Noah and Sharlee had not seen each other since they had returned from Greece. They had spoken on the phone, but they were both very busy. Although the time for his suspension from school had passed, Noah had yet to return to school. Ton had agreed to come to Mesa Valley, but he hadn’t made it yet. So Noah was working extra hours at the shop, trying to stay out of trouble.
As soon as she finished talking with Isabel, Noah called and said that his boss had insisted that he take the weekend off. He was way over on hours for the week. He wanted to know if Sharlee would like to spend the day together. She ended up inviting him over too.
She answered, “I love it here. It’s not too big and not too small. There’s always a lot to do.”
“I bet that as “fine” as you are, you get asked out all the time?”
“Well, do you have a boyfriend, Sharlee?”
“No, I don’t have a boyfriend.”
Connor moved over beside Barry. “Sharlee come get in the picture with us!”
That was the last straw for Noah. Barry had used one of the oldest moves in the “Player” handbook. You put your arm around the girl and pretend to lose your balance. Then you “cop a feel.” If the girl seems upset then you know you need to apologize and take things slower. If she likes it, you know you have an easy score! The beauty of it was that she couldn’t be sure if it was intentional or really an accident.
“What’s it to you! I apologized to her!”
“I’m making it my business!”
Sharlee grabbed Noah’s arm to restrain him. He looked at her and saw how upset she was. He calmed himself.
After they left, Dale went and found Alissa. “Hey why don’t we go horseback riding. Sharlee’s friends are gone and it’s a great opportunity for us to go together. I don’t want to wait too long before we get Cara back in the saddle, and this will probably be your last chance to ride before you’re too far along.”
Cara had fallen from her horse the last time she had gone riding with the Mayburns. She had refused to ride again unless it was on a horse with Dale. Dale called the Mayburns and reserved some horses for them.
They didn’t know that Noah was there. Alissa sent Cara outside to get Sharlee.
Sharlee wasn’t really still upset, but she thought that she needed to set Noah straight. “Noah, I really didn’t need you to do that! I know sometimes it might not seem like it, but I can fight my own battles!”
Noah just looked at her. He knew that she really believed that and in some cases it was true. However, he wasn’t so sure that she could really handle guys like Barry.
Sharlee realized that she had forgotten to tell them that Noah was coming over too that day. “Cara, I’ll go with you all next time. Tell Mom that Noah is here.”
“Yes.” From his expression, Sharlee knew that he had never done it before. “We learned how to ride when we lived in Riverview. It’s very relaxing. You can’t live here in Mesa Valley and never ride a horse!”
Cara added, “Please come too Noah!”
Noah looked from Sharlee to Cara. He wondered how Dale and Alissa ever managed to say no to them! Of course he agreed to go. They went inside the house and changed. Sharlee gave Noah a pair of Dale’s boots to wear.
“I’m sorry Dale, but I don’t have an extra horse. Today is a busy day!”
Noah gladly wrapped his arms around her waist. He could really get used to riding if it meant being so close to Sharlee! He leaned his head against hers and smelled the lavender scent of her hair and the same scent was on her skin. At least he thought it was lavender.
“I really like it. It’s fresh and feminine!”
After a while longer, Dale said they should stop for a little while and let the horses rest and drink some water.
As he lowered her to the ground, Noah could feel the change in her breathing. It was becoming more ragged. He squeezed her a little tighter as slowly his head began to tilt down toward hers. Her heart was thumping so loud that she was sure he could hear it and then his soft lips were on hers! He gently touched her face.
Sharlee closed her eyes and instinct overcame her as she slowly kissed him back. She breathed in his musky scent and it slowly filled her with an aching desire that accompanied his tender kiss. A new pleasurable feeling flowed through her body, causing her toes to curl.
She wrapped her arms around his neck. Her tongue slid teasingly across his bottom lip. Noah didn’t expect that. He’d never felt such an intense connection, such a magnetic attraction with anyone else.
“Dale, don’t you have something to say to Cara?”
Still upset, Dale pulled his eyes away from Sharlee and Noah. He forced himself to smile.
“Sweetie, how do you feel about riding now?”
Cara smiled. “I want to ride by myself again!”
She ran over to Shawn.
Dale didn’t answer.
“I seem to remember many times when we were doing more than just kissing before we got married. We were making out on your parents couch and your father walked in on us several times.”
“Yes, we were adults and no it didn’t go any further than that. We wanted to wait until after we were married. But Dale, are you saying that if we had both been teenagers and I was your girlfriend, you would not have kissed me?”
“Well for now, trust Sharlee. You can see how happy he makes her!”
After a while, Dale said that it was time to head back to the stables.
He said that he had some things to do. The truth was that he didn’t want to push things with Dale. He couldn’t believe that he had forgotten Dale was there as he kissed Sharlee. It surprised him that Dale hadn’t slugged him, but he figured that Alissa had prevented it.
Noah watched until she made it into the house and then he headed home.
Also, I’m sorry about the nighttime stable shots, but I didn’t want to add the horses again for daytime shots. Thanks for helping with the first kiss, Clairey!