Part4: Rare and Precious Things

      

The fourth part in the New York Times bestselling series, The Blackstone Affair: A bright beginning for two damaged souls fighting for their hard-won love, and the promise of a new hope to secure their happily ever after.

Fresh from an idyllic honeymoon along the Italian coast, the Blackstones prepare for the birth of their precious baby and the challenges of settling into a new home. But things get complicated when specters from the past reappear to threaten the very foundation of their relationship. Ethan and Brynne will have to fight harder than ever for each other.  Rare and Precious Things is the story of two people who both need the other in order to be complete, but learn just how “rare” their brand of love is when they have to risk everything in order to hold onto it.

 

EXCERPT ~

I can hear the ocean,” she said up against me, her hand on the back of my neck lightly caressing back and forth, the soft floral scent of her driving me crazy.

“Mmm hmm.”  I stopped at what I felt was the perfect place for the unveiling.  “We have arrived at our nuptial destination, Mrs. Blackstone.  I’m going to set you down so you can get the full effect,” I warned, before tilting her down to stand on her own.  I faced her toward the house and covered her eyes carefully with my hands.

“I want to look.  Are we sleeping here?”

“Not sure how much sleeping we’ll be doing…but we will be here tonight.”  I kissed her on the back of the head and took my hands away.  “For you, my beauty.  You can open your eyes now.”

“Stonewell Court,” she said softly as she took in the view of the great house all lit up from entryway to roof.  “I thought this is where we were.  I remember the smell of the sea and the sound of the gravel when we walked here that day.  It’s so beautiful.  I—I can’t believe we get to actually stay here.”  She opened her arms wide.  “Who did this, Ethan?”

She still doesn’t understand.  I brought my hands to her shoulders from behind and kissed the side of her neck, my need to have my lips on her skin ruling me for the moment.  “Hannah mostly,” I murmured.  “She’s been trying to work a miracle for me long-distance.  Thank Christ for virtual meetings and e-signatures on legal documents.”

“What?” she asked, turning to face me with a puzzled look breaking over her beautiful face.  I loved surprising her, and so far this one seemed to be something she was going to be pleased about.  Making Brynne happy made me happy.  End of story.  We’d both done the second and third shifts manning the check-in desk at Heartbreak Hotel in the last months, and anything that could ease some of that suffering, was long overdue.  That’s how I rationalized it at least.

“The house is for us tonight,” I said, bringing a stray curl of her silky hair to tuck behind her ear as I inhaled some more of her intoxicating scent, and allowed myself the acceptance and contentment of knowing we’d really up and done it.  We’d actually managed it.  We’d survived and made it to this point right here, right now.

Married.  Husband and wife.  Baby on the way.  Homeowners of a big fucking house in the country.  Hard to believe all of those things could be written under my name, true, but I was standing here looking at the tangible proof of it.

One thing was for certain.  I wanted it all.  No doubts.  Not a one.

All mine.

Brynne pulled her bottom lip in between her white teeth and bit the side of it.  I had to stifle a groan at the sight of her when she did it.  That luscious mouth…  I needed that mouth on me.  Badly.  As pornographic images rolled through my head for how the next hours would play out, she said softly, “Well, I think your sister has succeeded, and then some.  It takes my breath away, Ethan.  This is the perfect place for us to spend our wedding night…nothing could be more perfect to me.”

“You’re more perfect.”  I took her face in my hands and leaned in, putting my lips on hers, pushing my way in for a sweet taste as we stood in front of the house surrounded by the glow of torches and the summer nighttime sea breeze.  I coaxed her to open up for me, and of course she didI took a good, long, and thorough taste of my girl, staking my claim of possession as I had always been driven to do with her from the very start.  My wife.

So.  Goddamn.  Sexy.

“You like it?” I asked when I could manage to pull my tongue out of her.  It had been far too long since I’d had the pleasure of getting carried away without having to rein it in.  And my balls were the perfect shade of blue to prove it.  She’d been sleeping at her Aunt Marie’s house in preparation for the wedding.  I was left wondering how in the goddamn hell people managed to be celibate and still function normally.  Well, actually I did know.  It sucked massive bollocks and I was barely able to.

“I more than like it, Ethan.  I love it here.”  She turned back around and faced the house again, fitting her luscious curves right into my hips.  Oh, fuck yes!  She was going to feel how rock hard my cock was against her lovely arse beneath the lace of her pretty wedding dress in another minute, too.  I was beyond the ability to curb things by this point.  Two weeks was a fucking long time to go without her…especially when I had grown completely and utterly addicted to her being in my bed.  I didn’t sleep well without her anymore.  It just didn’t work for me now if Brynne was not right beside me in the bed…to breathe in, and wrap myself around.

And if I had one of those motherfucking dreams.

As much as I hated for her to be burdened by my emotional train wreck of fucked-up personal baggage, the vulnerable part of me realized that only her presence beside me would ever do anything for soothing away those cocksuckers.  Brynne was my only comfort, and yet, as I agonized over scaring her with all that horrible shit, I tried my damnedest to prevent the night terrors from happening.  Sometimes I got away with it.  Sometimes I didn’t.  So far I’d managed to avoid another bad one like the night before she was taken by Karl Westman.

Him.  I felt my blood boil at the merest suggestion of him.  That wankstain wouldn’t ever be back to hurt her, or anybody else for that matter, but even the thought of how he’d tried to take her away with him made me physically ill—

“Ethan?  What’s wrong?”

I shoved my thoughts away and shook my head, holding her a little tighter.  “Sorry.  I was—I—nothing’s wrong, baby.”  I nuzzled behind her ear.

“I was telling you how much I love that we get to stay here tonight and you didn’t answer—”

I cut her off before she could delve any further.  My girl was very intuitive with me. She would sense where my head was at and worry.  Brynne knew more about my dark place than anyone else, but at the same time, I couldn’t bring her into it any further than I already had.  I just couldn’t do that to her—not my sweet, innocent girl, now my lovely wife, and the mother of my child.  And certainly not right now, not with our honeymoon before us.  I was going to enjoy our time together.  Or die trying.  Most fucking definitely.