Shameless self promotion: I have a Phantom-inspired story available in an electronic anthology (or individually) coming out this Sunday. You can preview it on my bulletin board if you're one of the elite or by visiting my website. It's a sensual romance, meaning 18 and over only, but if you've enjoyed my phantom stories here please support me in my original writing! Also, if you buy it the first week it's out and send me your receipt, I'll send you a short erotic phantom story called Delicate Angel, an exclusive only found on my bulletin board to original members.
He smiled against her lips and rolled onto his side to keep from crushing her on the cold ground. Even if her brother approved of their marriage he wouldn't approve of her returning home covered in dirt—and he feared one false move and Philippe might change his mind.
Sophia sighed and kept her hand at the back of his neck and gazed into his eyes, appearing more content than ever. He could already imagine waking to her perfect smile every morning, how it would feel to roll over and find her awake beside him, or asleep and rousing to his gentle kisses. It gave him goosebumps to merely think of seeing her every morning rather than waking to nothingness. He wondered if it would always come as a surprise to see her delighted when she looked up and saw him.
"How did you ever plan this?" she asked.
"I will give you everything, Sophia, save my secrets on how I plan to amaze you for the rest of our lives together."
"With your music?"
"With everything." Already he had imagined leaving flowers for her in the dining room or chocolates on her pillow at night just to hear her gasp in surprise and tell him he shouldn't have gone through the trouble. "Whatever you've imagined, I'll give it to you."
Her grin widened, and she kissed him slowly as though time no longer mattered. He savored the feel of her smashed against his body, the way she sighed when he caressed the base of her neck and ran his fingers along the shell of her ear. He deepened their kiss and massaged her tongue with his, drawing her closer. Coaxing soft murmurs and groans from her seemed like playing a fine instrument to him, the tune unknown yet still familiar, the melody theirs alone. Now this was the music of the night, a sweeter song than he could have ever composed.
His desire for her strained against his trousers, his blood racing through his veins as she held him close, her hips rising to meet his. He wanted her, every inch of her, but he made no attempt to undress her or encourage her to cast her values away and give herself to him. There would be other ways, he assured himself, and soon they could do as they wished as often as they liked—and he had a feeling it would never be often enough.
"Are you happy?" he murmured.
She nodded and wiped the last tear from her eyes. "Of course I'm happy." Her lips pursed as though she wished to keep something to herself.
Lips pursed, she stared at him long and hard. "But I want to know what surprise you have in store for me back home."
"My impatient Sophia." He chuckled to himself and sat up, bringing her with him until they were both cuddled together.
"I wouldn't be impatient if you would tell me." She gave him a look as though her words were perfectly sensible.
"What fun is that?"
She nudged him with her shoulder. "It's fun for me."
"Everything you've ever imagined, I'll make it better."
She linked her smallest finger with his and brought their joined hands to her lips until he could feel her warm breath against the back of his hand. Gently she kissed his knuckle, a sweet innocent gesture only his Sophia could give him. His affection for her was like a puzzle of the smallest moments, each one bringing together a larger, grander expanse that no one could have seen piece by piece.
"I know you will," she said.
He could feel her begin to tremble and held her closer, nuzzling her neck and kissing her softly until she giggled and patted his cheek, her touch soft and reassuring, completely without fear. He found himself enjoying her touch, relaxed in her presence and welcoming her affection. She could treat him in a way no one else would, giving him exactly what he'd spent a lifetime craving. He would marry her and never fear her reaction to him, never walk into the room and wait for horror to subside.
"I love you," he said suddenly, clinging to her, to his Sophia. He couldn't wait to give her his name, to hear her say proudly that she was Sophia Patrice Belmont.
"Good. Because I love you too."
"You're cold. We must return soon."
"I enjoying having you to myself, Monsieur," she said, kissing him again. "Without any distractions."
"You are the greatest distraction and inspiration I've ever had," he said, speaking to her as though he confessed his soul.
"Yet you still won't tell me what you have back home for me."
He gave a heavy sigh and shook his head. "Perhaps out here I'll give you the stars."
She gazed up, a look of wonder on her face as she searched the dark skies above their head. "Which ones?"
"All of them."
"All of them? I don't want to be greedy. I'll take some of them."
He should have expected such an answer from her, but it caught him by surprise and he looked her over, wondering how he'd found the person who could complete his life when he'd been cast away from the only home he'd known most of his life.
"Which ones do you want?" he asked.
She climbed to her feet and motioned for him to follow, and together they walked from beneath the trees and admired the sky. Winks of light filled the darkness, scattered as though someone had dusted shards of silver across a black canvas.
"That one, that one, and that one, right there."
His gaze darted around, but he had no idea where she pointed. "I beg your pardon?"
"That was easy. Now, which one do you want?" Sophia asked.
He looked from her to the sky and heard her giggle. "What's so funny?"
"You don't know which one you want, do you?"
"You're giving me a star now?"
"I'll give you more than a star." She smiled at him and pointed at the sky. All at once he caught a hint of her mischief and couldn't wait to see what she had in store for him. "I'm giving you the moon. You had better not lose it."
He took a step back and examined it a moment. "By all means, mademoiselle, deliver the moon to me."
"I'll give you the moon when you give me my surprise."
Erik tilted his head to the side and sighed. "I should have known."
"One day, when we're both old, you'll know better." She returned to his side and linked her arm with his. "Now take me home."