Home > This Man Confessed (This Man #3)(11)

This Man Confessed (This Man #3)(11)
Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas

‘Ava,’ he says quietly, but I’ve no doubt the whole room can hear him. The silence is screaming. ‘My beautiful girl.’ He smiles mildly. ‘All mine.’ Leaning up, he kisses me sweetly. ‘I don’t need to stand up and declare to everyone here how much I love you. I’m not interested in satisfying anyone of that. Except you.’

A lump is forming in my throat, and he’s only just started.

He sighs. ‘You’ve taken me completely, baby. You’ve swallowed me up and drowned me in your beauty and spirit. You know I can’t function without you. You’ve made my life as beautiful as you are. You’ve made me want to live a worthy existence—a life with you. All I need is you—to look at you; to listen to you; to feel you.’ He drops my hands and smoothes his palms over my thighs. ‘To love you.’

I’m ruined. My mum’s ruined. Everyone in the room is ruined. My teeth are clamped on my bottom lip to prevent a sob escaping, I’m choking on the lump in my throat and my eyes are welling with tears as I look down at Jesse’s handsome face.

‘I need you to let me do all of those things, Ava. I need you to let me look after you forever.’

I hear my mum’s quiet sob, and I can’t help mine. Not now. He used to cripple me with just his touch. Now he cripples me with his touch and his words. I’m destined for a life of devastating pleasure, melting tenderness, and heart stopping emotion. He’s going to incapacitate me at every turn.

‘I know.’ I whisper.

He nods and exhales a long lungful of air before standing and pulling me up to his body. My face falls straight into his neck, and I breathe him into me, his fresh, minty scent prompting me to close my eyes on a contented sigh.

The room is no longer silent. When I pull out of Jesse’s hold, I see people standing everywhere, a steady, respectful clapping of hands resonating through the room. I should feel embarrassed, but I don’t. He’s just spoken to me like we were alone, proving that he really doesn’t care where he is and who’s there—wherever and whenever, as it always has been and as it always will be.

I watch as my mum approaches and throws her arms around Jesse. ‘Jesse Ward, I love you,’ she says in his ear, as he holds her with one arm, ‘but please remove those handcuffs from my daughter.’

‘Not going to happen, Elizabeth.’

She releases him and slaps his shoulder, and then Kate dives on him. ‘Oh my God. I wanna kiss your feet.’

I roll my eyes, getting my arm yanked all over the place while people congratulate my neurotic ex-playboy on his little speech. It’s our wedding day, and I don’t want to be here. All of these people, including Kate and my mother, are getting in my way. I want him all to myself, but evening guests are arriving so we’re not going anywhere.

After I’ve been kissed on the cheek a million times, and Jesse has shaken hands with everyone, he starts leading me from the summer room.


I turn, finding my brother close behind us. I almost wish he wasn’t here. He’s struggling, and it’s incredibly painful to see. Looking down at my wrist, I start wondering how I can convince Jesse to release me. He wouldn’t for my mum, and I haven’t much faith that he will for my brother. I know Dan’s wary of him, and I also know that Jesse is aware of this. I turn my eyes up to Jesse and find him watching me. He knows what I’m thinking, and I know he’s not happy about it, but he still reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small key.

Without a word, he releases me from the cuffs and leaves them dangling from his wrist. ‘Go.’ he says quietly, flicking threatening eyes at Dan.

Dan gives as good as he gets, flashing an equally warning glare. I don’t need this, not with two of the most important men in my life. I know why Dan is cautious, even if he doesn’t know the whole story, and I know damn well why Jesse is. Dan’s a threat. He’s my brother, but he’s still a threat. In Jesse’s eyes, anyway.

I lean up to kiss Jesse’s cheek and feel his hand glide around my hips, smoothing over my bum before he rips his eyes away from Dan and turns his face into my lips. ‘Don’t be long.’ he says, releasing me and striding off towards the bar.

‘Come on.’ I hold my hand out to Dan, and he takes it, letting me lead him out to the gardens.

We’re silent for a short while as we wander down the gravel path, past the tennis courts, finding ourselves in the woodlands. The low evening sun is fighting through the canopy of trees and scattering dashes of sparkling light across the ground before us. I focus my attention on tracking the puddles of light as they dance across the forest floor at my feet. There has never been discomfort between us, but the tension now feels really uncomfortable.

Dropping Dan’s hand and lifting my dress, I step over a large twig and catch my heel, causing me to stagger slightly. ‘Oh!’

‘Careful.’ Dan grabs my elbow to steady me. ‘I don’t think those shoes were made for hiking.’ he quips on a small smile.

I relax immediately. ‘No,’ I laugh, straightening myself out.

‘Ava…’ he trails off.

I give him a tired look. ‘Just say it, Dan. Whatever you’ve been dying to say since you’ve met Jesse, just say it.’

‘Okay. I don’t like him.’

I recoil a little. He hardly knows him. ‘Okay,’ I laugh uncomfortably. ‘I didn’t think you’d be so blunt.’

He shrugs. ‘What do you want me to say?’

‘You don’t even know him. The only attempt you’ve made to speak with him, to get to know him, was when you tried to warn him.’ I accuse. My mum might have intercepted Dan’s older brother speech, but he still made a start, and Jesse’s ticking jaw was a clear indication of what he thought of Dan’s intended caution.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)