Will sat on that pile of hay, his back leaning against the barn wall as Mercy finished speaking with her Mama and sisters on the phone. He brought the bottle of water to his lips and sucked down half of it as he studied her. He knew he should be listening carefully to what was said.
Right now, he was too fucking confused, guilty, and screwed in the head to think of anything other than the fact that he had taken the virginity of the woman he loved in a pile of old, musty hay on the dirt floor of a barn in the middle of Nowhere, Texas. And now he was going to take her straight into the devil’s den.
But what fucking choice did he have? Did they have? If finding Bebe in Torreon had been a long shot before, well, now? Sure, his gifts, that child’s, might be something that others scoffed at.
That was how people were with anything they did not understand. They dismissed it, or if they could not, then they ridiculed it. In some cases, that went so far as hate. In that way, it was no different than any other prejudice, -ism, or -phobia.
Knowing that they had to do this did not make it any easier, though. In fact, it made it harder. If the things he knew about Diego Garcia before were bad enough, this scared the ever-loving shit out of him. Why would a man like that even care that Mercy was some long-lost sister? Wouldn’t he see her as just another commodity?
Once they were in Torreon, they were on the man’s territory. That meant protecting Mercy would be almost impossible. With odds of hundreds against just the two of them. But hunches and dreams were not evidence that they could take to the authorities. Not that they could take any evidence to them right now. Not when those same authorities wanted both of them.
Despite all that, all they faced, his body still craved her. He was hard as a fucking diamond. Just watching her pace that dirt floor and bite her nail as she said what was perhaps her final goodbyes to her family turned him on. Sick!
But not as sick as what had happened earlier, before that fucking call with Fate. What had he been thinking? Fuck, he knew he had been thinking with his little head. But he never had for a single minute considered that Mercy might be a fucking virgin – quite literally.
He was angry as hell with her right now for not telling him. And the way she acted afterward was no better. Well, after they had both managed to stop shaking and their hearts no longer pounded so loudly that it was all you could hear.
His woman had the audacity to smile, give him a peek on the cheek and say, “Thanks, City Boy. That was all I ever imagined.”
Without another single word, she had pushed him off her. Stood up, naked as the day she was born, but certainly, with a lot more interesting curves, she had walked over to that magic bag of hers and pulled out a packet of baby wipes.
She had proceeded to clean up, even studying the stains of blood and semen on the damned thing when she pulled it from between her legs. “Nothing to worry about,” she pronounced as she tossed the packet of wipes to him.
He was too stunned at first to even clean himself. How old was she? Not as old as his thirty-four, but at least old enough… That she should not have been a…
His woman had until an hour ago been a virgin. Why? Why would a woman that looked like her still be a…virgin? Will was confident that it was not for lack of offers. She did not seem like the religious type? Besides, most churches these days, besides the fundamentalists’ ones, did not bother with the chastity and purity thing. So, why?
Not that he minded that much. Hell, a massive part of him, neanderthal though it might be, wanted to beat his chest and swing through a jungle, yelling that he would be the only man ever to touch her. Yeah, she’d probably kick his ass right now if she could read his thoughts. And rightly so.
He considered himself a modern man. He hoped like hell that his female colleagues did not find him chauvinistic, misogynistic, or one of the ‘good ole’ boyz.’ So, why this reaction? What did it matter? But it did. It mattered both ways.
Why? Why had this woman never had sex? Why him? Why here and now? And why the hell had she not said anything?
“Okay, Brad, you take good care of them, or I’ll kick your ass. You understand me?” She nodded her head and smiled as Will finished off the bottle of water. “You give that baby a big kiss from me, Laura.”
She turned her back, and he could almost hear the tears in her voice as she spoke this time. “Mama, I want you to know that you will always be my hero. All that you have done, been through, and gone without for us girls. There is no way I can ever pay you back for all that.”
“I know you don’t agree with me, with this plan. But please know this, no matter what happens, I love you and admire you. You are all I ever want to be when I grow up.”
She sighed, “I need to get the hell off this phone and update Will. I love you all.”
She held that phone away from her body. Her shoulders slumped, and her head down. He could not see her face, but he knew she was crying.
“Dammit,” he cursed as he got up and rushed to her.
He was still angry with her, but even then, he could not stand to see her in pain. His hands gripped those tiny shoulders, and he turned her around. She buried her face in his t-shirt before he could see those tears, but he felt the wetness drench the material and almost burn his skin like acid.
He held her like that for a couple of minutes. It was not those body-shaking sobs like when she broke down before. No, this was like gentle spring rain that scrooched the hard ground. A downpour would wash away, but that mist settled into the field, bringing new life and causing things to grow. Like his love for her.
His hands brushed her hair back from her face as she swiped at it with the back of her arm. “What else did they say?”
She tried to pull away, but instead, he guided her back to the scene of the crime. They sat on the hay, and he wrapped his arms around her. Her head rested over his heart as her fingers skipped across his abdomen. He was beginning to think he would have to ask again, demand a response, when she finally spoke.
She looked up at him and gave him a tight smile, “If it weren’t for Ryan, I’d had a lot more trouble out of Mama, that’s for sure.” Her fingers moved over his heart, “He said you’re one of the good guys.”
Will kissed the top of her head, “He is too. He keeps to himself a lot. Doesn’t exactly share much with anyone, but I know.” It always came back to that. It always had.
Until now, he had thought it some fluke. That he was some freak. But if those people were to be believed, his gifts were not as unique as he thought. It was certainly something to consider. Some other time.
“Your mother? Is she okay?” What he wanted to ask was ‘is she okay with us,’ not that they had told anyone the truth about their relationship. Perhaps that should not bother him. What was the point when they might never make it back anyway? But honestly, yes, it bothered him. He wanted the whole freakin’ world to know.
She laid her head against his chest again, and he tightened his arms about her. “Mama don’t like our plan. Heck, neither do Elena and Laura. But Ryan was in my corner. I got more information about this Diego and where to find him from Brad and Elena. That’s good.”
He nodded as he stared at the ceiling, once again questioning the advisability of it. His mind warred with itself and his heart until he felt her begin to relax in his arms. He knew she was half asleep already as he kissed her forehead, “Why, sweetheart?”
Mercy wanted to brush his question aside, play dumb, or give him one of her hallmark smart assed remarks. But she could not. Between the intensity of that conversation with her family, how incredible the whole experience had been with him, and yes, the raw fucking fear she felt at what they were all facing, honesty was all she could muster.
“Because for the first time in my whole fucking life, I met a man that made me hotter than Mr. Darcy. But that’s not fair either, because it is not just your looks or sex, it’s some fucking connection I can’t explain, that scares me to death, and makes me feel whole, like I’m not alone, for the first time in my life.”
She could not stop her fingers from caressing those kiss-ass-able lips, any more than she could stop the tears from flowing, “And because as much as I love that picture, you paint of years and years of love and happiness, the honest truth is this might be all we ever have.”
Mercy swallowed hard just to force the words past that knot in her throat and the tears that refused to abate. “One or both of us may never come back from this crazy-ass shit that I know we should not even attempt. But neither of us could live with ourselves if we don’t try. If there’s any chance that your cousin, or other women, are there, are…”
She could not bring herself to say those words at all. “And because if something did go wrong. If I went down that hole the way Kerr threatened, I didn’t want my virginity to be nothing more than a business deal, sold to the highest bidder. It was mine to give. Mine. And I choose you, Will.”
“If the worst happened, then I have one sweet memory of what love is supposed to be. One thing to hold onto for eternity. Something to close my eyes and escape to no matter what…”
“I will never regret any of it, Will,” she finished, though she was not sure how she managed to get those words out.
If she believed in miracles, that was undoubtedly one. But the even bigger one lay just beneath her, the steady strum of his heart reassuring her that for this single moment in time, the world is right. Or at least it was for them, hidden in this old barn in the middle of nowhere.
Her throat was still tight as Will lifted her face to his. Mercy was not sure what touched her more deeply: the tears she saw glinting in his eyes, the tender way that he brushed hers away, or his words.
“It’s not that I regret it, Mercedes. It’s that you deserve so much more than smelly hay in a dirty old barn. Your first time, our first together, should have been rose petals, champagne, chocolate, and strawberries in the honeymoon suite of the St. Regis.”
She brushed his tears away too. “No, I can’t swig that sweet champagne. I’d rather drink beer all night in a tavern or in a honky-tonk.” The look he gave her was priceless, “City Boy, I really do have to edu-me-cate you on good music.”
“I was thinking the same thing earlier, woman. Jazz, R&B, the good stuff.”
“Ain’t happening. But that aside, Will, I’m not those things, except for the chocolate. You’ll never go wrong with chocolate. But I am more comfortable here in the hay than I ever would be in some fancy pantsy hotel. Laura took us to those things once or twice, but it just made me and Mama uncomfortable. Honestly, the only thing that matters is who you’re with. Not where.”
“I get that, but it’s just that I…”
He sighed so heavily like Sisyphus watching that stone roll back down for the millionth time, knowing he had to push it right back up again for all eternity. His fingers brushed across her cheek, and he kissed her so tenderly. She brought her fingers to her lips to seal that kiss, as if to keep it deep inside of her for all time. As she knew she would his next words.
“I know this is crazy. You probably won’t even believe me. But I love you, Mercedes Reba Reynolds. I honestly love you. I’m not saying that to make you uncomfortable or anything. I know those are just words to some people. But other than my Grandmother, I’ve never said that to any other woman. Maybe now isn’t the time, and this sure isn’t the place. But like you said, as much as I want to promise you all those sweet tomorrows, this might be all we have.”
“And if it is Mercy, then I want you to know that. Know that I loved you with everything inside of me. And whether there’s a heaven or hell, karma, or nothingness, I know inside that love is eternal.”
Mercy kissed the tears that had streamed down his cheeks as he spoke those words of love. For a writer, she could have never dreamt of a more perfect scene or a hero larger than life like Caleb Williams.
And as strange as it was, for her as a writer, she could never find words as eloquent or profound as his. So, Mercy decided that sometimes actions did speak louder than words. “Make love to me, Caleb,” she pleaded as she lifted that shirt over her head once more.
She loved the way his eyes flared when he realized that she wore nothing beneath it. She had not seen the point in putting her bra on just to make a phone call. But this time, she wanted more. She wanted heated skin against heated skin. She pushed at his jacket; she would keep him warm. She almost ripped his t-shirt over his head.
When her hand went for his zipper, he stilled it. “Patience, sweetheart. We may not have forever, but we have this moment.” But his hands made quick work of her jeans and panties.
This time he kissed his way down the side of her face and along her neck. He seemed determined to make up for being denied access to her breasts before, lavishing them with caresses, kisses, tiny nips, and suckling her nipples deep within those lips. His tongue laved and licked until Mercy swore she had lost her mind.
Then he began his journey again. While his fingers continued to torture those needy points, his tongue swirled around her belly button. “Damn, woman, if I hadn’t loved you before, I would now for sure,” he proclaimed as his teeth tugged at the ring through her belly button.
Will had not reached his destination, not yet, as he trailed those kisses lower. This time he knelt between her thighs, lifting her ass as he buried his tongue between her folds. In less than a minute, he had sent her over the edge once more.
But he was not satisfied with a single orgasm this time, he licked, nibbled, sucked, and tongue fucked her until Mercy had lost count. She was nothing more than a mindless love zombie ready to follow him anywhere for another fix of that masterful tongue.
His tongue was not enough, though, “Dammit, Will, fuck me. Please fuck me.”
He lowered her back to that cold, dirt floor, covered in that thin layer of musty straw. “Tut-tut, sweetheart, such a pretty little potty mouth.” His finger outlined her lips for a moment, “Maybe I need to teach it something else dirty?”
Mercy felt the excitement course through her. She knew just what the man was talking about, and she did not need a second invitation. Her fingers fiddled with those tight leather pants once more, but it was not as hard this time. The pants, not him. Will helped her to push them down.
When his cock sprang free, Mercy could only stare at it for a moment. “Holy fuck,” she whispered as she gently reached out her hand and wrapped it about him. It was so cliché, but damn, that had fit in her? Okay, so it was not porn star huge, but she knew enough to recognize that it was definitely on the upper side of average, probably a bit above average.
She stroked it. She was not sure if it was too hard or too light. From the way that Will closed his eyes and leaned back with a smile, it couldn’t have been too bad. But this was not a forced handjob in the front seat of a jerk’s car in ‘payment’ for dinner. This was her first real blow job, and that required more than just hands.
Mercy leaned forward; she loved the way it twitched and moved in her hands. For the first time, she felt powerful, like a real live woman. A woman who could bring this man to his knees with…
But all those videos deserted her; Mercy could not remember a single thing from them. It was just her and that cock which was staring her in the eye. Well, there was also a magnificent set of balls, one hand reached out to cup and weigh them, as he had with her breasts, while the other continued to stroke the full length of his cock.
She saw a drop of clear fluid appear at the slit every time she stroked upwards. It fascinated her. She had tasted herself on him, but what flavor was he? She leaned her head forward on the next upwards stroke and licked it away, savoring it on her tongue. Salty, not bad, definitely more delicate than those dill pickles.
She felt his fingers wrap through her hair, his other hand gripped her ponytail and pulled her face back so that she stared up at him. “Have Mercy. You’re killing me, woman.”
She laughed; she loved how much they did that together, even like this, even during sex. She had never been comfortable around men, except for Jack, but he did not count. He was almost like her brother. But she was with Will, like her favorite old nightgown that just fit. It was so comfortable that she never even realized she was wearing it. Like she was naked. And she was this man, naked and exposed, not just her body but her heart and soul too. Maybe that should have made her leary, but it did not. It was just so damned natural.
And this was, too. All those damned videos finally kicked in as his hand in her hair brought her closer. First, her tongue snaked out to swirl about the thick head as her hands tightened and increased the tempo just a bit. Mercy felt it twitch in her hand again, and that told her she must be doing something right. Of course, the low growl from Will confirmed that, as his fingers tightened in her hair and guided her to a new song.
Mercy opened her mouth and swallowed it. Just the head at first. She had never conquered that tying the cherry stem trick like Lizzie, but this was a bit easier to get her tongue around. The way his fingers flexed on her scalp and that thing hardened even more in her mouth told her she was not too far off.
His hands in her hair guided their dance, but it was her mouth that did all the singing as she moved up and down, taking as much as she could. Each downward stroke, she tried to get him just a bit further down her throat. That was not as easy as it looked on those videos, a couple of times she even gagged. But she just backed off and reminded herself to breathe through her nose and relax her throat muscles. Then she’d try again.
She was proud that she got much more than halfway down. Okay, so she was not going to be able to bury her nose in his balls, but this was her first real blow job, and he was much bigger than any of the pickles they had sucked, especially longer. But maybe she’d get there.
Reality intruded for a moment – if they had time. She redoubled her efforts, desperate to try it all. To fulfill every single one of her fantasies in this single day. His hand tightened around her ponytail, and he drew her back.
Mercy whimpered, “What did I do wrong? Why’d you stop me, Will?”
He pushed her back into the hay once more. His lean body covered hers, “That’s the problem, woman. You didn’t do a damned thing wrong. That could not have been your first time sucking cock,” his fingers brushed along her bottom lip, and Mercy playfully nipped at it.
She nodded her head, “Oh, but it was, my City Boy. It’s just that these days even the Vestal virgins watch porn and practice on pickles.”
He laughed, and all that weight, the pain, and worry vanished from his handsome face. Her hands cupped his cheek as he leaned his head against hers, “Are you sore, sweetheart?”
“From your damned Duchess, maybe, but even if I can’t walk straight tomorrow, I want you.”
It was all the encouragement he needed as he guided himself inside her slowly. Mercy’s fingers tightened into the corded muscles of his shoulders at the feel of his cock filling her. “Please, Will,” she whimpered.
Those kiss-ass-able lips did just that, kissing her so deeply that their tongues seemed to meld into oneness just as their bodies did. It was stupid, ridiculous even, but Mercy truly was not sure where she ended, and he began. And she knew in that moment that she had been right to wait. That it could have never been like this with anyone else.
Will was her man, the only one for her. She lifted her hips and met his next downward thrust. She ground against him in slow circles that seemed to heighten both their needs and their agonies. She had not even completed that second circle when she felt this world slipping away, her body climbing towards that nirvana as it convulsed around him.
He groaned into her mouth as she felt the muscles in his shoulders tighten. He trembled in her arms, and she took this man deeper into her heart, her soul, and her body. They reached that heaven together as she felt his cock thicken and twitch inside her. Then he filled her once more.
Mercy would not have cared if he collapsed on top of her, if she were crushed beneath him. But he rolled to the side, taking most of the weight off of her. They stayed locked like that for long moments. She began to relax as bright sunlight drifted through those broken boards. Maybe this was heaven? It was indeed as close as her crazy smart-mouthed ass would ever get.
She was just drifting deeper when he rolled over onto his back, wrapping his arms tightly about her shoulders and drawing her back so that his chest once more became her favorite pillow. Her fingers danced and played across his chest and stomach as she listened to the sweet rhythm of his heart. His body was more than hot enough to keep her warm.
As sleep began to overtake her, she kissed that smooth dark skin next to his heart, “Caleb Williams, I’m glad I waited because you are so much better than any book boyfriend.” She heard that soft rumble and felt his laughter beneath her cheek, but she was too far gone to care. As sweet dreams overcame her nightmares. Just for this once. In this man’s arms.