“I know. And I worked so hard on it.” She glances at me, the ends of her hair fluttering along her cheek. “I did manage to work some touches of red in.”
“Did you?” That makes me smile, despite my pain. She does love me the best way she knows how. Just because it’s not always the way I want her to doesn’t mean it’s not precious for what it is.
“It really is a garish color for a wedding, though. It was difficult.”
“It’s kinda your fault, you know, for buying that red dress I wore the first night Gideon took me out as his date.”
“Is that what inspired you?” She shakes her head. “Next time, you should pick a softer accent color.”
“There won’t be a next time. Gideon is it for me.” I pick up a shell, then toss it back into the water it came from. “There were times I wasn’t sure we’d make it, but I don’t worry about that anymore. We were our own worst enemy, but we let go of the baggage weighting us down.”
“The first few months are supposed to be the easy part.” My mom dances a little ahead of me and gives a graceful twirl. “The courtship. Fabulous trips, sparkling jewels.”
I snort. “It wasn’t easy for us. The beginning was the rockiest. But it gets smoother every day.”
“You’ll have to help your father find someone,” she says, the girlish delight faded from her voice. “He’s been lonely for so long.”
“You’re a hard act to follow. He still loves you.”
She shoots me a sad smile, then looks out over the water. “I had Richard … He’s such a good man. I wish he’d be happy again.”
I think of my stepfather and worry. My mother was everything to him. What will give him joy now that she’s gone?
“I’ll never be a grandmother,” she says thoughtfully. “I died young and in my prime. That’s not so terrible, is it?”
“How can you ask me that?” I let the tears flow. I searched my soul all day because I couldn’t cry. Now that they’re here, I welcome them. It feels as if a dam has burst.
“Don’t cry, honey.” She stops and hugs me, filling the air I breathe with the scent of her perfume. “You’ll see that—”
I woke with a gasp, my body racked by a hard jerk of surprise. Lucky whimpered and pawed at me, kneading into my stomach. I stroked his velvety head with one hand and swiped at my eyes with the other, but they were dry. The pain of my dream was already fading into a distant memory.
“Come here,” Gideon murmured, his voice a rough warm beacon in our moonlit bedroom. His arms came around me, pulling me back against him.
Turning into him, I sought his mouth and found it, sinking into him with a lush, deep kiss. Surprise held him motionless a moment, and then his hand was cupping the back of my head, holding me in place as he took over.
I tangled my legs with his, feeling the coarse brush of hair, the deliciously warm skin, and the powerful muscles underneath. The soft, rhythmic stroking of his tongue soothed and aroused me. No one kissed like Gideon. The coaxing demand of his mouth was searingly sexual, yet it was also tender. Reverent. His lips were both firm and soft, and he used them to tease, to brush gently against my own.
Reaching between us, I cupped his penis in my hand, stroking with a demand that answered his. He swelled to my touch, lengthening until the broad head pushed up beneath the elastic of his waistband. He groaned, his hips thrusting into my caress.
I heard the question in the way he said my name.
“Make me feel,” I whispered.
His hand slid beneath my shirt, his fingers drifting feather-light across my belly until he palmed my breast. He squeezed, plumping the aching flesh before his clever fingers gripped my nipple. With a decadent knowledge of my body, Gideon rolled and tugged the hard, tight point of my breast, the relentless pressure and pulling sending pulses of need through my entire body.
I moaned, aroused. Desperate. My legs tightened around his so I could rub my damp sex against his thigh.
“Does your pretty cunt ache, angel?” He nibbled at the corner of my lips, the words a seduction all their own. “What does it need? My tongue … my fingers … my cock?”
“Gideon.” I whimpered shamelessly when he pulled away, my arms reaching for him as he rose above me. He hummed a soft sound of reassurance and dropped Lucky carefully to the floor. Then his hands were at my hips, pulling my underwear down to my knees.
“You haven’t answered me, Eva. What do you want me to put into your greedy little cunt? All of the above?”
“Yes,” I gasped. “Everything.”
A moment later my legs were in the air and his dark head was lowering to the sensitized flesh between my thighs.
I held my breath, waiting. Folded as I was, I couldn’t see …
The hot, wet velvet of his tongue slid between the tender folds of my sex.