“Will you at least give me a clue where we’re going?” I asked, trying to make my voice as sweet as possible. When Dallas had asked me to take a surprise road trip with him, I’d had no idea he was going to blindfold me for part of the drive.
He was firm. “No. You’re not peeking, are you?”
I giggled, lifting an edge of the scarf tied around my head. “No. But I’m tempted.”
He pushed my hand down. “Don’t you dare. I’ll pull this car over and spank you.”
“Is that supposed to scare me?”
“Yes.” His hand squeezed the top of my leg. “Now stop trying to ruin the surprise. I’m not telling you anything.”
I sighed and leaned back in the passenger seat. Normally, I adored surprises, and Dallas was so good at them, but it was driving me nuts that I couldn’t even look around to see where we were headed. We’d been in the car for five hours already.
Not that I’d recognize the landscape anyway, even if I weren’t blindfolded. I’d only been living with him in Portland for about six weeks, and we hadn’t really left the city much. Frankly, we hadn’t left the house much. But we were making up for lost time in each other’s arms.
There was no place I’d rather be.
“Are we going somewhere far?” I asked. “You said we’d only be gone one night. I packed almost nothing.”
Dallas laughed. “Good.”
I felt for buttons on the passenger door and put down the window. Then I stuck my head out, inhaling deeply, trying to see if I could smell anything that might tip me off, but I couldn’t.
“Maren, what the hell? Get back in here!”
“Sorry.” Laughing, I rolled the window up again. “I was trying to sniff out a hint.”
“You’re relentless. I should have handcuffed you.”
“I can’t help it,” I said, bouncing in my seat. “I’m excited. I love going places with you.”
He reached for my hand and kissed the back of it, then he kept it in his lap. “I love that ring on your finger.”
Warmth blanketed my skin and pooled at my center. “Me too.”
True to his word, Dallas refused to give me any clues. Eventually the car slowed down, and I could tell we’d exited the highway. Soon the road grew bumpy, as if it wasn’t paved. “This is killing me,” I whined. “Can I please look?”
“Just a little bit longer.”
“It must be dark by now! What will I even see?”
“It’s not dark yet. Patience, darling.”
Finally, the SUV rolled to a stop, and Dallas cut the engine.
“Now can I look?”
“Nope. Wait there.” He got out, came around to the passenger side, and opened the door. “Okay, give me your hands.”
I held them both out, and he guided me from the car, shutting the door behind me. Carefully, I walked in the direction he led me. The breeze was cool, wherever we were, and I was glad I’d worn a jacket. I inhaled deeply—the air smelled woodsy and earthy and autumn-like. I heard wind moving through trees, birds and bugs chirping, and maybe water sloshing softly. No traffic, no people talking, no city sounds at all.
“Okay, stop here.” Dallas untied the scarf and it fell from my eyes.
I opened them and gasped. Stretching out before me as far as I could see were acres and acres of sloping green grasslands ringed by evergreen forests. The sun was setting, bathing everything in pink and amber light. I turned, covering my mouth with my hands. Behind us, in the distance, was a large ranch with one main house, a handful of smaller log cabins, and several barns and outbuildings. To our left was a small lake, its surface rippling gently. My eyes filled as I turned to Dallas again. “Is this …?”
He nodded. “It’s going to be ours. What do you think?”
I shook my head. “It’s unbelievable.”
Wrapping his arms around me from behind, he kissed my cheek and turned me to face the west. “I thought we could build the house there, with a big deck off the back to watch the sunset every night.”
I hugged his arms to me. “Yes.”
He angled us in a different direction. “And over there we can plant your garden and orchard, where our twenty-four kids with flowers in their hair will run around barefoot and wild.”
My smile grew. “Yes.”
He shifted again. “And maybe we’ll hang a swing from that tree—or a hammock between two of them.”
“Perfect.” I shivered in his arms, but not because it was chilly—because I could see it all so clearly, and it filled me with pure joy. I turned around to face him and slipped my arms around his waist. “It’s so beautiful, Dallas. I love it.”
“Are you sure?”
I nodded. “My heart is happy here. I know this is right.”
He kissed me, long and slow and sweet. “I do, too. I’ve always been kind of a drifter, but now I want to put down roots. Right here with you.”
“Maybe we can get married here,” I suggested.
“Anywhere you want.”
“We’d probably have to wait for next summer, though. It’s going to be cold here soon.”
He shrugged. “I’m ready whenever you are. And I’d be just as happy with a courthouse in Portland as a big fancy affair.”
“A courthouse?” I wrinkled my nose. “Come on, you have to let me be a little more romantic than that. I don’t need a sixteen-piece orchestra and four hundred guests, but I would like something more meaningful than a bored judge and fluorescent lighting.”
Dallas laughed. “Whatever you want, we’ll make it happen.”
I pressed my lips to his, feeling that thing inside me begin to stir, that part of me that only came alive around him. “Thanks. So what now? Where will we stay tonight?”
He looked around. “How about right here?”
I blinked. “What?”
“I brought everything we’ll need. I packed us a picnic, some wine, a tent, a sleeping bag—”
“Just one sleeping bag?” I teased.
He pulled me closer. “Just one.”
My heart was fluttering wildly. “Come on. Let’s set it all up.”
Together we found a spot for the tent, a huge thing that went up within ten minutes but was big enough to fit a queen-sized sleeping bag and a thick picnic blanket. We ate the dinner Dallas had packed in a cooler, drank a bottle of wine, and wandered tipsily around “our” property, watching the sun drop behind the trees and imagining our dream house. As it grew darker, stars began to come out.
I shivered. “It’s getting cold, isn’t it? But I don’t want to go in the tent yet.” I tipped my head back. “The sky is so beautiful.”
“So let’s sleep under the sky.”
“Give me one minute.” He disappeared inside the tent and came out ten seconds later, carrying the sleeping bag, which he spread out on the grass. “Here.”
We took off jackets and shoes and socks and slipped into the cozy, flannel-lined bag. “Oh my God, it’s like being wrapped up in a cloud,” I said, snuggling into his embrace.
He kissed my forehead. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
We lay there for a while, whispering in the dark, looking up at the sky, talking about the past and the future and holding each other tight. But eventually our hands began to wander beneath our clothing. Our kisses grew hungrier. Our bodies strained to get closer. Soon we were skin to skin, and he was hard and thick and hot inside my fist, against my tongue, between my thighs. I was wet and soft and aching for him, pulling him into my body, rocking my hips to match his rhythm.
He moved above me like an ocean wave, rolling smooth and slow at first, then faster and stronger as it barreled toward shore. Harder and deeper. He pulled me under, swept me away, set me free, but never let go. And as we clutched and grasped and cried out in the dark, his body emptying into mine, I looked up and saw his beautiful face.
Beyond him were the stars; beyond the stars, the heavens; and beyond the heavens was forever.
Thanks for reading! Did you love ONLY HIM? Check out ONLY YOU, Nate and Emme’s story!
She’s a wedding planner who believes in happily ever after. He’s the divorce lawyer–and single dad–across the hall who says there’s no such thing.
Friends to lovers. Sexy single dad. All the feels.