The way you look tonight, p.31
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       The Way You Look Tonight, p.31

         Part #10 of The Sullivans series by Bella Andre
slower 1  faster
Page 31

  Author: Bella Andre

  Less than thirty seconds later, she was amazed when the lock slid open. "Look! I picked the lock on my first try. "

  Rafe looked between her and the open lock, clearly stunned. "That’s the fastest I’ve ever seen a beginner get a lock open. If I had known how bad my good girl could be. . . "

  She thrilled at the desire beneath his words, but before she could tackle him and show him exactly how good being bad with her could be, he was tugging her to her feet and into the kitchen.

  "There’s more?" It was like following a scavenger hunt where love was the ultimate prize.

  He shot her a grin over his shoulder, but she could see that he was a little nervous about whatever he was going to show her next. Rafe brought her to a stop at the edge of the kitchen counter. Two days earlier, they’d made love right in that spot, in the chocolate, and her skin was flushing with remembered heat when she realized there was a blindfold sitting on the counter.

  "I’m ready to do that taste test for you now," Rafe told her.

  If she didn’t already love him, if she hadn’t already forgiven him for his mistake, she would have been a goner as he picked up the blindfold and handed it to her. Especially when she could see how hard it was for him to let her take away one of his senses like this.

  With trembling hands, she lifted the blindfold up over his head. She kissed him as she slid it in front of his eyes. Fortunately, a batch of her new Summer’s Pleasures recipe was within reach, so she didn’t have to move away from him to take one out and put it to his lips. The scrape of his teeth and tongue against her fingertips as he took a bite had her pressing closer to him.

  "Delicious. "

  She couldn’t resist licking the chocolate off his lips as she put the rest of the truffle down and took the blindfold off. "So are you. "

  There was such sweetness to everything he’d done to prove his love to her. Brooke had thought she’d need endless apologies and groveling after the way he’d screwed up. Now she knew that the only thing she needed was Rafe Sullivan exactly as he was—fun and dangerous, light and dark, sweet and sexy, supportive and overprotective, too.

  "I never saw my parents argue," she told him. "I never saw them hurt each other in any way. And I never saw passion, either. They always wanted everything to be so perfect, so clean and safe, that I think they were willing to give up true love to make sure they had it. But even if it means I am lacking in common sense, if being without you is what being sensible and making the ‘right’ decisions means, then I’m happy to keep making the wrong ones. Because I’m not willing to ever give up on true love. "

  "Do you remember when you asked me what I thought true love was?"

  "You looked so shell-shocked, even by the question about it," she teased.

  "That’s because I suddenly realized I was looking right at it. Right at you. " Now she was the shell-shocked one as he told her, "I thought I had so many smart reasons why we needed to stay away from each other, but all of them boiled down to the same thing: I was afraid to trust anyone. But then there you were on the beach after our first almost-kiss, staring me right in the eye, asking me why I was running. You scared me more than anything ever had in my life. I already knew I wanted to fall asleep with you every night and wake up every morning with you in my arms, but I didn’t understand how it could be possible to make a mistake and still find a way to work things out together. "

  "If you ask me, I think we made it through our tough times even better than we were before. "

  Bright hope lit his eyes, and oh, how she loved to see it replace the darkness as he made absolutely sure. "Have we?"

  "We have. " She took his hand and began to draw him back toward the bedroom. "And now I think it’s time for us to celebrate. "

  Being wild, she realized now, wasn’t just about sex. It was about wanting Rafe to be her partner in adventures of all kinds—especially the biggest one of all: a love that would last forever.

  Of course, she thought with a smile as he scooped her up into his arms and kissed her breathless, she was more than happy to take the wild sex, too.

  * * *

  Rafe could have kissed her all night long, and never wanted to let her go, but there was one more very important thing he needed to give to her, something she had asked for again and again. Relishing the sweet, soft slide of her body against his as he slowly put her down on her feet in the bedroom, he moved his hands to frame her beautiful face.

  "What do you say we get a little kinky?"

  Her eyes opened wide with surprise, and then such happiness that he knew he’d been a fool to hold out on her for so long.

  "You know how badly I want that," she told him, "but only if you want it, too. "

  Did he ever want it, but first he needed her to understand why he’d held back before. Looking into her eyes gave him the strength to admit, "I was afraid to trust myself with you. I was afraid I wouldn’t know when to stop, not just during sex, but after. I was afraid I’d give too much of my heart to you and end up like one of my clients, with it broken in my hands after you were done with me. "

  Her eyes were soft with emotion, and so much love it floored him. "And now?"

  "Now I understand that when passion burns this hot, it’s okay to be scared of the power you have over me, the way you turn me inside out with a look, a touch, a kiss. " Every word she’d said to him that night at the Italian restaurant when she’d spoken of true love was forever etched on his heart. "And now I know that I can talk to you about absolutely anything, and that you’ll still love me. No matter what. "

  "Always," she promised as she kissed him. "Forever. " Her eyes were bright with anticipation when she drew back.

  Rafe gave her one last kiss before moving to sit on the soft chair in the corner. "Take your clothes off, sweetheart. Let me see you. All of you. "

  His breath hitched in his chest as she reached for the belt on her dress. Rafe’s heart was beating so hard, his blood roaring so loudly in his ears, that he barely heard the leather falling to the rug. She moved her long hair over one shoulder so that she could pull down the zipper along her spine. The blue fabric slid off her shoulders and hips to puddle on the floor at her feet, and when her bra and panties quickly followed, he thanked God that she wasn’t torturing him with a slow striptease tonight.

  "How do you want me?"

  "Just the way you are. " Her answering smile was the brightest he’d seen yet.

  Rafe rose up from the chair and took the binding silks out of the dresser without taking his eyes off her incredible beauty. By the time he came to stand in front of her, Brooke’s chest was rising and falling rapidly. He lifted one wrist and gently tied one of the silks to it, pressing a kiss to the inside of her palm and then all the way up the inside of her arm. When colorful silk streamed from both wrists, and she was trembling from the path of his kisses across her sensitive skin, he knelt in front of her. Instead of immediately tying the silks to her ankles, he kissed the soft skin across her stomach, her hips, her thighs, moving lower and lower until his mouth was warring with the silks in his hands for the chance to be against her skin.

  "Please," she begged. "More. "

  He was going to spend the rest of his life giving her everything she wanted, starting tonight. Lifting her into his arms, he carried her to the bed and laid her down in the center.

  "Arms and legs spread, sweetheart. "

  He’d never dreamed that a woman could be this innocent—and naughty—all at the same time. His hands shook as he tied first her wrists and then her ankles to the bed, and when he was done and she was completely open to him, he knew it was more than her body she was baring, more even than her heart.

  Brooke had let him all the way into her soul.

  And he was the luckiest man who had ever lived.

  Seconds later, he had his clothes off and was kneeling
between her thighs as starlight spilled in the bedroom window, illuminating every beautiful curve, every sinful stretch of skin. Her mouth was warm and giving beneath his as he kissed her, and though his lips and hands repeatedly wandered over all of her most sensitive spots, he kept coming back to her lips. . . and to the kisses that had brought him back to life.

  Knowing she trusted him enough to completely let go like this—and that he trusted her enough to completely let go, too—was the most beautiful thing he’d ever experienced.

  "I need you, sweetheart. "

  He quickly untied the silks and as Brooke wrapped her arms and legs around him, with Rafe holding on to her just as tightly, he finally saw that the true love that he’d once thought was as rare as the blue moon had been there all along.

  * * *

  Though Rafe wasn’t even close to having his fill of Brooke, for a few precious moments it was enough to hold her in his arms and know that he’d made her happy tonight. Truly happy.

  He gazed down in wonder at the beautiful woman beneath him on the bed. "Once upon a time you said I could ask you anything. "

  "Anything," she confirmed as she wrapped herself tighter around him, her cheek pressed against his.

  He’d planned everything else that night, but pure instinct—and love—was what drove him to ask, "Will you marry me, Brooke?"

  "Now, that," she said as she lifted her big green eyes to meet his, "sounds truly wild. " And then she pressed her lips to his and whispered, "Yes. "

  Epilogue

  Later that summer. . .

  "Mom, Dad," Rafe said with Brooke beside him holding his hand, "there’s something I want you to have. "

  Mia made sure to take a picture of the surprise—and utter joy—on her parents’ faces at the exact moment they realized Rafe had deeded them the lake house. It was theirs again, only this time no bank could ever take it away from them.

  "Rafe? You’re giving us the deed for the lake house?" Her mother, Claudia, had tears of joy in her eyes as she pulled her son into a warm hug. "Oh, honey, you’re simply amazing. "

  Her father, Max, wrapped his arms around his wife and his son. "Thank you," he said, his low voice thick with emotion.

  Mia sniffled a little, but she refused to cry during the best day she could remember having in years. Along with her parents, all of her brothers except Ian were back at the lake for the weekend. So far they’d been swimming and waterskiing and hiking, and she’d laughed more with her family and her new sister-to-be than she had in a very long time. The sun had set, the bonfire was roaring, and they were about to bust out the s’mores, when Rafe had decided it was finally time to give his parents their anniversary gift.

  She’d thought he would do it earlier, but Rafe had seemed a little distracted ever since Brooke had tied her hair back with some really pretty silk scarves after their swim. Lord knew the heat from the way they looked at each other would have been enough to roast the marshmallows even before they’d lit the bonfire. They’d disappeared into the house with some lame excuse that no one bought for a second and hadn’t returned to the group on the beach for quite a while.

  First her eight cousins had all found love, and now her brother. She had no doubt whatsoever that Rafe and Brooke had what it took to make love last, just like her parents.

  Who, she wondered, was going to be next? Adam? Dylan? Ian? Or maybe one of her many cousins on the East Coast?

  Just then, Dylan picked up the guitar he’d brought with him and started playing one of her parents’ favorite songs, The Way You Look Tonight. Just as they had when she was a kid, her parents started slow dancing in the sand, the water from the shore lapping over their bare feet. Soon, Rafe and Brooke joined them, so much in love that it was almost hard for Mia to watch them without longing for something that beautiful for herself.

  When the song ended, Dylan quickly switched gears from the old standard to a new rock song. Damn it, she thought as the s’more she was eating turned to cement in her stomach, did he have to play that song? Even all these years later, Mia couldn’t believe she’d been stupid enough to fall for a rock star whom her family and friends never even knew she’d been with. . .
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