“She’s your mother.”


“So, if I would’ve said, ‘Quinn, your mama’s been demanding answers on why I’m not pregnant yet’, we both know you would have brushed it off. If I had complained every damn time she did it, you would’ve thought I was being overly sensitive and brushed it off too.”

Guilt flashed across his face.

“It wasn’t bad at first. But as the years wore on, her comments became a little sharper. I didn’t want to cause family problems or make waves so I didn’t tell you.”

“Dammit, Libby, I didn’t know. I’m sorry. So damn sorry.”

“You can’t control her. I’ll admit I was jealous when your cousins started having babies. It embarrassed me at McKay functions hearing your mother complaining to the other women in the family that she didn’t have a grandchild to spoil yet.”

“And yet, she never said a fucking word to me. Sayin’ sorry doesn’t seem like enough. No wonder you resented me. No wonder you wanted to rid yourself of me and this overbearing family.”

“Your mother didn’t cause our marital problems.”

“I realize that, but her behavior, coupled with my ostrich-like mentality, didn’t help matters.” He blew out a frustrated breath. “Enough.”

“We still have a lot to talk about, but you’re right. Let’s take a break. No more discussions about babies, fertility tests, mixed signals, meddling mothers and sisters.”

“For how long?”

“A while. Look, we can’t solve anything in two days, and with the resentment and confusion on both our parts, some issues we weren’t even aware we had…frankly, I’m too emotionally raw to deal with any of it right now.”

“Amen. And I ain’t sayin’ that because I’m hopin’ you’ll forget about it. I know we have to talk about this. Sooner, rather than later. But when we’re ready…well, I ain’t opposed to talkin’ to a fertility doctor to see if there is something wrong, if that’s still what you want.”

Feeling a little misty eyed, Libby walked straight into Quinn’s arms.

“You all right?”

“No. My head is spinning.”

“You wanna go up to the house and lay down?”

“Maybe for a bit. Then can we just hang out at home today? Screw around. Take the four wheelers out, maybe snuggle up and watch a little TV?”

“You sure?”

“Yeah, why?”

“I thought you’d wanna do something more exciting.”

She pushed back and looked at him. “Is that what you think? I have to be doing something new and exciting all the time? I find being on the ranch with you…boring?”

Quinn gave her a half-shrug and ducked his head.

Another truth hit her. “I’ve hurt you by letting you believe you and our home weren’t enough for me anymore.” Libby rubbed the tips of her fingers over his morning whiskers. “Oh Quinn. Oh, honey, that’s not why I wanted the separation. I’d hoped if we were apart we’d miss each other. We’d be forced to communicate beyond ‘What’s for supper?’ and ‘I washed your coveralls’ and we’d work harder to stay together.”

“Has it worked? Us spendin’ the weekend together?”

Libby laid her head on his chest and listened to his heartbeat. So strong. So steady. “We’re off to a damn fine start.”

Quinn stayed silent a beat too long and Libby knew she hadn’t given him the answer he wanted.


“Whatcha doin’?”

She shuffled the papers as the printer spat them out. “Research.”

Why did she look so guilty? “Can I see?”

“What time is it?” Libby asked, avoiding his question.

“Almost eight. Why?”

She unplugged the printer cable and powered down her laptop. “I thought it’d be fun to play cards.”

“I’d be up for a game of strip poker.” Quinn waggled his eyebrows.

“I was thinking a game of hearts and you were thinking with a hard-on.”

“I can’t help it. All the smokin’ hot sex yesterday, in the shower this mornin’, and my mind is runnin’

on one track.”

“Hold that thought. And get your money out. After I’ve finished packing I’m gonna whip your butt in poker.”

Quinn froze. “Finished packing for what?”

“I’m going to Cheyenne tomorrow for the state library conference, remember?”

“First I’ve heard of it.”

“I thought I’d told you.” She shrugged. “Must’ve slipped my mind.”

“How long you gonna be gone?”

“All week. There’s two days of training and then the actual conference. I’ll be back Friday afternoon.”

He flipped the station to an outdoor hunting channel and stared at the screen without seeing it.

“Maybe I oughta go with you.”

Libby kissed his forehead. “Don’t scowl, it’ll give you wrinkles. Besides, Cheyenne wouldn’t be fun for you, stuck in the hotel all day.”

“But the nights of hot motel sex would make up for it.”

“I’m assigned a roommate.”

Quinn hated when she went to conferences. She was too damn busy during the day to call him and too tired at night. He was lucky if they talked one time.

“Speaking of… I have to leave at the crack of dawn, so I’d better get going.” She flounced out of the room.

That sucked. He dropped his head back on the couch and gazed at the ceiling. Had Libby deliberately misled him?

You two weren’t exactly talking before last Friday.

True, but they’d done a helluva lot of talking since then. Then he remembered her insistence they not make promises for the future beyond the weekend, because she might need more time to think it over.

Evidently, Libby always intended on taking that time, in Cheyenne—whether he liked it or not.

Quinn didn’t like it one little bit.

But he’d damn sure give her something to remember him by before she left. He managed to cool his heels for ten minutes before he went upstairs.

The suitcase was open on the floor. The suit bag was spread out across the bed. Both were almost full.

Quinn leaned against the doorjamb and watched Libby scurrying around.

She finally noticed him. “Why are you skulking in the doorway?”

“Can’t a man appreciate his wife?”


“I’m tryin’. How much packing you got left?”

“Almost done. Just have to pick shoes, but I’m tempted to take one pair.”

“Need help?” He ambled toward the closet.

“Nah. I’m good.”

Libby paid no attention to him as she mumbled and pawed through her dresser drawers.

Her side of the closet contained fewer clothes. It was easy to find what he wanted. Quinn unhooked the heavy material from the metal hanger. After she’d zipped up the suit bag and set it next to the suitcase on the floor, he tossed the pair of black suede fringed chaps on the bed.

She slowly turned around with an odd look in her eyes. “Umm. I think those are inappropriate for a librarian’s conference, don’t you?”

“Good thing you ain’t wearin’ ’em for nobody but me.”


He loomed over her in a half a heartbeat. “Put them on. No arguin’. No panties. No shirt. No bra. No socks. No boots. Just the chaps. I’ll be back in five minutes. You’d better be undressed and ready.”

“Ready for what?”

“Ready for whatever I tell you to do.”

Libby blinked at him. A few seconds passed and she nodded.

Quinn retreated to the bathroom. Seemed an eternity before he trekked back down the hallway to their bedroom.

She was sitting on the bed and jumped up the instant she saw him. “Was I supposed to be standing?”

“You’re fine.” Quinn shut and locked the door. He closed the blinds. Turned off the overhead light and flipped on the bedside lamp. Rolled back the quilt, exposing the sheets. Then he faced her. Crowded her, really. “Hands by your sides.”

She dropped the arms she’d crossed over her chest.

“Lord almighty, lookit you.” And what an eyeful Quinn got. His wife made his pulse race and his cock hard. “Turn and let me see the view from the back.”

It appeared Libby might argue, but she swiveled her hips, tossed her head and twirled around.

“Holy mother. That’s the sexiest damn sight I’ve ever seen.” The leather hugged her legs. The cut of the chaps highlighted her rounded, naked ass. The thick strap spanned the curve of her lower back and brought to mind bondage games he’d salivated over in porn flicks, but hadn’t thought he’d ever get the chance to try. He’d like to tie her up. Bind her hands in all sorts of tempting ways—above her head, behind her back, in front where the ropes would rub against her—


His gaze whipped to hers. Another time he’d remind her of his expertise with ropes. A small smile crept up. “Lemme see you shakin’ that badonkadonk.”


“I wanna see your ass swingin’ and the fringe flappin’.”


“Do it, Lib. Make me wild to get my hands and mouth all over you.”

“For being a man of few words you sure do use them well.”

“I’m a new man, darlin’ wife.”

At first, her hands were clutched into fists by her side, but eventually she hitched her shoulders back and raised her arms. Cupping each elbow, her arms created a square above her head. Libby twitched her hips side-to-side, adding a quick snap at the end, causing the fringe to slap against the leather and her skin.

Quinn groaned at the erotic swish-swish-snap sound. “Keep goin’. I’m gettin’ all kinds of worked up.”