This is the last chapter of the Fearless King short, The Wedding Kiss, but these two are nowhere near finished yet! 😉
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I was up and out of my seat before she’d made it past the table next to ours. Keeping a smile on my face to not alarm anyone, I darted out of the ballroom, catching the door before it closed fully. Going after her wasn’t smart, especially after the day we’d had already, but she was hurting. I saw it in her eyes during the ceremony and again as she ran out of the reception.
Seeing her in pain was even harder than seeing her happy spinning around the ballroom on someone else’s arm. As much as I knew I should have just tracked down Colm and had him go after her, it was like asking the sun not to keep the planets aligned. Her gravitational pull was one I’d never been able to escape.
Not since the first night I saw her as Olivia and not Olive Oil. Less than a year ago, my world shifted, and I’d been fighting every second of it because I knew the stakes. My head whipped around, and I looked for her down the alcoves and hallways of the hotel.
A flash of bright blue caught my eye outside. And I was following her. My heart pounded as I got closer. She was holding herself. Her arms wrapped across her body, and her shoulders were hunched.
It wasn’t until I got closer that the gentle shake of them hit me like a punch to the gut. She was crying.
She jumped, brushing her hands against her face. The garden lights caught the wetness on her hands. She kept her back to me, staring straight ahead.
“Hey, Ford. I was just getting a little air.” Her voice was reedy and raspy. The skirt of her dress swayed as she ran her hands up and down her arms.
My muscles tensed. I resisted the urge to wrap my arms around her. Instead, I shrugged my jacket off and draped it over her shoulders.
She peered back at me, and the sheen on her eyes was a lance straight through my heart.
“It’s always weird times like these when it hits me. All these milestones are coming fast and furious now, and they won’t be here to see them.” She tilted her head up with her eyes squeezed shut, like looking at anything was just too painful. My heart ached for her. I’d seen what her and Colm had been through and I couldn’t how hard it was.
I wrapped my hand around her shoulder. There were no words. There was nothing I could say that would make this better. Nothing I could do would fix what had been broken, so I stayed quiet and let her know she wasn’t alone. Her fingers skimmed across the back of my hand as I lifted it a little and threaded her fingers through mine.
“Go back inside. I’m okay.” She gave me a weak smile that wasn’t convincing anyone.
“You’re not okay. And that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with being sad during moments like these.”
“Thanks.” She dropped her hand. “You can go back. I’m okay. Did Colm send you out here after me?”
I hated that she wouldn’t look at me. Stepping in front of her, I ducked my head to catch her eye. She avoided my gaze.
“No, he didn’t send me out here. I came out here because I saw you were upset.”
“Give me a few minutes, and I’ll be back inside.” She shrugged off my jacket and handed it back to me. I didn’t lift my hand to take it from her, and her eyes transformed. The sadness gave way to anger when I didn’t move.
“I’ll be fine out here. Just leave me alone. I don’t need a babysitter!” Her hands were clenched at her sides, and she vibrated with anger. It was palpable, and the perfect opportunity for me to turn around and get out of there before I did something I’d regret. Something that had kept me up at night for months.
“I know you don’t. I’m not here to babysit you, and Colm didn’t send me.” I licked my suddenly dry lips.
“Then why are you here?” She peered up at me.
“I don’t like to see you hurting, Liv. And I don’t want to leave you.” I held her chin between my fingers.
Her eyes got wide, and the anger slid away. She pressed her hands against my chest with my jacket still fisted in her grip. Her lips parted, and she sucked in a shuddering breath.
“You called me Liv.” The shock in her voice almost made me smile, but my fingers so close to her lips killed every thought trying to break through that wasn’t centered on her mouth.
“I know.” I stared into the eyes that had haunted my dreams for so long I felt like I had every chocolate and caramel tone memorized. My heart thundered. As close as we’d been throughout the night, this was the first time I’d ever touched her without an audience. The first time we’d been alone and not under the watchful eye of everyone else who’d know I had no right being so close to her. Touching her like this.
Now it was her turn to lick her lips. The dim lights of the garden bounced off their plump, pinkness. “Ford.” She said my name like a cross between a questioning and hopeful. “Why don’t you want to leave?”
“I told you.”
She was so close, it was like we were breathing the same air. Was I leaning down or was she up on her toes? Did it matter?My jacket dropped to the grass covered ground between us, and her hand pressed flat against my chest.
“I’m not hurting anymore. Not when you’re here.”
I closed my eyes. Only for the briefest of moments. For long enough for me to know this was wrong, but damned if she wasn’t a temptation I could resist. Not after a day of erosion after every glance and touch.
Her eyes were wide as I bent down and pressed my lips against hers. She tasted like blackberries. The drinks from earlier or maybe just the way she tasted. Was this her first kiss? No, she was almost nineteen, surely I wasn’t, but what if I was? Her lips parted, and I couldn’t hold back. I couldn’t stop myself and I slipped my tongue inside.
Her hands splayed against my chest, fisting the fabric of my shirt. Wrapping my arms around her back, I held her tighter. It was her moan that broke the thin line of restraint I had. My hand slid down to the curve of her ass, and I cupped it, dragging her harder against me. The tailored pants did not have enough room to compensate for the heavy, throb of my erection making itself known.
She tasted too good. Better than anyone I’d ever tasted before. Her fingers clawed at me as she rocked herself against me. I was going to hell, and the trip had never been sweeter.
I sank deeper into the kiss, letting everything I’d kept pent up for so long out in a soul scorching kiss I never wanted to end. Her lips were just as eager against mine. She wrapped her arms around my neck, and I slid my other hand up into her hair, drinking in her kisses as our tongues danced together like they already knew each other so well. I did know her and I wanted to know her even more. I wanted to touch and taste her everywhere.
There was a sharp peel of laughter from the entrance to the garden and sliced through the haze of desire surrounding us.
“Ford, where the hell are you? We have to do the cake thing.”
My blood ran cold, and I jerked away from Liv. She leaned into me. I stepped back so quickly, she stumbled, losing her footing. Her hooded eyes cleared as she realized whose voice was calling out for me in the warm summer air.
Setting her on her feet, I scooped up my jacket off the ground and held it in front of me. That was the last thing I needed. Getting caught out in the garden, alone with Liv and a hard on, while she looked like she’d been kissed to within an inch of her life.
She smoothed out her dress and dropped her eyes, taking a step back. Colm rounded the corner.
“There you are.” His smile was so wide it was like a punch to my gut. Guilt cratered there, and I couldn’t even look at Liv.
“Hey Liv, I didn’t know you were out here. I thought you were on bathroom duty with the rest of the bridesmaids.”
“No, I was just getting some air.” She cleared her throat, and the last vestiges of huskiness melted from her voice.
“You okay?” He came up and ran his arms up and down her arms. “You’ve got goosebumps.”
She peered over her shoulder at me and ran her fingers along her lips. “I did and Ford offered me his jacket, but I’m going to head back inside.” She took off toward the ballroom leaving us out there.
“Is she okay?” Colm turned to me.
“She was a little sad seeing Mak and Declan out there dancing with their parents, but I came after her.” A thin line of sweat broke out on my forehead that had nothing to do with the July temperatures.
Colm squeezed my shoulder. “I should have realized. I’m glad you were there for her. Between the two of us, it’s like she’s got two brothers around looking out for her.” He stared after Liv through the glass garden door.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I didn’t see her as a sister no matter how many times Colm tried to cram her into that spot. The stakes had never been higher with any other woman, but I couldn’t keep my mind off her.
This was Liv. She was Colm’s sister and beyond off limits. Her blackberry taste lingered on my lips. The curve of her hip had fit my hand perfectly. She looked into my eyes like she was peering into me, peeling back the curtains of my soul and baring her own. Liv was the one woman I couldn’t have and the one I’d thought about every night for nearly a year.
Colm was my best friend and had my back since freshman year of high school. He was my teammate, and our friendship was at stake. I couldn’t risk it. I promised myself I’d keep my distance. Never touch her like that or taste her lips again. Deny myself the one woman who’d kept me up more nights than I could count. I kept that promise for 544 days…
This is the final chapter of The Fearless King short, The Wedding Kiss and you can dive right back into Ford and Liv’s story!