Master R: Chapter Eight

The piece of wedding cake hit her tongue, and she nearly orgasmed on the spot. Chocolate base with a raspberry filling, a chocolate, cinnamon-infused ganache topping sprinkled with nuts? Nothing tasted better—except perhaps for the man standing before her.

Her blue silk dress rustled as she stepped backward to gaze into his eyes. She licked her bottom lip to entice Richard as much as lick off the last bit of chocolate.

He winked. “My little vixen.”

“And beautiful in that dress.” Laurent chuckled and sidled up to them. “ I wonder who designed it? It looks as if it was made for you.” He kissed her on the cheek. “Congratulations, you two.”

Champagne glasses clinked in the background, and light chatter mixed in with the beautiful cello and violin music from the quartet in the corner of the Accendos Library. It was the perfect place for their wedding reception, all their friends gathered around. Alexander, Rebecca, Laurent, Sarah, Steffan, Marcos and Isabella, Carson and London, Jonathan and Christiana, Derek and Samantha with their two adorable children—all dressed in beautiful brocades and silks and tuxedos, all here for them. Smiling. Happy.

Laurent nodded once at Richard. “Everything’s ready for you.”

“Ready?” she asked.

Richard took her plate and set it down by the half-demolished cake. “Time for a wedding present.”

“Being your wife is enough. Now I have all the titles,” she teased. Submissive, owned, collared and now legally bound as man and wife.

He grasped her hand anyway and pulled her away from the cake table. He led her up the circular staircase to the balcony—one of Alexander’s favorite spots to watch the usual playtime below. Today it was empty. She’d rarely been up there, which is why when Richard cracked open a long bookcase to reveal it was a door, she stopped short.

“A secret room?” she gasped.

“The Master’s private library.”

Her peeked inside. “I never knew.”

“Most don’t.”

Two antique leather club chairs sat before a fireplace, lit with a dozen ivory pillar candles giving off a soft glow. Floor to ceiling bookshelves holding leather-bound volumes lined the walls, and a small writing desk stood in the corner.

The door clicked shut behind her. Richard spun her into his arms, the fabric of her dress rustling against his trouser legs. “Mmmm, you smell so good,” he murmured into her hair. “Happy?”

“Beyond.” Words hadn’t yet been invented for the joy that danced inside her.

After the fashion show, she’d felt soft, peaceful, wanting nothing more than to nestle into Richard’s arms and be quiet. That needing to just be near him. Not talk. Not do anything.

She still had the odd nightmare in the night leading up to today, but her heartbeat barely registered the nightly intrusions. She’d simply bury her face in Richard’s neck, feel his arms band her to him, still asleep but always reaching for her. The images would fade to smoke, and bit by bit as the days passed, she hardly thought of what her life was like before him.

Now, a fluttery anticipation had grown in her belly, like there was so much more to feel, think and do. She’d broken through a gate that she hadn’t realized had her hemmed in all this time.

She inhaled his scent mixing with the dusty small of old books and leather. “So good,” she murmured.

He pulled back, his dark eyes clear and bright. “About that present.”

He settled her into a chair.

After shrugging off his jacket, he got on bended knee—a position she rarely saw him in. Not even when he proposed, rather stood before her, towering over her as he asked the question.

He held out his arm. “Unbutton my cuff.”

Ooo, perhaps they were starting their honeymoon early. She was ready, a twinge going off between her legs. The small buttons gave way without a fight, revealing the dark hair that dusted his skin. The twinge? It rose to a burn. No aphrodisiac could have a greater effect than merely touching Richard’s strong forearms.

His gaze never left her face. “Roll it up.”

He turned his bared arm over, and she sucked in a quick breath. A brand new tattoo, a Phoenix, a little red and raw, stared up at her. Her name was etched underneath in a beautiful script.

“It’s you,” he said. “You’ve burned and risen every time, mil tesoro. And I love you for it. Now I carry with me your courage.”

She traced the tiny wings on the bird. Tiny, inked feathers graced two large wings that appeared in mid-flight. Its large eyes stared right at her. “She’s beautiful.”

“Like you.”

She raised her lashes, drank in his beautiful eyes. “Uncanny.”

His brows pinched together in question. She also had a surprise. But how could she tell him what she’d done? First, she hadn’t talked to him about it before going ahead. That would have ruined the surprise. She only hoped he’d be pleased.

Her breath quickened. “I have something for you, too.”

She’d wanted to reveal it to him when they got to their honeymoon destination—two weeks on Makepeace Island in Australia. They were to leave immediately after the reception. She’d prayed she could keep it secret until then. But now was better.

She sucked in a long breath and stood. “Please forgive me that I didn’t get permission first.”

“You can stand.” He chuckled and righted himself.

“No, I mean…” She tried to turn around but her dress got caught on the chair and his legs. She ended up pitching into the chair. “Ooof.” Clumsy much?

His arm banded around the waist and righted her. “Trying to run away?” His deep growl flashed an image of the big bad wolf in her mind. She wouldn’t mind being chased by him.

“Can you help me with my dress?”

“Charlotte.” His tone was both warning and questioning. He swiped his finger along the back of her neck, sending a shudder down her spine. “Attempting to seduce me?”

“No. I mean, yes, always but… please?” She had to look over her shoulder to catch his face. He had her pressed to his chest. She grabbed fistfuls of her dress and tried to yank the hemline up.

He let go of her and stepped backward. “Eager. Need help?” Once more his laughter reached her ears. He wasn’t mad, rather amused.

“Please. I have something to show you—”

“On your ass?”

A giggle erupted from her own throat. “Yes, actually.”

The energy in the room dropped. He’d been teasing, but rather guessed the truth. She’d surprised him alright. Move quickly. Her dress would be wrinkled beyond belief, and everyone downstairs would think they were up here having sex—but really who cared?

Now with her arms full of fabric, her legs were free to move her around. She pushed her butt out.

“No panties. Had I known I might have had us up here earlier,” his deep voice said. “And had I known about this…” His fingertip traced the crescent moon tattoo on her cheek. She couldn’t see it now but this morning in the mirror, it also had looked a little red and raw given it was only a week old.

“It’s a sign of rebirth,” she said quickly. “So, when you…”

“Spank you, fuck you, I’ll see it.” His voice matched his raw words.

“And know you’re always bringing me back,” she added quickly. What to get inked into her skin took long thought. Whenever she thought of Richard, however, this image kept coming back to mind. Like a moon lighting a traveler’s path, Richard always showed her the way, and she’d always found herself some place better.

He drew the fabric fall back down to cover her. Oh, no. He didn’t like it.

He moved her to face him. This time, his eyes were different—misted and wet, and his lids slightly hooded.

“Surprised?” she asked softly.

He nodded once.


“Beyond,” he whispered.

She grabbed both his hands and brought them up to her lips. “These hands can do anything to me. Not because you have the ability but because I trust them. I trust every part of you.” But it was more than that, wasn’t it? He was deserving–and she was, as well. “Any man can stand between me and the dark. But you loved my darkness.”

“I have—and always will—love every part of you.” Rough edges tinged his voice.

She dripped her chin, closed her eyes. “I am here for you. Always.”

“Mio tesoro.” His lips found hers and she lost herself in his kiss. Warm light filled her body. So this is what peace felt like.

He’d often called her my treasure. But for the first time, she felt like one bone deep. Not just because he loved her. Because she’d finally let herself accept it—fully.

~~The End~~