Be Mine Epilogue — Part 1
‘We need a break.’
Aura read his words again on her phone screen.
They stared back at her. So plain. So to the point. So Nathan.
She scrolled down to the messages she’d shot off afterwards.
‘What do you mean?’
‘A break from what?’
He’d gone. Switched off his phone and gone.
Dropping her mobile phone on the hotel bed, she pulled up the side zip of her blush-red dress. The soft cloth clung to her slim curves and ended just above her knees. She adjusted the shoulder straps. Every dress she created for herself, she really created for Nathan’s eyes first. She loved seeing his silver-grey eyes light up with a sexy gleam and his lips quirk into an appreciative smile as he made her twirl for him. And then later when he stripped the dress off her…
Breath catching at the memory, she smoothed her hands down the red fabric wrapping her hips. Tonight should have been special. She always wore red tonight, ever since the first Valentine’s Night she’d shared with Nathan four years ago. But tonight he wasn’t here to see her in her sexy creation.
He should have been here.
The pain of missing him squeezed her chest.
Tonight was such an important night for her. He’d even rearranged his work schedule to be by her side. But then they’d had that stupid argument yesterday, and…
Aura curled her nails into her palm.
She shouldn’t have told him she didn’t need him.
But she hadn’t meant it! He should know she hadn’t meant it!
Cold night air blew in through the open balcony doors and stirred the fine hairs on her bare arms. She went to close the doors but stopped at the sight outside. The pink dusk had darkened to deep purple, and Milan city centre lay below her like a carpet of golden lights. The arched doorways of the bars and restaurants glowed their welcome to evening revellers. And heart-shaped red lights hung above the roads. Italy’s city of fashion was ready to celebrate Valentine’s Night in style.
She glanced into the distance where past the red rooftops the Duomo’s carved spires rose into the night sky. Among the glass skyscrapers, Milan’s ancient cathedral stood like a proud king watching over his beloved city.
It was strange. In such a beautiful city she should have felt more. The noise of traffic and people reached her even this high up on the hotel balcony, but she still stood alone in a bubble of emptiness. Every time she’d come to Milan before, Nathan had been with her. Now tonight, it was just her.
Aura closed the balcony doors and frowned down at the ornate gold handles. She couldn’t spend the entire night missing Nathan. He’d chosen not to be here. And she had a function to attend. She had to get on with it, had to be professional.
And going to the dressing table, she picked up her lipstick and applied the last touch of makeup.
Her face-framing black curls shone in the suite’s white light, and a light dusting of gold powder had brought out the bright green of her eyes.
There would be photographers at the function tonight. But in this dress, and looking like this, she was ready for anything. All she was missing were her shoes.
She looked around for the matching red heels she’d chosen for tonight and spotted them beneath an empty side table. Loneliness wrenched her guts again, and she retrieved her shoes, all the while avoiding looking at the bare tabletop.
Normally she would have had a vase overflowing with red roses on top of it. Nathan had never missed his Valentine’s Day tradition of getting her the biggest bunch of red roses he could find. But this year there were no roses and no Nathan.
With an angry press of her lips, she took the shoes back to the bed and sat down to slip them on. Was it really her fault she had to go to New York tonight? And then for Nathan to go silent on her…
She picked up her phone again. One more try. He couldn’t stay silent all night, could he?
‘Nathan talk to me.’
For God’s sake! He could be so damn stubborn. And she glared at the phone trying to somehow channel all her anger and frustration through it to him.
He’d returned home last night to find her packing. But if she’d known then how things would descend into a full-scale war between them, she’d have kept her mouth shut.
She’d been by their bed, folding the red dress into her travel case when he’d snuck up from behind and caught her around the waist.
“What’s all this?” His breath teased her curls.
Aura gasped and swivelled in his embrace. “God, Nathan! You scared me.”
His silver eyes twinkled. “Were you expecting someone else? Though it better not be another guy, because then I’d have to hunt him down when I’d rather spend the night in my wife’s arms.”
“No other guy, Mr Jealous.” She raised her hand and lovingly stroked the strong angle of his cheek and the rough stubble of his jaw. A tired sheen covered his usually sharp eyes. It was rare that he worked until ten in the night like today. “Long day at work?” she asked.
He shrugged. “The usual.” And tightening his arms around her, he pulled her to him. “Had to debate with a couple of investors though, and they were tough bastards to get rid off.” He dipped his head and brushed his lips over hers. “I thought I’d never get home to you.” And he captured her mouth in a hungry kiss.
Aura wrapped her arms around his neck and returned his kiss with fiery passion. She pressed into his solid warmth, breathed in his beloved scent of musk and sandalwood, and lost herself.
With a low groan, Nathan broke the kiss. “Baby, you’ll have to give me much more than that,” he murmured against her lips. And sweeping her off her feet, he deposited her on the bed beside her half-packed case.
“Nathan!” she gasped. “Let me finish packing first, or I’ll never be done.”
He frowned at her case. “You’re spending one day in Milan tomorrow. Why the hell do you need so many clothes?” And straightening, he shucked off his grey suit jacket and started unbuttoning his blue shirt.
Aura’s breath hitched with anticipation. “Well…” she said, her gaze lingering on the dips and planes of his muscular chest and stomach being revealed. “Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day…” Even after four years of marriage, he still made her heart flutter like a mad thing. And right now, after being without him for a whole week, all she could do was devour with wide eyes every hot muscled inch of his broad-shouldered six-foot-plus body.
He came back to the bed wearing just his trousers and a sexy smile, and crowded her back against the pillows.
Her blue silk baby-doll and untied robe rode up her thighs leaving her lace panties open to his sight.
He stroked up her bare legs. “Tomorrow may be Valentine’s…” he murmured, his gaze hot on her skin. “But you only need one dress. You won’t be wearing anything after your awards ceremony.” And he feathered a kiss on her lips.
His warm hand on her thigh sent sparks shivering across her skin. Aura’s eyes fluttered shut, and she braced her hands on his shoulders. He moved closer, his muscles bunching beneath her touch. And his searching fingers skimmed the curve of her thigh and teased the lace edge of her panties.
Her eyes snapped open. “Nathan…” His name escaped her on a small moan.
“What, baby?” His breath fanned her trembling lips. “This is just a trailer for tomorrow.” And he dipped his fingers beneath the edge of her panties and brushed her clit.
Aura gasped and shuddered beneath him.
“You’ll be too busy for clothes tomorrow,” he said with a smirk as he teased her sensitive nub.
“But… but it’s not just Milan,” she protested faintly. “I have to fly to New York straight after.”
“New York?” He pulled back with a frown. “You’re going to New York?”
Passion evaporated in a blink.
To be continued tomorrow…
Roses and Chocolate
Roses or Chocolates?
Which would you choose?
Tough question, right? I mean, a girl should get both. I understand that, and I bet women around the world understand that too. But sometimes it’s hard to communicate that idea to your other half.
Early in our marriage that was the dilemma my hubby placed me in. I suppose I should have been pleasantly surprised he even gave me that choice. Usually he will not—and I mean WILL NOT!!!—spend money on anything he doesn’t see as a live-or-starve necessity (I have to sneak around him sometimes if I want to impulse buy those can’t-say-no shiny baubles, lol). To be fair though, we were on the world’s strictest household budget at the time, so I can’t blame him. Things have eased a little since then, um… maybe by a centimetre 😀
But anyway, I’m a practical gal (or rather, I’m all about the immediate gratification, and the sweeter the better) so I naturally plumped for the chocolate. So there I was, hanging around on Valentine’s evening, just me and my dreams of the finest Belgian chocolates, and hubby comes home and presents me with… the finest packet of Jaffa Cakes.
I love Jaffa cakes, but still. This was Valentine’s Day!
So after many more years of marriage, what do you think I now get for Valentines?
Well, you can bet it’s something darn right useful (or so I’ve been told). Which means I’m now the proud owner of a hand-held toastie maker, several cheese graters, and non-stick pans, and oh yes, a set of crumpet rings. Interesting that it all has something to do with food. Hmm…
And what does he get from me, you ask?
That’s all he’s ever wanted. I’m sure there’s a lesson in there for me somewhere. I’ll figure it out eventually, right after I finish my Jaffa Cakes 🙂
And if you’d like to make your own Jaffa Cakes, check out this awesome recipe by The Spruce Eats
Photo credit: The Spruce Eats