He grinned as he led her into a sumptuous bathroom with a massive cream marble tub. Mounds of fluffy bubbles filled the tub, and the humid air was perfumed with the sweet scent of almonds. Hints of bronze veins in the marble gleamed in the low lighting of what had to be a dozen votive candles. As she wandered to the edge of the tub she giggled when she noticed the flames in the votive candles weren’t real.
“What?” Hawk asked with a smile as he began to twist his braid into a bun low on the back of his head.
“The electric candles,” she gestured to the flickering lights, “I see Mrs. Florentine got her way.”
“I don’t get it.”
As he disrobed her and helped her into the massive tub, she explained. “So, you know how some of our members are elderly?”
“Well, one of them—who shall remain nameless—has a thing for candles. Insists it’s the only appropriate lighting for a scene. No problem…except he’s half blind, and he’s caught whatever room he used on fire three times in the past few months.”
“Oh shit.” Hawk laughed. “That’s not good.”
“No, it really isn’t. So, Mrs. Florentine decided enough was enough. She ordered that all ‘mood lighting’ candles be replaced with electric ones for safety. People threw a hissy, and I heard they even called a board meeting over it, but it looks like Mrs. Florentine got her way.”
Hawk gave a mock shiver as he began to wash her arms one at a time from behind with an ultra-soft washcloth. “No shock there. That woman scares me.”
“She scares me, too, but she’s really nice beneath the layer of frost on her surface.” Sunny closed her eyes and abandoned herself to his caressing touch beneath the warm water. “When I first met her, I would have bet a billion dollars she was a Domme. Surprised the hell out me to learn she was in fact a very happy submissive. She made me rethink my preconceived notions about BDSM and the power exchange. It made me feel better to know that a powerful, successful woman could still submit to the right man without losing her personal power. That I could be completely yours without losing me. Does that make any sense?”
“Of course. Scoot forward.”
He slid behind her, and the feeling of his erection pushed against her tailbone made her smile. “Well, hello there.”
“Ignore it. I can’t be around you and not want to fuck you. It’s my curse.”
She laughed, allowing him to cradle her as he poured water over her shoulders to wash the bubbles away. “You say the sweetest things.”
He kissed her wet skin, his lips reverent. An ache moved through her chest as she prayed they would have a hundred thousand nights like this in her future. That she would have a long, long lifetime to devote to loving Hawk. The connection she felt with him was so deep, so intense, that she couldn’t imagine living without it.
“Come on,” Hawk said in a gruff voice. “Snack, then meds and sleepy time.”
“You brought my meds?”
“Of course.” He dried her off as he added, “I told you, I will take care of you. Always and forever.”
“I love you.”
Cupping her face in his hands, he kissed her slow and deep. Her body stirred despite the ache between her legs.
“Always and forever,” he repeated before he swept her into his arms and took her to bed.
Smoothing the wispy material of her sage and cream block print sundress that Hawk had secretly packed for her, Sunny took a deep breath as she approached the entrance to the Ladies’ Parlor. At one time, the big space, with its vaulted glass and bronze ceilings, must have been a conservatory. A ton of plants in massive earthenware containers still grew here, artfully scattered about the room and hanging from the ceiling. A feeling of elegance filled the room, an air of gentility that had her standing a little taller as she approached the hostess stand.
She was running a little late for brunch thanks to Hawk’s endless desire for her. Now that they’d finally crossed the line between best friends to become lovers, he seemed incapable of keeping his hands off her. Then again, she wasn’t exactly discouraging him. If she was being honest, she was late because she’d decided to tease him by bending over and showing him the white G-string lace panties beneath her skirt.
Panties that had been promptly ripped from her body.
“Sunny!” Nora, a blonde woman dressed in smart black suit, beamed at her from behind the hostess stand. “Congratulations on your engagement! Let me see the ring.”
As the other woman oohed and ahhed over the bling, Sunny’s heart gave a sharp pang. The worries she’d manage to forget came rushing back on her walk to the Ladies’ Parlor, and she struggled to keep her emotions in check. Nora must have sensed something in her mood, because she gave Sunny and odd look then led her between the tables to her friends seated in the back.