Bailey stuck to him like glue at the bridal shower, and he didn’t care in the least. He was grateful, in fact. Spending all that time in the sex shop had gotten him all worked up and he’d been sporting a semi all afternoon. They hadn’t had time to do anything other than a quick change when they got back from their shopping trip, so he was still suffering. It was pure torture and absolute bliss that Bailey kept touching him, leaning her body against his as they made small talk with the other guests, brushing her hand over his arm, his chest, his butt, sneaking little chaste kisses here and there. Coupled with the images he’d had of what he could do with some of those toys they’d looked at and he was lucky to even be having a coherent thought what with all the blood in his head being occupied elsewhere.
He managed to corner her in a secluded part of the garden, crowding her against a garden trellis, pressing his erection into her hip.
“When I get you back to the hotel,” he whispered into her ear, loving the shiver that trembled through her body, “I’m going to turn you over my knee and spank you.”
“Why, Mr. Green,” she replied in a breathless voice, “have I done something to upset you sir?”
The whole Mr. Green thing and the sir and the submissive voice made him grit his teeth against the groan.
“Ms. Sheppard,” he replied, “you have been driving me to distraction all afternoon and seeing your pretty little arse cheeks turn pink is exactly what I need.”
She gripped his shirt as her breath hitched and a violent tremble went through her body. He lowered his lips to hers and kissed her hard, pushing his body into hers, memorising the feel of her soft places against his hard ones.
“Hunter! Are you out here?”
God damn it! Nothing kills an erection faster than your mother calling you.
He pushed away from Bailey and took a breath.
“I’ll be just a sec,” he called to his mother, barely keeping the irritation out of his voice.
Bailey snickered and he looked down at her flushed cheeks and swollen lips and his cock jumped back to attention. He sighed and pressed his forehead against hers.
“I suppose we should go back to the party,” he said.
“You go first,” she replied. “I need to fix the mess you made of me.”
He took in her slightly mussed appearance and lust roared through him. He liked her like that, knowing that he had been the one to muss her up.
“No,” he said, grabbing her hand and pulling her along with him, “we’re leaving, now.”
She laughed again. “We can’t just leave,” she said, tripping after him.
“Watch me,” he said as they stepped into the garden proper where the party was taking place, almost colliding with Nick in the process.
“Shit,” he said taking a step back and eyeing up the two of them. “What the hell have you two been up to?”
Hunter gave him his biggest shit-eating grin and swaggered away, not answering. Nick glared after them and he pulled Bailey closer, maybe letting his hand slip down from her waist to cup her ass. She slapped him lightly on the arm, but it was worth it just to see Nick’s furious face.
“Stop it,” she whispered harshly.
“Can’t,” he replied. “I need to get you out of here and somewhere private so I can have my wicked way with you or I am going to self-combust.”
She rolled her eyes at him, but he could tell she was just as hot for him, the telltale flush in her pale skin was a dead giveaway and he could see her nipples beading under her dress. He kissed the corner of her mouth and whispered in her ear.
“I’ve got a surprise for us.”
“Me too,” she replied and he redoubled his efforts to get them out of there.
But his plan was foiled by his mother.
“Hunter! There you are,” she bussed his cheek and then gave Bailey a tight hug. “Where did you disappear to?”
“I was just showing Bailey the gardens,” he replied smoothly.
“They’re lovely,” Bailey said with a sweet smile for his mother.
“Thank you,” she replied, glowing. His mother loved her gardens and the quickest way to get her side-tracked was to start talking about them.
“Was that a new planting I saw towards the back?” he asked, grabbing for anything in order to distract her from their obviously dishevelled appearance.
“No, just some pruning,” she replied. “Getting ready for the winter cold snap.”
“Winter? Here?” he snorted.
“Oh, stop it,” she said with a grin.
“So, mum, Bailey and I are going to head off—”
“Oh, you can’t go yet,” she said, “they haven’t opened the gifts yet.”
“They’re opening them in front of everybody?” Bailey asked, her eyes wide with panic.
“Of course, dear,” she replied. “The other bridesmaids are just gathering them all together in the gazebo so Nick and Ainsley can do the honours.”
“Ah, excuse me,” Bailey said, extricating herself from Hunter’s arm. “I should go and help them.”
He grinned. Bailey hadn’t expected the gifts to be opened in public and he couldn’t help having a little chuckle at her expense. She probably wouldn’t have been so cavalier about their gift if she’d known.
“Hunter,” his mother said, drawing his attention, “I wanted to talk to you about tonight.”
“What about tonight?” he asked, lifting his eyebrow in question.
“Well.” His mother looked nervous or embarrassed. “I know it’s Nick’s buck’s night,” she said, “and I’m a little concerned that things might get a little out of hand.”
He laughed and shook his head. “It’s a buck’s night,” he said, “of course it’s going to get out of hand.”
“I know,” she said, “but, well, I know Nick and his friends and I’d just feel better if I knew that you were keeping an eye on them, you know, to make sure they don’t do anything stupid.”
“You want me to babysit Nick?” he asked, incredulous.
She nodded and he swore under his breath.
“Okay, fine,” he said with a sigh, shoving his hands into his pockets. “I’ll keep an eye on things.”
Bailey rushed over to the gazebo where the other bridesmaids were stacking the presents. She desperately looked for the distinctive shape of the gift basket she’d put together, hoping to grab it and stash it inside somewhere so they could find it later. She didn’t mind embarrassing Ainsley in the privacy of her own bedroom, but she was not the kind of person to make her feel uncomfortable in public…not without copious amounts of alcohol, anyway.
Ah, there it was! Bailey grabbed the parcel and tugged it towards her, it was a heavy sucker. She pulled it into her arms and turned to walk away with it.
“Hey!” Number One called to her. “Where do you think you’re going with that?”
Bailey grabbed the gift card off the top and tucked it into her hand before turning back to the annoying maid of honour.
“This one doesn’t seem to have a card and, oh, look, there’s a small tear in the wrapping paper,” Bailey said sweetly. “I didn’t think they’d like to open a gift when they didn’t know who it was from.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Number One said. “The person can simply own up to it when they open it.” She grabbed the gift and pulled it out of Bailey’s hands, putting it on the table with the rest of the gifts. “Why don’t you see if you can find the card, it may have just fallen off.”
Bailey sneered at the back of her head and waited for her to walk away from the table. There was no way she could hide the present now, but there was absolutely no way she was going to own up to it being from her and Hunter.
She stepped up to the table and pulled a few other tags off the gifts, mixing them up in her hand. She pulled one out at random and then stuck it on the sex-shop-gift-basket and then randomly stuck the other tags on the other presents. That way it would look like a few of the gifts got their tags mixed up and hers and Hunter’s wouldn’t be so obvious.
“Found it,” she said with a smile when Number One returned.
“Fine,” she groused at Bailey. “Why don’t you go and help the other two hand out the champagne.”
Bailey rolled her eyes and walked off, her heart beating a million miles a minute. She didn’t know why it was the bridesmaids’ job to hand out the champagne when there were perfectly good, paid, waiters to do it, but she dutifully picked up a tray and wove through the crowd. She took the opportunity to down two of the glasses herself, trying to steady her nerves.
“What the hell Bailey,” Nick’s growl in her ear and his firm hand gripping her elbow nearly made her spill the entire tray of glasses.
She steadied the tray and pulled her arm out of Nick’s vice-like grip before turning to glare at him. “What the hell, Nick,” she retorted.
“What the fuck were you and Hunter doing in the garden?”
“That’s none of your business,” she hissed back at him.
“You think you can walk away from us Bae?” he asked his voice softening. He lifted his hand and caressed her cheek. She shook him off and took a step back.
“You walked away from us, Nick,” she said.
“No, Bae,” he replied, “I told you I still wanted you.”
“Oh for fuck’s sake, Nick,” she growled. “You think I still want you after this?” she indicated the party they were standing in the midst of. “You think I want to be your piece of arse on the side?”
“It never bothered you before,” he groused.
“Fuck you, Nick,” she spat, turning on her heel to walk away from him, but he grabbed her again, stepping close and whispering in her ear.
“We’re not done, Bailey.”
“Yes, we are,” she snapped, pulling away from him again with such force that the whole tray of drinks she was carrying went flying, drenching a couple of nearby guests.
Hunter materialised at her side, sliding his arm around her waist protectively and pulling him into her side.
“You okay?” he asked her, but his eyes were on Nick.
“She’s fine,” Nick snapped.
“I didn’t ask you, asshole,” Hunter hissed.
“I’m okay, Hunter,” she said in a small voice.
Hunter and Nick glared at each other for a minute before Nick turned and stormed away. She let out a breath and sagged into Hunter’s side.
“Thanks,” she breathed, her pulse racing and her throat tight. Tears welled, but she refused to let them fall.
He pulled her into his chest and wrapped his arms around her, engulfing her in his warmth and security and assuredness.
“Okay, can I have everyone’s attention,” the best man was saying over the microphone. “It’s time to open the presents.”
“Oh, God,” Bailey groaned into Hunter’s shoulder. “Can we just leave, right now?”
He sniggered, his body rumbling against hers. “No such luck, my love.”
She buried her head into his shoulder for a moment and let the sound of the words ‘my love’ wash over her. Did he really think of her like that? Was it too much to hope that he did?
Slowly she moved out of his arms and they walked towards the gazebo with the rest of the crowd, but Bailey was not looking forward to the revealing of the gifts, even if it didn’t have hers and Hunter’s names on it.
They watched, her nervousness growing, as each gift was opened and the gift giver thanked. So far it had all been the usual boring gift registry stuff that she had turned her nose up at. She now wished she hadn’t been so pedantic about her gift. Hunter squeezed her shoulder in support as their basket was placed in front of the bride and groom to be.
“And this one is from the lovely Dana, Ainsley’s maid of honour and best friend.”
Number One (Dana!) looked at the basket confused as Ainsley unwrapped it. Ainsley gasped, covering her mouth with her hands and turned bright red, Nick’s eyes nearly popped out of his head and the entire crowd went silent as the contents of the basket were revealed. Bailey hid her head in Hunter’s shoulder and she felt the tremors of his chest as he held back a laugh. Her face flamed with embarrassment and then she heard Nick’s loud, surprised laugh.
“Why, Dana,” he said. “I didn’t know you cared.”
The rest of the crowd, well the young ones anyway, laughed while the older ones made indistinct, but definitely disapproving, noises. Dana looked like she wanted to kill someone and Bailey knew who it was going to be.
“We have to get out of here,” she hissed at Hunter, “or Number One is going to skewer me.”
Hunter was barely containing his laughter, but he managed to manoeuvre them out of the party and away from the deadly eyes of the MOH. When they were out of earshot, Hunter stopped and bent at the waist, laughing uproariously. Bailey ran through a gamut of emotions before she too started laughing. The look on Ainsley’s face had been priceless and Nick’s stunned, but delighted expression was gold. Ainsley had no idea what she was in for with Nick, Bailey just hoped she would live through it.
“Ainsley does know what a dog Nick is, doesn’t she?” Hunter asked when they arrived back at their hotel.
Bailey shrugged. “They’ve been dating for a while, so I suppose she’d have to.”
“But you said that they haven’t even slept together yet,” Hunter insisted, not liking the gut feeling he was having. “And if Nick hasn’t been sleeping with Ainsley and he hasn’t been sleeping with you…” He trailed off, hoping Bailey would get it without him having to spell it out.
“Shit,” she said, slumping onto the couch. “You know, I shouldn’t feel bad about this, I shouldn’t care what is going on in Nick’s relationship.”
He sat down beside her and tucked her under his arm. Her head fell to his shoulder and she sighed.
“I think Ainsley’s pretty naïve when it comes to Nick,” Hunter said softly. “She looked kind of petrified by the items in the basket.”
“So?” Bailey whined. “I don’t care.”
Hunter tipped her chin up so he could look into her eyes and then kissed her on the mouth, taking his time to slide his lips softly over hers.
“Yes you do,” he whispered.
“But she’s a bitch,” Bailey replied. “And…”
He felt like a bucket of cold water was just dumped over his head. He knew what she was going to say and his gut clenched as he sat back from her. She was still pissed that Ainsley had supposedly stolen Nick away from her. And that fucking hurt.
He got to his feet and stalked into the bedroom. She wasn’t over Nick. And if she wasn’t over Nick then what the hell was going on between them? Was it all just a game to her? Was she just trying to make Nick jealous so he would take her back?
Fucking hell. He’d thought she wanted him, but she didn’t.
“Hunter,” she said softly from the door.
“What?” he growled, not turning to look at her as he continued to unbutton his shirt.
She walked into the room and laid her head against his back. He stilled, his body responding to her nearness despite his heart feeling abused. He exhaled harshly, but didn’t speak.
“It’s not what you think,” she said softly, her arms going around his waist, her hands coming to rest underneath his unbuttoned shirt and on his bare chest.
“Explain it to me then,” he said, his voice soft but rough, “because it seems to me that you’re pissed at her for stealing the great and mighty Nick away from you.” He turned, put his hands on her shoulders and held her away from him. “And I told you I don’t share.”
She looked up at him with her big doe eyes and it took everything he had in him not to pull her in to his body and remove every memory of Nick from her brain with his lips, teeth and tongue.
“I don’t care about that,” she said, her eyes pleading with him. “But she’s been a right royal cow to me since I arrived and I am just enough of a spiteful bitch in return to not want to warn her about what a stupid asshole Nick is.”
She said it with such venom that he was tempted to believe her, but he held himself in check. He couldn’t help wondering how much of that anger was because Nick had hurt her and how much of it was because of Ainsley. Maybe it was too much to ask of her to be completely over Nick, maybe he had jumped the gun.
She took a step towards him and he let her come. She ran her hands up his chest and over his shoulders, pushing his shirt off. He let it drop to the floor. She laid her head on his chest and he was useless to resist his hand moving up to thread through her rose gold tresses.
“I’m over him, Hunter,” she said softly. “I promise you, I don’t want Nick.” She tipped her head up to him. “I want you.”
He crashed his lips down onto hers, wanting to brand her, wanting to mark her as his. She returned his fervour with her own. This wasn’t gentle, tender loving, this was passion and heat and hunger. He gripped her hair, tugging it so her head tilted, giving him the access he wanted. She bit his lip in response and then soothed it with her tongue and he groaned with need.
Her hands found his buckle and she undid it quickly, efficiently. He tugged at the bodice of her dress, exposing a lace clad breast. He tweaked her nipple with force, and she moaned. He did it again as he plunged his tongue into her mouth, filling the hot wet recess, making it his, making her, his.
She managed to get his pants undone and had him in her bare hands before he knew it. He bucked into her fist as she stroked him. His hand left her exposed breast and snaked up under her dress, pulling at the scrap of lace that was her panties and tearing them from her. He backed her up against the floor length window, hiking her skirt up. She guided the tip of his cock into her centre and he thrust home, not caring that they hadn’t paused for protection, not giving a damn that they weren’t even fully undressed.
He pistoned his hips into her and she flung her head back against the window. He lifted her off the ground, wrapping her legs around his hips, pressing her against the glass to hold her in place as he thrust into her. His teeth nipped at her nipple through the lace of her bra and she cried out as her nails scraped across the bare skin of his shoulders.
This wasn’t making love. This was fucking, pure and simple. He had the overwhelming need to own her. He was angry, a man possessed and he didn’t care beyond his caveman urge to make Bailey his. And she responded to him in kind, her fingernails leaving crescent-moon-shaped divots in the naked skin of his shoulders, using her legs like a vice to pull him closer, the heels of her shoes digging into his ass.
He didn’t even have the presence of mind to enjoy riding her bare-backed. He couldn’t even remember the last time he’d been inside a woman without latex encasing his erection. All he felt was all-consuming need for her.
He felt her orgasm begin as she clenched tightly around him. He thrust into her harder, needing his own release. She came with a loud cry, her body stiffening, her core muscles tightening around him and then she shattered, her throbbing, pulsating sex milking his own climax. It tore from him with a roar and he slammed into her, the window behind her shuddering with the force of their coupling.
When his knees began to feel like they might actually be able to hold the weight of both of them, he carried Bailey over to the bed and laid her down. He unzipped her dress, sliding it from her boneless body and removed her bra and shoes. He moved like a man under a spell, as he got a wash cloth and wet it with warm water, bringing it back to Bailey to clean her up. She lay on the bed, motionless, her eyes closed, her chest rising and falling in quick pants, the pulse at her neck fluttering.
He removed the rest of his clothes and climbed onto the bed beside her, pulling the covers over them both and wrapping her in his arms. He was spent, emotionally, physically and mentally. He knew they would need to talk about what just happened, but neither of them had the capacity to do it now, so he closed his eyes and let the exhaustion take him.