A Quest Ridden on Behalf of Love
JM Dragon and Erin O’Rielly
©J M Dragon 2000
e-mail: jmdragon@jmdragon.net
e-mail: eorielly@yahoo.com


This story features consensual relationship between adult women with graphic descriptions. If this bothers you, is illegal in the State, Province or Country you live or if you are under the age of 18, close this page immediately and find something more appropriate to read.

Expletives are used.

Yep, right from the get go.

There is definitely some hurt/emotional discomfort with some brief scenes of angst and heartache to be dealt with by the characters.

Author’s Note:
Back in the year 2000 I wrote a story that has lain on the shelf waiting for more work. I enlisted Erin to collaborate with me in finishing the story. This is the result of our work together. I hope you enjoy our tale. JM

Part Three

Jealousy, Hurt And Anger

For all of her success in business, Kate failed miserably in her relationship with the farm’s trainer. She paced around Lena’s ranch house touching the grand piano lovingly as she fantasized about silver linings and the privacy of the ranch house. What am I going to do to get Lena back in my life? What a fool I was, but she shouldn’t have pushed me. How do I get her back? She wondered as she crawled into Lena’s bed and took in the wonderful aroma that she recognized. Soon she was fast asleep, dreaming of the woman who had her heart. Then she would wake and realize how alone she was.

It didn’t take long after Lena left Merridoc, for Kate’s father to call her wanting to know how she let it happen.

"Kate, you know the reputation of a farm relies heavily on the trainer. It’s as important as the horses, maybe more so."

"I know Dad." Kate said dejectedly as she sat at the baby grand, gently touching the keys.

"What are you going to do for a trainer? Better yet, what are you going to do to get Corkill back?"

Kate sighed, now was not the time to have her father lecture her about business. "It’s my venture, Dad, I will take care of it." She effectively ended the conversation. Her heart was breaking and the farm and business held no interest for her.

"You have too much invested, Kate. This could ruin everything you’ve worked so hard for!"

"I know. Don’t worry, you know me, I always bounce back." She said, trying to sound light and unconcerned.

Carl Lawrence wasn’t buying his daughter’s story, but knew that this was not the time to hassle her further. He would leave it up to his wife to find out what happened. "Okay, why don’t you give your mom a call? She’d like to hear from you."

"I will, Dad. Bye."

Sighing, she thought about her father’s words and knew that she needed to talk with someone who understood and could give her sound advice. Picking up the phone, she dialed a familiar number.


"Mom, what am I going to do?"

"Katie, what’s happened?"

"I lost her, Mom. She’s gone and I don’t know what to do." The words tumbled out of her mouth.

Thanks to Carmen, Belinda Lawrence knew what her daughter was speaking about, but wanted her to tell the story. "Lost? Who did you lose, honey?"

A small, sad voice replied. "Lena, I’ve lost Lena, she’s left."

Shaking her head, Belinda recalled Kate’s face when she spoke of the trainer. "Lena, your trainer at Merridoc, is gone. I’m surprised, especially after the three wins at Hialeah. What happened?"

Kate launched into her version of the events leading up to Lena’s departure. "What should I do, Mom, how do I get her back?"

Belinda smiled into the phone. For all her practical understanding in the business world, her daughter certainly lost in the relationship department. Kate was the consummate flirt who rarely followed up with actions. But, something was different when she spoke of the trainer. Belinda could tell that Kate was smitten, but at the same time, her daughter felt out of her element.

"Katie, have you tried to call her?"

"Mom, if you’d seen the look in her eyes, you wouldn’t ask that. I think she hates me." With that realization, Kate felt the pangs of losing something very important in her life. "I don’t know what to do or how to act."

"What are you feeling, sweetheart?"

"Sadness, anger, hurt, betrayal…most of all I feel empty. Does that make sense? I miss her, Mom."

Again, Belinda smiled. How much a child her daughter was in the affairs of the heart. "Yes, it makes perfect sense. Give it a few days and then give her a call. You will know what to do when you hear her voice."

"I'm not sure I can do that. Merridoc belongs to me, she had no right accusing me of wrongdoing! She should call me first."

"Katie, will you cool down for a moment and listen to me?"

Kate sighed. "Sure." she said sharply.

"If you do nothing, Katie, that's exactly what you'll get. If she's important to you, it doesn't matter who was right or wrong. Don't let pride ruin something special in your life." Belinda said with compassion.

"I will try. Thanks for listening, Mom. I love you."

"Anytime, Katie, I love you too. Let me know how it works out."

"I will. Bye."

Hanging up the phone, Kate left Lena’s house, going to the barn to check on Brownsley…she would be certain the horse came to no harm.

"Hello there, Kate." The voice said out of the darkness.

Startled, Kate turned to see Cornelia standing in the shadows of Brownsley’s stall.

"What are you doing there?" She said accusingly.

Cornelia laughed. "I’m checking on the horse, I am the vet here." Coming out of the darkness, she moved in on Kate. "The horse is coming long just fine, she should be ready for full training shortly."

"Great, that's good to hear." Kate said distractedly as she looked the horse over.

"Kate, would you like to join me for dinner tonight? We could go from here when I’m done for the day. Of course, I will need to go by my home to shower, but then we could go to a quiet, out of the way place I know."

Looking at the vet, Kate smiled her nicest smile. "Sorry, not tonight. I need to get going…looks like that bandage needs to be changed." She said pointing to Brownsley’s hoof before she left the stall, then the barn.

Cornelia watched the owner leave with a sly smile. "It will only be a matter of time, Kate, then you will be mine." Then an evil laugh ensued. "Stop fighting what I have in store for you, Kate. And, what a delight it will be to take you." Turning back to the horse, she wondered what would happen if that precious horse came up lame? Guess we’d have to put her down and that will finish them forever. Hmmm

* * * * *

Lena watched the prancing of Dustwind in the field; he certainly was a wonderful example of superior breeding. Although, by her thoughtful expression, it seemed she was concentrating on the stallion's activities, her mind was definitely on the small blonde woman with the green eyes. Lena arrived unexpectedly at her family’s home after her altercation with Kate. In her hasty departure from Merridoc, she only brought what she could be thrown into a suitcase, along with the one she hadn't unpacked from the Hialeah trip. All her other personal possessions were left behind, including her piano. In the past, she found solace in playing heavy pieces when relationships floundered and light ones when they flourished.

This sadness was different from any she had ever experienced before; the loss of Kate was consuming her life. Sure, I instigated the separation, but Kate completely disregarded my opinion when it came to the vet. Obviously, she lacks trust in my skills as a trainer. If Kate can't trust my judgement, we can’t have much more than a superficial relationship. Guess I was fooling myself in thinking Kate was interested in a long-term friendship that would evolve into a romance.

So caught up in her thoughts, Lena didn’t notice her father waving his arm to attract her attention. It wasn’t until she heard her friend, Sue speak, that she noticed she wasn’t alone anymore.

"Hi, Lena." Sue smiled as she propped herself up against the fence next to the taller woman. "It’s not like you to let someone sneak up on you. Must have been some heavy thinking you were doing."

Lena chose to ignore the remark. "Hi yourself. How's the family?" Lena tried to smile, but sadness was evident in her eyes.

"Paul and Fiona are well, what about you?" Sue asked, her voice showing concern at the gaunt look of her friend.

"Not doing bad." She said as she looked off into the distance. She needed a diversion from her anxiety over Kate and was glad for Sue’s visit. "Hey, how would you like to join me for lunch today?"

"Sure, thought you'd never ask." Sue linked her arm in her friend’s and they moved away from the fence.

"How about the Western Spur?" This was a local favorite, known for great ambience and excellent food.

"Works for me." The expression on her friend’s face confirmed what Seymour said about his daughter’s morose mood. Hopefully getting away from the farm, if only for a couple of hours, would help her friend. According to Seymour, Lena had been like a bear with a sore head for the last couple of weeks. Maybe she will open up to me, Sue thought, yeah, when pigs fly.

Climbing into Lena’s truck, Sue smiled once again. "This is going to be great, just like old times. We can giggle and share secrets and do the fashion police thing."

At last, a genuine smile crossed Lena’s face. "We did have good times, didn’t we? I’m glad you came by, Sue." Then she turned the key and they set off for town. This was just what Lena needed, two old friends out together without the entanglements of love.

* * * * *

Outwardly, Kate was the beautiful, confident and successful owner of Merridoc Farms; inwardly her heart was breaking. She had dressed specifically today to impress her lunch date, Cornelia Cambridge. Although her head said it might be time to move on, her heart wasn’t agreeing, but she would try it. What can it hurt, she thought.

Once the news spread that Lena had left Merridoc unexpectedly, Cornelia had pressed home her advantage by sending Kate a barrage of messages and phone calls. The vet knew that eventually the woman would break down and accept one of them; Cornelia only needed to get her foot in the door. Considering Kate’s fragile state of mind, it would be easy to woo her and ultimately take her. It took two weeks and numerous invitations, but finally Kate relented and accepted a lunch date. Cornelia smiled to herself as her plan was finally taking shape. She will be mine and I will exact my revenge on that bitch, Lena. Watching Kate walk towards her, she could feel herself react in anticipation of bedding the woman.

"Hi, Cornelia. How are you today?" Kate asked pleasantly.

"Great now that you’re here." The vet slid her arm into Kate’s as they walked towards the Western Spur.

It was hard for Kate not to want the arm in hers and her lunch date to be Lena. Nevertheless, she chatted amicably about the weather and the farm as they approached and entered the restaurant.

As Cornelia spoke to the waiter about a table, Kate scanned the room and the occupants. Her senses picked up the tall presence of the woman who haunted her dreams. There, in a discreet corner, she and a companion were sitting laughing and having what appeared to be a good time. Lena's body language expressing that she was relaxed and familiar with the woman opposite her. Kate's stomach flipped over several times and she felt the stab of jealousy aim itself, with precision, into her heart. Lena seems so happy…has she forgotten me already!? I should go over there and douse her with water! She thought as her emotions raged relentlessly. At that moment, Cornelia gently touched her arm to indicate the waiter was ready to seat them.

Well two can play this game! Kate thought, and to Cornelia's delighted surprise, linked their arms and strolled leisurely towards the table. Kate made certain she steered Cornelia past Lena’s table.

Shocked, Lena shook her head at the vision strolling towards her. There, on the arm of the vet, was the woman who had not been out of her thoughts for the past two weeks. Lena held her breath as Kate closed the distance between them. She desperately wanted to stand up and take Kate in her arms, but stopped as Kate silently glided by, neither speaking nor glancing in her direction. Lena remained glued to her seat with an unfocused, hurt expression on her face.

Kate is seeing that woman! Wasn't our friendship worth anything at all? Now I know why Kate allowed the surgery to Brownsley…she’s obviously involved with that woman! God, why does it hurt so much? I should just forget her and get on with my life. Lena was confused, injured and felt her world collapsing. How could I have been so wrong? Even now, seeing Kate with Cornelia, Lena’s heart cried out for the woman. No matter what happened, she couldn’t stop thinking or dreaming of her.

"Are you okay, Lena?" Sue had seen Lena's expression change as Kate Lawrence had walked past their table. The marked silence between them now, convinced Sue, more than at any other time, that her friend had fallen desperately in love; it was all in the things you don't say sometimes.

Lena finally regained her composure and gave Sue a weak smile. "Yeah, guess I must have indigestion or something." Lena quipped back half-heartedly.

Sue smiled at her friend and patted the hand resting on the table. "How about we leave and tomorrow we try again, but this time I'll bring Fiona, what do you say?"

Lena smiled brightly at the mention of Sue's child. "Yeah, good idea, maybe they'll take the reason for the indigestion off the menu."

Sue looked at her friend and smiled ruefully. "Hope so my friend, I certainly do."

With that, they left the restaurant and its occupants.

Watching Lena and her friend leave the restaurant put Kate’s mind into overdrive. Where are they going, what will they do? Did I mean so little to her that she could cast me aside so quickly. Her heart was breaking and that colored her lunch date with Cornelia. The meal became a chore as she carried on, without enthusiasm, no matter how charming and attentive Cornelia was.

Cornelia was fuming. She finally was on a date with Kate and whom do they run into…the bitch! Everything she did or said received half-hearted replies and smiles. She will be mine. No way am I letting her go now that she’s accepted me into her life. Lena will pay for this big time. Her mind strayed back to Brownsley and the progress the mare was making. Yes, she will pay.

* * * *

Kate arrived in town for an appointment with her lawyers with a half-hour to spare. Walking down the main street, she glanced into the shop windows with disinterest, her natural effervescent nature subdued. Her world shattered the day before, when she saw Lena and her date.

Catching sight of a reflection, she was sure she recognized, she was greeted by the tall back of Lena Corkill putting a child's bicycle into the back of a truck. The child then hugged the tall woman who lifted her off her feet and swung her round. Obviously, they were having a good time as they were laughing at the playful display. Kate wasn't sure why she continued to watch, but she did, her heart rapidly beat to a tempo she tried to ignore.

Lena walked around to the driver’s side of the truck and hugged the woman Kate had seen her with the day before. Even though the woman and child were leaving separately, it was clear they were very friendly, and to Kate's jealous mind, too friendly, much too friendly!

Lena, unaware she was being watched, continued to wave to the child until the truck was out of sight. Lena turned and moved towards her truck amazed with the speed in which a small tornado appeared in front of her. Only it wasn't a tornado, it was Kate Lawrence.

Kate was angry, upset, jealous and in love! Nothing was more aggravating than to have your emotions revealed in the middle of Main Street. Taking her emotions in hand, she stomped towards Lena intent on getting to her before she left.

"You...you couldn't even wait a decent period of time could you?" Kate was inches from Lena's face as she threw out the accusation and pointed her finger at the dim outline of the vehicle, which held Lena's friends.

Lena stunned by the voracious attack and before she had time to say anything, saw Kate turn on her heel and stomp away at break neck speed. What the hell happened here?

Lena shook her head and gave out a hearty laugh, as she finally understood the meaning of the words Kate angrily threw in her face. Kate is jealous, completely eaten up with the emotion! I acted the same way yesterday when I saw her with Cornelia. Damn this feels good, now we both know the score. The only problem is we need to talk to clear up the issues and it doesn’t look like it is going to happening any time soon! Damn, pride. I won’t be the first to give in…she started it by letting the vet do unnecessary surgery. Shit, what am I going to do? Lena considered all her available answers to this dilemma as she absently climbed into her truck for the ride home.

* * * * *

Who Says Don Quixote Was The Only One With A Quest?

Kate was totally miserable. She hadn't meant to confront Lena with her jealous anger but it happened. Her hope, that Lena would contact her to discuss her comment, didn’t happen, which broke her heart even more. As hard as she tried, she couldn't muster the reserves necessary to banter with the employees as she had done in the past. On more than one occasion she workers asked if Lena planned on coming back or did Kate have plans to replace her soon. The training continued as per Lena's rigorous schedule allowing the horses to be fit for this year at least. Kate knew that before winter, she needed a replacement for Lena, or the plans for Merridoc would fall by the wayside.

Now, Kate’s heart didn't care about Merridoc and its future. Her thoughts were on one stubborn and beautiful, blue-eyed woman who captured her heart and convinced it that it would only ever be happy when it was close to hers. Yet, we were only ever friends…right? Lena haunted her every thought and dream. How can I get her back? She thought as she watched Dr. Matlack come towards her.

"Kate, my dear, about the mare, Brownsley is the name, right?" The man, who was close to her father's age, was not only a friend of the family, but a reputable, and noted veterinarian.

The doctor was a kind man whose arrival at Merridoc came at the request of her father. On her recent visit home, he was certain his daughter was happy; now it was very clear to him she wasn't. Once his wife managed to untangle some of the story from Kate, he asked his friend, Michael Matlack, to give a second opinion on the surgery that Cambridge had performed.

"Yeah! How is she?" Kate took his arm as they walked towards the main house.

"She's fine, Kate, she's recovered very well from the surgery, but...." The older man looked at the young woman, who held his arm, when she stopped at his hesitation.

"But?" Kate asked him. Not only was she aggravated with the situation with Lena, but also at the intrusion of her father in the events at Merridoc. She was furious with him; she didn’t need Daddy interfering with her business decisions.

"It was an unnecessary procedure and could have caused difficulty if the mare hadn't been well tended after the surgery. Furthermore, Kate, I'm not sure further problems won't arise from this particular surgery. Why did your head trainer approve this? Lena Corkill is an excellent judge of form in a horse, it's not like her?" The older vet asked, although he already knew some of the background, but it was a starting point.

Kate looked at him and her anger flared, although she tried to keep it under control. "She didn't, I approved this treatment with the professional advice of Dr. Cambridge, the veterinarian on Merridoc."

The older man smiled at her warmly, knowing that her emotions were boiling. "I see. There have been rumors, of course, about some of Dr. Cambridge's decisions; especially when it comes to her professional reputation."

Kate listened intently. This would either confirm or blow out of the water what Lena implied, that first day on Merridoc. She was going to find out the truth one way or the other. "Go on."

"Well, it's known in some circles that Dr. Cambridge considers that putting an animal down, rather than admitting her surgery hasn't cured the problem, is fairly common. Not to mention, you have one of the most powerful reasons for her wanting to hurt animals on your property…Lena Corkill." The older man noted Kate's sharp intake of breath with the last comment and continued. "There are rumors and only Ms Corkill would be in a position to confirm them, of course, that Dr. Cambridge is exceptionally jealous of Lena for apparently dumping her years ago in Lexington. The problem was so severe, Dr. Cambridge had to move to Florida." There was a slight hesitation before he added. "She did have quite the reputation around the racing circuit there for her numerous affairs. There must have been fireworks when those two met up again, I wouldn't wonder."

Kate turned her head away from the older man so he couldn't see the tears of frustration her ignorance and stupidity caused. "Yeah, fireworks, no one struck a light near those two, that was for sure. Do you know what Lena's nickname is for Cornelia? Cruella." The older man laughed at the young woman's attempt at light banter when he knew that his words had wounded her badly.

Once she had seen Dr. Matlack to his car, Kate walked back to her house with a heavy heart. The information she received from the doctor was overwhelming and distressing. Lena had been right about everything. I had been so blind and prideful that I didn't take the time to consider if Lena's information had any merit. Now, what am I going to do? I haven’t a clue, not even a small one!

* * * * *

Lena had been doing meaningless tasks for her father and it was getting on everyone's nerves. It was her miserable attitude which finally prompted Seymour to take his daughter by the hand, take her aside and hopefully talk some sense into her, or at least try.

"Look, Lena, we love you, but you're driving us all crazy. Either you go and talk to the girl or you get over it pronto!" Seymour challenged his daughter and saw the flash of anger appear in her cobalt blue eyes, just like her mother when she was upset and angry.

"Dad, it's not that simple!" Lena cried out.

"Isn't it? You love her, so go and tell her and stop all this meaningless heartache." Seymour said firmly.

"Dad, please! I want to talk to her, I really do, but it's hard. I was the one who exploded. I didn't even give her a chance to explain." Lena collapsed down on the hard wood of the porch next to her father's wheelchair.

He placed a gentle hand on her dark locks and he stroked them much as he would a skittish, nervous filly. This wonderful woman sitting beside him was his pride and joy; yet, he knew in his heart that she was wrong. "I love you, Selena. I don't like seeing you like this. Wouldn't it be better to go and talk to Kate instead of allowing this to escalate? Everything worth having in life, Honey, comes with a price attached. Perhaps yours is shredding that damn pride and going cap in hand to win her back." Seymour explained.

"If that was all it asked of me, then I'd be there now!" Lena gazed wistfully towards the farm entrance.

"What else is there, Lena?" Why did she persist in putting obstacles in the way of wonderful opportunities? Kate Lawrence was a rather unique opportunity, he thought.

"Guess I need to consider the options, Dad. Think I'll go fishing, I could do with the peace and quiet and some time to think. Thanks for the advice, Dad, I love you too!" Lena pulled herself up from the deck and kissed her father's cheek before she walked towards the barn to collect her fishing rod and tackle box stored there.

Seymour shook his head as he watched her mount her horse and ride away towards the river. Anna brought out iced tea and glanced in the direction of her husband's gaze. "Will she be alright, Seymour?"

Smiling at his wife, he held out his hand for her to hold, as she sat in the chair closest to his wheelchair. "Yes, of course she will, Honey. She's our daughter and at some stage, she's going to take the initiative and that little lady over at Merridoc, who has captured her heart, will never know what hit her." They both watched Lena and her horse become a small pinpoint in the distance. Both parents were very concerned about this situation, but both knew Selena would reach her own decision only after weighting every avenue. The Love Avenue was new to her, and obviously, it would take a little getting use to on Selena's part.

* * * * *

Kate had finally given in to her other great love, horseback riding along the river. At other times, it had brought her a measure of peace she sorely needed. Now, after her father’s vet had confirmed everything that Lena had implied months ago she was conflicted and confused. For Kate, the most distressing news was Lena and Cornelia being lovers. All Kate wanted was to love Lena and for Lena to return that love unconditionally.

Gently kicking her horse to a full gallop, she let the wind blow in her face as she tried to erase her thoughts. She needed to completely clear her mind before she could make a judgement on what to do. Off in the distance she saw a familiar horse. Slowing down the pace as they drew nearer, Kate was positive that under the cluster of old live oaks the grey horse tethered close to the river’s edge was Lena's. No horse had the same coloring as the mare Lena rode with arrogance, horse and rider at one with each other. Kate considered the problem; should she move on or stop and talk? Kate was hesitant. Finally, with a sharp intake of the thick afternoon air, she dismounted. Approaching the back of her tall friend, she saw the relaxed stance leaning back against a log with a fishing rod held leisurely in her hand.

Lena had seen Kate approach from a distance; only Kate rode her horse that way. Although Lena teased her mercilessly about her posture, Kate was the most adorable sight on the back of a horse that Lena had ever seen in her life. She heard the hoof beats slow and stop close to her position and could feel the change in the air space as Kate approached her back. Well I've had enough of this stupid insecure lovelorn shit to last me a lifetime. If she speaks, that's my cue...I only need one word to tumble from those lovely lips, just one! Lena thought as she concentrated on the soft footfalls of her friend.

Kate was feeling trepidation and a complex mix of other emotions as she approached her friend. How come in the movies it is always so simple?

"Lena." Kate softly entreated the other woman to turn and look at her.

Lena had been ready for this for what seemed like a lifetime and turned to face Kate. Drinking in the sight before her seemed similar to being a dying man in the desert that finds an oasis just in time. Deliberately she put her rod and reel down and moved from her position at the riverbank to take the few steps to be closer to Kate. She simply pulled her into an embrace that left no doubt in Kate's mind that they both felt the same emotional upheaval.

Their first kiss was an exploration of the senses. It burst any conceivable bubble of knowledge they had ever experienced in previous relationships. The melding of bodies that hungered for the touch of the other and only that one person could quench the torrent of fire that raced in their veins. When they finally came up for air, Kate attempted to speak; only Lena refused to talk as she plundered the lips that tempted her. She continued to stop each attempt by Kate to speak in this most intimate and sensual past time.

Kate finally gave up all coherent attempts at speech and felt herself sinking down onto the lush ground. She became a willing prisoner joining Lena on the thick, green grass, underneath the ancient oaks. All the months of flirting and frustration came to a head as lips, hands and fingers feverishly moved over eager bodies. Finally, Kate laid her head on Lena's chest to still the tumult of emotions that threatened to wash them away.

"I love you, Lena." Kate whispered into the checked shirt that lay open revealing perfect breasts as her lips skimmed the collarbone in gentle caresses.

Lena felt her heart expand inside her chest nearly bursting at the simple admission. "I love you too, Kate...the number of times I've wanted to tell you could go into the record books," her hand trailing through the locks of blonde, silky hair under her chin.

"I guess we've been kind of foolish." Kate said tentatively, not sure of Lena's reaction, but she was pleased at the ultimate act that followed. Lena pulled her up from her chest so that their faces came close together and then kissed her hungrily.

"Never again, Kate, not ever!" Lena spoke in a breathless voice after releasing her enthusiastic captive.

"I'm sorry I didn't understand when you told me about Cornelia." Kate watched the cobalt blue eyes mirror a sadness, which appeared for a split second, only to be banished for good; replaced by a warm affectionate stare that snared Kate in and held her mesmerized.

"I understand, Kate, we can't have old Cruella spoiling this conversation now, can we?" Lena chuckled and dismissed all thoughts of the vet because sure as hell, this would be the last time they ever discussed the bitch.

"She's history, Lena, how can I think of anyone else, but you when you hold me this close." Kate smiled at the end of that particular disastrous event in her life; Cornelia was effectively toast, as of now!

"How are you progressing with the plans on Merridoc?" Lena asked her as she nuzzled the smaller woman's neck appreciating the familiar smell of Kate's delicate perfume and subtle smells of riding, which to Lena, became the essence of the woman held in her arms.

Kate tried to concentrate on the question but couldn't due to Lena's exploration, which started as deep warm penetrating kisses at the side of her face extending down her throat with a gentle sucking of the vein and now Lena was placing numerous moist kisses on her collarbone. Nothing was permeating her brain except that Kate's body was responding at fever pitch. "I...I...Lena, you have to stop if you want me to answer anything else today." Kate groaned as the sexually stimulating kisses stopped dramatically. Hell, she hadn't wanted her to cease the attention; it was only a minor comment.

"Oh, and I thought you were enjoying my brand of attention." Lena said feigning innocence at the request. She'd felt Kate's heart beat increase to a rapid tempo which matched her own and although she didn't want to stop, she did.

"I am, I was! Oh God, Lena, what am I going to do with you?" Kate gasped out as she cradled the beautiful features of her friend in her hands.

"Anything at all, this time there will be no distraction, Kate. It's going to be you and me and a very private house that my boss has gallantly provided for me and wants me to test out her theory of privacy." Lena watched Kate's face change from frustration at the removal of the kisses, to sultry expectation.

"Yeah, I think I remember that conversation and now would be as good a time as any to check out the theory. Can't upset the boss now, can we." Kate tugged at the shirt as she buttoned it before they got up off the ground. Slowly, Lena pulled Kate into her arms, placing gentle, seductive kisses along Kate's jawbone. Arms wrapped themselves around her as the body moved in closer. The feelings were so overwhelming that Lena didn’t want to let Kate go ever.

Pulling her head back, Lena stared longingly into the green eyes that held only love. "I never want to let you go. I love you, Kate, please be patient with me, this is all so new."

Standing on her toes, Kate kissed Lena. "Only if you will be patient with me. The love I feel for you is so overwhelming."

Lips met once again as searing kisses began anew, reigniting the smoldering fire in each woman. Finally, they pulled apart as they smiled knowingly at each other. Clearing her throat, Kate was the first to speak. "What do you say we go find a more comfortable place?"

Lena smiled as she took the smaller hand and guided them towards the horses. Eventually un-tethering the horses, they mounted and riding side by side holding hands, they chatted about everything under the sun as they headed for Merridoc and a theory to test. The sun's rays chasing away a rain cloud creating a warm glow for the afternoon ahead.

They took the horses into the barn giving them over to the stable hand. "Make sure you cool them down properly, Hank." Lena said with a lilt in her voice.

"Welcome back, Lena." The man said as he took the two horses.

In the darkest corner of the barn, ears perked up when they heard the voices.

Glancing over to Kate, she smiled and spoke to the green eyes. "It’s good to be back." Taking Kate’s hand, she kissed it gently. "Shall we go see what the ranch house has in store for us?"

Kate’s arms went around Lena’s neck as she kissed the woman soundly. "I’m more interested in what you have in store for me." She whispered before they left the barn.

As they neared the entrance, the figure stepped further back. Once the women passed, it moved out of the darkness so cold, hard eyes could watch them walk away hand in hand. An audible growl filled the air as Cornelia clenched her fist. "You’re going to be sorry, bitch! And, you, Kate, you will pay for this betrayal!" Her teeth clenched in rage as she walked purposely towards Brownsley’s stall.

Returning to the barn, Hank heard a commotion in one of the stalls. Walking over towards Brownsley, he spoke calmly to the horse. "Hey, girl, what’s got you so riled up?" Looking into the stall, he spoke again. "Oh, Doc it’s you."

Cornelia, caught off guard when she heard Hank’s voice, began fumbling with the syringe she held in her hand. Finally, just as Hank neared the stall, she was able to put it in her bag. "Hi, Hank. I’m just checking on her hoof. She seems a bit spooked for some reason."

Hank furled his brow. "Really? That’s strange…nothing ever seems to bother her." Opening the gate, he began stroking the horse’s head. "I’ll take her out for a short walk, that should settle her down." He stood there waiting for the vet to complete her examination.

For now, Cornelia had to stop but she knew her chance would come again. They will pay. She thought as she gathered up her equipment and left the stall.

* * * * *

Their naked bodies entwined, as lips met in deep passionate kisses. The need for more was irresistible as tongues battled for dominance before they began a slow, beautiful dance. Fingers glided over the skin they longed to touch, as the bodies struggled to become even closer.

Gentle, yet arousing kisses were placed on cheeks, eyes and necks. Each one lovingly placed before their lips, once again, locked in desire.

Pulling back from the ravenous lips, Lena gazed lovingly into Kate’s eyes. "I never knew I could feel like this." She whispered. "I love you, Kate."

Moving so her breast was dangling seductively over Kate’s face, she lowered her mouth onto a waiting nipple while Kate sucked in hers. Hungrily the women feasted on the delicious morsels regaling in the feel of the hard nub against their tongues. Fingers continued exploring and touching, never wanting to lose contact.

As passions escalated into a raging fire, the need to satisfy each other grew also. "I need you." Kate growled as she pulled Lena in for a searing kiss.

Each set of fingers began exploring as they made their way down taut abdomens and through soft silky curls to the wet, sleek centers. It was as if they were one as fingers slid in time across the velvety skin. As fingers circled the swollen nub, the arousal each felt increased to a fever pitch. Each woman moaned when fingers lightly pinched then twisted the engorged area. Their breathing ragged, as they cried out in delight from the powerful feelings.

The need for complete release reached a fever pitch as fingers slid into dark, hot, wet recesses before sliding back out only to be plunged deep again. Repeatedly the fingers worked their magic as Kate and Lena became lost in the primal feeling. As the tempo increased, their bodies arced into the relentless fingers, demanding release.

Their intimate world exploded as wave upon wave of desire rocked them. Each spasm built until one, final shattering explosion released them, quivering from the power. Lying nestled in each other’s arms, Lena and Kate continued to feel the tremors of their love.

"Hmm. I love you, Lena." Kate whispered into the neck that she was tempted to kiss.

Turning her head, Lena kissed her lover’s forehead. "I love you, too, Kate."

Soon lips found their way to each other and once again, they began to soar into the heights of passion.

* * * * *

When Love Rides Away With Your Heart.

Walking out into the early evening light, Kate and Lena held hands. "You’re back to stay, aren’t you, Lena?" Kate asked with a tentative voice.

Lena turned and smiled. "If that’s what you want, my love." She said as she ran her finger across Kate’s cheek.

"Oh, that’s what I want." She said pulling Lena in for a hug. "I was so lost without you here. The farm, business…nothing had meaning…all I could do was think of you."

Lena rested her chin on the blonde head. "Sounds like me. I think my parents wanted to thrash me for my brooding ways. Dad even told me to do something about it or get over it." She laughed with the words. "He was right of course and now I am right where I belong…in your arms."

One more kiss and the couple continued their walk as they talked about their plans for Merridoc.

"I know for certain one thing needs to be done." Kate said. "First thing tomorrow morning, I’m exercising my right as owner, and kicking Cruella’s sorry ass off my property!"

"Want some help? I’ve done it before so I do have experience in ass kicking." Lena said with a smile.

Stopping, Kate turned and looked into the blue eyes. "No, I hired her and I will fire her. Lena, will you tell me something?"

Cocking her head and raising an eyebrow, Lena replied. "Okay, if I can." She said cautiously, fearful of the question.

Kate knew she was taking a big chance, but she had to know. "What happen between you and Cornelia?

Sighing deeply, Lena’s eyes cast downward before looking deeply into Kate’s eyes. "Not much to tell, really. We were involved until I found her in bed with Simon’s niece. I threw her out…end of story."

Kate could see the embarrassment on Lena’s face, but in her eyes, there was something else…hurt. Her hand went up to the beautiful face and held it gently. "I will never hurt you like that, Lena."

"I know." She whispered before taking Kate in her arms and kissing her gently.

Soon the kisses deepened as they once again found themselves exploding with passion. "I think there are some other places in the house we haven’t explored." Kate’s said in a low voice.

* * * * *

The morning was glorious as Kate walked towards the barn. Lena reluctantly left to take her horse back to her parent’s and get her belongings. Now, Kate needed to clear up the matter of the vet and close that chapter in her life.

"Good morning, Kate." Cornelia said cheerfully.

"Please come to my office at the house in ten minutes." Kate spoke coldly. "And, bring your belongings with you." Then she turned and left the barn.

Once Kate was gone, Cornelia began throwing her equipment in her bag as she muttered. "Damn, bitch! If they think I’m going to just take this they have another thing coming!" Glancing in the direction of Brownsley’s empty stall she growled. "You will pay, Lena! Count on it!" Then she went to her truck and deposited her belongings before heading for the house.

"Please sit down, Dr. Cambridge." Kate said indicating a chair opposite her desk. "According to your contract, you have ten weeks until it needs to be renewed."

Cornelia sighed in relief certain they were going to negotiate a new contract.

Kate continued. "There is also a clause that allows me to cancel the contract if you have acted in an unprofessional manner or carried out unnecessary or harmful treatments." Green eyes bore into the vet sitting across from her. "I am exercising that right and want you off my property immediately."

"YOU CAN"T DO THAT!" Cornelia screamed.

Closing the folder, Kate smiled. "Yes I can. Now, please have some dignity and leave."

"I’ll sue you for everything you have! That bitch, Lena knows nothing, I am the professional with a degree, not her!"

"You are welcome to try and sue me, but before you do make sure you show your lawyer these." She said as she handed the vet photocopies.

Cornelia grabbed the papers. "What are these?"

"Affidavits from six reputable veterinarians, all stating the surgery you did on Brownsley was unnecessary and unwise." Kate’s tone was cold and business like.

The vet threw the papers in Kate’s face. "How dare you go behind my back? You and that bitch will be sorry, that I promise!" Cornelia turned and walked out of the room slamming the door behind her.

Kate sat back down and blew out a breath. A shiver went down her spine from Cornelia’s threat, remembering the wild look in the woman’s eyes. I'll have to keep on my guard to make sure she doesn’t hurt Lena or the farm. A smile came to her face at the thought of her lover. No one will hurt you, my love, I will see to that.

* * * * *

The following two months were wonderful as the two women discovered each other. Kate had shyly asked Lena to move in with her only to have Lena decline.

"Kate, I want to woo you and court you the old fashioned way. If I move in with you we would miss out on that experience." Lena then administered her own brand of persuasion making Kate readily agree to courtship.

Everyday was a new experience for Kate, besieged with flowers, love notes, whispered words of love and best of all Lena’s love. It was very clear that Lena Corkill was making sure that the woman she loved knew exactly what it was to be romanced and become the center of attention. Not that Kate had any problem with being at the center of attention, she was, after all, her parent's only child and had her fair share of being spoiled rotten.

Kate enjoyed Lena's romantic overtones and loved the attention, although she gave back her fair share. After they parted each evening, Lena was greeted with love poems or letters left on her pillow. At times Lena would become so engrossed in the paperwork of the farm that Kate would entice her out of the house to watch a sunset or just relax as fireflies lit up the evening.

Their morning workouts and breakfast routine settled down into a natural flow that both women appreciated. During the day, they would talk at frequent intervals about the plans for Merridoc Farms or just to say I love you. It became a ritual for Kate to come across Lena, at the training track, and together they watched the young horses at play. Kate always held securely in a tight, but comfortable and loving hold by Lena.

One of the biggest surprises for Kate, had been Lena's voice, she had the most beautiful voice that Kate was sure she'd ever heard. She was constantly amazed when Lena would sing her favorite pieces as she played the piano.

On one such evening, Lena had discreetly watched the smaller woman from the corner of her eye as she stared hypnotized by Lena's voice. At the end of the piece, Lena put her arms around Kate and hugged her closer then placed her hands in front of them with Kate's back resting on her chest. Lena began to gently tease the ivory keys of the baby grand piano into a famous love song by Cole Porter, 'Night and Day'. Kate had to catch her breath, at not only the tune, which she particularly enjoyed, but that Lena was actually singing it to her as if it had been written with her in mind. When Lena completed the song and the musical notes died away, Kate shifted on the bench and somehow managed to face Lena. Her green eyes were glowing with love and appreciation at the thoughtfulness of the gesture.

"Have I told you recently that I love you?" Kate whispered close to Lena's lips and stole a chaste kiss as she directed her green eyes to the cobalt blue ones that shimmered with warm affection and intense love.

"If you call recently over an hour ago, the answers no!" Lena chuckled and rested her forehead on Kate's as they both smiled into each other's eyes.

"Then I guess I'm going to have to tell you every minute of every day. Would that be more to your liking?" Kate spoke suggestively.

Lena gave her a grin and teetered on the brink of kissing the most inviting lips she had ever seen. "I guess that means you want me to be your personal trainer." Lena then gave into her temptation and kissed Kate's lips in a slow, deliberately teasing manner, which made both gasp for air when they eventually released each other.

"I thought you were already my personal trainer, or have I forgotten a clause that you can slip away from me again?" This time the words were playful and in jest, no malice or anger attached at all.

"No you haven't forgotten a clause, but maybe I have with you." Lena replied obscurely.

Kate was intrigued and touched the back of her hand caressing down the side of Lena's face, making the taller woman shiver in anticipation of what could possibly come next. "Are you going to enlighten me?"

Lena put her own hands out to capture the errant one of Kate's and kissed the palm tenderly. "My clause would be that you can never have another personal trainer unless I agree and my word is final, what do you say."

It was a comment that Kate realized had a double meaning if she accepted. Even in this light-hearted way, she was giving over her life to another and that she no longer had total control. Yet, it was a declaration from Lena that she wanted to be in Kate's life totally and not on a part-time basis, but as a committed partner. There really was no other answer. "I'll agree to the clause if you agree to the same clause with me as your personal trainer?" Kate smiled at the grin that presented itself on her friend's face.

"Kate you have never had any competition with me and you never will, but I will agree to the clause. How would you like to seal this deal, my love?" Lena's eyes turning a shade deeper as her passion flared.

"Oh I thought maybe you might want to try out a different exercise routine and afterwards have breakfast in bed?" Kate saw the latent passion flare to unexpected proportions. Sweeping her up into her strong arms, Lena answered her by way of actions rather than words.

* * * * *

Oh No You Don’t

Excitement crept over Merridoc as preparations for the Kentucky Derby began. It was going to be a great occasion as both Lena's and Kate's families were going to join them for the day Brownsley was running. Both women and the staff worked hard to make Brownsley reach the level that would give the mare a chance at the top race.

Kate watched Lena go into the barn where the farrier had set up her equipment to shoe Brownsley. Turning to watch a couple of the jockeys canter by in the training field she was horrified to hear shouting and a stream of abuse flow from the direction of the barn. She wasn't the only one as a couple of the stable hands wandered over to the barn's entrance to listen to the altercation. Shortly after the initial shouting, a furious Lena was walking out, dragging a much larger framed woman behind her. The onlookers watching the events unfold, especially Kate, found it hard to believe their own eyes.

"If you think for one minute I'm going to put up with smart comments about Ms Lawrence on her property, you're much mistaken." Came the low growl of Lena's angry voice. The only time Kate heard that voice was when Lena was really pissed off and wanted to hit something, badly.

Kate noticed the blood that was on the other woman's clothes. She then sent a startled glance towards her lover, who, she now noticed, had blood, not only on her clothes, but also on running down her left arm. That was enough for Kate. She ran as fast as the wind would take her to Lena's side grasping the injured arm to inspect it. "Lena, what's going on?" Kate asked her voice full of concern.

"Nothing for you to worry about, Kate, but we are going to have to find another farrier, any objections." Lena was looking daggers at the retreating figure of the farrier. "I would have personally kicked her butt into the truck if you hadn’t stopped me!" Lena was still fuming.

Kate looked at the wound with tender concern. After a careful examination, she realized that the injury was superficial and she hadn't come to any great harm. Kate rolled her eyes. "You know something, Lena. If you continue running off the help, we’re going to have to permanently employ a farrier and vet that you’ve hand picked! We’re running out of options here." Kate's eyes twinkled as she dragged Lena along to get attention to her wound.

As they moved away from the people gathered at the barn entrance, one stable lad shouted. "Way to go Lena! Thought she'd nailed you with that hay hook, but you sure are fast out of the gate," the others chuckled as she was hauled away without further comment.

"Now what exactly happened in there?" Kate asked politely, but desperate to know what had transpired.

"It's nothing, Kate, let's forget it, shall we." Lena glanced sheepishly at the smaller woman who had now stopped them in their tracks and looked earnestly into her eyes.

"Tell me, remember we have no secrets?" Kate said quietly and watched Lena blush as she cleared her throat.

"The stupid bitch was going to make a play for you, so I told her that you were taken and that you wouldn't be interested. She obviously didn't like what I said and I told her to leave. She didn't like that either and was going to come over and see you personally. I kinda took offence to that and told her she would have to go through me to get to you. I guess she thought she had a chance, because she came at me with a hook and I dodged out of the way, but a little too late, obviously. I decided that we could do without that type on the property so I escorted her to her vehicle, that's the end of the story." Lena said in a quiet bashful tone.

Kate looked at her lover and saw all the love and deep need for her to understand in those amazing eyes and simply pulled Lena's head down to her level and kissed her passionately. "You really don't have to get yourself into trouble trying to stop every advance that comes my way, I can deal with it in my own way, Lena." Kate replied softly after she ended the kiss reluctantly.

Lena shrugged and hung her head a little embarrassed at her jealousy and the way she had reacted. "Lena, next time can you make sure that it isn't someone we need professional services from and that have tools of the trade that can hurt you. Okay?" Kate smiled up into Lena's face and noticed the swift change in demeanor. Her tall friend somehow seemed to gain a few more inches as Kate accepted the defence for what it was…a token of her love.

"Come on let's get you patched up and find another farrier for Brownsley." Kate said as they continued to walk over to the main house.

Lena laughed and replied. "No need. You didn't think I'd start trouble before she did what she came here to do, did you Kate. Shame on you!"

Kate turned back and burst out laughing, that was so like Lena, let the people do the work and then fight it out with them later. What have I let myself in for with this woman? Whatever it is, I don't care. I’m enjoying every damn minute!

A few minutes later, Lena watched in fascination as Kate ministered her superficially wounded left forearm. Lena wasn't too happy that the damn woman had managed to cut her in the first place. Still, there were benefits in every bad situation, and hers were the gentle touches of her lover treating the injury.

Green eyes startled Lena as they rested on her capturing her in a silent question. "What?" Being caught daydreaming, Lena coughed self-consciously…what a daydream this woman inspired in her.

Kate smiled slightly as her eyes sparkled with warmth as passion flared too. "Are you doing anything exciting this afternoon other than your normal run of the mill fighting with the professional help and tossing them off the property?" Kate seized the opportunity to tease her friend.

Lena heard the banter in the tone of Kate's voice and gave her a grin that shook Kate to the core with its intensity. "Ah yes, that run of the mill situation. If you want, I can arrange for more of the same anytime. You have to realize that you are one very beautiful woman and somewhere in my contract, it says I get to protect you personally. I kind of like that clause, in fact, I love that clause and everything that goes with it!"

Kate laughed at the comment and having bandaged the injury to Lena's forearm, she placed her arms around the taller woman's neck and leaned into her, their lips a fraction away. "Can I change that contract just a little?" Kate's voice breathless as she placed her lips on the ones within reach and lost all sense of reality as the sensations began building with the intensity of the emotion she felt whenever they kissed.

Lena eventually surfaced from the onslaught of lips that she would never tire of feeling on her body. "Whatever you change on mine, becomes a change on yours, agreed?"

"Agreed! Lena you can protect me for the rest of my life and I hope you do, but please no more injuries. Find a peaceful way to make your point, please." Kate looked into the blue eyes and saw the indecision and she smiled as she saw the features cloud over for a second with indecision.

"You know there's no fun in that for me. Look at the result if anything happens, I get a personal nurse and private medical care. Sweet Kate, believe me, this is a whole new concept in recuperation that I could get use to without any serious thinking." Lena captured the lips that hovered near her own in a passion so primitive it was hard to comprehend. Simply, she was unable to control the surge of emotions this small woman brought out in her.

Kate couldn't move, or say anything. Perhaps there was merit in the occasional skirmish, but only if it was superficial and Lena was right, oh what a way to recuperate. "I think...no, I know, I can handle that if you promise that I'm the only personal nurse that gets to lavish this attention on you?"

Lena gave out a laugh that had it been anywhere else, but the main house, might have shaken it with its powerful rumble. Resting her forehead on her lover’s she smiled, her eyes boring deep into the green gaze held close to her. "Kate, if I ask anyone else, I'm sure a certain party that I love, would use that as a good excuse to attack that person…I'd rather you picked up the pieces than I pick up yours."

"That's almost a sexist comment, Lena! I can look after you and myself too if required, but I have to admit, I'd much prefer all pleasure to any pain. So, Ms Heroine, by all means carry on if that's what turns you on." Kate chuckled at the look on Lena's face, and placed a gentle hand across her forehead to wipe away the frown placed there.

"Kate, the only thing that turns me on is standing right next to me. And, if she stays this close much longer, we won't see the rest of the afternoon or the evening either." Lena drowned Kate in a sensuous gaze that had Kate holding her breath in anticipation. "But, I unfortunately have to go into town and it can't wait, but hold that thought my darling." Lena placed a finger on the tip of Kate's adorable nose and watched as Kate shook off the finger and stared at her in disgust.

"Selena Corkill, you can be way too cruel sometimes; building a girl up and then setting her down in the horse manure!" Kate blew out the breath she held and rested her head on Lena's chest trying to bring her scattered emotions under control. Although, that wasn't easy, as she felt Lena's lips caress her hair and rest there as they both relished the comfort and love of the embrace.

"Sorry, Kate, we can take this up when I get back?" Lena said hopefully and waited for Kate to move so she could search her expressive eyes for the answer.

"How about I drive you into town? I have to meet the attorneys, they have a package of documents ready for me." Kate moved herself slightly out of the embrace and gave Lena a warm smile.

Lena caught between saying yes to this woman, who literally could ask her to walk on water and she'd try, but this was something she didn't want Kate to see, or rather where she was going. "Kate, thanks for the offer, but I need to change, how about I pick you up in say thirty minutes and I drop you off at the attorneys?"

Kate knew that Lena always liked to drive and her injury really didn't preclude that situation. So, who was she to refuse to be a passenger and watch Lena's profile for the ride into town; no sir, she was definitely going to accept that option. "Sure, don't go tangling yourself up in any other problems today, okay?" Kate smiled at the affronted look that briefly crossed Lena's face, but replaced immediately by an infectious grin that told its own story. "Get out of here and clean up, Lena, before I do something that won't allow it."

Lena chuckled and commented as she went towards the door. "Promises, promises." Fortunately, she had managed to be on the other side of the door when a towel flew in its direction.

Kate could hear her laughter, which was good to hear, as she walked away from the house. Watching Lena move further away, Kate felt snared in the sheer sexual electricity that the woman created, even as she moved. Shaking her head she went towards her own bathroom for a cold compress to the head; she wasn't too sure if that was going to work, but it was a start.

"It’s me, I tried but the Corkill woman kicked me off the property." The farrier said nervously.

"Shit! Can’t you do anything right?" The voice growled out.

"Hey, I’m sorry, but there’s no way that woman will let anyone near Kate."

"Damn, how did the horse look?"

"No problem at all, she’s ready to race."

"Get over here now!" Cornelia commanded. The farrier was not much to look at, but she had a talented tongue and that’s what the vet needed. I’ll take care of the bitch myself…the Derby will be the perfect place.

to be continued

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