From my latest release – Lies That Bind, I deleted 10,000 words.
It hurt, like a paper cut doused with alcohol. But here it is. You be the judge–should it have been nixed?
One Month Later
“Does it have to be so big?” Kelly demanded.
Alex bit back a grin. “My mother is very persistent.”
“Yes, I’ve noticed,” Kelly muttered under her breath. “Lorianne just had a baby,” she stated more loudly.
“It’s been a month. Ash would never allow her to come if it weren’t okay.”
Kelly was running out of arguments and she knew it.
“You’re such a worry wart, Mom.”
Alex set a plate of blueberry waffles in front of his vibrant daughter who already had syrup all over her face. The warm fragrance wafted through the air.
“Here, darling, you need coffee,” Alex said, setting a cup in front of Kelly. Sunlight poured through the large plate glass, bay windows of the kitchen. Bright so early in the morning was irritating. “You didn’t get your normal amount of rest.”
It had been a month since she and Taylor had moved into Alex’s fabulous house in Edgewater. The trees had lost their leaves completely with the onset of Christmas. But even the brisk damp air off Lake Michigan could not stifle her thrill with the warmth she’d found in his bed and arms.
“Yeah,” Taylor muffled, mouth full.
Kelly shot her a pointed look. Taylor closed her mouth and swallowed visibly. “Genna’s coming too. She’s bringing Betina. She said Betina misses me.”
Taylor’s obvious excitement caused a minor quirk touching Kelly’s lips. “I’m sure she does,” she agreed. “It’s just that it’s all getting so out of control.”
“It will be fine. You’ll see,” Alex soothed. “You want waffles?”
“Lord, no,” she shuddered. Breakfast still held no appeal. Thank goodness Alex didn’t expect her to cook it.
“Mom,” Taylor reminded her. “It’s just a Christmas party.”
“With the whole world.”
“Not the whole world, darling. Just our closest friends and family.”
“Two hundred and fifty people?” Who knew her voice could squeak so high.
“Two hundred and fifty of our closest friends and family.” Alex’s calm acceptance irritated her almost as much as the too bright sunshine streaming through the kitchen.
“And why am I up so early?” she asked her perfect family. Her gaze squinted from one to the other. Where were her sunglasses when she needed them? Kelly pulled a long drink from her coffee. He really did make great coffee.
“Because you have to get a man-cur and ped-cur today, Mom. You wanted to get up early, remember?”
Alex shot Kelly a quick heated glance, silently reminding her of the other thing she’d wanted and gotten that morning. She felt her face grow warm. “Right. A manicure and pedicure. So what are you two doing today?” she asked giving in.
“I’m going shopping with Aunt Emily and Grandma. They’re picking me up at eight-thirty.”
“Well, it’s eight-fifteen now, sweetheart,” Alex told her. He handed her a damp cloth. “You need to wash your face.”
The doorbell sounded.
“I’ll get it.” Taylor bounded from the table, throwing the down wet rag, she scrambled from the room. It hadn’t even touch her face. Taylor’s footsteps echoed on the solid wood floors.
“Don’t touch anything!” he yelled out.
“I swear I’ve told that girl not to answer the door to just anyone,” Kelly growled. She looked at Alex. “You need to get her a stool to stand on so she can look out the peep hole.”
“I will,” he assured her.
Her husband, never one to leave an opportunity to slide by, leaned in and moved his lips across hers with a swift efficiency.
“Enough of that you two.” Elena swept in the room with the magnificence of a queen. Wearing chic designer jeans and a fitted shirt with so much bling, any normal mother-in-law could never have pulled it off. She looked stunning. “Are you sure you don’t want us to help you find a dress, Kelly?” she asked.
“I’ll manage. You’ll have your hands full with other matters.” Kelly waved one hand in the direction of Taylor where Alex had snagged her and was swiping the damp cloth over her face.
“Of course, dear.” Elena gave her a quick hug. “Just remember, it’s semi-formal, you can never go wrong with black. Come along, Taylor.”
Elena bustled Taylor out of the kitchen. “Where’s Aunt Emily?”
“In the car.”
Silence reigned over the house after the solid click of the front door. Kelly raised her eyes and met Alex’s over her coffee cup. Without breaking contact, he sauntered over. He took the cup from her hands and brought her to her feet.
His lips touched the collarbone at the base of her neck. “What time is that man-cure?” his breath, hot, whispered against her flesh.
“Man-cure?” There it was again. Even higher. That squeak.
He tugged at the tie of her robe and pushed it off her shoulders. It fell in a heavy clump behind her to the floor. The spaghetti strap of blue satin was no match for his nimble fingers. Her hands moved under his white t-shirt to bare skin stretched over the rock hard core of his abdomen. Her fingers floated to the flats of his nipples.
The quick intake of his breath had him stepping back and stripping the shirt over his head. She hoped they remembered to get them out of the kitchen before Elena returned with Taylor.
His gray eyes darkened as quickly as his erection jutted from the pajama pants he’d hastily donned earlier. “Oh, my,” she breathed. “It appears we weren’t quite finished this morning, were we? Or is this my man-cure?” she laughed softly.
“Not quite, and possibly, but I doubt it,” he grunted, sweeping her up in his arms. He moved with a swiftness he hadn’t shown when he’d woken her with long languid strokes of his hands followed by his tongue in places she was soon growing accustomed to this past month.
He carried her to their bedroom. The sun filtered through creases in the closed blinds lighting the room just enough. He dropped her on top of the unmade bed and stripped off his pants. Kelly leaned back, elevated on her elbows, and studied this hot specimen she’d somehow gotten so lucky to acquire. She loved watching him. Loved feeling his mouth on her, in her.
He ambled toward the bed as if he had all the time in the world. Rather than crawling up next to her he snagged her by the ankles and pulled her bottom to the edge of the mattress. He dropped her one leg and lifted the other. Spreading her open for a view he always seemed to enjoy. Something she still hadn’t gotten quite used. It warmed her face. And from such a position. She shivered with the anticipation and delight.
His hand trailed like burning fire as he smoothed it along the full length inside her thigh. He stopped just short of touching her where she wanted most to be touched. She protested the action, or lack of action, with a moan. Alex placed her ankle on his shoulder and lifted her from the bed. She raised her other foot to anchor herself against the railing.
But he grabbed that one too.
“Tell me what you want,” he growled.
The need in his voice had her dripping with molten heat. She was surprised she heard anything with the blood rushing through her head.
“I—I want you.”
“Me?” he laughed tenderly, and cupped her with one palm.
The delicious pressure made her gasp. “Yes.” Her eyes melded to his. The desire she read in his face made her giddy. He dropped to his knees where all she see could now was his head between her slightly bent knees.
“What do you want me to do?” he asked. His breath whispered against the inside of one thigh. His hand moved, leaving cool air to touch the moist heat. Heavy enough to drip. She squirmed in anticipation. She wanted to feel his kiss, right there, where it burned with fire.
“I want you inside me.” The words croaked from her.
“What do you want inside you?” His breath whispered toward the dampness. Her breath caught. His hands cupped her bottom, his squeeze gentle. Tightness and promise gripped her gut.
“Say it,” he commanded. His breath now stirred the curls.
“I…I can’t,” she whispered.
“You can’t?” She felt the flick of his tongue. Shudders spilled over her.
“I want to feel your mouth. Right there. I want to be kissed, right there,” she rasped.
Kelly’s head fell back against the bed and she lifted her body to meet his touch. His tongue showed no mercy after that. Seconds later, blinding flashes of light ripped through her in violent, convulsing waves.
Before she recovered Alex plunged into her with strong, sure strokes. Her nails dug into his shoulders where her feet had just rested. She met him stroke for stroke. She pulled his mouth to hers where the taste and scent of her own sex lingered. She wanted to eat him alive, swallow him whole. Could she be a more starved woman?
This was the kind of breakfast she could manage, a million times over. Another wave of precious torment ripped through her revved body.
His chest, sheen with damp perspiration and hard muscle, seemed to fly over an invisible cliff when she clenched muscles wrenching his climax from him. His uncontained roar filled the room, the house. She wrapped her arms around him, his pounding heart beating against hers, their bodies vibrating in the aftermath.
A moment later Alex plucked her from the bed and twisted to fall back on it himself bringing her over to land on his chest.
“Are you going to be able to function today?” she asked him, breathless and panting.
He just grunted. In complete satisfaction, if how she felt was anything to go by.
Kelly lifted her head letting her hair fall over his face. Her overnight ponytail had not survived this bout of lovemaking. “You never said what your plans were for today?” she said against his neck. It tasted of salt and earth. She tugged on the lobe of his ear with a little suckle.
“I suppose if you have to go to your man-cur, then I’ll venture to the office for a little while.”
“Ha-ha. I guess you sent the plane for our friends and family in Bloomington?”
“Of course. Much more practical than commercial flying.” He kissed her nose. “But I sent the small one.”
“Oh, well, in that case….” Kelly blew softly over his shoulder.
Alex brought his hands up over her back to her rib cage. Moved one hand up to cup her breast. She pressed her body into it and shifted one leg over his hip. Rubbed her wet center over his stomach.
“They’ll be here this afternoon by two, dinner and drinks at four.”
“Four?” She leaned forward, flicked a tongue over his nipple and followed it with a tiny nip of her teeth.
“Umm. The hotel where we’ve set them up is close to my office.”
“Your office?” She pulled his hand from her breast and moved it above his head. Her lips explored the hard muscle of his abdomen. She lavished a tiny feast of his navel. A slight tremor vibrated from his body. Another wave of desire swelled low in her belly.
“Yes,” he choked out. “I’ll…change there and meet you…” He gasped. “Just take a cab.”
Her mouth seemed to move at will, slow and leisurely. She was in no hurry. Shifting her body again, she moved the side. This journey became more interesting with each stroke of her tongue.
“I’ll take a cab?” She didn’t care if he could hear her or not. She had a goal stirring before her, making her mouth water. She wanted a taste.
“We should be…able to relax with…ahhh…everyone since the reception is not until…tomorrow afternoon,” he bit out. “You can…be nervous…then.” He sounded in pain.
“I’m not nervous,” she told him. Then wrapped her lips over his engorged flesh. She felt his hands slide through her hair, grip her head. Love flowed through her like warm honey, she wanted him to feel it. So she tried to tell him with her mouth, the stroke of her fingers.
It didn’t take long.
“What the hell,” he panted.
“What?” Kelly fell back beside him, her heaving chest matching his. Not quite believing what she’d just done.
Alex rolled toward her. But she found herself quite unable to meet his gaze.
“God, I love you.” His tone had her snapping her eyes to his just as his mouth covered hers.
After a moment he leaned back to the headboard. “Did you hear anything I said earlier?”
“You mean that we are sending the small plane for our friends and to meet you at the hotel later so we can relax, and that the reception is tomorrow. And that I can be nervous then.”
“Don’t forget to take a cab,” he said, grinning.
“I heard you,” she grimaced. “I supposed I’d better get a move on.” Kelly moved from the bed with reluctance. She would love nothing better than lay with him in the dark all day. He seemed to read her mind.
“Don’t worry. We’ll have two whole weeks of this. And no interruptions, after the party. We’ll be on our honeymoon, remember?”
“I can hardly wait,” she said. “You think Taylor will really be okay with your parents and Emily that long without us?”
“Are you kidding? We just have to hope she doesn’t have a puppy before we get back. In fact, I’d probably better say something.”
“I hope she doesn’t say any bad words in front of Elena. She’ll think I’m a terrible mother. She already thinks I deliberately kept her from you for the last five years.”
“Interesting, isn’t it?”
She heard the laughter in his voice. “You think the whole situation is funny,” she accused.
“Well, you have to admit, we cooked up a pretty convincing scheme. And now with Eckert dead, no will ever be the wiser.”
“I suppose,” she said slowly. But Kelly wasn’t convinced. She lived by the rules: never-say-never.
More later…remember? 10k words…