Love: A Tease Short Story
“She stood in the throne room between her grandmother and her father. The leader of the rebellion and the King. Her fate had been sealed at birth, but in this moment she finally realized how much power she actually held.” Adam’s voice had grown raspier and rougher with each sentence as he read from The Butterfly Rebellion by Zoe Hyde in the dry winter air.
“So wait, they’re in the throne room?”
“Oh my god, she isn’t going to throw it all away, is she?” Adam totally hooked me into the sci-fi fantasy series with the cover and the blurb, but now that we were into chapter four I was hanging on each and every word.
“I’m not telling you.” He grinned down at me.
This was still hands-down my favorite ritual of ours. Adam reading to me was absolute heaven. It had gotten me through a particularly horrible case of the flu (in which I was absolutely positive I was going to die a horrible death), calmed me down after a new and unexpected lawsuit from my mother, and his voice had put me to sleep many nights when I couldn’t settle down. It was magical anytime Adam read to me but today was the most magical of all.
There was the fact that the sky was clear and bright blue without a cloud in sight, along with the fact that we were in my favorite spot in all of Adam’s family home at Green Hills Plantation. The ruins were so beautiful and so far away from anything else that when we were out here it felt like we were truly alone.
There was also the fact that the weather was a perfect sixty-five degrees. Not too hot, not too cold.
But the most important reason of all was that today I was more nervous than I’d ever been in all my life and I needed the deep vibrations of his voice to sooth my soul and remind me that despite my nerves, I’d never been happier or more sure of anything in my entire life.
“You know what?” he asked with a grin as he looked down at me.
My head was in his lap as we sat on a massive blanket in the middle of the ruins. “What?”
“This has to be the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen and you have to be the most unique woman I’ve ever met.”
I giggled because he was right on both counts. Most of the time I felt weird that I was so different, so damaged and untrusting, but Adam had taught me that those quirks were loveable and made me special.
And this view? If his was anything like mine, then yeah. This was the most beautiful sight. The man I loved framed by a perfect December sky in his black tuxedo holding a hardcover reading to me was pure perfection.
I was pretty much the luckiest woman who ever lived, and I knew it.
“We should go soon.” He brushed a stray hair off my cheek.
“Finish the chapter first?”
His eyes softened and danced. “I should probably fess up that I’m very interested in getting through the ceremony so I can have my wicked way with you.”
I faked a gasp. “Adam Callaway. Are you saying you only want to get me inside so you can get me out of my dress?”
“No. The dress is staying on until tonight.”
A shudder raced down my spine. The things Adam did to me with our clothes on should be illegal in all fifty states. “Is that a promise?”
“As serious as my wedding vows. I’m gonna marry the shit out of you, Elizabeth Filler, then I’m going to demonstrate exactly how happy we’re going to be for the rest of our lives before we have a nice dinner with our friends and family.”
“And then?” I breathed.
“And then I’m taking you to bed. Properly.”
“Do I get a hint as to what the night holds for us?”
“Not even a little one. It’s my gift to you and I want to savor every single moment.”
And even though my curiosity was killing me, I let my fiancé have his secret.
He must have seen something in my expression—he was always doing that, seeing things I was thinking—because his hand stilled on my face. “I know surprises scare you, Beth, but they shouldn’t. Not anymore. You’ve got me now. Surprises mean adventure.”
I knew that. Deep down inside where things were simple, I knew all of this. But between my gut and my head was a lot of road and a lot of the time ideas got turned around. “Adventure, huh?”
“Yeah,” he just barely nodded. “Life with you is going to be a good adventure.”
“Even when things go wrong?” Because things were always going to go wrong. That was the way of life.
“Even when things go wrong, gorgeous. In fact, I know you’re going to hate hearing this but…I’m kind of looking forward to things going wrong.”
Yep. Those words did terrible things to my insides and made my heart thump in my chest. Wrong was bad. I was programmed by both practice and genetics to fear wrong. “How on earth can you look forward to something bad?”
“Because for one,” he ran his finger down my jaw and over to my lips, “wrong is not the same as bad. You draw a straight line between them but that isn’t true. Sometimes wrong is just a learning experience and that is what I’m looking forward to. I can’t wait to do life with you, Beth. I think we’re going to be great together. You and me, we’re a team. And unstoppable team. Living my life with you thrills the ever living fuck out of me.”
And there he went saying amazing things again. This was why I loved him so damn much. It was why I knew that I could put aside my fears and jump blind into the abyss. I could do anything with Adam at my side.
“What if things go really wrong?”
He shook his head. “I’ll be here. No matter what. I’m one of those stubborn cows that refuses to budge. Where you go, I go. Even when you do that really annoying thing where you pretend to hate me and try to scare me off.”
I swallowed down a lump and tried to roll my eyes instead of cry. It hadn’t been two months since our mega-huge knockdown, drag-out fight after which I did, in fact, try to convince him that I hated him and moved out.
He really didn’t like when I did that.
He was the most patient man on the planet. He was also the sexiest. And he was all mine.
“Finish the chapter so we can go get married.” I closed my eyes and listened to his voice. My heart slowed and my world distilled down into a single blissful moment where nothing else mattered.
* * *
“I still think a double wedding would have been more fun,” Allison grumbled in the library where we were taking pictures with my friend and all around amazing photographer, Ronaldo.
She wore a beautiful light blue satin dress with a small waist and wide skirt. As always she looked beautiful and little like she’d stepped out of a different era. “I couldn’t wait. You’re locked into the period wedding of the century and I can absolutely guarantee that while your mother tolerates me she’d rather die than have your wedding day shared with anyone.”
Allison shrugged. “I don’t care what she thinks. She’s lucky I’m giving her the wedding.”
“Then why are you doing it?” Honestly, the event was one step shy of a royal wedding at this point. It was ridiculous.
“Theo wants it.”
I froze in my perfectly positioned pose. “That gruff, swearing, gangster in the next room wants a big period wedding?” Were we talking about the same man?
A silly smile lit up her face. “I know he’s harsh but there’s a diehard romantic hidden inside that man. He had terrible parents and a shit childhood. The man wants a fairytale wedding so the man is getting it.”
As opposed to my wedding which was so small that we were serving dinner at one long table in the Green Hills dining room.
“I’m ready to be married already. Sometimes I feel like Adam and I have had rings on our fingers from the moment we met. It seems weird that we aren’t.”
“A perfectly good reason to get married on New Years.”
I loved the idea that we were starting our marriage in a new year. I loved winter and the holidays. It was easy for us both to get back to the States since the racing team was off for the entire holiday and there were no classes for me to teach.
“I would never share my anniversary with a holiday,” Lily scoffed. My sister was becoming increasingly high maintenance as her acting career took off. Sometimes I wondered if we had anything in common anymore.
“Well, when you get married you can pick whatever date you’d like.”
She frowned. “I don’t think I’m ever getting married. Mom and Dad have ruined the idea.”
“When you meet the right guy you might change your mind.” Adam had certainly changed mine.
“Sorry I’m late!” Eve Spencer sighed as she closed the library door. “There was an accident on the interstate and we didn’t get in until late last night.”
Eve was new in my life but she’d quickly earned a permanent place in my heart. The wife of Adam’s cousin Jake, we’d just recently helped them navigate some unwanted publicity. Reliving so much of what I’d left behind had brought exactly what I wanted out of life into sharper focus and made her a sister for a life.
“Are you ready?” I asked, wondering how the mother of two managed to keep it all together. I’d always thought having kids would be terrible but after spending time with her family I saw a whole new world. One in which kids were kind of okay.
Not that I wanted any.
But at least I wasn’t scared of them anymore.
“Don’t worry about me. Are you ready?”
Ready for a life with Adam? “You bet. Let’s do this.”
* * *
My Uncle Oliver walked me down the aisle. Allison stood as my Maid of Honor while Lily and Eve were my bridesmaids. It was silly to have three women stand up for me when the guest list wasn’t much bigger, but they were the women who mattered to me so that was where I wanted them.
Adam’s side of the aisle wasn’t any different. Travis and Jake stood beside him along with his dad. Before I met Adam my world consisted of two people: Lily and Allison. Now it was filled with everyone in this room, the six people standing beside us most of all.
Adam watched me the entire way down the aisle. I’d never felt more beautiful than when his eyes were on me. He saw things no one else saw. I hoped I had a fraction of the same effect on him.
He wrapped his hands around mine and held on tight, sendding his energy into me. “I promise to always hold your hands,” he murmured. There was no way the crowd could hear him, well, at least not clearly. These words were meant for me. “To help you focus and let go of what doesn’t matter. I promise to be patient, to be the calm to your storm, to be the foundation that will never, ever crack under your feet.”
He said each word with his eyes locked onto mine. He wasn’t just saying them, he was imprinting them on my soul with invisible ink. Tattooing them inside me where I’d never, ever forget them. Was this what marriage really was underneath the paper certificates and petty arguments? Was committing your life to someone else about promising to be this?
“I promise,” I interrupted him, but inspiration had struck and I wasn’t about to let it go, “to be strong when you’re weak, to read to you when you’re sick, to let you hold me when you need comfort, to find my own peace so I can be the calm in your storm, too.”
He cocked his head off to the side and dropped a shoulder, then reached up to cup my face with his large hand. It was almost as if he was saying with his eyes and his touch what he was thinking in his head. “Yes, this. You finally understand all the ways I’ll love you.”
I nodded and he blinked, taking a huge breath before continuing. “I promise that I’ll never let the past define us, that it will only serve as a guidepost on the rest of our journey together. I love you, Elizabeth, and I promise you right now, that will never change.”
I took his hand and turned it so his palm laid flat against my chest—his strength and calm coursing directly into my heart. “This is yours. You’re the only one who ever saw me and you’re the only man who has ever had this. It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done but I’ve given you the softest, most secret parts of me.”
Whether I knew I was doing it at the time or not, I’d hand delivered my heart, my deepest fears, and the ability to crush me in one tiny package. Adam cherished that gift and protected me from all the things I’d worked so hard to save myself from. I’d kept myself safe and alive, but I hadn’t really started living until he added his strength to mine.
“Fuck, Elizabeth,” he choked, then shot the minister a look. “Sorry about that.”
He shook his head. “You’ve got no complaints from me. These have to be the sweetest and most sincere vows I’ve ever heard. The world needs more vulnerability and honest emotion. Carry on.”
Then my almost-husband grinned and his eyes flashed as he turned his most smoldering stare on me.
I melted. My knees went weak and my heart pounded in my chest because I knew that I would fuck this up, but this man would still forgive me.
And that, more than anything else, was marriage.
The minister led us through the traditional vows. We said our “I do’s” and then Adam wrapped his arm around me, cupped my face and said, “I fucking love you,” then gave me the sweetest kiss, followed by the dirtiest.
As he tended to do.
I can’t say that I noticed a single soul after I walked into that room wearing my grandmother’s jewels. I wasn’t conscious of where we were or what we were doing outside of binding our lives together forever.
So it wasn’t until Adam closed the door and threw the lock on the second floor bedroom that I blinked and remembered we weren’t the only two people on the planet.
“Oh my God.”
He gave me a look. “Yep. We’re married, babe.”
“Oh my God.”
He took a step toward me, sex and lust and love in his eyes. “Forever and ever. No going back now.”
“I can’t believe I did that.”
He just kept walking. One foot in front of the other, laser focused on me. “You better believe it.”
And then his hands were on me, slowly gathering the skirt on my wedding dress until his hands were on the insides of my thighs stroking up, up, up. I gripped his biceps, holding on for dear life. “You’re my husband.”
“Yes I am, and I’m about to have my way with you. The dirty kind of way.”
His fingers stroked in feathery light touches across my lacey ivory undergarments, lighting me up. “What if someone hears us?” Not that I’d ever cared about that before but…I’d never gotten married before. How was I supposed to act now?
“Exactly the same,” he answered even though I hadn’t said anything out loud. “You’re my wife and whether you call yourself by the name Callaway or Filler or Lawrence or Hope or Princess Buttercup, you’re still my wife and I’m still your husband. We’re two very sexual and passionate people who will spend the rest of our lives making everyone else insanely jealous that our left ring fingers are occupied with circles of gold.”
And then he slid a finger inside me.
Oh. My. God.
“So we don’t change?”
He shook his head, eyes locked on mine.
“And we have sex during our wedding?”
He gave me another look. “We have sex any time we feel like connecting. Would you like to connect with me?”
“My chest feels like it’s going to explode.”
“Exactly. We need this.”
My husband was a freaking genius.
I unbuttoned and slid down his tuxedo pants while he pulled my underwear to the side and hooked my leg around his hip.
“Slow, babe. Look into my eyes.” And inch by inch, stroke by stroke, Adam proved just how perfect we were together. He knew I’d be coming apart by my emotional seams and the best way to focus and calm me was with his body and his eyes. This connection was so deep I could feel our souls merging in every way possible.
Up and in, slow and firm, he drove me straight toward orgasm, teasing just enough to make it fun while keeping me focused enough to forget about everything but him.
“Adam Callaway,” I murmured as he laid me back on the bed and gripped my hips, driving deep.
“Yes, my wife?”
My inner muscles fluttered at the word wife. “I love you so much.”
He stilled, our bodies locked together, then leaned forward until we were nose to nose, his pelvis pressing into mine with the most delicious friction. “And I love you.” He rocked against my clit and my core contracted around him. His jaw ticked. “And we’re just getting started.”
EEK! I hope you guys enjoyed this peek into the world of Adam and Elizabeth! I had so much fun writing it and I’ve loved your notes, messages, and emails asking for more Adam, Elizabeth, Theo, and Allison, so I’ve decided to write some novellas picking up where Tease and Tempt left your two favorite couples. Stay tuned for details. They’ll be coming at you soon!
Don’t forget to pre-order 6 Dirty Secrets, Nicki and Higgins untold love story!