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Lydia's Twin Temptation(Divine Creek Ranch 8)(113)

By:Heather Rainier

Ash Peterson’s son, Will, burbled merrily from his father’s arms, eyeing the creek like he wanted to jump in headfirst. His mother, Juliana, murmured to him and handed him a rattle, which he stuffed in his mouth. Ash kissed the top of Juliana’s head, and she looked up at her husband, the foreman of the Divine Creek Ranch, and smiled when he drew her close.

Michael Martinez sat on a tree stump with his little brother, Eleazar, and they watched raptly as the two men played guitar while their parents stood nearby. Angel’s arm was around Teresa’s waist, and Joaquin held her hand as she spoke quietly to them and they grinned.

Ace winked at Lydia from across the gathering where he stood with Summer and Kemp, talking with Summer’s sister Margot and her boyfriend Jake Redman. Margot glared at Jake over something he said and elbowed him in the abdomen. Jake whispered to her, and whatever he said made her laugh and blush profusely. She rubbed the spot she’d elbowed and a smile crossed Jake’s lips.

Lydia noticed a tall, pretty brunette wearing rimless eyeglasses speaking to Grace. She’d arrived dressed in scrubs and a doctor’s white coat just moments before they’d begun making the trek out to the creek for the ceremony. There was a trace of concern in the way her eyebrows were knit together as she spoke to Grace, and Lydia assumed she was her physician. Grace shook her head and patted the woman’s shoulder. Lydia noted that the woman appeared not quite comfortable in this social gathering. She overlapped the edges of her doctor’s coat in front of her and kept her arms crossed as the others congregated and chatted but mostly kept her eye on Grace.

Lydia would have approached the woman to make small talk and help her feel more comfortable, but she heard an engine in the distance, signaling that the bride and her attendants had arrived. Everyone moved so they could see well and the gathering parted as she drew near.

Maya was dressed in a high-necked, sleeveless wedding dress made of a diaphanous ivory-colored fabric that floated and shimmered all around her ankles. She was barefooted. On any other woman the creation would have been too fairy-like, but Maya looked like a goddess. The dress fit her curves closely and her skin looked luminous. Her hair was a mass of wild curls streaming down her back.

Jack Warner stepped forward with a big grin on his face and extended his arm to her, which she happily took. There was no slow processional, just the crescendo of the song Eli and Ethan were playing as she reached the top of the oak-leaf-carpeted creek bank and stepped within view of the handsome grooms.

Lydia looked over at Kendall, Boone, and Richard. All three of their jaws hung open a little in awe. The love in their eyes was an almost palpable thing as Maya made her way down the creek bank with Jack’s help. He kissed her cheek once she was on level ground, and everyone gasped when she look a running, joyful leap out over the creek and onto the big, flat rock the men stood on. Being the closest, Richard caught her easily, and they made room for her on the now slightly crowded rock.

The creek was an idyllic, pastoral scene for the wedding, and Lydia wondered if Maya and her men spent much time at this spot. She made a mental note to take a walk down to the creek in the area closest to the house one day the following week. It seemed like the ideal place to take a book and relax.

Blake Gray spoke to the assembly briefly and then performed the ceremony that bound Maya’s heart and life with those of her men. Maya was enthralled with each man as he knelt in front of her, slipped a narrow band onto her finger, and then kissed her hand. She slid a wedding band on each man’s ring finger and kissed him. When it was Boone’s turn, as he stood for his kiss, he looked into Maya’s eyes and spoke solemnly but softly as he caressed the wide, delicate-looking filigreed silver choker that she wore around her neck. He placed his hands at her hips and kissed her just as his brothers had done. Blake pronounced to the gathering that they were bound, and everyone clapped and cheered.

Chance said, “I’ll get the horses, unless you’d like me to give you a ride back.”

Lydia giggled at his innuendo and said, “Maybe we’ll take ‘a ride’ later, but for now I need to get back to check on the preparations.” Earlier in the week, Chance and Clayton had demonstrated for her the joys of panty-less horseback riding. They’d asked her to wear a flowing skirt and had taken her out for a ride in one of the more remote areas of the ranch and let her ride them to her heart’s content in the sunshine. The memory made her cheeks feel warm and other parts of her even warmer and wetter.

But the reception couldn’t wait for another dalliance, and Lydia needed to get back to the ranch to check in. Rudy and his staff had been a tremendous help in doing the prep work and setup, leaving her time to create the cake. The wedding planner had handled everything else.