I like Chris. I admire and respect his decisions. And those things matter in big ways.

His fingers flex against my bottom and I smile. “You’re awake.”

“Hmmm. I’m awake.” He nuzzles my neck and his fingers trace the crevice of my backside, sending a shiver up my spine and tightening my nipples. “Contemplating all the things I want to do to you before I let you out of bed.”

“We can’t,” I say, trying to turn, but his leg holds me down. “Chris, not until tonight. We talked about this.”

He sighs and eases his hold on me. I turn face to face, my hand on his chest— a mistake, if I mean to resist him. He’s gorgeous and naked, and about to be my husband, which is the sexiest thing ever. And the way he’s looking at me, like he wants to gobble me up, is making him sexier and me hotter. He strokes my hair away from my face and when our eyes connect, he consumes me that easily. Chris does that to me. He wants, and I need. It’s how it is. It’s who we are.

His fingers press into my hip and he pulls us together, the thick ridge of his erection fitting into the vee of my body. I press my palm to his shoulder. “It’ll be better tonight if we don’t,” I say, trying to sound convincing. I fail.

“It’ll be better tonight because you’ll finally be mine.”

“And because we waited. No sex this morning.”

He rolls me to my back, his big, wonderful body an arousing weight on top of me. “Okay,” he agrees, as if his actions don’t contradict his words. “No sex this morning.” He eases down my body until his shoulders widen my legs, his lips brushing my belly. It trembles beneath his touch, and I’m desperate for an ounce of willpower.

“Chris. You said—”

“I just want to know if you taste different this morning, as Sara McMillan, than you will tonight as Sara Merit.”

“Stop saying Sara Merit.”

“Why?”

“Because it makes me want you.” He smiles and lowers his head. With what little willpower I have, I tangle my fingers in his hair. “No. This counts as sex.”

“A taste isn’t a full meal.” His hands slide under my backside and his breath teases my clit. My eyes close, my muscles tensing with anticipation, and he doesn’t make me wait. He licks the seam, sending a wave of sensations rolling through me. And then he’s kissing my belly again. “See. Just a taste.” He starts to get up.

Appalled, I sit up and grab his arm. “Don’t you dare leave me like this!”

His eyes dance with mischief. “I told you, just a taste.”

“You’re teasing me,” I accuse.

“Yes. Yes, I am.”

“If you’re going to start something, you have to finish it.”

“What about the no-sex-this-morning rule?”

“It’s silly.”

He laughs. “Is it, now?”

“Yes.” The doorbell to the rental house rings and I walk on my knees toward Chris. “Don’t get it.”

He flattens me against him, running his hand up my back, melding my chest to his chest. “It’s my tuxedo.” He kisses me and then releases me.

Defeated, I fall back on the bed and moan. “This is not how a bride should start her day.”

“Tonight.”

I rise up on my elbows to find him in his pajama bottoms, and sigh. “Right. Tonight.”

As he disappears through the door, I roll out of the bed and search for my robe. Not seeing it, I snatch up Chris’s shirt from the floor and slip it over my head. Eager to make sure his tuxedo is right, I rush down the hallway and reach the door as Chris is hanging a garment bag on the coat rack.

“Is it what you wanted?” I ask as he unzips the bag.

“Yes. I tried it on yesterday and left it to be pressed. It fits.”

I run my hand over the lapels. “I’d have been happy with you in your leather jacket.”

He faces me, towering over me. I forget how big he is sometimes, but he is. Tall, broad, and so very masculine. And he gives me one of his smoldering looks that say “I own you,” and my skin heats all over again.

“I like you in my shirt,” he says, his voice a low, raspy promise of hot kisses in all kinds of wonderful places.

“I like me in your shirt.” I sound breathless. I feel breathless.

We stare at each other, the air crackling with electricity.

“I know what I promised about this morning,” he says, “but do you know how hot it makes me to think about you being my wife?”

And that’s all it takes. I sway toward him, and just like that, we snap. Suddenly we’re kissing, his hands cupping my backside as he lifts me and sets me on the entryway table, tugging his shirt up.

Then I hear a car door slam, and my eyes open. The next sound I hear is Katie’s voice.

“Oh God. The window. The window by the door, Chris.”

He lifts me and sets me against the door, out of view of prying eyes.

“That was so close,” I say. “I didn’t even hear the car.”

“Why is she here?”

“To help me get ready, and probably to split us up. Which means it’s already noon.”

He glances through the glass pane next to the door and laughs. “Can you imagine her face if she’d caught us?”

The doorbell rings, and I push to my toes and kiss him. “Do you know how hot it makes me to think about you being my husband?”

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