Colleen wasn’t sure what woke her. She strained her ears and all she heard was the distant neighing of the mare in the corral. Sighing she turned over and snuggled deeper into the tattered covers. The nights had gotten colder as autumn had slowly crept in. She dreaded the long cold winter alone.
Since her ma and da had passed, it had left her by herself in the little run down farmhouse with a horse a cow and a meagre garden to try to eke out a living. At one time she thought she might make a go of it with a local lad but that had fallen through when he had left one night and never returned.
She lay there for an unknown amount of time and must have dozed off. She could see his face and chocolate eyes twinkle as his lips descended to claim hers in a searing kiss that stole her breath from her. He could have been an incubus stealing her soul for all she cared as long as his mouth continued. His hands were everywhere caressing and teasing her body. Fissions of current snaked across her skin and set her senses to dancing. She could barely contain the moans and thrashing that his sexual torture was inducing. His mouth was licking and sucking on her nipples making them hard as diamonds while his fingers coaxed her velvet folds to slick readiness. Her mind heard the silky Irish lilt ask “Are you ready for me, lass?” In her dream she had said yes.
He had licked her lips then sucked her bottom lip into his mouth and worshiped it with his tongue. All the while his hands had been caressing her nipples bringing her to the edge of ecstasy and backing down to keep her throbbing for him. She could feel his c@ck teasing at the entrance of her and she yearned to be completed by him.
“Please.” She begged as she grabbed his hair holding his head to her and kissed him hard. He grabbed her hands from his hair and held them at her shoulders and slowly slid himself into her tight, hot, clenching, heat, filling her completely. He rode her hard and fast. Her dream was so lifelike that she was aching and then she came, hard, screaming Joe’s name.
Then the hand clamped over her mouth to stifle her scream or surely she would have awakened the dead. That was when she realized she was not dreaming and that she was awake and who ever was in her bed was not aware she was alone.
“Shhhh, you’ll wake your ma and da.” said the whispered voice. Her heart was pounding so hard she was sure it would explode at any minute. She lay perfectly still hoping to gain a moment to make her escape.
“That’s it love. I’ve missed you.” The voice whispered. Finally the hand was removed and she realized it was Joe and she had not been dreaming.
“Joe?” she asked breathlessly.
“Yeah love. Are you in the habit of having larrikins come in your room in the middle of the night making love to you?” he whispered as he kissed her again, hard and possessively.
“No, I’m not.” She replied breathlessly.
“Shhh you’re gonna wake your family.” He whispered again.
“No, Joe. There’s no one here but me.” She replied. At the perplexed look on his face she answered. “They passed away a while ago. But you haven’t been around enough to know.” She said somewhat peevishly. Even though she still loved him she was mad. Mad because he had been away so long.
“Oh Colleen, I’m so sorry. I dinna know.” He said quietly as he caressed her face with his fingertips.
“How could you? You’ve been away so long. I only hear about you through the papers, wanted posters and rumours. Why haven’t you been around sooner?” she asked resisting the urge to say more. Her temper was rising but she didn’t want to start an argument when she was so glad to have him here.
“I was afraid for you. I didn’t want you and your family to be associated with me and the gang. I know how the coppers treated Ned’s ma and family. I didn’t want that for you. I couldn’t stand it if you were treated like that. It would break me heart lass.” He said quietly gripping her chin with his hand. “You believe me don’t you?” he asked.
She stared into his dark eyes and considered for a moment then nodded. “Yes I do Joe. But, I’ve been so worried about you.” She said as she was combing her hands through his longer than usual curls. “I’ve missed you. Couldn’t you have let me know about this instead of just disappearing?” she asked in a low anguished voice.
Shaking his head, he answered succinctly. “It wasn’t safe for you. It was better for you to hate me than for you to suffer on my account. But, I’m here now.” He whispered softly as he caressed her neck and she felt something wet against her skin.
“Joe?” she asked pulling his hand away to look and could see in the moonlight the dark stain of fresh blood. Jerking the cover back she pulled his hand up for a closer look. “You’re bleeding.”
“Ah it’s nothing. Just a scratch.” He said as he pulled his hand free.
“Have you been shot?” she asked in a panicked voice.
“No. I was cut in a fight in town. It’s just a small nick don’t you worry none.” He said pulling her back. “Now come back to bed and let me love you again. I’ve missed holding you.”
“No. Not until I have cared for you. Come now, I’ll fix you something to eat and clean you up. Then you can get some rest. You have no where to go and you are safe here. You can stay as long as you want.” She said and leaned down to kiss him softly. “Come now you larrikin, don’t make me regret loving you Joe Byrne.” She said as she lit a candle and led him down the hall.
Joe sat in the hot tub of water and relaxed as Colleen massaged the soap into his dark curls. He had never been treated like this. His mind cast back to the time he had first fell in love with her and often thought about asking her to be his wife but that was before he became an outlaw. He had been young, impulsive and crazy in love. But that was before. Now, now was different. He was different.
Now there was no going back. This was a life that he could never have. All he could do was enjoy small little moments of what could have been.
She tilted his head back and poured warm water over it to rinse. All he did now was go from one girl to another trying to kill the hurt in his heart. He sighed.
“What’s going on in that head of yours?” she asked softly her breath caressing his ear causing little shivers to skate up his spine.
“Nothing my love, I’m just enjoying the feel of your hands on me.” He said. “I’ve missed your touch.”
“You have? That’s not what I’ve heard.” She said as her hands began to wander slowly down his water-slicked skin. Her lips puckered and blew cool air against his ear causing chill bumps to race across his skin.
Nimble fingers found his nipples and tweaked them to stiff peaks. Joe leaned his head back and captured her lips in a kiss that took her mind off anything but him. He turned and stood letting water sluice down, revealing his sculpted body to her.
She looked at his form slowly taking every nuance of his sculptural leanness. The time in the wilderness with Ned and the boys had left his muscles whip cord hard. There was not an ounce of fat to be found. It was as if an artist had picked him from a slab of stone and just chipped away the unneeded parts leaving nothing but necessary muscle and bone.
Swallowing was not an option she found. Her mouth was dry as powder. Of there own volition her fingers began to slowly trace the curvature of his hip. He did not move. He let her look and touch as she wished. When her hands made it to his manhood his moan brought her out of her trance. Her eyes suddenly clashed with his and she could see his were black with no hint of the earthy brown that usually stared back at her.
She stilled her hands and looked at him for some sign. He took her wrists and moved her hands to her sides. “My turn.” he said, as he stepped out of the bathing tub.
His eyes held hers captive while his hands began to unbutton her sensible shirt-waisted calico dress. With each button that was liberated from its captor his fingers slowly teased and caressed the skin beneath. By the time that he reached the last one she was trembling with need. The fabric puddled at her feet and he leaned in to nip at her collarbone. She shivered when his mouth touched her. Slowly he worked his mouth down to her breast and he suckled her like babe wrenching a ragged moan from valley of her soul. His fingers ripped the pins from her hair and freed the fiery red ringlets from their confines to spill to her waist as her head fell back.
Seeking and finding the core of her sex, his fingers began to tease her clit as he began to give her other breast equal treatment. This buckled her knees. He scooped her up and laid her on the table. Once deposited there, she was writhing in the pleasure that was skating up her nerves. His mouth left her breasts and began to deposit butterfly kisses down her stomach making his way down her torso.
She arched up moaning her approval of his mouth and hand’s exploration. When his mouth made it to the apex of her mound, it stopped. He tilted his head up and looked into her eyes. With the most obscene yet sensual gesture she had ever seen, he licked his lips like a cat licking cream and before she knew what he meant to do he had splayed her legs open and blew cold air against her sex.
The moan he heard brought a smile to his face. He knew then she would come undone with this. He lowered his mouth to her mound and began to worship her. The tip of his tongue began to slowly circle her sex. Her thighs tried to close but he held them open with his arms and his hands were alternately caressing her stomach and rolling her nipples between his fingers.
Low moans began to be overtaken by heavy panting. He nipped her then sucked her into his mouth all the while flicking his tongue rapidly over her mound. Joe felt her body clinch into a tight bow and with a quick flick of the tongue and a suck, he heard her scream her release.
“That’s it, me lovely, let it out.” He said and he lapped her juices away as she convulsed through her orgasm. As she began to come down from her high he sheathed himself into her tight, wet heat and began to thrust.
Her breath hitched and he began to pound her hard and fast. Fingers dug into his biceps as she clung to him pulling him down against her.
“Kiss me Colleen.” He growled as they slammed their mouths together. She wrapped her legs around his hips and pulled him tighter and deeper inside. Joe fought his orgasm as long as he could but finally gave in to the inevitable and exploded as he felt her shatter through her second completion.
Sunrise woke Colleen the next morning. She stretched and smiled. The slight soreness was a bit uncomfortable but a good kind of pain. One she wouldn’t mind getting used to. She reached across the bed for Joe but found a cold sheet instead. Sitting up, she called out to him. No answer was forthcoming.
She grabbed a ratty piece of cover from the bed and padded down the hall looking for Joe. A cheery fire blazed away in the fireplace and extra wood was stacked in the firebox beside the door. Looking around small touches here and there showed that Joe had been up for quiet a while.
Returning to the bedroom she began to dress thinking that he would return soon and that she should get a meal started. It was then she saw the note on the bedside table. “Colleen” was written in his textbook handwriting. She fought between rage and tears.
He had left her again, but why? What had she done? It had been so good this time. They had been happy for the short time they had spent together. She was convinced he was going to stay this time. She grabbed a pillow and threw it across the room and screamed in frustration. She would NOT cry over him again. Never again she vowed, even as the thoughts formed the tears began to well in her eyes. Taking a deep breath she fought back the tears, nervously picked up the note and opened it dreading what she would read.
Colleen, my lovely lass,
I will be back in a few days. I have to meet Ned and the boys for a job. I wouldn’t leave ya but we’ve already planned this and it will take all of us to make it work. Besides the boys will be worried if I don’t show.
I’ve lain in some firewood I couldn’t take the thought of you waking up to a cold empty house. When I return I have something I need to ask you.
I’ll be back soon. Glenrowan is only a two days ride from here.
All my love,
The sunlight glinted off something shiny underneath. Colleen held up a black onyx man’s ring, Joe had threaded it through a piece of her black ribbon. She tied it around her neck. Smiling giddily, she dancing around the room, he hadn’t just left her, he was coming back.