My mom has always told me that the women in our family know the man they are going to marry. That their heart recognizes them from the very start when they meet them and that they are our perfect match in every way.
It’s hard not to believe her when I look back on our family history. There has never been a divorce, and everyone has always been madly in love. From my great-grandparents, to my grandparents, to my parents. Which is why I’m starting to freak out.
Only Tidas draws these crazy emotions from me. Does that mean he might be the one? I’m not sure how that’s possible because the guy is a freaking divorce lawyer who hates marriage. I really hope the universe isn’t so cruel as to pair me with a man who might never be able to give me what I need. I’d never thought to ask my mom what happens if the man you fall for doesn't fall for you back.
I think I’m just messing with my own head at this point. I need to relax and enjoy the ride. Isn’t that what Gracie always tells me? This is lust, not love, and those are two totally different things. Tidas might not be able to fall in love, but I think he’s definitely attracted to me.
He’d thrown me off after he stomped out of my shop. I wasn't sure what to make of his reaction. Then when he told me why he stomped out I was shocked, then smitten.
The ride to his place is quiet, and I try not to fidget in my seat. Tidas is cocky enough; he doesn’t need to know that my body is begging to find out what he has in store for me.
“Oh wow,” I say when he pulls down a long driveway, and his home comes into view. I knew he and his brother had built out here, but I had no idea it was this breathtaking. “Does that porch go all the way around?”
“Yeah. The top one does too.”
“It’s beautiful.” The car rolls to a stop, and I jump out. As a little girl, I always wanted a home in the country with a wraparound porch. “This place looks like it was dropped out of the sky by Town and Country magazine.”
“My mom helped some.” He shrugs like this place is no big deal.
“Divorce must pay well.”
“I do more than divorce.” I go to give him a tart response, but he catches me off-guard, like he always does, when he swoops me up into his arms and heads for the front door.
He carries me over the threshold, making me think about getting married one day, and I have to push those stupid thoughts aside. Even if Tidas’s home is built for a family, I’m not sure why a man who doesn't think marriage is a good idea would build a home like this.
I pictured him living in a bachelor pad, but this place is the opposite of that in every way. In fact, it’s welcoming and warm. He carries me into the kitchen, and like the rest of the house I’ve seen so far, it’s modern with a touch of rustic country.
“Are you hungry?” he asks, setting me down on the giant island in the center of the kitchen. His hands come down on the outsides of my thighs, and he looks at me expectantly. At this height we’re eye to eye.
“Did you really bring me to your house to feed me?” My eyes drop to his mouth.
“I’m trying not to scare you.” He steps into me, and my legs automatically spread to make room for him. My dress bunches up at the tops of my thighs, and I try to ignore the heat pooling between them.
“You better have panties on tonight, Valerie.” I swear his eyes actually darken. The warning is clear, but somewhere inside of me, I want to push back at his possessiveness. It is, after all, the way we usually communicate.
“Or what?” I challenge.
“Or I’ll flip you over this counter and spank your ass.”
“You would not!” I barely get the words out before he grabs me and flips me over.
My chest presses against the cool stone and I try to wiggle away. When he presses his hand down on the center of my back, I still as his other hand yanks up my dress, revealing my panties.
“Good girl.” I gasp when he jerks them down, and my heels fall off in the process. “You have amazing tits, Valerie, but your ass is something else altogether.” His hand starts to massage me there.
I close my eyes, trying to understand my body's reaction to this. Especially when he raises his hand and brings it down. The smack is loud in the room, and the shot of pain is there and gone so quickly I’m not sure if I felt any at all. I press my soaked thighs together as my clit starts to throb.