I sit up and begin to roll off him, but he pulls me back into his arms.
“What’s wrong?” I try again.
“I like having you in my arms.” He pushes my hair over my shoulder and kisses my arm.
“It’s definitely one of my favorite places to be.” I grin and kiss his chin. “It feels safe here.”
“You are safe here, Lo.” He reverses us again, so he’s leaning over me and looking down into my eyes. “I promise.”
“You’re good to me.”
“That’ll never change.”
I grin up at him and rub my palm over his cheek, enjoying the way the short stubble there feels against my skin.
He turns his face and plants a kiss in the center of my hand before pulling away and helping me to my feet. “Now, about that pie.”
“The last one downstairs has to sweep up the flour mess!” I sprint ahead of him, giggling like a maniac as I fly down the stairs with Ty hot on my heels.
“You’re a cheater! You got a head start!”
I beat him to the kitchen, panting and laughing as I hand him a broom. “You sweep and I’ll cut the pie.”
Rather than take the broom from my hands, he pulls me against him and kisses me long and hard, then lets go just as quickly and turns toward the mess on the floor as he pulls the broom from my grasp. “I want ice cream with mine.”
The weekend has been the perfect combination of work and relaxation, especially after the disaster of a week we just had. Ty stayed at my place and was content to catch up on his own work while I dove into mine. Now, all too soon, we are driving out to the Lazy K Ranch for Sunday football.
“You know, you could have just come spent some time with the guys. You didn’t have to bring me,” I say as Ty turns onto the driveway that leads down to the ranch.
“Cara and Jill are there.” He shrugs. “It’s not really a guys’ night out, and besides, I want you there.” He steers us down the windy, tree-lined driveway. “I spend a lot of time with these people, and I want you to be comfortable with them too.”
“I am comfortable with them.” I smile. “I like them.”
He parks, and as we approach the front door, it flings open and a barking, excited Thor comes racing out of the house, stops to sniff us and get a pat on the head, then races to the side of the house.
“He has to pee!” Seth announces as he runs out after his dog, wearing a Seattle football jersey. “Hi, Ty! Hi, Lauren!”
“Hey, buddy,” Ty replies, and leads me into Josh’s home.
“Oh, good! They’re here!” Cara claps happily from the kitchen where she and Jill are bustling about. “Lo, come back here with us. The living room is full of testosterone.”
“This is where we part ways, babe,” I say to Ty, and kiss his cheek, but before I can walk away, he grips my arm and pulls me back against him for a long, hot, searing kiss, earning grumbles from both Zack and Josh, who suggest we get ourselves a room.
“This is football,” Zack informs us as Seth and Thor storm back in from outside. “There is no kissing during football.”
“Go watch your game,” I say, and pull out of Ty’s embrace. “I’ll be the tall one in the kitchen if you need me.” I wink and saunter away toward my friends. “I brought hot wings!”
“Wow, you made wings?” Jill asks.
“No, I brought them.” I laugh. “I picked them up from the Bulldog in town.”
“They have the best wings.” Cara takes them from me to pop them in the oven to keep warm.
“What’s the score?” Ty asks the guys as he hangs our coats, and settles in on the couch.
“Seattle’s up, seven to nothing, still early in the first quarter,” Josh says.
“So, how’s it going?” Jill pops a chip full of guacamole in her mouth.
“Good.” I nod and then grin when they roll their eyes. “We just saw you Friday night. How are you?” I ask Cara.
“I’m good.” She shrugs and stirs a Crock-Pot full of chili.
“How are you adjusting to being so far out of town?” I ask.
“It’s been . . .” She purses her lips, searching for the right word. “Interesting. Ranch life is new, that’s for sure. Oh! We have some fresh eggs to send home with you guys if you want them.”
“Sure, we’ll take some,” I answer as Jill nods. “Thanks. Nothing like farm-fresh eggs.”
“So true,” Jill agrees. “Are you still going to plant a garden in the spring?” she asks Cara.
“Yes, look,” she says excitedly, and points out the kitchen window to the backyard. “Those four stakes mark the area that Josh is going to fence in when the ground dries up a bit in the spring.”
“You have to fence it?” I ask.
“If we don’t want deer and rabbits to eat the veggies before we do, yes.” Cara laughs.
“Ah, makes sense.” I nod just as the guys shout from the living room.
“That ref is fucking blind!” Josh exclaims. “The ball was in! Sorry, Seth.”
“It’s okay.” Seth shrugs. “It’s football day.”
“As I was saying”—Cara laughs—“I’m going to plant lots of veggies and herbs, and I’m sure there will be more than we can eat, so you guys are welcome to some of them too. Also, Josh has decided to expand to raising pigs for butchering too, so we’ll have eggs, chickens, pork, and beef, along with the veggies.”
“Are you preparing for the zombie apocalypse?” Jill asks with a laugh.
“No, grain-fed meat is so much healthier.” Cara giggles and then shrugs. “But we will be able to survive the zombies too.”
“I’m so happy that you love it,” I murmur. “I don’t know if I could do it.”
“We’re city dwellers,” Ty agrees as he joins us in the kitchen. He wraps his arms around my waist and kisses my neck before pulling away and opening the fridge.
“Yes, Cunningham Falls is such a bustling metropolis.” Jill rolls her eyes at her brother.
“It’s not fifteen miles from town in the middle of nowhere,” Ty reminds her, and kisses me one more time.
“Dude!” Zack yells. “Stop kissing Lauren and bring us our beers!”
Ty laughs and returns to his friends.
“How’s the real estate business?” Cara asks Jill.