Five Years Later
“Don’t stop, please!” Tabitha arched her back and clutched at their bedsheets as her husband laved at her feminine flesh with his tongue.
He paused in his ministrations long enough to glance up at her and smirk.
“You should mind yourself, sweetheart. Remember that we have a house full of people who can hear you.”
She bit her lip, embarrassment and pleasure washing through her.
With a dark chuckle, Edwin lowered his head once more and lapped at her.
Every time they made love, she thought it could not get better, and yet he always managed to drive her even wilder the next time they were together. Even after five years of marriage, the passion that existed between them burned hot, perhaps even hotter than it had when they were newlyweds.
She groaned as his tongue flicked her little nub. She was coming close to her peak, but she did not want to reach it this way. Not this time. It had been so long since they had been able to truly be as one, that she did not want to waste any more time not having him inside her.
“Edwin, please…I need you,” she begged.
Normally, he might tease her and prolong her delicious torment, but she knew he was as eager to be fully joined again as she was.
With one last, long lick, he raised his head and moved so that he rested above her and nestled his hips between her legs.
“Are you certain you feel well enough?” he asked, smoothing her hair from her head with both his hands.
She nodded eagerly. “Yes, I am fully healed. Now, please, do not waste any more time!”
Tabitha knew her words pleased him. The fire in his eyes burned hotter as he reached between them to line himself up with her entrance.
“I will go slow,” he assured her.
She wanted to tell him to do just the opposite, but she knew slow was for the best at first. It had been so long since they were like this together, and she might still have lingering tenderness she was unaware of.
Inch by agonizing inch, he sank into her. There indeed was some new discomfort, but it was minor and paled in comparison to the absolute joy she felt at being filled by him once more.
“Are you in pain?” he questioned, his jaw tight as he fought to stay still.
She shook her head. “No, I am fine. Please, Edwin, do not leave me wanting.”
“Never.” He captured her lips with his as he began pumping his hips in and out of her at a rapidly increasing speed.
She cried out in ecstasy, once more forgetting his warning that they were far from alone in their house. In that moment, though, she did not care. All that mattered was her and Edwin and their coming together once again.
He squeezed her breasts and ran his hands all along her body as he drove in and out of her. She felt the heat and the tightness form in her stomach which were always signs that she was beginning the climb to her peak. She threw her arms around his neck and let him push her there. When her release slammed through her, he had to cover her mouth with his to swallow her screams.
“How are you feeling, sweetheart? Any soreness?”
Tabitha glanced over her shoulder toward Edwin, who was finishing getting dressed for the day, and smiled.
“A bit, but nothing terrible,” she admitted. “You’ll have me sorer than this, I can promise you that.”
His expression of concern softened with his smile as he walked toward her and wrapped his arms around her waist. She had just finished dressing herself and turned in his embrace to slide her arms up and around his neck.
“I am sorry if I was too rough,” he murmured, pressing his forehead to hers.
“You were not, I promise.” She closed her eyes and basked in his warmth and scent, as well as the love that always surrounded her when she was with him.
“It seemed to take you longer to recover this time,” he said, pulling back so he could look down into her eyes. “Was the labor so much harder?”
Tabitha sighed, thinking back to the birth of their third child just months before.
“It was a little more difficult. Your son was a stubborn one and did not wish to come out into the world.”
Edwin grinned. “He gets that from his mother.”
She lightly slapped him in the chest. “I am not nearly so stubborn as you are!”
He threw his head back and laughed before tugging her into a tight hug.
“My beautiful, sweet wife. You seem to forget how stalwart you were in your dislike of me when we first met.”
She fidgeted in his arms, hating to remember how rude and cold she was to him.
“It was a simple misunderstanding of your character. That is all.”
He tilted her chin up with his finger so she was forced to meet his gaze.
“Whatever it was, in the end, I was still able to win you over. That is what counts.”
“Yes,” she nodded with a wistful smile. “It is.”
He stepped away from her, but reached out to take her hand in his.
“Shall we go and see who all heard you screaming?”
She gasped and would have hit him again, but he caught her wrist and pulled her in for a quick, burning kiss. Just as she was beginning to melt for him, however, he broke away.
“You are still far too bold,” she grumbled.
“And you, my darling, are still far too much fun to tease.”
The church was not quite so full as it had been on their wedding day, which suited Edwin perfectly. He would rather this be a small, intimate family event.
Though the rumors about him and the Countess of Pimperton had died down years ago, he was still rather averse to people. Particularly, the people of the ton. He would much rather be in the country, close to his wife’s family in Laurelborough, than in town. She preferred it to, so they happily spent most of their time there with their children.
Edwin could not believe how incredibly blessed his life was. He had a loving wife who he adored, and she had gifted him with three beautiful children thus far. Their two girls were the spitting image of their mother, though he could see the mischief of their Aunt Sophia in the youngest, Isabelle. They would have to be mindful of that as she grew older.
Their oldest, Anne, was much more like her mother in personality. Smart and quick-witted, she would no doubt drive all the young gentlemen mad when she was fully grown, just as her mother had done to him.
Their youngest was Matthew, their sweet little boy. He was but months old, and the entire family had gathered together for his Christening. Habtage and Lady Unity, though never far away, were there with their three children, all of whom were girls.
Habtage had told Edwin how much he was dreading his daughters growing up. He did not look forward to the day they would enter society and start being pursued by the types of gentlemen he and Edwin used to be. Edwin could not really blame him. He had the same fear when it came to his own daughters, though his wife did not share his concerns.
Tabitha’s father was present, as was his godmother. The two had become close friends over the years, and Tabitha had questioned him more than once about his suspicions of their relationship. Though the Duchess was older, she was still quite lovely, and Edwin had seen the way the Baron looked at her when he thought no one was observing him.
There was definitely something deeper between them than mere friendship, but whether they had acted on it or not, he could not say. He was glad they had found each other, though, whatever their relationship may really be. He knew that the Baron was lonely without all three of his daughters married and out of the house. The Duchess could provide companionship, at the very least.
Sophia and her two children were present as well, as was her husband, a handsome young Lord from the north. Edwin liked the gentleman, though he was by and large much quieter and more contained than his wife. They seemed to be incredibly happy together, though, so Edwin did not puzzle too much over their rather odd coupling.
Finally, his dear friend, the Countess of Pimperton and her husband, the Earl, were with them as well. Their daughter sat between them, quiet and polite. Little Rose was perhaps the most well-behaved child he had ever met. It astounded him, especially given how wild his own children could be. She was older, however, so mature in much of her thinking.
After their encounter with John Stanton five years ago, they had all briefly feared that the Earl would be arrested and charged for the man’s murder. To everyone’s relief, however, the death was ruled accidental and Lord Pimperton was acting in self-defense. He was never charged for the death of Mr. Stanton, which made it easier for everyone to move past him.
The Countess had confided in Edwin after his death that Mr. Stanton was the man who had raped her. She recognized him as he had been fighting with her husband. He had taken her by surprise in the garden of her home one night when she had escaped a party she and the Earl had been holding to seek some air.
He had threatened her into silence, and because she had not known exactly who he was, she had been scared to encounter him again. As of yet, the couple had not told their daughter the true story of her unfortunate origins, and Edwin would not blame them if they never did. They loved that girl with everything they had in them. The Earl was especially doting, and it was clear to anyone who saw them together that that child was his.
Once everyone was gathered and settled, the priest began the ceremony. Tabitha held their son as they waited for the moment of baptism. When the priest called them forth, Edwin wrapped his arm around Tabitha’s waist and they walked together to the fount. The priest blessed the water, then took the sleeping babe from his mother’s hands.
“Do not wake, do not wake, do not wake,” Tabitha murmured under her breath.
Edwin had to hide his chuckle. As soon as the priest poured the water over the infant’s head, his eyes popped open and he immediately began to wail. The priest appeared startled for a moment, but then continued on as though nothing were amiss.
Glancing at his wife, he saw her face was bright red and she was shaking her head in embarrassment.
“Just like his mother,” he teased in a whisper. “Always causing a commotion when none is wanted.”
Tabitha shot him an exasperated look.
“Well, it is his father that provokes such reactions from me,” she muttered. “I am a very calm, cool-tempered person by nature.”
He smirked. “I very much doubt that.”
“Well, you do not know everything about me, husband. There are sides to me you have yet to uncover.”
Grinning, he took her hand in his and squeezed. She was right, of course. There was still so much about her that he did not know, despite everything he already did. The beauty of that, however, was that he had the rest of his life to find out everything he could.
This woman, this family, this life, were his until the day he died. And, he knew for much longer after that.
I will not stop loving her, even after death. Our souls are connected from now until the end of time.
Forever had never sounded so good.
Readers who read this book also liked...