The excitement of Landmark's Christmas Open House held every December 23rd, had increased a hundred-fold this year. She leaned back, glancing up and over her shoulder at her husband, her heart lurching to a halt before revving up like an engine. She couldn't help but return the smile beaming in his eyes.
"Come on, babe, we're going to miss the highlight of the evening." Forrest said, huskily, his warm breath brushing across Dani's ear, zinging straight to her core. He'd been doing small things like that all day. Not hurrying her along, but a nuzzle against her neck. Sneaking up behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist, drawing her into his body.
Dani just couldn't believe the enthusiasm coming off Kisec in waves. Yes, they'd spent a few Christmases together. Mostly in the early years of their marriage... She shook of the memory of the last few that had been so disappointing, believing that his arrival in Landmark had been because he was ready to call it quits.
Leaning up, rubbing her nose against his, she said, "let me grab..."
"Got them already, lock up and let's go."
Dani turned wrapping her arms around his waist, "What's the rush, I thought we could..." she leaned up, whispering, "I wanna...pipe icing on your..."
"Stop." His voice came out hard and gruff, but Dani could feel the evidence that her words had hit home.
"Red and green icing."
"Babe." He circled his hips into hers before stepping back and setting the overly large cardboard box on the table. He swiftly turned pinning Dani to the bar. "Keep it up and you'll...we'll miss the festivities."
"Mmm. I want you all to myself."
"No can do." He shook his head, but his hand slid from her shoulders, his thumbs brushing the outside of her breasts before he circled the hardened tips, teasing her until her breath shortened and became choppy.
Suddenly cool air replaced the warmth of Kisec's touch and nearness. She opened her eyes, not realizing she'd closed them. "Kisec, please."
"No, you don't."
"But, you've been teasing me all morning." She reached out her hand, palming the bulge in his dark jeans. A smile curved her lovely face. "Man up, cowboy."
"Dani, I'm warning you."
"Oh, tell me what you're going to do to me? Does it include your rope." Her eyes traveled ever so slowly from his groin upward. The black dress shirt concealed his flat stomach and chiseled chest, but her mouth watered just the same wanting to run her tongue along each hill and valley, and the scars from his being a rodeo bronc rider.
Dani reached up, her fingers moving toward the buttons, but he caught her wrists in his strong grip. "Just a quickie," she said, looking at him longingly through thick lashes.
"If you don't behave I'll calf rope you and carry you to town. We have people counting on us."
Dani wasn't daunted. "You've touched me, pushed that hard body into me as I made cupcakes and cookies, and kissed me silly beneath the mistletoe every time we walked through the kitchen doors. I'm smoking hotter than my chipotle cinnamon rolls here. Please." Dani stepped into Kisec's space.
Forrest moved, pushing Dani's hands behind her back gripping her wrists in one hand, his mouth descended on hers kissing her. He'd watched her sashay around the kitchen in the black stretch yoga pants, the roundness of her cheeks just begging for him to touch. Her lean arms bare in the tank top and her sumptuous breasts straining against the apron.
She didn't look any less delectable in the cream lace dress, the neck scooped low in the front and even lower in the back, he'd bought her. In fact, he'd wanted to unwrap her slowly, revealing her generous hips, narrow waist and ample breasts ever since she'd walked out of the bedroom. Should've taken her up on shower sex. Regretting that idiotic decision to wait until after the... Forrest shook his head dismissively. They had somewhere they had to be, and the town of Landmark was counting on him to get her there on time. His cock; however, had ideas of its own.
"Believe me, I'd like nothing more than to take you upstairs and spend the rest of the evening with you tied to our bed, bringing you to the edge over and over again until the whole town hears you scream for me to let you come." Forrest trailed a finger across her cheek and under her chin, tipping Dani's head back so she could see his intentions. "But that's going to have to wait." Banking the fire blazing in his body as best as possible, Forrest stepped around his way too enticing wife, grabbed the box in both hands, settling it at his waist, a barrier between him and the woman he'd thought he didn't want or need as much as his next rodeo. Tonight, he was going to show her.
Tilting his head toward the door, he growled, "open it, woman, and let's get to town."
Dani watched Kisec through narrowed slits. His actions were far from normal, and most wouldn't care if they were a few minutes late. Come to think of it, when he'd touched her, he'd end with a long look in her eyes, and tell her just how much he loved her, or pulled her in for a searing kiss that had left her hot, horny, and half-baked. It had taken all her strength to turn back to her baking, finishing the Christmas cupcakes ready, and ignore the catcalls from her friends and coworkers.
Dani had no idea just how fast Forrest could move. Well, she actually witnessed it often, but that she'd only seen him hustle when he was pushing her toward their bedroom or after scrambling from beneath hooves after being bucked off a horse.
She'd wanted to question the rush, but just as soon as they alighted from the car, Jacy, Tam, and Maddie had swarmed around her bustling her toward the center of the tent while Kisec took off in the opposite direction toward the food table. "I need to..."
"Kisec can get the box over there. Besides, you know Flory and grammar Barton and their cronies are going to commandeer the box and set the display up just the way they want it. Take a load off," they said as they steered her toward a large table, giving her precious little time to greet her friends and neighbors or take in the decorations, in the middle of the tent.
Excited voices buzzed around her. Maybe it was because this was her first Christmas, celebrating with Kisec out in the open, but it seemed all eyes were turned her way, and the air was filled with anticipation.
She looked around, wishing for a quiet table along the edge so she and Kisec could slip away early. That was her problem, she realized. Kisec had brought her to the edge of insane lust all day and left her wanting.
Closing her eyes and tilting her head back, feeling as if she'd been running on fumes all day, Dani inhaled deeply,forcing her body to relax.
"Danika Davis." Dani slowly opened her eyes. She hadn't realized she'd been relishing the quietness until Kisec's voice interrupted her thoughts.
Quiet? The fine hairs on the nape of her neck stood. Not a voice could be heard along the boardwalk. And that was a feat with the carolers, teens, and small children racing through the maze and reciting their list off to Santa.
Dani tilted her head slight forward, opening her eyes, expecting to see Kisce towering above her. She blinked, seeing nothing. She jumped as he enfolded her hands in his much larger, warmer and calloused ones.
"Danika Davis." She looked toward the voice, her mouth dropping open at seeing her husband kneeling at her feet. "I've loved you since the day we met."
"Hush, baby, I've got something to say."
Dani glanced to her right, seeing a movement. The entire town was focused on the two.
"Down here, darlin', focus on me."
Dani swallowed and tore her gaze from the townspeople, crowding closer.
"I may have lost my way a time or two, and put my wants and desires before yours. God knows I don't deserve you, but I found my way home and I'd be the happiest man alive if you'd agree to marry me."
"We're already married," Dani blurted out before realizing she'd actually spoke. A hand flew to her mouth, covering up her mistake.
Forrest chuckled. It was few and far between when he could stump hos wife. "I know darlin'. We made quick work of a ceremony in front of a justice of the peace almost ten years ago. Then we were off on the circuit for months afterward. I wanted to give you this," he waved his hand in the air, "to show you just how much you truly mean to me."
"Oh." Dani stared down at her husband in awe and wonder. Yes, they'd made up a month ago. And every day since, he showered her with love. But, until know she'd wondered if she could be exciting enough for him to stick around indefinitely.
"I'm not going anywhere, Dani." His thumb slid over her cheek, back and forth, bringing her back to the present.
"Has it been that obvious?" She gripped her lower lip between her teeth.
"I've given you good reason to wonder." He leaned in giving her a whisper of a kiss. "Now let me show you I'm going to stay."
Dani tried to suck in a breath, but the lump in her throat constricted her airway.
"Did she say yes?" A loud voice echoed from the back of the crowd. Laughter erupted, carrying Dani along with it. Looking into his black eyes, Dani could see only his love. No more wanderlust clouded his eyes.
"Yes!" She stood and shouted so the crowd could hear.
"Places. Everyone find a seat." Jacy, Tam and Maddie, and a multitude of nearby women clapped their hands and called in unison.
"Wait, what's going on?"
"We're getting married."
"Sure, why not."
"Um...well..." Kisec's hopeful expectation filling his face, helped bolster Dani's cofidence. "I... can't think of a single reason not to."
"That's my girl."
Dani looked around the tent. Hundreds of flickering candles surrounded by poinsettia leaves on each table complemented the lights along the edge and ceiling of the tent.
Plates of food and half-empty wine goblets or punch glasses overflowed as the residents had their fill of barbecue, sides, appetizers, desserts, and soon cake.
The white culinary confection, decked out in the same poinsettia motif, which she had not made, sat in the center of a side table waiting for she and Kisec to cut. Staring at her husband, she was bursting at the seams. She'd loved him years ago. But, his actions today had her falling all over again.
Dani had promised to love and cherish him with traditional vows. And then the minister asked for cameras and phones to be put away for the next part. Dani's chest swelled recalling the beauty of the rest of the ceremony.
Kisec explained each portion before they partook. "The breastplate was made by my mother for my wedding day," he said as he asked her to help him tie on the blue and white beaded vest. Once finished, he continued, "The pipe ceremony is celebrated in silence. Each of us will take a draw and let the smoke bless our union." He went on to talk about the moccasins and the feather portions. Both for sacred and ceremonial occasions, and the feathers were tied together in such a way that they couldn't be broken, symbolizing they'd never separate.
Now as she stared at him, she truly felt as if they were one. She leaned in and whispered quietly telling him of her love and desire, hoping they could leave early.
It wasn't to be. And as the night wore on Dani reflected while he'd brought her, and the people of Landmark into his world, his actions of holding the ceremony on the Landmarks' annual open house day, he'd promised before an entire town that he would love her for the rest of her life.
She smiled, slipping her hand in his. She couldn't ask for a better Christmas.