You may remember Kirk from the story In Too Deep.
After losing his brother, Kirk Pepperman planned a future with Richard’s wife, Sadie. Kirk wanted to honor his brother and take care of Sadie.
She had other ideas and married another man.Now, Kirk is uncertain what he should do with his life.
Mary Beth Owens knows her parents are arranging for her to marry Kirk. The problem is hes been stuck on the wrong woman for years. She is determined to find out if he can please her. If not, then she has no desire to marry him either.
Can these two let go of the past and move into the future?
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Theme: friends to lovers
“Kirk, where are you?”
Unhappy about the interruption, Kirk Pepperman debated not answering Mary Beth Owens’ call. He’d snuck away to the barn’s upper floor to escape his parents and to have a few moments to himself.
The view outside the open loft door showed the sun drifting steadily toward the horizon. A nice cross breeze blew inside and cooled the large space. For the last couple of weeks, he’d found he enjoyed sitting up here alone, maybe because it helped him forget.
“Kirk?” Mary Beth’s voice rang from the ladder, leading to the stalls on the ground floor.
Not bothering to turn, he leaned forward and gripped his hands over his knees. The three-legged stool, where he sat, was right in front of the center pole for the barn. The position afforded him a backrest if he should want one.
The floorboards squeaked, telling him Mary Beth stood behind him. He pictured her in his head. A petite blonde, she had small breasts and appeared much younger than him. In truth, they were around the same age.
Hoping, if he remained quiet, she’d leave. He continued to stare out across his family’s property. The last days of summer and the recent harvest had turned the parched land to dust. What did this place hold for him?
He’d never ventured outside of Naked Bluff to travel or to experience another way of life. Depression filled him at his brother dying so far away from home. Now, though, Kirk understood Richard’s desire to leave.
What future could Kirk have here?
He toyed with the idea of heading off to join the Confederate army. The latest news from the returning soldiers was the south wasn’t faring too well against the Northern armies. Maybe, if he had something to fight for, he’d feel alive again.
The familiar noise of a rope flying through the air alerted him. The lasso fell over his head and circled his chest before it tightened, pinning his arms to his side. “What the…”
With a sharp tug, he fell back against the center pole and hit his head against the solid bulk. “Mary Beth, what are you doing?”
She yanked on the rope and walked around him, winding the cord across his chest. “Just sit still. Let me get you tied up and then we’ll talk.”
“Why the hell do you need to tie me up for us to talk?” He shifted, hoping to stand or break free of the bindings, but she managed to rob him of his ability to move. Already defeated by his earlier thoughts, he watched her walk around him and waited for her to make the final trip.
Pausing behind him, she secured the end and stepped to one side. “That should hold you for a while so we can talk.”
Not thrilled with the position she’d put him in, he glared at her, taking in the soft smile on her face and the amusement in her crystal blue eyes. Anger sparked in his gut, and he nodded curtly at her. “Say your peace and leave.”
She stepped out in front of him and dropped her hands to her hips. At little over five feet tall, she didn’t possess an imposing stature. Most would say she was a sweet child. He knew better. If riled, she’d use every ounce of strength she owned to fight. Having worked on a farm all her life, she possessed more muscles than most people gave her credit for having. “Are you through pouting about your ex-sister-in-law? She’s married now, and there’s absolutely no way, she’ll ever be with you.”
He’d heard this same speech from his father several times and had no desire to hear it from Mary Beth, too. “Richard wanted…”
“Your brother was a fool.” She stepped forward, placed her hands on his knees and shoved them apart. She squatted between his legs and stared at him. “The only reason, he allowed you to watch him make love to Sadie was because he’d hope you’d learn how to please a woman.”
Kirk closed his eyes, recalling the first time he’d seen Richard and Sadie together in bed. He’d barely been sixteen, young and horny. The sight of Sadie’s creamy breasts had caused lust to pool in his loins. Even now at just the thought of seeing her naked, he felt his cock swelling with need.
“Oh, no, open your eyes.” Mary Beth lightly slapped his cheek and dropped her hand back to his thigh. “I don’t want you thinking about her. Today is about us.”
“There’s no us. Never has been.” Kirk stared into her pretty face, wondering what she hoped to gain by coming here today. The two of them had gone to school together and even attended a few church social events, but they’d never been what anyone would call a couple.
“I hate to tell you, but that’s going to change. Your parents are currently visiting with mine. They’re arranging for us to get married.” She worked her fingers along the inside of his legs and her fingertips played over the buttons of his pants.
“Whoa, what are you doing?” He couldn’t lift his arms with the rope holding his elbows to his sides, but he retained enough movement to set his palms over his crotch.
“I’m here to teach you Sadie isn’t the only woman who can please you.” The heat in her gaze might’ve excited him if he didn’t recall how she squealed the first time, he’d accidently touched her breast after he’d kissed her.
They’d both been innocent and eager to learn what it’d be like to taste each other. Walking her home after school, he decided to kiss her. Shoving her up against a tree, he’d slowly nibbled at her lips. She’d responded until he lifted his hand to stroke her breasts.
She gasped and broke away, then proceeded to lecture him on how she wasn’t that type of girl.
Realizing she wasn’t interested, he’d avoided her after that afternoon and came to the conclusion she was too naive to bother with. He glanced at the front buttons of her dress, suddenly curious as to how far she’d take this little demonstration. “And what exactly do you know about pleasing a man?”