Forever (This)(9)

By: J.B. McGee

I hang my keychain in the designated spot on the wall. Bradley had been quick to install a hook for them after several scavenger hunts trying to trace their last location. He’d always say, “If you put them where they belong, you wouldn’t lose them.”

Of course, my retort was perfect. “If they had a place, I’d put them there. But where exactly is their home anyway?”

The last time he pushed me against the wall, thrusting his narrow hips into mine, then kissed me as if his life depended on it. Bradley pulled away, gasping for air in the best of ways. He smirked. “They’ll have a home tomorrow, smarty-pants.”

The next day, when I walked in from the garage, as promised, there were two beautiful, ornate pewter hooks that said His and Hers by the door.

I’m brought back to reality by his deep, sexy voice. “How was your exam?”

My lips curve into a smile. It’s the little things: the hooks and the cooking. My heart has been in this perpetual state of bliss, and I hope it never ends. “Feel pretty good about it.” I kick my shoes off into the corner of the mudroom, toss my scarf, coat, and gloves into one of the cubbies under the white bench against the wall, and walk through to the kitchen. He’s only wearing a pair of sweats. As I push my front to his back, I squeeze his waist. I stand on my tippy toes to reach the nape of his neck and plant a delicate kiss. “Finals are finished.” Another kiss. “I’m officially on winter break.” Longer kiss. “You’re home early…and cooking.” Moving my attention to that spot behind his ear he likes so much, I begin to swirl my tongue. “Could the day get any better?”

In an instant, he turns around and walks me backward. “Yeah, you could keep taking your clothes off, only wear this, then help me in the kitchen. Nothing like a sexy sous-chef.”

I grab the apron, fluffing the layers of black and white zebra print and hot pink damask ruffles. “You do know I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy, right?” Our eyes meet. His blue orbs sparkle as he nods, raising his eyebrows, as if challenging me. “I do love the colors and the frills. It doesn’t look like an apron, more like a dress.” I turn it around and untie the fabric. My pulse starts to race. My entire body sizzles like the food on the stove. “Except it’s missing the back.” My body shudders as I continue to think about this game he wants to play with me in our kitchen. It’s naughty and sweet all at the same time.

“I think that was the idea. I got it from this place that specializes in flirty aprons. When I saw it, all I could think of was you in it naked.” He picks up the wooden spoon and gives the chunky marinara sauce a stir before turning the knob on the stove, reducing the temperature to low. One look and I can tell it’s the recipe we got while on our honeymoon. The jarred stuff I grew up eating has nothing on this sauce. It’s not hard to prepare, either—more patience than skills. My mouth waters thinking of the sweet, less acidic taste of the San Marzano tomatoes. Nostalgia settles in as I have a flashback of a naked Bradley feeding me leftover pasta with this exact sauce in our villa. It was the middle of the night when we’d made up for every day we’d been together without having made love in only a matter of hours. Being in Italy for those two weeks taught me so much. Everyone here is on the go, in such a hurry, and trying to eat food as quickly as they can. If we can even call it food. It’s junk. This…this is food. “Did you see what it says on the front?”

See what on the front of what?

“The apron.” He’s always understood me, but the more we’re together, the better we fit, the more we’re able to read each other’s minds. Or maybe the more he’s able to read mine.

“Right. The apron.” I straighten the top so I can see the glittery text. “Candy Cane Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses. Aw. You’re just all in the Christmas spirit tonight, huh?”

In an instant, Bradley empties his hands and wraps his arms around my waist, dips me back, and then claims my lips. It reminds me of that first kiss. I’d been wound up so tight I couldn’t fully enjoy it, but not this time. I inhale his scent, a combination of woodsy citrus as our tongues dance and twirl like ballerinas dancing The Waltz of the Snowflakes in The Nutcracker. Chills go from the top of my head all the way to my toes, causing them to curl before the heat envelops me all over again.

Also By J.B. McGee

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