BEAUTIFUL BELOVED cover reveal and excerpt!

It’s almost here! Max & Sara and their beautiful bundle of joy are ready to fill your e-reader full of swoon, sweet and of course a lot of steam on February 2nd. Will Bennett be there? Will? OF COURSE! But get ready because the star of our 4th full-length novel (Beautiful Secret April 14th) makes a special appearance as well…

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Chapter One
Max

The dishes were done, the flat tidied, and Sara had begun to sing quietly to our little miss in the nursery. I said a simple prayer to the god of sleeping children, because on her way in there, Sara had given me the look.

The don’t fall asleep before I come to bed look.

The I’m still not over the sight of our baby sleeping on your naked chest look.

The you’re getting very, extremely laid look.

I fucking loved my life.

Across the room on the coffee table, my phone lit up with a call. Going over and seeing whose name flashed across the screen, I broke out in a massive smile.

“You’ve called the happiest bloke on the planet,” I told my brother, in lieu of a proper greeting.

I was met with a heavy pause of silence, and then: “It’s impossible for you to be smugger.”

“True. But make it quick. I’m about to be ravaged by the natives.” Sweet mother Mary it seemed like it’d been forever since we’d had anything more than a quick grope en route to passing out from exhaustion. I was even considering doing some extensive stretching first.

My youngest brother, Niall, laughed. “In that case, I hope you survive the night because I’m coming to visit next week and I’d be terribly disappointed to miss the Max Stella tour you’ve promised all these years.”

“Brilliant!” I smacked the table with my palm. This night kept getting better. The promise of sex two nights in a row with my gorgeous wife and a visit from my brother next week. “Absolutely, bloody brilliant.” I hadn’t seen Niall since the last time I went home, over a year ago, and he’d been too busy to visit much. “Work letting you out, then?”

“More or less.” He paused. “Right. That’s it, then, just letting you know. I’m coming to visit little Annabel, not you lot.”

Laughing, I said, “Understood.”

“I’ll arrive on Tuesday. Leaving Sunday.”

I noted the rest of the details and rang off before heading to find Sara to share the news.

The singing had stopped, and to my complete lack of surprise, I found my beautiful wife asleep in the rocking chair beside the crib, with the baby in her arms. I pulled the little Beloved away from her mum, swaddled her up, and placed her in the crib. Although until recently, Annabel generally slept in stretches of only two or three hours, at least we could put her to bed beside a brass band and she wouldn’t rouse.

I suspected we wouldn’t be as lucky with the next one.

Next one?

I blinked, feeling slightly mad for having this thought. It was only in the past two weeks that we were getting any sort of decent sleep at all.

With the baby taken care of, I crossed the room to wake Sara. Her eyes drew open just as I reached her, and she inhaled deeply, blinking up at me. “Oh. I fell asleep.”

I crouched in front of her, using my thumb to move a strand of hair off her face. “I don’t think you were supposed to do that.”

“No, I was going to get you naked.”

“That’s still an option.”

Sara took my hand and stood, pulling me after her out of the nursery and down the hall. “What were you thinking, just standing there looking down at me?”

“Just feeling rather in love with my life, is all.”

“Well, I fell asleep wondering whether our second will be as good a sleeper as our first.”

She glanced over her shoulder at me with a grin, and I gaped at her, eyes wide and incredulous. How could she know the exact thought had crossed my mind only minutes before?

“You call Anna a good sleeper?” I asked.

“She has been lately,” she clarified. “We just had to give her time to grow into it.”

I watched Sara’s hair slide over her shoulders as she turned back and shook her head. Her hair was longer now, thicker, and the way it slid across her skin made me want to gather it into a ball, hold it in my fist, and fuck her over the side of the bed.

Oh, but it had been forever since we’d done anything as rough as that.

I swallowed, closed my eyes, and attempted to steady my hunger when she sat on the edge of the mattress and slowly slid her thighs apart.

“You’ve lost your mind,” I said with a grin.

“Probably true.” Her sexy little shrug told me she was only half serious, and a naughty playfulness lingered beneath the surface.

Stepping between her legs, I helped her pull her tank top over her head and guided her onto her back so I could slide her thin cotton shorts down and off.

Slow, Max.

My mind frenzied with thoughts of pushing her thighs to her chest, biting my way down her torso, sucking and spanking the sweetness between her legs until she screamed so loud it shook the walls. Instead, I kissed her navel, her hip, moving my mouth to her ribs and then up higher to the firm swell of her breasts. They were already full, and growing tight the longer the baby slept. I bent, sucking at the pink flush of her nipples.

“Do you really love to look at them so much?” Her voice dropped slightly. “You like the taste?”

I loved her body like this, but I didn’t know how to truly admit it. I loved her hips, her breasts. Loved to watch her feed our baby and come curl around me after. It felt like every fucking thing in the world had come together with the arrival of our daughter. But it still felt a bit shameful to want her body to stay this way after what had admittedly been a tough labor.

I shifted forward carefully, pressing my cock through my boxers into the warm skin between her legs.

Sara pulled me down over her and slid her mouth down my neck. “Is it weird that I want to stay like this?” she asked as I spread my hand over her hip. “To fill this home of ours with little ankle biters?”

I laughed into her shoulder. “Sleep deprivation is eating your brain.”

“I know you want a big family,” she said. “And I’ve never been more in love with you than when I’ve seen you be a daddy . . .” She noticed where my attention had gone, to the firm swell of her breast again, my mouth closing over her nipple. “They get full like this . . .”

I kissed my way up to her neck. “They provide me with a rather spiritual experience.”

“So you do like my body right now?” she whispered.

There was a delicate edge to her voice, a vulnerability that shocked me. Sara knew I loved her body, every inch of her perfect, soft skin.

Didn’t she?

I pulled back to look at her. “I fucking love your body. And I love how happy motherhood has made you. I like how you seem rather blissful lately.” Bending, I spoke into the warm space between her breasts: “I also like how ripe your tits are.”

She took a handful of my hair and pulled me back, laughing. “Finally, he admits it!”

“What does that mean?”

Her brow furrowed a little as she studied my face, warm brown eyes moving to take in every aspect of my expression.

Sara often studied me like this: quietly, earnestly. She ran a fingertip across my chin, her eyes trained on my lips. “I just want you to not worry so much,” she whispered. “I want more babies—maybe not right away, but someday—and when I say that, I see terror in your eyes.”

I swallowed around the heavy lump in my throat. “It’s not as hard on my body.”

“My body seems to be weathering it fine. I’m going back to work soon. Look at us. We did it.”

I bent, tasting her skin again. Kissing her stomach.

She pulled me up, whispered in my ear, “Tell me you didn’t love having your baby in here.”

Laughing, I admitted, “She was certainly easier to take care of all tucked away in there.”

She looked back up at my face as I shifted over her, spreading her thighs with my knee and settling there, growing tighter at the feel of her, soft and warm, beneath me. “All right, love?”

Her breaths were already coming faster, short bursts against my neck, her hands sliding lower over my back to push my boxers down my hips. “Yeah.”

I slipped my finger into her mouth, wetting it against her tongue before bringing it between us to touch her. I hummed, rubbing myself on her thigh. “You sure? You’re not sore?”

She stared up at me, expression shifting into one I couldn’t quite read. “I’m sure.”

“We made love last night, too. I don’t want to hurt you,” I explained.

She closed her eyes, pulling my head into her neck. “I know, baby.”

I slid in, slow, and pressed my mouth to her jaw, groaning.

Each time . . . each fucking time I was sure I would never get used to the feel of her. Her nails dug into my back as she let out a relieved moan.

“Christ, Petal. You’re heaven beneath me.” Cupping her breast in one hand, I squeezed, relishing the slide of milk on my palm. “Fuck,” I managed. “Fucking hell . . .”

“This is a new thing,” she whispered, scratching her nails down my back.

I clenched my jaw, fighting the admission that wanted to burst free. “I bloody love them like this. I’m sorry—I know they’re mostly a drag for you—but fuck, Petal. I love your tits like this.”

I felt her still beneath me and stopped moving so I could pull back and look at her face.

“What?” I asked. “What did I say?”

She didn’t look upset, just a funny mix of disappointed and amused. Sliding her legs up my sides, she whispered,

“Since when do you have to give me a disclaimer?”

Smiling, I bent and kissed her sweet, full lips. My heart was beating a little too fast; I still wasn’t sure what I’d done wrong.

“You don’t have to apologize for being turned on by that,” she whispered into my mouth. “I miss seeing you lost in me, and unapologetic about it.”

My immediate instinct was to show her how lost I really was: to lift her arms over her head, pound into her, and relish the sight of her breasts moving below me, relish their weight and the spike of lust I felt when they leaked onto my skin. But instead, I began to slowly move above her, making sure to ease her pleasure from her with every draw of my body inside hers.

She grabbed my ass, urged me faster and harder, and I tried to give her more but it was almost like something newly hardwired in me with every shift forward:

Take it easy.

Take it slow.

Take it easy.

Take it slow.

We’d had sex many times in the months since the baby was born, but it hadn’t yet returned to the wild days of before, with fucking on the kitchen table or the floor, or sweaty and reckless play in the club. Those days we’d had spanking and bondage. Those days I’d taken her in every manner imaginable, sometimes with strangers watching, sometimes with only my video camera as witness. Once I’d bit her shoulder so hard she’d bled and it nearly made her savage with excitement.

Before—and during—her pregnancy, it never occurred to me how fragile she was.

And then she’d had my baby: nearly nine pounds and over twenty-four hours of hard labor. For two months after Annabel came, we’d stumbled our way through new parenting, fallen in love with our daughter, fallen in love all over again with each other, and found tiny winks of sleep whenever we could. Eventually, we’d also found ways to be carefully intimate with hands and mouths, playful with words and toys.

Then, nearly two months ago now, Sara said she was ready to make love again.

I’d been terrified at first, but one kiss led to another, and soon I’d been harder than I could remember being in weeks.

The sound she made when I pushed into her would forever echo in my thoughts. It was a broken sound, the sharp, surprised cry of pain. I’d immediately stopped, and although she swore she felt no pain now, I couldn’t help but feel I was handling her differently: being careful with a treasure I’d only recently discovered could be broken.

We had yet to return to the club.

We had yet to even pull out the camera for anything other than pictures of our daughter.

We had yet to have sex that did anything more than rustle the sheets, let alone break furniture.

But here, in our bed, with her beneath me, and making her hungry, gasping little noises, her words echoed in my head—pounding—each one like a mallet hitting a drum.

I miss seeing you lost in me, and unapologetic about it.

She was letting me be gentle. She was patiently waiting for it to sink in that she’d asked for more, for real sex, again and again.

She’d say, Do you want to make a movie tonight?

No, Petal, it’s enough just to feel you.

Do you ever miss the club?

No, Petal, I love being right here where we are, with our baby asleep down the hall.

You really like to look at them like this? You like the taste?

I’d wanted to make things easy for her. I’d wanted her to feel safe and cherished. I closed my eyes, absorbed by the paradoxical sensations of relief when Sara began to quietly come beneath be, and heartache in the realization that somewhere along the line, I had forgotten what she needed.

****

DUN DUN DUUNNN!! Oh, watching Max & Sara figure this all out was so fun for us!

Beautiful Beloved hits an e-reader near you (and that includes Kindle, iTunes, Nook etc etc apps for smart phones/tablets/computers) on February 2nd!

And don’t forget! Niall Stella’s turn to take the stage is next, in our 4th full-length Beautiful novel, Beautiful Secret out April 14th!

XOXO!!

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