Here’s a surprise little NSFW outtake for you! We are getting so excited for RT2015, we hope we see some of you there!! Don’t be afraid to come up and say hi and squeeze us. This is the time where romance lovers get to hug and squee and say hi hi hi hi hi!
This outtake takes place at Oxford, after Ruby has started graduate school there . . .
Maggie stopped in my small shared office before she left for the night, putting her hand on my shoulder. “Still working on the report?”
I nodded, looking at her over my shoulder. “Almost done.”
“You leave in the morning?”
I clicked ‘save’ on the file and swiveled my chair to face her. “Yeah, back on Monday. You sure it’s okay? I really don’t have to go along with him, I’ve only met the groom and can assure you they won’t mind if I’m not there.”
“Of course it’s fine,” she assured me. “I think Niall will love having you on his arm.”
She sat down next to me, smiling. “At the risk of overstepping my bounds, I’m so glad everything worked out between you two. I’m very fond of him.”
I started to thank her and then immediately paused. How did Maggie even know there’d been a time things hadn’t been good with me and Niall?
Her brows lifted, mouth formed a little ‘o’ of understanding. “Ah, I’ve stepped in it.”
“Maggie,” I warned playfully. “What’s going on?”
“He came to see me,” she admitted sheepishly. She cupped a hand over her mouth, looking so young when her eyes lit up with embarrassed amusement. “Oh, Christ he’s going to slaughter me. He came to see me when the two of you had only just split. He was insistent that I not listen to Tony.”
“He came here to tell you to take me into your program?”
She waved a hand. “It was a few days after you’d come yourself. I assured him his presence did nothing but show me that he had the ability to be in love, which, I’ll admit, was worth the weak tea and dry croissants we suffered that day.”
My curiosity was eating me alive. “Maggie, do you happen to remember what day he came?”
Closing her eyes, she said, “Well, let’s see. It was a Wednesday because I’d only just finished office hours . . . first week of April . . .”
The sequence was coming together in my head: I came to see her the Monday after I’d been fired. Niall came that Wednesday. Later that night he’d come to my flat, professed his love, and never mentioned that he’d just come from Oxford.
He didn’t need credit for trying to help me. He just wanted me.
“I saw you Monday that week,” I said.
“So you did.” She stood, rubbing my shoulder. “All right then, have a nice trip to Boston. Make sure you get Niall on the dance floor. If memory serves, he’s something to behold.”
Dazed, I waved to Maggie as she left the room and sat, staring at the monitor.
I heard the even pace of Niall’s footsteps in the hall just outside.
“I’ve come to fetch my girlfriend,” he said, walking in and kissing the top of my head.
“You went to see Maggie?”
He bent lower, kissing my cheek, my neck. “What’s that?”
I stood, turning and stepping into his arms. “You came here to see Maggie.”
I didn’t know why it mattered so much. Maybe it was because he’d done it so selflessly—not as a form of currency to get me back, but because he knew how much it meant to me. Or maybe knowing he’d come to Maggie felt important because I’d always secretly wondered if Niall had agreed with Tony on this one point—whether he’d condemned Tony but also seen my behavior as unprofessional and, despite falling in love with me, had wished I’d conducted myself differently.
“I came to see Maggie when?” he asked, and then his brows lifted in understanding. “Oh. Before. Yes. It’s nothing.”
“It’s nothing,” I repeated, stretching and kissing him. “Except that it’s everything. My boyfriend has my back.”
He nodded, saying, “I do indeed,” while reaching for my messenger bag and sliding it over his shoulder. “Shall we?”
“Yep,” I said, bending to hit send on the email with the report for Maggie. “Just need to get this off and then I’m all yours.”
I followed him out of the building and to the road where he’d left his little car with the hazards on. We’d started a new routine of commuting between London and Oxford most nights—usually by train, but when he could, such as on the weekend, Niall would pick me up at school and bring me back to his flat.
I suspected he liked the drive best since, as he once said, “My girlfriend can provide me with the most sublime oral pleasure while we’re en route.”
I did love the drive, too. His car was minuscule, and felt like this sweet, perfect bubble where we could talk about anything without any weirdness or filter.
He followed me in, leaning over to kiss me again before starting the car and reaching to put his left hand on my leg as he drove away from the campus.
“All right?” he asked.
We talked about the report I’d just turned in, and gave the smallest bit of attention to Maggie’s slip. Niall didn’t want to linger on that time—either because he didn’t want to relive the pain or because his loyalty was so deeply assumed; he moved on. He told me about his day—a meeting with Richard and HR to lay out clear terms for internships, the completion of the Diamond Square project—and then we fell into an easy quiet. Tony had recently been let go from the firm, and I know it made Niall tense whenever his former colleague came up in conversation: he felt like he had let things go unchecked with Tony for so long. He felt responsible for so many things.
I squeezed my eyes closed, taking a deep breath to clear my head and the mild chaser of stress that always hit me, too, when I thought of Richardson-Corbett.
As Niall said to me on occasion: Onward.
Taking another slow breath, I hummed, loving the smell of Niall’s aftershave, loving the soft feel of the cotton of his dress shirt where the wrist cuff brushed against my legs, loving his long fingers spread around the top of my thigh.
As if he was reading my thoughts, his hand slid under my skirt and he pressed his fingertips between my legs. “I’m thinking about kissing you here.”
Rolling my head to look over at him, I said, “Well, now I am too.”
He glanced at me, eyes soft, lashes dark against his cheek when he slowly blinked back to the road. “Tell me you love me,” he said quietly.
I felt an enormous smile spread over my face. “I love you.”
He hummed, fingers sliding under the hem of my underwear.
“Pay attention to the road, sir.”
Niall gave me a tiny flicker of a smile. “I’m just feeling.”
I closed my eyes, quickly reaching the point where I might need to tell him to pull over to see if it was physically possible to have sex in this car.
“What time is our flight?” I asked, breathless.
“Early,” he said. “I think it’s at five. We may as well skip sleep.”
I let out a gasp as he slid two fingers up and down and over my clit.
“I want to go home and lie on the carpet naked and feed each other take-away,” he murmured.
“Whatever you want, just don’t stop what you’re doing with your hand.”
I could hear the teasing in his voice. “Maybe noodles? Does Thai sound good?”
My orgasm was building so hot and slick right where his fingers were playing. “So good.”
“After, I want you to ride me. I want your ass in my hands and those glorious tits in my mouth.”
He gave my clit the sweetest little pinch, rubbing it in tiny tight circles and I felt my legs go as wide as they would in the seat, bracing one hand on the door and the other on the dash and coming so hard my voice had gone hoarse by the time I was done crying out.
Niall’s fingers slowed and he trailed his fingers down the inside of my thigh. “Good?”
“Holy crap,” I ran a shaking hand over my neck. “I didn’t know you were ambidextrous.”
“It’s a good thing I have an automatic, I’ll admit that.”
Laughing, I closed my eyes, weaving my fingers with his. “If you expect me to stay awake after that, you’re insane.”
He fell quiet for a few minutes before saying, “My mother will be at the wedding. You haven’t met her yet, but she’s very excited to meet you.”
“Me too,” I told him.
“People will ask her this weekend if you and I are getting married.”
My eyes flew open. “They will not. Oh, God, your poor mother.”
“Oh, please. My mother loves to talk about marrying off her children, and we’re going to a wedding. People have no boundaries at weddings.” He paused as the entire scenario seemed to play out in his head. “Then she’ll ask me, of course.” His brow furrowed. “Bloody hell, I hope she doesn’t ask you, but if she does . . . I’ll tell her that of course it’s too soon, and—”
“God, just tell her we are,” I said, shaking my head and closing my eyes. I loved bumbling panicky Niall so much I almost pulled his hand under my skirt again, but we were headed into traffic. “I mean, obviously we are, but in like two years or something. People just need to calm down.”
I opened my eyes and glanced over at him.
The Number of Times Niall Couldn’t Hide His Enormous Grin When I Said We Were Getting Married Someday: One.
We hope you enjoyed that little peek into their lives down the road! If you haven’t already, make sure to swing by your local Target for a special signed edition of Beautiful Secret. Beautiful Beloved is even printed inside! Or, you can order a copy online!