The sleepy little New Jersey township has been relatively quiet as plans for the wedding of Claire Goodnite and Wesley O’Connell are in full swing. But when the patrons of the church’s singles group are being picked off one by one and branded with a scarlet letter in blood, Claire and the team put their festivities on hold to track down a killer.
It’s just another case, another day in the life of a police officer until tragedy strikes their small circle of friends. When one of their own becomes one of the victims, how will the group go on? Or more importantly, can Claire survive it?
It’s probably best you say your prayers . . .
Present day . . .
“So, what do you say gorgeous? You wanna get out of here?” Wes smiles at me as the music changes again but I know that we won’t segway into another dance at our engagement party. I place my hand in his outstretched one and answer him from my heart.
Wes leans in and kisses me hard and fast before walking me through the room, the skirt of my pretty black cocktail dress swishing around my thighs. As we make our way to the door, someone shouts, “Looks like this party just became a private one.”
We push through the side door of the country club with a quiet clank as it shuts behind us. Wes and I, hand in hand, turn our heads to look at each other and laugh.
“That’s my favorite sound,” he whispers into the night.
“What?” I ask feeling a little confused and a lot of expensive wine.
“When you laugh.”
“Wes—” I start but I’m cut off by his shrill whistle as he hails a cab to take us home.
“Let’s go home,” he says softly as he pulls the yellow door open for me and I bunch up my skirt to slide all the way across the cracked vinyl seat to make room for the only guy to ever hold my heart. He slides in beside me and pulls the door closed.
“827 Adolphia, and step on it,” he says to the driver.
“If my wife looked like her, I’d be in a hurry too,” he mumbles before pulling out into traffic. I smile at my lap while pulling my skirt flat nervously and my cheeks heat.
Wes leans into me and slides his nose down the skin behind my ear, whispering, “I love you.”
“And I love you.”
Through break neck twists and turns and a couple very yellow lights, Wes holds me tight in his arms. He skates his hands over all very appropriate places. But still, when we finally pull up to the front of his house in the suburb we grew up in, I’m still a little drunk and more than a little on fire.
Wes tosses some bills and a heavy tip to the driver before flinging open the door and pulling me out with him. He slams the door to the tune of the cabbie’s laughter ringing in my ears and as I look at Wes, I can’t help but let the smile grow wider across my face.
There is a twinkle in his eyes that I know now, after all that we have been through, is so much more than wine and lust. This is a lifetime of love. This is everything.
I have to practically run to keep up with Wes as his long, muscular legs eat up the ground of the walkway to the front of his—soon to be our—house. He stops in front of the door and punches in the code on the deadbolt before swinging the heavy piece of wood and steel open and pulling us through.
Wes has gone a little crazy with home security ever since my near miss a few months ago.
But I don’t have time to think of that now as the door slams closed and the lock tumbles over. Wes leans back against the door and slides his whiskey gaze over my body as I stand in the entryway. The laugh that threatens to burst free from me dies on my lips as my body heats like a fever rolling over my skin. I bite down on my bottom lip to quell the shudder that rolls through my body but there’s no stopping it.
“You’re so damn beautiful,” Wes says, his voice rough.
“Wes—” I start but I barely get the words out. Wes stalks towards me with sure, even steps. When he reaches me, he pulls my body to his, crashing his lips down on mine.
“I love you, Claire,” he whispers against my mouth. He tangles his fingers in my long hair. “So fucking much.”
“And I love you.” My words light him up from the inside out. His tongue swipes into my mouth and he groans at the taste.
“You’re mine, Claire,” Wes rumbles as he lifts me up so that his lips don’t have to leave mine as he stalks down the hallway and up the stairs toward the master bedroom. I wrap my legs around his waist and we both groan as his hard length comes in contact with my center.
“Damn-fucking-right,” he growls as he slides my body down his, lowering my feet to the floor. “Turn around.”
I do as he says, slowly turning around so that my back is to his front. I hear his rumble of approval and I let my eyelids drift lower as a happy glow settles over me. Wes uses his free hand to brush the heavy length of my hair over my shoulder to hang over my right breast.
I hold my breath as his unhurried hands lower the zipper on my little black dress. When the sides of the dark fabric slip apart, Wes slides his hands underneath the edges, his rough palms electrifying the skin of my back and shoulders as he guides my dress off my body, letting it pool around my heels on the floor.
I release a heavy breath just before he lets a fingertip trail down my spine, stopping at the clasp of my black lace bra, unhooking it in the process. It floats to the floor, joining my dress. We reaches around me and holds a heavy breast in each hand. His thumbs graze my nipples ever so slightly and I arch against his hard body behind me. Wes lowers his lips to my shoulder placing the softest of kisses there before straightening and ordering me in a rough voice, “Take off your panties.”
Keeping my legs straight, I hook my fingers into the black lace of my panties and bending at the waist lower them to the floor. As I do, my uncovered flesh slides against Wes’s hard cock behind the wool and zipper of his slacks. My breath catches in my throat when I feel his heat and strength exactly where I need him. There’s something to be said about being naked, vulnerable, and bent over in front of a fully clothed man. I give this to Wes freely, not because he demands it, but because he deserves it.
“Go lay down on the bed,” he rumbles after I stand back up, kicking my discarded clothing aside and stepping free from the bulk of it.
Wearing nothing but my tall, strappy heels, I make my way over to the big bed and pull the bedding back before lowering myself down to the cool sheets. I turn to my back, propping myself up against the mountain of pillows.
Wes stands there fully clothed, radiating suppressed energy. Slowly, oh so slowly, he pops open the buttons on his collared shirt before parting the soft material and slowly sliding it down his body. The buckle of his belt clanks as he pulls it free from his slacks, letting it drop to the floor before toeing out of his shoes and pulling his socks from his feet. And I lay there in rapt attention as each piece of skin is uncovered.
I hold my breath as he reaches for the clasp on his slacks. I breathe again when he lowers the zipper and pushes his pants and underwear wear down his strong legs as one. His hard length springs free and I watch—fascinated as he grips it in his fist. He lets his head tip back on his shoulders
“Spread your legs,” he rumbles as he slides his fist up and down his length. “Show me what’s mine because this is all yours, baby.”
Wes watches me through narrowed lids as I let my knees drop to the sides. My body burns from the inside out as I watch him watch me put myself on display for him. Only for him. My body burns hot from the wine and from Wes. He has always had this effect on me.
Slowly Wes stalks towards me before lowering himself to sit on the edge of the bed beside me. I lay perfectly still, holding my breath, waiting to see what his first move will be. Tonight, Wes will lead. Luckily for me, I don’t have to wait long.
Wes watches the movements of his hand as he caresses my cheek with the back of his fingers before placing his palm flat between my breasts. He leans down and softly places his mouth on mine, soft and sweet to start before sliding his tongue into my mouth and taking it deeper. There is no hurry to his movements or frantic pace. To Wes, it seems as if he has all the time in the world, and we’re getting married so he does, but I’m a little drunk and I want more. I want so much more.
I press my body to his as I nip at his bottom lip before soothing the hurt with my tongue. Wes smiles against my mouth and I know that he can see right through me. But then again, he’s known me since forever.
“I want slow,” he rumbles against my mouth.
“Uh-unh,” I mumble as I wrap a leg around his hips trying to entice him to my way of thinking.
“But slow can be so . . . rewarding,” he says as he circles my nipple with his fingertips before finally scraping his nail over the tip making me arch into him.
“I want fast while the champagne bubbles are still in my head,” I say as I dig a heel into the mattress and roll taking Wes with me. We land with him on his back, diagonally across the middle of the bed and me gracelessly sprawled across his body. He grips my hips tight in his hands.
“Is this what you had in mind?” he asks as he smiles up at me.
“Yes.” I smile triumphantly as I wiggle my hips to straddle Wes as he lies beneath me.
I lean forward to kiss him. I open my mouth to him, letting him control the kiss. I lose my head as I rock my body against his. When I break my mouth away to catch my breath, I push back, impaling myself on his hard length. We both let out a groan as we hold eat other tight, adjusting to the way that we fit together.
I smooth my palms over Wes’s chest and scrape my nails down his abs before slowly rising up and then sliding back down his cock. He lets a hiss out between his teeth as I rise up on my knees and slowly slide back down again and again.
I brace myself on my hands, my palms pressing against Wes’s tight abs as I slide up and down his length, faster and faster. There is a heat that spreads out over my body as I get closer and closer. I drop my head back letting my hair brush over his strong thighs. Wes arches his back to meet me.
He pushes his hands to glide up my sides from my hips before gripping one of my breasts in each hand. I place my own over his, encouraging him to squeeze me tighter, to pinch and pull my nipples as I ride him.
I bow backwards and feel the muscles of his legs tense behind me. My movements become more frantic as I try and get closer and closer before bending back forward and bracing myself against his chest again.
“Get there, baby,” Wes says through gritted teeth.
“I-I’m trying,” I cry out in almost a whine, but I can’t care. I’m so close and yet . . . not. I keep pushing harder and harder but I’m not getting any closer to the edge and it’s making me panicky.
“You gotta get there, baby,” he growls as his hips rise up to meet me as I sink back down over him.
“I can’t!” I cry out.
Before I know it, Wes is gripping me by the hips and pulling me up and up and up off his cock. He lifts me up and over, so that my upper body is hanging off the side of the bed, my fingertips barely brushing the carpet, and my most secret places right over his face.
Wes pulls me down to meet his mouth and presses his tongue over my clit hard and fast, not letting up for even a moment. I grip the edge of the comforter in my left-hand and the nails of my right-hand rake over the carpet. Panting, I’m not sure if I’m trying to get away from his sexual onslaught or if I’m trying to get even closer. I roll my hips and receive a masculine groan and a nip to my clit for my reward, sending me spiraling out of control as I come.
Wes knifes upward, taking me with him in one fluid move. I land on my back with Wes moving over me, sliding in deep. He hooks my left leg over his right arm lifting it higher, taking him deeper, while I wrap my right leg around his hip as he plunges hard and deep.
Before I know it, my body is heating up again. I rake my nails down Wes’s back and he rolls his hips causing me to clench tight around him. I’m building again.
“Yes,” he growls as he powers into my heat over and over again. “Give it to me. Again.”
I’m helpless to stop it so I do, and Wes follows me over the edge, roaring out my name as he does. He tucks his face into the crook of my neck as our breathing slows and he lowers my leg.
“You’re right,” he rumbles in my ear after a minute or two of silence. “Fast was fun.”
“I told you so,” I purr as I stretch like a cat underneath him.
“We’ll do slow next,” he tells me seriously.
“Okay,” I whisper and then we do just that, we go slow before drifting off to sleep in each other’s arms with the world at our fingertips . . . or so it had seemed at the time. If only we had known we were on the cusp of losing everything, we might have played things a little differently.
Jennifer is a thirty something lover of words, all words: the written, the spoken, the sung (even poorly), the sweet, the funny, and even the four letter variety. She is a native of San Diego, California where she grew up reading the Brownings and Rebecca with her mother and Clifford and the Dog who Glowed in the Dark with her dad, much to her mother’s dismay.
Jennifer is a graduate of California State University San Marcos where she studied Criminology and Justice Studies. She is also an Alpha Xi Delta.
10 years ago, she was swept off her feet by her very own sailor. Today, they are happily married and the parents of a 8 year old and 6 year old twins. She can often be found in East Texas on the soccer fields, drawing with her children, or reading. Jennifer is convinced that if she puts her fitbit on one of the dogs, she might finally make her step goals. She loves a great romance, an alpha hero, and lots and lots of laughter.