Name: Cheyne


Title: Renegade

Disclaimers: See Part 1







It had almost been a perfect day. Almost. As Trace settled Rachel on the wagon seat, she was approached by Sheriff Ed Jackson and Mayor Jed Turner. Jackson looked smug. His Honor looked uneasy. They stopped a few feet in front of the detective.

"Well, well, well, I hear congratulations are in order," Jackson said, his tone conveying that the last thing he felt was benevolence.

"If you are referring to my upcoming marriage, then yes," Trace responded, not friendly at all. After the trouble Jackson had already caused, she didn't feel the need to be 'right neighborly' toward him. She nodded to Turner. "Afternoon, Mayor."

"Trace," Jed acknowledged, looking as though he wished he were anywhere but there.

"Actually, I was more referrin' to knowin' that you'll be in my jail before you have a chance to walk down that aisle."

Handing the reins to Rachel, Trace turned and nonchalantly leaned against the wagon, studying the sheriff. "And why would that be?"

"Trace," Mayor Turner spoke up, clearing his throat uncomfortably, "Ed here got a telegram from Cottonwood. Said there's a five thousand dollar price on your head."

"What?!" Rachel looked at Trace, stunned.

Trace shook her head calmly at her bride-to-be, putting her hand up to stop any further frantic reaction. "He's lying."

Jackson sneered. "Is that so?"

"Yeah, that's so," Trace shot back, trying to keep her cool. She wanted to tell this bastard that if there even was a Cottonwood, she wasn't from there, had never been there, so there was no way there could be a bounty on her. "I'd like to see this telegram."

"You don't need to see it. Who do you think you are challenging me? I'm the law around here, son, and if I say it's so then it's so and you just need to take my word for it!" Jackson yelled, thinking the elevation in his voice would emphasize his authority.

The detective burst out laughing, riling the sheriff to the point of veins bulging in his neck. "You can't be serious. Take your word for it? Does anyone actually fall for that?"

"Damn you, Sheridan, I'm the sheriff and if I say it's so, then it's so!!"

"Mayor? Have you seen this alleged telegram?" The detective focused on Jed.

"Well, no, Ed just came and got me and told me about it and said we needed to go arrest you before you left town."

Trace beckoned the mayor over to the side, out of hearing range from Jackson, who appeared to be close to hyperventilating, and addressed Turner in a hushed voice. "Mayor, you know the sheriff has it out for me. You know the sheriff is stuck up the Cranes' asses and is pissing his pants to think that Ben is going to come back to town and find Rachel married and he couldn't do anything to stop it. There is no telegram, there is no price on my head and I give you my word that I will not leave town. When that moron produces a legitimate telegram from -" she had to think up a name, quickly. Looking up she saw the silver gilted spheres of the pawn shop, "Marshal Silvers saying that there is, then and only then will I surrender to that piece of crap wearing a badge."

Nodding, Jed turned to Jackson. "Ed?"


"Who sent you that telegram from Cottonwood?"

"What?" This question obviously surprised him, if the tone of his voice was any indication.

"You hard of hearin'? I said, who sent you that telegram? What's the damned sheriff's name?"

Too much hesitancy confirmed the mayor's suspicion, cleared Trace and infuriated the devious and caught sheriff. "Uh..." Jackson had obviously not expected to be questioned as, usually, no one wanted to deal with the wrath of the Cranes and whoever Ed was picking on always suffered the consequences of his coercion.

"Thank you," Trace smiled, triumphantly, hauling herself up to the seat beside her intended. "You boys have a nice day." With that, she snapped the reins and Moses slowly started clomping forward. Rachel proudly linked her arm with her fiancée's and smiled sweetly at both men.

They weren't even a wagon's length away when they heard the mayor turn on the sheriff. "Why, you horse's ass! What thee hell ails you? Maybe you want to make a blasted idjit out of yerself in front of that Sheridan feller but I sure as hell do not!"

"B-but know what will happen when Jacob and his boys come back and Rachel is married...I'm trying to do that boy a favor!"

"You're trying to save your own crooked hide, you imbecile! Next time, don't bother me, 'less you got proof! I am fed up to here with your horseshit!"


"Trace? I know how you knew that Ed was lying because you would obviously know if there was or wasn't a bounty out for you...but how did you know how to trap Ed like that?" They were well beyond the outskirts of the main street.

"Because he thinks he is smarter than everyone else and those he isn't smarter than are intimidated by his connection to the Cranes."

"You do know that he will probably show up at the wedding and object."

"On what grounds?"

"He won't need any. He's Ed Jackson."

"Oh? Well, we'll just see about that."

Wondering what Trace had up her sleeve, Rachel decided not to question it. The detective had not steered her wrong yet and the blonde fully believed that Trace would not let anything disrupt their special day. Leaning her head against Trace's shoulder, Rachel closed her eyes, dreaming about Wednesday night.


"Uh huh?"

"I asked Isaac Tipping to be my best man."

Opening her eyes, Rachel looked over at the brunette. "Really?"

"Well...I don't really know anyone that well and Isaac seems to be a good kid. Plus, he wants to help around the ranch a little bit."

"Doing what?"

Trace chewed on her lip. Why was it she had no problem going toe-to-toe with the sheriff yet the thought of the petite blonde being upset with her caused her to pause. "Helping me fix up the fence..." she said, almost demurely.

"I thought the fence was all fixed."

"It is...we're going to reinforce it." Off Rachel's confused expression, Trace explained, "I bought barbed wire."

"Barbed wire? Wh -?"

"Half of the order is in the back," Trace said, as Rachel turned around to look, "and Isaac is going to pick up the other half on Thursday then help me put it up."

Rachel looked at the detective, her expression more inquisitive than suspicious. "When did you decide this?"

"A little over two weeks ago. Rachel, the land needs protection and we can't be everywhere at once. With barbed wire wrapped around the fence, no one will just be able to crash through, not without causing damage to their herd or their horses. And if they want to physically knock it down then that will make them extra work and a project they will not be able to complete without me noticing."

"You thought a lot about this." Again, it was a statement of acknowledgement instead of a question.

"Yes. If we are going to take a stand, we need to start now, before the Cranes get back. I want everyone to know we mean business. And Rachel...I think I can turn people in this town around, I really do."

"What do you mean?"

"I sounds like everybody is damned tired of being run by the Cranes. I think all they need is a little incentive to make it stop."

"And you think you can be that incentive?"

She looked at her bride-to-be and smiled, reassuringly, at her. "I know I can."

Rachel wanted to believe that was true but since Trace had not even dealt with the Cranes yet, the blonde felt she had a reason to be afraid and skeptical. Time would definitely tell.



The next day was Tuesday and both women had a full day ahead of them. The morning began with a kiss, a loving embrace and a big breakfast. Rachel could not contain her building excitement at her approaching wedding day. So much to be done, so little time to do it in.

The first order of business, which Trace impatiently indulged the blonde by doing, was to fit the detective into Frank Young's wedding trousers. The brunette stood there, fidgeting, while Rachel pinned the black cotton slacks with a satin pinstripe running the length of the outer seams at the waist and an inch at each inseam. Once Trace stepped out of them, she could get to her daily chores and then start on that fence before returning to the house, taking a shower and going into town for her 'bachelor' party.

At approximately noon, Trace came back to the house to announce to Rachel that they were the proud grandparents of five little baby bunnies. The blonde could not help but smile at the big, tough detective's soft heart when it came to the rabbits and it prompted her not to reiterate, at this time, that Trace should not get too attached to the tiny critters for, at some point, they would be on her plate.

The detective also arrived just in time to try on the pants that had been taken in. They weren't perfect but they fit well enough to compliment the tall stance of the brunette. Thanking Rachel with a kiss that neither wanted to end, Trace then hitched up Moses, loaded tools onto the back of the wagon and headed out to the area of the property that seemed to be the hardest hit by the cattle drive.

Carefully, she began to affix the barbed wire to the wooden rails in a manner that immediately looked ominous and threatening. Trace had completed about fifty feet of fence when she heard the unmistakable sound of hoofbeats closing in. Turning, she smiled, recognizing Isaac Tipping as the boy rode up and dismounted a big, gorgeous palomino stallion, strong and well-muscled.

"Hey, Trace," Isaac greeted.

"Hey, yourself, Isaac."

Admiring the detective's handiwork, the teenager grinned. "So this is how you do it, huh?"

"Yep." Trace sighed, glad to be able to take a break. "When you come back and bring me the rest of my order, I'll put you to work. But you'll need some good strong gloves and tools like these," the detective indicated the implements by her feet.

"I can get them from the store. Trace?"


"I'm invited to your gatherin' tonight at Wilbur's, ain't I? I mean, bein' you best man and all."

"You allowed to be in Wilbur's?"

"Hell, yeah," he stated, indignantly.

"Then I would be proud to have you there, best man," the detective smiled. Looking up at the position of the sun, Trace decided she might as well be done for the day and loaded everything back onto the wagon. "Isaac...I have a favor to ask of you."

"Anythin', Trace, you just name it."

"Well...don't be so quick to agree because it will involve you not going to my party."

The teenager's shoulder's sagged a little. "What is it?"

"Matthew is going to bring Mrs. Reddick by here this evening to keep Rachel company while we're in town. Now, you know the sheriff doesn't like me and I don't trust him and, since he is not invited to the celebration tonight, I want to make sure he doesn't come poking around here, bothering the ladies. Now...when I go to town I will have a five gallon can of eggnog spiked with two quarts of whiskey. If you meet me by the gate, I'll make sure you have some of that if you find a place to keep yourself hidden and keep an eye on the women."

"Okay...what do you want me to do, just watch the house?"

"Yes. And, if Ed Jackson, or anyone you recognize to be representing the Crane clan comes anywhere near the house, I want you to ride into town as fast as you can and get me. Think you could do that for me?"

He shrugged. Eggnog and whiskey? That beat the flat ale he knew Silas would serve him any day. So what if he might not see Cassandra do a harlot dance for Trace, there would be other opportunities for that, he was sure. What Trace was asking of him was a very grown-up responsibility and he suddenly felt very honored and proud that Trace would trust him to do this. It would give him the chance to start proving himself to the cowboy. His chest suddenly puffed out. "Yup. I could do that for ya."

"Great, thanks, I appreciate it."

They agreed on a time, shook on it and Trace climbed on the wagon, heading back to the house.


Before Trace took her shower, Rachel insisted on 'trimming up' her hair. The detective was initially apprehensive about this but then she knew the blonde could not do a worse job than Mark had done. However, she relaxed, when Rachel stood in front of her, concentrating on the top of her head and had to stand between the detective's open legs for proper access.

The part of Trace's hound-dog nature that controlled her libido from her past, reared its head as the detective's face was eye level with Rachel's breasts. Thankfully, the blonde could not see the lascivious grin the brunette displayed as she gazed longingly, just imagining what she would do to them. Just one more day, Trace, she kept telling herself, just one more day...

After a cold shower, something she was getting used to - her next invention would be to figure out how to heat the water - she dried off and dressed in brown denim trousers and a beige button-down shirt with dark brown stripes. Brushing her hair, she decided she liked the trim Rachel had given her, still longish and shaggy but not unkempt. She had gotten used to herself with shorter hair, just like she had started to get used to her body hair growing wild. After all, she was pretending to be a man and men did not shave legs and underarms. She had to admit it was a little awkward at first, especially wearing sleeveless shirts but it certainly helped with the illusion. Although, tomorrow, she would be clean-shaven, smooth for her bride, for her wedding night. Just thinking about that made Trace give herself another splash of cold water.

While Trace had been showering and dressing, Rachel had been preparing the eggnog/whiskey concoction which would be the detective's contribution to the gathering at Wilbur's. Since Silas couldn't close the saloon and Trace didn't want to be paying for drinks for cowboys who weren't a part of the celebration, they agreed on the spiked beverage as a compromise. If the small group of men wanted anything else, they could buy it themselves. It was the best they could do with an event planned on such short notice.

Descending from the loft, the detective approached her bride-to-be, whose eyes roved over Trace more than appreciatively. "My...don't you look...just good enough to eat," Rachel breathed.

Stopping, looking skyward, Trace chuckled. "You have got to stop saying stuff like that..." She stepped closer to Rachel and took her in her arms.

"Why? You want me to admire you, don't you?"

"Oh,'s don't realize the meaning of your words sometimes..."

Rachel cocked her head. "My meaning or how you interpret them?"

Good point, Trace thought, although she knew the blonde would not comprehend the vulgarity of the brunette's interpretation and she was not about to introduce her to that aspect of her least not yet. She preferred Rachel in her pristine state of mind. The idea of the blonde knowing what she did about the vile side of human nature was enough and for her to still maintain her inviolate outlook after everything that had happened to her showed Trace just what kind of woman she was dealing with and one she did not want to change. She enveloped the blonde in her arms, lovingly, and kissed her forehead, then her cheek, then her lips, lingering there, not pressing for anything more intense.

Breaking the kiss, Trace smiled at Rachel, who kept her lips pursed, eyes closed and face angled up waiting, expecting another kiss. When Trace obliged with only a peck, the blonde blinked at her. "That's it?"

"For now. Elizabeth and Matthew are due here any minute and I'm not about to start something I can't finish."

"Big talker," Rachel teased. "You better be able to back those words up tomorrow night..."

"Don't you worry your pretty little head about that, Miz Rachel," Trace countered with a knowing smirk, making the blonde shiver. "I don't think you'll have any complaints."

"Pretty sure of yourself, aren't you?"

Shrugging, the detective released the blonde and shoved her hands into her pockets, rocking back and forth from her heels to the balls of her feet. "Guess you'll just have to wait and see..."

The sound of a creaking wagon and the jingling of reins pulling up to the house interrupted their conversation. Reluctantly taking her eyes off the detective, Rachel stepped out onto the porch to greet the Reddicks.

Matthew Reddick, a strapping young man in his late twenties, entered the house and saw Trace lift the can of whiskey-laced eggnog. "Here, let me help you with that."

"No, I've got it, just make sure my way is clear to the back of the wagon." And with that, they flew by the two women who backed away from the door to let them through.

"Oh, my..." Elizabeth mused, watching Trace. "Got yourself a strong one, don't you? And good looking, too..."

Rachel smiled at the compliment, the adoration on her face and in her body language more than apparent. "Yes, I think I got mighty lucky."

The women walked inside the house while Trace and Matthew situated the can on the wagon. "Sure you want to do this, Trace?" Matthew asked.

"Do what? Go to town and have a good time?"

"No, get married," Matthew grinned. "Your life won't ever be the same."

Looking toward the doorway, Trace sighed, "I hope that's true, Matthew, I hope that's true."



Matthew was surprised to meet up with Isaac Tipping as they were leaving the Triple Y property line. Trace filled the boy's pint flask, like she promised she would and then they parted ways.

"How come Isaac won't be at your stag session?" Matthew wondered.

"He's doing me a little favor."

"Keeping an eye on the house for you?"


"I thought of suggesting that myself but I was hoping it was just me being spooked."

"Ed Jackson is a coward, Matt. And right now he is desperate. I wouldn't put anything past him."

"You think it's wise to leave the ladies? I mean, we could bring them into town and take them to visit with Mrs. Ledbetter..." Matthew suggested.

"We could...but then, that opens a different can of worms. Jackson is a snake but I don't think he would burn the house, barn or stable down with Rachel and Elizabeth there. He doesn't want to kill Rachel, he just wants to save her for Ben Crane. But I don't think he would have any qualms about torching the place while no one is there."

"What do you think he'll do if he finds Rachel and my wife there?"

"You've been dealing with him a lot longer than I have, what do you think he'll do?" Trace wondered.

"Just try to scare them, threaten Rachel, try to warn her off getting married."

"Yes, that's what I think. And Rachel can handle that, Jackson doesn't intimidate her anymore," Trace stated.

"So, what do you think Isaac can do?"

"He's got a fast horse. He can get to town and get us."

Reddick nodded. "You sure you aren't biting off more than you can chew here, Trace? I mean, Ed Jackson's one thing. The Cranes are entirely another."

Looking over at the man seated next to her, Trace said, "You want your town back, Matt? Your freedom? The chance to live your own life and raise your kids not to be afraid?"

"That's a nice dream, Trace...but it's just that - a dream. You don't know what it's like. But you will. And, unfortunately, by marrying the one and only woman Ben Crane really wants, you'll see it a lot clearer than any of the rest of us."

Nodding, acknowledging Matthew's words, Trace sighed. "I think I can turn things around, Matt. But I can't do it alone."

Absorbing that, Matthew cocked his head. "Not that I think you have an ice block's chance in hell but I'd be interested to hear how you think you can do that. And no one's ever called me Matt before." He locked looked over and Trace and grinned. "I like it."


"You have got the whole town talking, Rachel," Elizabeth told the blonde as they sat out on the porch with cups of tea. "This mysterious drifter comes to town, shakes everything up, makes Ed Jackson face every day like he's got a bee in his bonnet and then claims you as his bride? What's going on?"

"I love him, Elizabeth. I think I fell in love with him the moment I laid eyes on him, I just didn't know it," Rachel gushed. "He's strong and loving and protective and fearless, everything a..." she stopped and thought about her words. "Everything a spouse should be."

"It's that fearless part that concerns me and it should full well concern you, too." It sounded as though she were reprimanding the blonde. The her tone softened. "But I can certainly see why you fell for him."


The sun had set maybe two hours earlier and there was a chill in the air that was unusual for that time of year. Pulling his collar up around his neck, Isaac was debating dismounting and sitting down by one of the bigger trees to shield himself from the strong breeze that had just come up. He had positioned himself two rows of trees thick in the forest on the north side of the house. He could see the porch from his viewpoint and was pretty sure no one from the house had seen him or could see him now. The teenager was three-quarters through the contents of his flask and feeling cocky and unconquerable when he heard a voice behind him.

"Whatcha doin' here, Isaac? Gettin' an eyeful or planning on gettin' a piece of that pretty little blonde before she gets taken?"

Reining his horse around, the boy's eyes narrowed when he saw the sheriff. "Don't talk about Miss Rachel like that."

"Funny...just a few weeks ago, you were thinking about her like that," Jackson reminded him.

"No, I was just goin' along with you because you threatened my father's store."

"Well, just remember, son, I can still put your father out of business. Now..why don't you run along back into town and let me do what I have to do. You're missing the festivities. After all, aren't you the best man? How you ever got yourself mixed up in that, I will never know. There's still time to get smart, boy. Now get out of here."

"No." Isaac sat tall in his saddle. "Leave Miss Rachel and Miz Reddick be, Sheriff."

Jackson was startled by his defiance and then he laughed. "And just what do you think a scrawny little thing like you is gonna do to stop me?"

"Ride to town and get Trace and Mr. Reddick."

Jackson considered this. "You know, I could shoot you right here, boy, and no one'd be the wiser."

"You could. But you won't."

The sheriff unholstered his six shooter and pointed it at the teenager. "And what makes you think I won't?"

Holding his head high, the teenager feigned composure he did not really have. He pressed on, not wanting Jackson to see his fear. "Because you're afraid of Trace Sheridan and you know he'd kill you in your sleep if anythin' happens to Miss Rachel."

"Why, you little snot-faced...!" He sputtered, angrily. "I ain't afraid of nobody, 'specially not that half-breed lookin' cowboy. All I'd have to say is that I caught you out here gettin' ready to do somethin' to Rachel and I had to shoot you to stop you."

"Nobody would believe you, Sheriff," Isaac continued, not sure at this point if it was courage or idiocy propelling him forward. "Miz Reddick is in there with Miss Rachel and Mr. Reddick was with Trace when they left and Mr. Reddick knows I'm here and why and it ain't to give either of them ladies trouble. But they was expectin' you would. I ain't tryin' to show you disrespect, Sheriff, but I was asked to make sure you or nobody else went anywhere near them ladies and that's just what I aim to do."

Locking stares, Jackson shook his head and reholstered his gun. "You just bought yourself a whole heap a trouble, boy, you know that, don't ya?"

"I 'spect so, Sheriff." And trouble for his father, too, he was sure. But he did not back down. He believed what Trace promised him about not letting the Cranes take his father's store. "It's up to you, 'course, but if I was you, I'd ride outta here and save yourself a heap a trouble."

"Well, you ain't me, now are ya, boy?" Jackson spit out.

Amen to that, Isaac thought. "No, sir. Just sayin' s'all."

Gritting his teeth, Jackson glared at the teenager, ugly distaste showing in his eyes. "You'll regret this, boy," the sheriff uttered through clenched teeth.

"Yes, sir." The teenager knew there was probably truth to that, as he swallowed hard. No one was more surprised than young Isaac Tipping when Ed Jackson turned his horse around and rode away.

It was only after he could no longer hear the horse's hooves trotting over dried twigs that he let out his breath in a sigh of relief. It was then he realized that his saddle was wet.



The party at Wilbur's was winding down. All of Trace's new friends had been in attendance - Jed and Joseph Turner, Caleb Tipping, Luther Foster, the goldsmith, the banker, the usual men who played cards with Matthew every time Trace was there and even two of the Indians she was doing business with stopped in for a couple shots of whiskey. Trace was surprised but actually pleased when the four old gentlemen who sat in front of the barbershop dropped by and they didn't turn out to be bad company at all.

As the evening wore on, more and more men joined the festivities, deciding they liked this Trace person very much and seemed sincerely happy that Miss Rachel had found someone who seemed honest and would be good to her. When the subject finally got around to the contemptible things Ben Crane had said about the bride-to-be, everyone discreetly admitted they did not believe it and had never believed it.

Everybody only had kind things to say about Rachel and the more the group imbibed, the more the conversation leaned toward grumbling about the Crane reign and how it individually affected them all, not just as business owners but as citizens of Sagebrush, as well. Normally, the fact that John Carver and his son, Seth, were drinking at the bar, listening to every word, would have put a damper on any grousing out loud but, for some reason, Trace's presence was empowering and seemed to make everyone just a bit bolder. The Carvers were not there to listen in as much as they were there to keep an eye on Trace while they knew the sheriff was making a little visit to the Triple Y. The two men allowed the celebration to continue without incident as they were quite sure there would be no wedding the following night.

The highlight of the evening turned out to be Cassandra's very seductive dance, ending it by plunking herself down abruptly Trace's lap. This delighted the mayor, who was willing to buy Trace an hour with the prostitute as a wedding gift. If Jed hadn't offered, Cassandra would have given Trace one on the house anyway. The detective respectfully declined and found herself very uncomfortable with the redhead's constant attempts to cuddle her. She must be in love if she wasn't even taking advantage of the invitation to cop a feel whenever she wanted.

All too soon for some (but not soon enough for Trace), the party was over and Silas was amiably kicking everyone out. All of the attendees promised that they would, indeed, be present at the chapel to witness the marriage of Trace Sheridan and Rachel Young, which pleased Trace because she knew it would be a nice surprise for her bride.

Singing 'Buffalo Gals', loud and off key, Trace and Matthew shushed each other as Isaac Tipping rode up to them. He had heard them long before they reached the entrance to the property. They weren't really drunk...but neither were they sober.

"Hey, Isaac," Trace grinned. "Quiet night?"

"Well, the sheriff did come by just as you 'spected he would."

"What! Why didn't you come and get us?"

The teenager took a deep breath, his damp saddle and britches now starting to chafe. "I told him to leave."

"And he left?" Matthew blinked, shocked.

"Well, not right away. But I told him that you wouldn't take kindly to anything happenin' to Miss Rachel, Miz Reddick or me and he saw my way and rode out."

Trace was impressed. "Why, thank you, Isaac. Obviously, I picked the right man for the job. You are the best man."

Grinning proudly at the compliment, Isaac could feel his chest expand. "Thank you, Trace."

"No, thank you, Isaac." The brunette smiled then started sniffing the air as she was sure she detected the distinct odor of urine and wet leather. "What's that smell?"

"Well, I gotta get goin'," the teenager said, quickly. "I'll see you tomorrow at the church, okay, Trace?"

"Sure. Thanks again, Isaac, I appreciate it."

"Me, too," Matthew shouted at the retreating Palomino.

They looked at each other, shrugged and continued to the house, resuming their horrendous rendition of 'Buffalo Gals.'



"Ooooh, my head," Trace wailed, from the sofa. She had never made it to the loft and Rachel was so annoyed that she didn't even try to assist her. The detective awoke fully dressed, including her boots. "Oh, God, oh, shit," the detective moaned, her head hammering, stomach lurching and the room spinning. Trace remembered that sometimes it helped with 'the whirlies' if she put one foot on the floor. First, she had to find the floor...

"Trace, your language..." Rachel reminded.

"I think I'm going to be really sick," the detective whined, face first into the cushion.

"Then you better get yourself outside to throw up."

"I can't move, my head hurts too bad."

"And whose fault is that?" Rachel was not amused.

"Oh, God, God, please, if you get me through this, I'll never drink again, I swear..."

"That's a hangover talking." Rachel shook her head. "Funny how you're calling for the Lord now..."

"Rachel, don't you have anything to get me through this?" Trace still didn't dare to move.

"I am making you some cabbage soup." The blonde heard the detective make a noise that closely resembled gagging. "It will work." And then she looked pointedly at the brunette prone on her sofa and said, "It better work."


Two hours later, the detective's head had stopped pounding and ginger tea was starting to soothe her nausea. Puking a few times into the bushes hadn't hurt, either. And Rachel's comment of "I've seen more life in a corpse," was said with a little more sting than it should have had. The last thing she wanted was the blonde to be mad at her, especially not with what was at stake following the wedding.

If Trace hadn't looked so pathetic, Rachel might have been able to stay perturbed with her but now that the brunette was beginning to become human again, all the blonde wanted was for the detective to feel better so that their special day would go as smoothly as possible.


Taking her shower, Trace angled the straight razor carefully, running the freshly sharpened blade over her underarms and legs, fortunately only acquiring a few minor nicks. She had never used such an archaic implement as the ivory-handled razor before and respected it immensely, knowing the edge could probably cut a limb off if need be. Oh, how she longed for the gels of the modern world, which softened and moisturized the skin and made shaving a much more tolerable event. However, the matching ivory shaving cup and brush with badger bristles that belonged to Rachel's father, came in handy as she was able to work up a decent lather with the borax soap. The water had been warmed by the sun, which made it a bit more enjoyable and a little easier to remove all the body hair she had accumulated by not having to shave over goosebumps.

Rachel had already been picked up by Matthew and Elizabeth Reddick, who had taken her to Molly Ledbetter's, where she would bathe, address any last minute alteration issues and then get dressed for the wedding. Trace had another half hour before she had to saddle up Chief and head to town. It was her fondest wish to ride in on Rio but the mustang just wasn't ready for his public debut yet.

After binding herself down, the detective put on white button-down shirt that Rachel had boiled clean the day before, her wedding slacks, a grey satin vest and a string tie. Her swallowtail coat with satin lapels that matched her trousers was waiting at the church. Rachel had brought it in on the wagon with her so it would not get all wrinkled. She asked Trace to wear different clothes in and change at the chapel but the detective did not want to take the chance of anyone seeing her undressed.

Taking one last look around the cabin, Trace closed the door behind her knowing that when she returned, she would carry the love of her life over the threshold and they would start a new journey together, beginning it with a much anticipated consummation. At that thought, a rush of heat captured her body and then left as quickly as it had come. Shaking the sensation out of her system, Trace walked down the steps and to Chief, who she had saddled up prior to her shower.

"You have a good wedding. Do not worry about here."

Trace turned to smile at Little Hawk, one of the four Indians who were going to deliver cattle to the ranch. "Thank you. I am grateful to you and Black Feather for watching over the house while we are in town. I will make sure you will not go unrewarded for this."

"You standing against Crane is reward enough." Little Hawk was anything but little. He was burly and barrel-chested and almost as tall as Trace. He had weathered skin and a wrinkled face but he had kind eyes. Trace had not asked the two warriors to come and guard the house. They decided on their own that it would be done. Trace could not have left the homestead in more capable hands.


At Five o'clock, Trace took her place at the alter, with Isaac standing next to her, dressed in his Sunday best. The small church was packed with faces of men Trace had mingled with at her party and women she had never seen before and assumed they must be 'the wives.'

The detective was not accustomed to feeling anxious. She wasn't scared of getting married to Rachel or regretting her decision in any way, yet she was suddenly cold and her insides were shaking. She drew in several deep breaths to steady her nerves.

"Stop fidgeting." The firm yet melodic voice of Pastor Edwards snapped Trace out of it and, as the organ music pealed forth Mendelssohn's Wedding March, startling Trace and Isaac nearly out of their respective skins, she suddenly stood very straight and tall, accepting and acknowledging the full responsibility of this moment.

Everyone turned and looked toward the entranceway as Molly Ledbetter, attired in a dusty rose-colored velvet dress proceeded down the aisle, beaming as though it were her own wedding. When she reached the chancel rail directly in front of the altar, she winked at Trace, who smiled in reflex.

Then Rachel stood in the doorway and began her walk down the aisle. Trace's heart stopped at the sight of the gorgeous women floating toward her, radiantly beautiful in her mother's wedding gown, altered just enough to personalize it as Rachel's. Her hair was braided and held back by sapphire-studded silver combs and she carried a shower bouquet of white asters.

Reaching the altar, Rachel handed her flowers to Molly and Trace took a step forward, standing next to this stunning apparition who, within a matter of minutes was to be her wife. Even though they faced Reverend Edwards, neither woman could take their eyes off each other. When Trace mouthed the words, "I love you," Rachel was sure she was going to pass out from sheer euphoria.


Hearing the organ music was the cue for Ed Jackson and the Carvers to enter the church. Their plan was to stand in the back and wait for the preacher to ask if anyone had reason to object to the union and they would all object...for different made up reasons. And being that Pastor Edwards was never one to cross the sheriff, the marriage ceremony would not be completed.

So, it was with great surprise when Jackson and his sidekicks ascended the steps of the church, their entry was blocked by two fully armed members of the neighboring Indian tribe. The were carrying Remington rifles, Bowie knives, a bow slung across their backs and a full quiver of arrows. The looked like they meant business and they were foolishly brushed by.

"Out of my way, Injun, we got business in the church." It was John Carver who spoke. Then he made the mistake of trying to push the Native American out of his way. The next thing he remembered he was flat on his back, five feet away from the doorway.

"Big mistake, son," Jackson told the young warrior.

"I am not your son. You have no business here," the young man responded.

"I'll throw you in jail, savage!" Jackson yelled at him.

"White man's laws do not mean me. You lock me up, you answer to my father."

Jackson and the Carvers blanched. Could this young warrior blocking their way indeed be the son of Moving Elk, one of the best known and bravest warriors in the plains nations? It had been rumored that he migrated his tribe to a stretch of land a couple miles from Sagebrush. Yes, things may be friendly now but there were horror stories about how the tribal chief had single-handedly cut down platoons of cavalries who dared to attack his family. Did they want to take that chance? John Carver decided for them by getting back up, dusting himself off and keeping his distance. Extremely peeved, he crooked his finger at Jackson.

"Now what, Ed?" Carver glared at the sheriff. "This cowboy isn't turning out to be quite the little pantywaist you thought he'd be. Jacob is not going to be happy with you."

Standing in the middle of the street, stewing, Jackson said, "Maybe it's time we paid a little visit to the Triple Y...if everybody's here, no one will be out there."

With that, the three men ran in the direction of the sheriff's office to find their horses. The two warriors just smiled.


Immediately after the ceremony, where for the first time in the history of Sagebrush, people actually cheered when Pastor Edwards said,'I now pronounce you man and wife,' the invited guests assembled at the home of the minister, where a sumptuous wedding supper was served. The house was very attractively decorated in green and white festoons, tastefully arranged with ferns and asters.

While everyone ate and drank and had a merry time, all the bride and groom could think of was how soon would be an appropriate time to leave. After the dinner, Trace and Rachel were driven by Isaac in a double horse-drawn coach, courtesy of grocer Luther Foster, to the photo gallery, where they had their wedding picture taken.

Returning to the pastor's house, they thanked everyone, bid them goodnight, hitched Chief up to the Reddicks wagon and were taken back to the Triple Y.



Reaching the front door of the house, Trace easily picked Rachel up in her arms, a compelling action that was very typical of the tall detective, which shouldn't have surprised the blonde but it did. It also made Rachel giggle in response to the feeling of being lifted and the chivalrous manner in which her spouse was behaving, obviously taking her role as 'husband' very seriously.

"What are you doing?"

"Indulging in a tradition," Trace responded as she pushed the door open with her foot and carried her bride over the threshold. Kissing the woman in her arms with loving abandon, Trace set her down and bolted the door shut behind them. She turned and admired her 'wife,' who seemed to be glowing, even in the dim light of twilight, enhanced only minimally by a kerosene lamp Rachel lit. "Hi, Mrs. Sheridan," Trace said, unable to disguise the unbridled affection in her voice.

"Hi, Mr. Sheridan," Rachel threw back, her voice just as thick with allure. "It was a nice ceremony, wasn't it?"

Removing her suit jacket, hastily undoing her tie and shedding her vest, she said, "The reception was nice, too. You have a lot of people who love you in this town, Rachel."

"Thanks to you. You brought them all back to me."

Grinning, Trace put on her best old west accent and said, "Why, t'wernt nothin', Miz Rachel. I jes' set 'em straight, s'all." She touched the blonde on her perfectly proportioned nose. "Now what do you want to do?" Her body was almost vibrating with anticipation.

Rachel blushed, slowly peering up at her through honey-hued eyelashes. "How about another tradition?"

Studying her for any hint of trepidation, her taller companion said, "Are you sure? I mean, really sure?"

Not releasing Trace's eyes for a second, her intent clear, Rachel exhaled a shaky breath. "I'm absolutely sure. I've never been more sure of anything in my life."

Enclosing Rachel's hands in her own, Trace said, "Then let's go up there." She nodded her head toward the loft.

"Why up there?" the blonde asked, still not losing eye contact with the tall, striking woman in front of her.

"Total privacy. I overheard a few drunken whispers at the reception about peeking in our windows. Going up there will guarantee our privacy. And I don't want to have to think about any interruptions. I want to be free to be me making love to you, Rachel, not the Trace Sheridan everyone in town knows."

"Me, too," she said, her voice a low quiver. The arc of emotion passing between them was jarring and Rachel was enchanted by it and by the woman standing before her.

"Are you ready?"

"I've been ready," she admitted as she doused the kerosene lantern.

"Well, you were the one who insisted on waiting until the wedding night," Trace nudged the smaller woman as they headed to the stairs.

"That's the proper and traditional thing to do."

"Sweetheart," Trace chuckled, following her bride up the steps, "there isn't anything traditional about this relationship."


"I haven't been in this bed since my Mama died," Rachel told Trace, staring at the quilt her mother had made when the blonde was a little girl.

"Is it okay that we're up here? If it's too painful, we can go back downstairs."

"No. This was my bed. I just started sleeping downstairs because that room smelled like my folks and it made me feel close to them. But you've been sleeping up here and now the pillows will smell like you."

Stepping up behind the smaller woman, her bride, Trace wrapped her arms around Rachel's waist, lacing her fingers together, kissing her on the top of the head. Leaning back into the embrace, the blonde covered Trace's hands with her own. "I love you Rachel Young," the brunette whispered.

"Rachel Sheridan," the blonde corrected, smiling, slapping one of Trace's hands lightly.

"Right, I don't forget that, huh?" Trace grinned, swaying, slowly moving Rachel with her, toward the bed.

"Not if you don't want my wifely duties withheld," the petite blonde teased.

Turning her around, Trace fully focused on her, the look so mesmerizing, Rachel forgot to expel any air from her lungs. "What we're about to do? I guarantee you won't ever consider it a 'duty'."

Breathlessly, the newlywed said, "Show me?"

"Exhale, sweetheart," Trace smiled, "I don't want you passing least not from this." Dipping her head, she placed a gentle kiss on Rachel's lips, intensifying the motion as the blonde urged her on, following her lead. One thing Trace had learned was that Rachel was an extremely quick study, a thought now that made the brunette's body almost tremble with expectation.

Rachel dissolved into the kiss, the sensation of her taller companion's tongue swirling around the inside of her mouth, sensually pillaging everything it touched. Rachel wasn't sure how all this was supposed to go, all she knew was the room was sweltering and spinning and she wanted nothing more than to be laying on the bed with Trace holding her, kissing her, doing things to her that made her cheeks burn deeply.

Removing her lips from Trace's, Rachel gasped for air, sitting on the bed.

Proud of the spell she could cast on this young woman, Trace smiled. "Are you all right? I'll go slow, okay?"

"This can't hurt the baby, can it?" the green eyes almost begged her to say no.

"Nothing that we do tonight, or any night for that matter, will harm the baby, I promise." Trace removed the white shirt she had worn for the ceremony and began to take off the binding, when Rachel stopped her.

"Let me...please?"


The detective nodded silently and handed the blonde the end of her wrap. She slowly spun while the material was unraveled. Before she turned around to reveal her naked breasts, Trace drew a deep breath. It was not that she was suddenly shy and the word 'inhibited' could certainly never be used to describe the detective, but she knew that anything that happened between her and her 'bride' tonight would deeply impact the blonde and how Rachel would react or respond to the thought of their making love from here on.

To her knowledge, Trace had never been with a 'virgin' before. Nor had she ever been with a woman whose only experience with sex had been a horrific, intensely degrading one. The responsibility of showing this lovely and pure-of-heart woman how wonderful making love could and would be was immensely intimidating in its own right but the detective felt almost...blessed...that it would be she who would be Rachel's teacher, lover.

The detective had never before been concerned about what she did in bed or what her 'conquest' may or may not have been feeling, emotionally, although her ego predicted that she also performed to provoke a highly vocal and sexual response from whomever was the recipient of her lust. Actually caring about whatever nameless, faceless woman happened to be in her embrace was just never an issue before. Trace was out for Trace and would have said and done whatever it took to get her prey into bed. But this...being in love thing...was now having a very profound effect on her. Their first time would be an awakening for both of them.

Trace stood there, before her new bride, feeling more exposed than she ever had before. It wasn't that she was naked from the waist up, fully displaying her breasts for the first time to Rachel, it was the way the blonde's appreciative eyes took in every inch of her skin, the reverence in which Rachel regarded her and how time seemed to stand still as the blonde reached up to touch her. Fingertips chilled from excitement and fear caused instant goosebumps on Trace's flesh as Rachel lightly circled the brunette's areola. The dark ring on the detective's breast got smaller as Trace's nipple became impossibly erect. It was torture and they hadn't even begun yet.

Rachel could not stop herself from staring at the womanly physique in front of her. She had been so used to seeing Trace bound down that she had almost forgot the brunette even had breasts, much less the magnificent pair she was now touching. The blonde only had her own body to compare them to and had no idea seeing another woman's would provoke such a beguiling feeling deep inside her.

The brunette exhaled, panting slightly, not even realizing she had been holding her breath. She covered Rachel's hand with her own, pressing the blonde's fingers against her. Trace knew Rachel did not, would not have a clue as to what she needed to do to make love to the detective and it was up to Trace to set the pace, to create the atmosphere in which this night would be one neither of them would soon forget.

Trace watched Rachel as she looked up expectantly into the detective's baby blues, now darkened with desire. The blonde was obviously overwhelmed and a little unnerved by what was happening between them and within her own body.

"I...I...don't...." Rachel could not get the words to come out of her mouth, could barely raise her voice above a whisper.

Reaching over, Trace put a finger to the blonde's lips. "Shhhh...I know," she soothed. Her eyes sparkled as they held the emerald gaze, conveying a deep love and compassion for the woman behind them. Almost imperceptibly shaking her head, just awed by the vision about to give herself to the detective, Trace raised Rachel's hand and kissed her palm, then the inside of her wrist.

Letting go of the blonde's arm momentarily, the brunette sat on the edge of the bed and removed her shoes and socks, then her trousers. She wasn't wearing any underwear. Standing up, she turned to face Rachel again, silently, letting the blonde absorb her toned, muscular, desirable body. Rachel's eyes automatically fell to the dark triangle of curls at the apex of her thighs. It made Trace chuckle, slightly.

"Like what you see?"

Blushing furiously, Rachel closed her eyes and turned her head away. "I'm sorry. I feel so bold. I've never seen another woman bare before."

Leaning in, Trace gently guided the blonde's face straightforward. "Sweetheart, please open your eyes." When the blonde slowly obeyed, the detective said, "I want you to look at me. I want you to get comfortable looking at me like this. You have no need to feel embarrassed or bold, no need to apologize. I intend to make love with you every chance I get and I refuse to do it with my clothes on. Okay?"

"Okay," Rachel responded but did not drop her gaze from the detective's face.

Nodding, the detective sat back down on the bed. "And I want you to get comfortable with me looking at you with no clothes on. Because I intend to do that a lot."

"Even when my belly gets big?"

"Especially when your belly gets big."

"Oh my Lord, Trace, whatever you are going to do, would you hurry up and get started? My blood is starting to stir something awful," Rachel admitted, breathlessly.

If the blonde hadn't been so serious about it, Trace would have laughed at the tension breaker. She could not suppress her smile at Rachel's admission to getting ready to burst. "Stand up. I want to undress you."

Complying, Rachel helped only when she had to as the naked detective removed all of the blonde's clothes. In no time at all, Rachel was standing nude before her 'husband.' Ranching and farming were certainly a workout and Rachel's body showed it. Except for a very slight, almost unnoticeable bulge in the blonde's abdomen, there was not once ounce of excess skin anywhere. Rachel's creamy white complexion was all muscle, femininely defined. Her breasts were in perfect symmetry with the rest of her figure, tantalizingly round and firm and just begging to be caressed. Trace could not stop herself from licking her lips. Suddenly the aroma of arousal was everywhere.

"Oh my God, Rachel. You are so beautiful," Trace commented in a tone of near worship.

"Like what you see?" Rachel asked, not feeling half as shy as she expected to.

Stepping forward, the detective took the blonde in her arms and kissed her feverishly, pressing their bodies together, both women craving the full contact. At first, Rachel was stiff but within seconds, she relaxed, molding her form to Trace's warm contours.

Knowing they both needed to lay down before they fell down, the tall detective masterfully took the weight of the smaller woman and eased her back onto the bed, breaking the contact only once, to position the blonde and climb on top of her. Resting the length of herself over her wife, Trace kissed Rachel's lips until she was sure they must be swollen and bruised. Moving to her forehead, nose and cheek, the detective then nibbled on the blonde's earlobe, causing Rachel's entire body to tremble. From there she blazed a trail down the blonde's neck and shoulder.

"Oh, my, Trace, I have never felt like this before. I never knew the places you are kissing could feel like this."

"You ain't seen nothin' yet," Trace promised. She kissed to the base of the blonde's throat and then rested her face there. "Rachel...I know what I want to do to fulfill your desires. But if I do anything that hurts you or makes you uncomfortable, I want you to tell me, all right?"

"Must we discuss this now?" she asked, a little impatiently, between breaths coming in spurts.

"Yes. I'm just making sure you know that you do not have to do anything you don't want to do."



"Please hush up and make love to me."

That did prompt Trace to laugh. "As you wish, my lady." She rose up and kissed the blonde again, more passionately than she ever had before. If Rachel had the ability to melt, she would have been a puddle in the brunette's arms. The blonde watched, as Trace kissed down her chest, fascinated as the detective hovered over her breast. The brunette knew, because of Rachel being pregnant, the hormonal changes would make her erogenous areas much more sensitive. She would have to remind herself not to stimulate her partner to the point of being irritated. After all, it was all about giving Rachel pleasure and hopefully replacing the painful experience of her first time, not reminding her of it.

The detective placed her mouth on Rachel's nipple and began flicking it with her tongue. Hearing a sharp intake of breath and a hiss, Trace knew the blonde was experiencing a new, positive sensation. When Trace started to lightly suck on the rock hard bud, Rachel grabbed a handful of the detective's hair and squeezed with the same amount of intensity she was feeling. Lingering on her left breast until such a time where Rachel's chest was rapidly rising and falling, Trace then moved over to give equal time to the blonde's right breast, while still rolling and slightly pinching Rachel's nipple between her thumb and forefinger.

"Oh, lord in heaven, Trace..." Rachel sighed, holding onto the detective's head.

"You like this?" Trace's voice was low, husky, thickly laced with desire. The brunette only lifted her face long enough formulate words, her warm breath on the blonde's wet nipple sending another shiver through Rachel.

" feels wonderful. Please don't stop," she breathed to her partner. If this was all Trace did to her, it would surely be enough. But she knew there was more to being made love to than this. She had figured out since the detective didn't have the proper equipment to penetrate her and her loins were begging for it, that Trace would no doubt use her fingers. That was exciting enough but when the brunette began kissing down her ribcage, taking special care to lavish extra affection on her belly and then went further down...well, this certainly had never occurred to her...Where was she going? What was she going to do? What - oh, Jesus, Jesus, that felt...oh good God...!

The detective nuzzled the soft blonde curls that smelled like a mixture of sex and lavender soap, then kissed the line that, when parted, would reveal the secrets of Rachel's very being and make her feel born again. Running her tongue the full length, Trace pushed through, feeling Rachel jump, then settle as she let an involuntary moan escape her. Slowly, gently, the detective located that little bundle of nerves, the only spot in the human body solely put there for pleasure and served no other purpose, and ravished it in a desperately tender manner, gauging Rachel's reaction as she did, taking cues when to go faster, when to slow down, when to add pressure and when to back off. Tasting this woman beneath her, remembering that this was all new to the blonde, knowing what she was doing to her brought Trace to the edge herself, the tingling warmth between her own legs building to its own crescendo.

Rachel had never felt anything like this before and wasn't quite sure how to respond. She had no idea another human being could make her feel this way, could make her feel like her entire body was ready to explode in a sensation of such ecstasy she didn't think she was going to survive it. She didn't even realize she was rocking to a rhythm Trace had set with every stroke and thrust of her tongue. Suddenly, an indescribable, wonderful feeling ignited right in the area the detective was concentrating on and radiated outward to every nerve in her body and then just intensified to a glorious white heat that continued to grow until she lost her breath. Her lower body spontaneously convulsed, racked with pleasurable waves and as Trace sucked every last drop of orgasm from her soul, she thought she was going to lose her mind from sheer bliss.

And then, so overpowered by what she had just experienced, Rachel began to weep.

Crawling quickly up the blonde's torso, Trace embraced Rachel securely. "Shhh, shhh, it's okay..." The detective soothed, kissing the blonde's forehead.

Holding onto the detective as though her life depended on it, Rachel cried into Trace's neck. "I...I have never felt anything like that"

Giving her an extra squeeze, Trace cuddled the blonde, smiling. "It's okay, baby, I understand." Although this wasn't quite the reaction she expected, she found it touching and endearing. The fact that the detective could produce that kind of emotion from Rachel made her heart pound in her chest. She had never brought anyone to tears before.


Following several soft words of love and reassuring kisses, Trace lightly ran her fingers in wide, lazy circles over Rachel's stomach, once again moving toward and targeting the blonde's lower body.

The blonde quivered everywhere the brunette's hand brushed. "Oh, lord, you're going to touch me there again..."

"Mmm hmmm," Trace intoned. "Unless you would rather I didn't..."

Green eyes snapped open and glared at her. "Don't you dare stop now, Trace Sheridan, why, that would just be cruel."

The detective erupted into a deep, throaty chuckle as she fondled damp curls that now appeared almost auburn. She began to gently stroke the area that had just taken the blonde over the edge, causing Rachel to cling to Trace's shoulders as once again, thrilling, titillating sensations seized her brain, holding her body hostage, releasing itself only when she no longer had the strength to grip the detective or even form a fist to grasp a handful of sheet.

Not waiting until Rachel was completely recovered, Trace gathered some moisture and inserted a finger very slowly, drawing it out and pushing it in a little further with each thrust. The detective locked eyes with the blonde, who could still not formulate thought at this point, much less speak, as Trace watched for any signs of emotional or physical discomfort. She saw nothing but want and desperate need in Rachel's expression and while the detective steadily and leisurely drove her finger into the blonde, Trace gently kissed her, silently conveying the love and desire that she inherently felt for her receptive lover.

"Baby," Trace whispered in Rachel's ear, "does this feel good?"

"Oh, yes," The blonde could barely get out.

"I'm going to add a second finger...I think I can make it more enjoyable for you. But if it is too much, you tell me, okay?"

"Okay," Rachel agreed. She trusted Trace implicitly and if the brunette thought it would make it better then she would believe her. Yet, when the detective removed the one finger, Rachel grabbed Trace's wrist. "No..."

"Shhh, it's all right." Trace's comforting tone and kiss on the forehead calmed the blonde as the detective ran her fingertips around Rachel's opening, gathering more wetness from the abundance pooled there and then delicately, easily slid inside, once more increasing her depth slowly with each push.

Rachel didn't think she could feel rapture beyond anything that she had already experienced. Any more would certainly drive her to madness. Yet what Trace was doing and the way Trace wouldn't take her eyes off her enticed the blonde to near frenzy and as close to heaven as she was sure she would ever get without actually dying. The sensation of Trace's strong fingers thrusting inside her in a blissful cadence was exhilarating enough but when she curled them and began massaging a certain spot, Rachel couldn't stop her eyes from rolling back in her head and uttering moans of ecstasy with each expelled breath. She was quickly approaching orgasm but this one felt different, this one felt almost ecumenical in its origin and when her insides exploded, the climax shook her to her core, sizzling out to her extremities then back through to her groin.

The blonde laid there, thoroughly winded, chest heaving, not at all sure she was even going to survive, not having the strength to fight it if the Lord wanted to take her at that very minute. When she was able to focus, she looked up into the most loving, caring eyes she had ever seen.

"How're you doing?" Trace asked, unnecessarily. She had wanted to make this experience memorable for the blonde. She was pretty sure she succeeded. And she almost had a sympathetic orgasm with Rachel on that last one.

When Rachel regained the capability to vocalize sound, she said, "I love you, Trace Sheridan. I never knew my body had the ability to do that."

"'ve never..."

"Never what?" Her voice was cautious.

" that to yourself?"

"What? Oh, heavens, no!" Since her whole body was already flushed, it was hard to tell if she was blushing. "Do that?"

"All the time."

Rachel's eyes grew wide. "You do?" Off Trace's nod, the blonde said, "Is that because you don't have anyone to do that for you?"


"Well, now you have me." Rachel's smile was so sincere and her words were stated in such a decisive manner, that Trace couldn't help but fall in love with her all over again. "In fact," she reached up, taking the detective's face in her hands and pulled Trace toward her, "let me do it for you now..." The blonde kissed the brunette with such wantonness, Trace was at the point where all Rachel would have to do was touch her and it would be over.


Late into the night, an hour after both women had finally fallen asleep, Trace's arm circled around Rachel's waist, the blonde snuggled tight against her solid frame, the detective awoke to kisses on her eyelids. The soft lips moved to Trace's cheek and then mouth, an insistent tongue finding its way inside, provoking the detective to respond regardless of being oblivious in slumber. Without too much coaxing, Trace climbed into full consciousness to find Rachel half on top of her, lips fused to her own and the blonde's hand stroking her with such precision, it was as though she had been doing it all her life.

With very little guidance and direction, Rachel found the exact spot that incited a rush of arousal, a sharp, electrifying passion that enveloped Trace and overtook her in a way that was new, freeing and more exciting than she had ever known.

Growling, the detective flipped the blonde onto her back and wasted no time, spreading Rachel's legs, putting them over her shoulders and diving in. She was a little less gentle this time, a little less patient as Rachel seemed almost greedy for the sensory overload she knew was deliciously inevitable. The blonde came quickly, riding out every ripple as it surged around her like a whirlpool creating a vortex she never wanted to stop. When she descended from nirvana, Trace took her again, encouraging her not to hold back, to let it all out vocally and sexually, which Rachel did, surprised to discover how much it enhanced the experience. She hadn't even noticed that the detective had pleasured herself while bringing Rachel to climax, coming about thirty seconds behind her. Settling the blonde contentedly back in her arms, both women fell asleep, spent, exhausted, sated.

Two hours later, Rachel's kissing the back of Trace's neck and fondling the detective's breast, stirred her awake again. Smiling, the brunette said, "I think I've created a monster..."


To Be Continued

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