“For the longest time it seemed like I had the perfect life. Workin’ the land that’s been in my family for a couple generations. Livin’ in a house with my brother and my cousin. We had damn wild times. Lots of women, lots of booze, no regrets. We enjoyed the hell out of our bad-boy, love ’em and leave ’em reputations.”
“The women you were with didn’t mind?”
“Hell no. They wanted braggin’ rights for bangin’ a McKay. Or two. The more adventurous chickies?
We’d invite them to get really wild. Threesomes, foursomes, you name it, we did it.”
She thought back to his mother Kimi’s comment that Kane had horrible taste in women. “So those were the women you…loved?”
“Loved ’em when I was with them. Afterward? Sometimes I couldn’t even remember the woman’s name. How’s that for true love?”
Ginger wondered if Kane was trying to shock her.
“Disgusted yet?” he said with an edge.
“No. Just curious.”
“What happened that made you change. Was it intentional? And if not, do you regret being forced to accept the change? From what I’ve seen of you, you’re not that same guy hustling to get laid all the time.”
Kane kissed the top of her head. “Thanks.”
“Not runnin’ out of here screamin’ about my raunchy past. Then again, you ain’t exactly up to runnin’, are you?”
Ginger poked him in the rib.
“Part of the change was intentional. For a year before Colt went into rehab, I knew he was outta control, bad kind of outta control. I couldn’t do nothin’ about him blowin’ off his ranch responsibilities, but I figured if I went everywhere with him during prime bar cruisin’ hours, I could at least keep an eye on him. Bastard got damn wily at ditchin’ me. Then our cousin Dag died and I totally fucked up things between Kade and Skylar.
“Within a two-month period my life changed dramatically. Kade left for almost a year to head up a grazing experiment on a new stretch of land we’d bought. Colt quit drinkin’ and whorin’.”
“Did you quit too?”
“Yes ma’am. The changes in their lives forced me to change. Might make me sound like a simpleton, but I wouldn’t have done it on my own. Guess I’ve always been more of a follower than a leader when it comes to that kind of stuff.”
Ginger couldn’t tell whether or not it bothered him. She ran her fingers down his arm.
“Here’s something I’ve never told anyone. The biggest turning point in my life was the night I watched a guy beat the shit out of my brother because he thought Kade was me.”
A beat of silence passed.
“Bein’ a self-centered prick, I never realized how many times that’d happened to my brother. He’d been forced to deal with my messes our whole lives because we were born with the same face. Probably sounds stupid, but right after that? I grew a mustache and a beard, shaved most my hair off and tried to set us apart. Not for my sake, for his.”
“Is that also when you changed your name?”
He groaned. “Jesus. What was my mother thinkin’? Naming identical twins Kane and Kade? And it don’t help matters that Uncle Carson’s boys all start with ‘C’. It was like they purposely set out to confuse everyone. Anyway, the name Buck didn’t stick. Pissed my mama off good, too, that I tried to change it.
Kade, Colt and Keely thought callin’ me Buck was hysterical. But only the kids call me that now. Mostly because of that movie Uncle Buck.”
“Good Lord, those kids can’t possibly confuse you with John Candy?”
“Now that was downright sweet. When Colt built his own house and Cam offered to buy the Boars Nest, it was another decision I went along with. I bought a trailer and got me a dog, which I’m pretty sure in the world of bachelors, is equal to single women havin’ cats.”
“Then Kade startin’ havin’ kids, and it seemed all my McKay cousins paired off.”
“Were you jealous?”
“Some. To combat the extra time on my hands since I wasn’t out carousing, I took on more responsibilities at the ranch. Helped my other McKay cousins expand. And I joined up with the Little Buddies program, which is one of the best things I ever did.”
“I agree.” Ginger wanted to tell him how much his presence influenced her son. How she appreciated Kane not trying to make Hayden into a mini-me, how he’d played on Hayden’s strengths, not exploiting Hayden’s weaknesses.
They remained twined together, lost in thought.
Kane’s mouth connected with her ear. “If you could do anything right now, what would it be?”
“Take a shower.”
“Done. Sit up. Hold tight.”
“But—” she said to his nicely muscled back.
Kane reappeared holding a garbage bag and a roll of packing tape.
“Completely. I can make your cast leak proof. But that ain’t what worries me.”
“What worries you?”
He pointed to her shoulder. “You usin’ your arm.”
“I’ll be careful when I’m washing my hair.”
“Guess maybe you don’t understand, but you won’t be takin’ this shower alone.”
Her hormones, which had been lazing like a sated cat, leapt to attention.
“You wanna take a shower, and I wanna play some water games with you. Sounds like a perfect way for us both to get what we want.” Kane slipped the garbage bag around her cast. He did some twisty thing with the tape, wrapping and rewrapping the plastic. More taping. Then he looked up at her. “Let’s test ’er out and see if she’s water tight.”
“But first…” Kane tugged on the ponytail holder, releasing her hair. It fluffed around her head like an angry red cloud. She was about to apologize for her appearance, when he murmured, “Better.”
Ginger wiggled until she sat on the side of the bed, cast on the floor and her bum arm dangling by her side. “I look ridiculous.”
“No, you look hot as hell,” Kane corrected.
He moved in front of her. She leaned forward and placed a kiss on the bulge tenting his boxers out.
He sucked in a breath. “Come on, let’s get you wet.”
“I’m already wet when you look at me like that, Kane.”
Although his grin was quick and playful, his eyes smoldered. “You’ve got a bit of a silver tongue yourself, counselor.”
In the bathroom, Kane dropped his boxers and climbed into the shower. Once he had the water settings where he wanted them, he held her steady as she stepped into the tub.
As soon as the curtain closed, Kane’s mouth devoured hers. The need ignited between them. Ginger was surprised steam didn’t rise off her body wherever his greedy hand roved.
Water pounded on her back as Kane kissed her, and kissed her, bringing the kiss to a level of passion where she thought of nothing but his lips, his tongue, his mouth. The synchronized beating of their hearts.
She whimpered when he tore his mouth free and buried his face in her neck.
“God. Ginger. I—” His labored breathing flowed across her wet skin, causing her to shiver. His entire body was rigid—not just his hard cock digging into her abdomen.
Finally, after holding her as if he couldn’t bear to let her go, he lifted his head and kissed her softly on the lips. “Sorry. Just needed a second to get control.”
“I don’t mind. In fact—” she walked her fingers up his chest, “—your ‘my way or the highway’
attitude really does it for me.”
He gifted her with his devastating grin. “I’ll give that idea a full test drive later. For now…how about if you let me wash your hair?”
Kane turned her. “Be easiest if you brace your hand on the wall.” He placed her palm above the soap dish. “Now tilt your head back and close your eyes.”
Warm water cascaded down her scalp, soaking her hair completely. Droplets hit the plastic covering her cast, making dull splat splat splat sounds. Then Kane’s big, strong hands were gently massaging her scalp, surrounding them with the sweet scent of her lavender shampoo. Soapsuds flowed down her back, over her buttocks and the outside of her legs.
He rinsed. He even repeated.
“I need conditioner—”
“I know sugar. I’ve got it right here.” He smoothed it through her hair from roots to the tips. “Turn around.” He pressed her back against the wall. “Now where else do you need scrubbed while we’re lettin’
the conditioner set?”
Don’t be an idiot.
Kane leaned closer. “What’s wrong?”
A blush crept up her neck. “I need to shave. And if I attempted it with my left hand, I’ll just cut myself.”
His lips quirked. “Can’t have that.”
She knew he was waiting for her to ask him. “Even though it might be kind of weird…would you mind shaving my legs and my underarms?”
“There. Askin’ me for help wasn’t so bad, was it?”
He smooched her wrinkled nose. “Suck it up. Lift your left arm above your head.”
Kane circled her wrist with one hand and soaped her armpit with the other. His concentration was absolute as he passed the blade across her skin. Once. Twice. Three times. He held the razor under the shower spray. Then he cupped her right elbow and held her arm out chicken wing style. More soap, three quick passes with the razor and her underarms were smooth again.
“Uh-huh.” But the suds his hands created were mesmerizing.