Driving through the country roads towards the small town where I lived, in the last evening light, my mind was ticking off the items on my to-do list when an old but familiar voice softly crooned on the radio. Jolted from my thoughts, I reached for the dial and turned the sound up, fingertips lingering on the knob while a wistful smile crossed my face. “Do you hear what I hear? Ringing through the sky shepherd boy.” My cowboy was singing, not just for me but for everyone.
The setting sun was glistening off the lightly falling snow and the meadow in front of me looked perfectly arranged for a winter wedding; late blooms of color peeking out of the new snow, circles of evergreen giving promise of new life, and the fresh, white snow signaling a brand-new start. A sob formed in my chest and unexpected tears slipped down my cheeks, I quickly brushed them away as if it could ease the sudden ache that had formed in the center of my heart, the place where he began and ended.
I was sadly proud of him. In the years that we had spent apart, he had made a name for himself and shared his beautiful gift of song with the world. It was what he dreamed about and that made it my dream too. I hadn’t known then what I would be giving up now. But isn’t that the way the world goes? It was subtle, a week away, then two, a month here and there. Not unlike his life before only different. Too late we realized how much had changed and then, you really can never go back.
My thoughts returned to the deep whiskey melody filling my car. Maybe it was fate, hearing him on the radio, singing my favorite Christmas song after all these years. Maybe he hadn’t even remembered it was my favorite song. Either way, our life together had not worked out. But I found happiness anyway. I hoped with all my heart that he had too. And, I would always cherish my memories of him, my sweet cowboy.
He sat on a stool in the center of the smoky stage, soft lights focused on his face, his hands, his guitar. The sleeves of his worn plaid shirt were rolled up, revealing his tanned forearms, strong hands with calloused fingers gently strumming a beautiful melody. His chestnut hair was longer now, falling in soft layers that framed his face, then curling into waves at the nape. His eyes were closed, fringed with long, dark lashes. Rough stubble darkened his face, giving him a disheveled, sexy appeal. As he sang, his lips formed that familiar heart shape when they pursed together, and unleashed a deep croon when they came apart. The effect was altogether sensual.
I sat motionless on my bar stool, not daring to move – not wanting to leave this moment. He sang for me. In his deep whiskey siren song, I heard the pleas of his heart and the promises from his soul. I succumbed to the overwhelming emotions coursing through me and tasted the salty relief that slid down my cheeks. As he asked, my heart had listened and his song had moved me to tears. For so long I had questioned his intentions and his motivations. Life had beaten him down, broken his spirit. I wondered if the past would always haunt him. While he wandered and chased his dream, I hoped that he would realize his dream was waiting for him to come home.
That night my cowboy sang his song for me. His words touched my soul. And I finally saw forever in his eyes.
The Cowboy Series
Whiskey Siren Song The Return My Forever Man Midnight Cowboy Cowboy’s Delight Reunion Listen With Your Heart
I walked into the smoky room and scanned the crowd, settling my sight on a figure standing at the bar. His snug denim jeans and worn plaid shirt only highlighted his muscular, athletic frame underneath. If I didn’t know him I might have mistaken him for a player on the local minor league baseball team. But this man’s talents were in the deep whiskey croon of his voice and the sweet melodies that sprang from his guitar. Walking up behind him, I snaked my arm around his thick waist and pressed my head against his back.
He turned and pulled me into his arms, tipping my head up and stealing a kiss. “Hello darlin’. You’re just in time.” A bright spotlight lit the stage and the host walked out to warm the crowd up. He bent his head down, kissing me again. “Sit here, it’s the best view in the house.” He nodded to the bartender. “Brian, take care of my girl.” I watched him walk backstage and sighed. He had a new song tonight – I’d not yet heard it – and my stomach fluttered in anticipation. He would only say it was a love song and I should listen with my heart. Soon I heard his name being called out and, as he walked on stage, a smile crossed my lips. My heart was listening.
“I’m home.” I hear his voice and excitedly drop the pot I was washing back into the sudsy water. I turn the corner from the kitchen into the living room and my heart skips a beat. He’s been gone for six months and seeing him now – cornflower blue eyes, spiky hair, heart-shaped lips – I realize how much I’ve missed him. He drops his guitar and duffel bag on the floor and shrugs off his jacket. I run to him and bury my face in his neck, savoring the smell of soap and sweat. Our bodies fuse together as if they’re tailor made for each other. For months I’ve been bumbling along, stringing hours into days and days into weeks.
He kisses the top of my head and I sigh into his chest. I’m whole again.
Leaning against the door-frame he quietly watched her, his heart-shaped lips curling gently upward. She was so beautiful when she was sleeping. Her light copper hair fell in messy waves across the pillow. The moonlight cast a soft glow on her face and highlighted her upturned nose and pursed lips, forehead creased as if in deep thought. He wanted to be in her mind, wanted to know what she dreamed about. He hoped it was about him.
Her emerald green chemise clung to her curves and the deep V neckline emphasized the soft curves of her breasts. He resisted the urge to go to her, to touch her, to caress her. He wanted to drink in the sight of her in the stillness of the warm summer night. He had ached for her on the long nights away. The nights he spent on the road, singing his love-struck melodies in nameless bars and faceless clubs. The words meant for her, wasted instead on strangers. When he had wanted only to return to her.
Now he couldn’t wait one more second. He slipped between the sheets and pulled her tightly against him, burying his nose in her hair and savoring the fresh smell of cherry blossoms. She shifted and murmured his name then melted into him. He sighed. He was finally home.
He’s back, my midnight cowboy. Singing sweet words in his deep whiskey siren voice for an audience of one. Night after endless night playing in smoky bars didn’t catapult him to fame. He returned slightly rumpled, ego bruised and I welcomed him with a standing ovation. I inhaled the smell of his cologne and sweat as I pulled him tightly to me and whispered in his ear, “Welcome home cowboy.”
I love a man who can cook. I was lucky enough to have found a man who could cook and sing. A sexy man with many talents is a dangerous thing.
He was making berry pancakes with cream cheese and berry filling, one of my favorite breakfast dishes. Even if it was almost noon. He moved skillfully around the kitchen, measuring, chopping, adding things to the bowl. He hummed as he went, probably without even realizing it was my favorite song. He’d written it years ago, well before we met. Before life had beaten him down and love had twisted his heart. Back when he was still full of hope and dreams and good intentions. Whenever I heard the lyrics I liked to imagine that man was still somewhere inside of him.
A small sigh escaped my lips as I drank in the sight of him. His short dark hair spiked wildly with no particular sense of direction. The sleeves of his blue and white plaid shirt were rolled up to his elbows, showing off his tanned forearms. Calloused fingers moved quickly and as effortlessly as if he was playing the guitar. Long lashes framed bright cornflower blue eyes which I got just a glimpse of every now and then when his head moved just so. His lips were full and when he looked up and saw me staring intently, they curved up at the corners into an impish grin that made my toes curl.
He lifted the spoon from the mixing bowl and carried it over to me, one hand underneath to protect the tile floor from drips. I took a tentative lick and closed my eyes, breathing in deeply. “Oh, my God, that tastes like sin.” He put the spoon to his own lips and I felt the warmth of desire spread through me. He could make even the simple act of licking a spoon sexy as hell. He scrunched his nose and shrugged modestly. “Mmmm. Not bad.”
Moving back to his place behind the kitchen island, I watched him continue. His hands moved quickly and he still hummed softly. I felt butterflies form in my stomach. I was completely and hopelessly in love with him. I wanted to know this wasn’t temporary – this feeling, this thing between us. He’d been burned pretty badly in the past but, hadn’t we all been hurt? We’d said the words, shared the passion. I knew he loved me. I just didn’t know if he loved me forever.
I pulled my phone from my purse and held it up, framing him and me in the picture before clicking the camera button. “I think we should record this for posterity.” He pulled me into his arms and playfully bit my neck. “It hasn’t been that bad has it?” My country singing boyfriend had spent months on the road then, when he finally returned, his weekends were booked at bars and small venues just outside of driving distance of our apartment. With my hectic work schedule during the week, we barely had time to see each other. But he’d just given me the exciting news that he would be home for the second weekend in a row. The previous weekend had been spent almost entirely naked and in bed and a wicked grin formed on my face as the thought of a repeat performance played in my mind.
“I know your mind is in the gutter.” His words sounded so innocent but his hooded eyes told a different story altogether. Large, strong hands pulled my hips against him and I felt him harden at the contact. His full, lush lips brushed along my jawline, aiming for the sensitive skin of my neck where he knew my sensitivities lay. “I guess we could venture outside at some point.” My words trailed off as my hands tugged at the hem of his shirt, lifting it over his head then running my fingers over his taut chest. I could feel his smile in his kiss.
He was gone again, chasing his dream. Another four months on the road playing in smoky bars and clubs in front of nameless faces. Singing his bluesy-country mix in that deep whiskey siren voice that always called me back no matter how long the separation. I grudgingly rolled out of bed and reached for his worn flannel shirt, deeply inhaling and savoring the lingering scent of his cologne and sweat. I closed my eyes and imagined him on stage, playing his guitar as sweetly and gently as if it was my body, singing words written for me but shared with strangers, and I felt a pang of jealousy. I wondered if there would ever be a day when I had him all to myself. If he would ever stop searching for the adoring, screaming masses and be content with just one hopelessly devoted fan.