“How much?” Mrs. Collins asks. She doesn’t look good—pale with big eyebags. I wonder if she’s on drugs or just stressed about her financial debt. From my investigative reports, her last credit card was recently maxed out and she got turned down trying to buy something at Barney’s in the city. From all accounts, she staged a big scene and had to be dragged out by the police. It wasn’t pretty. I didn’t tell Amie this. It would only make her feel bad.
“It’s got to be substantial if Greyson here thinks he can buy our cooperation,” Marks replies.
I don’t even have to be here.
“What do you want for it?” Mrs. Collins turns to me. I try hard to suppress a sigh. It seems as though Amie is going to be hurt again. I want to go over to the corner of the room and cover up the camera feed so my girl doesn’t have to see her mom choosing money over her. The whole point of this trip was to see if Mrs. Collins was redeemable. Would she be willing to go to the wedding, cause no problems for the sake and love of her daughter or is money the only important thing in her life?
No one cares about Marks—not even Amie. She views him as a forgettable and regrettable part of her past. It’s her mom she can’t let go of. Marks was brought here so that Mrs. Collins could make a choice—really atone for her past or be forever cast out. I think they should both be heaved outside with the trash, but I’m willing to work for the result that Amie wants.
“Amie and I are getting married next month. She’d like you to be there, but she’s also still hurt by what happened. You’ve never apologized for it and maybe you haven’t because it’s so damned embarrassing. This is your chance to redeem yourself. In the briefcase is a check that will pay off all your debts, only it’s made out to you and Marks. If you take it, it means turning your back on your family.”
“And if I don’t take it?”
“Marks will continue to suffer but all is forgiven over here.” I open my arms wide.
She hesitates. She fucking hesitates. She looks to Marks and licks her lips, clearly still wanting a piece of him. Marks smiles and thinks he’s got this in the bag. I drop my arms to the side and look at the camera in the corner that no one else sees. I’m sorry, babe.
Amie opens the door and walks in. There isn’t any disappointment on her face but rather resignation. She gives me a soft smile and comes to stand by my side.
“There’s nothing in the briefcase, Mom. It was a test. I wanted to see if you could be saved—from your own greed, your own selfishness. I wanted to know if I was wrong in keeping you off the guest list for the wedding. Thank you for making my decision easier.”
“What are you saying? I haven’t made up my mind,” Mrs. Collins screeches.
“You hesitated, Mom. After all this time and all your apologies, when given the choice, you hesitated. Ultimately, that was your decision. Money and Marks is more important than your family. Please lose my number. Never call me again. I don’t want to hear from you.” Amie takes my hand. “Come on, Grey. I want to get home. We’ve got a wedding to carry out in a month and I want to doublecheck on the room that the countess is staying in.”
“Did you say countess?” Mrs. Collins interrupts.
Amie turns, a petty smile on her lips. “Yeah, didn’t you hear? Grey’s mom is an Italian countess. Title goes back a long ways. They even have a castle in Italy, don’t you, babe?”
“Yeah. We’re flying the whole wedding party over there for a post-wedding vacation. It’s too bad you can’t come, Mrs. Collins.”
The social-climbing woman’s face grows ashen. “Wh-what do you mean?”
“I mean you’re not invited, Mom. You can read about it in Vogue, though. They’re doing a piece on the wedding.” Amie gives a small wave and drags me out of the room.
Behind us, we can hear Marks yell about the empty briefcase while Mrs. Collins’ wailing is loud enough to reach the lobby.
Amie hurriedly pushes me toward the elevators. “We’re ignoring that and pretending we don’t know them.”
“Who’s pretending?” I say. “They’re strangers to me.”
She laughs and the sound sends a wave of relief through my body. “You really okay?” I ask, tucking her into my side.
“Yeah. I thought I’d be more emotional about it but in the end, this was good closure. She’d been calling me so much that I was feeling really guilty about not wanting her at the wedding. Seeing her actually think about taking the money and running off with that asshole was good for me. Plus, knowing that Marks thought all his troubles were about to be erased and then having that fall through was pure petty pleasure.” She turns her sunny face up to me. “As long as I have you, my heart is full.”
I lift her into my arms. “You have me forever.”
4 years later
“Grey.” I moan my husband's name. I’m about to come. I’m sure he knows that already. He can not only read me but my body’s every reaction. Hell, the man often knows what I’m going to do before I even know. It's why he’s so good at his job. But most of all it is why he is the perfect husband. Just as I know he always will be.
I might be riding his cock, straddling him hidden inside of our cabana, but he is in full control. His hands are locked on my hips as he easily moves my body, jerking me up and down on his cock. My pussy clenches around him as I start to come. In one quick move he flips us. My back hits the beach bed as he thrusts in and out of me. He pulls all the pleasure from my body until I can no longer move. His own release fills me.
I let out a long satisfied sigh as he kisses and sucks my neck. “Bet I knocked you up that time,” he says into my ear. He’s been saying that since we got down here to paradise. I am calling it a vacation while he’s been calling it baby making week. Since I gave the green light that I was ready to start trying for another, my husband has been relentless. So the usual. I can’t remember a time that he wasn’t always trying to be all over me. Now, he makes sure every time he does come it is deep inside of me. I asked him the other day to come in my mouth but he refused and said the only place his cum would go until I am round with his child is in my pussy. I laugh at how determined he is.
I let out another long sigh, knowing he’s likely right. I smile, wondering if this time we’ll have a little girl. I reach my hand up and run my fingers through Grey’s hair that’s a touch longer than normal. For work he is always clean cut and shaven but since we left for vacation he is all natural. It makes him more gruff. I have to admit that I’m enjoying this look. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars for him. He has shown me what true love really is. He still looks at me like I light up his entire world. Sometimes in life you find the greatest things when you are not searching for them. Grey restored my faith in love and my heart is full because of him.
“Shit,” he mumbles. Before I know what’s happening my sundress is over my head. Then I hear our son’s sweet voice.
“Mommy there?” he asks.
“Ahh.” Violet doesn’t answer him. I right my dress to make sure I’m all covered as Grey pulls up his swim trunks.
“All clear,” Grey says before I can tell them myself. He pulls back the shades of the cabana. A few moments later Violet appears with my little man in her arms. Her shadow Sokolov is hot on her tail. My brother-in law stands behind her with their baby girl in his arms. She tries to wiggle from his hold, clapping her hands to show her excitement. That little one loves the beach and it shows all over her chubby little face.
“You said three, right?” Violet cringes. Likely feeling bad she might have interrupted something.
Lost track of time.” Grey again answers for me.
“You do not lose track of time,” Sokolov responds. Both Violet and I fight a laugh. Sokolov is right. Grey doesn’t lose track of shit.
My nephew comes bolting past everyone to jump into my lap. I catch him easily. I pull him close, giving him kisses on his cheek. We come down as often as we can to see them. Just as much as they travel up to see us. It helps that Sokolov Security has slowed down altogether. Not because there isn’t a demand for their protection but because everyone wants to work less and spend as much time as they can with family.
“They’ve been missing you.” Violet says.
Our son Colt reaches his hands out for Grey, who takes him from Violet’s arms. As soon as he’s in Grey’s arms, he immediately wiggles from his hold and throws himself at me as his cousin did only minutes ago.
“You should have let me carry Colt. You are pregnant, my Kotyonok.” Violet is not that far along. She can easily haul her two kids around without breaking a sweat.
“You have your hands full,” she reminds him. Sokolov holds their baby girl close to his chest. He treats her like she’s spun of glass. She’s going to send poor Sokolov into an early grave. She has all boy cousins at this point and they can all be a little rough and tumble. I don’t agree with Sokolov. That baby girl can handle her own and keep these boys in check if she wants to. She’s quickly learning from Violet and me not to put up with any crap from them. Not to mention that she also has two additional aunts in Kayla and Smooth, since they are a part of our family. She knows how to work the boys better than all of us. Yet her daddy is having a hard time letting her get far from him. Keeping up with Violet already keeps Sokolov on high alert. Throwing a daughter into the mix has him at level ten more often than not. It’s both amusing and adorable to watch. The first time that baby girl told the big giant Sokolov No, I almost peed myself with laughter. I wish I had taken a picture of his face.