“I may have let you get into that dress all by yourself, but there’s no way in hell I’m letting you get out of it alone,” Edward growls, spiriting me down the hallway toward the bedrooms. “I’ve been jealous of that thong lodged between your ass cheeks since you started teasing me five hours ago.”
“Me? Teasing you? How about your hot lips and fingers on my neck at the opera?” I retort, turning off into the guest room. Suddenly, he’s no longer beside me.
I spin toward the door, where Edward is still standing, gripping the doorjamb anxiously.
“What?” I ask, confused by his odd behavior.
“I didn’t want to just… assume that you wanted me to follow you in here. This is your space.”
Tossing my clutch onto the bed farther from the door, I saunter over to where he’s standing. “This reminds me of those vampire shows where they have to wait to be invited in,” I tell him, allowing a slow smile to spread across my face.
“Gee thanks,” he answers, regarding me uncertainly.
I grip the sides of his bowtie in my hands, caressing the soft, heavy material with my thumbs. “Edward,” I say, looking deeply into his unexpectedly shy green eyes, “you don’t ever have to ask again. You are always welcome in here or anywhere else I happen to be.”
I tug on the ends of the tie, opening the bow and leaving it to dangle around his neck. Sliding my hands down the placard of his pleated shirt, undoing one button at a time, I reveal his white sleeveless undershirt.
“Sexy,” I whisper, leaning in to kiss him.
He pulls me into his arms and crushes my body against his. “Driving…” he kisses me, “…me,” tongues pressing against each other “…crazy.”
My hands dig into the satin band at his waistline, tugging the shirt and undershirt roughly from the confines of his slacks. My hands find his bare stomach, and Edward lets out a low hiss.
His insistent fingers work down my zipper, and the wide collar begins to slip over my shoulders. Before the gown can slide to the floor, Edward catches the fabric in his hands. He looks hungrily at my bare breasts before dipping his head to take one nipple into his mouth, a loud groan accompanying the gesture. He’s tender and needy all at once, and my hands find their way into his glorious hair, transmitting my appreciation and encouragement with every stroke. The soft lapping of his warm tongue feels like heaven compared to the heavy lining of the brocade imprisoning me all evening, and the gentle nips of his teeth along my flesh make me moan and beg.
When he pulls away to ease my dress over my hips, I protest with a loud growl of frustration. Edward looks up from my belly and shoots me a sexy smirk. “Don’t worry, sweetheart,” he whispers, “I’ll be back.”
His lips trail after the “V” of the gown’s bodice, making their way down my front, lingering at my navel, then lower. He cups his mouth over the thong and nuzzles his nose and warm, moist breath over the fabric.
“Never mind, just stay there!” I whine shamelessly.
But of course, he doesn’t. He drops soft kisses between my thighs, knees, calves and finally, ankles. A chivalrous hand reaches up to balance me. “Step out.”
He sweeps away the dress and sets it gingerly across one of the beds, pulling open his cuff links as he turns back to regard me. “Jesus, that’s what I thought,” he marvels, his eyes moving from my panties to my heels and back up to my chest. “Still need help with your thong?”
He is so ridiculously sexy right now, untucked, disheveled, green eyes gleaming with desire. “Sure, baby,” I answer, no intention of denying this man anything.
He pauses to savor the moment before stepping around behind me, skimming his palm across my shoulder blade and landing at my neck. Distracting me with more soft kisses just below my ear, he cups my ass with his free hand, softly caressing the bare skin and teasing closer and closer to the middle. The other hand glides down my spinal column, leaving a trail of goose bumps in its wake.
If Isabella had any idea this was how I pictured her all night, she might be tempted to knee me in the nuts, which is exactly why I’ve wisely kept that thought to myself. My fingers catch at the top of her thong and she gasps as I work it upwards; not roughly, just baby steps, tiny little bursts of friction at her front and a noticeable pressure along the crack.
“Is that helpful, sweetheart?” I croon into her ear, licking the lobe for emphasis.
“Oh, God,” she mumbles, as I slide two fingers inside the tiny triangle pinched uncomfortably between her lips.
“Jesus, you’re soaked.” I circle her clit softly, while the other hand teases at the string in the back. It’s times like these, I could really use another pair of hands so I could touch her everywhere all at once. “Grab your tits for me, baby. Run your thumbs over your nipples.”
I resist the urge to rut against her, though I’d love nothing more than to trade places with that slip of floss between her cheeks. Watching Isabella touch herself is an enticing view, and if I weren’t too greedy to give up her wet pussy, I might switch places with her. Alas, I’ve been dreaming all night about getting her off this way, and when her breathing picks up and her soft moans turn into a low wail that spirals higher and wilder and louder; when her legs start to shake with the effort of holding herself up through it; when her muscles clamp around my fingers and she bucks into my hand and screams out, “Yesssss!," I know I’ve made the right decision.
Besides, I’ve just had a most delicious idea for our scene on Saturday night.
“Thank you,” she whispers, eyes closed and bliss written all over her face.
“There’s more where that came from,” she grins, spinning to face me and pushing my shirt off my shoulders.
“Are we leaving this on again?” I ask, plucking at my wife-beater and quirking a teasing eyebrow.
“No,” she hums. “I just want you tonight.”
This answer pleases me greatly. “Me, too,” I tell her, though giving up the thong and spiky heels will be a bit of a sacrifice. It's been too long since Master's pranced the princess around in slutty heels. I pull off the tank and manage to open my pants while she slides off her thong and sits on the edge of the empty bed to unbuckle her shoes.
“Hey,” I say softly, prompting her to look up. “Let me.”
She smiles and falls back onto her palms, watching me undress. She’s leering, really, and not feeling the least bit embarrassed about it. Apparently, my cock doesn’t mind the attention—go figure—and I stroke myself once or twice as I step out of my pants and silk boxers and toss them next to her gown on the spare bed.
“Hey,” she says, echoing my tone, “Let me.”
I step closer to her, my eyes on her cocky smirk. She wraps her hand around me as I cup my hand near her calf and she lifts her foot obediently. I make quick work of the buckle while she strokes me rhythmically with enough pressure that the tension begins to mount. I release her shoe and drop it gently to the floor, sliding my hand up her calf to the back of her knee. I have to stop and close my eyes, enjoying the skillful hand job and forgetting my task for the moment. It’s not till her other shoe taps at the side of my thigh that I remember my duty. I force open my eyes only about one-quarter of the way, just enough to get the job done.
No sooner have I got the second shoe off, then she drops to her knees on the floor and takes me all the way into her mouth. My hands find her shoulders as she works her way up and down over my tip and shaft, lavishing me with her warm tongue and rolling my balls in her hand.
“That…feels…amazing,” I grunt out. “But I want to feel all of you,” I add, bending to take her face in my hands and gently pull her up to me. She kisses me along the way, teasing at my chest with her wet mouth and burying her nose into the crook of my arm as I envelop her in my embrace.
I regard the double bed warily; it’s close by, and right now, that’s a giant plus in my book. However, it’s not the luxury of the master king mattress, nor will it give us much room to frolic.
I wiggle my thumb at her lower back and she looks up at my face. “Should we take this next door? This bed’s kind of small.”
“Actually? It’s just the perfect size for what I need tonight,” she replies, reaching one hand behind her and taking hold of one of mine. Looking coyly over her shoulder, she leads me to the bed and pulls down the covers with her other hand. She slips between the sheets, settling onto her stomach and bringing me with her, so I’m extended along the length of her back. Isabella purrs as our skin connects everywhere.
My girl needs a good smothering tonight, and I’m more than happy to oblige. I hook my feet around her ankles and tightly grasp the hands tucked under her body, her bent elbows nestled inside mine.
The soft skin of her back feels like satin to my chest, and the gentle contours of her ass provide a welcome landing place for my very grateful cock.
The intoxication of our fairy tale evening swirls in my head as the tension builds. The headboard bangs insistently against the wall with each of my deep thrusts. Isabella’s voice is low and raw, and my need is suddenly overpowering. I wrap myself as tightly around her as I can and take possession of every part of her. In the desperate moments just before my peak, I declare my love over and over again.
In the aftermath, she rocks us both onto our sides, still joined, and pulls my arms securely around her middle, a human safety belt. She breathes in deeply and exhales with a contented sigh. “Happy?” I ask.
“Mildly,” she teases, twisting her head just in time to watch a smug smirk form on my lips. “You know, I think your dad might be a little jealous of you and your mom.”
“Please tell me you weren’t thinking about my parents this whole time.”
“Nah. Just that last part at the end.”
“Excuse me?” I ask in mock horror, and she giggles.
“I was just feeling grateful to the people who put you on this planet.”
I hook my chin over her shoulder, drop a kiss by her ear, and inhale the sweet intimacy.
No matter how delicious the afterglow, there comes that moment where a man realizes he’s about to overstay his welcome. Just before that happens, I disembark as gracefully as possible. “I think we’ll sleep better in the other room.”
I felt a wee bit naughty waking up in Edward’s bed this morning, knowing his parents are just down the road, well aware of our illicit activities—some of them, at least. Sure, we’re in our thirties, haven’t lived under our parents’ roofs for more than a decade, and obviously we have both had previous partners. Still, it feels strange. Thank goodness, the Cullens aren't sleeping across the hall.
Across the hall, that is, where my boyfriend surrounded me with his entire perfect self last night while we christened the guest room. My escalating need for him might worry me, if not for the fact that he seems so well equipped to fulfill the ever-demanding requirements of keeping both his girlfriend and his submissive one satisfied, happy woman.
I really need to lock away that memory for now and turn my attention to the focus group. Multitasking is really not my forte; even if I could tune my receiver to more than one station at once, Edward Cullen would easily occupy every frequency all by himself. Sly bastard, donning that Black Velvet tie once again, rekindling my flame for his trusty alter ego dom. Though I suppose, if truth be told, I did the same with my souvenir thong. Still, invoking Black Velvet has me thinking once again about the concept of a mentor, separate from Edward and Master, and the titillation does me absolutely no good right now.
“Bella, Earth to Bella…” Jessica snaps her fingers in front of my face. “Ah, there you are. Okay. Everything else is all set. Your laptop is set up in the board room, and your Power Point is loaded and ready to go. The flipcharts are on easels. Handouts are collated and distributed around the twelve places at the table.”
Twelve. Twelve critical faces, twelve harsh reviews, twelve opinions that will either build my team’s confidence or send us frantically back to the drawing board over the weekend.
I used to not mind so much working on the weekends, but now that I have Master to serve for a solid twenty-four hours of it and Edward for the rest, I have less than zero desire to rethink Warwick. This has to wow them.
“The participants will be arriving at 9:30, and it’s 9:10 now, so your team will be assembling in five minutes upstairs. Is there anything I can get you, do for you…?”
“Thank you, Jessica. You’ve done more than enough. I’ll see you on the other side.”
Jessica laughs nervously. “It sounds like one of us is about to die.”
“That would be me,” I answer.
In a deliberate movie-narrator voice, Jessica says, “Walk…toward…the light.”
I roll my eyes at my assistant’s playful attempt to relax me and I feel the vibration of an incoming text message in my pocket.
My heart leaps into my throat—it’s from Jasper.
How’d you know?
You always get performance jitters before a big presentation.
Of course! Jasper’s sitting in on the focus group.
And nobody could calm me like you, I text back. I have to give credit where credit is due. And already, I have to admit, that old, familiar sense of composure is settling in around me.
I’ll be there and you’ll be great as usual. C u soon.
True to his word, as always, Jasper does see me soon. He’s waiting outside the door to the board room when I get upstairs, leaning against the doorjamb with his hands tucked casually into his pockets.
“How you holding up?” His eyes hold concern.
He nods. “Is your team ready for this?” My gaze jumps over his shoulder through the glass window where my team is arranging themselves and our materials.
“Honestly, I cannot think of anything we haven’t considered and tackled. I’m actually looking forward to the critique.”
He chuckles lightly. “Well you’ll get plenty of that with this bunch.”
“You’ve seen the list?”
His eyebrows lift. Of course, he’s seen the list. I sigh heavily, and Jas makes a reflexive move to comfort me, taking a half-step forward and pulling his hands from his pockets before halting and staring at me helplessly. He mumbles something under his breath that I can’t decipher, and then says aloud, “You know I’ll have your back in there.”
My shoulders unclench and the spinning in my stomach slows to a manageable whirl. “Thank you, Jasper,” I whisper.
He winks, turns, and heads toward his office. Right up until he rounds the corner, I watch his retreat, enormously grateful for his friendship and generosity.
“How’d you like Bar 89?”
“It was perfect. Your mother’s still raving about the Oriental Tuna sandwich two hours later. I had a bistro burger smothered in caramelized onions and Swiss cheese—heart attack on a bun—but we’re on vacation, so what the hell?”
“Did you send Mom to the bathroom?”
Dad’s laughter rings through my Blackberry. “You don’t have to send people at our age, son. A half-glass of water does the trick. But yes, she came back with a big grin on her face, so I had to go to the men’s room and see for myself. Pretty damn clever, whoever thought of those fogging stall doors. Kind of weird, though, if you ask me.”
“I mean, you’re sitting inside there, doing your business, and you can see out perfectly. So even though you know nobody can see you, it still feels like you’re on display.”
“Well,” I can’t contain my wide grin, “I suppose it appeals to a certain type.” Aaand, we’re changing the subject. “So, what are you and Mom up to now?”
“We’re in a taxi heading back to the hotel. We’re going to dump all our packages and change, then head out to the grocery store.”
“Ask him if Isabella has any food allergies,” Mom chimes in.
“Mom wants to know—”
“I heard. No, she’s good. Doesn’t like olives, but neither do I.”
“How about religious restrictions?”
Dad doesn’t bother repeating this time.
“Is this Mom’s sneaky way of asking about Isabella’s background?”
Dad laughs. “Maybe, but I really think she is just trying to plan a menu that won’t be offensive to your girlfriend or land her in the ER.”
It occurs to me that the topic of God, beliefs, or spirituality in general has never come up in conversation. “Tell Mom she’s never objected to anything on religious grounds up to this point. And she is not a squeamish eater; she’ll pretty much try anything once. Besides, Mom’s brought enough leftovers to feed all of us three alternative meals if Isabella doesn’t care for whatever’s served.”
“True,” Dad agrees, chuckling.
“What did he say?” Mom prods.
Dad covers the phone with his hand, but I still hear a muffled, “They’re planning on attacking the leftovers after dinner so it doesn’t matter what you make tonight.”
“Hey, I didn’t say that,” I protest.
“Give me the phone!” Mom argues.
“Now, look what you’ve done.” I sigh.
“Hang on, your mother wants—”
“Awww, Mom,” I complain, watching the delicious treats slip through my fingers.
“Oh, Esme, stop torturing the boy.”
Mom harrumphs into the phone.
“Chocolate chip cookies are Isabella’s favorite.” That was kind of unfair, but I’m pretty sure it will work.
“Fine.” Mom lets out a resigned sigh.
“See you around six, Mom.”
Domenic is ready and waiting at the curb, door open. “Evening, folks,” he greets cheerfully.
“How’s the missus?” Edward asks politely.
Domenic’s grin grows broader. “All is well.”
Edward fist bumps him. “Care to share with the class?”
Domenic’s eyes drift over to me, but Edward quickly reassures him, man to man. “Bella’s cool.”
Not sure if I really want to encourage this conversation, I nod nonetheless. If Edward wants to get it out of Domenic, he will. I might as well not gum up the works.
“Okay.” Domenic leans forward, inviting us closer and dropping his voice to a hushed tone. Both of us lean in to hear. “Have you seen the trailer for that movie coming out this summer? About the…male strippers?” The last two words are barely a whisper.
Edward and I look at each other cluelessly. Domenic rolls his eyes and adds, “Magician Mike? The missus thinks it’s hot.”
I clamp my teeth down hard around my lower lip to avoid laughing, but Edward has no such inhibition. He barks out loud and asks, “So, are you going to take her to see it?”
Domenic reels back. “Oh hell no. Ahem…er, that’s a negative,” he quickly corrects himself. “She’ll go with one of her girlfriends from church, no doubt.”
Edward’s head bobs up and down in an Attaboy! motion while he says, “But you’re getting your money’s worth out of the trailer.”
“Every. Penny,” Domenic enunciates.
“Um, honey? Your parents…?” I place my hand on Edward’s forearm.
“Oh right. We better hit it,” Edward says, following me into the back seat.
Once we’re on our way, Edward asks, “So the panel was mostly favorable?”
He shifts in his seat to face me, and makes a who-do-I-have-to-cut expression. “Mostly?”
“Down, boy. It’s all good now. One of the women—I think she was a clerk from Accounts Receivable or something—started attacking Roger’s sales projections—”
“Ah yes,” he interrupts, “hand a microphone to the girl who sits in the dark corner all day reviewing aging reports. I’m so not a fan of the straw man poll.”
“Sorry, go on.”
“Jasper got on her right away, supporting our data with statistics on company collection history and industry trends and basically setting every argument to rest.”
“He cut off her legs?” Edward asks, visibly impressed.
“No. That’s not how he operates. He validated the concern, but then rebutted every issue.” And the poor girl actually swooned in the process, but I don’t need to report that to Edward.
“Well, good for him. I’m glad he was there for you.”
I search his face for jealousy or resentment, but find not a shred. “Me, too. He was really great. He’s always seemed to have this way of just…I don’t know, settling a blanket of calm over me. I can’t really explain it.”
“You mean, I don’t have that effect on you?” he smirks, knowing full well how keyed up I feel just being near him.
“Nope. That’s not your particular gift.”
“I suppose not,” he responds. “And truth be told, I might’ve pounced on ‘receivables girl,’ so it’s probably a good thing I wasn’t in the room.”
“Probably,” I agree.
“So, how did your revisions meeting go afterward?”
“Not bad. We still have a few more bells and whistles to add, but we can do it at the hotel on Monday after we arrive.”
Edward smiles with the realization that I’m not planning to go into work. “So Master’s got you all to himself this weekend?”
Oh hell, the ‘M’ word. It’s as if someone’s just set a pair of sunglasses over my eyes; suddenly everything is a shade darker and slightly obscured.
“As soon as your parents leave,” I answer, feeling off balance at the awkward layering of Master and Edward.
“They’re heading back after lunch tomorrow. That gives us most of the day to play.”
“And into Sunday, right?” Oops, eager much?
My Dark Prince swoops down into the back seat and basically obliterates my boyfriend, at least for the moment. “Absolutely, my greedy girl.”
“You have a plan, don’t you?” My body responds in a hundred different delicious ways to the thought of our next overnight scene.
He grabs my hand and insinuates his fingers between mine. “Oh yes, princess. I have big plans for you.”
The elevator opens on my floor and I am instantly hit with a thick wall of savory herbs and cooked apples. Good ol’ Mom. I start walking, admittedly a bit too quickly, toward my unit, when I hear a cascade of warm laughter behind me. Oops.
“Sorry,” I say sheepishly.
“No worries,” she responds. “I know better than to get between you and your next meal.” There’s a heated gaze between us as we both time jump to our recent scene.
“Could you please not rouse the beast? I have to go and face my mother.”
“Yeah, so do I,” she retorts.
“Let’s both try to behave then, shall we?”
She gives me a challenging stare, which I probably deserve, but she accepts my outstretched hand and lets me pull her to the door. As I’m inserting the key in the lock, I remember to ask, “Oh, by the way, you don’t have any ethical objection to eating pork, do you?”
“You mean, will my rabbi be angry with me?”
I pale for a second, my mind racing for clues. Swan…doesn’t strike me as Jewish, but you never know these days.
Isabella giggles again, clearly at my expense. “Yeah, I’m not Jewish. Or Muslim. So I’m all good with pork, but thanks for asking.”
“Okay,” I answer numbly, still a bit shell-shocked.
“Hey, would it have mattered?” she asks, more seriously.
“Of course not.”
“So, do you want to ask me what I am?”
“I already know what you are,” I answer, kissing her suddenly. I pull back and smile at her surprised eyes, happy to have turned the table to a more comfortable position—me in charge.
“What’s that?” she asks.
I leave her with that thought as I push open the door.
The domestic scene before us is certainly most welcome; it just feels like we’re all inhabiting the wrong space for it. Dad’s lounging on the couch, at least three newspapers strewn around him. Mom is puttering at the stove, stirring and releasing delicious scents into the atmosphere.
“Hi, honey. We’re home!” I call out, and they both drop what they’re doing to join us at the door.
My attention is monopolized by Dad’s mad scramble to dig out from under his unruly fortress of current events, so much so that I completely miss what is going on with Isabella, until I feel her squeezing the life out of my fingers. I turn back to see what’s up, and I find a wide-eyed, beet-red picture of mortification. I follow her appalled gaze, and the path leads me straight to my dear old Mom.
“Something wrong, dear?” Mom asks sweetly.