If she couldn’t have this perfect honeymoon that Darrin had planned for her, and she really wanted to stay, then she would rather just go home to her comfortable bed, stash of Hershey Kisses and sleeping in the next week only to periodically leave the bed to order pizza and Chinese food and tell herself that it was just as good as the Ritz Carlton. That was the plan, but the man standing behind her apparently had different plans.
“That’s actually a good idea,” he said, surprising her.
“Wait…what?” Jason asked, temporarily forgetting the fact that he was handcuffed to the frame of the pullout couch to throw them a questioning look as though he didn’t quite believe Darrin.
“I said,” Darrin started to explain only to pause as he grabbed his bag, “that we’re going home.”
“Why?” Trevor asked with a suspicious glint in his eyes as he stopped trying to free himself from the handcuffs keeping him locked to the bedframe to share a telling look with Jason.
“Because,” Darrin said, pausing long enough to pull some clothes on, “that’s the last place that anyone is going to look for us. So, I figure we have a good week free of assholes so that we can enjoy some peace and quiet.”
“If that’s true then you have no reason to keep us here,” Jason said, pointedly yanking on his cuffed hand.
Darrin shrugged as he attached his holstered gun to his ankle. “Except that it would bring me such joy to know that you’re stuck here.”
“Oh, but don’t worry,” Darrin said, grabbing their bags and gesturing towards the door, “I made sure to switch the room over to your credit card.”
“You mother fu-”
Before Jason could finish that lovely sentiment, Darrin had her in the hallway and was shutting the door behind them with a satisfied sigh while she was trying to tell herself that this was really what she wanted. A nice relaxing week at home was better than nothing.
It was fine.
“Are we taking the train home or a bus?” Marybeth asked with a forced little smile as she stood next to him, waiting for the elevator and pretending like she didn’t care if they had to go home and call an end to their honeymoon.
“Neither,” he said as they stepped into the elevator.
“A rental car?” she absently asked as he reached over and pressed the button for the tenth floor.
“No,” he simply said, shaking his head and wondering if she really knew him at all.
He’d planned the perfect honeymoon and he was damn well going to make sure that she had it. When the elevator stopped at the tenth floor and he gestured for her to step out, she did, but not before throwing him a curious look. He tilted his head to the side and gave her that bad boy smile that he knew she loved so much.
“Did you really think that I’d let my cousins wreck our honeymoon?” he asked as he leaned down and brushed his lips against hers, biting back the groan as his body stirred, demanding that he stop playing all the fucking games and take her before he lost his goddamn mind.
As much as he wanted to shove her up against the nearest wall and fuck her raw, he couldn’t. This was their honeymoon, a once in a lifetime opportunity to show her exactly how much he loved her, how much he appreciated the fact that she’d married him, not that he’d really given her much of a choice, meant the world to him.
To that end, he was going to give her the most romantic week of her life even if it killed him.
“So…,” Marybeth began only to stop when she realized that she really just didn’t know what to say as she stood there in the middle of the king suite that her husband had apparently booked in addition to the room downstairs.
“So...,” Darrin said with that mischievous smile that she loved so much as he reached for her. “Why the two rooms?” he asked, reading her mind.
“Well, I was wondering about that,” she admitted, returning his smile with one of her own as she reached up and wrapped her arms around his shoulders as she leaned into him.
He chuckled as he wrapped his arms around her and leaned down to kiss her. “I’m a Bradford, sweetheart.”
“Meaning…?” she asked, teasing his lips as she ran her fingers through his short hair, enjoying the silky strands as they slipped through her fingers.
“Meaning,” he said, pausing to brush his lips against hers, “that I know exactly how quickly they can fuck everything up. So, I made sure that I was prepared.”
“By renting two suites?” she asked, trying not to frown at the thought of how much that must have cost them.
This was their honeymoon and she shouldn’t be worried about costs, but she couldn’t help it, not with the babies on the way and the fact that she was taking a year off from working fulltime so that she could be a stay-at-home mom. Money was going to be tight for a while. They would be okay, but with three babies on the way, a mortgage and only one income, it was hard not to think about how much this week away was going to cost them.
“Stop worrying,” he whispered against her lips. “This trip isn’t costing us a dime.”
“Because you found a coupon for two free suites at the Ritz?” she asked dryly, nearly whimpering when he gently nipped on her bottom lip for teasing him.
“No, brat,” he said, chuckling as he kissed the tip of her nose.
“Then how exactly did you manage to swing two suites for free?” she asked, continuing to twirl her fingers around his hair.
“The first one, which we will call Decoy Suite A was paid for with Jason’s credit card,” he admitted, taking her by surprise, because she’d honestly thought he’d been kidding about that.
“Why Jason’s?” she asked, trying not to think about how warped the Bradford mind really was, because it was actually kind of terrifying if she thought too long about it.
“Because,” he said, leaning down so that he could press a kiss against the sensitive spot just below her neck, “the bastard went to Harvard so the odds were in his favor that he was going to figure out my plan first. Besides, he’s the most persistent bastard so I covered my bases.”
“And this second suite?” she asked as she tilted her head back and closed her eyes as he continued his sensual assault.
“Is a belated wedding present from your brother,” he said, sounding rather distracted as he continued to kiss her.
That surprised her, not that Jake would do something sweet for her, but that he would be okay with Darrin taking her on this honeymoon since he’d been raised on the same Bradford bullshit stories as she had. While she’d believed them to a certain extent, putting the blame for their seriously fucked up honeymoons on poor planning, bad timing and Bradford stubbornness, she also believed that all those honeymoons from hell happened because they expected the shit to hit the fan.
When you were brought up believing that you would have a fucked up honeymoon if you took it before the year mark was over, it was going to screw with your brains and cause you to make choices that would make those warnings eventually come true. She’d chosen to take this chance with Darrin with a clear head, knowing the family history and exactly what could happen if they made every move in an effort to avoid this supposed curse.
Jake on the other hand…
While he may not be related to the Bradfords or have to worry about this “curse” biting him in the ass one day, he was definitely a believer. Whenever a Bradford bit the big one and finally settled down, Jake was always there, placing bets on just how fucked up the honeymoon would get. He’d made a lot of money over the years, lost a lot as well, but he always found amusement out of watching another Bradford get his ass kicked by the curse.
That is until she married a Bradford and the full implication of what that meant hit h
im. He’d been adamantly opposed to her going on a honeymoon, had threatened to tie her up and keep her locked up in their mother’s basement until the year mark was up. He’d even come over and had a shouting match with Darrin, which had actually terrified her enough to grab the phone and start calling Reese, Darrin’s twin, and father to stop them from killing each other. Before she got the chance to hit “send,” her husband and brother had quieted down and were even chuckling, which shouldn’t have frightened her, but it did.
An hour later, Jake had walked out of Darrin’s office, gave her head a patronizing pet on the head with a grin and left while whistling a jaunty tone. She’d wondered about that, had actually had a few nightmares about it since, but had simply put it out of her mind when the Bradfords decided to talk Darrin out of taking