She pulls back the covers and climbs into bed next to me. She reaches for the lamp on her nightstand. “Leave the light on.”

She smiles. “I didn’t think you needed light to see.”

My vision isn’t what it used to be before she came into my life but I’m far from needing the dim light of a single lightbulb to see. “I don’t but you do.”

She slides over and runs her hand down my stomach. “And just what is it you want me to see?” I take her hand to bring it to my lips for a kiss and it earns me a look of curiosity from her. “You’re up to something.”

I certainly am. “You were gone for sixteen days and I never stopped thinking of you for a second. Not once. It was a lot of time for me to consider our future and I came to a conclusion. We aren’t a mundane couple but we live in a human world. You and I aren’t bound by the practices of mortals but that doesn’t mean we can’t follow their traditions.” I take her hand and pull her to sit on the side of the bed before I open the drawer of the nightstand.

She’s surprised. This isn’t where she thought I was going when I asked her to leave the light on.

I drop to my knee before I open the ring box. “We’re bound for eternity by something far stronger than human vows but it doesn’t stop me from wanting you as my wife.” I take the ring from the box and hold it up for her. “The bond we share is something the world can’t see but this is an outward symbol of our love. I want every pair of eyes looking at you–both human and vampire–to see this so they’ll know you’re mine forever. I love you, Avery Violet Ferrand. Will you marry me?”

She’s beaming. “I love you Solomon Braham Alexander and I’d be very happy to marry you.” I slide the ring on her finger and it’s a perfect fit. “It’s beautiful–exactly what I would have chosen for myself.”

I rise from my knees and take her face in my hands before I kiss her. Hard. A moment later she pulls away to catch her breath. “When?”

I press my forehead to hers and hope she’s as eager as I am to make this happen as soon as possible. “I don’t want to wait.”

She’s grinning. “Well, I guess it’s the right thing to do since you’ve knocked me up.”

“Very funny.” I couldn’t think of one good reason to wait. I can’t imagine her wanting a big wedding since Jenn is her only remaining relative. And since her sister still remains MIA after the Vincent incident, we’re her only family now. “Would you do it next weekend?”

“I would do it this minute.”

I couldn’t envision us standing in a courthouse before a judge making vows to one another. “How do you feel about doing it here at the compound since this is where we became us?”

“I can’t think of a more perfect place.”

Our wedding was small. Jenn returned just in time to be present so only those we consider family were present as witnesses. It was perfect and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Dr. Knight encouraged us to honeymoon nearby so I rented a house on the beach about thirty miles from the compound. It’s not what I consider an ideal place to spend my wedding night but we aren’t left with much of a choice considering the short notice and limited travel. At least we have the entire place to ourselves.

The house is modern–which I appreciate–but the entire decor is beach and nautical themed. It’s not my cup of tea. Nor is it very romantic. I would have preferred a honeymoon that included us traveling the world for two or three weeks but I happily sacrifice that for the sake of Avery and her pregnancy. Maybe that can be an anniversary trip one day.

We enter the master bedroom and I scan it after flipping on the bedroom light. The bedding is off-white. The walls are beige and the ceramic tile floor is a blend of cream and khaki. The furniture resembles driftwood but it’s the decorative pictures of the beach that complete the bland seaside theme.

“It’s charming.” She attempts to hide the disappointment in her voice.

I laugh aloud, “No, it’s not.” It’s a typical beach house for vacationers. There’s nothing alluring or seductive about it at all. That means I’ll have to work hard to make her forget we’re not in a romantic honeymoon suite halfway around the world.

She walks over to the double french doors and swings them open before stepping onto the balcony overlooking the ocean. Her hair rustles from the breeze blowing off the water. “I love the sound of the waves rushing in. Especially at night.”

The beach is a new surrounding for me. None of my vampire days have been spent in the sand and sun but I walked the beach at Pascagoula one night while checking in on Curry. I was quite fond of the way the sand felt on my bare feet so hopefully that is something we could do while here.

I approach my bride to wrap my arms around her from behind and I place a kiss on the side of her neck. “Then we shall leave these open so you can listen all night if you wish.”

“I’d like that very much.”

She links her fingers through mine and brings my hand up. She kisses the wedding band she placed on my finger only a few hours earlier. “I can’t believe we’re married with two babies on the way in a couple of months. I don’t think our lives could be happening any quicker if someone hit the fast forward button.”

Although I knew it was a possibility, I was still in shock about finding another baby on our second visit with Dr. Knight.

I slide my hands over Avery’s belly. “I hope Jim is able to finish the construction before these two get here.”

She places her hands on top of mine. “He will. He wants that bonus you promised for finishing the job in six weeks.”

Jim’s a good man. He’d work hard to complete the job early even if I hadn’t offered the extra money. “He did a fantastic job on the compound so I don’t expect less from him now.” Unless the weather didn’t hold and that would be no fault of his.

She turns and slides her hands up my arms until they’re resting over my shoulders. “We’ll do what we have to if we don’t have our own quarters when they get here.”

I plant a kiss on her mouth. “My wife, you are amazing.”

She lowers her hands to my hips and pulls me hard against her. “My husband, you haven’t seen amazing but you’re about to.”

Whoa. Someone is feeling a bit frisky. “Bring it.”

“Oh, I’m gonna bring it.” She sucks my bottom lip into her mouth before releasing it. “Give me a few minutes.”

“Don’t keep me waiting long.”

“Never.”

She disappears into the bathroom and I work quickly to light the candles throughout the room. I place my phone on the nightstand and choose the playlist I had created earlier in the week. A sweet, slow tempo song begins playing and I remember the rose petals Gia and Lairah sent with me. I scramble through the luggage and find them tucked away in the side pocket. I hope they haven’t dried out. Crunching sounds beneath us on the bed isn’t an appealing thought. I take a few out and they’re still soft and moist so I toss them randomly across the bed.

Shit. I suck at this but it’s too late now because I hear her turn the door knob.

She opens the bathroom door and is wearing a white lace chemise. It’s sheer so I can see her body beneath, including her string bikini’s tiny triangle that barely covers anything.

She’s stunning. And all mine. “You look beautiful.”

I think she’s blushing. “I’m no virgin but it didn’t feel right to wear any other color on our wedding night.” It almost sounds like an apology.

“Come here.” I take her hands after she walks to me and I pull her to stand between my legs. I glide my hands under her chemise over her bottom. “I don’t want a frightened virginal bride tonight.”

“Good. Because you’re getting a wife with a case of raging pregnancy hormones.”

Hmm … Raging pregnancy hormones. That sounds like it could go either way. Really bad or really great. “I’m hopeful you mean that in a good way.” She propels herself at me and we tumble back on the bed.

Oh, yeah. She means it in the best possible way.

She straddles me and unbuttons my shirt. Her lips are everywhere at once. My mouth. My shoulder. My chest. She’s giving me some raging hormones as well.

I flip with her so I’m on top and shed my shirt before she brings her legs up and around my waist. I’m exploring my wife’s body with my mouth but I stop to kiss her belly and she runs her fingers through my hair. It’s early in the pregnancy but her body is already changing. I feel a slight protruding firmness that wasn’t there when we made love a few days ago. “I can tell they’ve grown.” I place one last kiss there before slipping my fingers under the strings on each of her hips and pulling downward.

She lifts her bottom to assist me and then sits up and pulls her chemise over her head. She tosses it to the floor and reaches for the button of my pants so she can help to rid me of them and my underwear.

This is it. I’ve made love to my agápe many times but now I’m going to make love to my wife.

I lower myself and claim her mouth again. Mmm … her kisses are sweeter than honey. And I feel like I’m able to enjoy Avery for the first time. I mean truly take pleasure in the joining of our bodies since I’m always inclined to fear someone in the house will overhear the sounds of our intimacy–intentional or not. “We’ve never been alone under the same roof. Ever.” Everyone questioned my control with Avery in the beginning and it was a while before anyone would even consider leaving us alone together.

“I remember the first time we were in the same room without anyone else around. We were in your office.” She didn’t have to remind me. I could recall the moment perfectly. “I was sitting in your chair and you were leaning over my shoulder as we searched through the vampire archives.”



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