Loving Cara / Page 22

Page 22


His brown gaze finds mine over the leather menu in his hands and he smiles softly. “This is our first official date.”

“I’m aware,” I respond with a raised eyebrow.

“So we should be somewhere nice on our first date. Besides,” he adds with a smirk, “you love it here.”

“How do you know?” I ask, surprised. This Italian restaurant is new to town and has quickly become my favorite. “We’ve never talked about this place before.”

“You should have seen your eyes light up when I mentioned it.” He glances back down at his menu, his lips pursed.

He’s observant, which is one of the things that I’ve come to appreciate about him. He pays attention to my moods, my body language, both in and out of the bedroom.

It’s nice to be away from the ranch for the evening. I enjoy the ranch, and in the past few days that I’ve been staying there, in Josh’s bed every night, I’ve come to have a greater appreciation for how much work it is, and how dedicated Josh is to his family legacy.

I smooth my hands down my thighs, over the cotton fabric of my orange sundress, thankful that my clothes came back from the hazmat cleaner in time for this date.

Shorts and a tank top would not have been appropriate for tonight.

Folding his menu, he sets it on top of mine at the edge of the table and takes my hand in his, weaves our fingers together. I catch a few curious glances from other patrons at nearby tables.

If news of my staying at the Lazy K hasn’t already begun circulating around town, our being out together tonight will be fodder for conversation by tomorrow morning.

The young, bubbly waitress appears and takes our food orders, then leaves us alone.

“What are you thinking?” Josh asks, his eyes searching mine.

“We are going to make the grapevine news before morning,” I murmur with a smile, and play with the stem of my wineglass.

“Good.” He shrugs. “Does it bother you?”

“No.” I shake my head, then frown as I think about it further. “It’s really no one’s business, although I am blurring the line where my job is concerned.”

“They can’t fire you for what you do on your own time, Cara. You’re allowed to have a personal life.” He grips my fingers more tightly. “You haven’t done anything wrong.”

I nod, but bite my lip.

“What?”

“I just hope you’re right.”

Our salads are served, along with the most delicious chicken I’ve ever tasted. At the first bite, I close my eyes and moan, letting the flavors explode on my tongue.

“Oh, dear God, that’s good.”

“Don’t do that,” Josh murmurs, his voice hard, and I open my eyes to find him staring at me intently.

“Do what?” I ask innocently.

“You know what. I already want you, Carolina. I’d be happy to skip dinner and take you out to my truck and make you come until your brain is numb.” He hasn’t touched the food in front of him.

I swallow hard and twirl my fork in the noodles and garlicky chicken. I take another bite, licking my lips and moaning in happiness, enjoying the way his eyes flare and his throat moves as he swallows.

“You should eat your food before it gets cold,” I tell him sweetly.

“You’re so getting spanked later.” He laughs and finally picks up his fork, twirling it in his fettuccine.

“We can play in the truck.” I shrug and grin at him, stuffing my face with more of the delicious food. “I’m hungry.”

“So am I,” he whispers, and watches my mouth.

“Eat!” I laugh and take a sip of wine. “What are we doing after this?”

“It’s a surprise.”

“Truck fun?” I ask with a giggle.

“I love the way you laugh.” He smiles and sips his own wine, and just like that the butterflies are back in my stomach. “And, yes, there may be truck fun later, but I have something else planned first.”

“Okay then,” I murmur, and continue working my way through the meal. “I’m looking forward to it.”

* * *

“Movies!” I exclaim, and smile over at Josh as he pulls the truck into the parking lot across from Cunningham Park. The park is just over twenty acres in the heart of town, with a large playground for parents to bring their kids to play, walking paths, benches and picnic tables, and a large grassy area where in the summer the town sets up a portable movie screen every Friday night. The townspeople bring blankets or lawn chairs and spread out on the grass to enjoy a double feature.

“I thought you might like it.” He grins and reaches over to tuck my hair behind my ear.

“I love going to the movies.”

He leans in and kisses me softly before reaching into the backseat to retrieve a small picnic basket and a soft blanket. He leads me out onto the manicured grass.

“What’s playing tonight?” I ask, and help him spread the blanket on the ground toward the left edge before the screen, against a tree.

“I’m not sure. Probably a chick flick.” He wrinkles his nose at the thought and makes me laugh.

“Not into chick flicks?”

“I’m a guy.”

“Yes, you are.” I kick my shoes off, sink onto the blanket, and glance around at all of the people. “Sit with me.”

“Happily.” He sits, his back to the tree, and pulls me against his chest, between his legs, knees bent. The previews begin and I sigh, completely content. The sun is almost down, leaving us in the glow of the screen and the moonlight behind us.

A few people I recognize, colleagues and parents of students, wave or call out greetings. Some look curiously between Josh and me, and I’m surprised to realize that it doesn’t bother me.

He’s a great guy and I’m happy to be out with him.

Josh wraps his arms around my chest and hugs me to him, kisses the top of my head, and we settle in to watch the movie. The first show is usually family friendly, and the second for more mature audiences, when parents leave to tuck their little ones into bed.

True to form, we are watching Tangled.

“I love this movie,” I murmur, and snuggle against him.

“You do?” He rubs my arms with his palms.

I nod happily and rest my hands on Josh’s thighs. I immediately feel a reaction to my touch: his thigh muscles clench and his cock comes to life against the small of my back. I can’t help but grin.

“Behave yourself,” I mutter, keeping my eyes trained on the movie screen. “There are kids here.”


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