Chapter 25, Part 2

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A bump in the road jolted Evelyn awake, and she blinked, rousing herself. Looking up, she saw that Simon had his head back and his eyes closed. Her lips curved into a little smile as she studied him, thinking that there could not be a more handsome man in the world than her husband.

Husband. She blushed at the implication of the title. Gingerly, so as not to wake him, she snuggled against his warm body, longing to be as close to him as possible. She felt an ache deep inside herself, and she felt strangely unashamed in realizing that the feeling was desire. She was stirred and warmed, inside and out, by thoughts of their first night together, and more so, at the remembrance of waking up beside him for the first time...

*****

As she stirred from her sleep, she felt pleasantly warm all over, and a little smile came to her lips as her memory stirred.

Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined such an act between two people. Thea had told her something of it, but the actual experience had been beyond description. In some moments, it had been terrifying. In others, it had been shocking. But above all, it had been the most thrilling experience of her life.

Was it wrong to wish they could be together again, and soon?

She turned her head on the pillow, looking at her husband, and a loving smile came to her lips. He was still asleep, and she took the moment to study him. What rugged, masculine features he had. And yet he was adorably boyish in certain ways, with the delightful way his brown hair had a curl to it, and the little dimple in his chin. Her eyes traveled down his body, to parts that had nothing boyish about them. Before him, she had never seen an unclothed man, but even her unschooled eyes could see what a fine specimen he was. She marveled at his beautiful bronze skin, remembering how warm it was to the touch...and how good it felt when their bare bodies were pressed together. His skin was nearly flawless, except for a few scars here and there. She looked at the long scar on his left shoulder, and a smaller one that was marked across his midsection. His marks were not surprising, considering he was a soldier. In her eyes, the scars only added to his appeal. And what an incredible contradiction there was between his solid, muscular physique and the gentleness of his manner. Even in those last earth-shattering moments, he had been wonderfully tender and caring.

Feeling giddy with happiness, she sighed, wishing he would wake up. She wondered if it would be wrong to reach out and brush her fingers across his skin. Feeling bold, she moved her hand the small space between them. But before she could make contact, he shifted slightly, and a moment later, his beautiful green eyes were looking at her. He smiled, and she returned it with a tender expression of her own.

“I am sorry if I woke you,” she softly apologized.

He reached out to brush her cheek with his fingertips. His words held a hint of amusement. “No apologies. I cannot think of a more pleasant way to be roused from sleep.”

He readjusted his position, scooting up to recline against the pillows. She wanted to follow his actions, and take refuge in his arms. But she feared that might be too bold. Kind and wonderful as he had been, he was still her husband. Was he not supposed to tell her what and what not to do, rather than she making her own decisions? For a moment she remained still, unsure of what her actions should be...until he said her name, bidding her to join him.

“Come, Evelyn. You need not be shy.”

When he held out his arms, she timidly came to him. As she started to lean against him, she did not realize she was holding the bed sheet to herself, until he carefully loosened her grip on it. As it fell away, he slipped his arms around her, drawing her gently down against his chest. Keeping her eyes from his, she sighed, wishing she was more knowledgeable about how she should behave.

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