I drift out of sleep into heated pleasure.
Soft lips brush my neck and the rasp of stubble tickles my skin.
On a thick sigh, I blink awake, my eyes fluttering open. Mick is beneath the cotton sheets, scattering warm kisses down my chest and across the swells pushed up by the fitted lace cups of my nightie. His mouth moves over my encased breasts, dragging out my moan when the tip of his tongue plays a fluttering rhythm against my taut nipples.
The sweet ache of arousal cascades through my body like a waterfall, quickly making me wet and needy. I arch into him and fist the sheets. A part of me wishes he would yank aside the material, but the gentle tugs and friction of the dampened lace add another layer of exquisite sensation.
With his own breath growing ragged and humid, he lifts the covers off. His dark, wavy hair is mussed from sleep and his espresso-brown eyes are heavy-lidded with desire.
“I hope you don’t mind,” he murmurs with a wicked grin and slides his hand between my thighs. “I can’t get enough.”
I can’t either. I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve made love this weekend, endless hours of exploration, relearning all the pleasure spots and discovering new and exciting delights.
He dips his long forefinger into me. I gasp, grabbing his hair at the roots, a sense of urgency spooling hot in my veins.
A groan rumbles from his chest, and his touch becomes more intimate. I close my eyes as he pulls out and pushes back in with two fingers, surging, working me with deliberate intent, his thumb on my clit, rubbing and swirling, the way he knows I love it.
“Oh God, Mick.” I writhe, bucking my hips and riding his hand, no shame, no inhibitions.
“That’s it baby,” he urges, his tongue curling around my nipple, his breath warm on my skin. “I can feel you there. So close. So sexy.”
One more stroke of his fingers and rapture explodes. My body quivers, and my head spins. The release is dizzying; I feel intoxicated and dazed. I open my eyes, and the only thing clear and steady is Mick. My beautiful lover. The other half of my soul, returned to me after fifteen years of heartbreaking separation.
“I want you,” I whisper, craving more.
“You have me, always.” His voice is husky, his gaze on me both tender and carnal, making me want him even more.
He eases his fingers from my body to push the red silk up my torso and over my head. Bared, I have a fleeting moment of self-consciousness, but it dissolves when his chest replaces the material, and he covers me in delicious heat.
I run my fingertips up and down the ripples in his back, loving the weight of his hard body pressed against mine, the feel of muscle and hot flesh.
He lowers his head, and takes long tastes of my mouth, sliding his tongue along the open seam, nipping my bottom lip before he deepens the kiss with soft, skillful plunges. He curled my toes at eighteen. He curls my toes still.
With rising urgency, his hands push beneath my thighs, raising my knees up and spreading them. In one fluid movement, he shifts his hips downward and thrusts into me, stealing my breath.
“Ah, fuck, Dee…” He slides out a fraction then slides back in. “You feel so damn good.”
Everything in my core tightens greedily. I claw at his back, my mouth seeking his and wrap my legs around his waist.
The tempo he sets is slow and measured, a smooth, erotic grind. No matter the pace, Mick’s brand of lovemaking is possessive in the best way possible. Strong, demanding fucks that devour my body.
It’s what I crave. Mick loving me, reclaiming me. I didn’t know how lonely I was until he bulldozed his way back into my life and filled all those empty places. Even through our anger—even after it built to an ugly boiling point four nights ago and the devastating secrets and losses came spilling out—his pursuit was relentless, his love unconditional. No matter how many times I ran, afraid to risk my heart again, he caught me, held on, and proved with words and deeds that I was his and he was mine.
Now bound to his sweat-slick body, my arms and legs wrapped around him, I rock into his rhythm, our rhythm, a harmony of hearts and breaths and hips. I close my eyes, listening to his rough groans and feel their vibration against my mouth. My hands squeeze the flexing muscles in his back, and I glory in the way we fit together, a key into a lock that opens up treasures, both the familiar and the new.
Bliss spirals inside me as his powerful thrusts hit that tender, achy spot and graze along my clit, massaging me from the inside out.
“Yes!” bursts out of me unbridled. My nails bite into his skin. “Oh God, Mick. Don’t stop…please don’t stop.”
“I won’t stop,” he whispers between our breathy kisses and gasping moans. “Not ever. I was made to love you.”
His impassioned words, the fervor of his movements…I climax again. The intensity of my orgasm violently shakes my body and clenches my sex. Mick shudders through the hard contractions. Then quickening his pace, he drives me into the mattress and comes, pushing so deep inside me, I feel it in my soul.
“Dee…oh Christ, baby.” He buries his face into my neck, and hugging me tight stays there until he recovers his breath.
When his head lifts, I have to smile. He looks sexy and sated. His skin is damp with sweat, and his eyes are at half-mast. I love that I can do that to him.
“Thank you for the amazing wake-up.” I brush a short, fallen lock off his forehead. “You’re way better than an alarm clock.”
His grin is lazy. “No programming required, and I come with extra features.”
“Excellent features,” I say with him still nestled inside me.
He presses a sweet kiss to my lips, and I sigh into it, feeling wonderfully content, secure in his arms, cocooned in a haze of lust and love, my body replete and my heart full.
I wouldn’t have thought it was possible, but for once in my life, I reject the notion that my happiness is the light before the dark, the foreshadowing of the black clouds I’ve come to expect. Instead, I invite it in with the morning sun. A new day. A new beginning. My second chance to have everything I’ve ever wanted: Mick and my family.
We’re all having brunch today at Maria’s. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. It’s been fifteen years since I’ve seen my foster sister. She was only eleven when I left. Now, a grown woman, a wife and mother, who owns an organic farm with her husband, James.
“Are brunches still the same?” I ask.
“What do you mean?” He rolls onto his back, bringing me with him, and I snuggle against his side.
“Does everyone still help with the preparations? That was the best part, cooking together, laughing and talking.” Even though as a teenager I hovered along the perimeter, apprehensive about joining in, Sunday brunches were still my favorites.
“Yeah.” He smiles in a pure gesture of how much he loves his family. “It’s still like that.”
“I remember you always trying to get out of cleaning duty,” I tease and nip the muscle of his pec.
“Not always. I never tried to get out of doing the dishes with you.”
“Because you hated to wash and I would agree to do it.”
“True, but that’s not why. The reason is it gave me an excuse to touch you.”
I raise the sheet up to my chest and push to one elbow, searching his face. “Seriously?”
“Seriously. You’d pass me a plate to dry, and I’d make sure our hands touched.”
“I didn’t know that was on purpose. I had no idea then that you liked me that way. I used to get all tingly and hoped you wouldn’t notice.”
“I noticed.” He glides his fingers down my arm, and I shiver. “Seems I still make you tingly.”
“Mick…” I draw a breath of willpower. “We should get ready.”
He eyes the clock on the side table and returns his heated gaze to mine. “We have a little time.”
“Not enough for that.”
His finger slides back up my arm and he wiggles his eyebrows. “I do my best work under pressure.”
I push at him, laughing, but tempted. “I bet you do, but I don’t want to be late.”
“Shower with me then.” He stands and takes my palm in his.
I pull the sheet around me with my free hand and hold it above my breasts as he leads me to the bathroom, the white cotton train trailing my steps.
He turns on the taps, adjusting the water to the near scalding temperature we both prefer. The tiny confinement soon billows with steam. Mick’s hot stare penetrates the vaporous cloud.
“Just a shower,” I warn, knowing my weakness for him. “Nothing frisky.”
He snatches away the sheet and yanks me into the claw foot tub, closing the curtain around us. “I make no promises other than to get you to brunch on time.”
Showers are extremely awesome when they end with Mick on his knees and his mouth on me. I’m still flushed from the afterglow as I shimmy a pair of pink sheer panties up my legs and under my robe.
Regardless of how far I’ve come this weekend—showering together, racy underwear, making love without the cover of darkness—I don’t have the nerve to parade around the house naked or to even look at my body unclothed. When in the throes of passion, I feel sexy and beautiful because of him. But I still have my insecurities.
Mick, on the other hand, immodestly naked—with good reason—has no trouble strolling across the room. I watch the play of muscles in his very firm, very fine ass. He sets his duffle bag atop the bed and rummages through it to retrieve a pair of underwear.
I’ve never had this before. The intimate day-to-day stuff.
“What?” He catches my stare.
“Just enjoying the view.”
“I might buy that if you weren’t biting your lip,” he says, attuned to me. “It’s what you do when you’re debating something serious.”
I was. I am. But maybe it’s too soon. “Not so much a debate as a thought. This”—I gesture around the room—“is new for me.”
His thick eyebrows quirk up in question. “What is?”
“Getting dressed with someone…spending a weekend together…sharing living space. I realize that most people by the age of thirty-three have experienced that, but I haven’t.”
He gives me an exultant smile. “Glad to know I’m your only.”
“You are. What about you?”
He drops his boxer briefs on the rumpled sheet and moves toward me. My eyes roam the expanse of toasted caramel skin and the fire tattoo around his right bicep that, when in motion, resembles leaping flames. Mick is large and lean, his long, muscular body, a stunning work of art—broad defined shoulders, sculpted chest and abs, carved thighs, and an impressive package between them. He isn’t hard, but its virility still commands attention.
“Eyes up here, Dee, or we won’t be going anywhere soon.” My cheeks warm and he laughs softly. “Embarrassment from the same woman who left scratches all over my back.”
I can’t help being wild with him, it’s what he does to me. “Are you trying to distract me from having to answer the question?”
“No.” He pulls me into his arms and cups my fleshy bottom. “But you’re distracting me. I’m imagining what you look like in those pink panties.”
It never ceases to amaze me that Mick can be this enarmored by my body.
“Now getting back to your question.” He gives me a playful squeeze. “It’s a first for me too.”
My jaw drops in surprise and relief. “You never spent a weekend with any of your gorgeous supermodels?”
He takes my chin between his thumb and forefinger and looks into my eyes, his gaze intent. “They weren’t mine any more than I was theirs. Comparisons between you and other women are impossible because they don’t exist. There is no one more gorgeous to me than you. No one I’ve spent an entire night with, let alone a weekend.
“I love sleeping with you, feeling you curled up against me, waking up to your soft body and beautiful face…watching you slip into sexy panties, sharing a toothbrush holder with you, seeing your soap next to mine…all of it.”
On a burst of joy, I wind my arms around his neck and blurt out, “So you’d be good with having a drawer?”
He answers with a lush, wet kiss. I pull back, panting, and smile up at him. “Should I take that as a yes?”
“You should take that as a hell yes.”
I empty the third drawer, and my heart gushes as he places the items from his duffle bag inside. He meets my stare, and warmth fills his eyes.
I know one drawer doesn’t equal cohabitation; that I’m even considering it this soon only proves to me how fast and hard I’ve fallen back in love with Mick.
Leaving him to get dressed, I head to the walk-in closet, an indulgence at odds with the small rooms of the forty-year-old bungalow.
The few relationships I’ve had over the years were distant, physically and emotionally. My insecurities and lack of trust kept men at arm’s length. I intentionally picked safe, tame partners. No one that revved my sexual drive, fluttered my heart, or made me yearn for a future together. I slept alone with no dirty whispers amongst the sheets, no cuddling through the night, or spontaneous wake-up sex.
With Mick, everything is different…I’m different. I hardly recognize this woman I’ve become in a matter of days.
On that thought, I review the contents of my wardrobe, and feel myself frown. Aside from my assortment of dark business suits, the few casual pieces I own are loose and concealing. Except for the items I’d bought on a whim, for when…if…I ever developed the moxie to wear them.
Channelling the new Dee who’d braved a red halter dress on Friday night, I reach into the back of the closet where I store the maybe-one-day outfits and retrieve my black jeans. I’d worn them once to the Glam Bar, the night Lexie and Jordyn forced me into the unforgiving denim and dragged me out to forget about Mick. Today, I’ll don them under happier circumstances.
I tug the fitted jeans over my thick legs and pear-shaped hips. With no full-length mirrors in the house, I glance over my shoulder, something I rarely do. And I see why. The spandex that’s supposed to act as a fat suction doesn’t do any such thing. On the contrary, it shellacs the material to my huge bubble butt, making it even more pronounced. But rather than chicken out, as I normally would, I compromise with my balking self-consciousness and pull on a thigh-length sweater.
When I return to the bedroom, Mick does a double take and blows out a soft whistle. “I haven’t seen you in tight jeans before.”
“They’re not something I wear often.” Or at all.
“Let me see.” He reaches for me, attempting to lift the sweater.
“Later.” I laugh, batting at his hands.
“Come on. Just a sneak preview.”
Knowing that Mick likes my big butt, even if I don’t, I flash him and add a wiggle for good measure.
“Jesus, Dee.” He adjusts himself. “You are seriously dangerous.”
“And you’re not?”
In low-slung blue jeans, aged to perfection, and a black Henley shirt that hugs him just right, Mick packs a danger all his own. If we had more time, I’d strip him down—with my teeth—and lick him all over.
His lips twitch, equally aware of his effect on me. “Before I forget my promise, I’ll go make us some coffee for the road.”
I spritz on perfume, add moisturizing hair gel to help tame my curls, and run the mascara brush through my lashes. When I’m done, I stare at my head-to-shoulder reflection and decide to forego the blusher. My olive skin is actually glowing. It’s as if the radiance I feel is shining out of me.
When I join Mick in the kitchen, he pockets his cell phone and hands me a stainless steel travel mug. “Light on the milk and three sweeteners.”
I take a cautious sip of the steaming coffee through the lid opening and smile in appreciation. “Made perfectly. No wonder I adore you.”
“I’ll keep trying to give you reasons.” He brushes his fingers over my cheek. Mick is such a physically strong and powerful man, yet he can touch me with such gentleness and reverence.
I lean into his caress, smitten with him. He takes the cup and sets it down then draws me within the circle of his arms, the place I want to be. Hugging him back, I rest my cheek on his chest, inhaling his woodsy scent and absorbing his body heat.
“We should go,” I eventually say.
“Yeah,” he whispers in my hair, but I sense his hesitation, an echo to mine.
For the past two days, it has been just us, secluded in our safe haven, absent the threat of media attention. I remember all too well how our first date at the Lemon Lounge ended. Reporters unexpectedly showed up, and Mick had Stiles—a bodyguard of sorts—drive me home, protecting me from his fame.
I want nothing more than to shut that part of our world out while locking ourselves in. But noticing his Nike cap and opaque shades on the kitchen counter serves as a piercing reality check.
The world I wish to avoid could be waiting outside my door.