Every Breath: Chapter One



I feel Benny’s mouth on the back of my neck, his beard tickling my skin. I giggle, feeling his arms tighten around my waist as I playfully struggle to pull away. I love it when he calls me beautiful, which is every morning—and when he’s horny like this which is often.

As I open my eyes, I see the time blinking from his bedside clock. “Isn’t your flight in two hours?”

“Hmmm.” He nips the skin behind my ear and I shiver, goosebumps dotting my skin.

“You’re going to be late, Benny.”

“Just one more kiss,” he murmurs. “For the road.”

“One more kiss that’ll lead to one more–”

“Are you complaining?”

I turn my head toward him just in time for our mouths to meet. Of course, I’m not complaining. Why would I? I need to take what I can get for he’s leaving again and for how long, I don’t know. One would think after twelve years as an environmental protection scientist, he’d get to stay in one place for good but with another complaint of radioactive frack waste on Navajo land, he’s been called in as a consultant. Again. And just like the others before this one, whatever recommendations he’ll propose will only get mired in government red tape. At least, this one is within the state so he isn’t going to be too far away.

But I push the thought away, rolling onto my back as my lips part and his tongue slips between my teeth. My belly tightens as his kiss deepens, his tongue sweeping and tasting, making the butterflies in my belly come alive. Funny how twelve years since he first kissed me, not much has changed. Benny Turner still makes me weak in the knees with just a look, a touch, a kiss. And that’s just the parts I can talk about.

I run my fingers through the skin of his back, the faint indentations of the ropy scars on his skin from a long time ago that he never talks about. And just as it happens every time, Benny takes wrist and brings it back on the bed. His scars are his own and no one else’s.

“Shijéí Bóhodínínil,” he murmurs against my ear and I shiver with anticipation as he interlaces his fingers with mine, pressing my hands down on the bed.

“Looks like your heart isn’t the only thing I light on fire, Benny,” I giggle as his cock presses against my inner thigh, hard and hot like a steel rod. My knees part to give him access, always access.

“You love it though.” He kisses me again, little nips on my upper and lower lip, his beard tickling my chin. The hairs on his chest feel rough against my breasts, his taut flat belly hard against my own. I love it when he sleeps naked… no, when we sleep naked for there’s nothing to stop us from doing the things we do to each other.

But only when we’re at his house.

Forget my house where Nana and Benny can hear everything. No, at Benny’s house in the city, we get to do everything we’ve ever dreamed of, and I don’t need to muffle my cries.

“Shiʼáád,” he murmurs as I shudder with anticipation, his mouth leaving my lips to lay claim on the sensitive skin of my neck and then my breast. I love the way his voice lowers, almost gruff in his intonation, his possession of my heart and soul evident in every word and every syllable. Shi’áád. My woman.

Already I’m wet, and he pulls away to watch me with heavy lidded eyes, letting our bodies do the talking this time. There’s no need for anything else. He knows I want him inside me. He knows I need him.

But of course, he doesn’t give me what I want, not right away. Benny blazes a trail of kisses down my neck, sucking one nipple into his mouth and then the other. He continues down my belly, letting go of my hands as he positions himself between my legs, his fingers sliding between the soaked lips of my pussy. He plants a light kiss on my clit, following it with a lap of his tongue.


Time stands still as he kisses and licks and sucks until my body shudders with its first orgasm. And when he moves up to kiss me on the mouth, letting me taste myself, I feel the head of his cock push against my entrance and I gasp when he roughly thrusts himself in my wetness. I love it when he’s rough like this, reminding me who commands my heart and my body.

I want to hold him but Benny holds my hands down again, his head lowering, his mouth on my neck as his teeth leave his mark on my skin. At least, it’s winter and so I can keep it covered with a scarf or a turtleneck. If all else fails, there’s always makeup.

With the dawn light slipping between the blinds, the only sounds in the room is that of our bodies, our breaths, whispered words he knows I crave to hear from him. My woman. My heart. Precious girl.

Benny lets go of my hands to stroke my side, one hand gripping my hip as he thrusts a few more times, groaning against my neck as he fills me completely and I cry out, my fingernails digging into the skin of his shoulders. Why do these type of couplings always seem desperate, an attempt to appease a hunger that never seems to be satisfied?

Afterward, as I lie in his arms, our fingers interlacing playfully, he kisses my forehead, my eyelids, my lips. Tender now, gentle.

“I’ll be back before you know it,” he murmurs.

“You know how these trips make me nervous,” I say. “When you say you’ll be gone for a week, it usually ends up being three or four. Dyami gets restless. He reads the news.”

Dyami is our eleven-year-old son, a precocious boy who looks just like his father. Intense dark eyes, dark hair, but he has my smile. He loves his father like it’s no one’s business. He’s proud to have his father’s Navajo blood even if Benny’s half Navajo which makes Dyami less than that. But he has the spirit of a Navajo warrior like his great great grandfather. Already, his grandfather wants Dyami to spend the summer in the Navajo Nation so he can learn how to be a man. A Navajo.

“It’s only for a day or two, Sarah. But I’ll talk to him.”

Benny’s phone buzzes from the bedside table and excusing himself, Benny reaches over me to retrieve it.


He shakes his head, returning the phone to the table and pulling me in an embrace. He buries his face in my hair. “My mother.”

I pull away, studying his face. “Why didn’t you answer?”

“Have you seen the time?” His tone is teasing, but he also knows I get uncomfortable being around when his mother calls.

“It could be an emergency.”

“She’s probably asking about the spill. That way, she can tell everyone that her son is such an important man to be called over there on short notice. You know how she is.”

Yes, I know how she is. Like how she never liked me, I almost add as Benny kisses my forehead and then my lips one more time before removing his arm from under my head and sits up. Now he really needs to get ready to go to the airport.

“Will you be staying there the whole time?” I ask instead, the silences growing longer between us again. It always happens when he’s about to leave for long periods of time. This is one of those times. Spilled radioactive frack waste don’t get cleaned up in a day, certainly not when it happens on tribal land. There’s just too much red tape.

“Yes, but I’ll call you when I get there.” He gets up and heads to the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. A few seconds later, I hear the shower running. I get up and take a peek at his phone which buzzes again. This time it’s a text message.

Noelle in town. She said hello.

My chest tightens, my throat turns dry.


I know that name.

I get up and walk out of the bedroom, making my way to the guest bathroom so I can wash my face and brush my teeth. Twelve years since we first kissed, why on earth am I still letting Noelle bother me?

But then, why not? She and Benny grew up together on the reservation. She’s also the woman he was supposed to marry, something that was prearranged between their families. The wedding only got delayed when he won a scholarship in the East Coast where he majored in Environmental Sciences. He returned to New Mexico after graduation but instead of getting married, he opted to pursue his Doctorate.

That’s where I come in, setting Benny’s path a totally different direction from the one his mother had hoped for. I was completing my Bachelor’s in Nursing at UNM where he was working on his dissertation on Environmental Biology for his Doctorate when we met and the next thing everyone knew, we were inseparable and I had Dyami, a strong and beautiful baby boy with Benny’s eyes and lustful cry that could wake up the neighbors.

I stare at my reflection in the mirror, droplets of water clinging to my skin. Blue eyes, creamy skin and dark-haired, I’m what people have always called a curvy girl. Broad shoulders, wide hips, big boobs. Far from the ideal woman that many men I’d met in New York held on to when I went back there for my first two years of college.

How I wanted so badly to leave the quiet of Taos then, flying back to New York ten years after Dad uprooted me from everything I knew so Mama could live in Taos again. I thought I’d fit right back in like I never left it.

Only I’d changed.

What I thought I wanted—the hustle and bustle of Manhattan along with the status that came with it as Daniel Drexel’s oldest daughter—had faded into the tired rumblings and exhaust fumes of the city that never slept and a father whose affection for his only daughter turned into an expectation of perfection.

Too bad I was far from perfect, and still am.

But at least, Benny loves him a curvy girl with something more than skin and bones to hold on to. You’re more than just curves that drive me crazy, Sarah Drexel, he’d say teasingly. There’s a woman in this body. My woman.


He just hasn’t put a ring on it, not since he first kissed me twelve years ago and promised to be mine forever.


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