The late morning sun streams through the window of the cabin loft. I stretch in the warmth of the bed and watch tiny particles of dust dance in the yellow rays. Aiden breathes deep and even at my side and I allow myself a moment to bask in the rightness that is this moment, this bubble of time we’ve carved out of reality, where only he and I exist, tucked away in the woods, trying to catch up on all the time we’ve missed.
One thing I missed this past year is about to be rectified, if only I can sneak away quietly enough to keep from waking him. If he wakes up, he’ll want to know what I’m doing and I want to surprise him.
Sliding out of the bed, I gingerly place one foot on the bare hardwood floor and then another, all the while listening to Aiden’s breathing. In. Out. In. Out.
So far, so good.
Then I’m free of the bed’s embrace and clothed in nothing more than a sunbeam, still listening, afraid he’ll sense that I’m missing from the bed. But he doesn’t, so I quickly slip a satin nightie on and tiptoe down the stairs to grab his present out of my purse.
Once I hit the kitchen floor, I am lightning speed, hoping I’ll make it back before he wakes up. Careful to skip the squeaky step, I dash back up the stairs and round the corner just as Aiden rolls onto his back and breathes out a deep sigh. His eyes are closed, but he is starting to stir. The sheet is lightly draped across his hips and tented in the middle. I can’t help the grin that steals across my face at the sight.
His blond hair is mussed and one cheek has a pink crease running down the side from where he was fast asleep. He blinks twice and turns his head, eyes slightly unfocused as he takes a second to remember where he is. When I step closer to the bed, his gaze locks with mine and the sleepy smile of recognition he offers makes my heart swell.
“Good morning,” I say, walking to the foot of the bed with his present held in one hand behind my back.
“And to you,” he replies, sitting up a little so he can lean back against the headboard. One eyebrow pops up and he gestures with his chin to my arm. “What are ye hiding there?”
Dang, he’s always so perceptive. Oh well, I can work with this.
“Noooothing…” I’m climbing onto the bed by his feet, placing my knees on either side of him as I make my way up his body and toward the edge of the sheet where his skin looks painted by the sun.
“Is that right? Then what of the mischievous grin?”
“Who, me? I don’t know what you mean.”
“I think ye do.”
I tsk my tongue at him. “So suspicious. Can’t a girl just come give her hubby a kiss in the morning without ulterior motives?”
He chuckles, flashing that dimple in his cheek. “Ah, but I know you’re up to no good.” He watches my progress up his body, coming closer and closer to the tented sheet, which is now drawn tight across his abdomen.
“Now why would you say a thing like that? As it turns out, I have a present for you.”
With a quick glance downward, he gives me a wolfish grin and says, “I have one for you, too.”
With my free hand, I tickle him on the ribs and make him squirm. “Mine first.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he says, pulling a serious face. “But ye don’t need to give me a present. I have all I need. You, me, this.” He sits halfway up to press a soft kiss to my lips.
“It’s for your birthday,” I reply, pressing him back down onto the pillow.
“My birthday? Today is not my birthday. ‘Tis the first of May and it has to be—what?—June? July? Lord, I haven’t a clue.”
“It doesn’t matter. I missed your actual birthday…” My heart pinches at the not-too-distant memory of the months we spent apart, but I shove the negative thought aside. “So I’m giving you a belated present now.”
“Thank ye, mo chridhe.”
“You’re welcome. And it’s probably a good thing you thanked me now, because you’re not going to be able to make sensible words for a while.”
“What do you—”
“Close your eyes.”
He does as he is bid, though I can see the confusion in his wrinkled brow. It makes me feel a teensy bit wicked. I like it.
From behind my back, I pull out the heated massage oil that I picked up when we went shopping in Spokane, squirt a dollop onto my palm, and place the bottle aside. Rubbing my hands together to activate the heat, I let my eyes drink in the sight of his bare chest, lightly dusted with blond hair, and taut with anticipation. His thighs clench beneath me as I wiggle back and forth to secure my position.
Fingers slick and warm, I spread my hands across his chest and slide them down his stomach. His breath hisses in as his muscles jerk beneath my palms. His skin sucks down the oil so quickly that I grab the bottle and dribble more over his naked body before rubbing it in with slow, wide circles.
“Lindsey…” His groan is a physical force that reaches out and strokes me back.
I pull the sheet out of the way and liberally apply more of the massage oil, watching the pulse in his neck.
“Can I open my eyes? In the name of all that is holy, I want to watch ye, lass.”
“Well, because you asked so nicely…”
His lashes sweep up and those blue eyes sear me to the core. Gone is the sleepy smile and in its place is a lava filled haze of desire that has me rocking in place. He reaches out and tugs the spaghetti straps of my nightgown down so they fall over my shoulders.
“So you like your birthday present?” I ask with a teasing smile.
“Best birthday ever,” he replies, though his voice sounds hoarse. “And now I’d like to give ye my present.” Before I can even let out a squeak, he flips me onto my back and crushes his mouth to mine.