Awaken: A Spiral of Bliss Novel (Book Three)
Author:Lane, Nina

I want all that again as much as Dean does. And just within the past few days, I’ve finally felt the awakening of my arousal again. I’ve even started having some rather lusty and imaginative dreams about us, and the sheer enjoyment of such dreams is most welcome.


And though I’m already anticipating getting sexy with Dean again, I can’t help believing that a little bit more restraint right now will help put us back into balance, reminding us why we just like each other.


I close my eyes and picture my husband sitting in the chair, me in his lap, his arms strong and tight around my waist. I can smell the delicious, woodsy scent of his shaving soap, feel the scrape of his whiskers against my cheek.


“Hey, Dean?”


“Hey, Liv.”


“Are you okay with us putting that on hold for just a little longer?”


“As long as you’re okay with me imagining you naked and sweaty most of the time.”


“I’m not only okay with that, I encourage it. Except for when you’re digging up a medieval skeleton or something.”


“Don’t worry, I’m discreet.” He pauses. “And it’s not the only thing I’m thinking about.”


“I know.”


“Abstinence is actually part of the philosophy of courtly love,” he tells me. “The knight suppresses his erotic longing in favor of exalting his lady’s soul and spirit.”


“Really? You think you can do that?”


“I’ll exalt your spirit, but there’s no chance in hell I’m suppressing my erotic longing for your body.”


I smile. “I love that you love me, professor.”


“I love loving you, beauty.”


An intense, rich adoration floods my heart. Once upon a time, I didn’t know men like Dean West existed. I certainly never believed I’d ever have someone like him in my life, and our separation only intensifies my gratitude.


“So I have a poem for you,” Dean says.


“A poem?”


“Written by Guillaume de Machaut, a fourteenth-century composer of love poetry. Want to hear it?”


“Of course.”


“Okay.” He clears his throat.




I want to stay faithful, protect your honor,


Seek peace, obey,


Fear, serve and honor you,


Until death, peerless Lady.


For I love you so much, truly,


that one could sooner dry up


the deep sea and hold back its waves


than I could restrain myself


from loving you.




“Wow,” I whisper. “That was something.”


“Want to hear it in French?”


“You need to ask?” I love hearing Dean speak French.


“Je veux vous demeurer fidèle, protéger votre honneur,” he murmurs in that baritone voice that I feel pulsing in my blood, “assurer votre paix, vous obéir, vous craindre, vous servir et vous honorer, jusqu’à la mort, gente dame…”


By the time he’s finished, I’m melting. “That was the kind of poem a knight would use to woo his lady?”


“Better than ‘roses are red,’ huh?”


“I’ll say.” I smile into the receiver. “Thanks.”


“Just trying to get a start on courting you.”


“That’s a lovely start. And you’ll call me tomorrow?”


“When the clock strikes ten, my peerless lady.”


We say goodbye and hang up. I sit in his chair for a while longer, then get up to tend to my houseplants that are arranged on a rack near the balcony. As I’m plucking dried leaves from the stems, I notice my peace lily has bloomed, the creamy white flower turning its face toward the sun.






I do not think I have ever owned big girl panties. So after cashing my last paycheck from Allie, I go to the store to buy some. Old Liv is whispering that this is a complete waste of money, but New Liv is tackling life again, and new panties seems like an unexpectedly good place to start.


The lingerie shop is a haven of lace and loveliness—flowered wallpaper, a glass chandelier, vintage chairs and vanities, open cabinets filled with neatly folded satin robes. The scent of vanilla spice wafts through the air, and a Mozart sonata plays on hidden speakers.


The saleswoman approaches me with a welcoming smile. Her nametag reads Sophia, and she’s an attractive woman in her forties who looks like she knows all about the importance of what you wear beneath your clothes. After I tell her I need new underwear, she gets me measured right and explains all the various styles of panties, which I had no idea existed.


“What kind do you usually wear?” she asks.


I’m a little embarrassed by my answer. “Just cotton briefs.”


“And you’re looking for something different?”


“I think so.” I dubiously eye the racks of V-strings and thongs, then pick up a pair of panties called “cheekies” which look like they’d give me an atomic wedgie.


I put the cheekies back. “But, uh, maybe not quite that different.”


I pick up a package of briefs and study the label. I can almost feel Sophia’s dismay.


“Well, briefs are comfortable,” she remarks, taking my arm and steering me toward another rack. “But you might want to try the hiphuggers. They’re a cross between boy shorts and bikinis, so they offer you good coverage without being… dowdy.”


“I don’t want to be dowdy,” I agree.


Kelsey did say big girl panties, not granny panties.