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Virginia (Ginger, Hot Spice) Hough. Starlet curves, golden hair and a crush on me like a wrecking ball.
** A steamy STANDALONE contemporary romance with a hot dominating wealthy alpha who drops f-bombs like hot potatoes. No cliffhanger, no cheating, and a guaranteed happily-ever-after. **
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1 ~ LUTHER
“Are you sure you’re ready for this, Oli? I’ve got Joe on standby with the helicopter. Last chance, mate, if you want to change your mind,” I say to my best friend waiting anxiously for his bride, Darcy, to arrive.
“Why would I want to change my mind when I’m about to marry the most perfect woman in the world?” Oliver asks.
Only Darcy would choose to have her wedding outside not only in the dark of night, but in the midst of winter. To add to the drama of dark and cold, we are on a clifftop overlooking an ocean that hammers at the rock face below.
I try again. “As your best man, and your lawyer, I wouldn’t be doing my job if—”
“If you didn’t spell out some facts, warn me about divorce statistics, the assets I’d lose if Darcy walks out, the rate of infidelity in marriage—”
“Give me a break, Oliver. That’s not what I was going to say.”
“What were you going to say?” Oliver slides his cuff up his wrist and checks his watch, speaking again before I can answer him. “What if she’s late? If Darcy’s late, this whole evening fails.”
I’ve never seen him this rattled and my mind’s going nuts, concocting stories I could tell him to really wind him up. But tonight, my friend needs sedating rather than torment. “For fu—” I catch myself just in time. I promised Darcy I wouldn’t swear at her wedding. “Listen to me. Your future won’t rest on whether the vows are spoken as the moon rises.”
“Darcy has planned this event down to the final second.”
“In which case, she will be on time. And once more, Oliver, remember, you have to stop calling it an event. It’s your wedding.”
“What if she doesn’t show?”
“Then we’ll go to a bar, and I’ll get you very drunk.”
He flinches. “You’re not helping.”
“Because your question is redundant. Darcy will show. She loves you, and wants your babies.”
“She said that to you?”
He sounds incredulous, as if Darcy is someone he has a crush on, but he doesn’t really know her. If he was looking at me instead of glancing over his shoulder every three seconds, Oliver would see my eye roll.
Oliver is a frighteningly stable person. Even in the most difficult moments of his life, he maintains a sense of calm that is unnerving. And it’s not a wall he hides behind while he secretly seethes. He’s simply a solid block of calm. Until tonight. Who knew love would shake him this way?
“Yes,” I tell him. “Darcy and I meet for coffee every Tuesday to talk about babies, what we’re going to cook for dinner, and how disappointing it is that you’ve got such a tiny dick. Promise me, Oli, that the real you still exists somewhere because if Darcy sees you in this wobbly state, riddled with self-doubt, she will abandon you at the altar. I’ll be one step behind her.”
“Darcy has never complained about my dick.”
“That’s the spirit.”
I’m happy for Oliver. I keep telling myself that. Marriage and children are something he’s always expected in his life. Even a cynical bastard like me can see that he and Darcy complete each other. In that respect, I’m thrilled for both of them. But this is a turning point in one of the most important relationships in my life.
I have always come and gone from Oliver’s house as I please. As I have done since we were six years old. From today, that stops, completely. What Oliver and Darcy don’t realize is that it really stopped once they became serious. But I eased myself out. Only turned up when I knew it was appropriate. This has been a major adjustment for both Oliver and I, so I ensured the transition was smooth, because I fucking love that man. I love him almost as much as I love the other person who has a piece of my life.
My love for Rachel is different, though. Oliver, I love like a brother. But Rachel? Rachel slays my heart. I’m known for being protective, but I’m also not stupid. My career as a lawyer is important. It allows me to keep people safe, to pull strings and smooth paths, and clean up the little bits of filth that stick to the edges of even the most well-intentioned person. Good people make mistakes. I fix those little errors of judgment so that good people can continue living good lives.
I’d throw that all away if Rachel needed me to. I’d kill for her without hesitation.
I’m wondering if that’s how Oliver feels about Darcy, just as the lights dim until the area where we wait is illuminated only by the tiny flames of hundreds of candles.
“Here we go,” I mutter.
Oliver blows out his breath, straightens, and in that moment, his identity is restored.