One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was bury my wife.
Amber was different than any other woman I had met over the years. She was so sweet, shy, and compassionate. She was so easy to talk to, and the way she listened to me made me feel like she was hanging on my every word. The way she looked at me also made me feel like I’d hung the moon. It was reassuring to have someone I could share time with, someone that didn’t know me during the darkest part of my life. She gave me the chance to let a little of the old me shine through. I had really missed the old me.
“Climb up,” I said from behind her as she stood staring up at the horse only a few feet from her with a look of panic on her face. I was more than positive this was the closest this city girl had ever been to one.
She peered back over her shoulder, and I almost laughed at how overwhelmed she looked.
“I’m from the city,” she said with wide eyes, emphasizing her loss at what to do. “Ryan, you do understand that we have subways and taxis, right? We do not have horses that are the size of SUVs. I’m going to need a little help if you expect me—” She pointed toward her chest, then spun around to point at the horse. “—to get up on that thing.”
Now I did chuckle. It was impossible not to. She was damn near panicking at the thought of how she would mount and then ride the horse.
I stepped up behind her, my chest fitting flush against her back. Gripping her hips, I leaned my head closer and grazed my lips over her ear. Her body relaxed against mine, and she tilted her head to the side, opening up her neck to me.
As I placed a kiss at the base of her neck, she shuddered in my arms. “You have to put your foot in the stirrups,” I whispered before kissing just below her ear. “I’ll lift as you pull yourself up.”
She nodded with her eyes closed as her chest moved up and down in small pants.
“Go on,” I urged.
I lifted her as she gripped the saddle, and she yelped when I firmly placed her atop Storm, my father’s Oldenburg stallion. Jackson held him steady as I pulled myself up and took my spot behind Amber. Our bodies were so close together I could feel her ragged breaths as she shifted against me with each one.
Earlier, I’d been worried about bringing her to my parents’ house. I wasn’t sure how they would feel about seeing me with another woman after all this time. When I stopped by last night for dinner, I wanted to make sure it was okay, and their answers shocked me. My mother cried and assured me that moving on was for the best. She then admitted she had worried I would never truly be happy again and that imagining me alone without someone to love me broke her heart.
My father gave me one of those manly hugs and said he looked forward to meeting the woman who was bringing back his son. His words rang true as I too felt Amber was allowing me to feel alive again. She had returned my desire to feel, to love.
Jackson, on the other hand, just kept commenting on how good-looking the girl that caught my attention was. He made sure to throw in the fact he met her first and had already been inside her apartment. The cocky son of a bitch was so full of himself, he chose to leave out the part about only being there to move furniture. Noah, of course, was more of the silent type, yet his eyes showed he was pleased with my choices.
“You ready?” I asked Amber while wrapping my arms around her waist and grabbing the reins.
She nodded, and I looked over one last time to see Jackson grinning from ear to ear.
I love HEA stories, as long as they come packing a little heat. I need some excitement, some angst, and moments that make me fan my face are always good too. I am an Illinois girl, born and raised. Simple and true, it honestly doesn’t take much to make me happy. I love the little things; they truly mean the most. I may have a slight addiction to my new Keurig–oh my, that thing is a godsend. And so fast too. I have two children who truly are my very best friends, and their faces never fail to put a smile on my face. I have been married to my husband for sixteen years, and even though at times I want to beat him with a stick, I would never change the years we have had. We have learned and fallen, only to pick each other up, dust off the ache, and help each other make it right.
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