From the same author who brought us the Beautiful Bastard and Wild Seasons series, Christina Lauren brings us her newest novel, Beautiful Beloved, which picks up where it left off with characters Max and Sara in Beautiful Stranger. The couple has a new baby on the way and is finding that keeping the romance alive can be a bit difficult. Will they be able to find a balance between the wild sexcapades they aren't ready to retire and the demands of parenthood?
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The dishes were done, the flat tidied, and Sara had begun to sing quietly to our little miss in the nursery. I said a simple prayer to the god of sleeping children, because on her way in there, Sara had given me the look.
The don't fall asleep before I come to bed look.
The I'm still not over the sight of our baby sleeping on your naked chest look.
The you're getting very, extremely laid look.
I f*cking loved my life.
Across the room on the coffee table, my phone lit up with a call. Going over and seeing whose name flashed across the screen, I broke out in a massive smile.
"You've called the happiest bloke on the planet," I told my brother, in lieu of a proper greeting.
I was met with a heavy pause of silence, and then: "It's impossible for you to be smugger."
"True. But make it quick. I'm about to be ravaged by the natives." Sweet mother Mary it seemed like it'd been forever since we'd had anything more than a quick grope en route to passing out from exhaustion. I was even considering doing some extensive stretching first.
My youngest brother, Niall, laughed. "In that case, I hope you survive the night because I'm coming to visit next week and I'd be terribly disappointed to miss the Max Stella tour you've promised all these years."
"Brilliant!" I smacked the table with my palm. This night kept getting better. The promise of sex two nights in a row with my gorgeous wife and a visit from my brother next week. "Absolutely, bloody brilliant." I hadn't seen Niall since the last time I went home, over a year ago, and he'd been too busy to visit much. "Work letting you out, then?"
"More or less." He paused. "Right. That's it, then, just letting you know. I'm coming to visit little Annabel, not you lot."
Laughing, I said, "Understood."
"I'll arrive on Tuesday. Leaving Sunday."
I noted the rest of the details and rang off before heading to find Sara to share the news.
The singing had stopped, and to my complete lack of surprise, I found my beautiful wife asleep in the rocking chair beside the crib, with the baby in her arms. I pulled the little Beloved away from her mum, swaddled her up, and placed her in the crib. Although until recently, Annabel generally slept in stretches of only two or three hours, at least we could put her to bed beside a brass band and she wouldn't rouse.
I suspected we wouldn't be as lucky with the next one.
I blinked, feeling slightly mad for having this thought. It was only in the past two weeks that we were getting any sort of decent sleep at all.
With the baby taken care of, I crossed the room to wake Sara. Her eyes drew open just as I reached her, and she inhaled deeply, blinking up at me. "Oh. I fell asleep."
I crouched in front of her, using my thumb to move a strand of hair off her face. "I don't think you were supposed to do that."
"No, I was going to get you naked."
"That's still an option."
Sara took my hand and stood, pulling me after her out of the nursery and down the hall. "What were you thinking, just standing there looking down at me?"
"Just feeling rather in love with my life, is all."
"Well, I fell asleep wondering whether our second will be as good a sleeper as our first."
She glanced over her shoulder at me with a grin, and I gaped at her, eyes wide and incredulous. How could she know the exact thought had crossed my mind only minutes before?
"You call Anna a good sleeper?" I asked.
"She has been lately," she clarified. "We just had to give her time to grow into it."
I watched Sara's hair slide over her shoulders as she turned back and shook her head. Her hair was longer now, thicker, and the way it slid across her skin made me want to gather it into a ball, hold it in my fist, and f*ck her over the side of the bed.
Oh, but it had been forever since we'd done anything as rough as that.
I swallowed, closed my eyes, and attempted to steady my hunger when she sat on the edge of the mattress and slowly slid her thighs apart.
"You've lost your mind," I said with a grin.
"Probably true." Her sexy little shrug told me she was only half serious, and a naughty playfulness lingered beneath the surface.
Stepping between her legs, I helped her pull her tank top over her head and guided her onto her back so I could slide her thin cotton shorts down and off.
"Max . . ."
"Just a minute." I retrieved my camera from the shelf, stabilized it on the tripod, and set it to automatic shots every five seconds. Sara's breath was rapid and shallow when I bent low, kissed her neck, and told her, "I won't keep you long."
"Anna's fine," she said, pulling me closer. "Keep me as long as you can."
Laying her back, I pushed her skirt up her hips and began kissing my way up her stomach, feeling my cock tighten with each nostalgic click of the shutter, with the feel of her hands digging into my hair. I moved her sweater up her stomach, revealing smooth, bare skin. She tasted like rain, like fruit, and had the same sweet scent I'd always worshipped on her body. Reaching behind her, I unhooked her bra and pushed it up over her breasts.
I'd always loved Sara's breasts but I'd never particularly been a breast man until recently. The weight of them, the soft smell of her skin, and the odd spike I felt in my abdomen whenever she fed our child . . . it was an odd reflex to want to look at them, touch them like this, and one I realized I'd been fighting the last few months.
You don't have to apologize for being turned on by that.
My mouth closed over the peak, tongue pulling her deeper into my mouth, and I groaned at the feel of it. She was warm and firm, so full—
I did this . . .
I made her this way
—and when she reached for my track pants and pushed them down my hips to take me in her hand, the moment dissolved into frenzy.
I could imagine her looking through the pictures later, seeing how much I relished the feel of her in my mouth, the taste of her on my tongue. She would know, then, just by looking at my face, how I loved the slide of milk on my hand, the way her hips looked spread around mine. I worshipped her.
I bloody worshipped this woman.
I rocked into her fist, groaning at the feel of her mouth sucking at my neck, her desperate, sweet little cries into my skin. Shoving her panties aside, I licked my hand and used it to make her slick so I could push deep inside with one sharp stab of my hips.
She gasped, eyes wide with thrill and relieved—f*ck, she was relieved, as if I'd been missing and maybe I had. I pulled out and shifted forward, f*cking her so hard and fast that within the span of a minute I knew I was coming; coming before I had time to get her there, before I even had time to consider whether she wanted me to spill inside her before leaving for work. I just . . . wanted with such intensity, with a kind of jagged need I hadn't felt in so long that I couldn't seem to slow myself down.
The tenderness and protectiveness had been pushed aside, just for the moment, by something older and familiar: a heavy need to claim her.
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