“A little, but…oh, who cares?” Her lashes flit open to show me her eyes are already wide and her cheeks are flushed.
Fuck, she really is the most beautiful, feminine thing I’ve ever held. She’s like something out of my fantasies. But I’m trying like hell to be noble. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
“You could only do that if you left me.”
The earnest way she speaks the words tells me she doesn’t mean right now or this fucking. She wants us. Together. Beyond today.
I think that’s what I want, too, angel.
Logically, I realize a few hours away from her spun-sugar lips and sensual-as-fuck body would be good for my common sense, but I can’t imagine feeling differently about her than I do right now. I can’t imagine not wanting her in my future. Sure, I could write this off as lust. I’ve felt plenty of that before.
This isn’t it.
“That’s not going to happen,” I whisper.
The smile that transforms her face takes my breath away. Then the clouds part, the sun slants in through a crack in the drapes, and her halo is all lit up again. It’s the perfect way to make love to my angel. After all, it’s got to last me until tonight. Then…I’ll figure out how to keep her beyond the weekend. Because I don’t see any way I’m letting her go.
I knock on the door to my mother’s suite at one o’clock, wishing I was back in Quint’s room, wrapped in his arms. Following breakfast, he put me in a taxi to my hotel. After a quick shower, I slapped on my makeup and did my best to cover the love bite he left on my shoulder. Then I shimmied into a black dress I last wore to a funeral and headed back down the strip and into battle.
I’ll be so glad when this afternoon is over and I can escape to Quint’s strong arms again.
My mother opens the door with a bright smile, wearing a gorgeous cocktail dress in a rosy-beige color with sky-high heels. One thing about Iris Blair? She doesn’t look sixty-four—not even close. She attributes that to her joie de vivre. I attribute it to a strict keto diet, a hair-color magician, and Botox.
“Baby girl, come in. I missed you last night.”
“Sorry I didn’t call again. I had a drink in the bar after we talked and…” No way am I telling her I met the man who might be the love of my life. It will really undermine my argument for putting an end to her impetuous charade.
“I started drinking.”
She sighs in disappointment. “That face tells me you spent the night in your room.”
“Something like that,” I demur because it’s not important. I only have a few hours to save her from making another potentially colossal mistake.
“But it’s Vegas!” my mother argues. “You’re my daughter. Why don’t you know how to have a good time?”
I don’t bother pointing out that it’s because of her I often can’t. When I was growing up, someone in our house had to be the adult. That was usually me.
Instead of arguing, I switch the subject to one guaranteed to end the squabbling. “You look amazing.”
“Don’t you love this dress?” She twirls to show me every bit of it, including the peekaboo plunging back.
“It’s really something.” I nod, but I can say one thing honestly. “I love the color on you.”
“I wore that soft green number for my last wedding. You remember? But I wanted something totally different now. This says spring bride to me.”
Sure. Why not? “Where is your fiancé? I was looking forward to meeting him.”
Not that it matters. Given my mother’s track record with husbands, he’ll be “wonderful” through the spring, “fine” this summer, a “pain in the ass” as fall sets in, and her ex by Christmas. She’s got a routine. I can pretty much set a watch by it.
“He’s with his family. You’ll get to meet them after the ceremony. So how about I open this bottle of champagne, and we toast?”
There’s something really tempting about the notion of attending my mother’s fifth wedding sloshed, but I want to be sober and awake for my time with Quint later. Besides, I should try to talk sense into her now.
I shake my head. “Tell me about this man you’re marrying first.”
“Curtis Dean is everything. He’s it. He’s the one!”
I’ve heard this speech before, so I’m unmoved. “Why do you think that?”
Her face softens. “Because I’ve been around long enough to know what’s important in life and when it’s real. When I’m with him, I feel as if I’ve finally found the man I’ve been searching for my whole life.”
Okay, so that part of her speech is new. Is it possible she’s truly learned that relationships aren’t just about wine, song, and good times, but the person you’re with?