When enough time had passed that he could be assured she would be prepared for him, he walked slowly to the bedroom, holding his breath in anticipation of his first glimpse of her. Beautiful. Naked. Kneeling in magnificent submission as she waited for him and his command.

His pulse accelerated as he pushed open the already ajar door and then he saw her.

His breath left in one long exhalation and he was suddenly unsteady on his feet. He gripped the frame of the door until his knuckles were white as his gaze slowly traversed her beautiful body.

She was the picture-perfect image of complete submission. Kneeling on the soft rug in front of the fireplace, her body silhouetted by the light shining from the bathroom, his wife rested, awaiting him. His command. But speech escaped him. He could barely form a coherent thought much less put to words a description that did her any justice.

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Long flowing hair fell down her back, a section artfully arranged over one shoulder and playing an erotic game of peekaboo with one dusky pink nipple. His mouth watered as he imagined tasting the twin peaks. Running his tongue over the puckered ridges and sucking them until they were hard and aching.

He could almost hear her low moan of pleasure. It only brought home to him just how long he’d gone without hearing the sounds of her satisfaction. How remiss he’d been in providing the pleasure she deserved.

“Forgive me, Chessy,” he whispered in a voice he knew she wouldn’t hear. It wasn’t as though he didn’t feel she deserved the plea for forgiveness, but he was determined to forge ahead and not bring yet another reminder of how much he’d failed her. Not tonight when so much promised to be right. Finally right again.

As though sensing his quiet perusal, her chin tilted up, her gaze finding his. Their eyes locked, hers simmering with need and desire. He was sure his were a perfect match to hers.

“You’re beautiful,” he said, so she’d hear.

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Her eyes reflected her pleasure at his words.

“I’m glad you find me beautiful,” she said in a low voice that hummed deliciously over his ears, sending awareness deep into his body.

“Do you doubt your beauty to me?” he asked, though he knew it wasn’t well done of him to ask such a question. How could she believe he found her beautiful still after five years of marriage when his actions had pointed to just the opposite?

Would a man who still loved his wife and thought her to be the most gorgeous woman in the world treat her the way he had?

Yes.

He winced at his frank admission. But yes, he did still love his wife, and yes, he thought she was the most beautiful woman on earth, and yes, he’d treated her as though neither were true.

“No,” she said without hesitation. “You’ve removed all the worry I had that you no longer desired me or found me beautiful. When you look at me like you’re doing right now, I feel beautiful.”

He crossed the distance between them and gently threaded his fingers through her hair, stroking and allowing the strands to spill over his hands like the finest silk.

“I’m very glad you feel beautiful, Chessy. Because you are. And in no way should the way I look at you be the measure by which you consider your beauty. You’re beautiful inside and out. A more loving, giving woman I’ve never known. And you’re mine,” he said with ultimate satisfaction. “I’m never letting you go. Never doubt how beautiful you are to me. To others. You shine, baby. When you walk into a room, everyone stops to look at you. You’re a joy to watch. Your kindness and compassion glow from the depths of your soul. I don’t deserve you. I never have. But thank God you’re mine anyway.”

She angled her head, nuzzling her cheek into his palm as he gently stroked the satiny-soft skin with his fingertips, simply enjoying the way she reacted to his touch. So responsive. So honest. There was no holding back for her. It was one of the many things he loved so much about her.

She had no inhibitions. She didn’t just live life. She attacked it. What she enjoyed, she enjoyed wholeheartedly with zest and fervor that attracted people to her. Others just flocked to Chessy, her personality a magnet that held people in her thrall. It was one of the main reasons he’d taken her to so many business functions in the beginning. Before he felt guilty for using her to further his career. It sounded worse than it was. The word used wasn’t a pleasant one. But he’d benefitted from her ability to have people—especially men—eating out of her hand. Not that women weren’t similarly drawn to Chessy’s warmth and genuine sweetness. But he wasn’t an idiot. He knew his wife’s effect on the opposite sex. Just as he knew she’d never in a million years even entertain the thought of straying. Not his girl.

She put people at ease. Made them feel as though they’d known her forever. She exuded genuine warmth that couldn’t be faked. There wasn’t an insincere bone in her body.

And she was his.

He bent at the waist so he could brush his lips over the top of her head, inhaling the scent of her hair deeply into his nostrils. Desire surged hotly through his veins, giving him a heady sensation. He felt drunk, intoxicated by her essence. He was the most fortunate of men. He accepted it, knew it for the truth it was. Most men in his position never got a second chance at perfection. The opportunity to make amends for many wrongs performed. He wouldn’t waste a single moment. He’d grab on with both hands and be on his knees, grateful and humbled by his wife’s forgiving nature.

“Tell me what you’d like tonight,” he murmured next to her ear.

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