Read Another Snowbound Christmas Online

Authors: Veronica Tower

Tags: #Erotica/Romance

Another Snowbound Christmas (7 page)

Ron abruptly pulled his Jeep over to the side of the road as he had earlier on their way to his parents’ house. He did it so quickly that Kara expected him to start shouting at her or do something over the top like order her out of the car, but when he twisted in the driver's seat to speak to her, his voice was firmly under control. He didn't really seem angry, just incredibly earnest. “I
do
want to have sex with you!” he told her. “Every day, every hour, every time I see you, every time I hear your voice or smell your perfume I want to pull you down on the floor and lock my lips on yours while my hands roam over your beautiful body. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy all the other things—lying in bed together while you tell me about your day, holding hands while we stroll through the mall, flipping the burgers on the grill while you work with your flowers or reading you a passage from the newspaper while you cook us breakfast. I'm in love with you and I want everything about you all the time!”

He reached out and touched the underside of Kara's chin with the tip of his finger, making certain she was looking directly at him. “That includes your body, Kara. I'm not ever going to stop wanting your body. A year ago, our physical attraction is what brought us together, and it was a loss of physical attraction that broke you up with that asshole, Bobby. We promised each other—I don't remember the exact words anymore—but we promised each other sex, sex, and more sex because we knew then that the physical relationship is just as important as the emotional one. When your lover stops wanting you it kills the soul—destroys your self-esteem—and breeds intense unhappiness. So if you're telling me you don't want me anymore, we need to talk about that and figure out what to do. Maybe we should try counseling. Maybe we should...”

Ron's voice trailed off and Kara suddenly realized he'd almost said
maybe we should break up
. She didn't want to break up with him! As frustrated as she'd been with him since he moved in with her, she definitely was not ready to break up.

She took a deep breath and tried to focus her thoughts, then folded her hands around his. “Ron, I don't want to stop having sex with you. I think we both know that I really—” She broke off for a moment as a shudder of remembered climaxes worked its way up her body. “That I
really
enjoy making love to you. But maybe the balance has become a little skewed.
Everything
shouldn't be about sex. And now that we're living together it seems to me that we-”

She hesitated a moment trying to think of a nice way to say this, but sometimes being a little crude really was the best way to make a point. “Now that we're living together it seems that
fucking
is most of what we do. We don't really talk that much anymore—not like we used to.”

Ron took a deep breath. For a moment he reminded Kara of a racehorse, all jumpy and filled with nervous energy while he waited for the gunshot which would start the race. It was as if he wanted to leap in and tell her she was wrong, but instead was forcing himself to think about what she had said.

“Maybe we don't talk as much as we used to,” Ron admitted. “We did a lot of that talking on the phone because we couldn't get together. But it just doesn't seem like wanting you all the time should be a bad thing. It doesn't seem to me like this is the real problem.”

Wanting her wasn't a bad thing, Kara was willing to concede, but she didn't tell Ron this. Instead she focused on the last thing he had said. “And what do you think the real problem is?”

Ron didn't answer her. Instead he put the car back into gear and started down the road again. The snow continued to fall—light compared to the storms of last year, but it was early yet. They were only supposed to get one to three inches, but Kara didn't really trust the weather forecasts anymore. It must be nice to have a job where you can be wrong all the time and no one holds you accountable for it. “What do you think the real problem is?” Kara repeated.

Ron glanced over at her, taking his eyes from the road for longer than Kara was truly comfortable with. His expression was deadly serious with no hint of a teasing lightness in his gaze. “I don't know for sure,” he said, “but I think that in part it's a control issue.”

Kara started to protest but Ron cut her off. “No, listen to me! You can tell me I'm wrong when I'm done.” He braked suddenly and cut hard on the steering wheel to avoid hitting a car he had drifted toward as he argued. “You lived by yourself for a very long time. You're used to having total control over your own space and now you don't have it anymore. I bet it bothered you to have my stuff start showing up in your house while we were dating, but now that it's permanent, you're losing your patience with me.
Everything
I do irritates you these days.”

He broke off as if the subject matter was so painful that he couldn't complete his thoughts.

For her part, Kara felt astounded to learn that Ron was even thinking these things. “You don't irritate me, Ron.”


Yes,
I do!” Ron insisted. “But it's worse than that. I think you're sorry I moved in with you. I kind of forced the issue this summer and stupidly announced it before we could talk it over. So let's face it, moving in together was really
my
decision—not
our
decision like it should have been. And you understandably resent that. But it's worse than that, too. You don't like the invasion of your personal space. How many times have you complained that you don't have enough room in your closets anymore? You didn't like my X-Box being hooked up to your main television so I had to set up a TV in the guest room for it. You-”

“That's enough!” Kara snapped. She was starting to get angry now. What a
perfect
way to spend Christmas Eve and their one-year anniversary—fighting in the car after a miserable evening at his parents’ house. “I am not—”

Ron just kept on talking. “And I think that's the root of your problem with us having sex all the time, too. When we were dating, you were in control of when we got together, which meant
you
decided when we could have sex. Now that we live with each other, I have a lot more control over when I can take you in my arms and there's something you just don't like about that.”

“That is not true!” Kara shouted at him. “I am not some controlling
bitch!"

“Then what the hell do you think the problem is?” Ron shouted back.

“Maybe you're just too damn randy all the time and you don't know what a real relationship is about!” Kara yelled back.

“You're not the first woman I ever dated!” Ron snapped.

Kara felt a stab of pain in her heart. Ron rarely mentioned past girlfriends and the fact that he would bring one up now while they were fighting seemed particularly cruel to her. “If that's what you want, why don't you go date one again?” Even as the words left her mouth she felt a shock of horror. Had she really just said that? What the hell was wrong with her tonight? What the hell was wrong with both of them?

Ron turned onto Kara's street, which meant that soon they'd be treating the neighbors to their first public fight if they couldn't get things under control in the next few seconds. “You think I want someone else?” Ron shouted. His face looked dark under the passing light of the street lamps as if he were really, truly angry with her. “Isn't this whole fight over me wanting you
too
much?”

“No, Ron,” Kara corrected him. “This fight is over...” she trailed off. What was this fight over? It had started off as a complaint about Ron's insensitive timing when he wanted to have sex, but it had morphed a couple of times since then.

Ron pulled up into her driveway and turned off his car. His hands were literally trembling with agitation and he had to grab the steering wheel to cover the problem. She knew him well enough to know that he was really struggling to get control of his temper. “Look,” he said. “It's Christmas Eve and we just had our usual very bad time at my parents’ house. Let's not let that spoil our night. This should be the best time of the year for us.”

Kara wanted to stop fighting, too, but she didn't want to just push the argument away and pretend it hadn't happened. “We started fighting before we ever got to your parents’ house,” she said.

“I know,” Ron agreed. “But that was really a fight about my parents, too.”

Kara tentatively reached out and touched him on the shoulder. At least they had stopped shouting at each other. “No, it wasn't,” she said trying very hard to keep her voice calm and gentle. “We were fighting over the shape...” She hesitated, looking for a better word. “...the texture...” No, that wasn't it either. She tried a third time. “We were fighting over the
substance
of our relationship.”

Ron wasn't looking at her. He was staring at the windshield where the snow slowly accumulated on top of the glass. “So what you're telling me is that you don't want to have sex anymore.”

A sense of exasperation surged through Kara's body. “Of course not, you idiot. I'm saying I want us to work on strengthening the other parts of our relationship.”

Ron took a deep breath. He still wasn't looking at her. “I can do that,” he agreed, but to Kara's ears, his voice sounded strained and unnatural, perhaps even grudging.

It depressed her. Maybe one year really was as far as this relationship was going to go.

Not nearly ready to give up on him yet, she unfastened her seat belt and then leaned forward to kiss Ron on the cheek. “Thanks,” she murmured.

Ron accepted the kiss like a statue, hands still tightly gripping the steering wheel as he stared through the windshield. “I do love you, Kara,” he whispered.

She patted him on the shoulder again. “I know you do, Ron,” she said. “I just need you to find some new ways to express that love. I need you to find some new ways for us to grow together.”

Ron sighed and his broad shoulders relaxed. He dropped his hands off the steering wheel, his right hand finding hers, covering it, and squeezing lightly. “I'll do my best,” he promised.

Normally she would have expected him to kiss her when he said something like that, but this time Ron didn't do that. He didn't even look at her, which took away the reassurance Kara should have felt at his words. Did he think she was telling him she didn't want him to kiss her anymore? A feeling of dread, which she hadn't realized was taking shape in her heart, suddenly became noticeable.

Ron opened the car door. “It's two hours until midnight Mass,” he said. “I was kind of hoping we were going to be making love around then, but since that obviously isn't going to happen, do you want to go ahead and get a drink and then drive out and meet my family?”

Kara cringed. As a Baptist, she found the idea of attending a Catholic Mass particularly distasteful. It just wasn't something Baptists did. Add into that the presence of Ron's family—particularly Hanna—and she just couldn't stomach the notion. “We're home,” she said. “Wouldn't it be better to just be in for the night? We can watch a Christmas movie or something.”

Ron nodded in agreement, but she knew him well enough to be certain he was unhappy with her plan. “I guess I'll go to Mass tomorrow morning while you're at Church with your family,” he said.

Kara bristled. Ron had agreed to go to church with the Brennan clan tomorrow. If he didn't go that would provide even more ammunition for Mama in her never-ending campaign against him. But just as she was about to protest his decision, she remembered that she, too, had agreed to go to church—or Mass as the Catholics called it—with Ron's family. As she really didn't want to follow through on that promise, she let the matter drop.

They got out of the car and went in the house. Ron got them a couple of beers while Kara surfed the cable channels before settling on
A Christmas Carol: The Musical
.

Ron sat beside her on the couch, stiff and unnatural with his arm across her shoulders but his body not actually snuggled against her.

When the movie ended, they got undressed and went to bed, settling for a chaste kiss on the lips and the hope of a Merry Christmas.

They didn't make love, which might have been what Kara had asked for but definitely wasn't what she wanted.

* * * *

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Chapter Nine

December 25, Christmas Day

When Kara woke up Christmas morning, Ron was already out of bed. His desertion depressed her, even though it was part of his typical routine now that they lived together. Kara was not lazy, but Ron, with the energy of the young, liked to get up before six each day and work out—an aggressive series of pushups and sit ups followed by an early morning jog. She didn't know why, but she had expected him to forego the routine this morning like he used to when he'd come over before he moved in. Christmas wasn't just another day. It ought to be more special than this.

She lay in bed for several minutes wondering what had gone wrong between them. Was it really possible that she was as controlling as he suggested or was their problem rooted in their very different personalities and the significant gap in their ages? Ron was only twenty-six after all, and Kara had turned forty-one in November.

She smiled unconsciously as she thought back to her birthday celebration. After the mandatory appearance at her sister's house for dinner, cake and the birthday song, Ron had brought her back to the house for a far more personal celebration. He'd encouraged her to model his presents for him—jewelry, a nightgown and lingerie. She'd always been highly inhibited when it came to her body—preferring long skirts or dresses to tight fitting jeans and never
ever
exhibiting herself. But Ron had a gift for making her relax enough to enjoy herself and press her boundaries. He'd made her feel like a supermodel strutting up the runway—not a self-conscious forty-one year old past her prime. He was a handsome guy. He didn't have to be with her! Why was it bothering her so much lately that he always seemed to want her so badly?

It hadn't bothered her on her birthday!

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