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CHAPTERTWENTY

GIANNA

Gianna could feel her heart throbbing in her throat. Rex was still on one knee, unmoving, like some glorious Greek statue. The moonlight cast his swirling green embers with the most dazzling shine, making her feel more and more like she was walking in a dream.

It wasn’t a dream, though, and she knew it. Deep in her bones, her heart, and her soul, she knew that what was happening was meant to be. Something like the fate she had longed for her entire life. Gianna tended to try to escape the moment, to evaporate away and escape the truth of what was facing her.

What was facing her was beautiful and infinite. What was facing her was a person who was not only beyond human but beyond a man. Rex was a shifter who would commit to her with every vibration of his being.

It was an intimidating world to fall into, but Gianna took the plunge, exhilarated and finally trusting her intuition.

She touched her bare chest and gave him a broad, beaming smile.

“Of course, Rex,” she said in a strained voice.

“Really?”

“Yes!”

Gianna brought Rex to his feet and wrapped her arms around his neck. He picked her up with ease and spun her around, and Gianna let the tears flow like a waterfall.

How could I be so lucky to land myself such a dedicated, selfless man?

She wanted to stop questioning it, and she knew that having Rex by her side would help her do just that.

Rex stopped spinning her and held her face in his hands. His vulnerable eyes glimmered at her with a future that was not only bright but full of power and appreciation.

“I love you beyond any words I can say,” Rex murmured.

Gianna ran her hands through his hair, and he closed his eyes, reveling in her touch. She was feeling warm all over, electrified by the moment and the promise of an adventurous future to come.

“My love for you,” Gianna began, “is as big as the moon, as bright as the stars, as blinding as the sun.”

Rex’s eyes shone with a thin film of tears as he raised one eyebrow.

“Whoa, Whoa,” he said, running his hand up and down her back. “Let’s save the good stuff for the wedding, all right?”

Gianna chuckled and pulled him hard against her. She loved the way their bodies curved together like adjoining streams of a river.

“Well, I am a writer,” she whispered sweetly. “It’s second nature.”

Rex could wait no longer. He moved his mouth down to hers, hovered there as he often did, teasing her with his breath, and then he engulfed her. She wrapped her arms around his head and gave in to the passion she’d been edging toward the entire night.

* * *

In two months,Rex and Gianna held their wedding. Gianna had moved into Rex’s mansion, and she was still getting used to its massive, seemingly endless structure. She even joked that she may require a tracking device for whenever she got lost in the sublime manor.

Gianna wasn’t used to the ease that came with having exorbitant wealth. She had grown up middle-class, which she was always thankful for, never having ever felt the strain of poverty. There was a part of her that felt guilty for having so much money and spending it on obscenely expensive products and grand vacations.

She managed to convince Rex that she wanted to start running a charity for shifters that they would both run during their free time instead of constantly indulging in yacht parties and excessive travel. He was open to it, admiring her constant longing to make the world a better place.

He did convince her to allow herself one day of pampering and fulfillment, though. She gave in, realizing that she, too, deserved wonderful things in her life.

Rex had helped her tremendously with the awareness that she certainly deserved to enjoy her life and feel great pleasure.

Gianna thought about it as she put on her wedding dress. It was a beautiful, crisp white gown with a tight-fit top, cutting down her neckline to show off a sneak peek of the arresting soft skin of her cleavage. The bottom flared out with a complex sown-laced pattern, offering yet another wink of skin to tease the onlooker.

Gianna had her long, sleek black hair streaming down her shoulders. It was a bright and alluring contrast to the snow-white shade of her dress. She stared into the mirror at herself, her own violet-blue eyes shining with delight.

She was overwhelmed with joy, absolutely brimming.

The ceremony was small, serene, and demur. They were holding it on a beach at night. The beach was decorated to look like something out of mystical fantasy.

The sky was clear and remarkable, stars scattered like a velvet blanket across its surface. The aisle was scattered with scarlet rose petals, and glowing lanterns flickered like fireflies as she walked down the row. The few guests they’d invited sat in silent stillness, watching as the gorgeous bride made her way toward her beloved.

Rex was wearing an entirely white, three-piece suit. He stood against the backdrop of the sea, his eyes glistening and calling to her like a lonely ship at night. A subtle wind brushed his hair to the side, and Gianna imagined her fingers moving through it.

She could barely contain herself when she finally stood in front of him. The moon was a waning crescent that night, emitting enough light to make Rex look like he had stepped out of the sky for her.

Their minister introduced them and told the brief story of their love. Gianna found it difficult to listen as she was lost in the gentle gaze of her love. When it came time for their vows, her stomach was in a knot, and her voice trembled.

“Well,” she said, standing up straight. “I wish I had enough words to use to describe this moment and how much it all means to me.”

Rex blinked, and a single tear ran down his face. It nearly sent Gianna into a puddle on the sandy floor.

“But I hope these words will be sufficient, at least for tonight,” Gianna continued. “Rex, you are my everything. I vow to appreciate you as you have appreciated me and to be the hands that hold up your hopes and dreams.”

The crowd clapped politely as Rex wiped away a few more tears. Gianna had been smiling the entire time, feeling her cheeks aching and loving it.

Rex adjusted his tie, then slowly met Gianna’s gaze. She felt the whole world melt away as he spoke to her with his silky voice.

“Gianna, I know that I would never be able to top your vows, with you being a writer and all,” Rex said. The crowd offered up a tiny chuckle in reaction to his quip. “But I also know,” Rex said, taking a step closer to her, “that nothing can truly measure up to my love for you. I will search for the words for the rest of my life, like an astronaut chasing the moon, to relay to you how much I love you.”

The statement elicited a loud “aww” from the crowd, with adjoining applause. Gianna was taken aback by his words and, as usual, surprised by how often he could surprise her.

She felt her body seizing, tense, and ready for him. They finally were able to kiss, and she had to hold herself back from taking him right then and there.

Rex pulled away and gave her a wink as their guests stood and cheered.

“Someone is ready …” he growled.

Gianna giggled, then tore herself from him, knowing they would have the rest of their lives together to add to the majestic varieties of their lovemaking.

The reception was also held on the beach, set up by a company Rex knew was reliable. There were multiple tables with ocean-themed decorum, a turquoise light glowing at the center of each grouping. Dancing was under a small tent while a band played some of their favorite songs into the night.

Gianna and Rex were seated at the largest table, directly at the center of the guests’ tables. They faced the ocean crashing lightly against the shore in a pleasant rhythm.

Gianna had her chin on Rex’s shoulder as she admired his sharp features. He motioned with his eyes the oncoming of both their parents.

“Here come the explosions,” Rex quipped.

Gianna lightly tapped his thigh beneath the table. Their parents had met briefly at the rehearsal dinner but hadn’t interacted much since then. Gianna wasn’t too worried about them getting along, as they all were fairly educated and aware people.

The fact that Rex was a shifter, though, may have been a point of contention.

Gianna stood, pulling up Rex with one hand. They moved around the table, still adjoined and unable to separate.

“Beautiful ceremony!” Kim Titus exclaimed.

Rex nodded, holding up his empty champagne glass.

“We’re lucky the weather worked out for us,” Rex remarked.

Rhett Titus nodded, continually gazing around the beach like he was memorizing each grain of sand.

“This fucking sand, though,” he said, making Gianna have to hold in a giggle. “Hopefully, it won’t end up in any unfortunate places later.”

Kim elbowed Rhett as Rhett looked around obliviously like a gnat nipped his arm.

“I think it’s stunning,” Tara said, shooting her daughter a grin. “It’s everything you wonderful kids deserve.”

Gianna beamed at her mother. It wasn’t often that she would offer her a compliment, especially in front of others. But it meant a lot to her to hear it on one of the most important days of her life.

“It’s a great night, definitely,” Kevin said, holding up his whiskey glass.

He tapped it with a smirk, eyeing Rex specifically.

“Where do I go for a fill-up, though?”

Rex smiled, then gestured at the bar near the dance floor. They embraced each parent, then they parted ways, filling Gianna with relief.

“That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Gianna asked, taking Rex’s hand in hers.

“Hmm,” Rex muttered. “The night is still young, my love.”

Gianna felt a surge of love for her husband move up her body like she was being possessed. She pulled his face close to hers, and she opened her mouth, welcoming his tongue into her cave in the least saintly manner. Rex responded by pulling her waist close to his pelvis.

He pulled his mouth away from hers, panting, resting his forehead on his wife’s.

“You’re bad,” he whispered against her lips.

Gianna kissed him lightly once again, then let her teeth faintly sink into his bottom lip. Rex’s eyes flew wide like he’d been struck by an arrow when she nibbled down.

“You have no idea,” she said in her sexiest, sultriest voice.

A familiar song came on, and Gianna felt a need to groove shoot through her veins. She took Rex by the hand and pulled him onto the dance floor. He was still dazed from her nibble and adjusted his pants so the guests couldn’t see his growing bulge.

“You’re giving me whiplash, woman,” Rex boomed over the music.

Gianna pulled him into her, and he, once again, held her waist delicately like she was made of glass. They swayed to the music like water moving against the shore, in tune and succinct.

Gianna ran her fingers through his hair, just the way she always did. He closed his eyes as he leaned his head against hers. Everyone else disappeared into the ether as they melted into each other’s touch, their souls blending like an exquisite painting.

The rest of the night was relaxing and full of joy and laughter. They’d both had a fair amount to drink, but Gianna didn’t want to be completely plastered. She wanted to continue with their evening in private, unobstructed by booze or any other hindrance.

Rex had booked them a seaside room for a few days before their honeymoon, what he called a “prequel.” Their bedroom looked out directly to the ocean, with spits and slaps of water crashing onto the shore. Gianna felt her body lighting up at the sight of it and whipped open the sliding door.

Rex was placing their bags down as Gianna closed her eyes, letting the cool wind brush over her damp skin.

“You’re a vision, my love.”

Gianna turned to face her new husband. He stood still, eyes ablaze with curiosity, and she skipped over to him and wrapped her lips around his mouth with a sexy urgency. She wanted to make their wedding night one to remember, one that would prequel all of their lovemaking sessions to come.

Her soul was bursting, and there was no way to contain it.


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