I got a sext on my wedding day.
(My real wedding day, the one on which I actually married the love of my life.)
It didn’t shock me—Austin often sent me flirty, dirty messages when we were apart, letting me know he was thinking about me or telling me exactly what he planned to do to me when he got home.
And unlike the one I’d received on my near-miss wedding day, this one was truly meant for me.
I smiled. We’d spent the night before our wedding apart—Austin at the house, me at an inn with the girls in my wedding party. Morgan had thrown me a very tame little bachelorette evening that involved renting out a local salon for facials, mani-pedis, and champagne. It had been delightful, but after she’d gone back to her room—where her husband was waiting for her—I’d gone to bed alone and missed home and Austin with a fierce ache in my heart. I’d wanted to honor the tradition of not seeing each other before the wedding, but being away from him felt all wrong.
Now I was back in our bedroom, which I’d used to get dressed, while he and the guys got ready at Xander’s. Every time I thought about seeing him waiting for me at the end of the aisle, I got butterflies.
That made me laugh.
My heart raced with joy and desire. I looked around the bedroom—it was empty. Morgan and my bridesmaids of my wedding party were downstairs, keeping out of sight in the living room while the guests went directly into the yard and found chairs. Since neither one of us was religious, we’d decided to get married at home—it felt right that we’d speak our vows where we’d fallen in love.
Home was my favorite place on earth. Austin was every reason why.
I bit my lip. Was it bad luck to see the groom before the wedding?
I’d told Morgan I’d be down in a minute—that I simply wanted a moment to myself, to enjoy the anticipation, to relish all the ways this wedding day was so different from the one before.
For one thing, all the guests were people I genuinely cared about and who genuinely cared for me. They were my family, my friends, my neighbors. People whose smiles were warm and hugs were plentiful, and whose presence here today honestly meant something.
Then there was my attire. I’d chosen my own gown this time, and rather than a puffy, white, strapless ocean of tulle, it was a playful, sexy dress of ivory lace with thin straps that crossed over a mostly open back. The hem of the dress swept the floor, and a dramatic side split showed off my leg to mid-thigh. I wore gorgeous high heeled sandals in a shade of red satin that matched my lipstick, and my hair was loose around my shoulders. Instead of a veil, I wore a gardenia pinned above my right ear.
The only thing I wished I could change was the weather—the sky had been overcast all day, and the forecast showed spotty showers here and there.
Still, I glanced in the mirror above the dresser and couldn’t help but smile. I looked like myself, I felt like myself, I loved myself and the life I was living. Maybe my path to this moment hadn’t exactly been conventional, but that was okay.
Luck shmuck, I decided. If Austin was as eager to see me as I was to see him, then why shouldn’t we have a private moment alone before we got in front of an audience? I was just about to text him back when I heard a knock at the door.
Assuming it was Morgan wondering about me, I went over and pulled it open.
Austin stood in the hallway, so handsome in his dark suit he took my breath away. How had I ever gotten so lucky?
His jaw fell open as he drank me in from head to toe. “Jesus,” he said. “You look good enough to eat and too beautiful to touch at the same time.”
I laughed, my heart fluttering. “Come in, before someone sees us talking and calls the wedding police.”
“Let them come for me. I don’t care.” He entered the room and shut the door behind him, never taking his eyes off me. “You know, I was hoping to convince you to let me put my head up your dress, but now that I see you, I understand why you said no.” He shook his head. “You look like an angel.”
“I didn’t say no,” I pointed out. “I was thinking it over, and actually, I’d already made up my mind to say yes—and that was before I laid eyes on you.” I took his hand and tugged him toward me as I took a few steps back toward the bed. “Now that you’re here, and you’re so hot I can hardly breathe, I’m prepared to beg.”
His eyebrows shot up. “Oh yeah?”
“Yes.” I lowered myself onto the edge of the bed and propped myself up on my elbows. “Ravish me, future husband. Just don’t mess up my lipstick.”
Shedding his jacket and tossing it onto the mattress next to me, he dropped to his knees and loosened his tie at the same time. I held my breath as he unbuttoned his collar. Ran his hand up my exposed thigh. Swept the front of my dress aside like a curtain. Parted my thighs.
He grinned lasciviously when he saw the barely-there panties I wore. “I’ll leave your lipstick alone, but I’m going to have some fun with these,” he said, lowering his mouth to the scrap of sheer fabric between my thighs, edging a finger inside the lace.
Within seconds, I was soaked. Within one minute, I was writhing beneath him, desperately trying not to make noise. Within two, I had a hand fisted in his perfectly-styled hair as my clit pulsed against his tongue and my insides tightened repeatedly around his fingers.
When the orgasm subsided, he tore his mouth and hand from me and yanked my drenched panties down my legs. He wiped his lips and chin with them before rising to his feet.
“Can I have those back?” I asked breathlessly.
“Nope.” He reached for his suit jacket and shrugged into it, tucking my panties into the left inside pocket. “I’m keeping them as a souvenir.”
I laughed. “And what do I get to keep?”
He buttoned up his collar. “What do you want?”
“Hmmm. I probably don’t have time to undress you and steal your underwear—nor do I have anywhere to keep them.”
“Babe, if you put a hand anywhere near my underwear right now, I will make a mess in these nice pants you picked out.” He adjusted the knot in his tie and pulled it tight. “I’m hard as a fucking rock.”
“Okay, but wait.” I sat up and tugged him closer by the belt. “Just give me a second.”
“Veronica.” His voice held a warning as I unbuckled, unbuttoned, unzipped, untucked. “We don’t have time.”
“Shhh.” One glance at the bulge in his boxer briefs told me he hadn’t been lying. When I pulled the waistband down, his cock sprang free with impressive height and heft. I took it in one hand, wrapping my fingers around it. “Let me put a ring on your finger with your taste on my tongue.”
He groaned and cursed through clenched teeth.
Carefully, I lowered my head and pressed my lips to his crown, leaving a bright red kiss mark. Then I licked the tiny drop of desire from the tip.
Someone knocked on the bedroom door, and Austin jumped back, frantically tucking his erection out of sight.
“Roni?” Morgan called. “You ready? It’s almost time!”
“One minute!” I called. I looked up at Austin. “Did she see you come up here?”
He nodded. “Definitely.”
“That must be why she knocked.” Laughing, I extended a hand, and he helped me to my feet. “Are we ready to do this?”
“Almost.” He put himself back together while I went over to the mirror and double-checked that I didn’t look as if I’d been thoroughly ravaged.
Morgan knocked again. “You guys? I’m sorry to interrupt, but it’s, like, time for you to get married now? Can you maybe bang it out later?”
I laughed. “We’re coming!”
“Possibly in my pants,” Austin muttered, buckling his belt. He came over to the mirror and frowned at his reflection. “Fuck. My hair.”
“Sorry.” I tried to help him smooth it out, but he still looked a little tousled when Morgan knocked for the third time.
“I’m serious, you guys! The music is starting! People are starting to wonder if you guys eloped without telling anyone!”
“You better go,” I told him. “You look perfect.”
He tuned to me and tipped up my chin. “You know what? It doesn’t matter. No one will be looking at me.”
I smiled, my heart swelling with love and gratitude. “I’ll see you down there. I love you.”
He kissed my nose. “I love you too. Mrs. Buckley.”
“Not yet, I’m not.”
“I don’t need a piece of paper to know this is forever, Roni. I’ve known it since the day we met.” He paused. “Okay, maybe not that day, but soon after.”
I laughed and gave him a push toward the door. “Get out of here, you panty thief.”
A moment later he was gone, and I went over to the window in time to see him go out the back door, take Owen by the hand, and walk him up the center aisle. I smiled as I watched them take their places next to Dash, Devlin, and Xander, who clapped a hand on Austin’s shoulder.
“Veronica? It’s time.”
Turning from the window, I faced Morgan, who held out my bouquet with a grin.
“I’m ready,” I said.
Downstairs, Austin’s father waited for me in the living room. His eyes misted over when he saw me. “Oh my,” he said. “You look pretty as a picture.”
“Thank you.” I admired him in his formal suit. “You look very handsome.”
“Austin is one lucky man.”
“I feel lucky too.”
Smiling, he held out his arm. “You’re already part of the family, but let’s go make it official, huh?”
I tucked my hand inside his elbow. “Sounds like a plan.”
We went out the front door and walked around to the side of the house, where we’d stay out of sight until Austin’s Aunt Faye, who was acting as unofficial wedding coordinator, gave us the sign.
While we were waiting, the sun came out from behind the clouds and bathed the entire backyard in golden August light.
“Well, look at that,” George said. “It’s like a wedding blessing from the heavens.”
I smiled, my throat too tight to answer.
Sometimes, when the universe wants you to change the course of your life, it sends you a sign.
And sometimes, it lets you know the path you’ve chosen is just right.
Don’t miss the next book in the Cherry Tree Harbor Series, HIDEAWAY HEART!