© 2019 Author Dylan Allen

PROLOGUE

CARTER

 

I know every inch of my wife’s body, intimately. I can connect the dots on the network of beauty marks and freckles that grace her elegant shoulders with my eyes closed.

 

But, whenever I watch her work – when she’s absorbed in her work, and the world around her has fallen away – I always discover something new.  Today, it’s the way her tongue darts out every time she lifts onto her toes to reach the top corner of the large canvas she’s painting.

 

She has her earbuds in and is singing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” at the top of her lungs. 

She can’t carry a tune to save her life, but she puts as much passion into it as she does everything else.  Her entire body is involved. She sashays over to her supply cabinet and bends over to look for something, and it only takes three shakes of, what is still, after ten years, the sweetest ass I’ve ever laid eyes on to get me motivated.

 

I crane my head out of the door and listen for a few seconds. When I don’t hear anything, I close the door quietly

and rush to enjoy the rare and fragile piece of alone time with the miraculous treasure of the amazing woman I’m married to.

 

She yelps in surprise and spins around when I close the door firmly behind me.

Her eyes, my personal pools of paradise, widen and she smiles like her entire world just lit up when she sees me. 

My heart thuds at the same time, my lungs constrict. I’ve looked into her face more times than I can count, and yet every time feels like the very first time when she captivated my imagination and my heart.  I still can’t believe I get to

“Baby! I didn’t hear you come in.  She cranes her to look past me and frowns.

She shifts all the paints she’s carrying to one arm and pulls her earbuds out.

 

“I thought you took Ella to Max’s party. Are you guys back early?”

I reach and take the paint from her and walk them over to the table in the center of the studio we built on the top level of our house.

 

“She hates Max,” I inform her of our daughter’s latest and greatest BFF breakup. They’re a weekly occurrence now.

She comes to stand beside me while I arrange the paints the way I know she likes them.  

“Since when does she hate Max? What did you do?”

I laugh at the accusatory tone in her voice and turn so we’re standing face-to-face.

 “It wasn’t me this time. She saw his fish tank, told him it was cruel to keep fish as pets, and then walked out.”

 

She groans and wraps her arms around my waist and presses her face into my chest.  “Is our kid weird?”

I hug her back and press a kiss to the top of her head. I

 

“Yeah, but she’s also pretty fucking awesome. He followed her outside and begged her to forgive him. She told him her forgiveness should be the least of his concerns before she rolled the window up. He was still standing there when we drove off. She didn’t look back once.”

 

We both laugh.

 

We’re both artists who always lead with our hearts. Our seven-year-old daughter, on the other hand, is a pragmatic, slightly aloof little biologist. And yet, that she’s our child is undeniable

“So, where is she now?”

“In her room. She’s reading the book your mother sent.”

 

She nods absently and then, her eyes slide to mine for a second before she looks back at the table. A small smile teases the corner of her mouth.  Oh, yeah.  Our minds are on the same track, and she’s thinking exactly what I was when I closed the door a few minutes ago.  Her body, all long lines, and compelling curves are taut with anticipation.

 

“And…what are you doing?” Her voice is a breathless, husky, suggestive siren song. This time when she looks at me, her eyes are an azure lasso, and I couldn’t look away from her if my life depended on it.

 

“I’m thinking about all the ways I want to fuck you, but planning for the only way I can right now. Hard and fast. Deep and dirty.”

 

Her hot, blue expression turns turbulent with need, and I take a mental snapshot of her like that before I move to stand behind her.  She leans back into me and rubs her ass on my already hard cock.

“Hard, dirty, and deep is exactly what I had in mind.” 

“You don't mind the fast part?”  I press a kiss to the small freckle on the back of her neck.

She sighs softly and grips.  “I’ll take it – but you’ll have to make that up to me later.” 

 

“I promise.” I kiss her shoulder and then reach around her to cover one of her hands with mine. 

 

“I love this blue.” I press my palm into the blue paint she’s just poured.  

 

“It’s the one I used for your piano,” She jumps when my paint slick hand slides under her shirt and covers one of her small, soft breasts.

 

“Are you decorating me – oh, baby,” she moans when I pluck her nipple between two fingers and squeeze.

 

“No, I’m decorating the paint.” I cup her other breast.

“What’s this color called?” I ask, my lips pressed to the soft curve of her neck. Her head falls back to rest on my shoulder.

 

Her eyes are closed; her lips are parted and wet.

“Lapis.” She breathes the word up like praise. “It’s my favorite blue,” she says.

“Then it’s my favorite, too.” I press both of my palms into it this time. Then, I press them splayed onto her exposed shoulder blades. They nearly meet on either side of the gold chain that dangles down the center of her back.

 

“Giving me wings?” she asks, her smile lifting her voice an octave.

 

“No, Beth…you were born with those. I just like this color against your skin.”

I draw my hands away and slide them under her shirt again. This time, resting them on the velvet skin of her stomach. She melts into me—her body making a home of mine.

 

 I press my nose into the dark halo of her hair and breathe in the sweet sunshine and wildflowers of her shampoo.

“You ready?” I whisper into her ear, and she moans and rolls her hips so that her ass grinds into my very hard, very sensitive dick.

 

“Are you sure we have time?” she whispers, but her hands are already reaching behind her and cupping me.  She

 squeezes and my knees buckle underneath me.

I keep one hand wrapped around her and unfasten her tiny shorts and yank them and her panties down in one swift motion. “We’re about to make time.” I groan as she frees my erection from my boxers. I stroke the head of my cock through the tender wet skin of her pussy, and I almost come when she clenches her thighs and slides back and forth on me.  

 

“Oh shit, Beth…” I slide down until I’m lined up with her entrance and nudge my way in a fraction. She clamps down around my head, and I have to grab the table to keep myself from falling forward on top of her as I find my way home.

 

It’s been a week since I’ve felt her, and I want to savor every inch of her. “I’ve been thinking about this all day.”She isn’t having my slow ingress, and she pushes back, pulling me deeper. “Then fuck me like it,” she moans. I thrust up and hiss at the slippery friction of our bodies working together in common purpose.

 

“Yes!” She arches her back and throws her head back. I grab her neck and turn her head until her mouth is where I need it to be so I can kiss her while I fuck her. My tongue plunges her hot honey pot mouth, and in seconds, I’m drunk on her.

 

Unable to hold on to anything else, I close my eyes and let the pleasure of fucking my wife’s sweet, hot cunt take me away. All we are is a movement of sweat, sex, and passion told in a symphony of moans, curses, and declarations of love.

I’m close when there’s an abrupt pause in the roll of her hips right before she breaks our kiss. I open my eyes.

 

“What’s wrong?” I pant and grab her hip to hold her in place when I feel her sliding off me.

 

“Get off! Hurry,” she huffs, and I don’t need to see her glance at the door to know what’s wrong.

 

 “Fuck.” I pull out of her and stuff myself back into my jeans while she pulls her shorts back up. We’re both barely decent when the door swings open and our daughter, Ella, walks in with her book over her face.

 

“Mommy, why did Ariel have to give up everything for Prince Eric?” she asks in a pained, frustrated voice, oblivious to our flushed faces and heaving chests.

 

“What? Who are Ariel and Eric?” I snap, confused as fuck because most of the blood in my body has drained to my dick.

She holds up the book and thrusts it up at me.  I take it from her. “Oh. Are you talking about book characters??”  I can’t believe she interrupted us

 

“They’re people too, Daddy.” She says and plucks the book out of my hands as if she’s just decided I’m not worthy of holding it. 

 

“Yeah, Daddy,” Beth says in mock disapproval, and I give her dirty look that morphs to a smile when our daughter turns her questions to her.

 

“She's a total doormat. Why?” The full strength of her disgust is on display in her sage green eyes, and a smile tugs at my lips, but I bite it back.

 

She looks like she’s searching for the meaning of life, and I don’t dare make light of it.

She’s been reading Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales, and it’s revealed that unusual pragmatism extends to her views on love.

“What do you think she should have done instead?” Beth asks.

She purses her lips and looks up at the ceiling while she contemplates her answer. Beth and I exchange a glance full of amusement and promise.

 

“I got it!” Ella crows and we look back to find her eyes alight with discovery.

 

“Let’s hear it,” I say and make myself comfortable. When she looks like that, it means we’re in for one of her lessons.

 

She drops down next to me and waves her mother over. She used to finding us like this and doesn’t blink at the paint now dried and smeared on her mother’s body.

 

Beth sits on Ella’s other side, and we let her hold court.

 

“Well… since they can use their magic to turn Ariel into a human, they could have turned Eric into a merman. Then they could have spent some time with her family and some with his. But, she’s never going to see her daddy again. Do you think that’s fair?” she asks looking back and forth at us with genuine horror. I give Beth a ‘this is all you’ look. I haven’t even read these stories.

Beth scowls at me before she looks at Ella and contemplates her for a second.

 

 “Well, sweetie, I think if Ariel hadn’t wanted her legs so badly and didn’t love the prince so much, then maybe it would feel like giving up those things was unfair. But she found her true love,” Beth says.

Ella nods thoughtfully.

 

“So, you mean losing her voice, him almost marrying someone else, all of that is okay because in the end, they get to be with their true love?”

 

I laugh at the incredulity in her voice and lean back, waiting for Beth to answer. That earns me a glare from my wife. Then she grimaces and taps her chin like she’s thinking.  

 

“Okay, think of it like this. Remember how I loved pomegranate?”

 

Ella nods.

“Yes. But they stopped selling it, right?”

 

“Nope, they stopped selling it ready to eat. I could still buy the pomegranate, but it would have meant that I had to get all those seeds out myself. I didn’t love it enough to do all that work. So, not all love is the same. Not all love is worth the work. Now, if they stopped selling mangoes ready to eat, I’d buy those. Because they are worth the work.”

 

“So…Daddy is like a mango?”

 

“Yes. Daddy is my mango,” she says, beaming down at our daughter like she just solved a quantum physics equation.

“Mango cheesecake,” I amend.  Beth smiles at me over our daughter’s head just as the inside joke sails right over it, too.

 

“Well, when I fall in love, I’ll just skip to the part where we kiss and get married.”

I laugh. Oh, to be seven again. She’s scowling at the book like it’s caused her great offense.

 

“Trust me, the kissing will be so much better if you don’t skip those hard parts. Just read it. No skipping,” her mother says.

She pouts.

 

“Can’t I find something else?” she says in a plaintive voice and turns her eyes to me.

Please? I just don’t know why Ariel has to suffer so much first."

She crawls into my lap. She winds her little arms around my neck and presses her soft, round cheek to mine.

"Tell me your story.”

 

When it comes to knowing and exploiting my weaknesses, my daughter has had the most excellent teacher—my wife.

“Oh, Ella, our story has plenty of heartbreak in it,” Beth says.

 

She pulls her face away from mine and glares at me.

 “You must have done it because Mommy would never break your heart,” she says in a scolding voice.

I guffaw.

 

Beth frowns. “I resent that laugh.”

 

“I resent my broken heart,” I mutter. 

I pick up the book Ella abandoned and inspect the spine.

 

 “Ah, I see the problem now. This is a fairy tale. That’s different from a love story.”

“Nuh-uh…she gets married.”

“So…?”

 

“That’s how all love stories end.”

“No, it isn’t,” Beth and I say at the exact same time.

 

Our eyes meet over our daughter’s head and a stream of memories rife with love, pain, loss, fear, bliss, hope, and longing rush between us in a matter of seconds.

 

We went to hell and back, and for this perfect moment, I’d do it again a thousand times.  

Our daughter is watching me.

Her eyes are full of questions.

 

I smooth her hair off her forehead and press a kiss to it. I cup her sweet face and give for free the knowledge I paid for with blood, sweat, and tears.

“Baby, real love stories—the ones worth telling—they never end.”

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