“Oh, Owen! What is this?”
He gestures grandly to the home theater room in his parents’ finished basement. “Our five-month anniversary celebration. I recreated our first date.”
“Aww! And I feel sneaky just like last time since your parents are away.” Claire and Jake went to LA for the week. I talked a lot with Claire about making a relationship work with our nomadic type of work. She and Jake are closer than ever. Relationship goals.
I take the front-row center seat. “What’re we watching?” I glance around. “Owen?”
He returns a moment later carrying a bowl of popcorn. He joins me, and I look inside the bowl just to be sure. Yup. He mixed it with peanut M&M’s.
“Wow, you put a lot of peanut M&M’s this time,” I say.
He pinches my chin. “I had to account for you hogging all the M&M’s.”
“I do not hog all the M&M’s.”
He holds up a finger. “On second thought, I should get two bowls so we don’t fight.” He starts to get up, but I pull him down.
“We’re not going to fight. We’ll share.”
He sends me a look.
“I swear I won’t hog the M&M’s! What’re we watching?”
He grabs the remote and turns on the movie setup. “What else? Once and Always.” That was the movie from our first date. I didn’t think he’d want to watch it. He didn’t want to the first time around.
I kiss him. “I hope I get to see how it ends this time.”
“I hope you don’t.” He kisses me for so long, I can’t help but think we should rush to a bed. Any bed.
He breaks the kiss. “This time we have to watch the movie.”
“We could do it after the kissing part of the date.”
“Nope. We’re doing the first-date reenactment. I’ve got a whole schedule to stick to.”
I smile. “Oh, you do, huh?”
“Yes. And I want to be sure you remember every moment of our first-date reenactment.”
“Fine, but if the M&M’s run out before the movie, I’ll be forced to make out with you out of boredom. You know this is a teen romance, right?”
His dark eyes sparkle. “I’m sure that’s why you picked it in the first place. Hoping I’d take the hint.”
I lean close. “I was hoping you’d get ideas.”
“Oh, I got ideas all right.” He kisses me again for a long time.
I break the kiss, breathless. “Now we watch.” I grab the remote and press play.
Welp, I didn’t miss much last time around. Once and Always was a snorefest. Romantic stuff is boring as hell to watch. Experiencing it, on the other hand…
I guide a blindfolded Shayla toward the loft.
She giggles. “I know we’re outside. Little nip in the air.”
I open the door to the stairs leading to the loft. “I’ll keep you warm.”
“Is this the loft? I don’t think I should climb the stairs blindfolded.”
“No problem.” I scoop her up and toss her over my shoulder.
“Owen! Do you want to see all those M&M’s a second time?”
I start up the stairs. “I told you not to hog the M&M’s.”
“I only had my fair share.”
I rub her bottom, and she quiets down. When we reach the loft area, I set her on her feet.
She smiles. “We didn’t go to the loft on our first date.”
“That was much later, but I’m condensing things to get to the good part.”
“I thought the movie was the good part,” she says innocently.
“All of it is.” I take off her blindfold.
She gasps. “Is this what you were doing when you asked me to wash the popcorn bowl? You said you had to get something.”
“I had to get something ready. This.”
Her blue eyes light up. “I love it.” She rushes over to the sofa bed I made up with white linens and covered in rose petals. Candles lit around the room give it a soft glow.
She flops back on the bed, spreading her arms wide. “This is so comfortable. Why didn’t we pull out the sofa bed last time we were here?” That was nine years ago.
I join her, covering her body and propping my weight on my arms. I kiss her tenderly. “Because last time I was seventeen, and I could hardly wait to get you naked.” I undo the button to her jeans and lower the zipper. Then I yank both the jeans and her panties down.
“Shoes,” she says. “You’re in a hurry this time too.”
I pull off her flats, drop them on the side of the bed, and quickly finish the job of getting her naked.
She gives me a sexy smile. “Your turn.”
I get off the bed, my eyes glued to her naked body as I strip out of my clothes.
She gathers rose petals in her hands and throws them in the air. They land all over her—hair, shoulders, one catches on her breast.
I join her, carefully peeling petals from her and kissing each spot. “God, you’re beautiful.”
She sighs and wraps her arms around my neck. “You’re such a romantic. I can’t believe you didn’t like that romantic movie.”
I skate my palms down her torso, reveling in her warm satiny skin. “It’s all for you. I’ll always love you.”
She smiles widely. “That’s my line.” She runs her hands over my shoulders and back.
She stares at my mouth, and I take the hint, kissing her long and deep. The passion ignites between us, and what started slow and tender turns carnal. Two bodies aching for each other, needing each other.
And when we finally join, it’s perfect. Our gazes lock as we share a breath, our hearts beating as one.
“I love you,” I say. “Even more than before.”
“I love you too so much.”
And then there are no words, only the hitch of her breath and her noisy cries as I push her to her release. And I tumble over with her a moment later.
I roll to my back and tuck her against my side.
She props up on an elbow and looks down at me, smiling. “We’ll be married soon. Only two and a half months away.”
“A great way to bring in the New Year.”
“Kind of a short engagement, isn’t it? Olivia told me her sister spent a year planning her wedding.”
“We don’t need a year when we’ve got Aunt Hailey, the wedding planner master.”
She rubs my chest. “Yeah, I had to lock you down before you got away from me again.”
“Funny, I thought you got away from me.”
She gets serious. “Owen, this time we’ll fight for each other no matter what life throws at us.”
I roll over and pin her hands to the mattress. She squeaks in surprise. “No need to fight. You’ve already surrendered to love.”
She smiles serenely. “We both have.”
Don’t miss the next book in the series, The Sexy Part, where Cooper comes to the rescue for a jilted bride with fire in her eyes!
p.s. Did you know Owen's parents have their own story? Hidden Hollywood is free on all retailers.
© 2023 Kylie Gilmore
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