Monday, March 18, 2013

Excerpt from Inked Ever After


Not knowing what to do, Tate covered his eyes with her hands and went for a chirpy tone she hoped didn’t sound fake. “James, you shouldn’t see the dress. It’s bad luck.”

“Not watching the dress, baby.” He moved her hands away and held her gaze for the longest time. She tried ducking to escape his scrutiny, but he tipped her head back with a finger on her chin and forced her to withstand it.

She offered him a tight smile, biting her lip so it wouldn’t tremble, and braced herself for the interrogation.

But it didn’t come.

His jaw clenched several times. “Doing wedding stuff this morning?” he asked, his gaze lowering to her necklace.

She nodded.

Then he just asked, “You all right?”

She plastered a smile on her face. “Of course.”

“Of course,” he repeated slowly, his expression tight. “And that?” he asked, motioning at her with his chin.

“This? It’s nothing. I just got something in my eye. My eyes, actually,” she corrected.

His face got harsher. He took a step closer to her, and she heard her dress getting ruffled.

“Baby, the dress!” She was far more worried about keeping up the charade than the fate of the dress. Not that a size-ten footprint on the cloth was going to be easy to explain.

“I don’t give a shit about the damn dress,” he growled, his savage tone dripping with disapproval and impatience.

“Please, James.”

He stared at her. He must have seen the look of desperation in her eyes, the one she was fighting so hard to hide, for he let out a long sigh. “Fine. Hop up, princess,” he said encircling her waist and lifting her. Before he could move her aside, she wrapped her legs around his hips and threw her arms around his neck.

James cursed, tightening his hold on her.


With her still in his arms, he reached for the dress and, without looking at it, tossed it out of the way to the corner where all her clothes lay.

She stayed like this for a long while, hugging him tight, her face nestled in the crook of his neck, soaking in his warmth and his strength. Being able to breathe again. She could feel his erection, thick and hard, against her core, but his touch was not sexual. He held her gently, protectively, one hand open and cupping the back of her head, the other one splayed on her back.

God, she loved this man so much. His mere presence infused her with fortitude. With him around she felt cherished and protected beyond anything she’d experienced before.

“I love you,” she whispered.

“Tate,” he said against her hair. “Look up.”

She didn’t move.

“Not too fond of repeating myself, baby.”

She lifted her head. His face was carved in tight lines, but his eyes were gentle. And damn compelling. He curled his hand around her neck and brushed her lips with his thumb.

“You need to stop hiding and give me your mouth.”

She did. Soft, tender kisses and deep, hard ones, until she was boneless and dazzled and her mind was full of only him. As she opened her eyes, she stole a glance of them in the mirror, and her breath froze in her lungs. What a view—him with his black T-shirt, his faded jeans, and those sexy cowboy boots, standing tall and solid, his broad shoulders taking more than his fair share of the room, and her in pearls, fuck-me heels, and satin lingerie all wrapped around him.

“I look good on you,” she whispered.

He caught her eyes in the mirror and then turned to her, a devilish smile on his face. “Yes, you do. Not that I’m complaining, but why aren’t you wearing a bra?”

“It looks like the wedding dress I’m getting doesn’t allow for a bra.”

He grimaced. “Elle’s idea, right? Maybe I should have paid more attention to the dress.”

“Maybe you should have.”

He slid his hand to the lace at the top of her stockings and her garter belt.

“Love the white, virginal underwear.”

“Good. I’ll be sure to wear it for the wedding. Although I’m not sure the dress allows for panties either.”

“Fuck, baby,” he cursed in a low growl, leaning his forehead on hers. “You come to our wedding without a bra and without panties, and I can assure you we won’t make it to the reception. Hell, we’ll be lucky if I’m not inside you the second you say yes.”

Of that, she had no doubt whatsoever. “Duly noted, honey.”

“If you’re taking requests, then this hairdo needs to go,” he added, grabbing the loose knot at the back of her head and unraveling it. “I want this gorgeous hair of yours flowing around you as you walk down the aisle to me.”

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