Following was my contribution to the Lambda award-winning anthology, Lesbian Cowboys.
The Hired Hand – 1
The air didn’t move inside the dimly lit barn. It was hot, musty, redolent with the scent of fresh hay and horses—and ripe with sensual anticipation. Work was done for the day. Decision time had finally arrived.
A lasso landed around my shoulders, and I pressed my lips together to hide a smile. I struggled against the waxed hemp, but the rope cinched tighter. Then hands dragged it downward, scraping past nipples already spiking hard against thin cotton.
A hot breath gusted against my ear. “Anything a man can do I can do better,” came a whispering rasp.
“Why do I feel like breaking into song?” I muttered. I jerked against the rope, but my arms were pinned to my sides. It was only a show of resistance. We both knew I was hot for what came next. “Should have been a little more specific when I placed that damn ad,” I said, legs braced apart to keep from tumbling to the fresh hay spread on the floor of the stall.
A blanket landed on the ground in front of me.
Muffled footsteps drew near again. “Should have said, ‘Only a cowboy with a dick need apply.’”
I tossed back my hair and aimed a glare over my shoulder. Then my glance fell to what the cowboy in question held in her slender hand. “Looks like you still would’ve qualified.”
Ari lifted both eyebrows, a grin wreathing her face. She wagged the dildo in front of me, taunting me. “Tell me you’re not sorry it was me who showed up.”
My breath caught. Even in the fading light inside the barn, my hired hand’s eyes glittered brightly. “I still have reservations that you can get the job done,” I lied. “I might have been seeking someone to wrangle some horses, but I’d hoped for a little action on the side, too.”
“Like I said, whatever a man can do…” A strong arm wrapped around my waist. “Want me to prove it?”
“Oh God,” I moaned as the dildo trailed down the side of my cheek. “Fuck me, Ari. Fuck me with your big cock.”
A snicker sounded a moment before teeth bit into my earlobe. Then her arms dropped away and cool air rushed against my back. “Gonna be good if I untie you?”
“I don’t make promises I can’t keep,” I ground out.
“You always make me work damn hard,” she growled.
“I warned you I’m not an easy boss.”
Ari stepped in front of me, dark eyes narrowed, skimming over my frame. She drew a knife from the sheath strapped to her leather belt and lifted one brow. “Sure you want to lose this shirt?”
“I’m not going to help you. I told you I’m not into girls.”
“And I love making you eat your words.” The dull side of the knife glided between my breasts. I shivered as cool steel pressed in a narrow path downward. Ribbed cotton parted, exposing the white skin beneath the ring of tan that ended at my neck.
As the lacy center of my bra was laid bare, one corner of Ari’s lips quirked upward. “Don’t know why you even bother. I like watchin’ ’em bounce.” The bra met the same fate as the shirt, popping open as soon as the lace was severed.
My breasts quivered, rising with my sharp gasp. The cool air inside the barn sifted around my nipples. My relief as the knife disappeared and my breasts sprang free had me sighing before I remembered I should be putting up a more of a front. “That’s coming out of your wages.”
Ari’s fingers plucked my nipples. “Worth every penny, too.” Then she ducked, and warm, wet lips enclosed one ripening bud.
My head fell back, and my eyes slid closed as she suckled softly. God, had it only been two days?
* * *
I set aside the shovel at the sound of a horn honking in the distance. Heaving a deep sigh at the interruption, I tugged off my work gloves, lay them over the top of the stall I’d been mucking out, and headed toward the open doors. Sunshine beat down on my head as I stepped outside. I lifted a hand to shield my eyes from the bright glare.
A white pickup sat in front of the house, a shadowy figure at the wheel. The cab door groaned as it swung outward. The driver slid to the ground. Slim calves encased in wash-softened blue jeans ended above a polished set of cowboy boots.
Maybe someone had come about the ad I’d placed for help. Maybe someone strong, not afraid of little hard work, and in need of a paycheck. I’d posted the “Help Wanted” notice in the local paper over a week ago and had begun to regret the fact I’d stated the wage. It wasn’t much. Most of the men who’d applied were too old or too inexperienced. I was getting desperate for a little relief.
And if the next cowboy happened to be reasonably attractive…
Well, I hoped they might overlook my sun-baked skin and the crow’s feet that had grown a little deeper with the passing of another summer. Maybe they’d like a little added “bonus” with their paycheck along with room and board. I’d been through a long drought of bed partners and wasn’t going to be too fussy.
The figure that appeared with the slam of the door made my shoulders dip in disappointment. I needed a man. A strong set of shoulders and a sturdy back. The slender woman walking toward me didn’t appear to have the muscle to work the horses and help with the outside chores. And she was too damn pretty for my peace of mind.
I drew a deep breath, preparing to be polite but trying to come up with an excuse for turning the woman away that wouldn’t sound like I’d made up my mind as soon as I’d noted the high set of her breasts and the curve of her narrow hips.
“You Miss Kudrow?” the woman asked, her voice sounding a little breathless. Her dark gaze flicked over me briefly before returning to lock with mine.
A jolt of unwanted attraction flared deep inside me, but I nodded. “What can I do for you?”
A casual shrug warred with the tension in her shoulders. “I’ve come about the job.”
“You do know I’m looking for a wrangler,” I said, my doubt flavoring my response. “Someone who knows his way around a horse. The job calls for a trainer, maintenance of the pens, mucking out stalls, currying—”
“You think I don’t know how to do all that?” She lifted her cowboy hat and shook out her hair, which fell thick and straight to her shoulders.
The sun caught glints of copper in the dark brown strands, and my breath hitched. Christ, it didn’t matter if the girl could do the job or not. I couldn’t let her stay. Horny as I was, I guessed I might be a lot less fussy than I’d ever dreamed.
The woman’s face screwed up into a stubborn frown. “You’re boarding horses…”
“And training them—for personal use mostly, but I also have a couple of reining horses.”
“Plan to enter any competitions?”
I didn’t like the dark glint entering her eyes or the way her lips began to curve. “Maybe…”
“Thought I recognized your name,” she said softer now. “You placed in the Breeder’s Classic last year.”
“Yeah, with Painted Lady.” Because I was beginning to feel guilty about how rude I’d been, I relented a bit. “You into the sport as well?”
Her head shook. “It’s not what I do, but I like to catch any horse events in the area. I barrel-race. But I lost my horse.” Her nose wrinkled. “Lost my boyfriend, too, but I don’t miss him near as much. Needed to leave the rodeo circuit for a while, and here I am.”
I sighed. “Look, I’m sure you know a lot about horses, but what I really need is someone to help me with the day-to-day. You look… nice, but…”
“You think I’ll cry over a broken nail? That I can’t file a hoof or lift a bale of hay?”
“I’m just saying,” I said slowly, wishing I hadn’t decided to be polite. “I don’t think you’ll be happy here.”
“How about a trial? Give me a couple of days,” the woman said, her lush lips settling into a straight line. “See how it works, then make up your mind whether you want me.”
A wash of heat flooded my cheeks. …whether you want me…
“My name’s Ariana Estevez,” she said and held out her hand.
* * *
Come back on November 19th for the next installment of The Hired Hand.
Copyright © 2009 Delilah Devlin
All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.