Home > This Man Confessed (This Man #3)(8)

This Man Confessed (This Man #3)(8)
Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas

‘No.’ he answers swiftly. ‘You’re not leaving my side all day long.’ He signals for a bottle of water from Mario, and I’m suddenly reminded that I’ll never enjoy a drink with Jesse, not even on our wedding day.

I glance around the bar, seeing everyone chatting, nibbling on canapés and drinking champagne. It’s relaxed and calm, just how I feel myself. After Jesse insulted all things traditional, we made our vows and he took it upon himself to drown me in his mouth—prior to getting the go ahead from the registrar. Then he picked me up and strode out of the summer room, leaving my poor mother chasing behind, demanding he wait for the music. Not a chance. I was placed neatly on my stool at the bar and smothered with his lips while the congregation made their way in behind us.

Dan catches my attention across the room. He’s being so quiet, and his attention is constantly pointed in Kate’s direction, which means it’s also pointed in Sam’s.

‘What are you thinking about?’

I pull my attention back to Jesse and smile. ‘Nothing.’

He rests his palm on the back of my neck and massages me. ‘Are you happy?’

‘Yes.’ I answer quickly. I’m delirious. He knows I am.

‘Good, then my work here is done. Kiss me, wife.’ He leans down, offering his lips to me.

‘You’ve upset my mother,’ I accuse lightly.

‘She’ll get over it. I said kiss me.’

‘I don’t think she will. You’ve ruined her big day.’ I’m grinning.

‘Don’t make me ask you again, Ava.’ he warns, and I reach up and pull him down to me, giving him exactly what he wants.

‘Enough!’ Mums shrill voice stabs at my ear drums. ‘Get those handcuffs off my daughter!’ She starts fiddling with my wrist. ‘Jesse Ward, you would try the patience of a Saint! Where’s the key?’

He pulls back and narrows his eyes on my mum. ‘Somewhere you’ll never want to venture, Elizabeth.’

She gasps and throws irritated eyes at me. ‘Your husband is a menace.’

‘I love him.’ I declare, and she fights a fond smile from her cherry red lips. She’s desperate to maintain her grievance, but I know she loves him, too. I know she loves how much he loves me, and while he infuriates her, he also charms her, a he does all women. Just because Elizabeth happens to be my mother, doesn’t make her immune to his potency.

‘I know you do, darling.’ She clucks my cheek and turns her attention to the bar, calling Mario for some of his Most Marvellous.

‘Right!’ Tessa dives over to us and takes my glass from my hand. ‘The photographer is ready. I thought we’d get the family shots out of the way first, then have you two alone for a few. You’ll need to remove those cuffs.’

I watch as my glass is placed on the bar before she makes a grab for Jesse’s water, but he swipes it away, leaving Tessa grabbing at thin air. ‘We’re not in the photos, I told you.’ Jesse says.

‘We’re not?’ I blurt, completely shocked. He’s trampling that tradition, too?

‘You must be in the photos.’ Tessa insists. ‘What memories will you have?’ She looks horrified. I bet she’s wishing she’d never taken us on. Or taken Jesse on; I’ve had nothing to do with this day.

‘Tessa, take the family outside for photos,’ Jesse orders. It’s that voice. ‘I don’t need pictures for memories.’

I look at him in horror. ‘We’re not in the family shots?’ Oh God, another reason for my mum to despair.

‘No.’ he answers decisively.

‘You can’t begrudge her a photo with her daughter!’ He doesn’t answer, he just shrugs nonchalantly. I roll my eyes. ‘You do it to her on purpose.’ I grumble. ‘We’re having photos.’

‘No, we’re not.’ he retorts shortly.

I glare at my delicious husband with narrowed, determined eyes. He is not trampling this. ‘We are having photographs. This is my wedding, too, Ward.’

His mouth drops open, his bottle pausing halfway to his lips. ‘But I want some quiet time. Just me and you.’

‘We’re having photos.’ I say, full of authority. I feel a sulk coming on, but I’m not letting him win this one.

He scowls slightly, but he doesn’t argue with me. Instead, he signals for Tessa to gather our guests and take them into the rear grounds of The Manor. I watch as she flies into commander role, shouting for everyone to leave the bar and head to the gardens.

‘Come on, then.’ he grumbles, lifting me from the stool and placing me neatly on my feet. I mentally cheer to myself. He’s learning, or perhaps it’s me who’s learning—learning how to deal with him. I’m not sure, but we’re making immense progress. He knows when to relent, as do I.

He leads me out into the sunshine and over to the gathering of guests. Tessa is directing people into various positions, but my mother is quickly repositioning bodies as we approach. I look across and see Kate being ravished by Sam, my eyes instantly darting towards Dan and finding what I knew I would. A filthy look. Is she doing this on purpose?

I look up at Jesse. ‘Please, just do what you’re told.’ The more he plays up, the longer this will take and the more stressed my mum will get.

‘If you promise me quiet time after.’

‘I promise you quiet time.’ I say on a laugh.

‘Good. I hate sharing you.’ he grumbles, and I smile. I know he does.

Jesse spends the next hour cooperating completely. He moves when asked, smiles when requested, and even releases me from the cuffs without complaint when I have some shots on my own. On the final click, I’m swiftly scooped up and carried back to The Manor.

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