THE SAGUARO RANCH

Parker dropped his hand to his side, shooting his mother a weird look, and then looked over at Brett, who just shrugged his shoulders.  What?  Is she getting senile?  She wants to drag a strange girl home with her that she met on the bus, Parker thought. Forcing a smile on his face, Parker said, “Follow me and I will take you to the women’s hacienda. There is one room left.  I will see you at supper, mom,”

“She is not staying in the staff hacienda Parker.  She is staying here in the guest room,” Emily told him, grabbing Julie by the hand, staring at Brett and then Parker, daring either of them to question her decision.

Parker let out a huge sigh before saying, “Room three is not reserved now so she can stay there for a couple of days…if you insist mom,”

“I do insist,”

Pulling her hand out of Emily’s Julie swallowed before speaking up, “Emily, I appreciate it but staying in the women’s hacienda is fine with me.  I don’t want to cause a rift between you and your sons.  Besides, that is a paying guest room, and I sure cannot afford that rate but hopefully I can afford to pay for the other room,”

“No arguments Julie. You are a guest, and you are staying in the house,” Emily told her.  “And you are not causing a rift between my sons and me.  We will see you at supper,”

As Brett made to follow his mom in the house with her luggage, Parker grabbed his sleeve, whispering, “What the hell is going on and who is this Julie person?”

“I have no answers to either question.  We will just keep an eye on this Julie character.  Between us, I am sure we can figure out what her game is,”

“You got that right. Mom is too gullible and will believe any sob story that she is given.  Well, see you at supper,” Parker told him as he turned and headed to the stables.

Brett went into the house and down to his mom’s room to deposit her luggage on the bed.  He was headed out of the room when his mom walked in.  Seeing Brett, she glared at him as she put her hands on her hips.

“You may be forty-three years old Brett Matthew Carmichael, but you are not my boss nor the boss of the ranch.  Granted you, your twin, and sister each own a third of the ranch, but I still have the final say around here.  If I want to bring a guest home, then I will do so without either of you getting your tails in a knot over it.  Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, mom…but Parker and I are just concerned about you just bring some stranger home with you,” he explained.  “You have only known her a couple of days at most so who knows what her game is,”

“There is a lot you don’t know about her Brett, but it is not my story to tell.  All I will say is that she needs a place to stay and rest…and that place is The Saguaro Ranch.  She is not playing any type of game. Now get out of my room so I can get a shower.  I want some of that chili too.  I miss Jenna’s famous chili,”

Brett walked over to his mom, giving her a giant hug. Emily smiled and shut the door behind him, going over to her dresser and getting some clean clothes to put on after the shower.

**********

REGAN

As five o’clock neared, Regan finished up the work she had to do so she could leave at the normal time tonight.  I hope that Mr. Hatfield does not think of something that just has to be done by the morning.  If I could get by with it, I would sneak out now, but I need the job. Hell, Kota may not even be there waiting for me.  He may just have been saying it as it has happened before.

Regan had gone into the foster care system at the age of twelve when her mom died of an overdose. Because of her attitude and behavior, she had bounced around from foster home to foster home.  Along the way, at the age of fifteen, she had a baby she gave up for adoption and been suspended from school several times.  At the age of seventeen, she had a foster care family who must have saw some good in Regan as they helped Regan to get her act together enough to graduate high school, go to business school, and eventually land up with a job in the secretarial pool at Star Falls Security and Computer Company.  Two years later she was promoted to Charle’s secretary but when Derrick took over, Regan became his by default.

Shaking her head to rid her mind of bad memories of things that had transpired since becoming Derrick’s secretary, Regan shut down her computer, locked her desk drawers, and stood up.  She grabbed her purse and went over to Derrick’s office, knocking lightly on the closed door.  It was one of his rules that she knocked and asked permission to leave each night. Regan knew she could report him for sexual harassment, but the job paid well.  Regan was also told by Derrick if she did report him, no one would believe her. She would be fired and never be able to work for anyone in the town again, so she kept quiet.

“Open!” he yelled from the other side.

When she opened the door, Regan just stood in the entranceway, waiting for him to tell her she could go.  Derrick eyed her up and down, then waved her off.  She quietly closed the door and left as quickly as she could, not wanting to give him a chance to change his mind.  Even if Kota was pulling her chain about being there, at least she had a half-gallon of Peanut Butter Cup ice cream in her freezer waiting for her.

When she stepped out of the building into the sunlight, she heard a loud whistle. Turning her head, she saw Kota striding toward her, a small bouquet of daisies in his hands.  Once in front of her, he handed her the flowers before leaning down to claim her lips.

“Wow, never realize you were so short,” he commented.  “It is going to be easy to do you against the wall, your legs wrapped around me,”

Regan could feel herself blushing, quickly glancing around to see if anyone had heard his comments but it seemed that all they were concerned about was getting out of work and going home or to the local pub.

“Do you have a car?” Kota asked.

“No” she admitted. “I use public transportation,”

“Do you like motorcycles or even rode one before?”

Memories of her teen years flashed through her mind of the wild motorcycle rides and nights of sex under the stars at the river’s edge with Mick, the man who fathered her child. Regan shook her head to get rid of the memories before saying, “Yes, I have ridden motorcycles a long time ago and loved it.  Just wish I had known because I am not sure I can get on one with this skirt.”

Before he could say anything, he heard his phone go off.  “Shit.  Sorry, Regan, I need to take this,” he apologized stepping away from her. “Renfree Investigative Agency, Dakota speaking,”

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“I am paying you to find my missing wife, not dilly-dally with my secretary,” a deep voice said on the other end.

It took Dakota just a couple of seconds to recognize who that voice belonged to.  “Mr. Hatfield, rest assured that I will not charge you for my dilly-dally activities.  I will only bill you for the work I do to find Mrs. Hatfield.  Also, I do not work 24/7, especially on a case where the wife has already been missing for two months.  Plainly speaking, she does not want to be found or she is dead,” and with that, Dakota pushed the off button, dropping it into his side pocket.

That cocky ass just hung up on me.   Well, enjoy yourself Mr. Renfree with Regan tonight.  Tomorrow her ass is mine.  You aren’t the only one who likes to dilly dally with her. Derrick thought as he fought the urge to throw his phone across the room.  Standing up, he grabbed his suitcoat, slipped it on, anxious to head home…to Maria.  About time she learned what else her duties involved.

**********

JULIE/THE SAGUARO RANCH

Julie stood there, looking at her meager choice of clothes; a couple of pairs of jeans and tee-shirts, all that needed washing.  She made a mental note to see if there was some way she could do laundry tomorrow and then find out if there was a used clothing store in town.  She figured that she could get a couple more pairs of jeans and shirts, maybe even a skirt and blouse.  Having to buy used clothing was new to Julie because she always had an unlimited credit card…or at least she did before she married.  After marriage, Derrick was the one that bought all her clothes and gave her a few dollars allowance each month.

Julie hoped that it was not fancy clothes required for dinner because if that was the case, she would quietly sneak back upstairs and eat a couple of packs of snack crackers she still had in her backpack.  She took a nice hot shower, letting the water run over her aching body but this time it was not from a beating but from sitting for a long time on the bus.

Once she was dressed, she slipped her feet into her tennis shoes and stepped out in the hall. Julie sniffed the air and decided that she would just follow her nose like animals did when they were looking for something to eat.

As she got to the end of the hallway, she heard the voices of several people coming from a large room to her right.  At first, she almost turned on her heel and went back to her room because she was not sure if she was up to dealing with people tonight but hearing her stomach growling, Julie continued toward the chatter.

Seeing her standing there in the doorway to the large dining room, Emily jumped to her feet and hurried over to her.  “You have timed that right Julie.  Jenna is just about ready to put the bowls of chili on the table.  Sit right here by me,” pointing to a chair.

Julie smiled at Emily’s sons before taking her seat, politely folding her hands on her lap.  A few seconds later Jenna and one of her assistants came in carrying bowls of chili, putting a bowl in front of each one. Then another assistant brought in a plate of cornbread.

Emily said grace and then picked up the plate of cornbread, taking a piece and passing the plate to Julie.  Once everyone had cornbread and butter, they began to eat.

“Did you find everything you needed Julie?” Brett asked.

“Yes sir,” she said automatically before turning her head toward Emily.  “I was wondering if I might use your washer and dryer tomorrow to wash my clothes?” hoping that the washer and dryer were like the ones at the center and not anything fancy.  Always having someone to do things for her, Julie had to learn how to do everything herself when she went to the center.

“Of course,” Emily said.  “Just get them to Jenna and she will be glad to do them for you,”

“Thank you, Emily but I can do them myself.  I don’t want to cause Jenna any extra work,” Julie insisted.  “Also, is there a used clothing store in Tucson I can visit to get myself some clothes,”

Hearing her request, Parker and Brett could not help laughing.  “This is Tucson, not some backwoods town.  There are several of those stores here,” Parker said.

“I am sorry.  I didn’t mean to offend you,” Julie apologized.

Emily shot both her sons a look of disapproval for making Julie feel bad.  Guess it is time that I talk with my kids when Gretta has some free time.  I only want to tell it once and then rebury it.

**********

REGAN/KOTA

Turning to Regan, Kota asked, “Your place, mine, or restaurant of your choice?  And regarding your skirt, just hike it up.  You will be behind me, and no one will see up it,”

I really should take public transportation and have him meet me at my place.  That would be a smart, safe choice, or a restaurant within walking distance but then when have I ever made a smart safe decision. Derrick sure wasn’t safe or smart…but then she had no choice with him.

“Regan,” Kota said breaking into her thoughts.  “Look, if you are uncomfortable being alone with me, then choose a restaurant,”

“You promised me a motorcycle ride, so you are not getting out of doing that.  Let’s go to your place,”

Kota grinned and led her over to the parking lot across the street.  Reaching his motorcycle, he took a helmet from the under-seat storage and handed it to Regan before he put his helmet on.  She pulled her skirt mid-way up her thighs and got on.

Within minutes, they were flying out of town to his small cabin.  Kota made sure he took the long way home to give her a thrilling ride. He knew from the other girls he had on his motorcycle just how turned on they were from the vibrations of the motor between their legs.  The longer they were on it, the hornier they seemed to get…and he wanted Regan very, very horny.

Normally he would not give her a second look; she was a bit on the thin side, and he preferred his women with a little more meat on their bones and curvier.  What turned him on was her piercing green eyes and that weird spiky thing she did with her black hair.  When they finally turned into his drive, Regan could not believe what she saw.

His cabin was at the end of a long drive and was made of treated logs to look like an authentic log cabin with a wraparound front porch complete with a couple of rocking chairs. It was nothing like she expected a bachelor’s pad to look like.  Then it hit her; was Kota married.  It was something she forgot to ask.

Oh well, so what if he is married.  Would not be the first time I screwed a married man, she thought as she got off the motorcycle, her legs a bit wobbly at first.  As she stood there, Regan felt the stirrings of desire that she always felt when she rode with Mick.  At least I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant this time.

Kota took her helmet and stowed it back in the under-seat storage, took her hand, and led her inside.  She took a moment to look around, noticing that it appeared to be just one room. The front half was the living room and kitchen area, and she figured that the back half was the bedroom and bathroom.

Kota shut the door behind them, asking, “Sex or supper first?”

“Man, you are sure blunt,” Regan teased.

“Hey, we both know the score.  This is a hookup, plain and simple.  It may a one-tine and done hookup or may continue for a while,” Kota told her as he hung his jacket up on a wooden peg beside the door.

Without saying a word, Regan slowly unbuttoned the buttons on her blouse, revealing one of her tattoos, a broken heart.  Kota wanted to ask her about it and what it meant but he was too busy standing there enjoying the show.  Regan pulled her blouse out of the band of her skirt, unbuttoning the last remaining buttons before she slipped it off her shoulders and threw it at Kota.  Reaching behind her waist, Regan unbuttoned and unzipped her skirt, letting it puddle at her feet.  Stepping away from her skirt, she stood there in a minuscule pink bra and matching thong, still wearing her heels and thigh-highs.

Turning around, Regan bent over and slowly rolled her stockings down each leg, taking them off  one at a time and tossing them over her shoulder at Kota.  As he stood there watching, Kota’s right hand began to rub himself through his jeans.  By the time Reagan had all her clothes off and was standing before him with just her heels on, his erection was pushing so hard against the zipper of his jeans it was almost painful.

As he walked over to her, Kota took in the white dove with a red rose in its beak over her right breast where her heart was, a small baby outlined in blue on her left bicep, and a lightning bolt on her right bicep.  Pulling her in his arms, he held her tight against him as he swung her around, walking her backwards until he had her pinned to the front door.

Regan’s arms encircled his neck as their lips met, crashing together as their tongues began to do a frenzied mating dance.  Kota pressed his body hard against hers, letting her feel exactly what she did to him, grinding himself against her.  At the feel of his hard cock pushing against her, Regan could feel her body quivering, her juices dripping down her legs. Without being told to, Regan wrapped her legs around Kota’s waist, grinding her pussy against his jean-clad cock, the zipper rubbing her lips.  Regan knew that she would feel the abrasions left behind by the zipper tomorrow but now, she did not care.

Cupping her ass, Kota turned around and carried her back to his bed.  When he laid her on the bed, he followed her down, his body forcing hers down into the pillowy softness of the mattress.  Reluctantly Kota pulled away and stood up.

“These clothes have to go.  I cannot wait any longer to feel your skin against mine,” as he started to strip down, letting his clothes fall where he threw them.  Seeing her sit up to remove her heels, Kota quickly said, “Don’t, I want to feel them digging into my ass when I fuck your brains out.

Before she could utter a word, he was undressed and kneeling on the floor between her legs. He reached up, grabbing her thighs, pulling her closer to the edge of the bed.  Putting her legs over his shoulders, Kota spread her wide, her knees slightly bent as he ran two fingers up and down her slit, his thumb lightly grazing across her clit.  Regan shivered and tried to move closer, but he quickly held onto her thighs to keep her in place.

For a few seconds, Kota did not touch her there and she found herself almost begging him to kisser her or lick her…anything to make the need to have an orgasm a reality. Kota leaned closer, blowing his warm air over her sending shivers up and down her spine, her body needing to cum but not quite there yet.

Kota used just the tip of his tongue to tickle and tease her clit, causing her to moan and try to push herself closer to his mouth but was stopped before she could do so. Taking her to the edge with the light touch of his tongue on her clit, Kota moved to her pussy, licking from one end to the other.

He took his hands off her thighs, using three fingers of his right hand to gradually work their way inside, his tongue going back to work on her clit.  Moving his fingers in and out at a moderate pace, he captured her clit between his teeth, tugging gently before sucking on it.  With her body humming with sexual energy, all Regan could do was lay there and moan, letting her orgasm build slowly.

The intensity was so strong, Regan felt like her entire body was one giant tightly coiled spring that could open at any minute.  Kota began to speed things up, his motions now a bit faster, harder, and deeper, his tongue flicking her clit, then tugging on it and sucking it.  Her inner muscles began to clench and unclench on his fingers, her mind becoming fuzzy as she strove to reach the top and have the ability to tumble down the other side.

Regan began to moan louder, her butt bouncing on the bed, her entire body feeling like it was one combustible substance that was about to explode.  Kota sensed she was on the edge, so he used his free hand to tweak, pinch, and pull her nipples, alternating from one to the other.  Finally, Regan reached the pinnacle, letting out a scream as her orgasm burst through her, her juices squirting out and running down Kota’s arm, her body shaking and flopping on the bed, her eyes rolling back into her head.

When her body finally relaxed, Kota got to his feet, looking down at her as he licked his lips. Opening the bedside table drawer, he took out a condom, ripped it open, and sheathed himself.   “Scoot back on the bed Regan,” he ordered.

Kota got between her legs and guided himself inside.  She wrapped her legs around his waist, pulling him in as deep as she could.

“So good,” he whispered as he slowly increased his speed, trying to make it last as long as he could.

Feeling another orgasm building, Regan moaned loudly, reaching up to grab Kota’s head, pulling him down to kiss him hard.  She grounded her heels into his ass, her hips rising to meet his thrusts.  Getting closer to finding their releases, Kota suddenly pulled out and had her flip over onto her knees as he took her from behind. Regan gripped the cover between her fists, her juices beginning to flow, covering his sheath-covered cock as he gripped her by the hips, pushing in as deep as he could.  They both reached the edge and tumbled over within seconds of each other, her scream and his howl filling the room.

**********

DAKOTA

After another round of hot sex, they got up to eat a sandwich and chips and drink a beer.  At this time, Regan was snoring softly in his bed, and being unable to sleep, Dakota got up and moved to the living room where he had his “office” in the corner of the room. He picked up the briefcase beside the small desk and pulled out a copy of Lacy’s medical records he had gotten this afternoon. To his shock, the only medical record he had was of her broken arm, which she claimed happened when she fell down the stair.

Most likely pushed down the stairs or broken some other way, Kota thought, remembering how Derrick had tried to bully him and the way he had talked to Regan.  Think I had better read the missing person’s report.  I get the feeling that someone is not being quite honest.

Kota rummaged around in his briefcase, looking for the police report.  Pulling it, he read it over twice, noting that nothing was said about the night of Lacy’s disappearance except that she left but Derrick had no idea when or where she had gone.  Derrick went on to say that he had checked the local hospitals and morgue to no avail.  A sudden cold breeze settled over Kota, making him think of his father.  Once when he was around ten, they were sitting on the patio looking at the sky when his father shivered.  He then went on to say that a spirit from the other side was trying to connect with him.

At that time, Kota had not understood what his father meant but now he wondered if Lacy was trying to contact him to tell him that Derrick had killed her, and her soul was trapped between worlds.  No reports at the hospitals or morgue so Derrick, did you kill Lacy, dump her body, and all this grieving husband an act?

**********

JULIE

After supper, she excused herself to go to her room.  Although her body was tired and achy from trying to sleep on the bus, Julie became wide awake as soon as she hit the bed.  Her eyes wide open, she stared upwards at the ceiling for several minutes.  Letting out a loud groan, she got up and went over to the sliding glass door that opened onto a small porch.  Stepping out, she could see that every room had one of these small patios, including the ones above her.

Looking right and left, she saw no one else out.  In the quietness of the desert, Julie could hear the faint clink of dishes being done in the kitchen and the boisterous laughter of Emily’s sons, and then what she figured was Jenna’s laughter.  Sitting down in the chair, Julie took in a deep breath of air, her thoughts flitting all over the place.

Although the weather was different from Maine. Staying here meant no more snowy winters, which she liked the idea of.  She leaned her head back on the chair, trying to calm her racing mind.  It has been two months, I made it out of town, so apparently, Derrick is not looking too hard for me.  Yeah, he did file a police report, but no police came to the shelter to see if I was there.  I am sure Officer Pickrell figured out who I was after seeing the missing person’s report, but she said nothing.  I hope her silence did not cause her trouble in her job.

When she felt her eyes getting heavy, Julie decided that it was time to try to sleep.  As she stepped into the room, the sounds of coyotes filled the air.  She chuckled and locked the door behind her.  Stretching, she climbed into bed, falling asleep almost as soon as her head hit the pillow.

**********

DERRICK

When he reached the back entrance, his driver was waiting for him.  Frank quickly opened the backdoor and then closed it when Derrick was settled.

“Put the privacy glass up,” Derrick demanded as soon as Frank shut the driver’s door.

He quickly complied and turned on the car, heading for Derrick’s residence.  Frank took a glance into the rearview mirror to see if he could get an idea of Derrick’s mood.  He knew from the way he walked out of the building that he was upset but his walk did not always display his mood accurately.  Suddenly he heard a wrapping on the partition that separated them, so he lowered it down.

“Yes, Mr. Hatfield?”

“I have hired a private investigator to find Lacy.  If they should question you, you are to say that you know nothing.  Do you understand?  No one knows she was dropped at the ER except us and the ones who found her,”

“Yes sir,” he agreed. “I do not know anything.  I was asleep in my apartment on the backside of the grounds and Mrs. Hatfield did not ask me to drive her anywhere,”

“Very good Frank. You can put the partition back up now,”

When they finally arrived, Frank pulled up to the front of the house.  He got out and scurried around to open Derrick’s door for him.

“I will not need you for the rest of the evening, Frank,” Derrick said as he went into his house, slamming the door behind him before putting the briefcase on the floor by the entrance table.

Hearing the door slam frightened Maria, causing her to jump.  At the same time, she felt her phone vibrate in her pocket.  She quickly pulled it out, one ear listening for Derrick to yell for her.

The text read:  Derrick in a very bad mood.  Feign sickness and lock yourself in your room.

Cannot do that.  He is my employer.  I will be okay.  He is all bark and no bite. Maria texted back, trying to sound brave even though she was shaking.

Come to my place.  Let’s leave together, get married tonight.

No, I need to become a citizen first,Maria texted back.

I love you.  Be careful.

Before she had a chance to reply she heard Derrick bellow, “Maria!  Get in here, it is time to earn your keep,”

She swallowed hard, wondering just what he had planned now, laying her phone on the counter. When Lacy was living in the house Maria did not worry about Derrick being inappropriate with her.  Now he had started to leer at her, make more sexual comments, and touching her.  Part of her wanted to do as Frank asked and pretend to be sick while another part of her was telling her to do her job.

Taking a deep breath, she stepped out of the kitchen, into the hallway, and down to the living area. “Supper will be ready in five minutes sir,” Maria told him, figuring that was one of the reasons he had yelled for her.  The other reason was that he wanted a drink.

Going into the living area, she kept her eyes down and went over to the bar to pour him a scotch on the rocks.  When she turned around and walked out from behind the bar, her mouth dropped open. The glass slipped from her hand to fall on the carpet as Maria raised her head, taking in the sight before her. Derrick was standing here, naked, stroking his half-erect cock, with a slight grin on his face.