Rival Page 75

I dwelled on the past, not realizing that it kept me from moving forward.

Now it was gone.

It wasn’t forgotten, of course. It just didn’t matter anymore.

This was my future, and as Madoc put the ring on my finger, I knew the best part of my past was right here with me.

I glanced at Tate, who watched with love in her eyes, and Jared, who had his arm around her, and the happy tears spilled down my cheeks.

Madoc smiled, grabbing me by the back of my neck and gently bringing my head into his chest. “Finish, Father,” he ordered over my head. “She needs to be kissed.”

The laughter in his voice was intoxicating. And I definitely needed to be kissed.

“I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

Madoc wasted no time. Wrapping a quick arm around my waist, he hauled me off of my feet and kissed me hard, his lips shooting a lightning bolt of desire from my mouth straight down to my stomach. I held his face in my hands, and turning my head to the side, I kissed him back with full force.

Keeping me locked to him, he turned us and walked us out of the small space.

“Thank you.” I grinned back at Father McCaffrey over Madoc’s shoulder.

Madoc called to the bartender over my shoulder. “Do you have any music?”

“U2,” the middle-aged guy answered.

Madoc scowled. “Is that it?”

“That’s all a man needs.” I heard the answer and started laughing in Madoc’s ear.

He sighed. “Something slow then.”

Lowering his hands, he cupped the bottom of my thighs and brought my legs up and around his waist. Next thing I knew chairs started grinding against the floor, and when I looked around, everyone in the bar was pushing back the table sets to make a dance floor.

U2’s “All I Want Is You” started spilling softly out of the speakers, haunting at first as it drifted into our ears. Madoc started swaying from one foot to the other, moving us from side to side. I put my forehead to his, listening to him whisper the words to the song and fighting back the burn in my eyes. As the song built stronger and louder and we moved more, spinning slowly and every once in a while, I placed a kiss on his lips.

All I want is you.



As soon as we left Sovereign’s, Fallon and I drove to the Waldorf Astoria for our honeymoon night. Tate thought we should all go out to dinner, but Jared got the hint.

The whole drive there, as the valet took the car, and during check-in I kept rubbing the inside of my pinky finger over the flat fit platinum wedding band. The discomfort of something new when I never wore jewelry—except for my piercing—contrasted to the hum I felt in my hand.

It was weird, but it was also powerful.

The ring reminded me that I was Fallon’s. It reminded me that I was her protector, her lover, and her partner.

Eventually it occurred to me that the ring also meant I couldn’t come and go as I like, I couldn’t look at other women, and I was probably the only person in my high school graduating class that had a wife already, but I didn’t care much about what others thought now.

I was cool with this. It was right for us.

By the time we reached the elevator, Fallon’s hands were doing things that technically weren’t allowed in public, and I was really f**king glad Jared and Tate had given us space.

Fallon had her hand under my coat, kneading my lower back. She was burying her nose in my chest as I walked with my arm around her. Her eyes were looking up at me saying everything that was in her head but couldn’t leave her lips.

As soon as the elevator doors closed, I pushed her into the wall and leaned down into her face, her hot breath rushing against mine.

“Fallon Caruthers,” I challenged, pushing hard against her body. “What do you think you’re doing, huh?”

Her fingers started working the button of my shirt under my open jacket. “I’m sorry,” she panted against my lips. “I’m just really ready for my husband right now.”

And all at once her hands were inside my shirt, all over my bare chest, and my bottom lip was between her teeth. I grabbed her by the back of her thighs and hauled her up against the wall, diving into her mouth and tasting the raw heat that sent my c**k jerking and hardening. I needed to get these f**king clothes off of her.

“And I’m not changing my name,” she said between kisses.

I felt the laugh in my throat that I thought would be a really bad idea to let loose right now.

It was my wedding night. I wanted to get laid, after all.

“Yes, you will,” I stated matter-of-factly as I put my hand between her legs and rubbed.

The elevator stopped, and I dropped her feet to the floor. Thank God no one was outside the doors, because we were flushed and breathless.

Dragging her by the arm, I dug the card key out of my coat pocket.

“Well, I’ll hyphenate it then,” Fallon mumbled behind me, and I took a second to remember she was talking about our last names.

“No, you won’t.” I slipped the key in, opened the door, and pulled her in. “Hyphenating your name is like saying ‘I just don’t want to admit defeat’ when the truth is women who hyphenate their names have already lost. Men don’t hyphenate their names.” I pointed out, slamming the door behind me as I dug my slow heels into the plush carpet, stalking her. “Now. You are going to be Fallon Caruthers, because you love me, you want to make me happy, and you want everyone to know that you’re mine.”

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