Redeeming Hartland (MF)
[Siren Classic: Erotic Contemporary Romance, HEA]
Nikki Pearson is disillusioned with the fairy-tale romance she shares with prominent attorney Richard Wright in New York City. While she struggles to mend their relationship, she finds herself increasingly haunted by the ghosts of a past life she left behind eight years ago.
Nikki fled her hometown of Hartland, Ontario to escape her abusive father when she was a teenager. But although the memories of her broken family are difficult to bear, the memories of the best friend she hasn’t seen since she left are far more distressing. Matthew Cypher was her childhood sweetheart, but when Nikki ran away from Hartland, she left town without telling him a word. And now, she can’t help but feel like she needs to go back.
Matthew is shocked when the woman he’s loved forever suddenly comes back into his life, and he never wants to lose her again. He has no doubt that she loves him just as fiercely, but he knows that it won’t be easy for her to decide which life to leave behind. And he can only hope that this time, she’ll finally accept Hartland as home.
A Siren Erotic Romance
“More champagne, miss?”
Nikki Pearson looked over her shoulder to see a waiter standing behind her, holding an expensive bottle of champagne in his hands.
“No, thank you,” she said quietly.
He cocked his ear toward her. “I’m sorry?” he asked.
Nikki cleared her throat. “No,” she answered, trying to make sure she was heard over the band. “I’m fine.”
“I’ll take some,” her boyfriend, Richard Wright, called out, as he gestured the man over with his hand.
He held his glass out to his side, watching as the waiter filled it to the top before drawing it to his lips and taking a long sip.
“Why aren’t you having more to drink?” Richard asked her as he set his glass down on the table. “It’s a wedding. It’s my best friend’s wedding. Enjoy yourself, honey.”
She gripped the base of her chair with her hands. “I am enjoying myself,” she countered.
She looked over at him. He was leaning back in his chair, watching Zach dance with his new bride. His face was flushed and his eyes were slightly unfocused.
“All right, all right,” he said playfully. “I guess I believe you.” He took off his suit jacket and draped it over the edge of the chair beside him. “Why don’t you and I dance when the next song starts?”
“You sure you’re up for it?” she asked, looking at the way his eyelids were drooping lazily down his eyes.
“Oh, you bet I am, honey,” he said with a grin.
Nikki sighed. “Okay. Well let me just go to the ladies’ room first.”
“You gonna go fix up your hair or something?”
“Uh, yeah,” she replied, standing up from her chair. “I’ll be back in a second.”
Nikki weaved her way through the tables to the bathroom, pushing open the door and stepping inside. She let out a breath, relieved to find it empty, and moved to sit down on one of the stools facing the mirror.
She looked at her reflection. Her hair was perfectly done-up and her makeup was flawless, but she reached into her purse for her lipstick anyways. Leaning forward on her seat, she opened the tube and dabbed at her lips, blending in the red color with her fingertips. Satisfied with her work, she placed her purse on the counter in front of her and looked at herself once again.
Something didn’t feel right. She wasn’t sure what it was, but as she stared at her reflection, she almost winced with the instinct that something was “off”. And the longer she stared, the more she grew to suspect that her feeling of uneasiness stemmed primarily from a peculiar change in her eyes. As she peered at herself, squinting to try and pinpoint what was amiss, she was startled to realize that her eyes looked frightfully dull and faded. The bright blue irises that she’d always been complimented on were so washed out that they could’ve been mistaken for gray. She was shocked at the change, so disturbed that she quickly shot up from the stool, grabbed her purse, and turned away from the mirror.
She leaned against the wall and shut her eyes, sucking in a deep breath to calm herself. For some reason she couldn’t quite identify, her heart was racing and her lungs were tightening painfully. Standing up straight, she smoothed her hands over her dress and tried to regain her composure. The band was just about to start playing the next song. Richard would be expecting her, but dancing with him was the last thing she wanted to do.
* * * *
“Richard,” Nikki called out as she came up behind his chair. He was staring straight ahead, his legs spread wide, his head swaying slightly to the beat of the music. “Hey,” she called out, reaching out to grab at his shirt sleeve.
He jerked his head around, his eyes squinting in a cheerful smile when he caught sight of her. “Ah, there you are. I was beginning to think you ran away.”
“What?” she asked, shaking her head. “What are you talking about?”
“You were in the bathroom for the last three songs,” he replied as he staggered to his feet. “You looked just fine before, honey. You didn’t need to spend ten minutes primping in front of the mirror. Now come dance with me.”
Nikki looked at him as he reached out his hand to the edge of the table to try and steady himself. “I can’t,” she said, shaking her head. “I don’t feel well—”
“Oh, enough with your excuses,” Richard interrupted, grabbing her wrist and pulling her behind him to the dance floor. “Start having some fun.”
Gritting her teeth, Nikki yanked her wrist free of Richard’s grasp and took a step back from him. “Stop it, Richard,” she bit out.
Richard turned around to face her. “What’s the problem, Nikki?” he asked, his voice edged with irritation.
“I have a terrible migraine,” she answered, crossing her arms over her chest. “And I need to go home. Right now.”
“Oh,” Richard said, his face softening apologetically. “I’m sorry, honey. Why didn’t you say something?”
“I was trying to,” Nikki snapped as she returned to their table to retrieve her coat. “But instead of listening you proceeded to drag me across the room.”
“Hey,” Richard said, reaching out to smooth his hand over her lower back. “I’m sorry, okay? Let’s get you home.”
Nikki let out a breath. “Thank you,” she said as she reached into her coat pocket for her cell phone. “I’m going to call a cab. You really don’t have to come with me. Please stay and enjoy the rest of the party.”
“Okay,” Richard replied, looking at her intently. He paused, watching as she punched in the number for a cab, “Your migraines seem to be getting a lot more frequent lately,” he said quietly as she brought the phone up to her ear.
“Um, yeah,” she said, casting her eyes to the floor. “I guess so.”
“What do you think is going on?”
“I don’t know,” Nikki said, sighing. “I just want to go home.”
Matthew studied her face, drawing his eyes over her smattering of freckles, her sharp cheekbones, and her long, sweeping eyelashes. He reached out and brushed her hair away from her cheek, smiling when he saw the pointed tip of her elfish-looking ear.
“God, do you have any idea how much I’ve missed you?” he asked.
Nikki darted her eyes back and forth between his. She was breathing faster, her small, upturned breasts rising and falling rapidly beneath him.
He brought his face down close to hers, rubbing the tip of her nose with his. He brushed his lips along the curve of her neck, pulling away when she shivered slightly at the touch. And then he drew his gaze down to her mouth, looking at the way her plump lips were slightly parted, the bottom quivering nervously. He rubbed his face along her cheek, and then he brought his mouth down right above hers.
He hovered there for a moment, watching as the tension built up in her body, and then he finally descended lower and delicately brushed the sweet, soft skin of her lips. She made a tiny sound at the back of her throat, but it only made him want to touch her there again. He pressed his lips against her mouth, harder this time, and it wasn’t long before he couldn’t stop himself from darting out his tongue and slipping inside.
He groaned and pressed his body harder against hers as he swept his tongue into her mouth. She was soft and yielding beneath him, opening herself up to his touches as he drank from her lips. He swept his hand down her side, pausing to grip the curve of her waist in his hand. He was inflamed with a passion that he’d had all his life but had never let himself act on, and he had no restraint left.
His groin was pulsing, burning with an aching heat that made him desperate to join with her. Tearing his mouth away from hers, he leaned up and looked down at her, his chest heaving with the force of his desire.
“God, Nikki,” he said hoarsely, sweeping his hand down her neck and down to her chest. He traced his fingers along the curve of her breasts, his need growing as she arched her back and gasped. “I’ve wanted you for so long.”
He swept his hand down to her tummy, watching as her abdominal muscles twitched beneath his fingers. He paused at the dark tangle of hair that began between her legs, flicking his eyes up to look at hers.
“Touch me there,” she whispered. She parted her legs. “Please.”
“Are you sure?” Matthew asked. He rubbed his hand along her thigh, pausing at her sweet center.
“Yes,” she said breathlessly. “I want it, Matthew. I want you.” She paused, making that same small sound at the back of her throat. “Touch…touch my pussy.”
He looked at her. She was biting down on her lip, nervous as hell, but consumed by the same desire that was coursing through his veins. He swept his forefinger lightly down the slit of her sex, finding her wet and hot. Ready for him.
“Oh God,” she gasped, bucking her hips. She reached out and squeezed Matthew’s arm tightly in her hand. “Please,” she said shakily. “More.”
He rubbed the tip of his finger against her opening, spreading her cream through her folds, and then pressed his way slowly inside. Nikki cried out, her pelvis jerking upward as he pushed deeper.
Matthew slowly thrust his finger in and out of her sheath, gritting his teeth as he felt her inner walls clutch at him. She was whimpering with need, her grip on his arm tightening with desperation.
He lowered his face and kissed along the underside of her jaw, still pumping his finger in and out.
“Christ, Nikki,” he said, leaning up and rubbing his thumb along her lips. “I need you.”
She looked up at him, her face drawn taut with passion. “I need you, too,” she whispered. “I need you inside of me.” She reached out toward his groin and took hold of his erection in her hand, trying to guide it to her pussy. “Please.”
Matthew groaned at the feeling of her fingers lightly gripping his shaft. He positioned himself over her body, leaning up on his elbows and bringing his pelvis close to hers.
She was panting, looking up at him with a wild, beautiful expression on her face. She spread her legs wider, her whole body rigid with anticipation.
As he pressed the head of his cock against her center, he had to squeeze his eyes shut at the intensity of sensation that shot through his core. Her sex was hot and slick with her juices, and as he breached her opening and forced his cock deeper, he had to will himself to be gentle and go slow.
Nikki choked out a cry as Matthew seated himself fully inside her sheath. She was clutching his shoulders and pressing her breasts hard against his chest, her body bucking with urgency.