Lenore’s Lace was jammed.
Valentine’s Day was certainly one of Lenore’s high holidays. And, as it had actually stopped snowing for the first time in three days, people were out and shopping like crazy for their special someone because it was highly likely more snow was headed for the Black Hills by sundown.
Red and pink lace frillies filled the window, velvet ribbons of black and red draped over the lingerie display. Lenore’s assistant was busy pulling alternate sizes and colors for the women in the dressing rooms. A couple of men were waiting to speak to Lenore. They knew better than to shop on their own for their women.
“Hey there, Clark.”
“Tania.” Clark tipped his head at me and quickly turned away, tucking the bill of his baseball cap down even lower over his face.
Clark was in his late fifties, owned the gas station in town, and was hopefully here to buy his wife Sarah something super special for a gift. Hallefreakinglujah. How many times can a woman get the same bouquet of flowers year after year? This I knew, because Sarah was a regular at the Meager Grand Cafe and always groaned over Clark’s unimaginative gifts; they were legendary. Hopefully, Clark would go big today, and I could only imagine what Sarah would report tomorrow at her weekly book club meeting at the Grand over lattes and cappuccinos.
A group of women were busy going through the shelves of Lenore’s erotic toys. The goodies had their own corner of her boutique all to themselves now as demand had grown. I was lingering in the makeup section at the front counter with Lenore.
“Tell me again why I need this highlighter?” I asked her.
“To highlight your assets, babe,” Lenore replied. “Of which there are many.” She plucked a huge fluffy makeup brush from her small makeup display on the counter, dabbed it in the pan of goldish pressed powder and grazed my defined collar bones, deftly swiped across my chest, pulling my open rounded collared shirt a bit and dabbing the top of my boobs.
“Hey, hey, watch it, lady. Those are spoken for.”
We both giggled as Lenore whirled the brush lightly over the tops of my cheekbones, and dabbed the tip of my nose. “There.”
I peered at myself in the mirror. “Ohhhh.
“Ohhhh.” Lenore popped the brush back in its holder. “A little goes a long way. I don’t want you glowing in the dark, just a subtle pow that gives you this shot of glam and unexpected radiance.”
“I see, said the blind man,” I murmured. “Alicia loves this stuff, but I’m not a fan of the way she uses it.”
“Alicia packs it on and bakes it on in general—that’s not you. This goes subtle, or you can build it up for a night out.”
“Tonight we’re going to Pete’s for their Cupid’s Night, so I’ll take it. And I really like that purple negligee over there—” My gaze darted to the piece of gorgeousness on the display stand behind me. “I haven’t had a chance to get something special for tonight. Last minute is my game as usual, and with this snow—”
My head snapped in her direction again. “What do you mean no? You don’t think it would look—”
She leaned into me. “You’re taken care of for tonight. Trust me.”
Butler must have purchased something special for me from Lenore’s Lace. A spiral of heat uncoiled through my insides with the thought of what spiciness my old man had chosen for me.
“Alrighty then.” I waggled my eyebrows.
“Jill told me to give you her bag, I finished her new babydoll in the nick of time.”
“Yes, she’s manning the gallery with Becca so I could get a few errands done. It’s real busy for us too. She made these delicate heart charm bracelets and necklaces, and they are popping. She’s putting together a few more right now with whatever charms she has left.”
Lenore handed me a shopping bag with Jill’s name written on a gift tag tied to the handles. “Girl’s got skills. The chains she made for me were amazing.”
Jill had shown me the very long leather cords with slim chains and a silver key charm and mini padlock. Her first stab at erotic jewelry.
“Wait, were?” I asked. “Don’t tell me—”
“Geez. This town. Who knew.”
“It was not a hard sell, especially as it doubles as a really long necklace.”
“I missed out.”
“Lock got one for Grace.”
“Oh, that’s my boy.”
“He said Thunder’s finally started sleeping through the night, so he and Grace are hoping he keeps it up tonight.” Lenore batted her false eyelashes at me, and I let out a laugh.
“Perfect timing. Hey, did Finger get home from Nebraska okay?”
“He did. Late, late last night. I wasn’t sure he’d make it in all this snow, but he did.”
Of course he did.
A small smile curled the edges of Lenore’s lips, and my heart swelled for my friends’ hard won happiness.
“Great! Come to Pete’s tonight,” I said.
“No can do. Finger’s got a bad cold.”
Lenore tucked my highlighter into a small purple shopping bag. “We just want to cuddle under a blanket in front of the fireplace.”
“Sounds good. You take care of your man.”
“Absolutely. Soup, Tylenol, herbal tea, and chocolate are on this evening’s menu.”
I paid for my highlighter and Lenore handed me the small bag and my receipt. “You and Butler enjoy your evening out.”
“Trust me, we will. Mom’s spending the night with her best friend next door, so we’ll have the whole house to ourselves when we get home from Pete’s. I have it all planned out.”
Lenore laughed. “I’m sure you do.”
A cold blast of air hit us and we turned toward the front door of the shop.
Butler stalked toward us, the ends of his gold hair sticking out of his slouchy black knit hat that my Aunt Charlotte had knit him for Christmas. He loved that hat and he looked hot in it.
“Babe, we got a get a move on.” He brushed my lips with a quick kiss. “Hey, Lenore.”
“What’s going on?” I asked. “I thought you were at home.”
Butler took the shopping bags from my hand. “Had to come get you and Jill. The storm system took a turn and now there’s way more snow than they expected headed this way.”
“Oh, no.” I let out a groan.
“Everyone!” Lenore announced to her customers. “I’m going to have to close up real soon due to more bad weather on the way. Please make your selections so we can all head home safely.” A line quickly formed at her cash register.
Butler wrapped an arm around my shoulders. “Let’s get back to the Rusted Heart and close up and get Jill and Becca home. Jill’s finishing up with the last customer right now.”
“This does not bode well for tonight.”
“Relax, Scarlett. I already got Rae settled in at Martha’s.”
“Oh, I see said the blind man.”
“Nothing.” I slid my arm around his waist.
“We still got the house to ourselves tonight. The fridge is stocked. And—if you’re a good girl—I’ll sing you a song.”
“But tonight I want to be a baaad girl.”
He laughed, his lips brushing the side of my face as he opened the door for us. “I’ll be singing naked.”
“Now you’re talking.”
Another February night in Meager, South Dakota. Below freezing temps and snow, snow, snow. And ice. Lots of ice.
It had let up during the day, the sun had even made an appearance, but by the time five o’clock had rolled around, the sky had turned that thick, gray-white color and bam. More snow.
Valentine’s Day was fucked. Stores shut early, dinner reservations at the local restaurants and cafes got cancelled, along with the popular annual Cupid’s Night at Pete’s Tavern. The whole town had shut down under the fresh onslaught of snow.
“So what’s the game plan for tonight, bro?” Bear hovered over me. He and Tricky were prepping their rig at Eagle Wings for a final round of plowing, just like me. Lock and the rest of his crew had shut down hours ago, and the clubhouse stood deserted, the outdoor lights illuminating the fresh drifts of sparkling white snow.
“What’s that?” I grabbed my second pair of weatherproof gloves and slammed my locker shut.
“You got no plan, right? I knew it. The newlywed’s in big trouble now,” Bear let out a loud laugh.
“Lay off him, Bear.” Tricky rolled his eyes as he zipped up his heavy jacket.
This would be my and Jill’s first Valentine’s Day. And frankly, it was my first real one.
For years, I’d watched my brothers bend themselves into twisty knots to make plans, get gifts, flowers, cards to please their old ladies, but I’d never had to. Inevitably, I’d manage the club strip joint, the Tingle, that night every year, as I was always the one without an old lady. The next day, I’d munch on the leftover candy and baked goods they’d bring to the clubhouse as I listened to their tales of wild holiday sex. Yeah, that was my Valentine’s experience.
Not this year, not ever again.
“Here, take one.” Bear shoved a huge, red, heart-shaped box of chocolates in my face. He’d bought about ten of those cheesy boxes at the Save Mart the day before because they’d been on sale and he knew a few of the guys would need a backup gift. Someone always needed a backup gift.
I lifted my chin. “No, man, I’m good.”
“Oh, yeah? You’re good? How good? You haven’t said a fucking peep all week about what your V-Day plan is. Everyone else has been swapping ideas and shit, but not you.”
“Don’t need any ideas or a plan. I’m good.”
“That’s what I said.”
Bear’s brow jutted into a thick ridge. “Dude, take the box. I’ve seen Jill lose her shit. It ain’t pretty—”
“Get that box out of my face.”
“You have no idea.” He scowled “But, hey, I tried. Don’t come crying to me tomorrow, when your non-plan plan backfires and Jill bitches to everybody about it and everyone’s laughing. There’s always a loser every year, and you, brother, are gonna be sleeping on your sofa tonight. Not me. Nope.”
“Jesus,” Tricky raised his hands in the air and headed for his truck. “Let’s go!”
I tugged on my hat. “We got snow to plow. You gonna sit here and eat bonbons and get stuck out here all by yourself? My old lady’s waiting for me, and I ain’t gonna disappoint her.”
Snow. More snow.
Boner was still out plowing with a few of the guys. It was the winter business the club had going. They’d been so busy this past week with over ten inches having fallen on a daily basis. At least it had stopped today.
Then it started again with a vengeance.
It was eight o’clock, and Becca was already sleeping, which was amazing considering the amount of candy she had devoured today at school and at the gallery with me. If it was heart-shaped, she had to have it. I’d given in up to a point. Valentine’s Day was once a year after all. Oh, but there was Halloween too.
So much for that excuse, Mother of the Year.
The glare of high beam headlights flashed through the living room, and my heart picked up speed. My man was finally home. I’d had dinner ready for a couple hours now. A slow-cooked teriyaki beef short ribs with mashed potatoes that he loved. I’d put it on this morning, because even though he’d made reservations for us at the Italian in town, something told me to make alternate homebound plans. And I was right.
I darted through the kitchen to the small mudroom and swung the side door open. He climbed down from the truck, taking a large bag with him.
The moment his eyes landed on mine, his face broke into that sly boyish grin, and my skin tightened.
He climbed up the steps. “So good to be home.”
I lifted up on my toes, wrapping my arms around his neck, pulling him closer to me, pulling him into our house.
The warm skin of his throat and the fading traces of his spicy scent filled my senses. I squeezed him tight, not caring that his jacket was damp and chilly against my body. “So good to have you home safe, honey.”
He kissed me, lips cold, tongue warm, taste tangy and sweet. I released him, and he ripped open the buttons on his oversized jacket.
“Becca already asleep?” he asked.
“I knew I wouldn’t make it home before her bedtime,” he murmured pulling off his boots. “I’m glad we had our breakfast this morning at least.”
I’d gotten them heart-shaped pancake molds the other day, and they’d both gone to town making heart-shaped pancakes this morning at the crack of dawn.
“And they were awesome. She was telling everybody about them at the gallery.” I took his jacket from him and put it on a hanger and hung it on a hook to dry. “You must be exhausted.”
“Yeah.” He rubbed a hand down his face. “Sucks we couldn’t go out tonight.” He tucked his boots at the head of our long line of rain, snow, biker, work, fashion boots—a line of black, brown, and bubblegum pink and cherry red—his being the largest, then mine, then Becca’s tiny ones at the end.
I tugged on the ends of his beanie cap, the ends of his long dark hair damp with melted snowflakes. My hands slid down to cradle his face. “I have to admit, I’m kinda glad. I’d rather we were snowed in at home than stuck in town.”
Pulling off his hat, he ran a hand through his long waves. “Got that right. It’s harsh out there.”
“What’s in the bag?” I pointed to the Meager Grand Cafe bag he’d brought in. A box from Erica’s bakery only meant stupendous things.
“Follow me and find out.” He picked up the bag, held out his hand to me and I took it. We headed for the living room.
“Aw, fire looks great. Good job, baby,” he said, setting the bag on the coffee table.
“Beer or something stronger?”
“No booze for me. I’m going to have to be up and at ‘em by six tomorrow.”
“I have dinner ready. I thought we’d eat in here—“
“Hmm. Suits me just fine.” I let out a laugh and grabbed two spoons from the kitchen drawer. Boner was on the sofa, legs stretched out, the Meager Grand box waited for me on the coffee table.
“Open it, babe.”
I kneeled on the floor at his side and undid the satiny red ribbon, flipping open the box top. I let out a gasp. A cake. Not just any cake, but a two-layer replica of our wedding cake in all its mocha caramel goodness.
“Erica did good,” Boner leaned over the cake, a throaty chuckle escaping his throat.
I swiped a finger in the caramel and chocolate and brought it to my mouth. “Oh, man, that’s incredible.”
I’d put myself in the no sugar low carb zone for three weeks now to try to lose the extra five pounds I’d gained since Thanksgiving into Christmas. This happened to me every year, and it was easy to fool myself with all the layers and sweaters I wore, but I didn’t like that my clothes felt tighter than usual. Truly, I wanted to be my best healthy self, not to mention I wanted to feel confident wearing the lingerie Lenore had made for me for tonight. And I was glad I’d done it. It was hard, but I’d stuck to it and lost seven pounds and gained some muscle tone as I upped my workouts, thank you very much.
Now it was time to celebrate, and there was no better way than with our cake and what would come after cake.
Nom, Nom, Nom.
I took another lick and memories of our wedding made my head spin and my mouth water. “That brings it all back.”
Boner rolled the ribbon over his finger. “I guess we were supposed to do this for our anniversary, right? But I couldn’t wait. I wanted to see that look on your face, right there.” His knuckles brushed my cheek, his dark eyes full, gleaming, voice gentle. “I wanted to see this tonight.”
My stomach dipped, my chest squeezed, and I lunged at him, kissing him. “I love it. It’s perfect. Thank you.” My fingers curled in his goatee. “You want a taste, baby?” I asked.
“What do you think?”
“I think my old man deserves a treat.”
I scooped my finger into the side of the cake, straddled him and brought my fingers to his mouth. He opened up and took them between those full lips of his and sucked and swallowed the caramel and chocolate. I squirmed on his lap, moving my hips over him. His hands went to my ass and squeezed.
“That’s real good, all right,” he said, his voice low. His fingers dug into my rear over the satin robe I was wearing. “What you got going on under this robe?”
“You’ll see. Now give me that tongue,” I said.
He waggled his long tongue at me. “Come and get it.”
I let out a laugh. “You know where I want that don’t you?”
“In your ear?”
“No.” I unbuttoned his flannel shirt and he sat up and I yanked it off his arms.
“Between your toes?”
“Hmm, maybe…” I peeled his thermal shirt up off his body and tossed it.
Leaning back, I scooped more of the frosting and traced it around his firm, smooth pec and he let out a long hiss. His erection hardened even more in between my legs.
“Let me show you,” I whispered.
My tongue licked a trail through the caramel around his dusky nipples. I toyed with his sensitive skin and his pelvis curled up into mine, his breath coming heavier.
“Fuck yeah.” His head fell back against the sofa, his jaw slackening.
I rocked against him, seeking friction. His friction. “Close your eyes a sec, Boner.” My fingertips touched his eyelids, and they shut.
I quickly undid my robe, letting it fall around me and planted a gentle kiss on his lips. Sugar sweet. “Open up.”
He blinked and stared.
I wore a new creation of Lenore’s she’d made just for me. A see-through, lace, teeny-weeny, coral colored bra and panty set held together with straps made of gold chains.
A groan escaped his mouth, and his pelvis met mine in one rough move. Erection was at lift-off stage.
“Aw, Firefly. Holy shit, baby. So beautiful.” His voice got softer and softer as it trailed off, his hands rubbing up and down my thighs. My flesh heated uncontrollably under his adoring blazing gaze. His thumb found the slit in the crotchless panty and grazed my wet core, and I let out a gasp, my insides shuddering.
“Jilly,” he breathed my name in his special brand of raw ache and wonder.
I kissed him, breathing against his lips. “I want you to do me with this on. Hence the easy access.”
He buried his face in my breasts that were popping out of the bra top, cupping them, licking my nipples into rock-hard pebbles, sucking on the lace. My back arched and I let out a cry.
How I loved giving him gifts, pleasuring him. Not just sexually, but in every small way, and he appreciated them all, even now, months and months after we’d gotten married. He gave me a quick kiss whenever he saw his freshly washed socks and boxer briefs all lined up in his drawer, a yank to his chest and a kiss when I brought him a beer when he got home, or I got up and filled his dish with seconds. Always. That was my Santi.
I unbuckled his belt, but his hand cuffed my wrist, stopping me. “Hang on. I want to give you something. Want to give it to you now before we get lost in each other.”
My teeth grazed my lip. “Okay.”
He patted my thigh, and I hopped up. He rose from the couch, adjusting his pants as he went to the wood cabinet in the entryway and opened one of the drawers. He pulled out a slim rectangular box wrapped in a red velvet ribbon and brought it to me.
“Happy Valentine’s Day.”
Those dark eyes glimmered, his lips pulling together. He was excited, nervous even. This meant something to him.
I hugged the box to my chest, sat back down on the sofa to steady my suddenly unsteady limbs, and opened it. My breath hooked in my chest.
A large, thick, leather binder with a firefly burnished on the cover and one line from his poem about me on the bottom. My throat burned. I opened the cover, and gorgeous handmade paper lay inside. Blank paper.
“I wanted you to have a special drawing pad for your jewelry designs,” he said. “Not just some notebook or sketch pad. It’s refillable. We just have to go back to the shop and they can unbind it and fill it with fresh paper.”
“Oh, baby, this is gorgeous,” I breathed. “I’ve never had anything like it.”
“Your jewelry’s taking off, sweetheart. It’s special, and people recognize that. I want you to feel that special every time you work out an idea. Your spirit is in your business. And you need a base of operations that reflects that,” he lifted my chin and my eyes met his burning ones “and reminds you of that unique special that is your spirit every day.” His lips brushed mine.
His face got blurry and I sniffed in air.
My fingers skimmed the firefly drawing. The exact same as the tattoo on his chest.
“Lock drew it for me. Just like he did—”
I crushed him in a hug. “I love it. I love you. It’s incredible.”
“I want you to keep flying, baby. Sometimes I think you don’t believe in yourself. You got it. You got it all right here.” He spread a warm hand over my chest.
My heart galloped. I cleared my throat. “It’s from the new leather goods store in town, right?”
“Yeah. You said it was a cool shop, that you liked it. I went in there checked out the horse saddles, the saddlebags, handbags, wallets, and asked him if he could make this and he said, sure no problem—”
Tears filled my eyes, my insides trembled.
“Babe, something wrong?”
“I have something for you, too.”
I opened the wide, shallow drawer in the coffee table where we kept the coasters and the playing cards. I took out a smaller box with the same ribbon and put it in Boner’s hands.
He opened the box, his hands smoothing over the thick cowhide cover of the notebook, his real name “Santiago” embossed on the bottom right corner. “Jilly?” His voice was husky.
“It’s a journal. I wanted you to have a place to write your poems, your thoughts, maybe a song for Butler like he’s been asking. You need a unique, safe place to do that. You know I love my poems on bits of paper that you surprise me with, but this—” I touched the cover of his journal. “this is for you. Because you have a gift and you need to nurture it in a special place.”
“From the leather store, huh?”
His eyes filled with water, and my insides ached at the sight, but I didn’t discourage it by hugging him or touching him to ease it. I wanted him to feel this moment. This rush of emotion. Because I knew Boner hadn’t had many of these sorts of moments. And this was a really good one and all his.
He lifted his chin, swallowing hard. “I need in you right the hell now,” he breathed.
“Me too, baby,” I whispered.
He put down his journal and lifted me up in his arms and brought me down in front of the fire. I unbuckled his belt and tugged down his pants, and he yanked off his thermals, and his glorious hard cock sprang free. I reached over and dug my fingers in the cake again and wiped it up and down his shaft and took him whole in my mouth. He moaned and muttered delicious filthy words, and when I knew I shouldn’t go any further, I released him and climbed on top of him, and he filled me in one, sure thrust.
We both moved quickly in our own rhythm of seeking and giving. He flipped me over and thrust wildly, his hair falling over us in a thick curtain, the glow of the flames gleaming through his locks, lighting the skin of his face, the tatted muscles of his arms straining as we found our heaven in each other.
“I love you, Jilly. Love you.”
I clung to him.
After, we fed each other cake right there on the floor. I put it in the fridge along with our dinner, while Boner put out the fire and locked up. We went upstairs where I ran a hot bath in the new jumbo-sized jacuzzi tub he’d put in for us at Christmas and ran our favorite Lenore’s Lace botanical bath gel for the relaxing scent.
“Get over here,” he said on a growl.
As we waited for the bathtub to fill up, he busied himself peeling off my lingerie with his teeth. His tongue slid under the lace, in between the delicate chains. He used the chains for friction in all my happy places, his eyes burning with fierce intent. Shuddering, I came in his arms, the panty and bra strewn at our side on the cool tile floor.
He stroked a hand down my bare torso, palming my pussy. “Naked, just the way I like her.” He whooped as he lifted me up and got us in the tub. Water splashed everywhere.
We held each other in the hot bubbly water and talked quietly, laughed about what the guys were up to for Valentine’s Day and how the snowfall had spoiled everyone’s night, their plans.
But our night hadn’t been spoiled. Our only real plan had been to be together.
He deepened his kisses, tongue sliding, hips pressing into mine.
“Damn.” My fingers threaded through my man’s beautiful hair. I lifted up, he slid inside me, and I rode him slowly feeling every inch of him fill me.
His head fell back against the high rim of the tub, his eyes remaining steady on mine. “Was this a good Valentine’s Day, Firefly? I gotta know for future reference.” He brought a breast to his mouth and bit softly, nuzzling my soft flesh, a hand gripping the curve of my rear, keeping me close.
I moved faster, my blood racing with heat, the sound of his throaty laugh filling my ears, my heart.
“The best, baby. The very best.”
©️ Cat Porter 2018