HAMMER IT HOME

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Copyright © 2012 Jayne Rylon

She expected Joe to take the fork to the right, which led to the private cabin where their friends lived and most of the crew’s interludes took place. Instead, he veered left. Toward the cute bungalows the crew had recently expanded on in response to the initial success of Kay’s venture.

Several of them hadn’t even opened to guests yet.

Morgan didn’t ask where they were going. She trusted Joe to take her where she needed to be. As long as he was by her side, it didn’t much matter where they ended up. Good thing her faith in him thrived. The truck slowed in the middle of nowhere until they rolled to a stop in the center of the rustic road.

When he removed a strip of black silk from his back pocket, she knew what he expected. Her lashes rested against her cheeks as she closed her eyes, leaning toward her husband.

“Sweet girl.” He fastened the fabric around her head tight enough that she couldn’t peek even if she’d tried to open her eyes, yet loose enough to be comfortable.

“For now.” The hint of naughty she added to her response had the desired effect.

Joe’s voice turned husky. “I like you spicy too.”

The anticipated kiss she craved never arrived. The truck started off down the road. She threw her hand out, searching for the handle on the door or the edge of the seat. Joe’s fingers landed high on her thigh. “I’ve got you.”

“I know.”

“Almost there.” He crooned to her in soft, steady murmurs, never letting her forget he sat by her side. “I see lights now. And there’s the crew. They’re waiting for you.”

“For us.”

“True, for us.” After a quick squeeze, his hand abandoned her leg long enough to unfasten her seatbelt. “Go with Dave. I’m right behind you.”

Before she could respond, the truck door opened. Huge hands engulfed her waist. She floated into their grasp. “You look really nice tonight, Morgan.”

Thank goodness she hadn’t worn a dress with a short skirt or she’d be flashing her butt to the entire forest. Not that the eight people she couldn’t see but knew were there hadn’t gotten an eyeful of every inch of her already. Soon they’d be doing a whole lot more than looking too.

Dave’s boots thudded on what sounded like wooden treads as they ascended together. The new buildings had adorable porches complete with swings. That must be where they were. She hadn’t observed the progress personally, though Joe had told her the crew had decided to take a couple weeks off before starting their next project to help Kay out.

Someone cursed softly. A subtle creak made her sure they’d opened a door for her and Dave. “So sexy, Morgan.”

“Thank you, James.”

“I’m going to set you down.” Dave murmured to her as he lowered her feet to the floor. He braced her shoulders. Scuffles and whispers surrounded her as her friends all assembled as they saw fit. “Joe’s got you now.”

The big man’s hand swapped out for her husband’s familiar grasp. Dotted kisses at her temple had her sighing while he worked the knot on her blindfold loose. A steady white noise piqued her curiosity. What could that be? “Tonight is special. For all of us. We wanted you to know how much. Live in the moment, Mo. Take what we’re giving.”

He whipped the silk from her, letting it slither to the floor unnoticed.

Blinking against the sudden light, she tried to focus. When she did, a sheen of tears immediately turned the flickering candles into glittering sparkles, dazzling her. She reached out. Joe held one hand while Dave collected the other.

“You did all this for me?” The whisper cut through the hush of her eight best friends, who awaited her reaction. Behind the naked, oiled men who stood shoulder to shoulder and their wives—adorned in gossamer togas that hid the bare essentials, proclaiming their intent to sit the festivities out—sheer panels of iridescent fabric draped from exposed wooden rafters.

Zillions of tiny clear lights, like the ones hugging their tree at Christmas, hung behind the soft falls. She felt as though she’d taken up residence in an enchanted snow globe, or maybe a cloud way, way out in some ethereal paradise on the edge of the universe. Romance blossomed in every nook and cranny of the space. Pale silk flowers, warm vanilla candles on wrought-iron stands and the largest canopied bed she’d ever seen were just a few of the details bombarding her senses.

“We did it for both you and Joe.” Kate smiled from her post with a fluffy white towel draped over her forearm. What the heck?

The guys stepped aside, chiseled bodies parting like a fleshy curtain at a beefcake ballet. Behind them, a waterfall trickled from what could have been a loft. A rivulet bounced next to vines that looked as real as the ones Kayla had cultivated in the gardens outside. Maybe they were.

Splashes drew her eye from expertly crafted faux stone to faux stone until droplets rained into an elaborate whirlpool fashioned from river rock on the outside and something natural yet smooth-looking in the basin. A gradual slope led up to the dais supporting the magical indoor pond. Lush greenery surrounded the pool. She suspected the window on the other side would grant glorious views of the lake if it were daytime.

A fireplace made from the same cut stone chased away any chill emanating from the glass.

“Whoa.” Nothing more elaborate formed in her mind.

Awestruck, she allowed Joe to manipulate her, stripping her sweater over her head and freeing her from her lacey bra before she’d recovered. Next he slid her skirt from her hips, then lifted her from the puddle of gorgeous fabric. He swiped her shoes from her feet and patted her bare butt. No need to remove underwear. She hadn’t bothered with panties.

“Nice touch, Mo.”

She grinned over her shoulder at her husband. “Glad you approve.”

“Now run along and play.” A gentle shove inspired her to put one foot in front of the other, heading in the direction of the crew.