Dawn. The glorious sun peeped sheepishly over the lush hills of South Dakota. Her eyes peeled open.
The sound of construction echoed down the filth-strewn thoroughfare. He was at it again, building a home for his wife and son.
She hated that sound. She hated that each nail driven brought them closer to camp and each post erected moved him farther from her grasp.
She stood to gaze out the murky glass at the soiled camp of Deadwood. The criminals and miscreants scurried through the sludge, each on their own courses for the day. The odor of excrement from all manner of man and beast, mud and death wafted through the leaky window pane.
She missed the clean, stark brightness of New York. But, her body ached for this man.
Without laudanum to put her in a stupor, the days seemed long and lonely. He was her drug now and, oh, how the thought of withdrawal from that particularly sweet indulgence set her stomach in knots and made her skin crawl.
She thought of him, sweating in the dead morning air, as he labored to create a safe place amongst the feculence to share with the other. The sounds of his toiling had her thoughts stirring. She pictured his body long, lean as a blade and hard, straining as he built.
She imagined his resplendent, moist skin shining in the summer sun, his sinewy muscles tensing and coiling tightly beneath it as he worked the wood and wielded the hammer.
When the sounds ceased, she imagined him bathing in the cool creek. The thought released the butterflies from their cage in her belly beneath her corset and sent a warm tingle up her spine.
She wished she could go to him; to stroll through the slime and refuse to find him there at the edge of camp. She imagined he'd be surprised to see her. A tryst in the tepid waters would excite him, she thought. She couldn't risk walking to the boundary of camp unescorted and neither Richardson or that greasy toad of a desk clerk Farnham would be suited to the task. She'd have to wait, lest she hazard tipping the town to the devilishly secretive goings-on in the solace of Room #2 in the Grand Central. She thought to herself perhaps she ought draw a bath.
As she finished combing her hair there was a knock at the door. She rose to answer it, feeling a warmth in her belly and flush in her cheeks. There, in the doorway, was the man.
His face was rough from past altercations; the knuckles on his powerful hands jagged and torn. He was dirty and unshaven. It was not uncommon for the beautiful Sheriff to be wounded.
He was explosive and rash. She found this to be both terrifying and intoxicating. He was unlike anything she'd ever seen- rugged and ready for war at any time, repressed and restrained and trying so hard to do the right thing.
He was a powder keg with a lit fuse; a savage beast trapped beneath his skin, behind his badge. It seemed it required all of his concentration to keep from busting loose with the slightest provocation. In his heart he was a good man, but terribly conflicted and afraid of himself. In her eyes, he smoldered.
He radiated sex. The air vibrated around him, electric.
"Mrs. Garret," he said, the booming timbre of his voice relieving her of her thoughts. "I've come bearing paperwork on your claim. May I come in?"
"Yes, please do," she whispered, her voice sounding strange to her ear. She could see that he was wound tightly.
He eased into her room like a cornered wild cat, cautiously aware and dangerous. He was bound in his clothing, wearing his button-down vest like armor, clearly trying his best to keep his mind on the business at hand.
His rugged hands worked the brim of his hat until it was misshapen.
He was conflicted, as always, trying to do right by his wife and son, whom he'd sent for earlier in the month- and yet, she sensed his pulse quicken as he entered the safety of her room and sat at the desk to talk. They reviewed his papers. They discussed the business of working a substantial gold mine. He passed her a pen with which to sign the documents and for a fleeting instant, his fingers brushed hers at the hand off.
Sparks ignited in Alma's breast. Fire lapped at her belly. She remembered those same fingers doing such skilled things to her the last time they were in this room together. His smell permeated the air- warm and exotic and wild. She was suddenly aware of his eyes.
He was looking at her, almost timidly, unsure of what he'd unleashed. She tried to slow her breathing, regain her composure. Unable to do so, she stood, breaking the exquisite contact of their fingers and walked a safe distance from the raging inferno of primal need situated at the desk.
She stood facing the bleary glass window slowly regaining a steady cadence to her breathing, her corset very tightly constricting her heaving ribcage. Suddenly she felt the electricity return.
His hands were on hers where they rested on her stomach. His weathered and calloused palm grabbed her porcelain-pale wrist and spun her to face him.
His eyes were dark, like liquid pools of gasoline aflame. His jaw was set. He looked wild and primal.
He restrained her by the shoulders and kissed her feverishly. His breath was hot and rapid as it mingled with hers. He tasted of whiskey as his tongue darted in and out of mouth.
A moan rumbled from her throat as he secured his arms around her waist and began unbuttoning her heavy dress. She struggled with his coat and belt.
Without breaking the kiss, he released her and the dress fell in a dense pool around her feet.
He went to work on his own clothing, stripping off his vest and shirt, kicking off his mud-crusted boots.
She, too, disrobed, removing layers of underclothing and binding devices until all that remained was a cotton shift.
Wearing only his long-johns, the sheriff seemed somehow both vulnerable and perilously unpredictable.
He effortlessly lifted her off the floor and pressed her to a wall. She breathed a moan as she felt stirring between them. Keeping her pinned with his body, he trailed kisses from her mouth, down her chin and along her neck.
She trembled with anticipation as he slipped her shift off her shoulders and nibbled the tender skin of her chest.
His tongue traced the outline of her left breast, spiraled in to focus on her nipple. She inhaled sharply as his lips closed around it, bringing the skin to life, to a rigid point.
His free hand kneaded her right breast and pinched its nipple. A growl rumbled from his throat as his mouth continued down her body and paused on her hip.
His hands wandered her curves, cupping her soft, full buttocks, brushing against her taut, quivering stomach.
His mustache scratched at her delicate flesh. Hot breath in such an intimate region ignited her desire. Goosebumps raised along her torso and limbs.
She ran her hands through his thick mane, tugging at it gently. She raked her nails down his neck and into his gloriously broad, strong shoulders to feel the muscles dance beneath them.
He efficiently scooped her up from his kneeling position and laid her on the bedspread. He lifted one leg over his shoulder and set to work on her. His tongue was expert. She gasped and shuddered as it worked its magic, sliding deliciously determinate over her clit. She clawed at the sheets and writhed beneath him. Her hips moved rhythmically and her breath came in short, shallow gasps.
He brought her right to the edge of delirium, nearly breaking the crest of a wave of ecstasy and slowed his pace. She was almost annoyed that he would tease her in such a way. His dark eyes peered up at her from between her legs. He was feral, seething with lust and desire. She had set his carnal teeth on edge, he was hungry for satisfaction.
He left her sex burning and climbed on top of her, his warm weight luscious and dangerous. He tasted of her feminine musk as he kissed her deeply. She looked at him, with his eyes closed, lost in a sea of pleasure. She ripped at his clothing, aching for release. She peeled it off his shoulders, revealing glistening skin over rippling lean muscle as he writhed atop her. His sex bulged and stirred beneath the cotton and between her legs. She howled with anticipation.
He, too, felt the urgency and began to wriggle out the clothing keeping them from bliss. Free of the fabric, he grabbed her roughly by the hips. He knew he would leave bruises on her pristine opalescent skin and he didn't care. Staring into her eyes he slid in to her magnificent wetness slowly, methodically.
His jaw muscles twitched as he let out a throaty groan. She whimpered and squirmed beneath him, back arched and eyes lolling into her head. He began to thrust, slowly at first then faster. She rocked with him, clutching the sheets and the straining coils of muscle along his neck and upper body alternatively. She could feel the warmth building in her gut as he plunged into her, deeper and harder. The warmth grew stronger, fluttering with each masterful stroke, until it erupted like a flame shooting rays of heat and rapture in all directions. She shook and convulsed and moaned his name.
His arms trembled, his back straightened. He felt the familiar tightness within himself, like he was dangling on the edge of a cliff about to fall over. He grunted and groaned like a wild beast. He grabbed her hips to hold her still as he thrust and her muscles pulsated around him. His eyelids fluttered and his teeth ground. Sweat glistened on his heaving chest and trembling stomach. It dripped from his chin. It poured onto her.
The friction between them was delicious. She was warm and wet and without end. He looked at her pinned beneath him; face contorted in ecstasy, alabaster skin dewy and flush; her dark, silken hair spilling like the most luxurious pelt on the pillow. Her head was tilted back and her mouth open. The sound of her growling his name reached his ear above his own pounding pulse. He exploded in a glorious and sudden wave of pleasure and relief. He quivered and shuddered. His muscles, previously having been hardened steel, were now useless puddles. He feared his soul may evaporate and he disappear as her muscles milked him of every last drop of moisture left in him. He collapsed into her arms, breathless and tired. She held him close and stroked his dampened hair and they slept, still entangled and as one.
They were awoken a short time later by a knock at the door. Alma gasped at the sound and quickly covered herself with a sheet. "Stagecoach's arrived," said Mr. Utter from the hall. "We best be on our way down to help unload, Sheriff."
Startled but still wiping the sleep from his eyes Seth responded, "Yes, Mr. Utter, we'd best. Mrs. Garret and I are just about finished with our claim bidness. Once concluded, I'll be down directly." He stood and pulled his long-johns back on. He dressed in a hurry while she watched.
With the beast calmed and caged beneath his armor once more, he looked up at her where they'd lain recognizing the soft sorrow on her face. He held her for a moment, tenderly. The beautiful Sheriff kissed her sweetly, traced the curve of her face and left her bed forever.