Stumbling back against the wall in the hallway, I yanked him towards me. My skin flushed under his gaze as I whipped my T-shirt off and then pushed my leggings down. ‘Here,’ I told him, my voice shaking with anticipation. ‘Where it all started.’
Realization dawned with the light of absolute adoration in Cam’s eyes, an adoration I would never get tired of witnessing. He moved towards me, watching me as I stripped before him. ‘What about your side?’ he murmured. ‘I don’t want to hurt you.’
I slid my hands up under his T-shirt, forcing it up and off him, my ravenous gaze eating up the sight of his roped, nak*d torso. ‘It’ll be worth the pain.’ I reached back to unclip my bra and as it fluttered to the floor, Cam shot into action.
He kicked off his boots, fumbling with his jeans. He shoved his underwear and jeans down, not waiting another second before lifting me up by the ass. My legs wrapped around his hard h*ps and my hands gripped to his shoulders as he pushed us back against the wall.
I suddenly laughed, halting him. Cam’s brow furrowed in perplexity. ‘Rihanna?’ I giggled as I explained. ‘You know the lyrics to Rihanna?’
Cam’s mouth curled sexily, arrogantly. He was not at all abashed at knowing Rihanna lyrics. ‘You know the lyrics to Rihanna. I just pay attention.’
‘Always got an answer for everything, you cocky bugger.’
He laughed against my mouth. ‘I think you like my answers.’ Unable it seemed to wait another minute, Cam thrust up into me. I cried out at the thick invasion, my inner muscles clinging greedily to his c*ck as he pulled out almost completely and then roughly slammed back in.
‘I missed you, baby,’ he groaned, using one hand to brace against the wall as the other hand clutched my butt cheek in its bruising grip.
‘I missed you, too.’ I moaned as he thrust back into me, my nails digging into the muscles in his back. ‘Harder,’ I begged, sensing that he was holding back because of my injury.
‘Jo –’ He shook his head.
‘Please,’ I pleaded into his ear in a purr. I nipped his lobe and felt his control snap.
Afterwards, he carried me to our bedroom, put me down on the bed, and began to kiss his way up my body. With my assurance that Cole was enjoying the first days of his summer holidays at Jamie’s house, Cam decided he had all the time in the world. He kissed, and licked, and sucked until I was almost wrung dry. After what felt like hours of foreplay, he wrapped my legs around his waist and braced himself over me as he kissed me.
His kisses were deep and slow. He brushed his mouth over mine in butterfly kisses one second, and then closed it over mine the next. His kisses never sped up, never hardened … instead he revelled in the erotic building of anticipation as our tongues met in a breathless, wet waltz. When he eventually sucked hard on my tongue, setting off little jerks of reaction in my lower belly, I pushed for more. It seemed impossible, but I was ready for another orgasm. We made out, nak*d on his bed, for who knew how long, his hard-on rubbing over my sex, teasing my clit, as his body moved with his kisses. He squeezed my breast, his thumb rubbing over the sensitive nipple he’d sucked earlier – sucked and licked it so diligently that he’d only had to whisper his thumb over my cl*t to bring me to cli**x.
As he tormented me with the tantalizing nearness of his erection, I whined against his mouth and his answering smile was smug. He pulled back and brushed his fingers along my cheekbone, his eyes never leaving mine as he slowly pushed his c*ck inside me. He shifted, bracing his hands on either side of my head, and then began to move. His thrusts were gentle this time, languid, and the tension coiled to an excruciating level.
‘I love you,’ he breathed harshly.
I pulled my knees up more, to allow him in deeper, as I cupped his face in my hands. ‘I love you, too.’
I gasped as he rotated his hips, starting to lose focus as the sensations of our lovemaking gained dominance.
‘I love to f**k you,’ he whispered in my ear, his voice gravelly with emotion. ‘But I love to love you, too.’
I nodded, understanding completely.
Cam kissed me deeply again, his thrusts growing more frantic as the tension increased inside us. Our skin was clammy with sweat as we slid against each other, our panting breathing mingling as our lips brushed back and forth with the movement of his body over mine.
Chasing cli**x, I tilted my h*ps up with force, meeting Cam’s next plunge with a slam that snapped the coil. Sparks flew apart in the wake of its destruction and I cried out his name as I came, my sex pulsing around him, my lower body shaking from the cli**x.
Cam suddenly arranged my hands above my head on the bed, pumping into me harder as he held me down. He came with a guttural shout of my name, his h*ps jerking against mine as he flooded my womb with his release.
He collapsed on me and I felt a twinge of pain in my ribs. Almost as if he felt it too, Cam rolled on to his side, still in me, and pulled me against him, hooking my leg over his hip.
I felt another spark of pleasure between my legs as his c*ck twitched inside me.
‘Well worth the wait,’ he sighed happily.
I nodded against his chest, thinking about all the wrong guys I’d dated before him. ‘Definitely.’
Two weeks later
Cam and Jo’s flat
Sweaty, tired, and covered in tiny flecks of paint from the gentle spray of the roller, I let myself into our flat and leaned back against the door with a contented sigh.
Uncle Mick had just dropped me off at home after our first day on the job together. We were decorating one of the show homes in the new development Mick had been contracted for. Today we’d painted all of the ceilings. Tomorrow and the next day would be more painting and then we’d get on with the wallpaper the designer had chosen.
‘I’m home,’ I called, kicking off my work boots and unsnapping the straps on my overalls so they hung on me like baggy jeans.
‘In here,’ Cam answered from the bedroom.
I strolled along the hallway, pulling the bandanna off my head and thinking how nice it was to feel this exhausted. It was an accomplished kind of exhausted and I loved it. I stopped in the doorway of the bedroom to find Cam sitting on the end of the bed with his hands behind his back.
Our room was now a weird mishmash of my stuff and his, but I didn’t care. I just loved that when I woke up in the morning it was to a warm arm wrapped around my waist and usually a welcome morning erection nudging me in the ass.
I wouldn’t swap it for anything.
The move had gone well for the most part. We were both pretty laid-back about the small things, so sharing space wasn’t really an issue for me and Cam, and Cole had recreated his bedroom from upstairs in Cam’s guest bedroom in record-breaking time. He seemed to be perfectly happy with his new home, and glad that our room was on the other side of the flat from his.
I was glad for that too.
Mum, on the other hand, was still pulling the silent treatment, refusing to talk to me whenever I popped upstairs to bring her groceries and clean the place.
Guilt would not find me. Not because of her.
Admittedly, though, some days were easier than others.
However, everything else had gone smoothly. Everyone was happy for us. Well, except Blair, I imagine, but since Cam had been as good as his word about breaking contact with her, I didn’t know that for sure. The only argument we’d had so far was about a week ago when we’d been watching a movie and Malcolm had called me. I took the call. Malcolm had just wanted to chat, a chat in which I told him I’d moved in with Cam. Silence had fallen on the other side of the line and when Malcolm finally spoke, offering me congratulations, it was with such false cheer that I knew I’d hurt him. Again. Before I could respond – not that I knew what to say – he had made his excuses and hung up.
When I returned from the kitchen, I was promptly manhandled by Cameron into the bedroom, where he tried to calmly (and was unsuccessful in that endeavour) ask me what Malcolm wanted. It ended in an argument. Cam argued that since he stopped talking to Blair I should stop talking to Malcolm. I argued it wasn’t the same thing since Blair was in love with him. Cam argued that Malcolm was in love with me. And since I thought he might be right, I let him win the argument, assuring him I wouldn’t speak to Malcolm any more. I didn’t think that would be a problem. I had a feeling that was the last call I would ever receive from Malcolm.
As fiery as the disagreement had been, once it was done, it was done. We settled into our routines quickly, and so far, I would say the moving in thing was an absolute success. The following Saturday we were having a little flat-warming party so all our friends could visit and make sarcastic comments about how sickeningly in love we were.
I couldn’t wait!
Eyeing Cam suspiciously, thinking his behaviour very odd as he sat there on the end of the bed, I asked, ‘What are you doing? Where’s Cole?’
‘At McDonald’s with his friends. I said he could.’
‘That’s fine. Maybe we should order in food instead of cooking, then.’
He seemed off. ‘You okay?’
‘How was the first day?’ he countered, suddenly grinning at the state of me.
‘Brilliant. I mean my neck and back hurt and I have paint on my eyelashes, but it was brilliant.’ I sidled into the room and slumped down beside him, pressing a soft kiss to his mouth.
When I pulled back, Cam gave me a half smile. I studied him, definitely getting the impression something wasn’t quite right. Did he look nervous? ‘Seriously, what’s going on?’
‘I have a present for you.’ He pulled his hand out from behind his back and held the gift-wrapped rectangular package out to me.
I grinned at him. ‘What’s this for?’ I took the proffered gift and ran my fingers over it, wondering what it could be.
Cam’s lips curled up at the corners at my excitement. ‘It’s just something to commemorate your first day as one of M. Holloway’s painters and decorators.’
I laughed, giving him another quick kiss, before turning to my present. I slowly unwrapped it, tucking the paper behind me as I turned the gift over. It was a paintbrush – and not just any paintbrush. It was one of the best, most expensive, professional paintbrushes.
‘Oh, Cam.’ I sighed at his thoughtfulness as I pried open the plastic to get to it. ‘You shouldn’t –’ The words abruptly stuck in my throat as the light caught a sparkle on the end of the brush. I shot him a disbelieving look before zeroing in on the handle. Gently I pulled the brush out of its plastic and my jaw dropped at the sight of the object that had been placed through the tip of the handle.
It was a diamond ring.
A white gold ring with a simple princess-cut diamond set in raised prongs in the middle of the band.
My heart racing like mad at the implication, I slowly turned my head to gaze at Cam in stupefied wonder. He casually took the brush from my hand and pulled the ring off the handle. He rose from the bed and went down on one knee in front of me.
‘Oh, my God,’ I breathed, my right hand fluttering against my throat as my pulse throbbed at super speed.
Cam took my trembling left hand in his, his gaze sincere as he looked into my eyes. ‘Johanna Walker, love of my life, I never want to spend another day not waking up beside you.’ He held the ring up to my hand. ‘Will you spend the rest of your life with me? Will you marry me?’
I realized now, after years of waiting for the men before Cameron to ask me that question, that saying yes to any of them would have been absolutely the worst decision I would have ever made. There was one certainty I’d learned in the last few months: when a man asked you that question, there was only one thing you had to ask yourself. Could I live without him?
If the answer was no, then the answer was yes.
I nodded, my mouth quivering as the tears started to fall. ‘Yes. I’ll marry you.’
With a groan of exultation, Cam pulled me towards him for a kiss so deep I was literally breathless when he let me go. I panted against his mouth, smiling crookedly. ‘You know what this means?’
Cam’s eyes glittered, and I was overwhelmed by the happiness in them. ‘What does it mean?’
‘We’ll never be able to live with Joss after this. She’ll think she’s Mrs Matchmaker.’
‘I’ll have a word with Braden. He’ll keep her in line.’ He grinned boyishly. ‘We’re good at that.’
‘You two think you’re in charge, don’t you?’
He shrugged but his eyes said, Yes – yes, we do.
Cupping his face between my hands, I gave him a condescending yet sympathetic smile. ‘Oh, baby, your naïveté is so endearing.’
Laughing, Cam wrapped his arms around my waist and as he stood up he lifted me and threw me on to the bed. ‘Tonight at least, I’m in charge.’ He began to undress slowly as I sat up, braced on my elbows, to watch him, my body already coming alive in anticipation. ‘Now tell me again that you love me, Mrs Soon-to-Be-MacCabe.’
I sighed happily at the simultaneous sound of my soon-to-be surname and the zip on his jeans tugging down. As I prepared to give him what he wanted, it amazed me how easily those words came after having taken me so long to find the courage to say them to him in the first place. Just like I did with Cole, I promised myself there and then that Cam wouldn’t live a day of his life without knowing how I felt about him.
‘I love you, Cameron MacCabe.’
With a cocky grin, Cam dropped his jeans to the floor. ‘I love you, too, Miss Walker-Soon-to-Be-MacCabe.’ And I knew then as I was lying on our bed staring up into his familiar and handsome face that I had something I’d never had before. I had someone who wasn’t going to let me spend a single day of my life without knowing how much I was loved.
I think one of my favourite parts of it all was the fact that finding what we had together hadn’t cost either of us a single penny.
Well … with the exception of an engagement ring and a new paint palette for our flat.