Craving Him (Page 49)

Craving Him (Love by Design #2)(49)
Author: Kendall Ryan

“Bennn . . .”

The sound of her whimpering my name was the sweetest sound. It signaled her defenses falling away and her letting herself give in.

I could tell she was nervous but only because she thought I was proposing for the wrong reasons. I needed her to know how incredibly special she was to me. I gazed into her eyes, holding her face carefully a few inches from mine. “You’re amazing. I love everything about you.” I lightly stroked her jawline. “I love how soft you are. And I love the way you smell.” I pressed my nose and mouth to her neck, tasting as I went. “I want to kiss every part of you,” I whispered against her neck. She let out a soft moan at my words. “And I can. Because you’re mine.” She smiled up at me, relaxing a slight bit more “So beautiful,” I murmured against her lips.

I sunk to my knees in front of her, lifting her left hand to my lips. I kissed her naked ring finger and let my teeth lightly graze the soft flesh. I wanted her to understand that this finger was mine to mark.

Emmy’s eyes widened as the meaning behind my gesture sunk in. Her breathing hitched and she bit her bottom lip.

“Lie back,” I murmured, urging her back onto the bed and arranging the pillows behind her. She leaned against them so she was resting before me. I wanted her to be comfortable and at ease. She’d accepted my explanation, but that still didn’t mean she’d said yes to my proposal. Fuck, I wished there was a playbook for this. I was out of my element. Big time.

“Close your eyes,” I whispered.

She obeyed, letting her eyes slip closed.

She was so stunning laying there waiting for me. Long eyelashes resting against her cheeks, delicate nose, the familiar slope of her chin, and the slight outline of collarbones at her neckline. Desire sliced through me. I wanted to do bad things to her and cherish her at the same time. My mind reeled with what to do first.

I brought my hands to her face, cradling her jaw and softly stroking her cheeks with my thumbs. “So soft.” I leaned over her and nibbled on her bottom lip. I felt her mouth lift in a smile.

“Mmm. That feels nice,” she breathed.

“I want to make you happy.”

She let out a happy little moan. A good start.

I pressed a tender kiss to her mouth and licked at her lips until they parted, sucking her tongue into my mouth. She inhaled sharply at the surprise of my tongue sucking hers, and her eyes flew open before slowly drifting closed again. We kissed passionately for several minutes and my entire body relaxed into hers. “I want to take care of your every need,” I whispered, breaking the kiss.

I’d wanted tonight to be perfect. This proposal meant everything to me, and now that the moment had passed I was desperate to get it back. To somehow recapture the magic. I lay down beside her, lacing our left hands. Her fingers tightened around mine. “I love you, Emmy. Let me make you my wife and love you for the rest of my life.”

She looked up at me and smiled, murmuring the three best words I’d ever heard. “Where’s my ring?”

21

Emmy

Six Months Later

“What are you still doing working?” Ellie stormed into my office, heels clicking loudly across the polished wood floors. “I’ve been blowing up your phone for the past hour. Get your booty outta that chair.”

I glanced up from my computer screen, pausing just briefly in my work before letting my fingers resume tapping against the keys. I didn’t want to lose my train of thought. “One sec. I just have a few more emails to send out.”

“News flash, sweetie, you’re getting married tomorrow,” Ellie chuckled.

An unstoppable smile overtook my mouth and I grinned at her. I wondered if I should feel nervous or scared . . . but I only felt excitement. Ben and I had been living together for several months now and had never been happier. We’d opened the office to his charity last month and things had gone from busy to crazy. Thank God for my mom and Ellie’s help with wedding planning. And Ben took on the responsibility of planning our honeymoon. I never would have survived otherwise. I felt a bit guilty about keeping on Magda to cook and clean, but the extra help had been a godsend.

I clicked send on the last email to my assistant. I vowed to never use brief, terse messages scribbled on Post-it notes to communicate with her, as was Fiona’s method when I was her assistant. Instead I treated her like a human with a functioning brain. I just wanted to make sure she knew all of the vital things to get done in our absence for the next few weeks.

“Just about ready.” I glanced up to see Ellie touring the small office Ben had rented me uptown. It was just a large loft with light, airy windows and pale woods floors. The walls were still stark white and the furniture basic, but it was perfect. He stopped in a few times a week and worked alongside me, the modeling jobs becoming less and less frequent, which suited us both fine. Now that we’d set up our charity, it was where we both wanted to devote our time.

I powered down my laptop and straightened the papers on my desk. No sense leaving the place trashed. I took pride in what I did. It was work that mattered.

After talking for months about which worthy cause we’d devote our time to, Ben decided on starting a charity for children who needed surgery and couldn’t afford it. His organization funded plastic surgeries and medical procedures for children in need. We’d worked with families on things like cleft palates and reconstructive surgeries. My days were spent on the phone with hospitals and insurance companies, finding donors, and connecting with families. And lots of mundane things, too, like figuring out Web-hosting, answering mountains of emails, and making pot after pot of coffee to fuel us.

The glitz and the glamour of the modeling world had been replaced with helping children gain a positive self-image in the most basic of ways. By helping them get the care they needed and deserved. It filled my heart to know we were helping families, that we were making a difference in the lives of others.

I had the best job in the world. And the man I loved deeply right by my side. Except for tonight. Tonight was girl time with Ellie, and Ben was meeting up for a drink with Braydon.

“Last chance . . . instead of dinner reservations we could hit up a male strip club . . .” Ellie smiled wickedly.

“I have zero interest in going to a strip club, but thanks.” Besides, I knew it wasn’t my last chance. Ben wouldn’t care if I suddenly woke up one day and told him I wanted to check that off my bucket list. He’d shared me with his friend, for goodness sake. Not that Ellie needed to know all that. She already hated Braydon for some strange reason. I didn’t want to tell her about the threesome. I had no clue how she’d react.