Diva Ladies Thanking The Authors Blog Hop
Posted by triciaandersen
Welcome to the Diva Ladies Thanking the Authors Blog Hop!
This year I have SO much to be thankful for – a healthy family, a chance to live my dream. I am very, very thankful for the incredible readers out there who read my books!
As a thank you, I will give to one lucky commenter a e-book copy of my first book of the Black Irish series, Black Irish, along with a $5.00 gift card to Starbucks (did I mention I am very thankful for Starbucks too?).
Abbey couldn’t believe he was gay. She nearly ran away from her dreams of being a children’s book writer when she was introduced to her illustrator Sloan O’Riley, a dark, sensual Irishman with incredible blue eyes. He certainly couldn’t be good for Abbey’s relationship with her boyfriend back in Iowa. How could she stay in New York and work with the sinfully sexy Sloan even if he was gay? And when Sloan is threatened to be deported, how far would Abbey go to keep him in the US?
The next morning, within twenty-four hours of Abbey’s “proposal,” Sloan paced the floor of the courthouse, the heels of his Italian leather boots clicking against the cocoa and bronze patterned marble. He stopped to glance at his watch.
Robert laughed at his best friend. “Why exactly didn’t you come here together?”
Sloan glared at him. “Abbey had to get dressed, style her hair, and apply her makeup. Plus, it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding.”
“Does that include fake ones?”
Sloan’s stare turned icy. “It isn’t fake.”
“When are you consummating your marriage, then?”
A sly grin crept across Sloan’s face. “Don’t you worry when I will consummate my marriage. It will happen soon enough.”
Sloan spun around, distracted by the sound of heels against the marble. He looked up to find Abbey discreetly sprinting across the courthouse floor with Gordon close behind. His breath caught in his throat at the sight of her. Her dress was white, the halter-top strap caressing the back of her neck. The empire waist peaked just below her breasts. A full, flowing skirt fell to just above her bare knees.
Her hair was pinned to the top of her head with ringlets of curls cascading alongside her face and down her back. A pair of white satin pumps skidded to a halt as she stood before him, breathless from her run.
“You’re beautiful,” he murmured in wonder.
“Thank you,” she gushed.
“Sloan,” Robert interrupted. “Judge Goldstein only has a fifteen minute window to fit you in today. You need to go now.”
Sloan sighed then took Abbey’s hand in his. “Of course. Let’s go.”
Sloan led Abbey through the corridors of the courthouse, followed by Robert and Gordon. Pushing open a dark-stained door with a frosted glass window, he motioned her in.
Inside sat a man huddled over a stack of papers on a desk of the same dark-stained wood as the door. His salt and pepper hair was combed over his balding head. The freshly pressed robe he wore draped down from his shoulders. He looked up at them through the spectacles on his nose then smiled and stood to greet them.
The justice shook Sloan’s hand emphatically as he quipped about some recent city legislation they had both been part of—legislation that Sloan’s influence had swung in Judge Goldstein’s favor. Abbey stared at Sloan, puzzled. She knew he had money. She knew he had an immense artistic talent. But he has political power too? What deep, dark secrets does he have?
Judge Goldstein turned back to his desk to retrieve a book then turned and faced them again. Abbey’s heart caught in her throat. This was it—her wedding day. True, it wasn’t a real wedding with the big, white dress, the five-tiered cake, and hundreds of guests. In fact, her soon-to-be husband was gay. But at the end of this, she would be Mrs. Sloan O’Riley. She glanced around the cold chambers then back to Sloan.
Instead of her heart clenching in regret, it fluttered rapidly in excitement. She wrapped her arm around his, hugging it to her. He looked down to her, his ice blue eyes shining brightly as he beamed at her. Then, he softly nudged her, turning her attention to the justice.
“Ms. Wright?” Judge Goldstein questioned.
”Do you take Mr. O’Riley as your husband?”
Abbey’s eyes shot from him to Sloan as she felt her face flush hot. She didn’t want to know what shade of red her cheeks now were. “I do.” she squeaked.
“And Sloan, do you take Ms. Wright as your wedded wife?”
Sloan’s gaze was soft and gentle. “Oh, yes. I absolutely do.”
“Do you have rings to exchange?”
Sloan reached into his slacks pocket. After a few moments of digging within the cloth, his hand returned with the simple gold bands. He gave the larger of the two to Abbey and kept the smaller for himself.
Abbey was oblivious to the justice’s words as she pushed the ring onto Sloan’s finger. She let go a tiny squeal of excitement as she watched him slide her band into place against one Michael had already given her. Sloan clasped her hand in his as he chuckled at her reaction.
“By the power invested in me by the State of New York, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride,” Judge Goldstein announced.
Her eyes locked onto Sloan’s mouth as he gathered her into his arms. She felt an ache deep in every nerve to know what his kiss would feel like. A wave of disappointment hit her. It will only be a quick peck. He is gay after all.
As Sloan’s lips engulfed hers, Abbey quickly discovered how wrong she was. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she sank into his kiss. She let out a sigh as he pried her mouth apart and dove deeper. His warm breath, the softness of his lips, the sensation of his large, powerful hands holding her close—it all made her dizzy and giddy at the same time. She clung to him as they finally parted.
Steadying her, Sloan smiled, a sweet, seductive glimmer sparkling in his eyes. “Shall we go to lunch to celebrate, Mrs. O’Riley?”
Abbey giggled. “Of course.”
They paraded arm in arm through the courthouse all the way to the curb, where Gordon had the Hummer waiting. Sloan opened the car door, waving both Gordon and Robert away, then offered his hand to Abbey. Once she was settled in her seat, Sloan climbed in beside her. He took the hand smoothing the white satin of her skirt and held it tight in his as they pulled into the busy downtown traffic.
“Thank you, Abigail, for doing this. I truly appreciate it.” Sloan moved this thumb in a soft caress.
“I’m glad to help. What’s next?”
“I’ll apply for my green card tomorrow. I have several business matters to attend to today.” He paused then pulled his hand free. “I almost forgot.”
Sloan pulled his suit coat open and reached into the inside pocket. He pulled free a white, finely woven envelope tied closed with a burgundy cord. “My wedding gift to you.”
“But I didn’t get you anything.”
“It doesn’t matter. Open it.”
Abbey unlaced the string from the envelope and opened it. She reached inside, pulling out a single ticket. Her eyes opened wide as she read the print on the paper. “Phantom of the Opera! For tonight!”
Sloan grinned proudly. “Front row. Orchestra.”
“How did you get this?”
Sloan’s smile grew deeper. “I have my ways.”
She threw her arms around his neck, hugging him tight. “Thank you.”
As Abbey pulled free from his embrace, she fought to control the disappointment on her face.
Sloan searched her face, his eyes filled with concern. “What is it, Abigail?”
“I’m sorry. I really love this,” she defended. “Thank you. But something this incredible…I was hoping to share it with someone.”
Sloan’s deep, sexy smirk returned. Abbey stared at his lips, the sensation of his kiss flooding her mind again. Shaking herself from her daze, she noticed Sloan pull his jacket open again to produce a second ticket.
“As I said, I have business to attend to today. I’ll meet you there in time for the show. Then we will get supper afterwards. That is, if that’s all right with you?”
Abbey let go a lovesick sigh as her euphoric smile returned. “That will be perfect.”
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