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Marriage For One: Chapter 22

JACK

We had just stepped into the apartment. I dropped her bag right next to the door and helped her out of her coat. Then I couldn’t hold it back any longer. I gripped her waist and pulled her toward me, gently. She braced herself with her palms on my chest, but she didn’t push me away.

I stared down into her eyes. “Hi.”

Her lips twitched. “Hi back. I’m angry at you.”

“I know.” She was annoyed with me because I hadn’t let her take a quick look at Around the Corner. Before a protest could leave her tongue, and I didn’t doubt it would, I slipped mine into her mouth and stole her breath, again being gentle. Her fingers slowly curled in and she fisted my sweater in her hands. Slowly easing the kiss even more, I sucked her tongue into my mouth and then just let myself have little nips at her lips so she could get her breath back. I knew she was still having trouble breathing through her nose.

“I kinda like it when you’re angry at me.”

Her closed eyes slowly peeled open.

“That didn’t make it any better.”

I let go of her and she swayed a little. “I imagine it didn’t. Too much turtle?”

“Just the right amount of turtle, actually, but I’m not forgetting about the fact that you didn’t let me take a quick look at my place.”

She seemed to be loving picking a fight with me, and when it frustrated me to no end, she seemed to enjoy it even more. I just enjoyed every minute I got to spend with her.

I decided to change the subject. “What do you think about changing out the roses for something more green and Christmassy? It’s that time, isn’t it? It’s going to be December soon.”

She stayed put in her spot and I watched as her eyes got big then she lifted her hand up to her nose.

My adrenaline spiked and I was right back next to her, holding her face up for my inspection. “What’s wrong? What’s happening, Rose?”

She lifted her hand up and made me wait another full ten seconds. “I just learned how not to sneeze.”

I swallowed and my sluggish heartbeat picked up again. “You’re gonna be a difficult patient, aren’t you?”

“What? What did I do?”

I couldn’t stay away from her or keep my hands and lips off of her for too long, it seemed. I walked back and cupped her face, pressing a lingering kiss on her temple. “Come on, let’s get you off your feet. Can you walk upstairs?”

“Do you have work to do?”

“Yes.”

“If you can work in the living room, I’ll lie down on the couch and keep you company. I’ll be quiet, promise.”

Instead of heading for the stairs, I guided her toward the living room and helped her lie down on the couch.

“Okay?” I asked when I noticed she was a little breathless.

“Yeah, I’m fine. How is it that I feel so tired after one car ride and then coming up in an elevator?”

“Other than walking up and down the hospital corridors, you didn’t move much the past week, and you had a major surgery. This is normal. You stay here while I go get a few pillows to keep your head raised and something to cover you up.”

I bent down at the waist and touched her lips with mine.

Her eyes were partly closed, her lips curved up. “By the way, I can’t believe the word Christmassy came out of your mouth.”

“It only came out of my mouth because I was repeating your words.”

“Sure, you keep telling yourself that.”

She managed to stay quiet for an hour and a half before she started talking to me, and she was asleep for eighty of the ninety minutes. Turned out, I could work just as well in the living room while listening and talking to Rose as I did in my office.


We spent another week cooped up in that apartment. I went to work, and she stayed home and, according to her, did a lot of planning for her coffee shop. She wanted wreaths up on the windows—big ones. Not just any wreath would work, apparently. I told her I’d take her there and put them up right in front of her eyes. I told her we could only do that the following week if she was feeling better, and we got into an argument about how she was going to go crazy cooped up inside and could handle going to work for just a few hours to check things out. I loved every second of it and if our kiss after the short argument was anything to go by, she loved it just as much. Soon after, she fell asleep, proving my point that she wasn’t ready to go anywhere.

The first few days we were back from the hospital, she would get dizzy and out of breath just from climbing the stairs. After that, she started to spend most of her time on the couch until I’d get done with work—which I was still playing catch up with—and then I’d carry her upstairs.

At the end of that first week, we went to the hospital and they cleaned out her nose. There was still blood coming down, but despite that, she was looking better and better every day.

Toward the end of the second week of her bed rest, she started crying at least once a day. “Jack. I want to go out, please.”

“Do you even realize how much you’re breaking my heart with all this crying you’ve been doing?”

She kissed me after that. She kissed me for a long time.

Georgie and Emma, two of her friends, came to visit and see how she was doing. I’d missed them at the hospital but met them when they came to the apartment. I felt like a lovesick idiot for hovering around her just in case she needed something and went to work while they stayed with her. Every day I would leave for work, I couldn’t wait to come back to her, knowing I’d get to see her smile as soon as she saw me and got up to greet me halfway into the living room.

As soon as her two weeks of bed rest were complete, she demanded to go and check on things at the coffee shop.

“You heard what the doctor said: two weeks of bed rest then I could go to work.”

“Rose, you still can’t go up the stairs on your own without getting dizzy—how do you think you’ll be able to work?”

“Maybe I just like you carrying me upstairs. Ever think of that?”

“Is that it?” I asked with a quirk in my eyebrow.

“I do like you carrying me…”

“But…”

“I’m not gonna overwork myself, Jack. Trust me. I’m not gonna risk going through the same stuff again. I’m just going to sit behind the counter, only for a few hours.”

“If you want to come back, call me and either I’ll come pick you up or I’ll send Raymond to get you.”

“Deal.”

She walked over to me, grabbed the lapels of my jacket, and did her best to pull me down. After giving me a quick peck that did nothing to quench the unending thirst I had for her, she whispered against my lips. “I think I like it when you worry about me. It’s really hot, Jack.”

With a new sparkle in her eyes, she bit her lip, and I realized she was both seducing me and backing away from me at the same time. Stopping that nonsense, I pulled her back against me and met her waiting lips with a better and longer kiss than she’d given me. We were both out of breath, and my cock had very different ideas about how we should spend the day. I forced myself to let her go and took her to her beloved coffee shop.

During lunch time, I found myself on her doorstep with three damn bouquets full of roses. She was sitting behind the register, chatting and laughing with Sally. The shop was full of people, both at the tables and at the bar. She came alive in this place, looked perfect with a smile on her face, and I was happy I’d had a part in giving it to her—no matter how I’d had a part in doing so.

It was then, right at that moment, that I decided I wasn’t going to tell her anything, because I couldn’t bear the thought of losing her, not when I could see she was starting to fall for me as I was starting to fall for her too. I’d happily hide the truth and feel no regret if it meant I got to make her happy and keep her in my life.

A few people who were occupying the table in front of her small library trickled out of the coffee shop, walking around me to do so and I came unstuck. The second the bell on top of the door chimed, her head turned just so slightly, and her eyes came to me. I smiled at her, and her smile turned into a big grin. Then she noticed the flowers in my arms. Gently, she slid down the stool and came around the counter, meeting me halfway. Even though I’d dropped her off just a few hours earlier, I could hardly take my eyes off of her. I didn’t think I was ever gonna get enough of that smile.

We were only inches apart when she stopped and whispered uncertainly. “Is it okay to kiss you?”

I lost my smile and frowned down at her. “What kind of question is that?”

“We haven’t kissed in public since we decided to be…” She moved her hands back and forth between us. “This.”

I held the back of her head and bent down to whisper into her ear. “How about we try it and see what happens.” When our eyes met, hers were smiling at me. Finally, she tipped her head back, her lips met mine, and she opened her mouth to me. A few seconds into the kiss, right when it was getting better, we had to stop when a new group of customers walked in.

“There,” I said, my voice hoarse.

“There,” she echoed, her own voice husky. She grinned up at me and pulled me to the side as Sally took care of the newcomers. “The roses are for me, I assume?” she asked, bouncing on her feet a little.

Finally I remembered the damn things and handed them to her. She took them from me with a gentleness that broke my heart. The first time I’d brought her flowers on the opening day, she had done the same thing with an expression that read like she couldn’t believe all of them were hers. It both pissed me off and broke my heart. I’d buy her flowers every day if it meant that look would disappear from her face in time.

Closing her eyes, she smelled a white rose. “Can this be your Monday thing? If you’re gonna buy them every Monday, that is. I mean, if you do, can you be the one who brings them over? Instead of the florist?”

“If that’s what you want, I can do that, Rose,” I said softly.

She nodded slowly; I knew she didn’t like to jostle her head too much.

“Can you wait for a second? I’ll leave these in the kitchen and come right back. Wait, all right?”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

She rushed away at a slower pace than her usual and came back out a moment later.

“Just put them in some water. Also, they delivered the wreaths this morning. Garlands and other stuff for the front door to replace the roses will be delivered tomorrow.”

I looked at the windows but didn’t see anything hanging.

“I didn’t put them up yet,” she clarified.

I focused on her. “And you’re not gonna put them up.”

She laughed. “No, I won’t. I know. I meant I didn’t let Owen put them up. I thought maybe you and I could…”

I couldn’t help it—I leaned down and kissed her again. “Yes. You and I. It’s always you and I from now on.”

To my surprise, she rose up on her toes and hugged me. Carefully, I wrapped my hands around her waist and plastered her to my body, holding tight. Her hair smelled of pears, it was her new shampoo, and I found myself closing my eyes and breathing in her scent. Too soon, she let go and dropped back down to her heels.

“What was that for?”

She ran her hands down my chest, adjusting my tie as she shrugged. “Just because. And I feel fine. You don’t have to take me back to the apartment just yet. Sally and Owen are doing all the real work.”

“That’s not why I came,” I lied. I had come to check up on her and see if she wanted to go back home. Just in case she wanted to leave or wasn’t feeling okay, I wanted to be the one who took care of her, not Raymond.

“Oh?”

“I wanted to have lunch with you, but if you’re busy—”

Her eyebrows rose and her smile widened. “No, not busy at all. It can be like a date—our first date.”

“Date?” I asked in an uncertain tone. I wasn’t so sure about that.

The bell over the door chimed and her smiling eyes shifted in that direction. In just a second, right in front of me, all the color in her face drained and her expression went blank until she looked nothing like my Rose. I looked over my shoulder.

Joshua Landon.

He was staring at Rose, and she was staring right back.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Rage like I’d never known rolled through me. It took a lot for me not to pummel him where he was standing.

When Rose moved, my hand shot out and I caught her elbow. She met my eyes, her hand covering mine. “It’s okay, Jack.”

No. No, it wasn’t okay.

Joshua made it to our side.

“Hawthorne.” He inclined his head to me then turned his entire focus on Rose. When my fingers were starting to curl, forming fists, I had to let go of Rose’s arm before my grip could hurt her. Instead, I linked our fingers together and faced Joshua like that. He noticed it, as I wanted him to, but his only reaction was a fleeting grin I was just itching to wipe off of his smug face.

“Rose.”

“What are you doing here, Joshua?” she asked, her grip around my fingers just as tight as mine around hers.

“I heard you had a little health problem. I wanted to see how you were doing, and, well…” His hands in his pockets, he looked around the coffee shop with an appreciative smile and shrugged. “I also wanted to see your place. You wanted this for such a long time, and I’m glad you finally made it happen, honey.”

I started to draw in slow and steady breaths. The endearment coming from his lips kept echoing in my brain. He was goading me. It was only by sheer luck that I was holding myself together when I wanted to kill him.

“I had surgery, and I’m fine. Where did you hear about it?”

“Here and there.”

Roses’s fingers tightened around mine.

“If I had known before, I would have visited you at the hospital. I hate to think you were going through that alone. But then again, you like to be alone, don’t you.”

Rose took a side step and rested her shoulder against my arm. We looked like an unbreakable unit in front of him, and I liked that. “Thank you for your concern, but I wasn’t alone. My husband was with me.”

The son of a bitch tilted his head and fully took me in. When the smug bastard smiled, my jaw clenched, and without even realizing what I was doing, I took a step forward, only to feel Rose’s arm wrap around mine to keep me in place.

“Your husband. Right. I can see that,” he murmured with amusement.

“How is my cousin, Joshua?” Rose asked, surprising both me and Joshua, it seemed.

“She…” He faltered, eyes flitting my way. “She’s good. Rose, I want you to know it wasn’t anything we had planned, and it had nothing to do with—”

“I don’t need or want your explanation. It’s not my business what either one of you does.”

More customers trickled in, and Sally called out to Rose. After a quick look shot my way, she went to see what Sally wanted. Leaving me with Joshua.

I fisted my hand, my eyes fixed on him.

“You son of a bitch,” I whispered.

He chuckled and shook his head.

“If I were you, I’d watch my words. The next time I show up you might not be here and who knows what will come up. So if I were you, I’d answer my calls.”

Before I could slip in a word, Rose came back to my side.

Joshua turned his attention to her. “You seem to be busy so I won’t keep you any longer. I just wanted to see that you were okay with my own eyes. I know I made a mistake in the end Rose, but you can’t even imagine how hard it was for me.”

He leaned forward, and every muscle in my body tensed.

Rose leaned back before he could get to her, and Joshua somehow feigned a very believable hurt expression as he sighed and said, “I deserved that.”

Rose chuckled and I turned my confused gaze to her. “You’re a joke. Seriously? I mean seriously? God, you have no idea how thankful I’m that you dumped me. Have a good day,” Rose said, ice in her tone.

“I deserved that too,” Joshua murmured, but there was a hardness in his eyes. He didn’t like what he heard at all.

He nodded to her once and then to me. Without another word, he walked out the door. The blood in my veins was boiling. Him showing up had been a show for me. A warning.

If Rose hadn’t been holding on to me, I would’ve followed him.

“Wait for me,” Rose ordered firmly. “I’ll be right back.”

I looked down at her in confusion.

“Sally needs my help. You don’t have to leave yet, do you?” she asked, mistaking my silence for something else.

“No,” I grumbled, and then I cleared my throat. “No, I’ll wait.”

After the new customers had grabbed their orders and were heading to the empty table, Rose got back to me.

“I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t even know why he thought coming here would be a good idea, but I don’t care. I won’t spend a single second talking about him.”

“I wasn’t going to say anything,” I lied. “Only…I don’t want you to talk to him again.”

“You’ll hear no arguments from me. Good. So…do you want to wait for a table to open, or do you want to eat with me in the kitchen?”

“What do you want to do?”

The smile that had been missing ever since Joshua Landon had walked in came back out for me again. “Kitchen. I like having you all to myself.”

It was one of the best things I had heard in all my life, if not the absolute best.

In the following days, Rose and I never talked about her ex’s sudden appearance, but did have a private talk with him without her knowledge, for the last time.


Christmas Eve was nothing special compared to how others celebrated it. It was just the two of us, as neither one of us had family to celebrate it with. There had been an office party I could’ve taken her to, but she wasn’t completely back to herself yet, she still got headaches if she skipped her medicine, and I didn’t want her on her feet for more than a few hours.

As a last minute surprise, I brought in a small Christmas tree and enough ornaments to decorate the whole damn house if we wanted. It was a tradition I wanted to share with her. The smile that bloomed on her face when she saw me and Steve hauling the tree into the apartment was priceless. Her laughter that rung through the apartment as we decorated it together made it one of the best days of my life.

So, it was just us in front of the TV after we cooked together and then ate together. She fell asleep with her head on my shoulder around nine PM, twenty minutes into the movie she had picked for us to watch. When it ended, I woke her up with a kiss on her neck.

She walked in front of me all the way up the stairs, and I followed. We were both quiet. I shoved my hands in my pockets and stood in front of her door as she leaned back against the wall.

Neither of us wanted to say goodbye, so we stood there, looking into each other’s eyes and waiting for the other to do or say something that would keep us together longer.

“It was a good day. I really enjoyed cooking with you.”

“You didn’t cook, Rose. You sat on the counter and stole my carrots and roasted potatoes.”

“But you fed them to me yourself.”

“You stole more than what I gave you.”

“I shared my roasted chestnuts with you.”

I nodded and my eyes fell to her lips. “You did.”

“So do you want to make it a regular thing?”

“You mean where I cook for you and you steal from my preparations?”

She grinned and nodded enthusiastically.

“Sure. Why not.”

We stared at each other for a few seconds. I had no idea what she was thinking, but there were a few things crossing my mind.

“I should go,” she mumbled, but she didn’t make a move to leave. “Merry Christmas, Jack Hawthorne.” She leaned up, placed her hand on my chest, and softly kissed my lips. It was over in three seconds. It was over too soon.

“Merry Christmas, Rose Hawthorne.” Then it was my turn to kiss her. It maybe lasted five, six seconds.

“Good night Jack.” She leaned up again, and we went for another kiss as I tried to hide my smile and kiss her back at the same time. On this round, she let her tongue tangle with mine and cupped my cheek. When I opened my eyes, hers were still closed. She sighed and licked her lips. They were already red. They were perfect.

I smiled down at her, but she missed it.

She fisted my sweater with one hand and dropped her forehead to my chest. My smile widened and I wrapped one of my hands around her waist, using the other to tilt her chin up.

“What are you thinking, Rose?”

She let out a long breath and then grimaced. “That I really want you.”

I arched an eyebrow, the admission coming out of nowhere and kicking me in the stomach.

“And we are married, but we haven’t even gone out on a real, official date yet. I really want to have sex with you, but I’m not allowed to do that yet. I feel like everything is going the wrong way with us. It’s all backward, and it’s frustrating the hell out of me.”

“You want to have sex with me?” I asked, still stuck on that. Evidently we were thinking the same thing. She didn’t realize I’d taken a step forward and she was now backed up against the wall.

“Really, really bad.”

My heart hammering in my chest, I leaned my head down and whispered in her ear. “Tell me how bad.”

She arched away from my lips, and I noticed the goose bumps on the skin of her arms. Mirroring me, she put her hands on my neck and pulled me down to her so she could whisper back. “I don’t think I can put it into words, Jack.”

It struck me that even though we were alone in this big apartment, we were acting like we were quickly running out of space. It was just the two of us, yet still we were whispering as if we wanted to make sure no one could hear our thoughts.

No one could hear our wants.

No one but us. We didn’t want to share anything.

We wanted it to be just us.

Rose and Jack.

“Your suits make me go crazy. Your frown?” She let out a small groan and pulled me down farther until her lips were grazing my ear with each word out of her mouth. “Your frown kills me, Jack. Every time you frown, it does things to me, and then you roll up your sleeves and I feel like I’m watching porn specifically made for my eyes. You kiss me…you kiss me and you’re not a turtle anymore. You’re so good at it that whenever you kiss me, whenever I think about you kissing me, I get so wet and I don’t want to stop. I don’t ever want to stop kissing you.”

“Rose,” I growled, my cock already hard.

My arm still around her waist, I pulled her flush against my body. Her shoulders still pressed against the wall, she arched her back and kept whispering into my ear.

“That’s not even half of it, Jack Hawthorne. Whenever we’re walking somewhere or just walking next to each other, you always put your hand on the small of my back, and even that little gesture turns me on. I get the goose bumps just because you’re touching me.”

My hand was resting at the small of her back, so I curled my fingers, bunching her soft sweater until I heard her gasp. I nuzzled her cheek and she moved her hands from my neck up into my hair, keeping me in place. We were both breathing hard and when I took her lips, our kiss was nothing like the innocent ones we had shared just a few minutes earlier. We both took from each other, our tongues ravenous, our lust unending.

When I swallowed her groan, I put my hand right under her ass and she lifted her legs, one by one, wrapping them around my hips. After I was sure she wouldn’t drop them, I put one of my hands behind her head so she wouldn’t get hurt and crushed us into the wall, my cock pressing right between her legs.

She turned her head away, her breathing almost as ragged as mine. I kissed and nipped her, tracing along her jawline and neck and then gently sucking on her skin. She moved her hips and I had to push harder into her so she couldn’t, which didn’t help at all. My control was shot to hell, and I was afraid if she rolled her hips one more time, I would have no choice but to take her—to hell with what the doctor said.

“Jack.” She moaned my name as if she had done so her entire life, and I buried my head in her neck so I could at least try to control my breathing.

“Stop talking,” I ordered.

She didn’t listen. I didn’t think she ever listened to me.

“You feel so good against me,” she whispered, sliding her temple against mine, adding more fuel to my fire.

Involuntarily, I rocked my hips, and her moan spurred me on. She was in my arms, I could smell her need, could smell her skin, and I still couldn’t have her, not yet. Seemed like this was my life story when it came to her.

“How many months since the surgery?” I managed to get out in a hoarse voice.

“What?” she asked dazedly.

I looked into her eyes and they were already glazed, much like what I expected mine looked like. I took her mouth in another long kiss until I couldn’t remember my own name.

“How many months, Rose?”

“Not three yet,” she whispered, out of breath. “Not three.”

My breaths coming out in short bursts, I pressed my forehead against hers and tried to gain some sort of control back. She didn’t let me.

“You bring me flowers every Monday.” She gasped, one arm wrapped around my neck, the other one grasping my hair. “And every time you come in with your arms full of such beautiful roses, I just want to grab your hand, dump the flowers, and take you into the bathroom in the back so you can…so I can…”

“Don’t say another word,” I growled.

“Everything you do is starting to drive me crazy. I see you in my dreams and I wake up so frustrated because it feels so real and I can’t have that in the real world. I can’t have you.”

I pulled back, my chest heaving. Hers was too, but I wasn’t sure if my heavy breathing was because of her words or her tongue and taste.

“You have me, Rose. You’ve had me the entire time.” She didn’t even know how true my words were.

She made a guttural sound in the back of her throat, a frustrated and lust-filled sound. “I don’t have you. I have nothing. I’m your wife, but I can’t have you.”

“Just a little longer,” I whispered, pressing hard kisses against her lips. “Just a little longer, Rose. Then you’ll have everything and more.”

“No. Now. Please.”

“No.”

“Jack.”

“No.”

Groaning, I kissed her, hard, one last time for now, and gently put her back down on her feet. My hand was still protecting the back of her head, so I dropped my forehead against hers and just breathed her air in, trying to calm myself down. Looming over her, invading her space, there was nowhere else I’d have rather been in that moment.

“I want you,” she said, her voice so small I could feel something breaking inside me. “I want you more than anything I’ve ever wanted in my life.”

“That’s a lot of want. Mrs. Hawthorne.” I cupped her cheeks with my palms and closed my eyes. “I’ve been craving you for so long I don’t know what to do with myself anymore.”

She was the first to speak after both our breaths had somewhat returned to normal again.

“What are you doing on New Year’s? We should do this again.”

Despite the painful situation I was in since my cock hadn’t given up that easily, I laughed and took a step back.

“I’m spending it with my beautiful Rose,” I said, and then I finally walked away.


After spending ten minutes out on the terrace in the freezing cold, I’d just lain down on the bed when my phone pinged.

Rose: Are you awake?

Jack: Yes.

Rose: Me too. Thanks for asking.

Jack: Rose.

Rose: Fine. You need to sleep with me.

Jack: Rose.

Rose: You don’t have to Rose me. I don’t mean like that. Ever since the hospital, I’ve wanted to ask you to stay with me. I got used to it back in the hospital, got used to sleeping next to you, but when you didn’t get in bed with me the first night we were back…

Rose: I couldn’t ask. Now I’m asking.

I didn’t feel the need to write anything back.

She didn’t realize she wouldn’t have had to ask me every day. Once would’ve been enough. I didn’t intend to spend my nights in a different bed than she was in.

Getting up from the bed, I opened my door and came face to face with my Rose.

“Hi, fancy seeing you here. My room or yours?” she asked as if this was completely normal.

I sighed and shook my head. “Let’s go to yours then.”

As soon as she was in bed, she turned to watch me.

Lifting the other end of the covers, I got in after her. She settled on her back and stared at the ceiling.

I was in the same position, the only difference being that she had two pillows to keep her head high during the night and I only had one. Raising my right arm, I put it under my head and rested my left hand on my stomach.

“We’re going to sleep,” Rose said.

“Yes,” I agreed. “We’re only going to sleep. Just like we did at the hospital.”

“Yes,” she echoed in a small voice.

Seconds passed in silence.

She scooted an inch closer and turned onto her side, tucking her hands under her face. She had gotten the go-ahead from the doctor to sleep on her side just the week before, and she’d been over the moon about it for two full days.

“Jack?”

Closing my eyes, I sighed. Her bed smelled like her, her pillow smelled like her, the room smelled like her, and she was too close to stay away for too long—not that I wanted to, but more like had to.

“Hmmm.”

“We didn’t sleep this far apart at the hospital.”

“That was a small bed—I didn’t have anywhere else to go.”

“Why would you want to go anywhere else?”

Great question.

She scooted even closer. Then, before I could do anything about it, she rolled over and gave me her back, fitting herself against the length of my body. I rolled over and threw my arm over her stomach, tucking my hand under her waist, keeping her as close as possible.

Around her, there was no concept of self-control.

I hid my face in her neck and breathed her in.

“This is better?”

“It’s perfect. Thank you.”

A few minutes passed in silence then she was back at me again.

“Jack? Are you asleep?”

I sighed, sure there would be no sleeping in my future. I didn’t mind it at all.

She grabbed my hand and placed my palm on her stomach. Her shirt had ridden up, and my hand connected with her hot, smooth skin. She didn’t take her hand away.

“Rose,” I groaned.

“You can say it as many times as you want, Jack,” she whispered. “I love your voice, so please keep going.”

Smiling, I kissed her neck and pressed my forehead against the back of her head. “You have no idea what you do to me, do you?”

I had made sure to keep my hips away from hers, but she moved her lower body back until her butt was nestled against my hard cock.

“I can feel it.”

It wasn’t just my cock, though—it was everything. She was wreaking havoc everywhere.

Her hand still on top of mine, she started to push it down, and when my fingers touched the edge of her panties, I pressed my hand harder into her stomach and stopped the descent. When had she taken off her leggings? How had I not noticed it before?

“What are you doing, Rose?”

“Nothing. You showed me yours and I’m showing you mine.”

“What are you talking about?” I whispered, my fingers digging into her soft skin.

In the name of getting closer, she backed up into me, making her meaning clearer.

I was dying to touch her, so when she pushed harder on my hand, I didn’t have a good enough reason to stop her a second time.

Holding my breath, I let her move my hand to wherever she wanted. She was having mercy on me—either that or she wanted to torture me. Instead of pushing my hand under her panties, she lifted her leg just slightly and pushed until my hand was resting right over where I wanted to bury myself deep. Her panties were soaked. She was soaked, for me.

I closed my eyes tighter. I couldn’t stop myself from wanting more, not when we were like this.

“Don’t you want me, Jack?” she whispered into the dark room, and it broke the hold I had over myself.

I gripped her ruined panties in a tight hold and just ripped them off of her.

Her little gasp of shock did nothing but spur me on.

“Don’t I want you?” I asked, my voice raw and harsh. Tossing the now completely ruined panties aside, I placed my hand back on her sensitive skin. Resting the heel of my hand on her mound, I let my fingers part her folds and just lazily ran them up and down in her slickness.

“Happy now?” I asked, harsher than I expected.

“Are you scowling at me?”

“Are you making fun of me?”

“Never,” she whispered, pushing her top leg back and over mine, opening herself up to me, letting me have what I was craving. “I love it when you scowl at me.”

I nipped her neck, dragging my teeth over her skin. She shivered, causing her butt to push harder against my hips.

“I won’t fuck you, Rose. I won’t give you more than this.” I found her clit and moved the tip of my finger around it, barely grazing.

“I’ll take it,” she gasped out. “Whatever you can give, I’ll take it.”

“What do you want then? Tell me.”

“You—I want you.”

My fingers stopped moving and I cupped her.

She turned her head, her shoulders almost flat on the bed, and looked into my eyes. She was halfway there; I could see it in her gaze, in what I could make out of her flushed cheeks. I pushed two of my fingers inside her and her body tightened, eyes falling closed. God, she was slick, so slick and tight.

“I want to feel your lips against mine, Jack,” she whispered.

I closed the distance between us but didn’t kiss her. “The way you kiss me makes me lose my mind,” I whispered back. I wasn’t even sure if my words had been audible or in my head, but my lips were against hers and I was only a man. I pulled my fingers out and plunged them back into her, slowly, catching her breathy little gasp and drowning her in my kiss. The tip of her tongue touched mine and I was lost. I wanted to grab her chin and hold her mouth where I wanted it, but my hand was busy between her legs and I had already lost my head.

When her fingers grasped my forearm in an unforgiving grip, her fingernails biting into my skin, I knew she was getting closer, and it hadn’t even been a minute yet. I curved my fingers up and found the spot that caused her to kiss me deeper and harder, the spot that made her groans wilder. I responded back in kind, lost in everything that was Rose.

She was a mess down there, her wetness running down my fingers. She widened her legs, giving me more room to play with her. My thumb found her clit and I pressed hard.

She wrenched her mouth away from me, panting. “Keep them in,” she moaned. “Please, not yet. Just keep your fingers in me. Deeper, please.”

I pressed as far as my fingers would go, which was deep.

I listened to the sounds she made, mesmerized—how could I not? Why would I not?

“My brain is tingling,” she murmured, clearly half out of it.

I was moving my fingers in her in small, light movements but stopped at her words.

“Rose we sh— ”

She covered my hand with hers before I could think or gather the strength to pull out. “If you stop, I’ll kill you in your sleep, Jack Hawthorne. Don’t you dare.”

“Rose, if you feel—”

“I’m being serious, Jack. I’ll murder you. Please make me come on your fingers. Please. Please.”

“You’re a vicious little thing, aren’t you? And all mine.”

I took her begging lips and fucked her with my fingers like I couldn’t fuck her with my cock. I was still being as gentle as I could, but I went as deep as possible, and her body got tighter and tighter against me.

And when she came…

God, when she came it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen in my life. Her little gasps and moans were killing me, but I took them all from her until the only things heard in the room were our labored breaths and the sound her now even more soaked pussy was making.

Her body slowly melting in my arms, she twisted her upper body toward me, held my head, and kissed me in slow, maddening nips. Her hips were still twitching as I pulled my fingers out and wiped my hand on the sheets. When she turned completely, I hauled her up against me and renewed the kiss until we were on the verge of passing out.

We rested our foreheads together, just breathing. Hard.

“How is your head?” I managed to ask.

“Perfect.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yep. Thank you, Jack. If you hadn’t given me that, I think I was going to die.”

I was dying a slow death so I understood what she meant.

Her hand sneaked in between us, right under my pajamas. I didn’t intend to stop her. I didn’t have the strength anymore.

Her palm brushed the slick head of my cock and she ran it up and down my length, her eyes boring into mine. She bit the edge of her lip, and I could do nothing but stare. Was she really mine? Was she really my wife?

“Take me out,” I whispered, and she hurried to obey, using her other hand to pull my pajamas down.

She swallowed hard when she had all my length to take care of.

“You’re not gonna try to stop me?” she asked.

“What’s the point? You never listen to me and we already screwed up. I want your hands on me too much to try to resist you.”

“Are you saying you can’t resist me?”

“I haven’t been able to so far.”

She nuzzled her nose against mine and breathed out my name. “Jack…I want you in me.”

I grasped her head and pressed a hard kiss on her forehead. “No.”

Her grip on me tightened, her fingers not quite connecting with her thumb.

“Be rough,” I hissed.

There was a fire burning in her eyes, and I couldn’t have looked away even if I’d wanted to.

“Is that how you’re going to fuck me? Rough and deep?”

“If that’s how you like it, yes—as deep as I can get.” She moved her tight grip all the way to the base and then moved all the way up to the top agonizingly slowly. After the second tug, she tried to slip under the covers, but I stopped her. “No.”

“Why?”

“As much as I’d love to have your mouth on me, you can’t do that, not yet.”

“You’re killing me, Jack Hawthorne.”

“You already killed me when you came all over my hands. We’ll call it even.”

Her tug danced on the edge of being painful and I loved it. She picked up her pace, staring straight into my eyes.

“I can’t wait to be in you,” I whispered, holding her head in my hands. “I can’t wait to take you in any way I can, to make love to you for hours until I know you’re truly satisfied and make you moan and cry out my name. I can’t wait, Rose. I can’t wait to have you, to push into you and feel you come around me.”

She groaned. “We should do it now.”

“No. You’re gonna love it. I’ll make sure of it.” My eyes on hers, I whispered, “Faster, Rose. Just like that. Come on. Make me come.”

She slowed down, her thumb brushed the head, and my eyes dropped closed.

“I want to taste you so badly.”

“One more month,” I forced out. “One more month and I’ll let you.”

With slow but sharp thrusts, I started to thrust into her hold, and suddenly she wrapped both her hands around me to keep her grip tighter.

“Yes,” I hissed out then dragged my lips along her jaw. She turned her head and started another kiss. I sucked on her tongue and kept moving my hips. Ending the kiss, she kept her already glazed eyes on me, watching me intently as I asked, “Do you want me to come?”

She hummed in her throat and nodded.

“Yeah? Keep going,” I moaned, already on edge. I wrapped my hand around hers and she dropped the other one. I slowed down our strokes, making our grasp tighter and pulling harder. A second later, I came all over her stomach with a loud groan, and it was more than I’d ever come. I let go of my cock as soon as I was done, but she didn’t. She kept her strokes light until I had to pull her hand away because instead of losing my size, I was starting to get hard again.

“I think you’ve had enough of that,” I whispered against her lips.

“I don’t think I’ll ever have enough of that.” She let me breathe in and out in silence for a moment as I caught my breath. “I’m going to count the days till you can take me, Jack.”

My countdown had already started.


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