“If you’re tired, go ahead and sleep. I’ll wake you when we get to Denver.”

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“Are we stopping at the condo before the airport?”

“No.”

Keely sighed. “Damn. There goes my plan to carry you over the threshold and ravish you in your former bachelor pad.”

“There will be plenty of time for ravishment in Tahiti.” He kissed the back of her hand again. “Get some rest.”

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“How am I supposed to change your mind about doing the nasty with me as soon as possible if I’m snoring?” She dropped his hand and turned in her seat to run her fingers through his hair. “So let’s talk about all the places I’m gonna try and seduce you before our toes hit the sand.”

Jack said, “Not a good idea,” even as his cock pressed against his zipper, arguing it was the greatest idea in the history of the world.

This was going to be a long drive.

Six hours later Jack was this goddamn close to saying fuck it, pulling Keely into the bathroom in the first class section of the airplane and fucking her until she couldn’t walk.

Within ten minutes of passing through security at the Denver airport, she’d suggested they test out the private rooms in the VIP lounge.

He’d declined.

Then she’d suggested they hook up in one of the family-friendly bathrooms in preparation for joining the mile-high club on the flight to LA.

He’d declined.

It appeared she’d given up seducing him during the flight to LA, until they reached LAX and she’d started in again.

Within ten minutes of reaching their gate, she’d begun whispering her fantasies, which seemed to include a lot of lube and different kinds of rope.

But by the time they’d settled in for the final flight to the island, Keely’s eyes were drooping. Her raunchy sexual suggestions had tapered off, focusing on soft pillows and cool sheets rather than vibrating marital aids and zero inhibitions.

As soon as they were airborne, she’d curled her body into his and had fallen fast asleep.

And in that moment, when it was just the two of them, snuggled together forty thousand feet in the air, Jack finally felt like they were married. That she belonged to him and he to her.

The vows and the ceremony and the exchange of rings and the reception had been great and all…yet, he’d never understood before that the wedding had been for their family and friends—public proof of their commitment to each other.

So in Jack’s mind, the honeymoon was the place to offer his private commitment to Keely. To look her in the eye, with no interruptions and no distractions, and let her know that he planned on loving her every day for the rest of his life.

That’s why he’d been so adamant about them waiting to make love—because they’d never get another first time as husband and wife and he wanted it to be meaningful. Special. Maybe even magical.

You’re such a girl, GQ.

But now he was worried. Had he built up the union of bodies, spirits and lives to the point it’d be a big let down for them both?

Probably. He was prone to analyze stuff to death. Nothing he could do about it now—he’d begun to regret taking such a rigid stance. He’d make it up to her. Jack rested his chin on the top of Keely’s head, losing himself in the sweet lilac scent of her hair and drifted off.

They were both groggy when the plane finally landed.

The heat and the confusion about transportation made them both cranky. Rather than snipe at each other, they stayed quiet, lost in their own thoughts.

As soon as they reached the patio of the private villa, Jack pulled her into his arms and whispered,

“We’re here. You know what that means, don’t you?” He expected she’d laugh the sultry sound that always made him hard, and drag him inside with a cheeky, Let the rolling around nekkid begin. He didn’t expect her to disentangle from his arms and step back. Way back.

“That means we’re at the beach, Einstein.”

Jack squinted at her. Dammit. Sarcastic, lashing out Keely stood in front of him, which meant he’d somehow hurt her feelings.

Gee, ya think? You totally fucked yourself with your sexy wife, my friend, and not in a good way.

He had to figure out what to do, and fast. Charming his way back into her good graces, warred with his male instinct to just fuck his way back into her good graces. Maybe a combination of both would work?

He grinned, stepped forward and took her hand, kissing the knuckle above her wedding ring. “I know it’s been a long day. But if you can give me ten minutes—”

Once again she retreated. “Take as long as you want. In fact, take all night. There’s no hurry, right?

We’ve got two weeks.”

“But I thought…”

“What? That I would just strip right here, right now, and wait for you to take me by the hand so you could make sweet, sweet love to me on a bed of fucking rose petals? Wrong, bucko. I wouldn’t have sex with you right now if you begged me.”

His mouth dropped open. “What the hell?”

“In fact, I feel a headache coming on. A bad one.”

“Keely—”

“Or maybe I have to wash my hair.” She started humming “Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair”

from South Pacific.

Sometimes she was such a pain in the ass. “I swear to God if this—”

“Or maybe I’m just too damn tired. It’ll probably take me a couple of days to catch up on my sleep, bein’s I’m jetlagged and all. Days, husband, in which you can do anything you want…with the exception of one thing.”

Oh no, she wouldn’t.

Oh yes, she would. With absolute glee.

She smirked. “I hear the fishing is good this time of year.”

Do not yell at her on your wedding day.

Jack was trying to keep his cool, when he remembered something. He casually reached into his pants pocket, pulled out the white garter and waved it at her.

Keely looked at it, then at him, and laughed. Laughed. She said, “Nice try,” and sauntered off toward the beach.

There was some serious groveling in his immediate future. Now he really had to set the stage, and prove to her…what?

Hell if he knew. But he’d gone this far; he couldn’t back down or chicken out now.

Jack dragged the two hundred suitcases into the main living area. He barely gave the space a second glance as he booked it to the massive master bedroom to make sure his specific requests had been filled.

Bouquets of fragrant flowers.

Check.

Dozens of candles.

Check.

Four bottles of champagne.

Check.

Chocolate and raspberry sauce.

Check.

Silken scarves.

Check.

Batteries.

Check.

He stared at the set-up until frustration set in. He was a goddamn engineer, for fuck’s sake. He sucked at this stuff. But this was the exact romantic scenario he’d envisioned and it’d been perfectly executed. So why did it look…wrong?

Because Keely isn’t here. Why in the hell did you think she would want this anyway?

When had he stopped taking into account what she wanted?

Jesus. He was a fucking moron.

He swallowed his pride and tracked her down. And for a minute, he just stopped and stared at the woman he’d married.

What a magnificent picture she was, standing barefoot at the edge of the ocean, wind blowing through her glossy dark hair as the last rays of sunlight danced across her skin, bathing her in a golden glow.

Luckily she didn’t jerk away when he touched her. She murmured, “Beautiful, isn’t it?”

“Stunning. And the scenery ain’t bad either.”

She leaned into his chest and sighed.

They remained locked together, waves lapping at their bare feet, gazing across the horizon until the sun disappeared and darkness surrounded them.

Finally she turned and gazed at him with those sapphire eyes that seemed to have a direct conduit to his soul.

All Jack’s thoughts, fears, plans, and words of devotion vanished. So he said the first thing that popped into his head. “Keely. I love you.”

“I know you do.”

He supposed he deserved that. “I don’t want to fuck this up.”

“I know that too.”

“Maybe you think it’s lame that I wanted to wait to make love to you in such a…traditional way, when we’ve already had sex in every conceivable position and in some pretty inconceivable locations. I thought I’d try to be…”

“What? High-handed? Showing me who’s boss in our marriage from the get-go?”

“No. I wanted to give you romance.” He tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. “You deserve that on your wedding night.”

She drilled him in the chest with her finger. “No, Jack-ass, I deserve a say in what happens on our wedding night. You don’t get to make a decision and just expect me to fall in line with it.”

“I agree. I’m sorry.”

His capitulation seemed to surprise her and her smartass comment, “You were fully aware I’m not a shrinking violet—” ended abruptly. She said, “Oh. Well. Okay.”

“So am I forgiven for being a jackass?”

“Maybe. But you have to make it up to me.”

“Anything you want. Name it.”

“Happily for you, GQ, I’m all in for making love to my husband, in a big, soft bed, with the sounds of the surf pounding in the background and no interruptions.” She poked him in the chest again. “You dodged a bullet this time. Next time I won’t be so accommodating.”

“So noted.”

Keely stared at him thoughtfully again.

“What?”

“Did you really think I’d love you more if you gave me silk sheets, flowers and candlelight?”

He honestly didn’t know what to say.

“Jack. You already gave me your heart. That’s all I ever wanted. That’s all I need.”

Might make him a pussy, but he felt tears spring to his eyes. He could barely choke out, “I can’t live without you.”

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