Bringing Emma Home(6)

By: Stella MacLean

She was confident that this trip was meant to be. The next couple of days together would work its magic on them. She’d never stayed at the Planters Inn, but she’d heard about it from a friend who had spent her wedding night in one of its beautiful suites. Grace had helped her plan her big day and had seen the photos of the inn, all gold and cream with deep hues of blue and roses everywhere. She couldn’t imagine a more perfect place for a getaway. “I promise to buy whatever I see that I like,” she offered, stroking his arm.

“Perfect. I’ll call you the second I’m out of my meeting and we’ll go for a late lunch,” he said, navigating the tight lanes of traffic leading toward Broad Street, the hallmark of Charleston civility.

“I wish we’d planned to do this with Lucas and Maria. She’s such a great shopper, and we always have a good time together. I was never so happy as when Lucas arrived back from a business trip to Spartanburg to tell me he’d met the woman of his dreams. Do you think they’ll get married? I mean, Lucas talks about her all the time, and I want him to be as happy as we are.”

“Lucas and Maria are not on my mind at all. They have their life and we have ours,” he said, his gaze direct, a small furrow forming between his eyes as he turned to her. “All I want is to let the world go away and you and I focus on us,” he said as he maneuvered the large SUV into a narrow parking spot.

“Okay. No more talk about anyone or anything but us,” she said. She didn’t want anything to ruin their minivacation. Reaching across the wide console, she squeezed his hand where it rested on the steering wheel. “I can’t wait for you to be finished. You’re right. We need to get away. Starting today, we’ll plan to do something like this once a month. We deserve time alone together, don’t we?”

“Exactly. Why can’t we just take off, act like a pair of teenagers in love? The way we used to do,” he said, his smile intimate, wrapping around her, signaling that whatever was bothering him had gone.

She kissed him quickly. “After I’m done shopping, I’ll call a cab and go to the inn. I’ll check in and be waiting for you. Just for you, I’m going to buy something really sexy to wear tonight.” She kissed him again before she reached for the door handle. “You’d better be ready,” she teased, seeing the love in his eyes. Her body tingled. “I’ll order a bottle of champagne.”

He pulled her to him and kissed her, his mouth moving over hers in a way that made her weak with desire. “I can’t wait, woman.” His smile radiated happiness as his lips brushed hers. “I’ll see you later. We’ll order room service and you can model your latest purchase…before I remove it.”

* * *

FIVE HOURS LATER, Aidan lay sprawled on the bed, Grace in his arms, the sheets crumpled around them, his need for her completely sated.

“You are the most beautiful woman in the world,” he said, his throat filled with emotion as unexpected tears tingled behind his lids. He hadn’t felt this way for a very long time. He’d come to the inn and been met at the door of their suite by his wife dressed in a skimpy lace item that covered just enough and hinted at a lot more. He’d fallen into bed with her, and they’d had the best afternoon of lovemaking he could remember.

Slowly he kissed her lips, his fingers caressing her cheek. “I’ve never loved anyone the way I love you.”

She returned his kiss. “I love you, too, so much,” she whispered, her gaze on him and only him.

“I’ve missed this,” he said, his heart filled to overflowing.

“What do you mean?” She toyed with the hair on his chest.

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