A Wish Granted

On this 24th of December I find myself continuing a tradition I started six years ago with a little Christmas story from my Blackstone Affair world with a single Brynne Bennett in London doing some Christmas shopping on a blustery, wintry day.  You never know what will happen, or who my characters might meet but you can be sure they will be somewhere along their journey together as a couple at the holidays.   This year I am happy to bring you back to celebrate with some very special newlyweds up in Scotland for their first Christmas as Mr. and Mrs. McManus.  If you don’t remember where we left off with Neil and Elaina you can catch up with a previous Christmas story from 2013 about them here:  A Scottish Christmas.  This year’s Christmas story continues where the previous one left off as if time has been standing still for five years.  I love to do that as a writer.  For me, my characters don’t age and time doesn’t pass for them until I want it to.

I get asked about the follow up to Cherry Girl all the time.  “When is the sequel coming out?”  “Are you going to give us more Neil and Elaina?”  “When is My Captain coming out?”

Well, I am happy to share that you will get it in about a month.  Release date details and preorder links for My Captain will be coming shortly so look for that in an upcoming newsletter.  If you aren’t subscribed you can do that here:  Email Sign-up.

I hope you enjoy where the Captain and his Cherry Girl are headed.

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you and hope for a most blessed New Year in 2019.

xoxo Raine

 

A Wish Granted

24 December~

I kissed him long and hard.  Neil backed up a little, giving me a bit of side-eye for whatever I was up to.  He had such a keen sixth-sense.  He could tell whenever something was stirring around in my head.  He sensed it right now with zero effort.  Me trying to surprise him was going to be a constant challenge for the rest of my life.  But still, I was determined to pull this one off if it killed me.

“Careful now,” he scolded, “Or we won’t get to the rest of the presents and I’ll have to take you upstairs and ravish you again.”

“Of course you would imply that I—your devoted wife—cannot focus on anything other than the prospect of being ravished by you day and night, but I am determined to give it a hearty try.”  I made a fist and rocked my arm like I was march stepping.  Teasing him was my new favorite.  Probably because he loved it as much as I loved doing it.  His threat was pointless because he’d ravish me later either way.  Happy Christmas to me. 

“It’s okay, Cherry, I can wait until the presents are over before ravishing you again.”  He gave me a deceptively sweet kiss that started off gentle but clearly demonstrated his intentions for later on.  His lips…  They worked magic on me as always, holding me captive pressed against his hard chest.  I wasn’t complaining because being held and kissed by my man was exactly what I wanted to be doing as often as possible.  Whatever came later was just an added bonus.

“I was waiting for you to say that, because we both know you can’t keep your hands off me.”

“So true, Cherry,” his fingers dug into my ribs for a tickle, “and that is something which will never change.”

I shrieked.

The puppies protested our rude disruption, yawning widely and blinking up at us from our laps where they’d been sleeping.  “Sorry, little fellow.”  I gave the boy pup a few soft pets on his silvery fur before setting him down on the floor to stretch his legs.  “What are we going to name these two gorgeous beasts, Neil?”

“I was just thinking the same thing.  We need some good strong names because they’re going to become big strong dogs.”  He held the girl puppy up to his face and studied her thoughtfully for a minute.

My puppy had now strolled over to explore around the massive, twinkling Christmas tree and the wrapped gifts beneath it.  Since this was our first Christmas as a married couple, Neil had spared no expense, giving me way more presents than we’d agreed on and even insisting on ordering duck for our Christmas Day dinner.  He was feeling festive for sure.

“Definitely something noble,” Neil said as he set the now squirming girl puppy on the floor to join her brother.  “Great Danes are as noble-looking as they come.”

“Something classic would be fitting…”  I thought about the stories from Greek mythology I’d learned in school and it came to me in a flash: “I’ve got it!  The boy and girl twins of Zeus…Apollo and Artemis.  Those are their names.”

The puppies, now wide awake, had begun to play and chase each other around the tree and through the presents.  Freaking adorable.  I reached for my phone and got a video of Neil playing with them on the floor and being double-teamed with puppy kisses.

Neil grinned up at me and held out his hand.  “Apollo and Artemis it is then.  Cherry, come down here and save me from these excitable beasts, please.”

I put down my phone and joined my husband on the floor, bombarded with puppy kisses every time Neil kissed me.  They became the most excited whenever he tried to get close to me or kiss me.  It was hilarious.  Our two little cock blockers, Apollo and Artemis.

“Ready to open another one, Captain?”  I pointed to our small pile of artfully wrapped boxes and bags.

I zeroed in on the small, plain wrapped box I’d placed on the top of the pile.  The most important gift I could give him.  Ever since I done the test, I’d been waiting anxiously for this moment.  Hardly concerned with all the pomp and extravagance of Christmas, other than that getting to spend it with Neil, all that mattered to me was that I got to see his face when he unwrapped that little box.

“Which one?”

“The small brown paper one sitting on top.”   He picked out the little package, glancing up at me for confirmation.  I nodded, my breath catching in my throat.

This is it.

He tore through the bow and paper a bit roughly.  If he knew what was inside, he probably wouldn’t set about the task like a kid getting through a wrapper to find the sweet.

The very second his eyes laid on it, I knew.  His dark eyes drooped, then widened, then went to mine. “Is this right, Cherry?”

I only smiled.

“But—the doctor,” he protested, “said it’d probably take months, maybe even a year…”

I told both his hands, smiled even wider. “It’s true, Neil.  I’m finally pregnant.  All of your dedicated work paid off.”

The bellow that emerged out of my man was part disbelieving cry, part triumphant roar as he swept me up and swung me round.  “Cherry, we did it.  We did it, my beautiful girl.”

Apollo and Artemis started up with the chasing and barking again.

Holding my face in his big hands, he stared at me.  Those deep brown eyes of his that looked like melted chocolate grew a little glassy as he smiled widely.  “After our wedding, I thought I’d never have another day nearly as happy, but now…”  Another goofy grin.  “Boy was I wrong.”

His hands went to my belly as he stared.  His face darkened.  “Let’s not tell anyone.  I want to keep it just for us right now.”

As sudden as his change had been, I understood.  Nodding, I settled my hands over his. “You don’t want to jinx our good luck.”

Neil’s hands tensed beneath mine. “Almost seems too good to be true.”

I laid my head against the reassuring muscled valley of his chest. “Don’t say that.  We’re entitled to good luck just as much as the next person.  You’ll come with me to the first doctor’s appointment?”  I tilted my head in question and winked, needing to distract him from worrying thoughts.  I knew where his mind might go.  He’d had a lot of disappointments growing up and tragic losses along the way.  It was time for him to accept the good in life and enjoy it…with me.

“Like that’s even something you need to ask.  Nothing could keep me away.”  He laughed and shook his head.  “We’re going to have a baby, Elaina.  I can hardly believe it.”

“We are, Captain.  You’ll be adding ‘Daddy’ to your list of titles and you’re going to be the best daddy ever.”

He kissed me on the lips again, and then bent down to kiss my belly.  “I’m really happy.”

“I can see that, my love, but what are we going to do with all these presents still unwrapped?”

Neil transferred his gaze to the stack of presents and chuckled.

“I may have overdone it a bit this year.  Sorry, baby, I’ve already been blessed with the best gifts ever; you and now our baby.  I don’t need or want anything else.”

“I love you, Captain.”

“I love you, Cherry.”

Scanning them, I realized, with a bit of a guilty thrill, that three quarters of those were from Neil to me. “Thought we agreed to five gifts each.”

He frowned.  “Not my bloody fault.  Every damn time I went shopping for you, a bunch of other items called out to me.”

I gave him a sweet kiss on the cheek, which slid over to his ear.  “Know what present I’d like to unwrap most, more than all of these?” I whispered.

His hips were close enough that I felt his cock twitch into me.  “I think I’d like to find out,” he said with a wolfish grin.  “Wait a sec.”

He hurried over to the pile, returning with a small box of his own.  “We’ll be needing this later when I show my appreciation and love for the mother of my children.”

“Oh we will, will we?”

He gave my bum a squeeze and kissed me again.  “Mark my words, beautiful.”

THE END

Cherry Girl

Cherry Girl

Cover by Marya Heiman, Strong Image Editing http://www.strongimageediting.com/

This might be news to a lot of you because I’ve kept it pretty much under wraps, but I have a new book coming out next month and you’re looking at the cover for it.

Cherry Girl is my Blackstone Affair spin-off novel about a couple of characters you’ve already met in those books.  Neil McManus, Ethan’s number one partner in his business and a fellow British Special Forces officer from their army days, and Elaina Morrison, the receptionist at Blackstone Security International, helping Brynne with wedding plans and talking smutty romance novels with Gaby at dinner parties.  LOL

Neil and Elaina have quite a history together and you’ll get that story in Cherry Girl.  The main portion of the book is set in time about one year before the events that take place in Naked.  Ethan Blackstone is very much in this but it’s not about him.  This is Neil and Elaina’s story and I hope you’ll fall for them and spread a little of that magical Blackstone Love around and send some their way.

Look for Cherry Girl to release by the end of November.  *yeah, I know I’m being vague but it’s the best I can do*

xxoo R

#NeilLovesCherry   @Raine_Miller on Twitter

~***~

I stayed in Neil’s bed for another moment and tried to take everything in.  I was definitely a mess on the outside, but inside where my heart pounded, I was absolutely floating on cloud nine.

He loved me.  Neil really loved me, but damn if I’d allow him to kiss me again before I got clean and comfortable.  I felt utterly gross and hideous and still had trouble believing all that had just happened in the span of a very few hours.

I left his bed and headed into the bathroom.  The shower was already hot and steaming up the small space.  He’d set out his toothbrush and paste for me to use and even a soft black T-shirt with The Jimi Hendrix Experience in white letters across the front.  I knew Neil was a Hendrix fan and I’d even seen him wearing this very shirt on occasion, and yet the fact he’d picked it out for me in particular, touched me.  I reached for it and buried my face in its softness, inhaling deeply.  Neil’s scent has always been heavenly to me and I’d been addicted to it for years.  Hard to describe, but absolutely lush on my sensibilities.  Like fresh air and forest spice and pure water all combined into the perfect blend of male fragrance.  And I’d been restricted from indulging in it for most of my life.

But not anymore.

I shut the bathroom door, stripped out of my bra and knickers, and got clean in my boyfriend’s shower.  I so love the sound of that!

I’m sure I wore a ridiculous grin on my face the whole time I scrubbed.  Once I was finished in the shower and out brushing my teeth with his personal toothbrush, I still kept grinning into the mirror like an idiot, glad the door was shut and Neil couldn’t see how much of a lovesick fool I was being right now.  Pointless indeed.  He would know it the moment I stepped out anyway.  He probably already did know it.

I left the bathroom dressed in his shirt.  It came down on me to mid-thigh and I’d already decided I was keeping the thing.  Yeah, Neil’s beloved Hendrix shirt would forever belong to me.  I had absolutely no qualms about my thievery either.  I didn’t want to have to be without the scent of him once his leave from the army was over.  That meant his shirt wasn’t getting washed anytime soon.  If ever.

My inner ramblings distracted me to the point I wasn’t thinking about what might be waiting for me when I came out.  But the sight that greeted me upon my return to the bedroom in nothing but my clean skin and Neil’s shirt, was so not what I was expecting.  I stopped dead in my tracks and stared, the towel I was using to hand dry my hair slid from my grip and onto the floor with a soft thud.

Neil was waiting in the bed for me.

Holy Hell he was beautiful, sitting up against the headboard, his wide chest bare for my eyes to drink in.  The cuts and angles of his hard muscles and golden skin in contrast to the white sheets nearly made me break down again.  I could see that his nipples were hard and his gaze on me was deep with liquidity.  Mysterious and sensual with a bit of an edge.  I could only imagine what he might be thinking about right now.

My nipples were hard too, and I felt an involuntary shiver roll down my spine.

I’d seen his body before.  I knew what Neil looked like without his shirt on, and I knew very well about the washboard abs, and how they tapered into a V at his hips that made my insides a quivering mess whenever I was lucky enough to get a decent look at him.  Which wasn’t often, unfortunately.

Neil was blessed with an earthly form that screamed ‘sex god’ for a man.  But I’d never been in a position to think of  him in that way.  Those times I’d seen him had been when he was working out with Ian or roughing ’round with boys at football.  This right now was completely different.  Neil was like this for me and me alone.  He was offering himself to me—his body for my eyes to see, for my hands to touch, and for my lips to kiss.

“You dropped your towel,” he said softly, splaying a hand out over the sheet.

“I know.”  I struggled to breathe through the pounding in my chest and began to reach down for the towel.

“Leave it.”

Neil’s voice was harder, different—a command really.  I froze in step, flipping my eyes up so I could see his face and understand what he meant.

His long muscled arms were stretched out.  “Come here, beautiful,” he said softly.  “Don’t think about anything that scares you right now.  It’s just you and me here.”

Neil kept his arms out, his eyes glittering at me in a way I’d never experienced coming from him before, but thrilling and wonderful at the same time.

“Come to me.  My beautiful Cherry Girl…come over here and let me love you.”

I started walking.

~***~

Elaina Morrison ~Cherry Girl