Last Kiss Goodnight
Author:Gena Showalter

chapter Thirty-six



I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.

—SONG OF SOLOMON 6:3

SOLO’S HANDS SHOOK AS he stripped his wife. His beautiful wife. Pale hair was spread out over his—their—pillow. And now . . . now, her rose-tinted curves were atop their bed, just the way he’d once imagined.

He could have her here every night. Every morning.

They could talk and laugh, and hold each other. They would grow old together. Have children.

“I once thought the three most important words in creation were ‘whatever proved necessary,’” he said.

“And now?” she gasped against his mouth.

“Now I know I was wrong. The three most important words in creation are ‘I love you.’”

Her expression, already soft, utterly melted. She held out her arms, tracing her fingers through his hair. “My one day has finally arrived, and it’s more wondrous than I ever supposed possible.”

“For me too. I missed you more than I can ever say. I missed trading senses with you. I missed your scent and your voice and your laugh and your touch.”

While on Alloris, he’d briefly considered hunting down someone who knew how to use black magic to open a solar flare. But then he’d recalled the price Jecis had paid for such an ability, and the way the man had changed over the years, and he had known not to dabble in such things, even to obtain what he wanted most.

Thankfully, there had been another way. The way his mother and father had used.

Natural solar flares.

All he’d had to do was wait in a quarantined area all of Alloris avoided. Only a rare few had ever left Alloris or had ever wanted to leave. It was a land of beauty, of peace, of joy. A few, like his father, had turned their backs on the utopia, choosing to break the rules, which was why the area had not been destroyed.

Solo hadn’t turned his back. He just hadn’t wanted to stay there alone. One day, he would take Vika there. One day, he would see X again.

“I missed you, too,” she said. “So much.”

He pressed his lips into Vika’s, tasting her, enjoying her, relearning her. He caressed her, and when she could take no more, when she was fighting for breath, trembling uncontrollably, he forced himself to slow.

He was so on edge, so ready, so close, and he needed her, needed her so desperately, had been lost without her, wanting so badly to have her back in his arms, to claim her once and for all, permanently.

She nipped at his jawline. “I missed this.”

“Sweetheart, you have no idea.”

“Don’t ever leave me again.”

“Never.”

She released a moan as he claimed her the way he’d dreamed, branding her, branding himself.

Her head fell back, and the ends of her hair tickled his thighs. Even that served as a stimulant. But then, everything about her delighted him. And that’s the way it should be. A man and wife should see the best in each other, should work together, should enjoy each other.

Solo would never take this woman for granted. He would never forget the beauty of her heart. And he would always strive to be the man she needed. They wouldn’t just have a life together. They would have a future and a hope.

“Oh, Solo,” she cried. “Yes!”

In an instant, pleasure slammed into him, undeniable, uncontrollable, and he shouted her name.

She collapsed on his chest, panting.

His wife, he thought, content. Their sweat-drenched skin rubbed together, and utter contentment overflowed inside him. She had given him everything she had to give, and he would cherish her always.

There was only one thing left unfinished.

“I hate to bring this up now,” he said after he’d caught his breath. He traced his fingers along her spine. “But I have to work one more case before I can become a full-time farmer.”

“Smart man, waiting until I was too weak to move.” There was no condemnation in her tone. Only amusement.

“Exactly.”

“You plan to search for your friends,” she said.

“Yes.”

“I understand, and, like I told you before, I can even help. I met some pretty shady characters at the circus, and even tried to buy a new identity from one. Of course, he raised the price the more time that passed, causing me to have to raise more and more funds, but that’s okay. The wait brought you to my door.”

“Something I will be forever thankful for.” He kissed her temple. One day, he would replace all her bad memories with good. She would look back and smile, only smile.

“We’ll find them,” she said. “Don’t worry.”

“I know we will. Together, we can do anything.”