There had to be something she could do to distract herself, before she came just thinking about Micah’s touch. They passed a farmstead. Two horses stood by a worn wooden fence. “Zip, zip.”
Micah jerked his head toward her. “What?”
“Oh, just remembered a game we played in the car when I was a kid. When you see a horse, you say ‘zip’. At the end of the trip, whoever had the most zips won.”
“What did you win?”
She chuckled. “Bragging rights was about it. I didn’t win too often, my dad had an uncanny knack of seeing the horses.”
“Sounds like fun. I challenge you to a game of... zip?”
Maybe this would help clear her mind. Dilyn nodded. “Challenge accepted.” She pointed “Zip. That’s three for me.”
“Three? But you zipped the first two horses before I even knew about the game.”
He laughed, the deep, joyous sound settled comfortably around her heart. Then he gave her a calculating look. “Okay, I’ll let you have your three horses. If...”
“If you accept a wager on the outcome.”
A wager? Was he a gambler? Was that why he didn’t seem to have a permanent job? She hesitated then asked, “A wager?”
Micah nodded. He’d thrown her a curve ball and he liked seeing her unsure of his motivations. Keeping her on edge would make the night that much better. If he could last that long. He was ready to burst with the need to f### her. He blinked and amended his thought. F### was too crass for her, despite their first time together. No, from now on, no matter how wild or uninhibited their romps might become, he’d only ever be making love to her. With her. He blinked again.
“Micah? What do you mean by a wager?”
“Whoever has the highest count of zips when we pull up in front of Alice’s house, gets to choose our... activities... for the evening.”
A spark lit her eyes before she looked out the window. “Even if it’s just watching television.”
He doubted either of them would choose such a boring, innocent pastime, but if that’s what she wanted. “Even if it’s only watching television. However, I have to warn you, while Alice has satellite, the old place, where I usually bunk, only has rabbit ears. On a good night I can get two stations.”
She laughed. “I’ll take my chances. The bet’s on.” She pointed again. “Two more zips. That makes five to zero.”
Micah enjoyed watching her scan the rolling sandhills, searching for horses. And there were plenty. This was good land for raising horses. He gave an occasional ‘zip’ just to keep the game interesting but let her stay eight or nine ahead of him.
“You’re not trying very hard.”
“Zip,” he called, nodding toward a distant hill.
“I don’t see any horses.”
“It was running over the hill. Disappeared right after I called it.”
Dilyn crossed her arms. “Uh huh. I tried that, too, when I was a kid. My dad didn’t buy it either.”
“I’m feeling generous, so I’ll let you have that one. Just this once.” She punched his arm softly. “Don’t try it again, buster.”
They were only a couple of miles from the road to Turquoise Creek Ranch, he had no need to count imaginary horses. “Nope. I’ll only count horses we both can see. Cross my heart.”
He eased the car onto a gravel road and glanced at Dilyn from the corner of his eye. She watched the land from her side of the car. Good.
He slowed before the final hill. The houses and main buildings were nestled between two rolling banks of hills. And near the barn, his brother-in-law kept--
“Zip, zip, zip, zip, zip...” He continued zipping until he’d counted all twenty horses scattered across the narrow pasture.
He turned a triumphant grin to Dilyn. She sat, mouth open, switching her gaze between the horse studded green and his face. “You...you cheated.”
He shrugged. “Since this is family land, you should have guessed I’d know where the horses are kept.”
He stopped her complaints with a kiss. She sighed into his mouth and cupped his cheek. He danced his tongue with hers then slowly withdrew and leaned back. “I win. I get to choose tonight’s activities.”
A dreamy smile accompanied her nod. “You won.”
Boy, had he ever.