Awe filled Adam as he stared up at the Vermont hotel designed
to create the illusion of an English estate fit for royalty.
“Oh wow. It’s amazing in person.” The trilevel, Palladian-style
facade had a hue to it that looked like muted sunlight had
absorbed into the structure. Columns fronted the entrance,
and a pair of men in sharp uniforms stood on either side,
waiting to allow guests entry.
“It is cool, isn’t it?” Rhone joined Adam and pulled him
to his chest with an arm around his waist. He dipped his mouth
down to Adam’s shoulder, and puffs of white from the frigid
air mingling with his inner warmth escaped his lips as he
talked. “Let’s get checked in and do a little exploring around
the grounds before we meet with the event planner. Come on.”
Excitement infused Rhone’s voice. “Let’s go inside.” He linked
his hand in Adam’s and pulled him in the direction of the
An unexpected ripple of fear rolled through Adam’s belly
as he let Rhone lead him to the place where they would marry.
Up to this point, all the wedding planning had taken place
through e-mails and over the phone, and in a strange way that
kept the whole process at a distance and made it almost unreal.
Now, here they were.
Adam didn’t have any family to speak of who would celebrate
this union with him. His parents had disowned him and kicked
him out when he was sixteen, and had only reinforced their
intolerance of his homosexuality when he’d tried seeing them
one more time a number of years ago. His mother and father
cutting him out of their lives hadn’t bothered him in a long
time, but his tía… Adam’s heart constricted
where he stood. His aunt Loretta was another story. His tía
had lived with them, and for all intents and purposes, had
raised him and loved him for the first sixteen years of his
life. Her inability to get past Adam’s being gay still made
him hurt all over when he thought about it too much.
Not that Rhone would have family members coming out of his
ears for this wedding either. Canin was Rhone’s only blood
relative who would attend. Rhone’s mother had passed away
when he was just a little boy, and his father had checked
out of the responsibility of raising two small sons not long
after her death. Their grandmother had taken care of them,
made them into the men they now were, but she had died a while
We make our own way now.
Adam exhaled slowly. They had their own created family these
days. And on Monday, their guests would join them in Vermont.
Then, on New Year’s Eve, just before midnight, he and Rhone
would exchange their vows in a little chapel on the hotel
In less than a week, I’ll be legally bound to Rhone.
“Adam?” Rhone whipped his arm around Adam’s waist and kept
him from falling. “What’s the matter? Talk to me, baby.”
“Sir?” One of the door attendants rushed to Adam, slipped
an arm around him too, and helped situate him upright. “Are
you all right? Can I get you some help?” The man looked back
at his coworker. “Go get a bottle of water for him.” Concern
filled deep blue eyes as the guy looked from Adam to Rhone.
“Maybe we should get your friend inside and sit him down.”
Adam quickly regained his footing and equilibrium and looked
up into two sets of worried eyes. “I’m sorry; I’m fine. I
promise. I just feel like an idiot.” Adam glanced at the dark-haired
door attendant and burned with discomfort. He turned his gaze
back to Rhone and felt himself blush even darker. “I absorbed
the fact that we’re finally here, and it hit me that this
is really happening.”
“Hell yeah it is.” Rhone winked and caressed his palm down
Adam’s waist to his hip. “Better not faint on me at the altar.”
Leaning down, he whispered oh-so-very-softly in Adam’s ear,
“Or else I’ll make you ten times redder with the method I
use to bring you out of your swoon.” He licked his tongue
into Adam’s ear and shot a reaction straight down to his cock.
Before Adam could stammer a reply, Rhone pulled away and
put his full attention on the hotel employee. “I think he’ll
be okay.” He stuck out his hand. “Thank you for jumping in
“I’m glad I was close by.” The man clasped Rhone’s hand
and pumped it in a large one of his own. “My name is Wes.
I do a little bit of everything in the hotel, so if you need
anything, just let me know.”
“I’m Rhone” -- Rhone’s arm moved up to around Adam’s shoulders
-- “and this is Adam.”
Adam shook the young man’s hand too. “Nice to meet you.”
“Likewise.” Wes swept open one of the tall glass doors of
the hotel and gestured to the understated opulence on the
other side. “Welcome to the Astor-Grand. Enjoy your stay.”
Rhone hooked his arm around Adam’s neck, yanked him in,
and pecked a kiss to his temple. “Come on, stud.” He chuckled.
“Let’s go check in.”
* * * * *
“Here is the chapel.” Eliza, the hotel event planner the
Astor-Grand had put in charge of Rhone and Adam’s wedding,
threw open the doors to the small stone building. “As you
can see, it is almost completely decorated for a wedding that
will take place tomorrow, but rest assured I have your flowers
scheduled to arrive the morning of the thirty-first, and all
will be in place for your ceremony.”
Uh, yeah. Rhone cringed at the explosion of pink
and purple ribbons and frippery that overwhelmed the simple,
charming structure. The chapel had ten rows of pews on both
sides of the center aisle, and when Rhone pulled Adam inside
and looked up, he noticed a tiny balcony above with a thick,
Rhone dropped his line of sight back down, and a giant fuchsia
bow attached to the humble stone wall assaulted his vision.
Seeing their planner busy taking a call, Rhone dipped down
to Adam and kept his voice low. “What do you think?” he asked.
“Is Barbie getting married here tomorrow?”
Adam covered his mouth, but not before a snicker slipped
free. His face sobered, and then he straightened and said,
“Be nice, Rhone.” Adam turned in a circle, taking in the decor.
“The bride might be very young. If this is her dream, then
she should be allowed to have it.”
The event planner stepped back in. “I apologize for cutting
our tour short, but I have a situation brewing that I have
to address.” The woman spread her arms in welcome as she walked
backward to the doors. “Feel free to stay in the chapel for
as long as you want. Just let the employee waiting outside
know when you leave so that he can lock up.”
After the woman left, Rhone and Adam wandered around the
small chapel hand in hand, and Rhone just enjoyed the hell
out of Adam’s wide, dark eyes taking everything in. Adam was
smart, capable, and part owner of their very successful security
firm, but Rhone could still look at Adam and instinctively
know when he was mentally pinching himself inside to assure
himself that something special was really happening. Adam
was twenty-nine years old and sexy-as-all-get-out, but in
this moment, Rhone could see the teenager Adam used to be:
a young man whose parents had kicked him out of his home for
being gay, forever changing Adam into someone who wasn’t sure
he deserved a good life.
That was just one of the reasons Rhone had been so goddamned
stunned when Adam proposed. Not that Rhone didn’t believe
Adam loved him and wanted a legal commitment, but rather that
Adam still, all these years later, had moments of fear that
he would wake up one morning to find everything important
in his life gone.
Not in a million years.
Till death do us part. Rhone didn’t need to speak
the words. He’d felt the truth of them for far longer than
the two years since he found out Adam was in love with him,
and immediately realized himself that he was crazy mad in
love with Adam too.
Vows won’t change it; they’ll just seal the deal.
Rhone spotted a narrow flight of stairs tucked in the back
corner of the chapel. “Come on.” He crowded Adam from behind
and guided him to the steps. “Let’s go take a look from upstairs.”
Dogging Adam’s backside all the way up the steps, Rhone
entered the tiny loft that only had enough room for one small
pew. He followed Adam to the railing and settled in behind
him, caging him with his arms braced on the thick wood rail.
Adam’s warmth -- Christ, he was always warm -- sank into Rhone’s
chest and belly and worked its way deep into him in a comforting
“Damn, honey,” Rhone murmured as he looked down into the
body of the chapel. “We’ll be meeting at that altar in less
than a week.” Tucking Adam against him, Rhone rested his chin
on his partner’s head. “Can you believe it?”
Adam leaned into Rhone and twined their arms against his
stomach. “It’s hard to picture what our ceremony will look
like within the ocean of pink and purple taking over the place
Rhone bit back a snort. “Do you think I’ve forgotten just
how great I know your imagination is?” He baited Adam with
a tickle to his side. Since becoming a couple, Rhone had coaxed
stories out of Adam about Adam’s past penchant for eavesdropping
on Rhone having sex with women. One thin wall had separated
their bedrooms in the apartment they’d shared for a lot of
years, and during some of that time, Adam admitted that he
had listened in and pleasured himself, all the while envisioning
Rhone in bed with him. “Because your descriptions of what
you did to yourself in your bedroom were vivid enough that
I can still close my eyes and see you pushing that dildo in
and out of your sweet ass while moaning my name.”
“Rhone!” Adam hissed under his breath. He tried to turn
around, but Rhone held him in place. “We’re in a church,”
he added in an equally low voice.
“Not technically,” Rhone argued. “It’s a chapel. And it
was built by a hotel for the purpose of creating cozy weddings,
not for Sunday services. It’s not as if we’re standing in
Adam’s fingers dug into Rhone’s forearms. “Still…” Tension
ran through the body in front of Rhone, but a breathiness
laced that one word and stirred Rhone’s cock to attention.
Rhone pressed his nose into Adam’s hair and grew even harder
from inhaling his partner’s natural, spicy scent. “I have
a two-track mind, Adam.” He slipped his hand inside Adam’s
jacket, undid the buttons on his shirt, and rubbed his palm
across the plane of hard muscles beneath his hand. “Work and
you.” He grazed his fingers over the pointed tips of Adam’s
nipples, and his own balls swelled in response. “And work
isn’t anywhere in my thoughts right now.”
Adam covered Rhone’s hand, nudged his ass into Rhone’s cock,
and moaned low. “Rhone…”
Putting his mouth to Adam’s ear, Rhone nipped the sensitive
skin behind. “Look down and picture it. Let the pink and purple
disappear and see the leafy green sprays attached to the end
of each pew.” His hand drifted down to Adam’s belt and undid
the buckle. The zipper on his jeans sighed in the quiet space
as it came down, and Rhone slipped his hand inside Adam’s