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Big Bossy Trouble

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THE EIFFEL TOWER THRUSTS up from the ground as tiny people mill all around the base. I press my nose up against our private jet’s window, excitement shivering through every part of my body.

“Did French people invent French braids?” Isla asks, her own face pressed up against the window next to mine.

“I’m not sure,” I answer. “Probably.”

“We can look it up,” Leif answers, shutting down his laptop as we circle the city. “Maybe they have a French Braid Museum right there beside the Louvre.”

I give him a flat stare, and Leif just grins.

The baby fusses and Leif is there, leaning over the bassinet, shushing her and making her giggle in an instant. I settle back in my seat, unable to keep the smile off my face.

The past seven months have been like a dream—and not because I was sleep-deprived for the first few. My new life with Leif has been easy to adjust to because he’s made sure that everything is taken care of. I don’t have to worry about a thing when he’s around, and it’s impossible to describe how good it feels not to be the sole bearer of responsibility in my family.

I feel supported. Loved. Cherished.

It took over a year for us to get here after my initial tiff in the store when Leif bought me my now-favorite jacket, but we’re here. Flying over Paris. Going on my dream vacation.

We land a short while later and are bundled up and hauled to a nice hotel in the center of Paris. Isla is over the moon, awed by the wrought-iron balconies, the history imbibed in the beautiful city. My heart flutters, and I can’t help but reach over to hold Leif’s hand in the back seat of the car.

Our suite is massive, with separate bedrooms for Isla, a small nursery for Madeline, and a spare room for Harriet and her husband, who were delighted to come along with us.

“Emma would love this,” I say, walking over to the windows to glance out. A wrought-iron balcony gives us a view of the busy Paris streets, with the top of the Arc de Triomphe visible in the distance.

Leif’s hands slide over my hips. “We’ll bring her next time.”

I smile, leaning against his shoulder, listening to the hubbub behind us as Harriet corrals Isla toward the kitchen to feed her ever-growing body. Harriet’s husband holds baby Madeline, cooing at her, laughing at everything she does.

I’m so, so lucky. There are so many people in my network to rely on, and I’ll never forget what a privilege that is. Now when I need help, I only have to ask for it and half a dozen people are there to listen.

“Come on,” Leif says. “I want to show you something.”

His palm is warm against mine as he takes me through the suite to the master bedroom. Sitting on top of the bed is a garment bag. Leif drops my hand and crosses the vast room to grab it, unzipping it slowly to reveal the edge of the ivory fabric.

I gasp when he pulls out a gorgeous gown.

Leif grins at me. “You told me you wanted a designer gown to clean my toilets in, but I hope you’ll settle for the ballet with me and Isla, then a late dinner with your future husband.”

“Leif.” I let my fingers drift over the delicate silk. “This is incredible.”

The bodice consists of two straps that meet at the waist in the front and back, covered with delicate silver embroidery. At the waist, the dress explodes in a riot of feathers all the way down to the floor. It’s dramatic and beautiful and so not something I’ve ever touched, let alone worn.

“It’s Elie Saab,” Leif says. “I saw it in black and asked them to make it custom for you.”

“You—” I gape at my fiancé, unable to speak.

“We’re going out tonight.” He smiles, tugging me closer. “You’re going to love it.”

THE DRESS FITS LIKE IT was made for me. Which…it was, I guess. I twirl in front of the floor-length mirror in our suite, my hair professionally styled in loose waves, my feet clad in simple white heels. I look elegant and classy and oh my goodness, I can’t even believe it.

Then Leif walks into the bedroom looking positively delicious in a crisp tux, and Isla is already twirling in her own pink dress. She has elbow-length gloves, and she looks so happy she could burst.

I turn to Harriet. “Do you have everything you need? She didn’t eat much today, so try to feed her a bit. And she’s had that weird cough, and…”

She gives me a wry smile. “I know it’s your first evening away from the baby, but believe me, Layla, everything will be fine. It’s only a couple of hours. Enjoy yourself.”

“It’s just…” I move to where Madeline crawls on her play mat, picking her up to nuzzle her soft, soft skin. “I’ll miss you, baby girl.”

She babbles and grabs my hair, planting a sloppy kiss on my cheek. Reluctantly, I pass Madeline over to Harriet, who smiles at my daughter, then at me. “We’ll have fun this evening, won’t we, Maddy?”

My daughter giggles, and I let out a breath. “Fine. I know. I’m being ridiculous.”

“You’re being a mother. It’s normal. Go out, enjoy yourself. You look beautiful.” Harriet smiles at me, then goes to sit next to her husband.

Squaring my shoulders, I nod, then turn to Isla and Leif. Isla jumps up and twirls, too excited to sit still. My heart flutters at the sight of the two of them, at my baby left in good hands, at the fact that my fiancé brought me to Paris just because I said I wanted to go.

“Ready?” Isla asks, beaming.

I nod. “Let’s go.”

A limousine waits outside to take us to the ballet, and the next couple of hours are spent in awe of the dancers on stage. Isla watches with rapt attention, hands folded in her lap, feet kicking every once in a while in her seat. Leif, sitting on the other side of me, puts his arm around my shoulders and lets me settle into his warmth.

Surrounded by the old-world glamour of the ballet, I sink into my seat and let myself be transported to another world. When the show ends, Isla lets out a sigh, her eyes shining.

“Thank you, Daddy,” she says quietly. “That was amazing.”

My heart is so full it could burst. We take Isla back to the hotel, I check in on the baby, and then I finally let Leif take me out for our first dinner-date since the baby was born.

It’s late, but Paris seems alive. Restaurants are full, streets are teeming with people, and there’s an electric energy in the air that I can’t help but inhale. Leif takes me to an elegant hotel where we share food and wine in a private dining room.

I feel like a princess. When the last plates have been cleared and we have half a glass of wine each to finish, Leif reaches across the table to take my hand. He brushes his thumb over my knuckles, smiling softly at me.

“Thank you, Layla.”

I start. “For what? You’re the one who planned the perfect evening.”

“For being happy to have Isla come along with us to the ballet. For opening your heart not only to me but to my daughter and Harriet and my parents and everyone else who’s important to my life.”

“I could say the same to you.” I smile, turning my hand so our palms touch. “You’ve been housing Emma and doting on my grandparents for over a year.”

His eyes hold mine, and I know there’s something he’s not telling me.

“What?” I ask softly. “What’s wrong?”

“I want to marry you, Layla.”

I laugh. “I’m still wearing your ring, aren’t I?”

He squeezes my hand. “I want to marry you now, I mean. And I know you probably want to plan the perfect event, but I just… I don’t know. Seeing you in that dress tonight just made me realize that I want this to be official. I want you to be mine forever.”

My heart does a somersault. “I am yours forever, Leif.”

His throat bobs, big hand curling around mine. “Let’s fly our families over to France. We can meet them in Marseilles, get married on the edge of the Mediterranean.”

My eyes widen, heart doing another funny kind of flip. As Leif stares at me, a soft vulnerability in his gaze, I realize that I’ve been stressed about planning a wedding. I’ve felt immense pressure to make it perfect, and I haven’t been able to commit to a date or a venue or a theme or anything.

Once again, Leif sees me. He sees what I need and he’s right there to catch me when I stumble. I don’t need to plan the perfect event. I don’t need a fairytale wedding. All I need are my loved ones beside me and this man at the altar with me.

“I love you,” I blurt.

His lips curl. “Is that a yes?”

A tear escapes down my cheek. “It’s a hell yes.”

In a flash, Leif has me in his arms, twirling me around before setting me down and kissing me senseless. My body goes boneless as he bands his strong arms around me, his lips devouring mine while he murmurs words of love and adoration and devotion.

I don’t remember the drive home. All I know is when we get back to the hotel, everyone is asleep, and Leif carries me across the threshold to the bedroom like a bride. He undresses me with brisk efficiency, then lays me down on the bed completely naked.

I watch him take his jacket and bowtie off, curling onto my side as my fingers drift down my bare skin. He growls, then, forgetting the rest of his clothes as he kneels between my legs and presses my thighs apart. I gasp at the feel of his tongue on me, pleasure spearing through my core.

“Can’t wait to call you my wife,” he says against my intimate flesh. His tongue circles my clit as I shiver, tunneling my fingers into his hair. One finger enters me, then two, and his mouth does something magic to me.

I’ll never get enough of this man. I’ll never grow tired of him. And I can’t wait to be his wife.

As pleasure winds tighter in the pit of my stomach, Leif’s hands keep driving in and out of me, his lips suckling on my bud.

“Leif,” I gasp. “I’m going to… I’m…”

“Give me this one,” he says. “Let me taste it.”

His dark, deep voice is what pushes me over the edge. I come apart, back arching, knees falling apart as Leif devours me.

In a haze, I hear the rustle of clothes against skin. I slit my eyes open to see Leif undressing, his erection jutting proud and thick at a ninety-degree angle from his body. He tosses his clothing aside, eyes coasting up and down the length of my body.

This man. This man is something special. Already, even though I’m wrung out from my first orgasm, I feel desire sparking between my legs again.

He must see something in my gaze, because Leif doesn’t hesitate. He grabs my ankles, tugging me roughly toward him as he positions himself on the bed. “Cross your ankles behind my neck, baby,” he says, lifting my legs up. “I want you to feel me deep. I want you to know what your husband will be giving you the rest of your life.”

Whimpering, I place my legs on his shoulders. He runs his fingers in the wetness between my legs, growling in satisfaction at my arousal. And how could I not be aroused? How could I ever resist a man like this, saying dirty, beautiful things in my ear, promising me pleasure beyond anything I’ve ever had?

We both watch him pump his fingers inside me, then grab his thick cock in his fist to position it at my entrance. He teases me for long, interminable seconds, brushing his swollen cockhead against my flesh.

“Leif,” I whine.

“My girl is greedy for my cock,” he says. “Isn’t she?”

“Yes.” I grab at his legs, his ass, needing him inside me now. Now now now.

I’m dripping wet, so turned on I can’t think or speak, but I’m still not ready for the feel of him. He thrusts inside me in one hard roll of his hips, bracing his hands against my thighs until he’s buried to the hilt.

I pull in a hard breath, back bowing off the bed. I see stars. I touch the stratosphere. I lose my ever-loving mind.

Then Leif fucks me so hard I forget my own name, muffling my screams with his palm as he shows me exactly how hard my future husband will love his wife.

Pleasure is too small a word for what I feel when I come. It doesn’t come close to describing what I feel for this beautiful, dirty, domineering, arrogant man. He wrings an orgasm out of me, then leans down to let me feel all his weight, his lips coasting over my sweat-dappled skin as his hands brand every inch of my body.

And when I feel him stiffen, his cock throbbing inside me, another wave of pleasure drags me under.
“I love you so much,” he says, panting against my neck. “So fucking much, Layla.”

THEN, A WEEK LATER, I wear my custom Elie Saab dress to marry the man of my dreams on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. My toes are in the sand, grounded in his love for me, as all my friends and family watch us vow to love and cherish each other for the rest of our lives.

Our wedding is unrefined and barely planned and completely spontaneous.

In other words, it’s perfect.

Marcus is a gorgeous, grumpy self-made billionaire.

But how will this tech genius react when he hires the bubbly, sunshine-filled dog walker who breaks electronics by breathing on them?


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