Dance with Me – standalone short romance story – SWEET
Love and Baseball – The Marriage Bargain short – SWEET
Valentine’s Day : Nate and Kennedy – Searching for Perfect – SWEET
Valentine’s Day Letter from Slade to Kate – Searching for Someday – SWEET
Father’s Day Short – The Marriage Bargain – SWEET
Short story with Sawyer and Julietta from The Marriage Merger – EROTIC
Love Max Gray, A Valentine’s Special from The Marriage Mistake – SPICY
The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars: A Valentine’s Day Story with Genevieve and Wolfe – SPICY
“This is stupid.”
Jacklyn dragged her feet and prayed her best friend wouldn’t notice.
Jodi shook her head. “You’re acting ridiculous. You need to have fun and meet men. Salsa class combines both.”
Jackie groaned. “I hate dancing, I’ve got two left feet. You’re making me miss an episode of Survivor.”
“You need a man more than the remote.”
“You’re forgetting my shortage theory. Women outnumber men by 2 to 1. One single guy has communities of women fighting for his attention. Do you believe the 1 percent left can be registered for Salsa?”
Jodi opened the door. “Yep.”
Couples scattered across the glossy floor. Jackie glanced around the room and spotted—
Thank you, God.
He was beautiful. Dark glossy hair, black, brooding eyes, and a lithe body made for dancing.
Her best friend grinned. “Told you.”
This time, Jackie didn’t drag her feet as she made her way toward the James Dean look-a-like.
“Welcome to Salsa 101. I’m Pete Connors.”
She studied the man in front of the room. A strange longing bubbled up from the pit of her tummy as she gazed at him, and she wondered why he seemed familiar. Then the moment passed and he was just her instructor – a nice looking man with friendly brown eyes and wheat colored hair. The laugh lines carved around his mouth told her he enjoyed life. He moved with a masculine grace, practically floating across the floor.
“I’m going to pair you up and go through a few basic moves.” The erotic beat of the Salsa roared through the room.
Jackie moved her feet to copy the rhythm being demonstrated, but she occasionally bumped shoulders with James Dean. To her delight, he actually smiled and spoke. “I guess we can be partners. I’m Frederico.”
She smiled back. “Jackie. But I have to warn you, I have two left feet.”
“That’s okay.” They practiced, bumping occasionally into each other and laughing. She was about to ask a few personal questions when Pete interrupted her moment. “Time to switch, guys.”
Her mouth fell open. “Switch?”
He winked. “Partners. Everyone take a step to the right and continue.”
Frederico took the fated step into the arms of a giggling teenager. When Jackie looked to her right, there was an empty space. Embarrassed, she tried to casually move toward the corner. Strong hands suddenly grasped her waist and spun her around in one easy move.
She looked up at her instructor. “I don’t have a partner.”
Those chestnut eyes gleamed with amusement but his tone was serious. “Then I’ll show you the ropes, and you can impress your friends at parties.”
She laughed. His hands were firm as they clasped her fingers and guided her through the movements. After a few moments, Pete stopped.
“I’m sorry,” she said quickly.
He studied her face for a moment and again she felt the hard tug of excitement.
“You’re not having fun,” he said.
Horror coursed through her at the accusation. “Of course I am!”
His lip twitched. “You’re concentrating too hard on following the steps. You’re trying to learn it like a school project, but dance is different. You have to let go and trust your body. You need to risk looking silly.”
His words stung at first. Then the meaning sunk in and she realized he was right. “I don’t like to look silly,” she offered.
“Nobody does. But the payoff is pleasure. Fun. Isn’t that worth it?”
He pulled her into a firm dance frame, and began to lead. This time, Jackie allowed his subtle motions to guide her, allowed her feet to enjoy the pounding beat of the music, allowed her hips to swing a little bit freer. Something broke deep inside, and she let herself go, laughing a bit as she danced to the Salsa and forgot about everyone else in the room.
Too soon, he had released her. Their gazes locked.
Pete smiled. “Much better.” He cleared his throat. “Last time, switch back.”
In a flash, she was back in Frederico’s arms, and he seemed glad to see her again. “What made you sign up for dance lessons?” she asked.
“I want to dance well at the wedding.”
“Oh, that’s nice. A relative or friend?”
She stumbled. “Your wedding?”
“Yes, I want to surprise my fiancée. Do you think she’ll like it?”
Jackie only felt relief. “Yes, I think she will love your surprise.”
The music ended. Pete stopped in front of them but seemed distant. “Great job, guys. You make a nice couple.”
Jackie caught the flash of some emotion in Pete’s brown eyes. She opened her mouth to thank him but he had already moved away.
Jodi walked over. “Well?”
“He’s getting married.”
“Damn. Maybe we can check out the karate studio.”
Jackie stared at Pete. “Maybe not. Wait here.”
She squared her shoulders and marched over. Pete looked up from his briefcase. “Hey, what’s up?”
The words got stuck in her throat. “I loved your class. Can I come again next week?”
“Sure. I’m glad you liked it.”
“Everyone seemed to have fun.”
“Yes, but I usually have a shortage problem.”
Her heart skipped a beat. “Shortage?”
He leaned one hip against the wall. “Yeah, this class holds mostly females. Most of the time I end up putting two girls together as partners. It’s the same in all of my classes, from dance to sports.” He smiled wryly. “Seems almost like a male population shortage, doesn’t it?”
Jackie knew with a blinding flash she had found who she was looking for in Salsa 101.
“I agree. Maybe you’d like to get a cup of coffee sometime?”
Pete took a step closer. “I’d like that. I teach Tango tomorrow. Maybe you’d like to meet afterwards.”
“Can I come to class first?”
“Do you have a partner?”
Jackie smiled. “I do now.”
He smiled back. At the corner of her eye, she saw Jodi flash a thumbs up signal.
Missing Survivor had been so worth it.
A Short Story with Nick and Alexa from The Marriage Bargain
Nick shook his head and stared at his wife. “Do you really think all this is necessary?”
Alexa shot him a glare from under her NY Mets baseball cap. Her inky curls spilled wildly around her cheeks and down her shoulders. Dressed in her old Piazza Mets jersey, she sat cross legged on the sofa clutching a tattered pennant from 1986 that screamed Let’s Go Mets! “Are you really asking me that question?” she shot back. “After all these years of losses, scrambles, and torture? This is our time, dammit, and I will not squander it by being sloppy. I need the juju.”
His lips twitched but he knew arguing was no use. When it came down to baseball, they walked a slippery slope. Even he had to admit, he was a bit pissy about the Yankees not making it. He wondered what would happen if the Mets actually got through the Playoffs and won the World Series this year. He may never hear the end of it. “Fine, but watch your cursing around the girls. And don’t blame me when you’re tired tomorrow at the bookstore. Last night, you stayed up past midnight.”
She stuck out her tongue.
The clatter of footsteps down the stairs hit his ears before the girlish shriek did. “Mommy, I’m ready! Did you get the popcorn?”
“Right here, sweets. Oh, you look wonderful! Aunt Maggie really spoiled you this time.”
Nick’s mouth fell open. Lily raced past him dressed in a pink Mets Jersey, stretch pants, and a pink ball cap. Her black hair was a messy cloud so like her mother’s, and her China blue eyes were wide with excitement. She gave a squeal and launched herself onto the sofa. Her pink sequined sneakers glittered. “Daniel Murphy has been amazing lately. And he’s so cute!”
“I know, right! But you know I’m still a Wright fan. He’s pure class.”
“And I love Jacob’s hair—it’s so chill! He’s my fave pitcher.”
Nick stalked in front of the television, ignoring their protests as he blocked the pre-game chatter. “I will not have my ten year old daughter talking about baseball players being cute,” he growled. “It cheapens the game.”
Lily giggled. “Don’t be jealous, Daddy. And I’m sorry about the Yankees this year. But it was bound to happen.”
Alexa grinned with pure mischief. “That’s right, babe. You know you’re number one in our books, right? Now, can you move a bit to the left?”
“Girls, they’re probably not going to win. You should prepare for that.”
And just like that, Nick knew he was in trouble.
Matching sets of blue eyes turned cold. Silence fell—the awkward, violent type silence that preceded a female temper tantrum. “Please remove your negative energy from the room,” his wife stated. Uh, oh. He hated when she got that eerie calm look on her face. It didn’t bode well for any of them.
His daughter shook her head. “Daddy, you can’t mess up the juju. Maybe you should go play with Maria.”
He began to respond when another set of footsteps trotted down the steps, but these belonged to canine, not human.
Oh, yeah. He was going to lose it.
Old Yeller, his beloved hound dog, slowly made his way into the living room with an old fashioned dignity he’d always exuded, every since they first got him ten years ago. Around his neck was the familiar Mets bandana, but Alexa had stepped up her game. In disbelief, he watched his dog sit beside her dressed in a royal blue jersey that screamed: New York Wants It More.
“You put clothes on him?” he asked in disbelief. “He probably hates it.”
Old Yeller shot him a look, yawned, and dropped his head on Alexa’s foot.
“Et tu, Brute?” he muttered.
Nick moved away from the television and let the females take over.
And take over they did. They screamed, threw popcorn at the billboard television screen, and danced like no one was watching. During the fifth inning, he took a stroll upstairs and ducked his head into Maria’s room. She was lying on her stomach, surrounded by Pokemon cards, her newest obsession, with a line of stuffed animals watching her play. Simba, the yellow lab, wagged her tail furiously when Nick sat on the edge of the bed. “Hey, pumpkin. What’cha doing?”
“Going through my Pokemon cards and deciding what to trade,” she said. She looked up and smiled. Nick’s heart always did a flip flop when his daughters’ gazed at him with that look of open love and adoration. It was better than any drug he’d never used. “Game still on?”
He sighed. “Yeah.”
Maria sat up. Her brown hair was caught up in a messy ponytail. She wore faded jeans, a simple t-shirt, and was bare foot. The two girls were so different. Lily loved clothes, bling, ruthless organization, and obeying the rules. Maria adored clutter, athletics, and making mischief. His sister Maggie, bemoaned Maria’s lackluster response to fashion or girly stuff. Nick had his hopes on her making the Olympics one day since she was the fastest runner he’d ever watched hurtle around the track in record time.
“I’m sorry, Daddy. It’s going to be a long month if they keep winning. I knew once Jeter left we’d have a difficult year.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Wanna put on our Yankee gear and get them mad?”
Nick laughed at her pert little face filled with naughtiness. Thank God, he’d recruited Maria as a Yanks fan. Simba, too. They were split right down the middle. “Better not, pumpkin. They’re not fooling around with the juju down there.”
“K. Let me know if you need me.”
“Love you, too, Daddy.”
Nick closed the door, went back down the stairs, and watched the game from around the corner. DeGraw got the strike-out to retire the side, and Lily announced the need for a bathroom break and took off. His wife wiggled her hips in a comedy of hip-hop, her curls bouncing under her cap with excitement.
And just like that, Nick was dragged into the past.
He remembered their first meeting. Dressed in a slinky red dress, it seemed like yesterday they had struck a marriage of convenience based on no sex, no emotion, and no mess. Her ridiculous condition of him not wearing any Yankees gear around the house had struck him mute, but her stubbornness and zest for life in all forms finally got him right where it counted.
She’d given him a life again. One filled with dogs and children and chaos on a daily basis. She allowed him to leave his past behind and be the man he’d always wanted to be. God, he loved her.
His throat closed up. Slowly, he walked into the living room and grabbed her around the waist. She turned in his arms, gaze narrowed in suspicion, red lips pursed to yell at him. “What?”
He touched both of her cheeks and smiled. “I was just remembering us ten years ago. When we first met.”
Laughter gleamed in her blue eyes. “You mean when you were a complete jerk to me?”
“And the time you had to beg my forgiveness so you sent Old Yeller to my bookstore in the Mets bandanna and read your poem aloud?”
Ugh, he was still a bit embarrassed at that scene, and Michael never let him live it down. Still, it had gotten her back so it was worth the slight humiliation. “Yeah, that, too.”
Her arms wrapped around his shoulders, and she settled against his body like his other half. “Yeah, I remember,” she said softly. “How did ten years go by so fast?”
“Not sure. I may not be a Mets fan, but I still love you like that very first day.” His thumb pressed over her mouth, and just like that, he was hard and ready to take her. “I still want you like that very first day.”
Her breath rushed out. She tilted her head back, and he leaned in. “For real? Even though I’m ten pounds heavier, and beginning to get wrinkles, and want to get another rescue dog?”
Nick pressed against her so she felt his erection. “I want you all the time, baby. Don’t you know that yet?”
He groaned and took her mouth in a hard, hot kiss. Plunging his tongue between her lips, he kissed her like the first time, claiming the woman he loved and promising to bring her to excruciating pleasure night after night. Her body softened, surrendering, and her hard nipples pressed into his chest. Slowly, he broke the kiss, nipping at her lush lower lip, cradling her beloved face in his hands.
“Damn, that was hot,” she said.
“You’re hot. What do you think of calling your Mom to babysit tonight?”
Her smile was wicked and full of promise. “I think I’ll call her now.”
Lily came racing back into the room. “Did I miss anything?”
He stepped back and shared a look with his wife. “No, nothing. I’ll leave you girls to your game. Oh, Alexa?”
“We’re not getting another dog.”
“Tell me that later tonight.”
Her laughter followed him out the door. In that moment, Nick almost hoped the Mets would win to make her happy.
Nate and Kennedy from Searching for Perfect
“Dude, it’s V day. You gotta get her something sexy.”
Nate looked at his older brother, Connor. His brother had accompanied him to one of the sexy lingerie stores, and was currently waving a scarlet barely-there lace corset and matching thong in the air. Nate had come a long way since meeting the love of his life, but his brother still managed to exasperate him with some of his antics.
“I don’t think this is a good idea,” he said in a low voice, trying not to glance at the salesperson who seemed way too interested in their exchange.
Connor grinned and lifted them higher. “Are you blushing, bro? Come on! Women love this stuff. Skip the chocolate because they just worry about getting fat. Besides, this is a present for you, too.”
Damned if his cheeks weren’t red. His sex life with Kennedy was adventurous, erotic, and consistent. She’d worn much sexier stuff, including the French maid costume that almost gave him a heart attack. But having his brother try to delve into their sex life was freaking him out.
Gritting his teeth, he grabbed at the lacy red stuff and stuck it back on the rack. Connor laughed, and winked at the approaching saleswoman. “Can I help you, gentlemen?” she asked in a professional voice.
Connor’s gaze ate her up. “Darlin, you can help me anytime and make me a happier man. But this time I’m trying to advise my little brother. Don’t women adore skimpy outfits to wear on V day?”
Shit. This was getting worse by the minute.
The pretty blonde gave him a smile. “Definitely. There’s nothing better than an outfit to make a woman feel good. It’s the most popular gift for Valentine’s Day.”
“See! Told ya.” Connor moved closer to the blonde and winked. “You model them here?”
Nate waited for his brother to get slapped. Kennedy had re-educated him on the right and wrong stuff to say to women, and by God, that was so wrong it bordered on offensive.
The blonde licked her lips and studied Connor. “Not usually. But sometimes I make an exception.”
Nate’s mouth fell open. Son of a bitch. What was it about his brother able to get away with crap no man else did? That’s it—he was outta here.
“Con, I’ll see you later, man. Thanks for the advice though.”
The blonde looked nervous about losing a sale. “Wait, I could show you something else you’d like!”
“No, thanks. But I’m sure Connor will buy something.”
Nate shot out the door before his brother stopped him. Since going back to college and working toward management at his construction company, Connor had grown in many ways. But the way he communicated with the female sex still remained medieval. Kennedy was always asking if she could sign him up for Kinnections, but Connor refused to change. Why should he? His approach still got any woman he eyed, and he was damn happy.
Unlike Nate, who had been a walking disaster before Kennedy gave him a make-over. He’d tumbled right into love with her but it had been a long road for them. Thank God he hadn’t given up and now she was all his.
Every delectable inch.
Nate walked and thought. He wanted this Valentine’s Day to be special, but celebrating her body wasn’t the way. He worshipped her body every damn day. This time, he wanted to give her something else.
He just had to come up with something.
“Whatcha doing for V day?”
Kennedy groaned and stared at her friend Kate. “You know I despise that holiday, even though it’s great for Kinnections Matchmaking. I mean, come on. The clichés are ridiculous. Candy. Flowers. See through lingerie. Gag me.”
Kate laughed. “You’re such a cynic. You’re not even going to dinner?”
“Hell, no. I plan to go home, have a quiet night with Nate, and crack open a bottle of wine. And it won’t be a bottle of red.”
Kate disappeared, shaking her head. Kennedy got back to work until her phone buzzed. She picked it up. “Yeah?”
“You got a delivery.”
“On my way.” Kennedy smiled. Nate wouldn’t let the day pass without something. That was just the type of man he was, and another reason she loved him. She strode out, expecting roses, and got a vanilla envelope with her name scrawled in calligraphy instead. Curious, she slit it open and pulled out a single sheet of paper.
Kennedy looked up and frowned. “It says to go outside.”
Kate squealed. Grabbing her coat, she pushed it into her arms and toward the door. “Go! OMG it’s a Valentine’s Day surprise!”
Kennedy allowed her friend to urge her out the door. A stretch limo was waiting at the curb. The driver stepped forward and opened the door. “Ms. Ashe? Mr. Dunkle is expecting you.”
What was going on? She slid into the back seat and the car pulled away. Oh, boy, she hoped Nate hadn’t spent a ton of money doing something fancy for her. Sure, she loved dressing up and hitting the town, but since she finally found love, she was thrilled to cuddle up with him on a winter’s night without the fuss and fanfare.
But it didn’t matter. Her man was trying to spoil her, and she would be open to anything.
Finally, the limo pulled up to the local college science building. Stopping in front of the frosted glass doors, the driver escorted her out, then handed her another sheet of paper. Kennedy opened it.
Go through the doors, make a right, and follow the hallway.
She followed the instructions, wondering why her heart was beating so fast. Another piece of paper was taped to the double doors.
It was the planetarium. The room was bathed in darkness, but the domed ceilings were full of stars. As a hidden science geek, she’d always adored astronomy, studying the night sky on her telescope she’d owned as a kid. She took a few steps in, and suddenly, Nate appeared.
He held a glass of champagne. Her gaze roved over his beloved face with his trimmed goatee and piercing blue eyes. That slamming, hard body was covered in black pants and a charcoal cashmere sweater. A tiny tear at the upper arm proved he would always be her slightly nerdy, disheveled rocket scientist. God, she loved him.
“What are you doing?” she whispered.
He smiled and handed her a glass of champagne. “I figured you’d hate all the usual stuff. So I thought it would be nice to spend the afternoon studying the stars. Alone.”
Fierce emotion rocketed through her, bringing an odd sting to her eyes. He knew her so well, knew her inner soul almost better than herself. She managed a nod, and he reached out and took her hand.
She sat next to him in the front row. Low music played, the stars shone bright, the comets exploded, and they looked at the night sky together. Finally, he reached down and handed her one rich, perfect, chocolate truffle.
“Just a taste,” he murmured.
Yes. He knew she’d hate a whole box, still struggling with some bodily issues from her past. But one truffle spoke volumes. He fed it to her slowly, licking the chocolate from her lips, kissing her in the dark.
“I love you, Nate Dunkle,” she said when his mouth broke from hers.
He grinned. “Then when are you going to marry me?”
She pressed her forehead to his, smiling, her fingers stroking his rough cheeks. “Soon,” she promised.
“I’m not going to give up until you’re completely mine, Ken,” he said. “You know I’ll win.”
A shiver raced down her spine. HIs possessive, sexy side always exploded in the bedroom, wringing pleasure for too many hours until she begged for mercy. Oh, yeah, he’d be making her beg tonight.
She couldn’t wait.
“You already won,” she whispered back. “I’m yours.”
His mouth took hers, and they didn’t speak again for a long time.
Maybe Valentine’s Day wasn’t so bad after all.
You know me as one without a romantic bone in my body. I deal with breakups and heartaches on a daily basis, and when I met you, I swore I knew everything this life could throw at me. I was the smart one. The one who knew that love was an illusion mistaken for oxytocin. I was smug in my assumptions, certain my path was firmly in front of me.
You, my love, blew up the pathway, forced me into the thorny woods, and made me forge a brand new way. You alone broke through my barriers, delved into my soul, and stole it like the thief you are. You wrecked me, changed me, completed me. I didn’t think I was strong enough to take what you were offering.
But I was.
So, on this first Valentines Day together, I give you this. My promise to be the one to hold your hand, pull you down side paths, and fuck you so completely there’s not a shred of you left any longer…only what belongs to me. I will be rude; I will be filthy; I will be devout.
I will be yours.
Open the door. Robert has instructions for you tucked into his brand new Valentine’s Day collar. You won’t need your clothes at this particular event.
All my love,
PS: I set up a date in the dog park with Robert and the white poodle down the street. She’s a bit snooty so I’m nervous. If I don’t like the way things are going, I’m taking him home early.
Posted originally on Shhh Mom’s Reading
Nick jerked up out of bed and blinked. The three females in front of him were the backbone of everything he held dear, and everything good and beautiful in the world.
But the tray they held contained a leaking, smashed up mess of food he doubted the most adventurous eater on the planet wouldn’t touch. “What’s this?”
Lilly gave a huge grin, her sparkling white baby teeth all still firmly intact. “It’s Father’s Day, daddy! Happy Father’s Day! We made you breakfast.”
Maria jumped up and down, her chubby legs and arms shaking with excitement. “Eat, eat!”
With a laugh, he lifted Maria up on the bed where she perched by his legs. His gaze rose to his wife. Her ocean blue eyes sparkled with mischief as she lay the tray in front of him. “Buon Appetito, my love. I thought it would be extra special if the children really cooked it themselves as part of your present.”
Oh, yeah. She was so gonna get it later.
He pondered the mishmash of runny eggs with a few white sparkling shells included for crunch. The toast was soggy and pretty much dipped in a tub of butter. That move was all Maria, who seemed obsessed with finding the butter at the table and smearing it on everything she could find. Including herself. He pointed to the charred, pointy thing lying in the center. “What’s that, girls?”
“Bacon! You love bacon, right Daddy?”
Alexa sputtered a half laugh. The thing could kill someone, it was so overcooked and burnt he was afraid to touch it. Still, when he caught the proud expressions on his girls faces, his heart did that weird flip flop thing. “It looks delicious, I can’t wait to eat it.”
Maria clapped her hands and waited. Lily pointed to the fork, knife and napkin to his right. Alexa gave him that look that always made him want to tumble her right there, full of challenge and spice and humor. Ah, hell, he had to choke it down no matter which way he looked at it.
Nick picked up the fork and prepped for battle. “Can’t wait.”
It got better after the first few bites, but he figured his tongue had numbed out by then anyway. He ate most of the plate, while his daughters chattered about every step they had taken to prepare him a meal fit for a king.
Or, at least a king ready to be poisoned for his heir to take over.
He dove for the juice to wash the whole concoction down and choked on a pit and some nasty pulp. “Did you squeeze the oj yourself too, girls?”
“Yes! Mommy helped!”
That made them giggle so he drank the rest. Too bad. He’d had his eye on that new watch Michael owned, which was a bit metro for him but he’d been lusting after it for months. Way too indulgent to just go buy himself.
Nick pushed the tray away. “I loved it,” he said with a serious face. “It’s the best breakfast I ever had.”
Lilly climbed on the bed and hugged him. Maria snuggled into his chest. He breathed in the sweetness of their skin, touched their silky hair, and wondered how he’d gotten so damn lucky.
“The girls made their own cards for you too. Let’s clean up and you can read them downstairs. Give daddy some time to shower and get ready for the day.”
Lilly and Maria scrambled off the bed, too young to realize cleaning up was a chore rather than a fun activity, and raced out the door. His wife picked up the tray with a smirk on those bee stung lips.
“You’re giving me payback for mother’s day, aren’t you?”
One brow arched. “Whatever do you mean? I remember how relaxing it was. Imagine my surprise when I prepared for a day at the spa and got to host a party for twenty five of our closest friends?”
He winced. Yeah, not his best moment. “Sorry, babe. I figured you’d like a celebration with everyone included. I got it catered.”
“Hmm. There were over a dozen children running around like mad, it rained all day so we were stuck inside, and you hung by the bar with your buddies while I ran around like a nut. Real fun.”
“Ok, lesson learned. You’re not gonna drag me to a children’s carnival as punishment now are you?”
She laughed, the husky sound spilling across his ears like an aphrodisiac. “Nope, eating that breakfast was good enough for me. Come down when you’re ready.”
She leaned over and kissed him, a slow, sweet leisurely kiss that still stole his breath and contained the promise of…everything. “You know that thong corset thing Maggie got me and I refused to wear?”
He frowned. “Yeah?”
“Mom’s babysitting tonight. Perhaps, I’ll try it on for you and you give me your opinion?”
He rose to full staff, ready to play, but with a wicked laugh she danced just out of reach and sashayed out the room. “Later.”
Nick shook his head, pushed back the covers, and headed toward the bathroom. A flash of red caught his eye, and he turned to find a square black box on the bureau with a big bow. After a quick shake, he slowly unwrapped it.
The Italian designer luxury watch sat amidst the velvet backdrop, the tiny rows of diamonds both subtle and elegant. It had so many buttons and features it would take him a day to read the instruction manual. Excitement lit up. He ripped open the small card propped up next to it.
“To the man I loved since I was sixteen, and to the father I always knew you would be, you are everything. Happy Father’s Day. Love, Al.”
He blinked back the ridiculous, wimpy sting behind his eyes, reclaimed his man card, and headed to change.
Best. Father’s. Day. Ever.
Originally Published on SubClub Blog
Sawyer Wells walked into the hotel bar, slid into the stool, and ordered a whiskey. The low buzz of conversation and murmured laughter swarmed around him, but he concentrated on his shot glass and the beautiful amber liquid in it that would hopefully take away his pounding headache.
It had been a shit day. He was exhausted, sick of customers, and needed some type of outlet. Raw energy pulsed around him. His skin literally itched with the dark craving he thought he’d had under control from years of civility.
Tonight, all bets were off.
As if the devil below was laughing his ass off, Sawyer looked up and saw her. He stilled as the surroundings faded away, his dick rose to attention, and the filthy urges he usually fought off rose to life like a beast underground released of his earthly prison.
Jesus, she was gorgeous. Definitely a hooker. Dark hair pulled back from her face, red lipstick, and a lean body dressed for sex. The low clinging halter top barely hid her nipples, which pushed against the stretchy lace. Her skirt was barely there, revealing long naked legs. Her shoes were four inch deadly stilettos in shiny cheap patent leather.
She must have felt his gaze, because she looked up and stared right back. Assessing. He wondered if she was thinking of money or the need to fuck. He guessed the former. He lifted his glass in a mocking salute while those inky eyes devoured his body, took him deep and squeezed.
Oh, yeah, she was interested. Shame reared up. He was married for God’s sakes. He fucking loved his wife, lived for her, but the demons urged him to empty his basic filthy instincts in a whore for the evening so he’d be clean. He accepted the lie because to deny it would mean he’d have to walk away.
Right now he couldn’t.
Not allowing him to think of Julietta waiting for him at home, he picked up his drink, walked over, and sat beside her.
She never looked at him. Just kept sipping her wine with delicate hands he wanted crushed around his dick. “You need something?” she drawled. Even her voice was bad for him, thick like smoke, heady like cocaine.
“You know what I need.”
She paused, pretending not to care. Pretending she wasn’t going to accept his proposal. “You a cop?”
Sawyer gave a half laugh. “No. Let’s just say I was on the other side of the jail cell.”
“I’m also married. I love my wife.” The words almost made him turn around and go home. Almost.
“Of course you do. I’ll meet you in Room 213. Knock twice.I don’t like what I see, you’ll regret you’ve ever laid eyes on me. Got it?”
He shuddered with need to mount her, take her, break her. And he would. But for now, he needed to play by her rules. “Agreed.”
She left. Sawyer paid the bill, and headed up to the room. He knocked twice.
She opened it. He stepped through the doorway. She shut the door.
“Two hundred fifty per hour.”
He raised a brow. This time, he was the one to study her, his gaze stripping off her clothes and judging. She was worth it. “You do everything I saw, when I say it. If you want me to stop give me a word. Not no.”
He peeled off the bills from his wallet and put it on the table. Shrugged off his jacket. Then leaned against the wall.
“Take your clothes off real slow.”
She reached up to remove the pins from her hair. HIs voice cracked like a whip. “Leave it up. Do what I say only. Disobey me one more time I’ll punish you.”
Her hair down reminded him too much of his wife. This way, he could sink into the knowledge she was a plaything, one night only, and he could go home and be wiped clean. The dilation of her pupils told him she was into it and would like the slap of his hand on her rear. Would crave orgasm denial until she broke apart and became someone else with the need to have his dick inside her.
Sawyer watched. She unzipped the skirt and pulled it down over her hips, inch by inch. The material pooled around her feet. She wore no underwear.
He smelled her from here. Wet and musky. She’d shaved so her swollen, pink lips were displayed. She worked the top even slower, pulling down the tiny spaghetti straps one by one, freeing each plump breast like a prize. Her nipples were scarlet red, stiff, and ready for his mouth. Instead of pulling the top over her head, she shimmied out of the stretchy material by sliding it down over her body to join the skirt. She kept on the shoes.
He fought to keep from shaking. He wanted to do everything to her without mercy. Make her scream with pleasure and fight him. But right now, he needed something else even more.
“Get down on your hands and knees. Crawl over to me.”
Her face reflected surprise. He didn’t think she’d ever crawled to a man before, but she gracefully dropped and with a sensuous prowl, made her way across the thickly carpeted floor. His dick strained against his pants. “Very nice. Unbuckle me and put your mouth on my cock. Would you like that?”
“Yes,” she purred. Her eager fingers unbelted him and his erection popped out. He wondered if she’d play games with him, teasing like a good whore would, but she surprised him by opening wide and sucking him deep without hesitation.
Sawyer slumped against the wall, and groaned. Jesus, she was heaven, her mouth tight and wet and silky, throating him just like he liked it but hated to demand from his wife. There was no hold barred in the moment, and though his lids almost slipped closed from the sheer pleasure, he kept his eyes open to watch those ripe lips suck him off.
When he was ready to explode, he gave the command. “Stop now.” Her mouth slipped down his dick and released him. Saliva dampened her lips. Her tongue ran over the bottom, and her eyes hazed with lust.
“You haven’t earned the bed yet. Get on all fours and spread your legs wide.” A little moan escaped her lips, and her scent swarmed him. Oh, yeah, she was turned on. He’d be able to get her to orgasm quickly, but he wanted her to suffer first before he gave her what she wanted. She obeyed and he stripped off her clothes.
Sawyer studied her naked body on display for him. Her small firm breasts hung free, the nipples erect. Moisture coated her thighs. He moved behind her and eased her knees further apart, then began to play. Starting with her breasts, he stroked and teased, pinching her nipples, caressing her belly, her hips, massaging her ass. Her knees trembled with the need to collapse and he upped his game, leaving no inch of skin untouched, until finally, he used his thumbs to part her pussy and lowered his head.
She cried out at the first swipe of his tongue over her dripping slit. Her thighs clenched and she pushed herself forward for more of him. His control slipped, until he devoured her pussy, using his lips and tongue and teeth, her hard clit throbbing under him, her body shaking with the need to hold off her orgasm.
“You do not come unless I tell you.”
“Please, I need to, please!”
He slapped her ass and continued her torture, loving the mews from her lips and her frantic body actions that stripped away anything civilized and brought her to a writhing animal of pleasure.
Frantic to mount her, he removed his mouth and settled his cock at her dripping entrance. He paused. Then slammed into her.
She screamed. He waited a moment, allowing her to adjust to his length, and then gripping her hips, he rode her hard, mercilessly keeping her clit from scraping against his dick and torturing her with a looming orgasm she had to beg for. And she did beg, over and over, with a desperation that fed his soul, until finally he gave her what they both wanted and thrust hard, his fingers rubbing her clit, and she came with a long wail of pleasure.
He emptied inside her as the orgasm ripped through him, raw and deep and dirty. Finally Sawyer withdrew and she collapsed on the carpet underneath him.
When his legs were able to work, he scooped her up and cradled her gently in his arms. She seemed half conscious, a beautiful half smile on her face, and he tucked her under the covers, crawling into bed with her and holding her close. He removed the pins from her gorgeous hair, each dark curl wrapping around his fingers in welcome until they spread across the white of the pillow.
“That was intense.”
Sawyer laughed at her slurred statement. Pressing kisses over her face, he worshipped her in the way he had since the moment he’d claimed her, married her, took her into both his body and soul and allowed her to heal him.
“Not too much?”
She stretched and cuddled, interweaving her thighs around his and laying her head on his chest. “Nah, I always wanted to know what it would be like to be a prostitute.”
“I love it. But only with you.”
He laughed again. “I have a full course dinner being delivered in half an hour.”
“And sparkling cider?”
His hand dipped to stroke her belly. The slight bulge made shivers race down his spine. Some fear, but mostly excitement. Julietta believed he was worthy to become a father. He finally did too. The future stretched ahead of him, bright and beautiful and hopeful, so different from his broken past. Emotion choked his throat. “Always sparkling cider. Are you sure I wasn’t too rough? I know the doctor said it’s fine but—“
“You weren’t too rough.” She pressed a kiss to his heart. “You were a sexual beast and I loved every moment of it. The baby is strong and I’m past the twelve week mark.”
“I know. I just worry.”
“You worry about everything.” Her tone held a teasing note. “When Wolfe comes to visit you need to spend some male bonding time. You’ve been stuck with my crazy hormones for too long.”
“I love you, baby.” The words were thick with wimpy tears, so he made himself sound gruff and manly. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
The woman of his heart lifted her face an d gazed up at him with shining eyes. “I love you too. Happy Valentine’s Day.”
He held her close, heart full, and was happy.
She was late.
Max glanced at the Waterford crystal clock, then down at Rocky who had also dressed for the occasion. The poor pit bull boasted a bright red collar with hearts around it, and looked halfway embarrassed for the canine population. The things you do for a girl, Max thought.
The door flew open.
His wife rushed through in a cloud of anxiety and an armful of bags. “I know, I’m late, I’m sorry, really sorry,” she babbled, kicking the door closed with her foot. “I worked late at the studio on this new piece—and I think it really rocks—then swung by the bookstore to finish a few spreadsheets and completely forgot we’re out of groceries for dinner tonight. Did you start cooking? I can make some pasta and keep it simple. Why are you dressed up?”
Oh, this was going down in history as a humiliating moment. He glanced down at Rocky’s face. The dog curled up his lip in disgust and stalked off, done with the whole scene.
“Hi Rocky! Is that a new collar? It’s so cute.”
“Carina, it’s Valentine’s day.”
She blinked. The full implication of the event hit her full force, evident in the horror in her dark eyes. “Oh, no. It can’t be Valentine’s day. Tell me you’re joking.”
Caught between amusement and irritation, he studied his wife. Her wavy hair fell around her shoulders in a knotted cloud of glory. Her make-up had smudged off, and her t-shirt and jeans were stained by a variety of watercolors. Her feet were stuffed into flip flops. She was one of the sexiest women he’d ever met in his life.
Wasn’t this supposed to be a female holiday? Since it was their first official Valentine’s day together, he figured she’d be majorly ticked off if he forgot to do it in style. Instead, she’d been the one to forget. He was going to kill Michael and Nick, who both warned him if he didn’t recognize the day of love in proper form she wouldn’t talk to him for weeks. So, here he was dressed in a ridiculous tuxedo looking like a wedding waiter and she forgot?
“Not joking. Umm, no big deal. Let me get changed out of this costume, put on some lights, and we’ll eat. How was your day?”
Her eyes widened. Too late. She’d already taken in the surroundings. Candles lit throughout the dark rooms, wafting yummy scents such as vanilla, pumpkin and apple pie. He couldn’t seem to choose so lit them all. Bouquets of roses in different colors were held in crystal vases, and sprinkled petals led a pathway from the living room to the dining room.
“You did this for me?” Her voice wobbled and she dropped all the bags onto the floor.
He winced. “Cara, it’s no big deal. “
“Yes. It is a big deal.” She moved forward and placed her hand in his. Even after all these months, his heart leapt in his chest when her fingers closed around his. Mine. The primitive roar beat through his bones with sheer satisfaction.
Her husky voice wrapped him in lush velvet. “Show me, Max. Show me what you did for me tonight.”
“Fine. I just made dinner, that’s all.” He led her through the massive living room and into the formal dining room. She sucked in her breath when the whole scene materialized. The mahogany table was filled with crystal, fine china, and platters of food in bite sized portions. Champagne chilled in the bucket. Rose petals adorned the surfaces of the table, chairs and highly polished wood floors.
“It’s beautiful,” she whispered. Her hand reached out to touch his label, stroking the sleeve of his black tuxedo. “You’re beautiful.”
“Men aren’t beautiful,” he protested. “Hell, baby, leave me with some pride tonight. I never even knew V day was considered an actual holiday until today.”
Her warm laugh stroked him deep in the gut and other places. Places that rose to full attention. She sensed his immediate arousal, and pressed her full breasts against his chest, her legs tangling with his. “Do you know what this whole scene makes me want to do?”
Heavy lidded eyes gazed up at him. “Later. Right now, I want to appreciate my husband. The husband who cooked dinner, dressed up, and treated me like a queen on Valentine’s Day. The husband who never yells when I’m late, dresses up our dog to greet me, and reminds me every day how lucky I am he loves me.”
The blood pounded in his veins. “How appreciative?”
She dropped to her knees. A slow smile curved lush lips. “Let me show you.”
The zipper rasped in the sudden silence.
Mio dio. He loved Valentine’s Day.
Wolfe looked out over the green and shook his head. “A shave off the left and this time I may have tied your game. Getting scared Dunkle?”
Nate grinned and peered down the rolling hills, squinting in the glare of bright sun reflecting off the glass like surface of the lake. “Nice shot. I may have to tweak the program I gave you.”
Wolfe frowned. His friend had created a custom scientific program that continuously monitored his game and suggested changes to make it better. “Why? It’s working great.”
“Exactly. I need to disarm it if I’m going to keep my number one spot in this group.”
Wolfe laughed and looked behind him. “Nothing much to worry about from the rest of the crew,” he teased. “Max fell back a few holes ago, and Connor doesn’t seem to enjoy the game as much as you, Nate.”
Max reached him, smiled, and gave him the middle finger. Even that crude gesture held pure elegance and grace. His honorary uncle still reminded him of James Bond, specifically Brosnan. Even his golf clothes revealed no wrinkles and his dark hair was artfully tousled. “Age before beauty, my ass. I better start laying off the pastries from La Dolce Maggie or I’ll never get back up the hill.”
Wolfe raised a brow at Max’s lean, muscled length. The man was fit and the only gut he saw was a six pack. Running a global pastry empire hadn’t softened him in the least.
“For God’s sakes, is it beer time yet?” a grumble came from the right. “I always suspected golf was boring, but this is unbelievable. It is a bunch of men in ugly pants. Walking.” Connor—Nate’s older brother—wasn’t winded since he worked construction, and his golden blonde looks cut an impressive figure on the golf field. Too bad the man had a hacking swing and couldn’t care less where the ball went.
They all glanced down at their shorts and shrugged. Nate gave a long, suffering sigh. “One more hole and then we’ll get a drink at the club.”
It was brutally hot, so even Wolfe was glad they were finishing up. They’d taken a quick weekend trip to Florida to golf and do guy things. Gen had giggled and called it cute. Wolfe had to remind her wild weekends with the guys was certainly not cute. “Sounds good. So, listen, I wanted to get some advice.”
“Say you’re sorry,” Nate piped up. “It gets you out of everything.”
Max nodded. “Flowers, too. Trust me, it’s not old fashioned. It’s more of a lost art form.”
Wolfe laughed. “No, I’m not in any trouble with Genevieve. Valentine’s Day is coming up and it’s our first. I want to make it special.”
The men stopped, and shared a long, meaningful look. Connor shook his head. “Dude, I feel sorry for you. That holiday is a curse men have to bear for the rest of our days. Don’t try anything too ambitious.”
“I took Kennedy to a planetarium,” Nate piped up. “We looked at the stars and made out. Oh, and I sent a limo to get her. She loved it.”
Max shrugged. “Again, stick with the classics. I make Carina a homemade meal and we dine by candlelight. Works every time.”
Connor rolled her eyes. “I usually just hope for survival, but since Ella, it doesn’t worry me anymore. I just like to see a smile on her face.”
Wolfe jerked back. Whoah. Connor must’ve fallen hard, he’d never acted like that with a woman, they were usually disposable. Guess their whole group had officially fallen.
To him, it was the opposite though. Genevieve MacKenzie was the savior of his soul. Before her, everything seemed…lackluster.
Maybe that’s why Valentine’s Day was on his mind. She deserved to be pampered and shown how much he adored her. How she was his entire world. With her crazed schedule at the hospital, and his work on the new line of Purity hotels, time was becoming more precious to spend together.
In addition to the thought of finally asking her to marry him.
Max frowned and peered into his face suddenly. “What was that thought? You looked like you were scared to death.”
Nate glanced over. “Thinking engagement, huh? Not before me, dude. I’ve got an upcoming plan and you will not trump me by putting a ring on Gen’s finger before I get Kennedy to agree to marry me.”
Wolfe laughed. “Forget it, let’s just focus on V day.”
“A weekend getaway? Maybe to an island?” Nate suggested.
“Gen can’t be away, even for two days. She’s in some serious rotations and is called in constantly. Nope, has to be local just in case.”
“Private dinner on the top of a tall building?” Max threw out. “Think nighttime sky, champagne, lobster dinner. You can rent out the Empire state building?”
“That’s good, but it’s not Gen. She’s..simple.” But complex. Gen had so many interlocking layers, it would take him an eternity to know her fully. He hoped he had eternity to try.
“ A see through negligee and some sex toys?” Connor suggested.
Nate sighed. “Has Ella taught you nothing, bro?”
Connor grinned. “Just messing with you.”
Something told him it wasn’t about extravagant gestures or money. It would be symbolic. Real.
And then he got it.
He gave a slow smile. “I have the perfect plan.”
“Good. Can we go drink now?” Connor asked.
They agreed. They walked right past the final hole and toward the bar, clubs slung over shoulders, the sun bright in the sky, and four men who through twists and turns had become good friends.
Gen rushed into the house. Stray tendrils of brown hair spilled from her ponytail, and her dirty scrubs had a few dark stains on them. Her make-up had worn off hours ago. She wore loafers that looked more like orthopedic, old lady shoes.
Yeah. His woman was fucking hot.
“I’m late, I know I’m late, I got stuck with a patient but I’m ready and here and we’re gonna party for V day! Whoot!”
Wolfe tried hard not to laugh at her false cheer when she sported bags under her eyes. He was tempted to cancel and stay home, rubbing her feet, but she needed to get out of the house sometimes. It would be worth it. But first he’d mess with her. “Wait till you see what I have planned for us,” he said with fake excitement. “We’re gonna dress up, and hit a few of the most famous nightclubs that have been known for celebrity sightings. I hired a limo, and we’ll be club hopping all night long, baby!”
She looked a bit sick, but damned if she didn’t try. “Oh. Oh, wow, that sounds so exotic and so, umm, awesome. Really awesome. So, I should wear heels right?”
“High heels and a short glittery dress. We’ll pick on appetizers on the way.”
Disappointment gleamed in her eyes. She knew the clubs only served tiny pieces of so-called gourmet food when his woman would rather wolf down a six course Italian meal. Poor baby. “Cool. Real cool.”
“I’m messing with you.”
It took her a moment, before sagging in evident relief. Then she hit him. “Don’t do that! I was trying to be polite. Can I skip the heels?”
He grabbed her and kissed her, long and slow and deep. She gave a sexy little moan that he swallowed whole. “Jeans. Tank. Ponytail can stay. I promise you’ll like it.”
Her face softened and her beautiful blue eyes filled with love. “As long as you come with the package, I know I’ll love it.”
He spanked her on the rear, hard, and laughed at her yelp. “Go change woman.”
A short time later, he led her through the bustling town of Verily. Interesting shops and cafe’s lined the streets with the view of the Hudson River sprawled before them. Dogs walked on leashes, people strolled down the sidewalks with hot chocolate and coffees, and artists set up their canvases to paint the gorgeous sunset. Even though it was February, the weather had been warm, and the temperatures today had soared past sixty degrees. No snow covered the ground, and everyone had a touch of Spring fever. The weather had been a perfect touch for his plan.
They walked hand in hand toward the river, until Wolfe came to the tiny dock attached to the Riverside Clam Bake Shop, a hole in the wall shanty that made the best fried seafood locals and tourists could get. Wolfe lifted a hand to Russ, the owner, who gave him a wink, and pulled Gen all the way down the dilapidated dock.
“Hey, where are we going? This thing looks like it’s going to collapse.”
“That’s what you said in Saratoga before our boat sunk.”
“Trust me now.”
There was a small shack that resembled a shed on the far right, hidden from view, but he’d already made the necessary arrangements and knew what he’d find. They turned the corner and she gasped.
He’d set up a dining table on the edge of the water, covered by a gorgeous tent strung with hundreds of tiny white lights. White and red roses lined the area. A bottle of champagne lay in a nearby ice bucket. There were over a dozen silver platters filled with various foods, from chicken parm, to stuffed clams, to pasta with broccoli and garlic. He’d ordered all of her favorites and it was real food, not fake party crap. A portable heater was already hooked up just in case it got chilly. He’d piped in music and their favorite band, Imagine Dragons, belted out the song, Demons.
She pressed her fingers against her mouth. “It’s…perfect.”
“Good. Ready to eat?”
They feasted and watched the sun set. Drank champagne and talked for hours, easily, as if they’d always been one but had just been temporarily separated from the other for the first twenty years of their lives. When the sky grew dark, and the stars grew bright, she reached down and pushed a red box toward him.
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” she said softly.
Touched, he opened and found a tiny heart piercing in diamonds. It was tasteful and masculine, and he lifted it up so the candles hit the stones and turned them to a sparkling glitter.
“I wanted you to have a piece of my heart everywhere you go,” she explained. “I know we’ve been busy and sometimes our schedules clash and our time together is rushed, but I never worry because you’re always with me. Does that make sense? And I saw this and knew it was a reminder that we’re never really apart anyway. Because you belong to me. I love you.”
Ah, fuck, he was NOT gonna get emotional. Swallowing hard, he put the piercing in his ear and touched it gently. Then leaned over and kissed her. “I love it.”
She smiled. “Good.”
“I didn’t get you an actual present,” he began. “I kept thinking of how I could possibly tell you how much you mean to me. And I couldn’t. So I thought of a big, epic event that may be able to prove how much you mean, but nothing could come even close. So, I did the only thing I know how to do. Show you. And I intend to keep showing you for the next hundred decades, wherever we are in the spirit world, that you are everything.”
He pulled up his sleeve and turned his shoulder. On one side of his body, years ago, he’d had a tattoo of a serpent inked up his arm and around his neck, as if it whispered in his ear. It had been his show of fuck you to the world. That even a brutal past can be survived. That even filth and evil can be turned into something good if you were loved.
The new tattoo was simple. The scrawl of her name, Genevieve, amidst a cluster of symbols. The Sun. The Moon. The Stars.
“Oh, my God.” She sucked in her breath and rose from the table, Gently pressing her fingers over the ink, she traced the elegant scrolls taking up his upper arm. “It’s so beautiful.”
“You will always be my everything, Genevieve MacKenzie. Now the world will know it too.”
Their gazes met and locked. A fierce fire caught, burned, and soared out of control, the same raw lust and need that consistently seethed beneath the surface, ready to take them both under with just a look, or a touch.
Their mouths met and she climbed onto his lap. Desperate to touch skin, they ripped at clothes, tore at zippers, until his fingers met dripping heat, and she cried his name against his lips, already shuddering toward climax. Rock hard, and aching, he pushed open her thighs and thrust deep, whispering love words, dirty words, poetic words, into her ear while he claimed her under the rippling moonlight.
Much later, he kissed her temple, smoothed back her hair. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
She pressed her forehead to his and stroked his ink. “This was so much better than nightclub hopping,” she sighed. “I love you.”
He laughed, gave her the words back, and held her while they both looked out at the water.