His white shirt is on the floor as if he whipped it off in a hurry.
He runs a hand through his hair. “Oh, fuck, Red. I didn’t think you’d be home for another half-hour.”
I stride over to him and take the bottle he has in his hand, read the label, and look up at him. “Unicorn glitter lotion? Really? Where did you get this?”
“Some girly store. I thought you’d like it.”
Part of me is pleased he’s thinking of creative ways to make me laugh, but the other side is worried about his beautiful chest. “Is it supposed to turn your skin neon pink?”
He shrugs and then winces. “Oh, babe, it would have worked, but I think I’m allergic to it. I was trying to ride it out while I was cooking, but it started burning and itching, so I came in here to see what was going on…” He waves at his torso. “It doesn’t look good.” His lips quirk. “Do I remind you of Edward?”
I bite back a smile and give him a quick kiss. “He can’t hold a candle to you. Now let’s get this off ASAP.” I tug him into the bathroom and turn on the shower. “Here, hop in and wash it off while I go find a Benadryl.”
“I’m not getting in without you,” he says with a little growl as he pulls me back towards him. “I’ve been waiting on pins and needles all day for you to get home and tell me the news. Did you get the contract you wanted?”
I throw my arms around him, not caring that the lotion may leave a stain on my white blouse. “I did. They loved my ideas! We have a lot to celebrate.”
He kisses me hard. “Get in with me,” he says against my neck.
“What about the Benadryl?”
“I’m tough. It can wait. My cock can’t.”
With a swiftness that proves he’s a master at lovemaking, he removes my pencil skirt and blouse. My bra and lace panties are next. Whipping off his pants, he pulls me in the shower with him, his fingers already exploring the lines of my face, the hollows of my throat, the curves of my shoulders. He makes love like this a lot, memorizing me, touching me as if he’ll never let me go.
I soap him up and scrub at his chest while he tries to kiss me. It’s an ordeal and I’m giggling, but I finally get him rinsed off, glad to see his normal skin color underneath.
“God, I missed you,” he says before biting my nipple, making me gasp.
“I was only gone for a few hours,” I reply, gasping as his fingers slide down against my wetness. I toss my head back and press into his hand, and we go from zero to a million in a heartbeat.
My leg wraps around his. I need him.
“What’s with the glitter lotion anyway?” I ask on an exhalation, my hand stroking his length, making him hiss as he bites his lip.
His eyes are low and heavy. “I wanted to surprise you.”
“You did. You scared me.” I laugh as my tongue toys with his chest, nipping at his skin.
“I love you.” His hands tangle in my hair, and he pulls my head up to stare deep into my eyes. My back presses against the marble of the shower, and he kisses me hard with possession and love, but there’s something different on his face as we pull back.
He swallows and shakes his head, an uncertain look on his face. “I wanted to do this over a candlelit dinner. I wanted to pop off my white linen shirt and show you my sparkly chest…but now it’s ruined.”
I cup his face. “No, it isn’t.”
His aquamarine gaze is intense. “I don’t mean it’s ruined, I just mean it isn’t what I planned.”
“What did you plan?”
“This.” With water coursing down his chest, he bends down on one knee and gazes up at me. “Penelope Jennifer Graham, will you marry me and make me the happiest man in the world? I promise to love you and cherish you no matter how many romance movies you make me watch. I promise to always wear shirts with buttons so you can tear them off. I promise to take care of you and Vampire Bill and any babies we have. I promise to be here for you and listen and cook you Italian when you’re hungry. I promise to give you forever. You’re my first love, my heart.” He closes his eyes briefly. “Please say yes, because I can’t imagine living without you.”
Emotion builds and erupts as tears slide down my cheeks.
“I don’t have the ring—it’s hidden in the pocket of my white shirt, which is currently in the bedroom.”
He stands and our eyes cling.
“Yes,” I say tremulously. “I accept, you silly man. Ring or no ring handy. I love you.”
He kisses me and we stay like that for a long time.
My heart is full.
My love is complete.
And no matter what life throws at us, I know Ryker and I will weather it together. As one.
Draped in white gardenias and ivy, the cathedral is packed, and anyone who’s anybody is watching as we stand before the minister. Even Viscount Connor is here with his new fiancée Lady Margo.
Dressed in his church finery, Lord Ryker’s eyes are all over me, taking in my white lace dress, the way the neckline plunges just so.
He wants me. He always has.
“My lord, do you take Lady Penelope of Magnolia to be your lawfully wedded wife?” asks the minister.
“I do. She’s mine,” he says in his husky, deep voice. “Since the moment I saw her.”
The minister turns to me. “My lady, do you take The Duke of Waylon to be your husband?”
I gaze up at him, and my heart knows it’s home.
“I’ll have no one else,” I say softly.