I have a chapter of my Fearless King short coming your way! Don’t miss the first chapter of The Wedding Kiss below! And be sure to add Fearless King to your Goodreads! → http://bit.ly/FearlessKingGR
I showed up to the room ready for my bridesmaid makeover with my dress on a hanger. Thankfully, I was only a few doors away, so I’d hightailed it down the hallway in my robe, hoping no one would see me. My slippers sank into the plush carpet before I slipped into the bridal suite.
The place was deserted. They weren’t screwing around when they told me to hurry up. I found an empty spot and gingerly laid my dress across the bed. There was some commotion from a few floors below. I could hear the raised voices.
Crossing the room, I shielded my eyes from the late afternoon sun and stared out the window at the wedding planners shooing papparazzi across the pristinely manicured lawn away from the entrance to the hotel. Craning my neck and standing on my tip toes, I peered down as the three people with ear pieces like secret service agents in designer outfits. They waved their hands like lunatics trying to ward them off.
Who’d have thought anyone would care about a hockey player getting married, but I guess an Olympics Gold Medalist and Stanley Cup winner were probably a little different than your run of the mill hockey player. A sharp knock on the door, drew my attention from the show down below.
The room was awash in wedding stuff. Makeup palettes, stockings, shoes, curling irons and massive cans of hairspray covered every surface. I stood partially behind the door and opened it. My pulse sped up as I smiled at the huffing, sweaty man I’d been looking forward to seeing all day. Ford.
I opened the door a little wider, letting him get a good look at me. His wide-eyed stare made it hard to hold back my smile. This robe was awfully short, and I’d never been more grateful. My legs were bare of nothing but thigh highs that peeked out from under the hem.
I’d probably have dropped the robe entirely at the door had I known he was on the other side. But he’d have probably had a heart attack. His cupid’s bow was the perfect mix of shapely defined lips and softness I’d love to taste. I’d had a kiss or two before, but nothing like a kiss from Ford. He thought I hadn’t heard the jokes my brother and the other guys made about Ford’s renowned bedroom prowess behind closed doors. He was dead wrong. I’d heard every word, and it kept me up late at night sometimes wondering what it would be like to have him touch me that way.
His long lashes framed his bright green eyes. My eyes dipped despite myself. His broad shoulders tapered down to his well-defined chest. My completely obvious appreciative glances at his body snapped him out of his trance.
“Olive Oil, what the hell are you doing here?”
I gritted my teeth. The nickname only he still called me. Even Colm had abandoned it when I was fourteen and everyone was completely sure there were no growth spurts in my future. I’d stalled height-wise at just over five foot two, but Ford seemed determined to put me in that little kid box for as long as possible, even though I was eighteen now. Almost nineteen in just a few weeks.
“I got here late. They sent me a ‘hurry up and get here’ text, but everyone was already gone by the time I got here. They’ll be back soon. Did you want to come in?” I stepped out of the doorway and held the door open.
A quick shake of his head sent his damp, dark hair falling over his forehead in the perfect Superman curl. I peered up at him and couldn’t wait to walk down the aisle on his arm. The wedding planning gods had smiled upon me and not matched me up with my brother in the bridal party. Well maybe not the planning gods, more me begging Makenna not to make me do it.
“No, I just need to drop this off.” He held out a medium-sized velvet box with a cream folded card on top.
“What is it?” I took it from his hand. Our fingers brushed, and that small zap shot through me.
He snatched his hand back like my touch burned him and cleared his throat. A small pang hit me dead center in my chest as he took a step away. “Declan had it made for Mak. Said she still needed her something blue.”
“Can I look?” I glanced from the box back to him. He chewed on his bottom lip, and I imagined myself standing on my tip toes to taste it.
He shrugged. “I don’t see why not. It’s not like we won’t all see it soon.”
I opened the box and let out a gasp. Inside was a beautiful set of diamond and sapphire drop earrings. The low light from the room still caught the gems and it refracted off my robe.
“They’re beautiful.” I ran my fingers along the velvety pillow under them. “She’s going to freak out when she sees these.” I peered up at him. Mak absolutely hated it when Declan spent money like this, especially on her.
“Why do you think he had me drop them off right now? Check out the note.” His lazy smile gave me butterflies in my stomach.
To my soon to be darling wife-
I gift you these earrings as your something blue, and they are filled with my love and adoration for you. These are a symbol of the beautiful new life we are starting together.
Did I lay it on thick enough for you to wear the damn things and not fight me on this one, Books? I saw them and wanted to see you walking down the aisle with them on. Wear them for me, please. You can chew me out later tonight. In fact, I’m looking forward to it! ;)
~Your Sex God
I laughed at the last line. “He sure knows how to hit all the right marks with this one.” I waved the box in front of me.
“Those two have always known how to push each other’s buttons.” He chuckled. It was deep and throaty and sent a shiver down my spine.
“Did they seriously not like each other before?” I still couldn’t believe it. I’d been twelve when the whole group graduated from high school, and then it was off to boarding school for me up to Boston while Colm and Ford were at college and then got drafted into the NHL.
“Like oil and vinegar. You’d have to ask Heath how it happened in college. He was there during senior year to see it all unfold. I just know one day we came down that time to visit when we all met at the bar, and we had to pick our jaws up off the floor when we saw who he was there with. We all thought it was a bet or a dare or something.” The corners of his mouth were turned up, and he crossed his arms over his chest, leaning against the wall by the door.
“I thought there was some weirdness going on that night.” After an initial stilted few minutes of conversation, everyone ordered a few drinks and the fun had begun. Well for them, anyway. Colm watched me like a hawk, and I hadn’t been able to get single drink.
I’d come back to Philly for college last summer, and Mak was in med school. That was how I’d ended up a bridesmaid. She’d gone out of her way to meet me for lunch and stuff on campus. It was sweet that she took the time to make sure I settled in okay. It also meant Colm hadn’t had to fly back every chance he got to check on me. She’d been a great friend to go to for help when I needed it. Medical school was brutal, but she’d sat down with me to help me with my freshman bio class problem set when I’d moaned about it one afternoon.
“They really are beautiful.” I closed the box and ran my hand along the note on top. What must it be like to have someone know you so well? Love you so much?
“I almost broke out into a sprint across the hotel to get those here. I was afraid someone might mug me in the hallway.”
A sharp laugh burst from my lips, and I stared back at Ford wide-eyed. I couldn’t think of anyone in their right mind who’d ever think of attacking Ford. He was like a walking ad for “Don’t Mess with Me,” which made his shyness all the more adorable. His muscles strained under his T-shirt. Biceps and pecs front and center. I resisted the urge to squeeze them. I’d settle for a few surreptitious gropes while we walked down the aisle.
“Now that it’s in safe hands, I’ll head back. We’re taking groomsman pictures soon.” The grimace on his face couldn’t have made how he felt about that more clear.
“Ready for your close up?” I mimed a camera, taking a shot of him.
He shook his head and backed away. But I didn’t want him to leave just yet. “Wait!” I yelled way too loud, grabbing onto his forearm, and he stopped in his tracks. My cheeks were probably fire-engine red, and I kind of wanted the floor to open up and swallow me. I dropped my hand and stared directly at his chest, which wasn’t exactly making things easier. The hard lines of his muscles made my knees weak.
“Yeah?” He quirked an eyebrow at me. Oh, right, I was supposed to be saying something.
“I’ve missed our Wednesday dinners.” It was a tradition Colm started when he began college and I was at boarding school. Wednesdays were the one day of the week they tended not to have games. So, he’d come to my school and pick me up, more often than not with Ford and we’d all have dinner together.
He squeezed the back of his neck. “It’s been a while, huh? Well, you went away to college, so there’s that.”
“Even before I went away. My last year at Havenbrook you almost never made it.”
“Things kept coming up.” He shrugged and stared down the hall like he’d rather be anywhere, but there with me. It was a punch in the gut.
“Anything to the rumors that you might be traded to Philly?” The hopeful edge to my voice made me cringe.
His eyes snapped to mine. “We’ll see. No idea. I should get going. I’ll see you in a couple hours.” He turned and stalked down the hallway. I watched him go.
Big family type events were always hard for me, but I got to do it on Ford’s arm. It would make today a hell of a lot easier. The distraction of the man I’d had a crush on since as long as I could remember with his arm around mine.
I bit my bottom lip. Would he ever see me as anything other than Colm’s little sister?