A/N: Thank you to Midnight Cougar for her assistance with each chapter. A special shout out to my daughter for coming up with the book titles mentioned in the chapter. They’re all hers, but she’s certain I will consider writing them one day. Photos of Esme and Carlisle’s gorgeous home can be found in my Facebook group, Kay Richard’s Bonfire, if you’re interested. xx
Song inspiration for this chapter: “Paperback Writer,” The Beatles
“It’s a thousand pages
Give or take a few
I’ll be writing more in a week or two
I can make it longer if you like the style
I can change it ’round
And I want to be a paperback writer
(Playlist for this story can be found on my YouTube channel, if you search for “ghostreader24”)
Disclaimer: Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond own the adorable little mouse whose needs inspired this very adult version of their story. Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. I’m here having fun.
I wait, as her fingers ghost along the shelves, wondering what she’s thinking.
“Holy shit, Edward. Your mother is… some kind of author? These are all hers?”
“Yeah,” I confirm, glancing over the floor to ceiling paperback-filled shelves. “She writes using a pen name: E. Platt.”
“This is a lot of fucking books, and I thought I had a shit ton, but these are all hers.” She marvels.
“Well, there are multiple copies. She always likes to keep some on hand.”
“No wonder you had no complaints when we moved my books. Have you read all of these?”
“What does she write?” Bella wonders out loud, pulling a book from the shelf and scanning the summary on the back. “Romance?”
“Something like that.” I shrug, but know it’s far naughtier than your typical romance, which Bella would probably like. “Not really my genre, but I’m sure if you were interested, she would have no problem with you taking a copy of whatever.”
“Really?” she asks hopefully, returning the book to its spot on the shelf.
“Yeah. I’m sure she’d be happy to sign it too.”
Bella walks around the room admiring the trinkets and souvenirs from my mother’s travels, but can’t contain her giggles when she finds a giant glass brandy snifter filled with condoms.
“Now this is a collection,” she muses, going through the ones near the top. “Oh my God. Do you think we could try these? It looks like there are multiples of some. This one is glow-in the-dark!” She turns toward me with pleading eyes, holding up a neon green square.
“I wouldn’t trust those. They’re more of a novelty item. She’s had them for a while.”
“But look at these…” Bella giggles, reading the packages and holding each one up so I can see. “Your ticket to Poundtown and it’s a map. Pussy Monster, nom, nom, nom. That’s you—my Cookie Monster. Oh, God. This one’s perfect for Angela—it has a picture of London’s clock tower. Want to see Big Ben? The Energizer bunny. It keeps going and going and going… These are great. Where does she get them?”
“I don’t know, book signings, I think. Some of her fans bring them as gifts during meet and greets.”
“Damn.” Her eyes dance over the desk, no doubt learning more about my mother than she ever thought possible.
“I’m going to use the bathroom, unless you want to go first?” I offer.
“No, go ahead.” Bella’s distracted by a male stripper pen that she keeps flipping upside down and watching what little clothing he’s wearing disappear. “I could be here for a while.”
It doesn’t take me long in the bathroom, and when I return, Bella has an enormous grin on her face as she holds up something for me to see. “Stressticles.” She snorts. “They’re stress balls shaped like—”
“I see that.” I run a hand through my hair, as the way she’s playing with them is creating a tightening in my jeans, and nod toward the room behind me. “The bathroom is available. I’m going to step out and visit with my mother. Join us whenever you’re ready. No rush.”
“Okay, but Edward—” She abandons the stress balls and moves to where I’m standing. “I think I may not-so-secretly love your mother.”
My heart sings with happiness at the thought, bringing a smile to my face, and I kiss her lips, leaving her with a wink before exiting the bedroom. “See you in a bit.”
After closing the door behind me, I walk around the corner to find my mother in the kitchen pouring two glasses of white wine.
“I thought you had a bottle of red open.”
“We’re going to need another soon anyway, and you love this one. If Bella hasn’t tried it, she may like it too.” She offers me one of the glasses.
“Thanks for doing this.” We tap our glasses together then take a quick sip, and I nod toward the food. “It looks wonderful but like a lot of work.”
She shrugs off my thanks, but I know she’s trying to impress Bella as much as Bella is trying to impress her.
“How about you help me move everything into the living room? We’ll all be more comfortable there. Your father just messaged that he’s on the way.”
“Sure.” I leave my wine glass on the counter and lift the larger board with the meats and cheeses while she follows behind with the sweets.
“You look great,” she says, once she’s pleased with their placement on the coffee table.
“I’m good,” I confirm.
“I am. Let me grab our glasses.”
My grin widens when Bella exits the bedroom and meets me in the kitchen.
“Hey, yourself, handsome.”
I peck her lips and offer a glass of wine. “For you.”
I nod over my shoulder. “We’ve moved into the living room.”
Bella follows me into the living room where we sit on one end of their curved couch with Mom on Bella’s other side.
“Esme, your office is amazing. I had no idea you were an author. Edward kept that juicy tidbit to himself. It’s a reader’s paradise in there. Would it be okay if I read one of your books?”
“Sure. Help yourself. Grateful Hearts is one of my early stories, but it’s a tearjerker. I wanted to title it The Most Grateful Hearts are Purple, but I compromised on the title with my editor. It all worked out for the best because the Purple Heart is within the cover art, and I didn’t lose any of the messages within the story, so I’m happy. If you need a good cry, then it’s a great choice. You may prefer one of my more recent books, like Cup of Joe or Love at First Fight. Cup of Joe is about a barista who falls in love with one of his customers—an always on the go career woman. Love at First Fight is a second chance love story about a boxer and his high school sweetheart who reunite years later when he’s on the ropes.”
“Thanks. I’ll look forward to locating those later.”
It isn’t long before Dad returns from the clinic, happy to have us both here for a visit, and takes the spot next to Mom. As the wine flows, so does the laughter and easy vibe between the four of us. There’s never a lull in our conversation.
Over the next couple of hours, Mom peppers Bella with questions, getting to know her. When Bella shares her various odd jobs over the years, I can see the wheels churning in Mom’s head with future story ideas.
I hope to go unscathed when they take a trip down memory lane, but my parents recount a few childhood stories of mine. Unfortunately, I’ll never live down when I was in fourth grade and our teacher asked my class if anyone had eaten buffalo meat; I raised my hand and told everyone I’d had Buffalo wings the night before. Bella claims it’s an adorable story, but before Mom can locate any embarrassing baby photos, I suggest we call it a night.
After a quick exchange of hugs and Mom’s request not to be too loud later with a wink, Dad and I make plans to work out together in the gym downstairs in the morning. While I know using the elevator won’t be a non-issue for me, I’m hoping it will be a little easier than our arrival. I need some time alone with him to talk about the possibilities for creating the neighborhood park and this seems like the perfect opportunity.
When I close the door to our room, Bella releases a muffled squeal.
“How did I do? Do you think they like me?” she whispers loudly.
“Great and yes.”
Her excitement dims slightly. “Are you sure? Or were they just being polite?”
“I’m positive. They weren’t just being polite.”
With her beaming smile back in place, she grabs a few items from her suitcase and hurries toward the bathroom. “Okay, I’m going to get ready for bed then select a book.”
I’m exhausted from our trip, and the wine is putting me to sleep. After peeling out of my clothes quickly and dropping everything on top of my duffle bag, I locate my stash of condoms in one of the side pockets and slip the strip under my pillow. In only my underwear, I slide between the sheets, groaning at their cool silky feel, and close my eyes while I wait for Bella.
I have no idea how long Bella’s been gone when the bed dips, jostling me awake, returning from the bathroom with a book in hand.
“Is this light going to bother you?” Bella asks, pointing to the only light in the room—an illuminated reading lamp over her shoulder.
“No. I’ll be fine,” I reassure her, because for years I’ve been able to fall asleep under almost any conditions day or night.
Once she’s settled in bed, propped up with pillows at her back and nestled under the covers, I drape my arm across her hips and fall back asleep.
My hips shift at the feel of a hand wrapped around me, and a groan rumbles deep in my chest as the hand slides back and forth, picking up the pace.
I recognize Bella’s voice at my ear, and whimper when the hand disappears from around me while the covers loosen and there’s a tugging of my underwear lower.
“Are you asleep?” she asks.
“What—” I crack open my eyes as Bella hovers above me, missing her underwear, straddling my waist, and pulling off her T-shirt. “Bella?”
Her voice is soft and apologetic. “I’m sorry to wake you, but your mom’s book has me all worked up, and I’ve already rubbed one out. I was wondering if you brought any condoms? I didn’t want to go through your bag, but…”
“Condoms?” My voice is low and rough with sleep. “What time is it?”
“Yeah. I think it’s around three in the morning, but I can’t put this book down. I’ll probably only read a few more chapters. Promise. But… um… the condoms?”
I clear my throat. “Under my pillow.”
At my words, her hand finds my stash, and in what feels like a blink of an eye, she’s rolling a condom down my hardened length. While my eyes adjust to the light, the gorgeous sight above me takes my breath away. She leans closer, gathering her hair to one side, then kissing my lips.
“I need you,” she whispers gently, but her eyes smolder with a burning desire.
Giving her a subtle nod, my eyes shift lower, watching between us as she sinks down with ease. I groan at the feeling, while a soft “yes,” escapes her lips. Bella’s eyes close and she grabs onto the headboard, tilting her hips and starting a hurried pace. My fingers drift over her thighs and linger along a path of silky skin past her navel until I’m cupping and squeezing her breasts in time with her determined movements.
“Edward!” She gasps as my thumbs toy with her nipples and my hips meet her every grind.
When her back arches and she stills against me, I slide my hands lower to her hips, urging her for more.
Unable to take my eyes off her as she succumbs to the rush of pleasure, I lower my voice and encourage, “Ride it out, Bella.”
“Oh… I… can’t…”
I reach up, pulling her body flush to mine, wrapping my arms around her, and rolling us until she’s on her back. My hips swivel and I readjust my position, bracing my arms and driving into her over and over. Hitching her leg higher around my waist, I change the angle, but know there’s no way I’m going to last any longer with the breathy moans tumbling from her lips.
Her fingers toy with the hair at the back of my head while I nip along her neck. With every roll of my hips, I’m barreling toward the edge of my orgasm, until her nails scrape down my back, and with one last thrust, I’m growling through my release.
“Bella.” I pant, hoping to catch my breath, and rest my head against her shoulder. My heart feels like it may beat out of my chest.
The room is quiet except for the sound of our labored breathing.
“Dear Lord, I needed that,” she says with a soft giggle while her fingers run through my hair.
“Mmmm.” I hum my agreement, nearly purring at her loving touch. “I don’t think I can move.”
“I don’t want you to move.”
“Good. You could be stuck here a while.”
“I can’t think of a better place to be… stuck.” She smiles mischievously, and I can’t resist kissing her perfect lips.
I stay mashed against her until it becomes obvious there’s a great retreat going on where we’re connected. “Sorry, sometimes he has a mind of his own.”
Bella gazes at me through half-lidded eyes, but her smile widens at my admission.
“No giggling,” I warn, and reach lower holding the condom at the base, taking care of disposing it in a trash can nearby, then readjust my underwear higher and open my arms as she settles against me.
Still completely nude.
In an effort to think of something else, I ask, “What were you reading?”
“Cup of Joe.“
I press my lips against her forehead and shut my eyes, enjoying the feel of her snuggling into my side while my fingers trace a path back and forth along her spine. “The barista?”
“Yeah, his name is Joe. Do you… do you think he works somewhere in this building?” she whispers.
“Knowing my mother, I would say absolutely. He probably fixes her coffee at some shop around here. She draws inspiration from everywhere. Don’t be surprised if she digs a little deeper into some of your past jobs.”
“I could be in one of her books?” she asks with a touch of excitement in her voice.
“Possibly. Are you liking the story? I know I’m enjoying the fringe benefits.” I chuckle.
“Like it? I love it. Edward, you don’t realize it, but we’re sleeping in the middle of a library of porn. It’s fan-fucking-tastic. I have a suspicion I won’t be able to stop fangirling your mom later today—hard. My lady boner isn’t going away any time soon.” Bella giggles and reaches for the book she’s reading from her side of the bed, holding it up for me to see. “We need to try some of this shit. It’s like an instruction manual for things I never imagined doing. I wonder if your mom does some of this with—”
“Don’t say it. I’m working out with my father in a matter of hours, and I don’t need any details or I won’t be able to look him in the eyes.”
She smirks, obviously privy to things I would prefer to remain oblivious about when speaking of my parents. “Well, I’ll say that it’s extremely well written and the author clearly has done her research first hand.”
“I think I may start drinking coffee,” she mumbles.
My eyes pop open slightly as I wonder what’s tipped the scale that she’s willing to give it another try. Knowing her, it probably has something to do with sex.
“Here, I need to read you this one part. It’s so fucking hot.”
“Nope. No reading out loud. I’m going back to sleep, but wake me up if you need to use another condom. I’m all for that.”
“Really? But it’s so good.”
“What if we started a dirty book club for two?” Her eyes dance with delight at the possibilities. “I can read to you.”
I raise my eyebrows. “With my mother’s books?”
“Okay fine, party pooper. I can see where you may have an issue with that. I’m going to finish this chapter and that’s it. Not much longer. I promise.”
“Whatever you say.” I kiss the top of her head and close my eyes. “I love you. Good night.”
“I love you too. Night.” She leaves a kiss on my jaw before I hear her flipping through the pages, finding her place once again.
If you give a postal worker a love note, she’ll wonder about the identity of the author when it’s delivered by an unintended mail carrier.
After a visit from a sexy firefighter, the mystery surrounding the note will add to her curiosity, but it won’t be solved any time soon, when she has no choice and accepts another job far from home.
Her secret admirer will hold on to hope for their paths to cross again, and when they do, he will find that being near her again is better than he ever anticipated.
Visiting her during his breaks and getting to know each other will be the best parts of their days, until one day she unknowingly makes his favorite childhood cookies, giving him the sign he needs to move forward.
She’ll hold back nothing as she tempts and teases him when they’re alone, testing his resolve, until a few adorable photos of him with a friend’s new baby causes an unexpected shift in her world.
As they grow closer, they’ll understand that the intimacy between lovers isn’t only about a physical connection, but the everyday interactions through the simplest moments and sharing of new experiences.
Through private conversations, their relationship deepens with the reveal of a variety of secrets, and with a new confidence, the truth of their adoration for one another is undeniable.
After another wonderful evening together filled with fun and flirting, she’ll realize that she’s never been loved like this before, and for as much as he wants to be everything she needs, she wants to be that for him too.
With constant reminders that every day together is precious, she’ll consider their future options, and after the first step of moving in together, everything will start falling into place.
When he opens his heart and shares treasured memories of a time long past, a trip to visit his parents will further satisfy her growing curiosity about other areas of his life.
In a moment abundant with shock and awe, she finds a kindred spirit in all things naughty, and…