“Take it off,” he repeated hoarsely.
She saw the hunger in his dark eyes, the way he took shallow breaths through parted lips. A thrill went through her.
“That’s what I’m doing,” she said innocently. “Taking it off.”
And she was. Very, very slowly. Like a striptease to torture him. She wasn’t sure what made her do it. Maybe it was the sudden realization of her power. Maybe she liked feeling his desire for her. Or maybe, just maybe, the fact of their marriage, of being his legal wife, gave her a confidence she’d never had before.
Still propped on her elbow on the bed, she stretched up her arm, fluffing up her long dark hair beneath the long white veil. She moved her hand slowly down, brushing her cheek, her neck, her clavicle. She moved it slowly over her full breasts, overflowing the flimsy white strapless bra, cupping one breast, pressing it against the other.
His eyes were nearly popping out of his head as he leaned against the bed, naked, not touching her. He said hoarsely, “What are you doing?”
“Oh.” She looked up at him with big eyes, feigning surprise. “I guess I need to roll over to reach the clasp...”
And she did so, turning over on the bed, rolling on her tummy. Reaching back, she slowly undid her bra, causing it to fall off. Her full, swollen breasts spilled out in all their naked glory.
Tilting her head, she pretended to consider, placing one fingertip against her wet lips. “Hmm...” Kicking up her heels behind her, she twisted her head and looked back at her own backside, completely naked except for the straps of the white garter and the slender ribbon of the G-string. “Now what should I take off next?”
It was too much for her husband. With a low growl, he fell on her, turning her over so she was on her back. Without a word, he ripped off the white garter belt with two violent hands and did the same with the flimsy G-string. All she wore now was her veil, twisted behind her on the mattress, and her fishnet stockings, which now hung loosely on her legs, sliding down her thighs.
He pushed her back against the soft pillows and stroked his hand possessively down her body, between her breasts. “Tease me, will you?”
She fluttered her eyelashes coyly. “Must you keep ripping my clothes?”
“Not if you stay naked,” he whispered, stroking her hair. Cupping her face, he kissed her.
His lips were rough at first, then gentled, became tender. The bristles of his chin were like sandpaper against her skin, but even that felt good to her. His hardness and roughness made her feel soft and feminine. His tongue teased hers as he deepened the kiss. Her naked breasts were crushed against his hard chest, and as her sensitive nipples rubbed against his muscled body, she nearly gasped with the sensation.
Moving, he slowly kissed down her body. Cupping her breasts, he lifted them in amazement. He could no longer fit a breast in his hand. He said in wonder, “You’re so big.”
“That’s what you get for knocking me up.”
He looked at her huge breasts and her belly, now with just the slightest hint of a curve, and his expression changed. A low hiss escaped through his teeth. He gently squeezed a nipple, lowering his head to the other. She felt the heat of his wet mouth on her, the stroke of his tongue, the nibble of his teeth, and this time she did gasp.
As he suckled her, he slowly moved his other hand down her body, to the gentle curve of her belly and farther still. He reached between her legs and she shuddered beneath him, swaying her hips. She could feel his hard shaft against her thigh. She wanted him inside her. Her nails tightened against his shoulder as she whispered, “Take me.”
Pulling back, he looked down at her, and smiled. She realized he intended to refuse, to tease her and torture her with wanting, as she’d done to him. No way. Reaching between them, she stroked his length, and felt how rigid he was, straining hard against her. She felt him pulse in her hand. His dark eyes widened, then narrowed as he looked down at her.
“Now,” she breathed, challenging him with her eyes.
A low growl from deep in his throat. Pulling back, he positioned himself between her legs. He pushed himself inside her with a single thrust, rough and deep.
Her lips parted in a joyful gasp as she felt him inside her, so hard and thick, filling her. Gripping her hips, he pulled back and thrust again. Her legs curled around his muscular backside, pulling him tighter into her. She moaned softly, and he increased the pace, riding her hard and fast, until the headboard was banging against the wall, increasing desperately in noise and rhythm. Beneath the impact and shake, the wedding veil that had been on the pillow suddenly flew up in the air, lifting on a puff of breeze. She felt pleasure build inside her, and she held her breath as it went higher...and higher...and higher still... She started to explode and heard herself scream. His low, triumphant shout joined with hers, and as he exploded inside her, the last thing she saw before she closed her eyes was the white lace veil, falling softly onto his back.
Moments passed before he opened his eyes. Rolling off her, he pulled her back against his chest, cuddling her into his arms. She nestled her cheek against his shoulder. He kissed the top of her head. “Wife.”
“Husband,” she whispered shyly. Her cheeks burned a little at the memory of how brazen she’d been. But he seemed to approve. He looked at her lazily beneath heavy-lidded eyes.
“It’s just the start.”
And so it was. If the wedding had been disappointing, because she’d been too mad at him to enjoy it, then their honeymoon, she would reflect later, was the most perfect, most romantic week of her life.
After they slept in each other’s arms, they made love again, then slept some more. When morning light came through the windows, they ordered breakfast in bed from room service, trays of waffles with powdered sugar and maple syrup, grits, fresh fruit, fried eggs with eye-watering red-hot pepper sauce, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and smooth chicory coffee with cream and sugar.
When Kassius accidentally got some powdered sugar on his cheek, she reached out and traced it lightly with her fingertips. “How did you get this scar, Kassius?”
His eyes darkened, then he gave a casual shrug. “It was a long time ago. Why?”
“You have powdered sugar on it. Kind of a mess.”
“Ah.” Touching his cheek, he looked at the sugar, then back at her. He lifted a dark eyebrow. “Don’t mock. You have maple syrup on your chin.”
“I do not!” she said indignantly, then licking her chin she discovered it was true. She heard the sudden catch of his breath.
“Let me help with that,” he said huskily, and he leaned forward on the bed to lick it off her chin.
Seconds later, both breakfast trays crashed to the floor as he pushed her back against the bed, drizzling maple syrup all over her body, and she was smearing it on him, and they were licking and kissing every inch of each other. Afterward, they were seriously sticky and had to take a long, hot shower. Where they then discovered the sexy possibilities of having hot steamy water shooting all over their warm, wet, naked skin.
Laney couldn’t get enough of him. And Kassius couldn’t get enough of her.
After the shower, they toweled each other off and were tempted to get back into bed until they got a good look at the tangled sheets, sticky with syrup.
“Maid service,” Kassius said breathlessly.
She brightened. “We’ll go out!”
They let management know that maid service was required, then got dressed to venture out of the hotel. Laney was suddenly glad for the excuse. She was keen to show him her city—in a way, also his city—at the most thrilling time of the year. Mardi Gras.
Taking him by the hand, she led him out of the elegant formality of the hotel to the sheer madness that was Bourbon Street. It was barely noon, but crowds of people bedecked in over-the-top costumes or the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold already filled the neon-lit bars and the sidewalks and streets. They walked around, gawking, then had lunch at a crowded courtyard restaurant, the best in the city. Since it didn’t accept reservations, and Laney flatly refused to allow him to try to get bumped up the wait list by giving the hostess a thousand-dollar tip, they had to wait an hour to be seated. It was a novel experience for Kassius.
“I can’t believe you want to wait for a table,” he grumbled as they stood in the crowded outdoor bar. In the distance they could hear the music of a brass band over the noisy chatter of others waiting for a table.
“Anticipation is half the fun,” Laney informed him.
Reaching out, he took her hand and tenderly kissed her palm, causing her to tremble. “Yes.” His dark eyes smoldered as he straightened. “It is.”
Laney stared at him, feeling hot and shivery all over. Even though they were having fun wandering around, and even though Kassius had made love to her so many times already, she knew he was already counting down the minutes until he could get her back to the hotel. To his bed. And suddenly, so was she.
“Get you something?” the bartender said brusquely, clearly having no clue who Kassius was, treating him like just another rowdy reveler.
Kassius started to order his usual martini, but Laney interrupted him. “He’ll have a hurricane. A sweet tea for me, please.”
“Hurricane?” Kassius said with a frown.