Elaina Morrison has loved Neil McManus her whole life. She doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t love him. Through heartbreaking tragedy and years of separation, her love holds true…until life stomps all over her heart, shattering her perfect dream, teaching her how hard it is to let go.
The Scottish winters were quite a step up from London’s constant wet. The only difference was several degrees colder temperatures. And constant wet. I couldn’t complain too much though, and I never would, because I was blissfully happy being up in Scotland were it was very cold, and very wet, because I had my man to keep me warm when I felt the chill. He never let me get chilled anyway. I smiled secretly and thought about just how warm he’d made me in our bed this morning when he woke me up. And last night before we fell asleep.
No, Neil was a dedicated husband when it came to seeing to his wife’s every comfort and pleasure. Or, more accurately—pleasures.
We’d only been married for eleven weeks, but were still newlyweds in our heads where it mattered. Just a little more than a year ago, we’d come crashing back together after so long apart. I’d learned to accept that we were meant to be—and that nothing could have kept us from our fate to be with one another. We were truly destined to be together.
Our journey to get to this point, had been a painful one, but that was all in the past now. Neil and I both learned so much along the way. Like when you get a second chance, you held onto it with everything you had in you, and thanked God you were given the gift.
Which reminded me—I needed to sneak out so I could pick up Neil’s Christmas gift.
I hoped I could manage it without him discovering and trying to come with me. He didn’t like me driving alone. Maybe it was his job in the security field that made him so protective of me, but my man was a tad too overdone in that department sometimes. I was working on training him out of it though. I had my methods.
I hated to hurt his feelings by saying no, but this was an errand, which needed to remain solo. My only partner in crime was Batesman, the man in charge of running this place. I think in the olden days, such a person was called a steward. I thought of Pride and Prejudice, probably my favorite novel of all time, and how Mr. Darcy had a steward to run the estate for him when he was away on business.
Batesman lived here in Scotland and took care of the place when we were in London working at Blackstone Security International, and he looked after us when we were here visiting, which was mainly at the weekends. Neil tried to get us up here at least one weekend a month, but since it was the holidays, Neil and Ethan, had ordered BSI closed through New Year’s, with only a skeletal staff on hand to secure any events. The bosses were on holiday for the holidays. We had ten more days before work called us back home to London. Glorious. Ten. Days.
Neil said this was our place to make up for all the years we had lost. And my man was determined to do that for us. He told me all the time. He also liked to have me all to himself, just the two of us alone, spending time together doing the simple things that we had both learned not to take for granted.
I cracked an even bigger smile, thinking about how he’d taken his time with me this morning, waking me up from a sound sleep in the most delicious way, or I should say—his tongue.
Neil didn’t hold back with me in the bedroom. If he wanted to try something, he told me, or sometimes he just did what he wanted, and then asked me if it was okay. Typical man. Go for it first, ask later.
But I didn’t mind his tactics.
I was okay with everything my man did for me. And my body had the luxurious aches and marks on my skin to prove it this morning.
He liked to mark me. He also wanted me pregnant.
Maybe it was his lack of a normal family life growing up that made him crave the stability of a family. Neil wanted kids.
We were working on it. Very diligently.
I grinned as I rounded the corner at the bottom of the stairs and ran smack dab into a hard chest that carried the scent of my man.
“I’ve got you now,” he said, as his arms came out to snatch me. He picked me up and I wrapped my legs around his waist. “Mmmmm, I like that, beautiful wife.” He walked us up to the nearest wall, set me against it, and proceeded to kiss me senseless.
“I like it too.” I managed to mumble behind soft lips and an even softer tongue that continued to own me. He was seriously dangerous with those lips of his.
“I want to take you back up to our bed and do some more things that I know you like.” He thrust his hips forward and hit me right where it counted. His stamina for sex was astounding to me, and something I hoped never changed, but it wasn’t happening right now.
“Nope, Captain. I can’t.”
He pulled away from my lips and gave me his soulful chocolate eyes. “But why not?”
“I have important work to do and an errand to run.” I hoped he would take my explanation, but accepted the likelihood of that happening to be about nil.
“Where are we going then?” he asked, still pressing that impressive erection right up against me. Yeah, he knew what he was doing all right—tempting me with his body and the promise of more explosive orgasms. Resisting him was not going to be easy, but right now, it had to be done.
“We are not. I have somewhere I need to be—”
“I’ll drive you wherever you want to go,” he interrupted, “where is that?” The look on his face made it difficult to say the next part.
“I have to go alone on this errand. You can’t come along.” I stuck out my bottom lip and mimed a sad face.
He started to shake his head at me, but I brought my hand up to his cheek. I’d learned that touching my man on the face soothed him when I needed to get my point across, and he was less than thrilled with the situation. Me driving around Scotland on my own in winter and along country roads? More than qualified as one of those situations that made my husband less than thrilled.
He grew still and waited for me to explain, his brown eyes searching my face. When I was not forthcoming, he tried again.
“Why can’t I drive you? I won’t be a pest. Promise.”
“You can’t come along because I am going to get your Christmas present.”
Silence. Pouty face. Sigh with a bit of eye narrowing.
“Do you know that you have the most adorable pouty face that is possible for a man to have, and not look like a little girl?”
“Is it working?” he shot back sarcastically.
“’Fraid not, Captain.”
“Well then, it’s utterly useless to me then, now isn’t it?”
God, he was hard to resist when he pouted and made the metaphorical knife twist into my heart. And beautifully handsome and smelling like heaven. Evil torture is what he was doing to me.
Didn’t matter. I still wasn’t letting him come with me.
Later that evening
“You look like butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth, Mrs. McManus.”
“Is that so, Captain?”
“Very much so.”
“Well you look nearly back to normal after your pouty fit from earlier,” she said with that sass that made my cock sit up and beg.
“And I know just what put me back to normal, as you call it.” And I most certainly did know. As soon as she’d arrived back to the house after her gift errand, I’d carried her upstairs and kept her in bed for the rest of the afternoon making love. Having Elaina all to myself was something I didn’t think I would ever get enough of. All of those years without her made me an overbearing arse sometimes, I know, but she seemed to put up with me without too much complaint.
“I want to give you your Christmas gift tonight if you don’t mind,” she said with a grin. “I just can’t stand waiting until the morning.”
“Hmmmm…isn’t that sacrilege?” I teased. Secretly I was more than pleased by her suggestion. Exchanging gifts tonight would work even better for me as well.
“Maybe, but my gift can’t wait until tomorrow. Like literally can’t wait.”
I kissed her on her puffy red lips and grinned. “Okay.”
“Well that was easy. You must really want to know what I’ve gotten for you,” she sang.
“Of course I do, but even more than that, I don’t want to wait to give you your gift from me either. I say let’s do this.”
Her smile lit up her face, making me want to kiss her first. “Okay, deal. I need to go get it. Be right back.” She sailed out of the room, and I took off to find Batesman. He’d been helping me with my gift for Elaina. The man was seriously capable of just about anything and everything. And he did it all so fuckin’ well. Boggled the mind how some people could be so damn good at such a variety of things. I knocked on his door in the east wing and called out in case he’d already turned in for the night. Tomorrow was going to be a long day. We had many guests joining us tomorrow. Things were going to be crazy with so many people coming up to Scotland, but what the hell was a big house for if you never used it for anything… “Batesman? Is it ready to go now? My wife has decided to exchange gifts tonight instead of the morning.
He poked his head through the door crack and addressed me in that formal voice of his. “Sir, I have madam’s gift right here.” He shoved a basket at me and then closed his door again.
I frowned. Weird. Maybe Batesman hated Christmas or something. Some people had such bad experiences growing up; they found holidays like Christmas difficult to stomach. I’d had mostly good ones growing up, a few bad ones when times were not so nice, but didn’t everybody? Everything was golden now.
I took my basket and walked back to the room we’d been in before.
Elaina was already there, and sitting on the sofa, looking at the Christmas” tree. I still think she trumped the tree. Any day. Any time. She was the most beautiful thing in the room.
She frowned at my basket though. She probably was going to hate the gift, but I hoped not. It sure seemed like a great idea at the time I thought of it though.
“Who wants to go first?” I asked.
“You?” she suggested. “Sit down beside me, my darling.” She patted the couch right next to her.
I sat down and placed the basket on the floor.
“Close your eyes, beautiful wife.” She complied as she always did so easily. Make my cock rock hard when she got submissive like that. Later, lad. I reached into the basket and took out the soft, sleepy bundle, setting it carefully onto her lap. “You can open your eyes now.”
“Oh. My. God.” Her hands reached down to pick up the puppy and bring him up to her face for closer inspection.
“Not really a god, just a little pup,” I teased. “Blue Merle Great Dane to be exact. “Happy Christmas, darlin’, I hope you like him. I thought we could use a dog around the place, you know, for protection.”
“Did you now?” she asked absently, as she nuzzled the puppy, which was now a little more awake than he’d been just a minute ago. “My turn, Captain. Close your eyes, please.”
I did as she asked and heard the shuffling around of movement as she rose from the couch, and then felt something warm set down in my lap. Could it be possible?
“You can open up now, Captain.”
I opened my eyes to find another puppy looking up at me with blue eyes and a cocked head of inquisitiveness. This one was lighter in color than the little male I’d picked out for Elaina earlier, but was clearly from the same litter of Blue Merle Great Danes. Batesman must have been enjoying himself immensely over this little newlywed spectacle we’d provided for him today.
“We have very good taste in dogs, beautiful wife.”
“Obviously, Captain.” She leaned forward to kiss me. “Happy Christmas, my darling.”