Chapter 1: TEMPORARY BLISS
I was stirred from sleep by a hand running up my thigh. Smiling, I stretched my tight limbs and placed my palm over the wandering fingers. The hand was warm and soft, and clasped mine, cinching tight. A cool ring of hard metal dug into my skin as he held me in his firm grasp and I smiled wider, fingering the matching band on the ring finger of my hand.
I'd gotten married last night . . . in the spiritual sense, at least. A soul-filled pledge of undying devotion was enough for us right now. And really, a formal ceremony and a piece of paper wasn't what made a marriage. It was the feeling bursting apart my chest-the overwhelming sensation that I'd been cleaved in two at birth, and, miraculously, I'd managed to find my other half. And even more miraculously, he felt the same.
Soft lips touched my shoulder, and I snuggled further into the body seeking my solace. The sheets wrapped around us were the finest linens I'd ever slept in, but their luxuriousness paled in comparison to the man beside me. With his warm legs tangled around mine, his broad chest flush against my back, and his arms circled over and under me cradling my body to his, he was far more comfortable than the overpriced bed.
Pulling the fingers laced with mine up to my lips, I kissed the promise ring on his left hand. A low chuckle escaped him, then those sensuous lips of his worked their way up my neck. Warm and content, my skin instantly pricked with goose bumps as small bolts of electricity shot right through me.
When he got to my ear, he whispered, "Mornin', Mrs. Kyle."
My heart was instantly thudding in my chest. I twisted in his embrace until I could see him. Eyes the color of a twilight sky stared back at me, and a small smile curved his mouth as he searched my features. His face was perfect-the angle of his jaw, the slope of his nose, the fullness of his lips. At the moment, I couldn't recall anything quite as beautiful as the man who'd just given me his name.
"Good morning, Mr. Kyle."
A small giggle of disbelief escaped me, and Kellan's smile widened. The contentment in his eyes was nearly palpable. It warmed my heart that I made him feel that way. He'd had enough pain in his life; he deserved peace. It was all a little surreal to me, the depth of his love, the fact that I inspired it. Sometimes, I didn't feel worthy of him, but I was grateful for him, every day.
"I can't believe we just did that, Kellan."
He cocked an eyebrow, his grin instantly mischievous. "What? Have mind-blowing sex? That really shouldn't surprise you." His expression softened into adoration. "Every time with you is incredible."
Biting my lip, I forced the flush he was making me feel aside. "I wasn't talking about that." Reaching up with my free hand, I stroked his jaw with my finger. "I meant getting married."
Kellan propped himself up on his elbow and looked down at me. His gaze slid down to our hands locked together, to the ring encircling his finger. The look of contentment on his face shifted to outright bliss. I'd never seen him happier. "'Til death do us part," he whispered.
Running my fingers down his chest, the hills and valleys of his absurdly defined body starting to ignite mine, I murmured, "My parents won't accept you as my husband until you walk me down the aisle, you know."
Remembering that I'd left them a vague message on the answering machine at Kellan's place, since they were still in town for my graduation yesterday, I frowned. They were going to be so pissed when they woke up and heard that I'd run off and gotten married without including them. Honestly, I was a little surprised that my phone hadn't rung yet . . . or that the hotel room door hadn't been beaten down.
Kellan laughed and repositioned our bodies so that he was lying on top of me. Giving him a soft smile, I ran my fingertips down his back. He shuddered. "And I will. . . ." Leaning down, he placed a kiss on my neck, then my collarbone. My heart sped up. "I will give them the ceremony they want. . . ." Looking up at me, he let his lips trail from my collarbone to the top of my breast. I struggled to not squirm. "I'll give you the wedding of your dreams, Kiera."
His lips closed over my nipple then, and all of last night's passion flooded back to me. As satisfying as our first union as husband and wife had been, I wanted more, I wanted him again. I didn't think I'd ever stop wanting him in every way that that implied.
Just as my fingers drifted up to thread through his hair, my breath long past casual, his lips left the erogenous zone that they'd found. I looked down at him right as he looked up at me. Crooking a grin, he kissed between my br**sts, then down my belly. Just the thought of him continuing on his southern path had me instantly aching for him. His grin turned cocky, like he knew it.
"I'll give you everything, Kiera, but, until I can do it properly . . ." His tongue dipped into my belly button before trailing down my abdomen. I groaned and closed my eyes, simultaneously shifting my h*ps up and pushing his head down. I heard a throaty laugh escape him as his lips traveled down my thigh. His breath hot against my skin, he finally finished his sentence, ". . . we may as well enjoy the perks."
Then his tongue brushed over my core and I lost all pretense of control.
It was several hours later that we were finally dressed and ready to leave our swanky hotel room. A quick inspection of my cell phone showed me that Kellan had turned it off sometime last night. I guess that explains why we hadn't had any interruptions. Smirking at him as he grabbed his jacket from the plush bench in front of the vanity-a bench that we'd christened last night-I turned my cell phone back on. A new voicemail alert chirped at me; I was sure there were several of them.
Considering the fact that we'd be seeing my very unhappy parental units soon, I didn't bother listening to the voice mails. I was pretty sure I knew what they all said anyway. "What were you thinking? You can't marry him, Kiera. Get your ass back here so we can fly you home!" Etcetera. They were going to take a while to accept this union.
They were going to take even longer to accept the fact that I was soon to be hitting the road with my new husband. Even I was still in shock. Touring around the country with Kellan had been out of the question while I was still enrolled at school, but I was a graduate now, and I was free. I could do whatever I wanted. And I wanted to be with Kellan, wherever that may be.
My dad was kind of old school-go to college, graduate, and get a good job. Kellan hadn't even gone to college. He'd run away from home right after high school and fallen into the Los Angeles music scene with Evan, Matt, and Griffin. He'd been playing with them ever since. Dad was mystified by Kellan's life choices. And he was going to be furious with mine.
But it was my life to live, and I was going to do what felt right. And being with Kellan felt . . . amazing. There was no place I'd rather be than by his side. I wasn't giving up on my dreams to live vicariously through Kellan's, though. No, I was going to strive to make my dreams come true too, and it just so happened that my dream job lined up perfectly with his.
I wanted to be a writer, and that gave me a certain amount of freedom since I could do it anywhere so long as I had a bit of privacy. That might be tricky in a tour bus full of rowdy boys, but I was certain I could carve out a few hours every day to put something meaningful down on paper. I was in the middle of writing my first book, which was autobiographical in a sense, since it was based on actual events. It was a detailed, intimate depiction of everything that had happened between Denny, Kellan, and me. The love, the lust, the betrayal-it was all in there.
Writing it was torturous, but therapeutic. Taking a step back and looking at the situation through critical eyes, it was easy to see my many mistakes. There were points when I had been whiny, clingy, petty, wishy-washy . . . downright annoying. Seeing all of my flaws laid bare was a humbling experience. The book was so personal, I almost wasn't sure if I could let anyone else read it. Especially Kellan. But he'd asked, and I'd told him he could. I didn't want to go back on my word, so I would just have to reassure him with each painful page that I wasn't that weak, pathetic girl anymore. I knew what I wanted, and it was him.
Scanning the room to make sure I wasn't forgetting anything, my eyes swept over the messy bed. The rich, red comforter was a jumbled mess, and the creamy, satin sheets beneath it were twisted as well. Kellan and I had made good use of the king-sized space, rolling around over every inch of it as we'd explored each other. Our moans and cries of ecstasy were still reverberating through my head, and for the millionth time I was grateful that Kellan had agreed with my idea of renting a hotel room for our honeymoon. I couldn't imagine doing the things we'd done last night at our place, with my parents in the next room.
Coming up behind me, Kellan wrapped his arms around my waist. I inhaled deeply, savoring the fresh, invigorating scent that was uniquely his. Kissing my ear he murmured, "We should go. I told Gavin I would have breakfast with him today, and we're already really late. . . . It's more like brunch now."
Looking over my shoulder at him, I couldn't contain my smile. Gavin Carter was Kellan's biological father. Kellan had put off meeting the man for months; he'd been terrified to see him. But they'd finally met yesterday, and now Kellan was going to try and have a relationship with the person who'd helped create him.