“I’m going to marry you someday, Bronwyn Kirkland Palmer,” he told her with a cocky grin, and she licked her lips dazedly.
“Do you have a timeline on that wedding date, Mr. Palmer?” she asked him sweetly.
“Hey, don’t rush me, lady. We’ve only just started dating. I have big plans for this courtship, you know.”
“Oh? What kind of plans?” she asked, curious, rubbing her body sensuously against his. He smiled gently before cupping her face and tilting her head back for another one of his drugging kisses.
“You’re just going to have to wait and see,” he muttered, his voice alive with promise.
TWO MONTHS LATER
I haven’t been back here since before the accident,” Bryce told Bronwyn as they stepped into their beautiful holiday home in Knysna. They had arrived after dark and so had missed out on the house’s spectacular panoramic views of the gorgeous lagoon and Knysna Heads. Still, the serenity of the place was reflected in the sounds of the quietly chirruping night insects and the susurration of the gentle waves lapping at the shore. Bronwyn was filled with mixed emotions as she stepped into the huge stone foyer. The last time she had been here hadn’t been a happy time for her, and as she glanced around the gorgeously appointed house, all she could see was her former self disconsolately drifting from room to room like a lonely little ghost as hope faded to despair with every passing minute.
The domestic staff had been in before their arrival since the place was freshly cleaned and the refrigerator restocked for their weekend here. He hadn’t told her that this was where he was bringing her, but she had easily recognized the unmistakable Garden Route and had known for hours where they were headed. The drive had become more and more tense with every kilometer that the car ate up, and the last hour had been mostly quiet without Kayla around to break the silence. They had asked Rick and Lisa to take the little girl for this weekend that Bryce had so carefully been planning for weeks.
Bronwyn wandered into the living room and he trailed after her, dropping their bags in the hallway. She made her way to the floor-to-ceiling window that overlooked the tranquil lagoon. Because of the pitch-blackness outside, she could see nothing but her own troubled reflection staring back at her, and she tracked Bryce’s movements as he came up to stand behind her. He placed his hands on her slender shoulders and tugged her back until she was leaning against his chest. She went willingly into his loose embrace, her head tilting back until it rested just below his shoulder. His strong arms folded around her narrow waist, his hands rested against her abdomen, and his lightly stubbled jaw nuzzled into the nook just below her ear. She could feel his gentle, warm breath washing against the sensitive skin of her ear as he exhaled deeply.
“I know this place holds some pretty unhappy memories for you,” he murmured, his lips brushing against her earlobe as he spoke. “I want to replace those memories with sweeter ones.”
She dropped her hands and entwined her fingers with his.
“Will you give me the chance do that for you, Bron?” he asked thickly, and she blinked away the tears before nodding. She watched his reflection in the glass and saw the naked relief on his face at her response.
“Thank you,” he said before sucking her delicate lobe into his mouth. She dragged in a harsh breath at the sensation. His hands moved to the curve of her waist, and he turned her around before she fully understood what his intention was. She had her hands braced against his broad chest and could feel the accelerated beat of his heart as he stared down into her eyes. He had looped his arms around her waist and his hands were now resting just above the curve of her behind.
“It’s been years since I kissed you last,” he observed urgently, his eyes dropping down to her lips and dilating when she sucked her full lower lip into her mouth to moisten it.
“It has been years,” she agreed—even though it had been mere hours. Ever since they had started seeing each other again, they had been getting increasingly hot and heavy with the petting, and while they had gotten close to making love, they had always stopped before the point of no return. Neither of them wanted to muddy the waters with sex before they both felt that their relationship was strong enough to withstand all emotional and physical obstacles. They would not rush into bed until they were both completely ready for it. Somehow, by unspoken mutual agreement, they knew that this weekend would see them consummating their new relationship. Bryce had known it when he had planned the trip, and Bronwyn had known it when she had agreed to go with him.
He groaned and dropped his hungry mouth onto hers and just about ate her alive. Bronwyn met his desperate kiss with feverish concentration, her tongue dueling with his in a battle for supremacy. The kiss eventually gentled, and his hands lifted to cup her face as he tilted her head for easier access to her mouth. He loved holding her face when he kissed her; his thumbs were always restlessly stroking her soft skin, brushing over her cheekbones and tracing the delicate line of her jaw. After a long while, he eased up, his tongue retreated, and his mouth softened as he feathered butterfly kisses on her lips and up over her cheeks and down into her neck.
Their kiss had been mostly silent, punctuated by heavy breathing and the occasional gasp or desperate moan. Now, as he lifted his head to stare into her eyes, he smiled gently down at her.
“I love you,” he whispered, and Bronwyn’s face lit up as she smiled radiantly at him.
“I know you do, Bryce . . . but I never get sick of hearing those words,” she told him.