Following was my contribution to the Lambda award-winning anthology, Lesbian Cowboys.
The Hired Hand – 2
“My name’s Ariana Estevez,” she said and held out her hand.
I wished my nails were trimmed and my palms not so rough, but the hand that slid across mine had its own share of calluses.
She wrapped her fingers around my hand and pumped. “Two days,” she said.
Because I was exasperated with my lack of backbone, I turned around without answering and ambled into the barn, more worried about betraying my interest than being thought rude.
“I guess I’ll unpack later,” Ariana said, striding past me and laying claim to the shovel. She slipped off her pressed chambray shirt and hung it on a post, and then, dressed only in a thin tank that hugged nicely rounded breasts, she dug into a pile of ripe manure.
That first day, I had no complaints about the woman’s work. Ariana dug into a long list of chores, keeping up a steady rate of conversation that passed the hours as we groomed horses, readying them for the weekend when the owners would show up to take them out on the trails. As long as we stayed busy I managed to tamp down my unfortunate attraction. But work ended just before dark, and now I didn’t know how to avoid her without retreating to my bedroom.
Footsteps scuffed across the planked porch, and Ariana lowered herself beside me on the bench overlooking the paddock. From the corner of my eye, I noted the damp hair and the bare expanse of skin that shone like warm honey beneath a pair of cutoff shorts. She’d bathed and smelled faintly of flowers.
I intended only a quick glance at my companion, but my gaze landed on another thin tank top, this one buttoned down the front with the upper two opened. The shadowy wedge of skin between her breasts was bare. Nipples, unfettered by any bra, sprang against the pink cotton.
“Thought since it was just us girls…” she drawled.
With heat flooding my cheeks, I turned away, unable to meet Ariana’s lopsided smile.
“Guess it can get a little lonely out here,” she said softly.
“It can,” I said, feeling a little breathless. “But I like the quiet.”
My head swung back.
Ariana’s brow was arched. “Just wondering. Pretty woman like you living all alone out here…seems a waste.”
“Like having a man underfoot to feed and please would make my life easier?” I’d tried that and failed miserably. The breakup had nearly broken me and devastated my bank account.
“Sorry, didn’t realize I’d struck a nerve.”
“Well, you did. How about we just drop it?”
“So, there’s no one steady in your life…?” I shot her a hot glare, which had her lips pursing in a silent whistle. “Look, I know you’re not comfortable around me. Want me to guess why? Or how about you just tell me instead of making me play ‘twenty questions?’”
“Like you said,” I murmured uncomfortably, blood starting to pound against my temples, “It gets a little lonely out here. For the most part, people only come to ride on the weekends.”
She snorted. “Ever have a girl?”
Shock had me stiffening and wondering if I’d jumped to a wrong conclusion about where this was heading because my mind was already in a very nasty gutter. “Do you mean, working here?” I asked, knowing I sounded like I’d strangled on something. “No.”
Her gaze narrowed. “I meant…ever have a girl…in your bed.”
My breath caught. Was she taunting me? “No.”
“Not once? Funny, I thought…” Ariana shook her head. “I didn’t mean to offend.”
We sat in silence for a few strained minutes. But I, who never felt easy in my own skin, never knew the right words to explore a possibility so ripe with dangerous undertones, cleared my throat. “What did you think?”
“That you liked what you saw.”
My lips parted. And unexpectedly moisture filled my eyes. “You must get all kinds of people coming onto you.”
“All kinds, both sexes.” Her lips curved. “But I don’t mind you looking…” Her head fell back, and she shook out her wet hair. The action made her breasts shiver in a delightful way.
I bit my bottom lip and stared as Ariana’s nipples spiked hard, elongating as I watched.
Her arm reached out slowly and draped across the back of the bench. Her fingers played with a lock of my hair. “You do it with all your hired hands?”
There was no use playing like I didn’t understand her meaning. “Of course not.”
“But it’s nice, isn’t it? The convenience of it?”
“It’s only convenient if the cowboy understands rules.”
Her finger slid along the outer curve of my ear. “Do you have special rules for a cowgirl?”
I closed my eyes briefly, and then aimed a glare her way, hoping she didn’t see how unnerved I was becoming. “I’ve never had a female hand.”
Ariana’s hand slipped over my shoulder and reached down to palm my breast through my shirt. “Is it so different? A man’s hand?”
“As night and day.”
“Really? It’s just a hand with fingers…” Her thumb and forefinger plucked at my nipple.
“Completely different,” I said, clamping my lips against a tiny sigh. “I’ve never felt so…”
“Uneasy,” I blurted.
“That’s not good. Want me to stop?” she said, giving my breast another tentative caress.
I opened my mouth to tell her yes, but instead found myself whispering, “I want you to take off your shirt.”
Ariana’s head jerked back and a startled laugh ripped the air. Her arm slipped from around my shoulder, and she turned sideways in the seat. “Anytime you want to stop, just let me know,” she said softly. “I won’t push. Tomorrow, it’ll be like nothing ever happened. If that’s what you want.”
Because I felt a little winded by her enthusiasm, I shook my head. “Since I don’t know what the hell I want, I guess I’ll just play it by ear.”
Ariana smiled, and then gripped the hem of her tank and pulled it over her head. Without meeting my gaze, she cupped her breasts, lifting them and massaging the slight curves. “I’d really like it if you did that for me. My breasts hurt after a long day smashed inside a sports bra.”
Modesty seemed a little ridiculous at this point. I’d asked to see them after all—it was only a small step to actually touch them. And the sight did make my palms itch. I reached for her breasts and cupped them gently. The nipples scraped deliciously. Her breasts were light and firm, her skin unbelievably soft. Especially the dark ovals of her areolas, which felt like velvet beneath the pads of my fingers.
Her gaze met mine, and she offered me a smile. Then she looked toward the road leading up to the house. “We’re far enough off the road here that we could both get naked. Want to do that?”
“It’s still light.”
Her glance cut to mine. “Worried I won’t like what I see?”
Absurdly, I knew I wouldn’t be as modest if a man sat opposite me. “I’m older. Not as firm. And I’m carrying too much weight.”
“Think I haven’t already checked your ass out? I’m pretty sure I’m going to like everything you show me. Besides, doesn’t this feel unbelievably naughty?”
I felt a smile tug at the corners of my lips. “Contrary to what you must think about me, I don’t hop into bed with a man this quick.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.” Ariana stood and pushed her shorts down her slender hips, standing unashamedly naked in the dwindling light.
I shut my eyes, praying for courage, and rose from my seat. I untucked my shirt from my jeans and slowly unbuttoned it. The bra came next, and I shivered as my nipples grew stiff, dimpling as soon as I let them out to play. My jeans and boots took a little longer, because my hands were shaking, but by the time I was as nude as Ariana, I was smiling, albeit tightly, too.
Ariana’s hands grasped both my breasts, lifting them, forcing the heavy mounds upward. She bent and stroked her tongue over one peak, then the other. “Nice, Lacey. Very nice.”
Then she circled behind me, her hands gliding over my buttocks, around again, until she was gliding over my belly, which had begun to quiver. “You know I’m going to want to taste everything.”
Moisture, quick and hot, slid between my folds. “Shall we go inside?” I rasped.
“Afraid the coyotes might see?” she teased.
“I want something soft under my knees.” I reached out tentatively, and twined my fingers with Ariana’s, then tugged her through the door, leading her through the living room and down the darkened hallway to my bedroom. Inside, I didn’t flinch when Ariana turned on the overhead light. She headed straight for the bed.
I hovered in the doorway, caught in a moment of indecision. God, could I really do this?
Ariana climbed onto the mattress and sighed as she stretched diagonally across the coverlet. “Mmmm…it’s so soft.” Her legs fell open. Her sex, swollen and deep, dark pink glistened. Her eyelids dipped blissfully as her hand stroked her darkly furred mound.
My mouth grew dry at the lush invitation. “Don’t go to sleep on me,” I quipped, trying to cover my awkwardness.
Her lips pursed in a mischievous grin. “As if! I’m waiting for that sweet pussy to slide right over my lips.”
A cowboy had said the same thing to me, long ago. From him it had sounded crude, and I’d hesitated. From Ariana, with a naughty light glittering in her eyes, it was wicked without seeming tawdry.
“How about you let me show you how to love a woman?” she said softly.
I hadn’t known I was worried about not knowing exactly how to arouse this woman, and I relaxed, letting Ariana pull me down beside her until we faced each other on the bed.
“I travel a lot when I’m on the circuit,” Ariana said, tucking a lock of my hair behind my ear. “And sometimes, I have different partners, women and men, that I pick up. I don’t care too much about whether I please them. I only worry about whether they’ll please me.” Her finger rimmed my lips slowly. “Lacey, I want to show you everything they taught me.”
Come back in December 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.