“So, we do both. We go to my parents’ for a Christmas brunch, then make it to Tampa in time for dinner with your mom.”
“Or do Christmas Eve at your parents’, then we aren’t in a rush to make it to my mom’s.”
“We did that to them last year and it hurt my mom’s feelings. She is insisting she sees us on Christmas Day. Plus, Steph will be there with Bryant and Mark and you know how much Bryant loves you.” I uncapped my lipstick and grinned at him in the mirror. My brother-in-law had a creepy one-sided bromance for Easton, which we all attempted to ignore but it was impossible to miss.
Easton made a face and switched strategies. “What if we hit Tampa first, give my mom Christmas Eve and your parents’ Christmas Day?”
I rubbed my lips together and eyed him. “Sounds great.”
“But then we’ll need to do Thanksgiving at my mom’s.”
I groaned. “Have I told you lately how much I hate the holidays?”
“No, but it’s early in the year.” He scraped a razor over the line of his jaw and a swell of affection rose in my chest. I remember the first time I ever saw him shaving, his cheeks covered in white foam, his face close to the mirror. It had felt like such a personal glimpse at him and I remember dreaming of a day when I would be married to him and get to see that view every morning for the rest of my life.
I moved behind him and slid my arms around his chest, hugging his back. He straightened and I felt his chest muscles move as he lifted the razor and dabbed it along his neck. “What are you thinking?” he asked, his voice muffled from the task.
“I’m thinking about how much I love you, and how much I appreciate you, giving me feedback and advice while still supporting whatever decision I make. And… I’m thinking that’s rare and that I’m extremely lucky.”
“Decisions like holiday plans with our families?”
“I was thinking more about my listing, but sure. I’ll give you credit for holiday plans also.”
He smiled at me. “Elle, you’re one of the smartest women I know. It’s me who’s the lucky bastard.”
“I don’t know.” I ran my hands down the front of his abs, then worked them underneath the waist of his dress pants. “There are a few other things I’m grateful for.”
“Easy.” He glanced at the battery-operated clock we kept on the counter. “Don’t start something you don’t have time to finish.”
I raised on my toes and gently nipped the back of his neck. “We could be late.”
He rinsed the razor under the water and left it by the sink. Grabbing the hand towel off the ring, he challenged my gaze in the mirror. “How late?”
I undid the tie of my robe in response.
Turning, he removed his shirt from the hanger and peered down at me with an amused look. “Grab my tie.”
“Please grab my tie,” I amended.
He worked his arms through the sleeves and buttoned up the front, a cocky challenge in his eyes. “Get my tie or I’ll make you do it on your knees.”
I got his damn tie, wrapping the black silk fabric around my fist. Glancing back to find him waiting beside the sink, a dark and amused look on his face, I dropped to my knees just for the hell of it, but crawled in the opposite direction, from the closet to the bed, my back arched, hips swinging as I took my time.
I heard his steps sound across the bathroom tile, then the wood floors. Just before I reached the bed, his hand closed around my ankle and pulled.
“Stay,” he ordered. “And bite down on that tie, because you’re about to start screaming.”
* * *
I lowered the sun visor and adjusted my black veil, the mesh net looking deadly with the smoky eye I had applied. “This thing is going to drive me crazy.”
“Just take it off until we get there.” His hand found my knee and closed on it, his thumb rubbing along the top of it. “And do me a favor, don’t dress like this at my funeral. Every guy there will be too busy staring at you to properly rave about my contributions to society.”
I smiled, my hand covering his as I closed the visor and settled back in the seat. We’d finally gotten the Range Rover’s air conditioner fixed, our first big purchase after getting Nicole’s commission check. It’d cost eleven hundred dollars, but was worth every penny. I tilted the vent toward me and let out a happy sigh.
“I—uh, got an email from that website.” Easton pressed his foot on the gas, speeding through a yellow light.
“You know.” His hand tightened a little on my knee, then released. “The one from the club. The one by the airport.”