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High Plains Promise

High Plains Promise


Book excerpt

Prologue

Garden City, KS 1874

“Wesley, wait for me,” nine-year-old Allison Spencer whined, as she chased her best friend, panting, through the backyard.

“Nope, hurry up, Allie. You're such a girl,” Wesley replied, stopping long enough for her almost to catch up before he sped off again.

“It's not fair,” she wailed, tossing a sweaty strand of golden hair out of her face. “You don't have to wear a skirt!”

“Allison!” The girl's older sister, nineteen-year-old Rebecca, called from the back porch of their spacious white two-story home.

Allison stopped in her tracks. So did Wesley. They both knew it was best to accept a summons from Becky. If Allison's mother had to come out and make the request herself, woe to any in range. Mrs. Spencer did not appreciate having to ask twice.

“Wesley's mother is here. He needs to go. And Ma says you need a bath before church tomorrow.”

Wesley giggled as Allison's face flamed. Sensing his momentary distraction, she pounced, tackling her best friend directly into a mud puddle, which had accumulated in the backyard, beside the rosebushes.

“Allie!” Now it was Wesley who was whining. Thick, sticky green mud oozed up under his arms and between his legs, staining his already messy play clothes.

“Now who needs a bath, stinky?” Allison teased.

“Don't call me stinky!” Wesley howled. He shoved, knocking Allison off his chest so that she fell into the mud herself. They looked at each other and burst out laughing.

“My ma is going to kill me,” Wesley complained when he had caught his breath. Privately, Allison agreed. She had a strict mother, but Mrs. Fulton was a battleax of the first order, and sometimes seemed almost crazy. However, making comments about your friend's mother was no way to go about keeping a friendship happy, so Allison refrained from speaking. Instead, she extended her hand to Wesley, intending to help him out of the mud. He took her hand and gave her a sharp yank, sending her sprawling in the disgusting slime.

“I'm gonna get you,” she snarled, trying to push herself up. Her hands slipped. “When I get out of this puddle, I'm going to kill you.”

Wesley laughed. “You'll have to catch me first, girly girl.” He hoisted himself to his feet. “Besides, if you kill me, who will marry you then?” He reached out his hand.

She considered it warily. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, I always thought we would get married someday, didn't you, Allie?”

She had. It would save her all the heartache her sister had suffered. Poor Becky had just been jilted by her fiancé. It seemed like she might die of grief, though what exactly had been so special about that boy, Allison wasn't sure. Marrying your best friend is a much better idea. Then you know what you're getting.

“Yeah, I guess so,” she replied, aiming for nonchalance. She didn't want to sound too eager. “Are you sure you mean it?”

“Allie,” he said, suddenly solemn, “I promise to marry you when we grow up.” He extended his hand so they could shake on it. She pressed her palm to his and they shook briefly. Then he pulled, hoisting her to her feet.

They looked each other in the eyes for the span of half a dozen heartbeats. Then Wesley did something Allison had never expected. He kissed her, pressing his lips briefly to her cheek before giving her another hard shove, sending her sprawling before he turned and ran for the gate.

Ten years later

“Oh, Wesley,” Allison moaned into her fiancé's mouth. He took the opening of her lips as an opportunity to slide his tongue inside, and Allie let him. They did that frequently. The rest of what he was doing was new. Her snowy white shirtwaist hung open halfway to her navel, which left her generous breasts nearly visible, pressed against the almost transparent fabric of her chemise. Wesley had slipped his hand inside and was caressing her bare skin.

A cool breeze slipped past the broken windows of the abandoned farmhouse, teasing Allison's heated flesh, making her moan again. He grasped her nipple and gently squeezed it.

“I want you, Allie,” he told her gruffly.

“Oh, Wesley, yes.” She arched against him, pressing every inch of her luscious curves against his body. He crushed her to him, lowering her to the uneven dirt floor and covering her, leaning down to kiss her again. Wesley grasped the edges of Allison's chemise and lowered it, baring those tempting globes to his view.

“So pretty,” he whispered, reaching out to touch one, reverence and awe in his voice and hands. Allison arched her back, offering herself freely. It was more than he deserved, this precious virgin's eager surrender, but he wanted to take it nonetheless. He would take it someday, after their wedding. But that was years away. He couldn't have her yet. He would, however, take a taste of all she had to offer, starting right here with this bounty spread out before him. He touched her again, stroking Allie's right breast with the tips of his fingers, caressing the nipple to velvet hardness and leaning down to give it a long, sweet lick. She squeaked, her hands going to the back of his head, holding him against her pillowy softness. He obligingly opened his lips and sucked the little peak into his mouth, tugging gently.

“Ahhh,” Allison sighed.

So she liked that, did she? He moved to the other side and tried again, getting the same encouraging result.

If only he could marry her now, this summer. They were a little young, it was true, but he'd seen it work before, if the families were supportive. Allison's probably would be. They liked him well enough, and they realized the marriage would be inevitable. He'd had to endure many lectures from Mr. Spencer about treating a woman you loved with respect. He did respect Allie. No less so, for holding her half-naked in his arms. If only his mother would agree. But in the years since his father's disappearance, she'd grown stricter and more possessive, and she had always disapproved of Allie. There would be no help from that quarter. So he'd have to wait on the wedding until he could afford to support his bride. Which meant he'd have to wait on completing this consummation as well.

Shaking off the thought, he backed up and treated himself to a long, lingering look at his beloved, sprawled on the dirt, breasts bare and glistening in the intense summer sunshine. This was wrong. They should be on a nice clean bed. Allie should have his ring on her finger. How could he wait to have her? It would be years. Years. And he was about to burst with longing. While his friends had generally had an experience or two by now, the thought of bedding another woman left Wesley cold. Why would he, when he had all this to play with?

He leaned down to suckle her nipple again, tugging firmly on the sensitive nub. Allie made a soft sound of pleasure. Her thighs had fallen open, so that she was cradling his slender hips. He ground against her, imitating intercourse through all their layers of clothing.

“Oh Wes, please. Let's not wait anymore.” She clutched his back and pressed him harder against the apex of her thighs.

He kissed her lips and pulled her clothing back into place.

“Allie, I love you. I'm not going to take your virginity here in the dirt, so we can spend the next however many years sneaking around. I won't do it. I want that white wedding and my eager virgin bride afterwards. Don't you want that?”

“It doesn't seem important right now,” she replied, a hint of a sulk around her soft pink lips.

“That's passion talking. When you calm down…”

“I never calm down, Wes. Never. When I wake up in the morning, I'm already on fire. I simmer all day, and by night, I'm burning up. I love you, and I want you so bad. Do you honestly think we'll be able to wait years?”

Honestly, he didn't. “I know, sweet girl. I feel it too. And you're right, it will be a struggle, but we should at least try. This is no place for our first time anyway.”

Allison's eyes circled the room, taking in the cobwebs; some complete with spiders, the bare dirt floor, the broken windows and cracked, buckling walls. At last she sighed and moved as though to stand. Wesley obligingly climbed off her, though his aching body protested the movement. He lifted her to her feet and pulled her close for a long hug.

“I wish we could get married now,” she complained.

“I know, honey. But I can't afford it yet. Where would we live? I have to work for a while, save up. The job at the bank is great, and I love it. But to buy a whole house? You know I don't have enough money for that right now.”

“I know.”

“Better head home, honey. You've been gone a long time. You don't want your folks finding us here.”

“Yes I do,” she replied instantly.

“Why?”

“Because they'll make us get married. That's all I want anyway.”

Wesley had to chuckle at her matter-of-fact response. “Little spitfire,” he said fondly. “It's a good thing I'm not much interested in ladylike behavior.” He kissed her again. “Go home, love. Don't you have to get to work early tomorrow?”

She sighed. “Yes. I do. We're expecting a shipment of canned goods, and Mr. Heitschmidt wants a space cleared and ready when they get here, so we can put the cans away quickly and not interrupt the flow of traffic around the store.”

He nodded. “Have fun.” He kissed her forehead, nose, lips, cheeks, and sent her on her way with a firm pat on the bottom.

Alone at last, Wesley began shaking a bit. She had no idea how close he'd come to taking her invitation. The warmth which had sunk into the front of his trousers had nearly been his undoing. He could still feel her there. And she was correct. There was no way they'd succeed in waiting years for the consummation, close as they were already. He hoped Allie knew how to relieve the pressure. It didn't fix the problem, but it did take the edge off. He unbuttoned his trousers and reached inside. If he went home in this state of rampant arousal, his mother was sure to notice. And she didn't hold back from commenting.

His hand closed around his aching erection and he let his eyes slide shut, imagining his sweet Allie, naked but for a thick gold wedding ring, sprawled in his bed, her thighs spread wide in invitation…

“That's a pretty picture,” a familiar, unwelcome voice commented from the doorway.

Wesley jumped. “Oh my Lord, Samantha! What are you doing here? Go away!” His face burned with shame.

The voluptuous blond strolled into the room. “What am I doing? I'm watching the show. Nice. Very nice. Your Allie is a lucky girl. Too bad you'll never get to marry her.”

“Oh shut up,” he groused. He hoped Allie never found out the town tramp had watched him touching her breasts. There was little hope though. Samantha was almost as big a gossip as she was a slut. “What the hell do you mean? I'm marrying her as soon as I can save up enough money to buy a little house. Everyone knows that.”

“And your mother is a bitch. She hates Allison. If you do manage to marry her, she'll make life miserable for both of you, for the rest of your days.”

“Don't talk about my mother like that. She'll get over it, once it's too late to protest. Now please, go away.” His hands moved to the buttons on his trousers. He would have to work on his arousal later, at home. It wasn't ideal there. If he made the slightest sound, his mother would be knocking on the door, asking if he was all right.

“What's your hurry?” Samantha asked, nodding to his groin. That's a nice-looking package you've got there. I'd like to see some more of it.”

Red-faced, Wesley turned away. What was wrong with this woman? Did she have no shame?

“Go away, Samantha. It's not for you.”

“Only Allison then? How sad for her. If you did manage to marry her, you'd have no idea how to please her. Poor little virgin with a clumsy virgin husband floundering on top of her.” Samantha made a tutting sound. Her arms slipped around Wesley from behind, one hand sliding straight through the opening in his waistband and closing around him.

Wesley froze with shock. Who did things like that? And then a wicked little voice whispered in his ear that she had a point. Most men arrived at their marriage bed with some experience. Arousing as it was, just touching Allison the tiniest bit, getting her naked would leave him right on the brink.

And he was on the brink right now, his body reacting to the confused mélange of sensations; images of Allison naked in his arms blended with Samantha's expert touches. The breeze touched his bare flesh. She'd lowered his trousers to his knees. Circling around to the front of him, she knelt. Liquid warmth enclosed his aching sex and he groaned.

“Samantha, please stop.”

“Imagine I'm her. Let me help you get ready for her.” She sucked him back in and he was lost, lust bowling over his consciousness, drowning his conscience, so that when Samantha lifted her skirt to reveal that she wore no bloomers, when she spread her thighs and urged him down, her hand on his sex, guiding him, he knelt. When she lined up his thick erection with the opening of her glistening womanhood, he didn't protest. When she urged him inside, he followed her lead, groaning at the wet, hot sweetness, giving his innocence to a woman he didn't even like, while the girl he loved was making her long way home, unsatisfied.

Samantha arched her hips, taking him to the hilt inside her and he groaned again. His orgasm began instantly, giving the seed that should have belonged to Allison, his future bride, to this wanton creature.

Chapter 1

Four Years Later

“Melissa, I'm home!” Wesley called. His beautiful, three-year-old daughter ran to the front parlor, golden pigtails bouncing with every step. He glanced around the room and sighed. Like the rest of the house, the furniture was covered with a thick layer of dust. A threadbare sofa with scarred arms in a pale finish had been shoved against the wall. An overturned side table rested on the floor, with the remains of a broken oil lamp strewn in a wide circle around it. One of the panes in the big bay window was also broken, and cold air funneled into the room, as well as the odd leaf from the messy, untrimmed shrubs outside. Though he'd lived in this home for quite some time, it was still a shock when he compared it to the immaculate house where he'd grown up. His stomach turned when the wind stilled, allowing the stench of rotten food and dirty house to rise up again.

“Daddy!” the little girl squealed, jumping into his arms. He planted a loud kiss on her cheek and she responded in kind. The uncomplicated love of a child made up for a multitude of other, less pleasant aspects of his life.

“Hello, Wes,” his wife said, entering the room. He was pleased to note she looked fairly lucid today.

“Samantha.” He hugged her gently and pressed a quick kiss to her lips, twirling a strand of golden hair around his finger. “Did you have a good day?”

“I guess,” she replied. “What about you? How was your meeting?”

Uh oh, dangerous territory. “Fine. We're getting a new pastor.”

Samantha shrugged. “Another two-faced hypocrite?” she asked, an ugly note in her voice.

“I doubt it,” Wesley replied. “He's young. Younger than me. Maybe he'll be nice.”

“Church people are never nice,” Samantha said. The tone in her voice was a warning.

Wesley changed the subject immediately. “So what did you do today?”

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