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The Purchased Wife(67)

By´╝ÜMichelle Reid

'And you have a one-track mind,' he sighed.

'It's my birthday. I'm allowed a treat.'

'Several treats.'

'OK,' she shrugged, not arguing the point because it was oh, so much more interesting to discover how smoothly the shirt fell open to her lightest touch. She ran her fingernails down his front and watched taut muscles flex.

'You're so gorgeous,' she murmured helplessly-and received her reward with the hungry clamp of his mouth. It didn't take much longer for them to be lost. Xander's muttered, 'We don't have time for this,' was ruined by the urgency with which he stripped her blue T-shirt dress off her and tumbled her onto the bed. They made hot, frenzied love while the rest of the family chatted by the poolside.

When they came downstairs two hours later you would be forgiven for thinking that Nell had spent the whole afternoon achieving that gloriously chic look she'd donned in a short half-hour. She was wearing aquamarine silk, smooth and slinky, a perfect set of blue diamonds sparkling at her creamy throat.

Her hair was up to show them off because Xander had given her them for her birthday. And if anyone wondered at the rueful grimace he offered when his mother congratulated his wife on how two hours' pampering could put such a wonderful glow to her daughter-in-law, no one would have thought to question whether he knew something that they did not. He looked far too smooth and sophisticated to be recalling what they'd been doing in the shower only half an hour ago.

They separated, they danced and circulated amongst their fifty-strong guests as goods hosts did. They laughed and teased and flirted and came together on the terrace to snatch a private moment or two gazing at the moon.

'Happy?' Xander asked, holding her in front of him.

'Mmm,' Nell murmured uncertainly.

'Something missing from your perfect day?'

'Mmm,' she nodded.

'You would like me to toss you into the pool perhaps?'

'Not tonight, thank you,' she answered primly, then took hold of one of his hands and slid it over her abdomen. 'I'm afraid it's tender loving care time again,' she softly confided.

Xander immediately stiffened like a man in shock. 'I hope you are teasing me!' he grated.

'No,' Nell sighed.

He swung her around, a dark glitter in his eyes. 'You mean you really are pregnant? But our son is only ten months old!'

'I want a red-haired, green-eyed girl child this time,' she told him. 'And you really are lousy at birth control.'

'Ah, so I am to get the blame again.'

'Of course,' she said then wound her arms around his neck and leaned provocatively into him. 'But then you never, ever disappoint...'