Authors: Jenika Snow
Tags: #Romance, #Erotica, #Contemporary
Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Don't ever think you are not good enough. If it feels good and right take hold of it and don't let go.
Thank you everyone who has stood by me and given me your support and love. You have no idea how much it means to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
THE EDGE OF FOREVER
Copyright © 2013
“I’m going to marry Poppy when I’m older, Blake.” Jon looked up at his older brother and smiled.
“Sure you are, buddy.” Blake ruffled his hair, and Jon ducked out of the way. He hated when Blake did that.
Jon smoothed the now messy strands and puffed out his chest. “I am, you’ll see.”
“Says the seven-year-old with the missing front teeth.”
Jon felt his face heat at Blake’s words.
’, buddy.” If Blake wasn’t older and bigger Jon would have put him in a headlock and messed up his dark hair. “Look, Jon, there’s the girl of your dreams.” Jon followed Blake gaze and saw Poppy Matthews step into his home with her parents behind her.
“She’s so pretty, Blake.”
“Kiddo, you got a lot of years ahead of you, but go for it.” Blake walked away, but Jon didn’t bother watching. He let his feet carry him over to the prettiest girl in the world.
Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Matthews.”
Jon kept his eyes on Poppy. Her blue eyes reminded him of the big blue stone on his mom’s ring.
Everyone made their way into the dining room, but right before Poppy followed through the doorway Jon grabbed her hand, stopping her. She looked down at her hand, and he saw her cheeks turn a pretty shade of pink.
Don’t chicken out. Don’t chicken out.
Glancing up, he saw the little piece of green with white berries hanging from the doorway. He had seen his mom and dad kiss under it a lot. They called it
-something or other. Jon moved in closer, and Poppy gave him a funny look.
“What are you
He pressed his mouth to hers, but the next thing he knew he was on his butt looking up at her.
“Gross.” She wiped her mouth on her shirt then turned around and went into the dining room. He could hear her telling on him, but he didn’t care because he just kissed Poppy Matthews.
Yeah, Jon was going to marry her, and no one would tell him otherwise.
“Dude, if you don’t quit staring at her she’s going to think you’re a freak.”
“Shut up.” Jon didn’t pay attention to Zack or Mike as they continued to give him shit. In all honesty, Jon didn’t care what anyone said. He loved Poppy, and sooner or later she’d come to realize that she loved him, too.
He couldn’t have imagined all the shy looks she cast his way, or the way her arm brushed up against his. He had known her for thirteen years, and he knew without a doubt she was the girl he would spend the rest of his life with.
Jon couldn’t remember exactly when that one, perfect moment of realization had occurred, but the wheels had been set in motion the moment his seven year old lips had touched hers underneath the mistletoe.
“Why don’t you just quit being a douchebag and ask her out already?” Zack nudged him in the shoulder, and he pushed him away.
“If you don’t, I will.” Mike went to stand, but Jon pulled him down and stood.
“Try it, and I’ll kick your ass.” Mike and Zack laughed, but they knew Jon wasn’t joking. He may not have asked Poppy out on a date, but he spent a hell of a lot of time with her, thanks to their parents being good friends.
Gathering his courage, Jon took the ten or so steps until he stood behind Poppy. The bikini she wore had parts of his body threatening to come to attention if he didn’t keep himself in check.
For several minutes all he could do was stand there and stare at the slender slope of her shoulders. Her skin looked so damn soft that he had to curl his fingers into his palm to stop himself from touching her. Poppy spoke to her friends, but he couldn’t focus on their conversation, not when the scent of sunblock and baby powder surrounded her and did crazy things to his head.
The conversation around her suddenly stopped until all he could hear was the erratic pounding of his pulse in his ears. She looked over her shoulder, and his blood coursed through his veins as adrenalin and testosterone filled his system.
There were probably close to seventy-five people at his graduation party, but only one person held his attention. She turned around to face him, and he was struck by her beauty. His friends and family were in the pool, and splashes of water covered them. It took all his willpower not to watch those droplets of water cascade down her body.
Her smile could bring him to his knees.
Bright, clear blue eyes regarded him, and he realized he hadn’t responded. “Hey.” He sounded nervous.
“Cool graduation party.” She brought her drink to her mouth and took a drink. Her friends started giggling behind her, and Poppy cut them a dirty look. When she turned back to Jon her cheeks were pink.
“Yeah, thanks.” He looked at the pool and ran his hand over the back of his head. His short hair scraped across his palm.
“You okay?” she said softly.
Jon looked back at Poppy and took a deep breath. “Would you like to go out with me?”
Poppy laughing in his face or telling him she wanted nothing to do with him
been the reaction he expected, but not the warm, sweet smile she gave him or the yes that fell from her lips.
“I didn’t think you’d ever ask, Jon.”
“You ready for this, little brother?” Blake said as he adjusted Jon’s tux jacket.
“I’ve been ready for this day since I first saw her.” Blake took a step back, and Jon turned around and looked at himself in the mirror.
“I know, Jon. I know.” Blake slapped him on the back. “Come on. Don’t want to keep your blushing bride waiting.”
Jon took his place at the altar and faced the wide double doors. Their families and friends filled the pews, the hushed murmurs of excitement filling the church. The soft, organ music started to play, and his heart raced. The doors opened, and everything else faded until the only people in the room were Poppy and him.
God, she was so beautiful.
Poppy’s waist-length hair was coiled atop her head in intricate curls and braids. Her veil partially hid her face, but it sure as hell didn’t hide her smile. Bliss spread through him when she started walking toward him. Her father turned her toward him and brought her close enough to whisper in her ear. Jon didn’t doubt he told her all the things he would do to Jon if he ever hurt his little girl.
Taking the two steps it took to get to her, his smile widened when she placed her hand in his. Before he could lead his soon-to-be bride to the
, her father stopped him and pulled him in close.
“You take care of my little girl, Johnny.” Her father gripped him behind the neck and locked eyes with him.
He gripped Poppy’s hand again and led her up the steps. Jon didn’t let go of her hand, wouldn’t ever let go of her hand. Blake stood beside him, his older brother’s happiness clear on his face.
They turned to each other when it was time to say their vows. Poppy’s words had his heart clenching deep in his chest and his love for her growing exponentially. This was the woman he loved, the woman he would give up everything for. She was his soul mate, and he had known the first time he laid eyes on her.
Jon reached in his tux pocket and pulled out the folded piece of paper that had every feeling, every emotion he felt for her. He put the piece of paper back in his pocket because everything he wanted to say was already engraved in his heart. Taking a deep breath, Jon looked into Poppy’s blue eyes and said what he had wanted to say since he first saw her in that pretty pink dress all those years ago.
“Poppy Shay Matthews, I have loved you since I was five years old and you walked into Mrs. Hailey’s kindergarten class. I loved you even more when you pushed me on my ass for kissing you under the mistletoe when we were seven.” He took her hand and placed it over her heart. Even through the veil he could see the tears in her eyes. “My heart beats for you. Every second of every day I breathe for you. I knew I would be standing beside you at the altar one day, but no matter what I say words will never express how much I love you, and how much you mean to me.”
Jon took a step closer and gripped the edge of her veil. He hadn’t been given the all clear to get to this part yet, but he didn’t care. He had been waiting for this moment his entire life.
He lifted the delicate material until her glassy eyes and tear-stained cheeks came into view. “I have dreamed of this exact moment, over and over again. I love you, and will spend the rest of my life proving to you exactly how deep that love goes.” They stared at each other, her watery grin like a fresh ray of sun just peeking over the horizon.
The rest of the ceremony commenced, but Jon only had eyes for Poppy. He brushed her tears away with his thumbs, and loved the way her smaller hands gripped his wrist, holding him to her.
“You may now kiss your bride.”
That was all Jon needed to hear before he dipped his head and kissed his wife, his love, his Poppy.
The freak storm that had hit earlier that day made the roads unbearably difficult to drive in. Poppy sat beside him, her body tense and her lips sealed tight. Jon exhaled and tightened his hands on the steering wheel.
“Honey, I said I’m sorry.” He cut his eyes to her and saw her back straighten from her anger. When Poppy was upset she tended to hold that damn grudge for eternity.
“Jon, you lied to me.”
“Honey, I didn’t lie, not technically.”
He felt her icy glare but couldn’t bring himself to meet it. He knew he had been in the wrong, but really, it wasn’t
“Purposefully not telling me that you had lunch with a female co-worker, one that has been after you since you started working at the firm, is a lie in my book, Jonathan.’
Fuck, she’s bringing out the full first name.
“Don’t honey me, Jonathan.” Her words sliced because deep down he knew she was right. “What if I had gone to lunch with Alex?”
Just the mention of that prick’s name had his knuckles turning white and his jaw locking tight. “That’s completely different, and you know it.”
She sounded incredulous. “Because last I heard, from
, Michelle has been flirting with you so thick you were drowning in it.”
Yeah, Poppy was right, like always, but still. “Alex is in a whole other category, Poppy.” He looked at her but found her staring out the passenger side window again. “Honey, please let’s not fight. I promise you it was only lunch.”
When she looked at him all words failed him when he saw by the hurt in her gaze. “It wasn’t just lunch, Jon. I wanted to talk to you today. I wanted
to go to lunch because I had some news to share.” Her lips thinned, and her hurt became replaced by frustration. “But you told me you couldn’t go because you had a lunch meeting.” Her voice rose on the last part. “Why did you lie when I asked who you ate lunch with?”
Jon sighed and rubbed at the back of his head. “Because if I told you I had lunch with Michelle this is the reaction I would have gotten. Honey, please, you’re overreacting.”