Authors: Susan Stoker
“Is it okay?”
Caroline could hear the worry in Matthew’s voice, and she hurried to reassure him. “It’s the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen. If you wanted to get me something that I never wanted to take off, you certainly succeeded.”
“I wanted to get you something huge, that would definitely tell anyone that saw it that you’re taken, but I know you would’ve hated it.”
“You know me so well, Matthew. Seriously. I fucking love you so much.”
Wolf chuckled. “You can show me tonight how much.”
Caroline loved the gleam in her man’s eyes. “Oh, hell yeah.”
They had a healthy sex life, but somehow Caroline knew tonight would be a night like no other.
“Come on, Matthew, let her up for air. I wanna see that rock!” Fiona exclaimed, making everyone laugh.
Wolf stood up and took his seat next to Caroline again. He kept his hand on the small of her back and dipped his pinky into the dip at her backside. He felt her wiggle and knew she was well aware of him and his hand. Wolf smiled. The first part of his plan had gone off without a hitch, he just hoped the rest did as well.
Two days after she’d gotten engaged, Caroline sat across from her fiancé and glared at him.
“Matthew, it’s ridiculous to spend this much money on a wedding. Seriously, let’s just do it at
and be done with it.”
“Ice, I want to give you the biggest wedding I can. I want everyone in the county to know you’re mine, and I want to have the biggest party I can arrange after it’s done.”
“But Matthew, seriously, that’s crazy. I think everyone knows I’m ‘yours’ by the way you act. You grab me around the neck and kiss the hell out of me whenever anyone even glances my way. It was really embarrassing at the grocery store when the fifteen year old stock boy happened to catch my eye and you bent me over your arm! For God’s sake, Matthew, you’re acting crazy!”
Wolf took a deep breath. “I know I am, Ice, but I want to give this to you.”
“But what if I don’t want it?” Caroline watched as a muscle ticked in Matthew’s jaw. Suddenly she got it. “You need this, don’t you?”
“If you don’t want it, it’s okay. We’ll go down to the justice of the peace, or we’ll go to Vegas like Cookie and Fiona did.”
Caroline repeated her question, but didn’t phrase it as a question this time. “You need this.” Watching Matthew struggle with his thoughts made the decision for her. Matthew would do anything for her. All she had to say was “that’s pretty” or “that’s cool” and the next thing she knew, Matthew had bought it for her. Caroline had learned to be very careful what she said around him. She knew he’d give up the idea of a big wedding if she pushed. But it was apparent Matthew needed it. He wanted it. Caroline couldn’t deny him.
“Okay. We’ll do the big wedding thing.” Caroline knew she’d made the right decision by the look of relief that crossed Matthew’s face.
“Seriously, we can just…” He still tried to deny it.
“No. We’ll do the big wedding, Matthew. But I need some help. I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t think Fiona or Alabama do either. Hell, Fiona went to Vegas and got married in a pair of jeans,” Caroline’s voice cracked, but she continued, “I always dreamed of planning my wedding with my mom, even though a part of me knew it would be a long shot. Since they were older, I knew there’d be a chance they wouldn’t live long enough to see me get married, but I still hoped.”
“Cookie can help you.” Wolf put his hand on Caroline’s cheek and brushed his thumb over her face tenderly.
Caroline looked at Matthew as if he’d lost his mind. “What the hell does Hunter know about weddings?”
Wolf took his hand off her cheek and ran it over his head. He was embarrassed, but needed to reassure Caroline. “Cookie held your life in his hands.”
“What does that have to do with weddings?” Caroline’s voice softened, knowing her kidnapping and rescue was still a very tough topic with Matthew.
“He held your life in his hands. I’d do anything for Cookie. After he met Fiona, we talked a lot about our weddings. How big they’d be. How they’d be a huge party, how beautiful you and Fiona would look in your wedding dresses as you walked down the aisle toward us…”
Caroline couldn’t stand it anymore, she got out of the chair she’d been sitting in and came around to Matthew. She took his hand. “Come on, let’s go sit on the couch.”
They walked to the couch and Caroline pushed Matthew down and then climbed into his lap. “This is better. I love to feel your heat against me. The feel of your heartbeat against my cheek is comforting. Now, continue.”
Wolf smiled. His Caroline was amazing. She knew this was hard for him, and did everything she could to make him feel more comfortable. “I was all ready to help him and Fiona plan their wedding, but Fiona told him that she couldn’t handle a big wedding. That with everything that had happened to her, she simply felt uncomfortable in big crowds and would prefer a low-key wedding. Cookie agreed immediately. I owe him.” Wolf’s words faded out, and they both knew he was reliving the awful moments where he didn’t know if Caroline was alive or not.
“I owe him, and this would be a way for him to experience a big wedding. I know he’s a guy, and he’s not your mom, and I sure as hell know it’s not normal or traditional, but he’ll do right by you, Ice. He loves you like a sister. Will you let him help you?”
“Of course.” Caroline didn’t make Matthew wait for her reassurance, but she continued, “I love that you want to look after your friend and I love Cookie as if he was my blood-brother, but seriously, Matthew, I’m not all into the wedding thing. If he plans something and it turns into a three ring circus, you can’t blame me.”
Wolf shifted until he could lay Caroline back on the couch and he was over her. He framed her face with his hands and leaned in close. “Ice, I couldn’t care less if Cookie brought in lion tamers and tight rope walkers. As long as at the end of it you’re mine, legally, I’ll be the happiest man on earth.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too. Lift your arms. I think we need to seal this deal.”
Caroline smiled up at Matthew and did as he asked. As he whipped her shirt over her head she said, “I love sealing the deal. Seal away my beautiful Navy SEAL.”
She watched as Matthew rolled his eyes, but lost her train of thought when she felt Matthew’s mouth at her breast. He pulled down the cup of her bra and immediately started sucking, with no preliminaries. Caroline pressed up into Matthew and felt how much he wanted her. Oh yeah. The last thought she had for quite a while was that she would enjoy negotiating with her man if this was how it ended.
Thoughts of a wedding and Cookie were soon lost as Matthew got busy making his woman feel loved and cherished.
* * *
God Bless the Broken Road
, by Rascal Flatts?”
Caroline put her head in her hand and leaned her elbow on the kitchen table. Matthew had called Hunter and explained how he was now their official wedding planner. Caroline didn’t think Hunter would be that thrilled, but Matthew had obviously not lied about how excited Hunter had been for his own wedding, because he was now over the moon about helping Caroline plan her wedding.
When Caroline had talked to Fiona about it, to make sure she was okay with the fact that her man would be planning Caroline’s wedding, Fiona had just laughed and said, “Good luck.” Caroline had smiled at the time, but now understood Fiona’s implied warning.
That was three days ago. Hunter had wasted no time. He’d made appointments for them to taste different kinds of cake and to try to get the menu for the buffet locked down. Hunter had planned a day for them to go shopping for a dress and had even tortured her for hours showing her flowers.
Now they were talking about the first dance song. Hunter had a whole list of songs that he wanted to run by Caroline, and it was driving her crazy.
“I love that song, Hunter,” Caroline told him honestly, “but I think it’s been way overdone.”
“Okay,” Cookie immediately agreed, “what about
You Say it Best When You Say Nothing At All
, by Alison Kraus, or if you want something different you could go with Ozzy Osborne’s
Here For You
“Seriously, Hunter, I don’t know what I want to dance to. I don’t even know if Matthew can dance.”
“Doesn’t matter, Ice. You’ll dance ‘cos that’s what you do at a wedding. Pictures have to be taken, traditions have to be followed.”
“Do I have to decide right now?” Caroline continued to complain. “The wedding isn’t for another two months.”
“Two months isn’t a lot of time,” Cookie admonished. “The more decisions you can make now, the better off you’ll be when the day comes.”
Caroline put her head on the table and whined, “I can’t decide today.”
To Make You Feel My Love
, by Garth Brooks?” Cookie persisted. “It’s traditional, but since the song is older, it’s not done as much anymore.”
“Okay, that’s it. I’m done with wedding crap for the day.” Caroline stood up in exasperation.
“But we have to go over the quotes for the venue and talk about what shoes you’re going to wear.”
Caroline just gawked at Hunter. She didn’t say anything, but picked up her phone and dialed.
“Come and get your husband.” Caroline grimaced as she heard Fiona laugh.
“Yes. I can’t believe he’s this into everything. It’s just not right.” Glaring at Hunter as she spoke to his wife, Caroline continued, “I mean, seriously, he’s a big bad Navy SEAL. He can kill people by looking at them…how is it possible he’s
“I’ll come and get him.”
“See you soon.”
“The sooner the better.” Caroline hung up and crossed her arms over her chest. She watched as Hunter blushed and looked away.
“Okay, look. I admit I get carried away, but I want this to be perfect for you, Ice.”
“I get that, Hunter, but you have to ease up. Seriously, if I don’t pick the right flowers or whatever, it’s not going to be the end of the world. Why are you trying to shove all of this planning into a week?”
“Because if we’re called away in the middle of the planning, I don’t want anything to fall through the cracks.”
Caroline’s irritation melted away at Hunter’s words. Of course. They were SEALs, at any point they could be called away on a mission and there’d be no guarantee they’d even be back for a wedding. She could totally understand why he was so gung-ho on planning it. “Okay, I get that, I do. I’ll let you keep planning, but you have to be more reasonable about it. Work is crazy for me right now, and I can’t just blow it off to go dress shopping or look at invitation samples.”
“Okay. Can we plan meetings over the weekends so we can make some of the decisions and get them done?”
“Yeah, that sounds fair. I’ll give you the weekends, Hunter, but please, try to tone it down.”
Cookie smiled. “Of course.”
Caroline rolled her eyes, knowing he wouldn’t be able to tone it down. She only had to get through the next two months, then it would all be over and she’d be married to Matthew.
“Turn around, Caroline, let us see the back,” Fiona exclaimed excitedly.
Caroline obediently turned around to show her friends the back of the dress she was wearing. It was what seemed like the two thousandth dress she’d tried on that day, but her friends were relentless. It wasn’t as if Caroline even felt like it was
dress anymore. She’d heard so many “nope, that’s not it” and “not quite” remarks that she’d expected them to say the same thing about this dress.
But they hadn’t. Fiona, Alabama, and Hunter had taken one look and agreed that it was the one. It was, of course, white and strapless. It hugged her waist and then flared out at into a bell shape. There was a train, but it wasn’t obnoxiously long, thank goodness. Caroline turned and showed her friends her back.
“Oh my God. Yeah, this is it,” Alabama said breathily.
Caroline turned her head and looked at Hunter. He’d done what she’d asked and backed off during the week. But the last few weekends had been crazy. He’d dragged her from one appointment to another and, even though Caroline had begged, Fiona had refused to come. She’d told Caroline, “I refused to do this for my own wedding, I love ya, but I’m not doing it for someone else’s wedding either.” They both laughed and Caroline wasn’t upset at her friend. Fiona had been through hell, and Caroline would give her whatever she needed.
“Hunter? You’ve been quiet.”
Cookie looked from the back of the dress Caroline was wearing to Fiona. Cookie had some long discussions with his wife about his role in Caroline’s wedding, and Fiona had reassured him that she was okay with everything he was doing for their friend. He was so lucky to have Fiona in his life. Fiona understood that he and Caroline had a bond because of what happened to her in the ocean that day, and Fiona didn’t begrudge him one second of wedding planning.
To answer Caroline’s question, Cookie looked at his wife with an intense gaze. “The dress is perfect. The fact that there’s no easy way to get you out of it will frustrate and turn Wolf on all day. But he’ll know that all it’ll take is one tug and the bow will come loose. He can slowly pull out each ribbon until the dress falls around your waist.”
The air seemed to crackle and Caroline inhaled sharply, knowing Hunter wasn’t really talking about her and Wolf, but instead seeing his own wife in her place.
“Time to go,” Cookie said suddenly. He stood up and grabbed Fiona’s hand. “Alabama, you can give Caroline a ride home, right? We’ve got things to do.” He practically drug Fiona out of the small shop, but stopped to give his wife a deep kiss right outside the door.
Caroline looked at Alabama. “Holy shit. Guess he liked it.”
They both laughed. The look Hunter had given Fiona was hot, and the kiss even hotter.
“Come on, get out of that thing and let’s go before Hunter comes to his senses and rushes back to demand you do something else wedding related,” Alabama told Caroline with a laugh. “Besides, I think I want to go home and see how Christopher is doing. I’m sure there’s something I can help him with.”
“Oh my God, you guys are nymphos!” Caroline griped good naturedly.
“As if you aren’t!” Alabama groused right back.
Caroline just smiled. Yeah, Alabama had a point. Every time she made love to Matthew it just seemed to get better and better.
“Come to think about it, we
have some free time on our hands don’t we?”
The two women got Caroline out of the dress as fast as they could. Caroline made sure to put a down payment on the beautiful dress and promised to call soon to make an appointment to get it altered, even though it didn’t need too much done to it to make it perfect.
Alabama and Caroline left the shop arm in arm. “Thank you for coming with me today, Alabama,” Caroline told her friend earnestly.
“I wouldn’t have missed it.”
* * *
“Seriously Hunter, it’s not my fault you got so turned on you had to go home and spend the rest of the day showing Fiona how much you love her.”
“Be that as it may, Ice, we have to get this shit done.”
Caroline didn’t feel sorry for Hunter. “No, you promised me the weekends. It’s not the weekend. It’s Friday. I have to do this shit at work. I’ll be done around four. We can do it then.”
Cookie sighed. He knew he was being unreasonable, but he just wanted everything done. Once it was done, he could relax and then enjoy the wedding. “But we have to pick the food, the only time they can do it is today at one.”
pick it, Hunter.”
Caroline just shook her head in exasperation, knowing Hunter couldn’t see it since she was talking to him on the phone. “Yeah, really. I don’t care what we eat. Just make sure it’s good. Make sure there’s enough for everyone. Make sure there’s a variety. There has to be something for the vegetarians, and the people who like meat, and then some chicken…whatever. Just don’t go overboard.”
“Would I do that?” Cookie asked, trying to sound innocent.
“Hell yeah you would. Seriously, just pick something, Hunter.”
“Okay. What about
“I’m still deciding, Hunter.”
“But it’s getting closer and you haven’t picked a song yet. I’m helping.”
“You aren’t helping.” Caroline could hear the smile in Hunter’s voice.
“All right for now. Ice?”
“Yeah?” Caroline was ready for anything.
“For letting me help you. For giving me this.”
Caroline smiled. She loved that she
give this to Hunter. She might not have her parents around anymore, but Hunter was dead-set on making her wedding perfect. He wanted to make sure she wouldn’t miss out on anything any other traditional wedding might have. She loved him for it. “You’re welcome. Now, go and find us something good to eat at the reception.”
Caroline clicked her phone off and put her head on her desk. For the hundredth time she wished the wedding was over, but truth be told, she loved sharing the experience with Hunter. Even as crazy as he was acting. She would’ve had no idea what to do if it was left up to her.
* * *
“You really don’t care how much Hunter is taking over the planning of our wedding?” Caroline asked Matthew seriously that night. She’d thought about it a lot and Matthew hadn’t really said much about the planning of the wedding or how much Hunter had been taking over it.
“I really don’t care.”
“But you said you wanted a big wedding,” Caroline pressed.
“And I do.”
“I want the big wedding, but I don’t give a fuck who plans it. I might have talked to Cookie about planning the wedding, but honestly, I wasn’t all that into doing all the work for it. I’m happy as hell that he’s getting to plan the wedding he always wanted.”
“He’s driving me crazy.”
Wolf smiled and pulled Caroline closer. They were sprawled in their big bed after making love. She was snuggled into his side with one leg thrown over his thighs and was resting her head on his shoulder. One arm was curled up in front of her and the other was on his chest, idly playing with his nipple. He loved it.
Caroline lifted her head and stared at Matthew. “You know?”
“Of course I know. You tell me every Sunday night how glad you are that the weekend is over. But Ice, you’re gonna be beautiful, the wedding is gonna be beautiful, my parents are gonna cry. You’re gonna cry, your friends are gonna cry, we’re gonna party all night, then I’m gonna make love to my brand new wife all night. I think Cookie drivin’ you crazy every weekend is gonna be worth it.”
“You’re a jerk,” Caroline said with a laugh, obviously not meaning it. She put her head back on Matthew’s shoulder.
Changing the subject a bit, she asked, “Do you have an opinion on a song for our first dance?” Caroline knew it was irritating Hunter that she hadn’t picked a song yet, but she wasn’t good at that stuff, but she knew
wanted to make the decision. At least in this one thing,
wanted to choose the song she and Matthew would dance to for the first time as man and wife.
“No, I don’t care what you choose.”
“But it’s our first dance.”
Wolf rolled until Caroline was under him once again. He moved until his hips were in line with hers. He could feel against his hips how wet she was from their lovemaking, and Wolf immediately started getting hard again. He felt like a teenager around Caroline, and not a forty-something year old man that certainly shouldn’t be able to get it up more than once a night.
“When the time comes for our first dance, I won’t be hearing the music. I’ll be reveling in the fact that I’m finally holding you in my arms as my wife. You’ll be beautiful in your wedding dress and I’ll most likely be trying to figure out the fastest way to get you out of it. We’ll sway back and forth, you’ll smile up at me, and I won’t be able to think past the blood in my dick, trying not to get a woody in front of all our friends. So no, I don’t care what song you choose for our first dance.”
“Holy crap,” Caroline breathed as she felt Matthew surge against her. “Okay.” When Matthew didn’t move or say anything further, she continued, “Glad we had that conversation…I want you.”
Wolf smiled. Yeah, Caroline wanted him. He could feel how much. She shifted under him and ran her hands down his back until she cupped his backside and pressed him into her. “Anything else about the wedding you want to talk about?”
“Uh…huh? Oh…no. Matthew, please…” Caroline’s back arched as Matthew slowly slipped into her wet heat.
“We could talk about something else if you wanted. The food? The decorations? The party favors?” Wolf teased as he eased back, then thrust into her harder than the first time.
“No, that’s okay, I’ve got it.”
Wolf stopped thinking about ways to tease Caroline about the upcoming wedding and instead got to work in pleasing her, not that it was hard. He loved that Caroline was always willing to do whatever he wanted. She never told him no, and was always willing to play. Wolf got to work playing with his woman.