Authors: Robin Kaye
“You want to do this right here?”
Ben shrugged. “Well, yeah. I’ll sweep it up later. It will be easier here than in the bedroom.”
“Fine, but our whole family is going to be walking by the cabin on their way down. The least you could do is close the blinds.”
“Right.” Ben made quick work of closing every blind, shade, and curtain on the first floor of the cabin. When he ran back, he had taken off the jacket of his tuxedo, the first two snaps of his shirt were undone, and his bow tie hung from his collar. He was so gorgeous he still took her breath away. Earlier, when she saw him waiting for her in the meadow, looking nervous, she felt as if she should pinch herself. She wasn’t sure how she’d gotten so lucky. Then she remembered when she was a kid, the one thing that got her through every disaster was the knowledge that once she finally grew up and was able to lead her own life, she’d be happy. She’d lived through hell and got through all the bad stuff early. The rest of her life would be wonderful. Thank God she’d been right about that.
Ben tipped her face up as if he were reading her mind. “I’ve seen that look before. That’s the same look you had the first time I told you I loved you, and you ran off crying. You’re not going to cry again, are you?”
She took a deep breath and wrapped her arms around his waist, blinking away the tears. “I hope not. It’s embarrassing.”
Gina shook her head and felt the first teardrop fall. Crap. “Nothing. I’m just happy and I love you. Maybe it’s an overflow of emotion.”
“I wish I had known that the first time.”
Gina had to laugh. “Yeah, you and me both.” More birdseed slipped down through her dress, making her wiggle around. It was really annoying.
“Turn around and I’ll help you with the dress.”
She did and Ben began to unbutton the long row of pearls running down her back, and kissed the skin he bared with each button that popped. “Ben, how long is this going to take?”
“It could be a while—they’re really small buttons. Are you in a rush?”
She shivered beneath his lips. “Well, I was just thinking.”
One more button popped through the little loop. “What?”
“It’s not like I’m ever going to need a wedding dress again. I’ve gotten married twice now, I think that’s enough.”
Another button popped open and he licked the skin he uncovered. “I sure hope so.”
She reached back, yanked, and pearl buttons went flying, bouncing as they hit the floor. The dress fell to her feet. She stepped out of it, and turned around. Ben looked as if he just swallowed his tongue. “What?” She looked down at the ice blue bra, panties, and garters she wore. “What do you think? It’s my something blue.” The way he looked at her gave her goose bumps.
“God, you’re beautiful.”
She blew her bangs out of her eyes. “Thanks, but I think I have birdseed in my bra.”
Ben unhooked her bra. Sure enough, birdseed fell out and bounced on the floor. He ran his hands over her whole body, unhooking her garters and rolling down her stockings. His mouth followed his hands as he slid her panties down, tantalizing her, intent on dislodging all the birdseed. She had to hand it to him. He certainly was thorough.
When he’d exhausted her patience and his, he lifted her off her feet. “Let’s go to bed and I’ll make sure you have nothing on you but me until 3:00 tomorrow afternoon.”
Gina wrapped her arms around his neck and was about to ask why 3:00? He stole her thoughts when he kissed her. Before she knew it, he’d carried her to the bedroom and was driving her insane with his mouth and hands, while she did her best to get him out of the rest of his clothes.
They fell into bed together and she slid on top of him, looking down on the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. She’d never felt so loved and complete as she did the moment she slid over him, taking him inside her. He groaned and squeezed his eyes shut, holding her still. She slid her hands up his stomach, his muscles contracted as he blew out a breath and speared her with a look so intense, she felt her orgasm building. When she moved, he went wild, filling her, driving her, and shattering her control. He rolled them both over and did it again until he finally lost the battle and groaned out her name, collapsing on top of her. Ben rolled them both over so she was lying on top of him. She listened to his breathing level out and his heartbeat slow.
She kissed him and smiled when she felt his erection jump within her. “What’s happening at 3:00 tomorrow?”
Ben ran his hands down her back to her butt and pulled her legs forward, sinking deeper inside her. “We need to leave for Boise. We have a family meeting at 9:00 Monday morning, before everyone disperses.”
Gina kissed him, taking her time exploring his mouth, as she teased his sides with her fingers. When he groaned she ended the kiss. “What about?”
“They know?” Her face heated with the intense shame that followed her all her life. She tried to push herself off him, but he held her firm.
“Sweetheart, when you married me, you didn’t think you were just marrying me, did you?” Ben drew her close against him. “Oh no. You got the whole family along with me. Once they got wind of Rafael, they did what they always do. They interfered. I’m sorry. I couldn’t keep them out of it.”
“They knew about Rafael before the wedding? And they didn’t try to stop it?”
“Why would they?” He looked as if he didn’t understand why she asked. She searched his face for any signs of deceit or contempt, but she didn’t see any. He really didn’t care about her past, and for the billionth time since she’d met him, she thanked God she’d taken Ben up on his offer.
“Sam and Trapper have been talking, and Gramps got involved. Dick Sommers is flying in tomorrow and he’s going to update us on what he’s found. Now that you’ve got all of us on your team, we should be able to find Rafael in no time.”
Gina swallowed hard and blinked away tears.
Ben furrowed his brows. “Shit. Sweetheart, I couldn’t keep them out of it, they love you almost as much as I do. And hell, they’ve adopted Sam and Tina too.” He wiped the tear running across her cheek. “Are these happy or sad tears?”
“Happy. Definitely happy. I love you and our whole family.” She did her best to stop crying. She knew she’d look like a raccoon if she didn’t. “Just wait until Kate hears the news.”
Ben kissed her. “What news?”
Ben smiled and pulled her closer. “That’s great.”
Gina slid her hand through the hair on his chest. “I was thinking that we should get busy making our niece or nephew a few cousins. I want our kids to grow up with a big family.”
A slow grin spread across Ben’s face. In the blink of an eye, he tossed Gina on her back. “Then we better get started.”
Writing is a solitary endeavor, but a writer’s life isn’t. I’m lucky to have the love and support of my incredible family. My husband, Stephen, who, after twenty years of marriage, is still the man of my dreams. My children, Tony, Anna, and Isabelle, who, in spite of being teenagers, are my favorite people to hang out with. They make me laugh, amaze me with their intelligence, determination, drive, and generosity, and make me proud every day. My parents, Richard Williams and Ann Feiler, and my stepfather George Feiler who have always encouraged me and continue to do so.
And of course, there are my brilliant critique partners Laura Becraft, Deborah Villeges, Hope Ramsay, and April Line. They shortened my sentences, corrected my grammar, and put commas where they need to be. They listened to me whine when my muse took a vacation, gave me great ideas when I was stuck, and answered that all-important question: Does this suck? They help me plot, love my characters almost as much as I do, and challenge me to be a better writer. They are wonderful friends, talented writers, and the sisters of my heart.
I wrote most of this book in the Carlisle Crossing Starbucks, and I have to thank all my baristas for keeping me in laughter and coffee five days a week while my computer and I camped out in their store. Jess, Ben, Gina, Corey, Josh, Zac, Stephanie, Shannon, Thomas, Trudi, Laura, and Jesse (and no, Ben and Gina were not the inspiration for my hero and heroine). They were always there for me when I searched for the right word or fell asleep at my computer. I don’t think I could have written this book without them. I also need to thank a few of the customers who have become friends—Alan Monahan who is hands down the funniest guy I know, Josh “Casino” Rice, Dana Gossert, and my buddy, Mark Rummel, for giving me an excuse not to write.
I want to thank everyone at Humpin’ Hannah’s, the co-owners Todd, Dick, and Darcy, and their staff for having the very best bar in all of Boise, Idaho, and letting me play with it in my book. All the characters in this book are figments of my imagination; so don’t expect to find Karma behind the bar. But if you are anywhere in the vicinity of Boise, be sure to stop by Humpin’ Hannah’s on Main Street and tell them Robin sent you!
As always, I have to thank my wonderful agent Kevan Lyon for all she does and my team at Sourcebooks, my editor Deb Werksman, and my publicist Danielle Jackson.
was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge next door to her Sicilian grandparents. Living with an extended family that’s a cross between
minus the desert isle and illegal activities, explains both her comedic timing and the cast of quirky characters in her books.
She’s lived in half a dozen states, from Idaho to Florida, but the romance of Brooklyn has never left her heart. She currently resides in Maryland with her husband, three children, two dogs, and a three-legged cat with attitude.
Robin would love to hear from you. Visit her website at www.robinkayewrites.com or email her at [email protected]