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He and Tobin and Hugh talked livestock stuff that would’ve lulled her to sleep if she hadn’t already been halfway there. She wasn’t the type to doze off in a man’s arms in public, but the deep cadence of his voice soothed her. Rather than question her sudden, uncharacteristic reaction to this man, she just accepted it.

Sweet kisses roused her, followed by sweeter words. “Wake up, sleeping gorgeous.”

“But I’m so comfy. You make an awesome pillow.”

“I’ll let you sleep on me all night.” His warm mouth grazed her ear. “Come to bed with me, sugar twang.”

“Okay.” The sleep haze lingered and she fought the pull back into slumber.

Fletch stood, keeping her enfolded in his arms, cradled to his chest. “Thanks for the beer and the company, Tobin. I’ll see you in the morning.”

Tobin chuckled. “I’ll be surprised if I see you before noon. God knows I wouldn’t get outta bed if I had her in it.”

“Point taken. See ya next year.”

Tanna smiled against Fletch’s chest.

The night air had bite and she shivered.

“Almost there. Hold on.” He opened and closed the doors and set her down in the bedroom doorway.

“Sweet Lord. What in God’s name is that?”

“You were busy this afternoon when they delivered my new bed.”

She blinked and couldn’t believe her eyes. “This mattress takes up the whole room.”

“California King, baby. A double bed kills my back and my feet hang off the end.”

“You’d really suffer if we had to sleep on the bed in my horse trailer.”

“I’d never use the word suffer when bein’ in a bed with you.”

“Are you just leaving the bed here when your sabbatical is up?”

Standing behind her, he nuzzled the side of her neck as his fingers worked the buttons on her blouse. “No. My guest room will get an upgrade.”

“Lucky guests.”

“Won’t matter. I never have guests anyway.” He tugged the blouse down her arms and tossed it aside. Followed by her bra. “You still tired?”

“He asks with fake concern, as he’s stripping my clothes off.”

Fletch chuckled. “You caught me. But all that talk of ropes and spankings got me hot and bothered. Plus, we need to christen the bed with smokin’-hot sex before we sleep on it or we’ll have bad sex in it.”

Tanna snorted. “That is a load of crap.”

“No, I heard that from an Indian mystic, so it has to be true.” He placed his hands on her hips and his thumbs stroked her bare belly. “So, what do you say?”

“Well,” she forced a yawn, “if you can promise me this christening won’t take long, so I can get some shut-eye, then I suppose I’m game.”

“You . . . suppose?” He pushed her on the bed. She landed face-first and as soon as she scrambled around, he depanted her. He shucked his clothes and jumped beside her, but she barely bounced—which said a lot about the quality of the mattress.

Then his mouth reclaimed possession of hers, his fingers dove between her legs. Teasing her clit until it spasmed beneath his stroking thumb. Fletch f**ked her with two fingers while sucking on her ni**les. He’d turned her inside out in such a short amount of time that her thighs were sticky and her need for him was a physical ache.

He paused in his erotic torment only to roll on a condom. He pinned her arms above her head and impaled her.

Tanna’s moan was lost in his hungry mouth. He f**ked her relentlessly with a sort of mad finesse. Pushing her to the tipping point and backing off—three times. By the time he whispered, “Come for me, Tanna,” her body was damp with sweat, her legs shook and she gasped with each pounding thrust as she unraveled.

Afterward, she lay trapped beneath his big body, listening to his stuttered breaths. Then he brushed kisses on her forehead down to the shiver inducing section of skin in front of her ear. “Sorry, darlin’, that took a little longer than I thought. But I suppose,” he blew in her ear, “that those loud moans meant you didn’t mind losing a little sleep.”

“Such a bratty, cocky man.”

“You hate that I’m always right.”

“Always? In your dreams.”

Fletch ditched the condom and crawled back in bed. “Speaking of dreams . . . now you can use me as a pillow and get some shut-eye.”

Tanna snuggled into him, content on too many levels to count. “Okay. But don’t let me sleep late. I have to go to Eli’s in the morning.”

“Don’t worry; I make an excellent alarm clock.”

Chapter Eighteen

After a restless night filled with dreams of her mother, mixed with nightmares about Jezebel, she’d awoken in a cold sweat, her body shaking so hard she feared it’d wake Fletch. She’d managed to calm down on the drive to Eli’s, cranking the tunes and singing along at the top of her lungs—her personal type of scream therapy.

At Eli’s she watched as he trained with a bulldogger. Summer worked the chute, releasing the steer. Eli served as the guy’s hazer, racing out on horseback on the right side of the bulldogger, keeping the bulldogger’s horse in line with the steer until the moment the steer wrestler hung off the right stirrup with one toe and launched himself off. Skidding in the dirt, the bulldogger grabbed the steer by the head and flipped it on its side.

Dust flew and the bulldogger got up and squinted at the chute.