“Uh, no. Not unless it’s a spider that needs to be killed.” I glance back at the well-kept, simple cabins. The sun is shining brightly, making me thankful for my tank, but I long for my shorts rather than the long blue jeans that Josh insisted I wear today. My hair feels heavy on my neck and my brow sweaty.
“Like I said earlier, the ranch is more than beef cattle. We offer these cabins for tourists who want to hunt, along with a guide. I’m hoping Zack will want to guide this winter.” Josh throws me a grin that says that he’ll talk his brother into it.
“Do you get a lot of customers?”
Josh nods. “We’re booked solid through next hunting season.”
“Wow, good for you.” I rub my hand up and down his back, ridiculously proud of Josh and his family. “Maybe Seth would like to join Zack and the hunters this winter? He’s old enough to take hunter’s education this fall.”
“You’re right. I’ll mention it to Z. Seth would love that.”
Josh starts the ignition again and I happily link my arms around his middle and snuggle up against him.
“I have a special place I want to show you.”
He rests one hand on my thigh and drives us through the brush with one hand, leading us behind the cabins and into the woods again. The canopy of evergreen trees gives us a reprieve from the hot summer sun, and I sigh in relief.
“Getting too warm?” he asks.
“Good thing we put sunscreen on you.”
I blush furiously and bury my face in Josh’s back as I remember his slathering the coconut-scented lotion on my arms, shoulders, neck, and face right before we left the house.
Only Josh can turn basic skin care into an erotic event. I’ve been turned on all morning, damn him.
I can feel the vibrations from his laughter against my cheek as he pulls the ATV to a stop and kills the engine, whose sound is replaced by the sounds of water and a light breeze blowing through the trees overhead. Birds sing as Josh and I stay where we are, sitting on the four-wheeler, me leaning against him, breathing in the fresh air.
Finally, I kiss his back and lean away from him, swing my leg over, and hop off, and he follows suit.
“This is a great place,” I murmur, and turn in a complete circle, taking everything in. The forest is thick here, but with a clearing by a wide pool of water, which is being fed by a creek that empties into it via a beautiful waterfall about twenty yards away. Slabs of rock frame the pond, making a natural ledge to sit on and enjoy nature.
“This is where I’ve always come whenever I’m happy or mad or just need to think.” Josh wraps his arms around me from behind and kisses the top of my head.
“You brought me to your happy place?” I ask, half kidding, and turn my head to kiss his biceps. I can’t seem to keep my lips off this man.
And he doesn’t seem to mind.
“It seems that anywhere you are is my happy place these days, Carolina.”
I gasp and look up into his soft brown eyes.
“So, I brought the person who makes me happy to my happy place,” he clarifies.
Well . . . wow.
Before I can respond, he kisses my lips quickly and then pulls away to grab a blanket out of a saddlebag. He takes me by the hand and leads me up onto the rocks by the water. He spreads the blanket out and pulls me down next to him.
“Are you hungry?” he asks, and pushes my hair back over my shoulder.
“Not quite yet.”
He nods and his eyes heat as they rake down my face, my neck, and over my tank top, which I know shows off the girls nicely.
If he is going to keep me perpetually turned on today, I am happy to return the favor.
“You are so beautiful,” he whispers, and leans in to claim my mouth. His lips are gentle and soft, sweeping across my own rhythmically yet slowly, sending shivers down my arms and making my stomach clench.
He has only touched me with his lips and my panties are wet. I’m panting, ready for him to take me right here, in the middle of nature.
He cups my cheek in the palm of his hand and pulls me closer, sinking into the kiss, but then he abruptly pulls back, his brows pulled into a frown.
“You really are warm,” he mutters, and feels my neck and forehead.
I laugh at him as I rub my hand up and down his firm chest. “It’s hot outside, Josh.”
“Let’s cool off.” He smiles down at me wickedly and begins to peel me out of my clothes.
“We might give the wildlife quite a show,” I warn him mildly, excitement coursing through me.
“That’s the plan.” He winks at me and quickly strips out of his own clothes. He pulls me up onto my feet and peels my jeans and panties down my legs.
“Now what?” I ask with a wide smile.
“Now we cool off.”
Before I can think, he lifts me into his arms and tosses me into the pond. I immediately swim to the surface and sputter, gasping for breath at the shock of the cold water.
“It’s so cold!”
“It’s mountain runoff, of course it’s cold.” He’s treading water beside me. “We’re cooling off, remember?”
“You just wanted to skinny-dip,” I accuse him, and playfully narrow my eyes at him.
“I wanted to get you naked,” he corrects me. “It worked.”
He pulls me to him and kisses me hard and then dunks me under the water. He’s laughing when I surface and I swim after him. My body has adjusted to the temperature of the water, and it feels cool and refreshing on my skin. I latch onto Josh’s back, wrapping my arms around his neck and my legs around his waist, and he swims around the pond, carrying me around piggyback.
After playing in the water like kids for a while, Josh leads me to the edge of the pond and shows me where to step to safely climb out. Despite the canopy of trees, the air is warm. A light breeze blows across my wet body, sending more shivers through me and raising gooseflesh.
“Are you cold?” he asks as he guides me back to our blanket.
“No, I’m naked, wet, and there’s a breeze.”
We are standing in the center of the blanket, on the highest rock above the water, for all of God’s creation to see. He’s holding my hands in his, but has stepped back so he can look his fill, his heated eyes traveling up and down my nakedness, and I’m thrilled by the lust and the want I see on his handsome face. When his gaze meets mine again, I offer him a shy smile, and his breath catches as he swallows hard.
“Carolina,” he whispers, and steps to me, keeping his hands linked with mine, but now I can feel his body heat and I yearn to feel him against me. “I love your body. I love every curve on you, how soft you are, how smooth your skin is.”