Breaking Up with Barrett: The English Brothers #1 (The Blueberry Lane Series - The English Brothers) (13 page)

BOOK: Breaking Up with Barrett: The English Brothers #1 (The Blueberry Lane Series - The English Brothers)
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They stood in the back of the room, their hands clasped and laced behind Barrett’s back as the pianist launched into a melodic classical piece, and as beautiful as the music was, finally Barrett couldn’t stand it anymore. He knew it was poor form to leave before the concert was over, but who would really care? Who would notice if he and Emily quietly slipped away?

He looked down at her head, at the elegant, intricate crown of braids she’d woven in her blonde hair earlier, and squeezed her hand. She looked up at him, her blue eyes clear and luminous. He gestured to the stairs with a slight nod of his head, and watched as her lips tilted up so slightly, anyone else would have missed it. He stepped backwards, pulling her smoothly with him and they tiptoed across the marble hallway to the stairs—which were lit with a flood of moonlight streaming down from a massive skylight—holding her hand until they’d safely closed and locked the door to their room.

***

Emily stood against their bedroom door, her chest heaving lightly under the silk camisole and light blue tweed jacket she’d been wearing the first night he ever kissed her. Barrett stood facing her from several feet away, his chest mirroring hers, moving up and down rapidly behind the crisp white dress shirt under his tailored dark grey suit. Emily’s mind returned briefly to the image of Barrett’s standing the bathroom doorway this morning inviting her to take a shower with him. She knew what was under that white shirt and her fingers fisted at her sides, longing for that smooth, hot strength beneath her fingers.

“Do you want me to turn on the lights?” he asked, his eyes dark and languid in the dim light filtering in from outside the window.

She shook her head against the door, wetting her lips and watching as his eyes flicked to her mouth and lingered there.

“Are you okay?” he asked softly, rooted in the same spot.

She nodded, her lips tilting up just a little. He was giving her space, giving her a chance to back out if she’d spoken rashly on the lawn this afternoon.

“Are you nervous?”

“No, Barrett.”

“What next?” he asked. His voice was controlled, but she could hear the yearning in it and it spoke to her nerves and told them that he would be gentle and careful with her body and with her heart. “Tell me so I know for sure.”

“You,” she murmured. “You and me. Together.”

He nodded slowly, approaching her, his footfalls muffled by the plush carpet beneath his shoes. When he was within arm’s length, he reached out, putting his hands on her hair, finding the pins on either side of her braids and pulling them out carefully. Two French braids dropped to her shoulders, and he trailed his fingers down them, tugging lightly at the elastic bands at the ends. His fingers worked nimbly to release her long blonde hair from the plaits, his eyes holding hers as he worked. When free, he buried his hands in her unusually wavy hair, threading his fingers to the ends, and spreading it over her shoulders like a mantle.

“I’ve always loved your hair, Emily. It’s like sunshine.”

His eyes searched her face as he slowly feathered his fingers through the strands from root to tip, the tenderness of his touch relaxing her and exciting her at the same time.

“You and me?” he asked.

“Together,” she murmured.

His fingers reached out to unfasten the buttons on her jacket, opening them one by one, without looking down, without releasing her eyes. After the last one, he reached for the lapels and smoothed the jacket over her shoulders, down her arms, letting it drop in a soft heap at her feet.

His fingers played with the delicate cream-colored silk straps of her camisole, the dusting of his fingers on her skin sending shivers down her back. His hands skated down her arms and his fingers tugged lightly at her waist to pull the camisole out of her skirt. She raised her arms, and he lifted it over her head, sucking in a hiss of breath as she stood before him in a strapless white bra and skirt.

“Keep going?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said, her heart beating like crazy as her stomach filled with tingles and heat.

His hands landed softly on the bare skin of her waist, then slid to the back her of skirt, finding the zipper and lowering in with a soft
Zzzz
sound. Emily held his eyes, taking one step away from the door and feeling the skirt sluice down her bare legs before pooling on top of the jacket at her feet.

“Jesus,” he groaned, dropping her eyes to look at her standing against the door in a white lace bra and panty set, and black high heels.

While he was distracted, she moved her trembling fingers to his shoulders, smoothing them forward, then tucking them under his lapels. He shrugged once and his jacket joined hers on the floor.

“More?” she asked.

His eyes widened, and then his lips tilted up in surprise as he nodded.

“More.”

She flattened her palms against his pecs, and he flexed under her fingers, eliciting a small moan from the back of her throat as she slid her fingers to the buttons of his white shirt. He hadn’t worn a tie, or buttoned the top button, and the small V of tan skin exposed at the top of his shirt had distracted her all night. She pushed away from the door, and as she unbuttoned his shirt, her lips touched down on the spot at the base of his throat. She felt his breath hitch and hold as her tongue darted out to mark the heat of his skin.

When she drew back, he shrugged the shirt off his shoulders, his eyes dark and smoky as they held hers.

“You and me?” she asked, her fingers reaching for his belt and threading it back through two loops, then pausing. She didn’t flinch as the hunger in his eyes beseeched her, wanting her, making her hot and wet in readiness for what was about to happen between them.

“Together,” he whispered. His voice was taut and broken, holding on to the last vestiges of his self-control, and it made Emily, a student, a gardener’s daughter, a nobody-special, feel like a siren as a shark surrendered to her.

His belt clunked on the growing pile of clothes at their feet, and she unbuttoned and unzipped his pants, hooking her fingers into the waistband and pushing them over his hips. They caught briefly on the jutting bulge in his boxers before hitting the ground in a whoosh. Emily dropped her eyes to the plaid cotton, to the long, hard muscle straining and throbbing against the thin fabric.

She pulled her bottom lip into her mouth as she stared, then lifted her eyes to Barrett. He reached around his neck and pulled off his undershirt, and before she could fully appreciate the beauty of his sculpted chest, his fingers were on the clasp of her strapless bra. With a soft plucking sound, it unfastened and fell to her feet.

She gulped softly, unable to look away from his eyes which flicked down to her chest, flinching, almost in pain, before looking at her face again. His eyes were lost, devastated, devoted, bewildered as he stepped closer to her—so close that her pebbled nipples grazed the hardness of his chest with every shallow breath she took.

“You are
so beautiful
… it hurts to look at you.”

Her eyes filled with tears as he cupped her face in his hands, his dark, fierce eyes searching hers. Everything that she was, everything she’d always been, belonged to the man holding her so tenderly, and it made her heart swell and throb with love knowing he would be the first man to possess her virgin body, that he would be the person to whom she gave that gift.

“I fell in love with you when I was eight,” he whispered.

“Barrett,” she breathed, sliding her hands up his arms. “It’s always been you.”

“Always,” he murmured, leaning forward to kiss her. “Always, Emily.”

 
 
 
CHAPTER 13

 

Barrett ached to throw her on the bed and have his way with her, but since the moment on the lawn when she offered herself to him, he had promised himself, solemnly, to take it slow with her tonight. He was hard to the point of pain, but he was determined not to rush things between them. Emily stepped out of her shoes and moved toward him so that her breasts were flush and full against his chest.

His tongue swept between her lips, and he explored the wet heat of her mouth. His hands slid down her arms to her hands, and he pulled her toward the bed, stepping out of his pants and walking backward carefully. When they got there, she fell onto her back, looking up at him as he quickly pulled off his socks and shoes. His heart pounded as he covered her body with his, the hardness of his hidden erection throbbing against the softness of her thighs, her tight nipples beading into his chest. Every nerve-ending fired with longing for her as her back arched beneath him, and her lips sought his again.

He kissed her passionately, thoroughly, swallowing a whimper as she plunged her hands into his hair. Sliding his lips down her neck, he pressed them to her chest, slowly moving to her breast, which he plumped in his hand before dropping his mouth to the erect bud of her nipple. His tongue circled the puckered skin before he sucked greedily, her fingernails grazing his scalp as she bucked into his mouth. He dusted his thumb gently over the swollen nipple before kissing a path to her other breast, which he loved and sucked with the same devotion as he had the first.

“God, Barrett.”

She sighed, her response to him making him harder and more impatient for her. The way her hips moved against him, he could tell she was almost ready, but he needed to make sure she was soft and wet before he took her. More than anything, he didn’t want to hurt her, or compromise the way she trusted him. He kissed the warm skin under her breasts, sailed his lips over her belly, then leaned back to kneel between her legs, pulling at her panties. She lifted each knee so that he could pull them off, and then she was bared to him. He placed his hand over the trim triangle of soft curls, pushing a little, wanting her to get used to his touch.

“I want to taste you, Emily.”

“Please. Yes,” she moaned.

He leaned down, gently parting her lips with his fingers, then lowered his head to touch his tongue to the stiff nub of flesh that throbbed for his caress. As he licked and sucked lightly on her sex, her fingers fisted in the sheets by his head, and he chuckled against her sensitive skin, eliciting a gasp as the rumble on his lips vibrated against her core. Gently, he inserted two fingers inside of her, not surprised that she drenched his seeking digits with her wet heat. She arched her back again, and waves of heat flooded his groin making him harder and more swollen than he could ever remember.

He wanted her more than he’d ever wanted anyone, which made her next words the heaven he was hoping for as he gently prepared her for his invasion.

“Barrett,” she gasped. “I’m so close, but I don’t want to… climax without you. I’m ready. Please. I need you.”

“Are you sure, baby?” he asked, withdrawing his fingers from her body and sliding up her body to kiss her gently.

She palmed his cheek, her breath touching his lips in pants. “I’ve always been sure. Please, love.”

His eyes fluttered closed for a second at the word “love,” and when he opened them, her beautiful face was etched with need. He rolled beside her and pulled down his boxers, kicking them off, then opened the bedside table and pulled out a foil packet, ripping it open and rolling the condom onto his rigid erection.

Bracing himself on his elbows, he covered her body with his and held her head between his hands as he kissed her again, positioning himself at the entrance to her sex. He leaned back to watch her eyes, moving as slowly as he could stand, pushing into her a tiny bit, then waiting. Her eyes widened and her fingers flexed on his back as he pushed forward a little bit more, stretching the tight, wet sheath that sucked him forward.

“More, Barrett.”

“God, Emily, I don’t want to hurt you.”

“You won’t,” she said softly, her eyes tender and dilated as she gazed up at him. “You’ve been so gentle, Barrett. So careful. But, I want you. All of you.”

“I love you,” he whispered, letting go, sliding into her to the hilt.

***

The combination of him filling her heart at the same time he filled her body was so unexpected, so mind-blowing, she never felt the pain she’d been told she would feel the first time. All she felt was Barrett—his heart beating a primitive rhythm against hers, his sex moving against the walls of hers, his hot breath against her lips as he finally exhaled. In the whole world, there was only Barrett. He was, simply, all that mattered.

She arched up to meet his strokes, feeling a quickening in her stomach that spread through her veins like warm honey, making her fists clench and her toes curl as her ankles slid up his legs and locked behind his back.

The muscles deep inside her body clenched as hard as her fists and toes, tightening to a fevered pitch and as he kissed her. Her eyes rolled back, and she cried out his name, letting the massive wave of pleasure break completely over her. She gasped and shuddered, her muscles squeezing and pulsing around him in a frenzy. Barrett growled her name loudly, thrusting into her one final time. The muscles of his back tightened like steel under her fingertips, and she felt the exact moment he poured himself into the condom, pulsing rhythmically as she had, falling over the edge of bliss to join her.

His breath was hot against her neck as he panted, still deeply imbedded in her body. Emily threaded her fingers through the damp golden waves around his face, and he seemed to rouse himself, taking a deep shuddering breath before rolling to her side.

“Are you okay?” he asked her, still out of breath, leaning up to rest his head on her chest.

“I’m perfect,” she whispered dreamily, still brushing his hair off his face with slow, gentle strokes.

“Hold that thought,” he said, turning and swinging his legs over the bed to take off the condom and dispose of it before lying back down on his side and pulling her against him, front to front.

Her knees bumped into his and he threaded his legs through hers, resting one arm over her hip, her breasts brushing his chest as they breathed in unison.

He leaned forward and dusted her lips with his, then leaned back to look into her eyes.

“You’re definitely okay?”

“Way better than okay. What about you? I was… okay?”

“Are you kidding? I’m pretty sure half of the Hamptons just heard me. You were amazing, Emily.”

She giggled softly, pressing her forehead to his, nuzzling his nose and sighing contently.

“I’m so happy it was you, Barrett.”

“Me too, baby,” he said, kissing her nose. “Thank you for trusting me.”

They lay quietly side by side until Emily’s heavy eyes started fluttering closed as her body matched its breathing to Barrett’s. She’d never felt so connected to someone, never felt as cherished as she did by Barrett. All she wanted—for the rest of her life—was to fall asleep next to him every night and see his face first thing every morning. She pictured his face as her brain started to segue to sleep and snuggled closer to him, burrowing her head into his neck and sighing.

“Emily,” he whispered near her ear, the rumble of his voice pulling her back from the brink of sleep. “I meant it.”

She pressed her lips to his skin and let them linger there.

“I love you,” he repeated.

“I love you, too,” she whispered.

She felt him gasp quietly, then shudder, and he pulled her tightly against him, as if to let his heart speak to her heart and tell it,
You belong to me, and
I belong to you. Always.

***

As the morning sun streamed through the windows, Barrett looked over at Emily, his girlfriend, the love of his life, the one woman who’d ever been able to break through his stern exterior to touch his heart. The last three months with Emily appearing regularly in his life had also been the best of his life, despite the fact that he believed she was only answering his calls and joining him for dinner to make a little extra money. To discover that she’d always harbored feelings for him—just as intense, just as deep as his—born, one for the other, in the first days of her life and intractable since, made him breathless, overwhelmed, and…
happy
. Really, really happy, such that he’d never known before and would never find again if he lost her. Emily Edwards was it for Barrett. She was the end of the line, the dream come true, his personal forever.

A strand of light hair rested on her cheek, and he gently stroked it away from her face. All he ever wanted—for the rest of his life—was the right to be with her, permission to touch her and take care of her… and to love and be loved by her. Every business deal could go to hell, every expectation he’d ever placed on himself or burden he’d carried on his firstborn shoulders—they could only exist in his life if they co-existed with her. She was the only non-negotiable piece of his life now. And eventually—sooner than later—Barrett would ask her the question to make it official. He grinned. After all, he already had the ring.

He swung his legs over the side of the bed, fishing his boxers from the floor and pulling them on. He didn’t want to wake her up, but the sun was rising and he could use a run. Although he’d technically closed the deal with J.J. Harrison, it still wasn’t sitting right with Barrett. Maybe a run, with fresh air and time for reasoning, would assuage his misgivings, or help him think of an alternative that would sit better.

And if memory served, Felicity was an early riser. Perhaps he could speak with her for a few minutes too, if he caught her getting a cup of coffee. He could apologize for what he said on the lawn and ask for her cooperation in keeping his and Emily’s “engagement” a secret. He hoped it was only a matter of time before it was an actuality anyway.

He pulled on his running shorts and a sweatshirt, tugged on athletic socks and sneakers, and with a last look at Emily, he closed the door quietly behind him.

***

Buzz buzz. Buzz buzz. Buzz buzz.

Her phone was ringing.

Ugh
, she thought, drowsily, reaching for it on the bedside table. She clutched it in her hands for a second, but when she heard the
buzz, buzz
sound again, her phone didn’t vibrate.

It’s Barrett’s
, it occurred to her, and she rolled to his side of the bed, fishing it off his bedside table to turn it off, opening her eyes groggily.

Just as she reached for it, the buzzes subsided, and Emily started drifting back to sleep with a phone in each hand. She let her mind drift to last night, to all she and Barrett had shared physically and emotionally.

That he was in love with her, she was certain, and her heart assured her that she returned his feelings measure for measure. She had always lusted after Barrett, but more than that, they shared a connection from so long ago. Emily never remembered a time when Barrett hadn’t been focal to her life, entrenched in her heart, the first blue eyes that she’d loved. Her dreams swirled and took over, lovely fantasies of Japanese gardens, the fake engagement ring reappearing in Barrett’s hand as he knelt before her asking her to be his wife, and she would say—

Barrett’s phone made two short dinging sounds and vibrated against Emily’s hand.

For heaven’s sake!
Could it be one of his brothers or could something have happened to one of his parents? Her eyes opened again, and she brought his phone closer to her eyes to read the screen:
New text - Giverny Holdings.

Giverny Holdings. Valeria’s voice echoed in her head:
Giverny Holdings. Does that mean anything to you?
Emily’ eyes opened wider and she sat up against the pillow behind her, placing her own phone on the sheet by her thigh and giving her full attention to his. Why would her new landlord, Giverny Holdings, be calling and texting Barrett? How in the world was Barrett even connected to her apartment?

She swiped her finger across the screen, but his phone asked for a passcode. Huh. She tried his birthday. No dice. Then she tried hers, and she ignored the thrill she felt when the screen unlocked. She knew she had no right to look at his private texts, but she couldn’t help it. It was too much of a coincidence to ignore.

She tapped her finger on his text app, and waited as a long list of texts came up. She looked briefly over the names: his brothers, of course, J.J. Harrison and other names she didn’t recognize. But, it was the name on the top of the list that commanded her attention: Giverny Holdings. She tapped on the newest text which read:

 

Barrett, I can’t get this chick, Valeria Campanile, off my back. She keeps calling and threatening to track down the articles of incorporation for the shell company if I don’t give her the name and phone number of the landlord. She’s going to find you if she keeps digging. What do you want me to do? Pls. advise.

 

Emily’s eyes zoned out as Barrett’s phone dropped from her hand onto the sheets pooled in her lap. A lump was forming in her throat and her cheeks were feeling that uncomfortable tingling when she knew something was wrong, but hadn’t quite put all the pieces together.

BOOK: Breaking Up with Barrett: The English Brothers #1 (The Blueberry Lane Series - The English Brothers)
11.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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