---What’s holding up the annulment, you slowpoke? The Walls of Jericho are a-toppling.---
Really, Peter Warne figured he deserved some kind of award for the way he had managed to resist temptation in the form of his soon-to-be wife Ellie Andrews (well, Westley, if one was to be technical about it) who kept insisting on sharing a room, despite both of them now having the funds to afford separate accommodation. She claimed it was out of sentimentality, because that’s how it had all started, pretending to be husband and wife and sleeping separated by the Walls of Jericho (consisting of a blanket) on the road to New York. Peter claimed it was because she enjoyed tormenting him, payback for the way he had teased her mercilessly at the beginning of their acquaintance.
After all, here they were, once again claiming to be married although they weren’t (not yet anyhow), on the road because neither one of them particularly felt like hanging around New York with its nosy reporters (his lot) and even nosier society people (hers) while they waited for Mr. Andrews to finalize the annulment of Ellie’s unfortunate first elopement. When Peter listened carefully, he could hear the soft sounds Ellie made in her dreams, already so familiar, while sleep eluded him because his mind and body were still buzzing from the kiss she’d given him before returning to her side of the blanket.
Peter had been sitting up in bed, just about to turn of the light, when Ellie had darted across the room, a flash of green silk pyjamas (at least not a negligé), and flung both arms around his neck, pressing her lips to his before he had the chance to object. Not that he had really tried, much too captivated by the softness of her mouth, devoid of lipstick, unlike their first kiss, when she’d turned up on his doorstep wearing her wedding gown and a radiant expression. He’d been caught by surprise then, too, but self-restraint was even harder to come by when they were in bed, Ellie almost sitting on his lap, and Peter hadn’t been able to resist deepening their kiss just a little. He could still taste her now, and it was keeping him awake.
The next morning, still grouchy and tired, Peter ignored the amusement dancing in Ellie’s eyes and dashed off a telegram to her father.
---Let ‘em topple.---
Ellie had never been happier in her life than she was traveling with Peter, sharing a second-hand car on their way to an autocamp in the woods. It might be no yacht and no Ritz hotel, but Ellie had discovered she could quite easily do without most of what she had considered essential. But at least for this trip she had packed a proper suitcase full of clothes, among them a certain gauzy piece of couturier art which had cost more than the car and which she was saving for the day (or rather, night) that they could finally dispense with the blanket barrier between them.
The thought alone made her squirm in anticipation, and Peter shot her a questioning look. Impulsively she pressed a kiss to his cheek, giggling when he cursed as the car swerved slightly. A few miles down the road the tables were neatly turned, however, when Pete reached over and slid a hand up Ellie’s thigh, causing heat to coil deep in her belly. It was a sensation she’d become rather familiar with since meeting Peter Warne.
When she’d eloped with ‘King’ Westley, they had only had the chance to do some necking before her dad caught up with them, and it had been a pleasant affair, but somehow Pete touched her in ways King (for all his reputation) had never been able to. He also reacted to her in ways her unlucky first husband never had, his body responding to hers as if he had no choice in the matter. It made her want to kiss him all the time, and so she did whenever she had the chance, although every time it became harder to stop.
Ellie sighed and covered Peter’s hand, still resting on her leg, with her own, giving him a small smile when he took his eyes off the road. He smiled back, his eyes crinkling in the corners the way they usually did when he wasn’t annoyed with her (and sometimes even then), making his usual air of gruff irritation disappear completely. Unable to resist, Ellie gave him a quick peck on the lips before settling her head against his shoulder.
Her father’s telegram was waiting for them when they stopped for the night. Luckily there was still enough time to rush to the courthouse, but not before Pete lifted Ellie right off her feet and kissed her, slow and sweet and full of promises.