Play My Game (Stark Trilogy, #3.7)(3)

I spread my legs, wanting and expecting more, but he pulls away, letting his fingers trail sensually up my body as he stands. I am gasping. Hot and needy. But when I reach out and brush my fingers over the erection that is straining against those goddamn sexy sweatpants, Damien just takes a step back and shakes his head. “Later,” he says, making the word sound like both torture and a promise.

“Christ, Damien. How am I supposed to do anything today other than want you?”

“Sweetheart, there’s nothing else today that you need to be doing.”

I take a moment to gather myself while he heads into the bathroom. I find him in the closet, where he hands me a pair of capris and my favorite light sweater.

“I should grab a shower,” I protest as I watch Damien slide into a pair of jeans and a threadbare Wimbledon T-shirt.

“Casual Sunday morning,” he says. “And you look amazing as always. Besides,” he adds with a wicked gleam in his eye, “if you want a shower later, I’ll be happy to help you out. Make sure you get very thoroughly clean.”

“I bet you would.” And though I’m laughing, I already know that’s an offer I absolutely will not refuse.

We’re both hungry, and so we drive to the Upper Crust, a charming local bakery about a mile up the beach. It’s one of my favorite places in Malibu, and while Damien orders, I find a table on the wooden deck with a wide-open view of the ocean.

Damien’s house—our house—has an equally stunning view, but is set much farther back from the beach. One thing that I love about the bakery is that it is built practically on top of the dunes, so that all you have to do is descend the stairs at the back of the deck to be on the sand.

I mention that to Damien when he returns with big mugs of coffee and two flaky chocolate croissants.

“Then we’ll build a bungalow right at the edge of the property. I’ll talk to Nathan about drawing up plans,” he adds, referring to Nathan Dean, the architect who designed the main house.

I gape at him. “I was just making conversation.”

He looks almost confused. “So you wouldn’t like that? I would.” He reaches out to wipe a stray bit of chocolate from the corner of my mouth, then licks his fingertip. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to strip you naked on that beach, and yet I had to wait until we were all the way up the hill. But if there was a conveniently located bungalow …”

I shake my head in mock exasperation. “Clearly I’m going to have to watch what I say around you, Mr. Stark. I mean, what if I’d said that I wanted a pied-à-terre on the moon?”

“I’m certain that can be arranged.” He twines his fingers with mine, then kisses my knuckles. “I think this is my favorite part of being married.”


“Spoiling my wife.”

I only smile. As ridiculous as Damien building a bungalow because of an offhand comment might be, I can’t deny that it makes me feel all warm and gooey inside. Then again, simply being with the man makes me feel that way.

“Do you want another?” I ask, nodding at his chocolate-stained plate.

“Offering to wait on me?”

“Anything you want,” I say. “Anything you need.”

He squeezes my hand. “I have everything I need.”

My smile is so wide that it almost hurts. Around us, I see other customers watching us and grinning, too, as if our passion is infectious. I recognize a few as neighbors, who undoubtedly know that we are newlyweds. Then again, considering how much the tabloids and social media report on our every move, I imagine that the whole world knows we’re newlyweds.

I swipe my finger through the chocolate that is left on Damien’s plate, then lift it to his lips. His brows rise ever so slightly, and then he draws my finger in, lightly sucking and sending such sparks of ecstasy through me that it’s a wonder I don’t moan with pleasure.

When I pull my finger gently away, I can’t help my smile of victory. I’m quite certain that at least someone on this deck has a smartphone and a Twitter account, and that picture will be all over social media within the hour. Normally, that would bother me.

Right now, I not only don’t care, I want it.

I want the world to see us in love. To see the way we look at each other. The way we complete each other.

I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and if I can’t shout it from the rooftops, then I’ll just let the world shout it for me on social media.

“You’re smiling,” Damien says.

“Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Good point.” He stands. “Ready?”

I nod, then start to head for the door into the bakery. He tugs me to a stop and nods to the stairs. “I’ll come back for the car when I go for a run later. Right now, let’s walk home.”

I love Southern California. Although it is technically winter, the temperature is already in the mid-sixties, with the forecast predicting highs in the seventies. I take off my shoes, and Damien does the same, and we walk in the surf, where the water is frigid no matter what the season.

We hold hands and talk about everything and nothing as we walk home. “Hard to believe we’re already into the second week of February,” I say, thinking that we’ve just come back from our honeymoon and now it’s almost Valentine’s Day. I feel a bit like a kid whose birthday is the week before Christmas. “I wasn’t even thinking about the timing when we picked our wedding day.”

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