“You’re a beautiful bride.”

Jax’s intimate words, feathered against her ear, made Willow soar. “The gown is wonderful.”

“It is.” He pressed his palm on her bare back. “Your mom made an excellent choice.”

Her mother had visited a store known as one of the best in town. The owner, Randy, had spent hours with her, looking at dresses. They’d linked Willow in by video, but she’d been so overwhelmed and distracted with school and having Jax living with her that she hadn’t been able to decide. So they’d proceeded on their own. The gown flattered her figure and flared out at the bottom. She loved it.

“But it’s the woman who makes the dress,” Jax finished.

The evening couldn’t be more magical. She was in his arms on the dance floor of the rooftop atrium of Houston’s Sterling Downtown Hotel. The area had been lit with twinkling lights, and a nearly full moon radiated in the sky above. A jazz quartet serenaded them. Despite the fifty or so people watching from the sidelines, Jax stared at her as if she were the center of the universe.

“How long do we have to stay?”

“The cocktail hour ends in about twenty minutes. Then we need to eat. We’ll be expected to share a few dances, have some cake, and then my dad is planning a toast.”

“I know what I want to eat.”

Scandalized, she blushed. “It was you who decided we shouldn’t have sex until after the wedding.” No matter what she’d tried, from vamp to vixen, to naughty schoolgirl, he hadn’t relented. He’d given her the BDSM scenes she wanted, but he’d insisted they take time to get to know each other, and since she’d said all he thought about was sex, he was determined that they should develop a friendship and give themselves unfettered freedom to fall in love.

During the last few months, he’d been amazing. He’d scaled back his work hours, made sure she ate more than pizza for dinner, and they’d brainstormed the foundation he was going to establish. The more time they spent together, the deeper she fell for him. He was still brash on his show, shouting that people should drag their asses out of bed an hour earlier to chase their dreams, but he’d tempered it somewhat. Last month, he’d done a show for high school students, and he’d listened more than he’d talked. She’d accepted his challenge and watched the video of him speaking at the high school graduation that he’d mentioned. He was more complex than she’d originally believed. And he’d admitted that being with her was helping him grow.

All that was wonderful, but she was ready to crawl out of her skin from sexual need. Once she’d suggested they elope just so he’d take her to bed.

The dance ended, and a few other couples joined them for a more up-tempo tune.