you've been raving about him."
"I haven't been raving," Leslie protested.
"Yes you have," Jess laughed, turning to load the dishwasher. "But that's okay. You deserve to be happy." They heard the two men entering the living room. "Go ahead and greet Cameron's son, Mom. I'll just finish up here and then I'll join you."
Jess watched her mother leave the room before turning back to the dishwasher with a sigh. She finished loading their dishes and refilled her mug with fresh coffee before returning to the living room.
"Jessica, I'd like you to meet my son Nick," Cameron said, drawing his son forward.
His words barely registered with Jess, as her eyes widened with astonishment. She blinked several times, thinking that she had conjured this vision from her memory, but Nick was very real and staring at her with the same degree of shock. He looked just the same as she remembered him, except his features had matured. He was six feet four inches of the sexiest man she had ever met. His hair was black and slightly wavy, his eyes the same clear green she recalled, framed with thick lashes. His features were just as handsome as she remembered, strong chin, sensual lips, deep grooves beside his mouth that she knew would turn into dimples when he smiled. His body had matured too, and although he was lean, Jess could see that he was even more muscular than he had been at twenty one.
Jess's coffee mug slipped out of her nerveless fingers and fell to the floor, splattering her legs with hot coffee. She gasped and jerked backward reflexively.
"Oh sweetheart, are you alright?" her mother anxiously asked.