Along Came a Spider 2/C4

A/N: Thank yous to Team Spiderward for all you do. xx

Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. The NHL owns anything that sounds familiar. I’m here having fun.

/ /\ (oo) /\ \

Chapter 4

Stepping through the beautiful entrance of the resort’s spa, my eyes pass over the serene space with its mix of neutral beige tile and natural wooden surfaces. Leading Edward toward the appointment desk, I give my name to the woman, then smile at the man standing behind the counter. I recognize him instantly since he scheduled our massage yesterday.

“Good morning, Bella.” The woman seated in front of the computer taps the screen and smiles. “Are you here for your . . . couple’s massage?”

“That’s correct.” I squeeze Edward’s hand, prompting his forced smile.

Once I shared my plans for us ahead of Edward’s afternoon photoshoot, I thought he would jump at the idea, but it’s obvious there’s something that’s bothering him.

Returning her focus to the computer screen, the woman nods at my confirmation. “Wonderful. My name is Nora, and it looks as if you requested same sex masseuses.” She motions toward the man next to her. “So, Ricardo and I will be giving your massages today.”

“Is that okay with you?” I ask, looking up at Edward.

“I get them regularly from our trainers who are men and women.” He shrugs. “So, I’m good either way.”

“Oh?” My eyes shift to Ricardo who winks at me, then back to Edward. “Would you be okay with us switching, and Ricardo being my masseuse?”

I raise a challenging eyebrow already suspecting Edward wouldn’t be, but I’m not above calling out his double standard. There’s no surprise when his smile fades once Edward glances toward Ricardo.

“My massages are different,” he counters.

“How so?” I chuckle.

“Mine are necessary for work, and this is for . . . I don’t know . . . pleasure.”

I wave toward both spa employees. “Nora and Ricardo are professionals.”

“I’m sure they are, but this is just different.” Edward lowers his voice. “It’s you.”

“I have no problem with you having either masseuse. And weren’t you the one to suggest we do this activity together?”

“Maybe I didn’t think it through,” he concedes.

I squeeze his hand. “It’s just a massage.”

“I know.”

This is supposed to be a stress-free experience for both of us, but I understand that won’t be the case if Edward is consumed with distressing thoughts about another man touching my body whether or not he’s present. I shake my head slightly and glance at both employees, then back to Edward, releasing a small sigh.

“I guess that means I’m with Nora then?”

Edward nods minutely and mouths, “Thank you.”

Nora smiles. “Let me show you to your private couple’s suite. Right this way.”

We follow her to a lovely room with similar earthy tones and minimal decor as the rest of the spa. It overlooks the spa’s expansive pool with stone turtles lurking just below the surface. Two massage tables wait side-by-side in the center of the room, and as Nora gives us a brief tour around the space, she directs our attention to the changing area, shower, and Jacuzzi. Nora shares at the conclusion of our massage that there is no rush to depart, and she encourages us to enjoy the remainder of our experience in any way we wish. It’s enough to prompt the return of my favorite crooked grin and a wiggle of Edward’s eyebrows when his gaze meets mine.

Nora recommends soaking in the Jacuzzi and consuming plenty of water from the large dispenser in the room to flush toxins released from the massage. Before departing, she points out a button near the door for us to depress, letting them know we’re ready to begin, then we’ll start face down on the tables. Once Nora closes our door, I reach for the hem of my shirt and pull it over my head.

“This is exciting. I love getting massages.”

Edward nods his agreement, watching as I wiggle out of my shorts, then he steals a quick kiss.

“I love doing anything with you.”

“Are you going to disrobe completely?” I wonder. I tuck away my clothes, wearing only my new skin-toned bikini, ready to remove it next.

“Yeah.” Edward pulls off his shirt, revealing his tattoos, then slips off his flip-flops.

I sigh, taking a moment to appreciate my view of him since it’s one I’ll never tire of seeing.

“Doc?” He chuckles, pulling me from my thoughts.

“Sorry, just enjoying the moment. Or view.” I smile, licking my lips at the captivating sight, but I know before I continue undressing, we need a little discussion about nudity, and our comfort levels for this shared experience. “Are you okay with me doing the same? I’ve been nude in the past. So, I’m comfortable in this setting, and of course, I’ll always be covered with a sheet. I didn’t know if you would have a problem with the identity of our masseuses, which is why I requested them to be same sex. I want this to be a relaxing experience for us both without any unnecessary stressors.”

“No. I’m good. I just wasn’t expecting . . . I don’t know—”

“Hey, I’ve been wearing bikinis with some sort of cover-up around everyone during this trip, and you’re quite familiar with my body out of those.” I smirk.

Edward has taken on the unofficial title as my bikini remover when it’s only us, but this is a little different situation.

“I am.” He smiles proudly at the thought, then his brow furrows, going back to his earlier concern. “I’m probably overreacting, but I don’t want another guy—any guy—touching you like that. I’m sorry. It’s—”

“Edward, I understand. It’s an intimate experience.”

He leans against one of the tables, sitting on the edge. “Have you requested male masseuses in the past? Maybe don’t tell me. Never mind. Tell me.”

I nod. “Of course. I’ve had massages from both, and I don’t really have a preference either way. I kind of get lost in the incredible feelings and zone out. Have you ever fallen asleep on a table?”

“No. There’s too much activity in our treatment rooms. Have you?” Edward asks.

“Close. I’m not one of those talkative people during the massage, but I should warn you, a moan or two may slip out.”

“Good to know. I’ll try not to be jealous when someone else is prompting those.” He winks.

“Are you chatty?”

“No. I’m typically quiet while they work on my muscles.”

“Then it sounds like we’re in for a compatible experience.” I wave toward my body. “Do you want to help me out?”

Edward grins before stealing another kiss. “If I ever say no to that question, call my doctor. Immediately.”

Between my giggles from his light touches, Edward makes short work of removing my bikini, then helps me onto the table. After he covers my body with the sheet, I turn my head and Edward presses a kiss to my temple. My eyes follow his movements, watching him slip off his board shorts, then climb onto his table, settling into place.

“Did you press the button?”


I nod. “This isn’t so bad, right?”

“Doc, there’s nothing bad about being in a room with both of us naked.” His eyes find mine and the crooked grin is back in full force. “The problem is that we’re on two different tables with too much space between them, and soon, we won’t be alone.”

I’m wondering if I have time to slip off my table for another one of his kisses when the door opens with our masseuses stepping into the room.

Turning my head, I place my face in the hole of the headrest and close my eyes. Soft music fills the room, and I can hear their quiet steps as they move around the space in preparation to begin. With the first touch of my back, I’m lost to Nora’s skillful hands methodically wringing every ounce of tension from my muscles. Her hands glide along my body, working from my back down my arms to the palms of my hands before revealing my legs and feet from under the sheet, one at a time.

All too soon, Nora prompts me to flip over on the table with her assistance. I glance toward Edward, noticing he is already on his back with his eyes closed while Ricardo works on his legs. After adjusting the sheet covering me, Nora returns her attention to my feet, working my ankle joints before moving higher to massage the inside and outside of my legs. She spends time on my wrists and arms, then focuses on my shoulders and neck. It feels divine, but my favorite part is the scalp massage, which may prompt a moan or two.

I don’t even realize Nora is finished until I hear Edward whispering.


Opening my eyes, I’m basking in the floaty, calm feeling, and I turn my head toward his soft voice. When our eyes meet, his smile matches mine. He reaches out, offering his hand. I blink slowly, sliding my hand into his. Edward looks at our hands, linking our fingers together.

After a moment, his eyes find mine once again. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“We’re alone,” Edward shares.

I barely nod my head.

“How do you feel?” he asks.

“Great. Calm. Relaxed. You?”

His smile widens. “Same, but I want to kiss you.”

“It’s all those hormones you’ve released.”

“Maybe.” Edward chuckles. “I still want to kiss you.”

When my eyes drift to the obvious bulge under his sheet, I lick my lips. “Maybe not just kissing.”

“I’m coming over.” He pulls away his sheet, revealing his prominent erection.

“We’re not supposed to have sex in here. It’s bad spa etiquette,” I warn half-heartedly, then lift my sheet, welcoming him underneath.

Edward climbs on top of me, nudges my legs wider, and shifts his hips until his cock is nestled between my legs. Resting his weight on his bent arms and hovering above me, his eyes search mine.

“I didn’t say anything about having sex, but now that you mention it . . . I’m thinking a happy ending for both of us is in order.”

“I thought you were interested in only a kiss,” I tease, readjusting my sheet across his hips, then gliding my hands lightly along his back.

Edward grins, kissing me briefly. “I’m all for that too.”

After a few swivels from his hips, coating his hardened length in my arousal, he watches my face as he pushes inside of me until our hips are flush. There’s no keeping the moan from escaping my lips at the incredible feeling of his cock buried inside of me. Closing my eyes, I wrap my arms and legs around him.

“That one was mine.” He smiles proudly, then asks, “Slow or fast?”

I chuckle at his question. “I get a choice now?”

“No. That’s just me being optimistic. It’ll be fast, but you should know I’m always trying to go slow and make it last. It just doesn’t work out that way. Plus, my brain and body are well aware that you’ve been over here nude under a thin sheet, releasing enough moans that I probably scared Ricardo once I flipped over.” His smile morphs into a wicked grin. “I suggest you hold on tightly.”

“To you?”

“Anywhere you can grab.”

My hands move to his perfectly toned ass, giving it a solid squeeze over the sheet, which prompts his lips to meet mine over and over in time with every delicious thrust of his hips.

/ /\ (oo) /\ \

I’m toast.

Not burnt toast.


Perfect, golden-brown, slathered with an even coat of softened butter to the edges, kind of toast.

I think I’m hungry again.

On a stressful day, there’s no denying the benefits of a full-body massage, but add in sex with Edward, then soaking in the Jacuzzi, followed by a shower together, which he cleaned us both, and I’m completely spent. On the other hand, Edward appears to have unparalleled stamina, looking energized from our identical experiences.

Maybe I should order some avocado toast next. In need of an energy boost, I reach for the lunch menu sitting on the side table next to my lounger. After scanning the options, I don’t find avocado toast, but maybe a few tacos will hit the spot.

Stretching out on a beach lounger under an umbrella overlooking the resort’s infinity pool, I lean my head back, relishing the warm sun on my exposed legs. I wiggle my toes thinking about my blissful afternoon plans, which include working my way through a margarita flight I ordered once we arrived from the spa.

From behind my sunglasses, I watch Edward talking with the photographer for his photoshoot as they walk toward my direction. Damn, I promised to spritz him or whatever, but that may not be possible at this point. I’m not sure I can stand up, and I haven’t had a drop of alcohol . . . yet.

Where is that guy who I placed my order with? I hope he was a server and not a guest. I think I recall him wearing a nametag.

“Doc!” Edward grins, approaching the area where I’m sitting. “I want you to meet someone. This is Dianna Matherson, the photographer I told you about. Dianna, this is my girlfriend, Dr. Bella Swan.”

“Hello,” I say, removing my sunglasses.

Her smile widens at our introduction. Once she pushes the sunglasses from her face to rest on the top of her head, I notice her blue eyes crinkle at the corners. She’s an older woman, possibly my mother’s age, with a chin length blonde bob. Dianna offers her hand, shaking mine gently.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you. And a doctor? You’re incredibly beautiful. I would have thought you were a model at first glance.”

I chuckle at the thought, then shake my head, further clarifying. “I’m a dentist.”

“A dentist!” She smiles, rubbing her hands together, and I hear a slight accent, maybe Australian, if I’m not mistaken. “This keeps getting better and better. A hockey player and a dentist. Have you worked on his teeth? Because that smile of his is something. It draws you in, like the rest of him.”

“It’s sort of how we met.” I laugh, then squint, looking up at her. “But I’m a fan of your work. I loved your photographs that were used in Edward’s calendar—even the ones he said were outtakes—those were incredible too. I can’t wait to see how you capture my favorite subject today.” I wink at him.

Edward has changed his clothes, wearing an all-white outfit with a button up shirt, pants, but he’s missing his flip-flops.

“We’ll do our best. The setting is great, but the lighting could be tricky.” Dianna looks up at the sky with the sun no longer directly overhead, then turns toward two people next to her, introducing them. “This is Sage, our stylist for this shoot, and my assistant, Beatrice.”

Sporting an effortless beach vibe of sandals, shorts, and a tank, Beatrice barely shares a nod as she struggles to re-secure her long blonde hair in a ponytail holder. She looks young, maybe college age, and could be an intern. But I’m immediately drawn to Sage who is probably closer to my age and vibrating with energy.

He’s wearing a light sand-colored buttoned shirt with rolled up sleeves and bright blue pants with the cuffs turned up. There’s no missing the extra touches either, with a blue and pink scarf artfully tied at his neck or his pink hair peeking out from under the fedora he’s wearing. While I smile at his blue and pink toenails, I instantly love his beaded ankle bracelet that I’m positive I saw in the window of the boutique off the hotel lobby. Before I can share my own compliment, Sage beats me to it.

“I love your netted cover-up. You’re rockin’ that whole sexy siren caught in a fisherman’s net vibe. Maybe I should take up fishing.” He winks at me.

At the sound of Edward’s throat clearing and the displeased expression on his face, Sage’s smile widens. “Oh, this is going to be good. I’m already in trouble with the hot hockey player.”

“Sage behave,” Dianna warns playfully with a smile.

“And my boss,” he whispers conspiratorially. “You’re all absolutely no fun today. May I call you Bella?”

With a grin, I hold out my hand, shaking his. “Sure.”

Dianna chuckles and shares her expectations for this afternoon. “We have a few wardrobe changes planned for Edward, and we’ll start along the beach, trying to keep him dry. We plan to move to wet, then sandy. It’s kind of a natural progression with a beach shoot. I think we should get started, but . . .” She studies me. “You know . . . Sage—”

“I’m on it. I’ll be right back.” He smiles, shifts the bags in his arms, and disappears in the direction from where they came from.

Dianna shrugs. “We’ve worked together long enough that he can read my mind. Let’s get started and go down to the shore, Edward.”

“Okay.” He nods.

Dianna grins, looking between us once more before departing with Beatrice, who is juggling various camera bags and other equipment.

Edward leans over, pressing a kiss to my lips. “All good here?”

“Absolutely. Go make the magic happen,” I encourage.

“I’ll check on you in a little while when I get a break,” he promises. “Dianna wants to wait for the sunset too.”

“I’ll be here,” I respond, sliding my sunglasses back in place.

“Maybe order me a sandwich or something?” Edward asks hopefully.

“I was thinking the same thing. I’m hungry and I may order some tacos. You worked up a bit of an appetite, huh?” I tease.

“I did.” He grins. “I’m ravenous and you know exactly why.”

“Well, we can’t have that. I’ll place our food order once my margaritas arrive.”

“Okay.” Edward steals a last kiss.

After he leaves for the shoreline, I can see Dianna motioning toward various spots and talking with Beatrice.

“Hello. Are these seats taken?” a woman asks about the empty loungers next to me.

“No. Not all. Help yourself.”

The woman smiles. “Great. Let’s sit here, Jim.”

He glances in my direction, then follows my line of sight back to Edward.

“Oh, look—I know the guy down on the beach. It’s Edward Cullen. He’s the one I was telling you about.”

I shift my focus back to the older man. “You know Edward?”

His smile widens. “I met him yesterday with his teammates.”

“The team meeting?” I wonder.

“Yeah, I do a little public speaking these days. I’m friends with his coach, Roger, who recommended me and thought the guys would benefit from hearing about my experiences.”

“Jim, don’t be so modest. He’s a gold medal Olympian. Goaltender for the 1980 U.S. team.” She holds out her hand for me to shake. “I’m Jim’s wife, Sharlene Craig, but everyone calls me Charlie.”

“Wow, that’s my dad’s name. It’s lovely to meet you. I’m Bella,” I share, releasing her hand.

“You too.”

My attention returns to her husband. “Does that mean you’re one of the players who inspired the movie, Miracle?”

“I am,” he says, while they settle into the loungers.

“Cool, Edward loves that movie. How hard did he fangirl you?” I ask with a chuckle.

Jim laughs. “He kept it under control. After meeting Edward, it was more the other way around, and I was fangirling him.”

“Aww, that’s sweet. I feel the same way and love seeing him play.” I release a sigh, watching Edward pose and drink from coconut water bottles until a board with small glasses of colorful margaritas appears, sliding onto the table next to me. “Oh! Thank you.”

“What are those?” Sharlene asks excitedly.

The server smiles and explains, “It’s today’s margarita flight: guava, blood orange, and cucumber jalapeño.” He looks at me. “Can I get you anything else?”

“Can I place a food order with you?” I wonder.

“Sure. What would you like?”

“I’ll go with the shrimp tacos.”

“Flour or corn tortillas?”

“Flour. Edward wants a sandwich, but he’s only eating fish right now.”

The server nods. “The kampachi then?”

“Okay, let’s do that for him, and on second thought, can I switch my tacos to steak instead of shrimp?”

“Absolutely.” He glances at Jim and Sharlene. “Can I get anything for either of you? Drinks?”

Sharlene nods eagerly. “We’ll split the shrimp nachos, and order two of those spicy cucumber margaritas.”

“Those are delicious,” I agree, grab that one from my selections first, and take a quick sip. “Mmmm.”

After the server departs, Sharlene asks, “So, with the way you’re watching Edward, I’m guessing you’re more than a fangirl. Maybe his wife . . .?”

“Girlfriend,” I correct. But my heart does a little flip of excitement, and I recall us stumbling into the breathtaking courtyard of the resort where a wedding ceremony was waiting to take place yesterday.

“I thought so.” She smiles, looking around. “This is such a beautiful resort. I was thrilled when Jim got the call and said we were going to Mexico for work. Who doesn’t want to spend January in Mexico?”

“Exactly.” I chuckle.

“I love tagging along on his trips. After thirty-five years of married life together, all he had to say was Mexico and I was packing my bag.”

“Thirty-five years is amazing.” I nod. “Congratulations to you both—that gives me hope.”


I explain, “Yeah, our relationship is new, and it’s . . . overwhelming at times trying to juggle both of our schedules, careers, plus family.”

“What do you do?” Sharlene asks.

“I’m a dentist. So what have been your keys to success over the years?” I wonder, looking between them.

Jim chuckles. “Always leave the toilet seat down.”

We join his laughter until Sharlene shares some advice of her own.

“If you want something done, tell him he’s too old to do it. That works every time,” she says with a beaming grin.

I enjoy listening to Jim and Sharlene share stories about his early hockey years, playing in the league, but in his case, he never found greater success than at those Olympics years ago. I do find it difficult at times to concentrate on anything except Edward when my eyes never stray too far away from him as he moves along the shoreline. I’m only distracted briefly once my tacos arrive, and after I devour those, my margaritas aren’t far behind. When Edward returns for a break, he is surprised at my company, but digs into his sandwich while visiting with Jim and Sharlene. Once he finishes his food, his focus shifts back to me and laces our fingers together.

“So, Dianna wanted me to ask you something, and I’m interested in your answer too.”

I squeeze his hand. “Okay. What’s up?”

“We have some time before the sun sets, and Dianna was tossing around a few ideas, wondering if you would be willing to take some photos with me?”

“For your coconut water ad?”

He shakes his head slightly. “Not necessarily. Maybe they would be for just us or something. I would love to have some professional photos of us to share. It’s the perfect location and opportunity since everyone is already here. I think it would be fun.”

“I’m in a bikini—full of margaritas and tacos,” I protest weakly, and even to my ears, I know it lacks any real conviction. “I should have been on at least a twenty-four hour fast and in the gym months ago for something like that.”

“That’s not true. You look beautiful, and your bikini is perfect for this shoot. But if you want to consider changing into something else, Sage has returned with additional options for you.”

Sinking heavier against the cushioned lounger, I’m reluctant to leave my little piece of paradise. “Edward. I’m not sure I can walk down there. I’ve become one with this lounger and ready for a nap.”

“I’ll carry you. Come on, Doc. Please, for me . . .?”

My resolve slowly evaporates when Edward turns on the charm. There’s no turning down those eyes or his hopeful expression, and my afternoon plans are about to take a turn I never anticipated.

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but okay.”

His smile widens, as if he’s won the lottery. “Great.”

After accepting a piggyback ride from Edward, we say our goodbyes to the Craigs and move toward the area where everyone is sitting, but it’s Sage whose face lights up with my arrival.

“Oh my goodness! Look who it is! This man could sell an eskimo a refrigerator—with an ice maker!” Sage removes his hat to fan himself dramatically.

I chuckle. “Let’s not get crazy.”

“Darling, I only do crazy,” Sage warns. “Well, sexy too, but I’m going back to grab that silver sequined dress and black tuxedo. I’ll find something else for the Florida shoot. They may not fit perfectly, but I can tweak them both. And before you say anything, Bella, Edward made it clear that you’re all about coverage. So, everything I have for you is about adding more clothing, not less, giving us a kind of shipwrecked feel.”

“Thanks. I love it.”

“Thank your man. He’s got your back. It’s also why you liked his previous photos—each one told a story. That’s what we’re doing. I’ll bring my jewelry, hair, and makeup cases too. You don’t need anything for these beach shots since you’re such a natural beauty. But we could add a more dramatic smoky eye or a dark lip color, then maybe bobby pins to put your hair up a little for the dress photos. I’m picturing the two of you escaping a celebration—maybe an awards show—in lieu of your own private celebration.” He wiggles his eyebrows, then turns to Dianna. “I’m going to grab a bottle of champagne, plus glasses from the bar.”

“Perfect. Put it on our account.” Dianna grins. “How about we try a few test shots in what you’re both wearing now and see how those go?”

“All right. Should I get down?” I wonder, still clinging to Edward’s body.

She shakes her head. “Not yet. If you’re comfortable, Edward, let’s try a few with you carrying Bella back and forth along the edge of the water,” Dianna suggests, bending to roll up the cuffs of his pant legs.

He grins, adjusting his hold on me. “I can do this all day.”

With my arms and legs secured, Edward moves as instructed. I have no idea when or if I should smile since Dianna gives me no direction, and there are times when I’m not sure she’s actually taking photos, but studying us or our movements. Or maybe the light. At one point, I close my eyes and rest my head against Edward’s shoulder, breathing slowly in and out. While listening to the gentle crashing waves around us, I relish the feel of the warm sun on my skin everywhere it touches. After turning my head, I leave a kiss on Edward’s neck and whisper a soft, “I love you,” which prompts a hum of his own contentment undoubtedly matching mine.

When Edward starts moving again, I open my eyes, glancing toward Dianna. She pauses looking at the back of her camera before walking toward us with Beatrice trailing closely behind.

“These shots are incredible, but next, let’s take some where you’re both walking back and forth while holding hands. Trade off who is next to the water with each pass, but I suspect with the slope of the sand, the best ones will be with Edward near the water to balance out your height differences.”

“Should I be smiling?” I ask, sliding off Edward’s back. Looking down at my bikini with the netted cover up, I double-check that everything is covered as it should be.

“I want you to do whatever feels natural around each other, which from the first photos, Edward can’t stop smiling and you’re radiating pure bliss.” She winks at me. “But we’ll work on more serious photos with the close-ups when we switch to those.”


With my hand in Edward’s, we stroll back and forth along the beach. He pauses every now and then to kiss the back of my hand, which distracts me momentarily from the fact that we’re taking photos until Dianna’s shouts urge us to return.

“These are great. Bella. How about one of the other bikinis or I think Sage brought a one-piece too?”

“Is there something wrong with my bikini?” I ask.

Dianna shrugs. “It doesn’t show up in the photos since it’s so close to your skin color. You may want something that makes it more obvious you aren’t nude underneath your cover-up.”

“Oh. I didn’t think about that, but thanks for the catch.”

“Those shots could be only for the two of you.” She smiles, then waves to where they have made a small camp on the beach away from the guests by the pool. “We have a temporary stall for clothing changes you can use. Select anything you feel comfortable wearing from the options Sage has hanging over there, and we’ll be waiting whenever you’re ready.”

“Should I keep my cover-up on or use something else? Maybe one of the sundresses?” I wonder, looking at the selections gently swaying in the light breeze.

“How about you exchange it for Edward’s shirt instead?” Dianna suggests.

My heart accelerates at the thought. “Are you okay with being shirtless?”

Edward nods and his crooked grin tugs at his lips. “If you want me nude, all you have to do is ask.”

Obviously overhearing Edward, Sage gasps and rejoins our group, “Ask him! If you don’t, Bella, I will. Clearly, I have missed all the fun.”

Dianna chuckles. “No, trust me, it’s all good with these two. I don’t think they can take a bad photo. I’m positive they’re about to melt my camera lens.”

“I knew it!” Sage exclaims, then adds two hanging clothing bags to the selections. “They will deliver the champagne to us shortly.”

I smile. “I’m not sure I should be mixing champagne with my current levels of tequila.”

Sage laughs. “Oh, Bella. I appreciate your dedication to authenticity. You’re a woman after my own heart, because the good Lord knows I’m all about consumption, but you don’t have to drink anything for these photos. We’re using it more as a prop. Do you need help changing?”

“I don’t think so.”

He nods. “I recommend the blue one-piece. It will be perfection on you.”

“Okay, I’ll give it a try.”

After squeezing into Sage’s choice, I realize there could be more material in the bikini selections. Once I step out of the changing stall, I don’t miss Edward’s smoldering gaze as his eyes travel over my body. He looks away, taking several deep cleansing breaths.

Sage lights up, walking around and inspecting me from every angle. “Hot, hot, hot. I love it. Exactly what you would expect under the Mexican sun. The rich blue color is everything, and it looks incredible with your sun-kissed skin tone. Am I somehow missing your tan lines? I figured they would need some touch-up . . . with body makeup, but I’m not seeing them.”

“No tan lines here,” I share, hearing a soft groan from my boyfriend. “Edward said in Mexico, they are optional.”

“Okay, that’s it.” Sage throws his hands in the air with playful frustration. “I can’t take it. I’m dead. You’re both killing me with these off the charts levels of sexiness.” He waves toward where Dianna and Beatrice are waiting farther down the beach. “Go. Burn up Dianna’s camera. I’ll be at the bar putting out my own flames. You don’t need me. Oh, never mind, here comes the champagne. Maybe a few glasses will help cool me off. Over here!” Sage shouts, waving the server in our direction.

“You look incredible,” Edward says, when I approach him. He kisses my lips, then holds out his shirt for me to slip on. “And I’ve got a serious problem.”

Sliding my arms through the armholes, I wonder if I should leave Edward’s shirt unbuttoned or tie the shirttails together.

“Wait—what’s wrong?” I ask, looking up at him.

“At this rate, Dianna will need to shoot me from the waist up for the rest of the afternoon and evening.” His eyes dance with mischief before he winks, reaches for my hand, and tugs me back toward the shoreline while I giggle the entire way.