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Ever After by Jones, Lisa Renee (1)

CHAPTER ONE

Lori

Honeymoon in Paris

On our final day after a week in Paris for our honeymoon, Cole decides he wants to get us arrested. Not literally, but his actions say that’s exactly what he wants to do. After a day spent sightseeing, we dress up for an evening out with plans to visit our favorite little bakery for dessert and coffee. I wear a sexy red dress in a clingy material, with deeper cleavage than usual and a zipper that parts the dress top to bottom in the front. It’s a daring dress when I am not usually all that daring, but this is Paris and I’m with my husband. Cole personifies tall, dark and gorgeous in a blue button-down with dress slacks, and the way his eyes light on me as if he wants to gobble me up has heat rushing through my body.

We enter the elevator of our hotel, and the minute the doors close, he pulls me to him. “You’re beautiful, wife,” he murmurs, his voice all rough-edged and sexy.

My hand flattens on his chest, his heart thundering under my palm. “You’re not so bad yourself, husband.”

I’ve barely spoken the words before his hand is at the back of my head and he’s crazy, hot, kissing me, his hands caressing a path up my back. I moan with the lick of his tongue, telling myself to stop this. We’re in a public place, but then his tongue is stroking mine again and I am lost, sinking into the hard lines of his body, only remotely aware of the ding of the elevator.

Cole presses me into the corner of the car, and pulls his lips from my lips, his eyes burning into mine a moment before voices sound just behind him. A rush of people swarm the car and Cole settles against the wall, pulling my back to his front, the hard ridge of his erection nestling my backside. I am aroused, wet, aching all over for this man, and ready to go back upstairs. My hand closes down on his hand where it settles on my belly and the rest of the ride down is eternal until finally the car halts. Cole leans down and whispers in my ear, “I’m going to obsess over that zipper all night long.”

My lips curve, a shiver racing down my spine as he nips my lobe. Yes. Please. Think about it. I love the Cole that wants and wants and wants more. That was the idea when I slipped into this dress. I am about to voice just that, but already he’s lacing his fingers with mine, leading me out of the car, and it’s only a few moments before we’re on the street, headed toward our dinner destination.

A short walk from our hotel on Champs-Élysées, Ladurée is a cozy spot world-renowned for their macarons, which has caused me about a five-pound gain on this trip. They also serve dinner, and once we’re inside the bakery, we approach the hostess. Soon we are turning to the rooms on our right and headed up a staircase where we are seated at a tiny corner table. Everything is tiny in Paris, and while Cole’s leg is intimately pressed to mine, he’s forced to behave since I could practically lean and I’ll be touching the man next to me.

Cole places our dinner orders for us with perfect, sexy French, a language that he apparently excelled at during school. I approve. Once the waitress leaves us alone again, we chat about our week and even our eventual caseload when we return home. I love that we are this connected. That we share so very much. I’ve never experienced this in my life, with anyone. Time flies by with us laughing, flirting and enjoying good food, as well as sweet, bubbly champagne. We’ve just finished off our dessert and coffee when Cole leans forward. “Look, sweetheart. Since we’re going home tomorrow, I need to fill you in on something.”

My eyes go wide. “What something and why do I not know already?”

“Because I wasn’t going to let you worry all week and before you panic, your mother is fine. I know that despite her recovery from her stroke, you worry, but it’s not about her. That said, you know that large trials can come with protestors, and you’re a protestor virgin no more. When you win a case, after the public prosecutes a client, like they did ours before we left for Paris, all hell breaks loose. We’ve had protestors at the office since we left, and that comes with random threats.”

Again, my eyes go wide. “Threats?”

His hands slide over mine where it rests on the table. “It happens. If I could keep you away from this stuff, I would, but it’s part of the job. And honestly, I didn’t think our win was one of those trigger cases. It was televised. It was pretty obvious that our client was innocent.”

“Will they target my mother?”

“Doubtful, but to be safe, I offered her and her new man a trip to the Hamptons to get out of the city for a while.”

“And my mother refused,” I assume, reaching for my purse to retrieve my phone.

“Easy, sweetheart,” he says, catching my hand again. “I convinced her to go. All is well and the only reason I’m telling you now, not in the morning, is that I knew you’d want to talk to her before we leave. With the time zone difference, that means tonight.”

Tension rolls across my chest and down my spine. “Right. Okay.”

He narrows his eyes at me. “What are you thinking?”

That I’m worried, I think but I say, “That I need to go to the bathroom.” I set my napkin down and stand up, barely avoiding the guy next to me as I hurry past our table and cut right toward a bathroom. I step inside the rather large room with no mirrors, two sinks, and four floor-to-ceiling doors, sealed shut. I’ve barely closed myself inside when Cole is joining me.

“What are you doing?” I demand, and already his big hands are on my waist, and he is pressing me against the wall.

“The bubble is not going to pop,” he says. “Nothing bad is happening. This is normal.”

“I know,” I whisper, unsure how he’s just put what I feel into words when I haven’t even formed it into coherent thoughts until this moment.

“You don’t know. You felt safe and then the rug was pulled out from under you when your father died. I’m not going to let that happen. You have me now. I’m not going anywhere. I promise.”

“You can’t promise that.”

“I can,” he says, his voice deep, rich, his tone absolute. “I will.”

“People die.”

“Yes, but if I die, you’ll know how much I loved you. You’ll know I’m still with you.” He cups my face. “But you don’t get to get rid of me that easily. Whatever waits for us here, there, or anywhere, we’ll get through it together. That’s what husbands and wives do.”

Warmth and calm wash over me. “Husband,” I whisper.

“Wife,” he replies, his gaze raking over my lips, and lifting. “About that zipper.”

“Take me to our hotel and I’ll show you how it works.”

“I can’t wait that long,” he counters, reaching for said zipper.

I catch his hand. “Cole,” I warn urgently. “You have to wait.”

I’ve barely finished that reprimand before his mouth is crashing down on mine and he’s kissing me, his tongue stroking my tongue. One of his hands settles at the base of my spine, molding me close, all those hard, sinewy parts of him pressed to all the soft parts of me and I moan. Another second later, and my zipper is open, and he’s pressed my hands over my head, his fingers dragging over the thin lace of my barely-there bra, teasing my nipples.

“We can’t do this here,” I whisper, and I mean it, despite the moan that rolls from my throat, as his fingers slide between my legs, heat pooling low in my belly and spreading to the touch of his fingers.

“And yet we are,” he says.

Voices sound just outside the door, and I panic. “Cole,” I hiss.

He reacts, and in an instant, his arm is around my waist and he’s pulling me into a long, narrow stall, shutting the heavy door and locking it. Women, two I think, enter the bathroom, and Cole steps back in front of me, his cheek pressing to mine as he whispers. “I’m going to make you come with them standing right there.”

My fingers curl on his chest. “No,” I silently whisper, but he swallows the protest with a deep lick of his tongue, and just like that, he’s grabbed my panties and yanked them away.

And then he’s kneeling on one knee, his lips pressing to my belly, and the effect is an adrenaline rush up and down my body. My fingers tangle in his hair and I tell myself it’s to pull him away, but his tongue flicks my belly button and I bite my lip to silence my pleasure. I know where that tongue is headed and it’s almost too much.

I manage to tug his hair after all, but it only seems to challenge him. He lifts my leg to his shoulder, his mouth closing down on me, and sensations spiral through me. I cave to the pleasure, my head falling back on the wall.

Then he is licking and exploring, merciless in his attention, his thumb stroking my clit, tongue delving in and out of my sex—around and around and everywhere. And when it’s too much, just too much for this place, his fingers stretch me, pressing inside me, and I’m arching into him.

My pulse thunders in my ears, and the women just keep talking. They won’t stop, but neither will Cole, but then again, I don’t want him to stop. Every spot he touches and licks is bliss, and I’m right there on the edge of that mountaintop, so very close to tumbling over.

A ball of tension forms low in my belly and spreads, and then I’m there, my belly and sex clenching, and remotely I hear my breathing, a soft moan I cannot control escaping my throat. Pleasure overtakes me, stealing time, and then I go limp.

Cole eases my leg down, re-connecting my zipper, and sliding it up my body until it’s back in place, and he’s standing in front of me, kissing me, the taste of champagne and me on his lips before he whispers, “That was so damn hot.”

My eyes go wide at the idea that the women can hear us. “They left,” he promises. “Let’s go back to the room and fuck. Then we’ll call your mother and fuck again. Then we’ll pack and fuck again. And finally, we’ll go home. Because, sweetheart, as much as I love fucking you in Paris, I want you in my bed, which is now our bed.”

The aftermath of my orgasm mixed with all the male perfection of this man, who is my husband, and best friend, fills me. It’s then that it hits me that as perfect a Cinderella story our wedding and Paris honeymoon were, the real fairy tale is knowing that he’s no fair-weather Prince. It’s knowing that in an imperfect world, Cole can still make everything perfect. That I am not alone, and never will be again.

“I love you, Cole.”

He strokes my cheek. “I love you too, sweetheart.” And with that, he leads me out of the bathroom, past several gaping women, and right back to our table, where we eat more chocolate, pay the bill, and leave. Together. The way we will face whatever waits on us in New York City, now and always.

 

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