Knowing it wasn’t in my wife’s nature to steer away from sensitive topics, I still let her do it. If we were going to get into the subject of my mother, we could do it later.
She set her mug down and tore off a piece of waffle with her fingers. She held it out to me. I took it for what it was: a peace offering.
Then I stood and took her hand, leading her out to the beach for a walk to clear my head.
Turning my head, I saw Cary grinning at me from where he lay on the sand a few feet away.
“I know you appreciate my packing that bikini,” he elaborated, jerking his chin toward Eva, who was standing thigh-deep in the water.
Her hair was damp and slicked back from her face. Oversize aviator sunglasses shielded her eyes from the sun as she threw a Frisbee back and forth with Martin and Lacey.
“Did you help her pick that out?” Monica asked, smiling from beneath an elegant wide-brim hat.
I’d watched her slather sunscreen all over Eva, a job I wanted for myself, but I didn’t press the point. Sometimes, Monica mothered Eva as if she were still a child. While my wife rolled her eyes at me, I could see that she basked in the attention. It was a very different relationship from the one I had with my own mother.
I couldn’t say that my mom didn’t love me, because she did. In her own way—within boundaries. Monica’s love, on the other hand, had no limits, something Eva found stifling at times.
Who could say which was better or worse? To be loved too much or too little?
God knew I loved Eva beyond all reason.
A sudden sea breeze snapped me out of it. Monica hung on to her hat as Cary turned his head toward her.
“I did,” Cary replied, rolling over onto his stomach. “She was looking at one-pieces and I had to intervene. That bikini was made for her.”
Yeah. Hell yeah. I had my arms crossed over my bent knees so I could take in my fill of her. She was wet and nearly naked, and I was hot for her.
As if she sensed we were talking about her, Eva crooked her finger at me, beckoning me to come to her. I nodded but waited for a few moments before rising from where I’d been sitting in the sand.
The chill of the water made me suck in a sharp breath, but I was grateful for it a moment later when she surged toward me and plastered herself against me. Her legs wrapped around my waist, her smiling mouth puckering into a heated kiss against my lips.
“You’re not bored, are you?” she asked.
Then she twisted in a way that sent us both tumbling into the water. I felt her hand cup my cock and give it a gentle squeeze. She wriggled away as I came up for air, laughing as she pulled her sunglasses off and tried to run onto the beach.
I caught her by the waist and took us both down, absorbing the fall onto the sand on my back. Her squeal of surprise was my reward, as was the feel of her cool, sleek body writhing against my own.
Turning, I pinned her down. My hair hung around my face, dripping water onto hers. She stuck her tongue out at me.
“The things I’d do to you if we didn’t have an audience,” I told her.
“We’re newlyweds. You can kiss me.”
Looking up, I saw all eyes on us.
I also spotted Ben Clancy and Angus closing in on a house two lots down. Even at this distance, the glint of light from the patio betrayed a camera’s lens.
I started to sit up, but Eva’s legs tangled with mine and held me down.
“Kiss me like you love me, ace,” she challenged. “I dare you.”
I remembered saying those words to her and how she’d kissed my breath away.
Lowering my head, I sealed my mouth over hers.
I’d been dozing more than sleeping when I heard my bedroom door open. After spending a weekend at the beach, the sounds of energetic Manhattan filtering into the apartment had both soothed and excited me. I had a long way to go before I could call myself a New Yorker, but the city already felt like home to me now.
“Rise and shine, baby girl!” Cary shouted. A moment later, he bounded onto my bed, nearly bouncing me off.
Sitting up, I shoved the hair back from my face. Then I shoved him. “I’m sleeping in, if you hadn’t noticed.”
“It’s after nine o’clock, lazybones,” he drawled, settling on his stomach with his heels kicked up behind him. “I know you’re unemployed, but don’t you have a shit-ton of stuff to get done?”
As I drifted in and out of sleep, I’d been thinking about everything on my to-do list. There was so much to scratch off, it was overwhelming. “Yeah.”
“I need coffee for that. What about you?” I looked at him, noting that he was dressed in olive cargo pants and a charcoal V-neck T-shirt. “What’s on your agenda today?”
“I’m supposed to take it easy, so I can be ready to hit the catwalk tomorrow. For now, I’m all yours.”
Reaching behind me, I propped my pillows up and scooted back against them. “I need to call the wedding planner, the interior designer, and get the invitation thing sorted out.”
“You also need a dress.”