Dating Games Bonus Scene
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I hope you enjoy this bonus scene with Julian and Evie!
I stare at the pink hue of the sky as the sun setting in the west casts a beautiful glow over the ocean outside the windows of Julian’s home in the Hamptons. A smile curves my mouth as I consider how far we’ve come since the first time I stepped foot in this house almost a year ago.
Back then, I never would have imagined I’d be kicking off another summer with someone who was only supposed to be a fun distraction.
Or my key to revenge. Now I can’t imagine my life without him.
The sound of my phone ringing tears my attention away from the stunning view. I pull it out of my clutch, grinning when I see Chloe pop up.
“You made it!” I say as I answer her FaceTime call. “How are the islands treating you?”
She lifts the oversized sunglasses off her eyes as she brings a tropical concoction to her lips. She flew to Hawaii early this morning, but if I didn’t know any better, I’d think she’d been there for days.
“I may never leave.”
I smile. “I don’t blame you. I’m counting down the hours until we hop on a plane tomorrow.”
“Yeah,” she scoffs, rolling her eyes. “Because you have it so rough, having to hold off on coming to Hawaii so you can go to some high-class party in the Hamptons. Let me get out my violin, Evie.”
Shaking my head, I can’t stop the grin from crawling across my lips. She’s right. I do have it pretty good. Between my career and Julian, life has been incredible lately. I thought I knew what happiness was when I dated Trevor.
It took Julian to make me realize that Trevor never truly made me happy. That I never truly loved Trevor. I loved the idea of him more than the actual person. That I deserved to be with someone who appreciated me. Respected me. Admired me.
Who wouldn’t ask me to change to fit some mold he thought important.
From day one, Julian never asked me to be anyone other than who I was, even around all his stuffy Hamptons friends.
All the more reason he’s the perfect man for me… Even if he is number four.
“Have you seen Nora yet?” I ask.
“Yes.” Chloe rolls her eyes. “She’s in full bridezilla mode, but in the best way possible. I think you’ve rubbed off on her.”
She grimaces. “She has lists.”
“Lists,” she repeats with a nod. “And itineraries. She has one for you when you get here. I’ve already warned Izzy.”
“Do I want to know what’s on these lists or itineraries?”
“I can’t say for certain what’s on yours, but based on mine, I’m convinced she’s lost her damn mind. You need to come and run an intervention. Stat.”
I grin. “Why’s that?”
“I thought I’d enjoy a week of relaxation before the wedding. That girl has shit scheduled every day. Sightseeing shit.”
I stifle my laugh at the look of absolute displeasure crossing her face. I’ve often wondered how Chloe and Nora were such good friends. While Nora’s idea of a fun vacation is packing as much sightseeing and adventure into as short a time as possible, Chloe would much prefer to sit on a beach and have attractive men bring her fruity drinks as she works on her tan.
“At least you’re in Hawaii. It could be a lot worse.”
“The fact that I’m in Hawaii is what makes it unbearable. I should spend the next few days sipping Mai Tais and sitting on the beach. Not waking up before the sun to go see some botanical gardens, or some shit.””
“Remember. It’s all for Nora.”
“Yeah, well, Nora owes me after this. Anyway, I don’t want to take up much more of your time. I know you have a big thing tonight. I just wanted to call and wish you a happy birthday.” She lifts her glass once more, toasting me. “Here’s to thirty-one. May this birthday be more memorable than the last.”
“Actually…,” I begin after a moment of contemplation, “my last birthday was pretty amazing. It just took me a while to realize it.”
“At least you finally did.” She holds my gaze for a moment longer, then seems to look past me. I glance over my shoulder to see Julian descending the staircase. I return my eyes to my phone. “Looks like Prince Charming’s here to take you to the ball. Have a good night, Evie. And happy birthday.”
“Thanks, Chloe. Love you.”
“Love you, too.”
I end the FaceTime call, then drop my phone into my clutch, whirling around as Julian approaches, his impassioned gaze raking over my body. It doesn’t matter we’ve known each other a year and are past the so-called honeymoon phase. He looks at me with the same desperation and desire every time. I get the feeling he always will.
His hand finds mine and he twirls me around, wanting the full effect of the cocktail dress Dana suggested I wear to tonight’s gathering. It’s more of a low-key event to celebrate the opening of Julian’s first overseas women’s shelter in the Middle East, something that wouldn’t have been possible without all the networking he did last summer.
He tugs my body into his as his free hand wraps around mine. Just like so many other times, I drape my arm over his shoulder, toying with the curls that fall over his jacket collar. Our bodies sway as he hums “Moon River”, which has become our song. There are times I hear it even when he’s fast asleep beside me. It’s the song of our love, one I hope will continue until we’re long gone.
He leans his forehead on mine, barely a breath between our bodies as we share this moment. We’ve done this same dance so many times over the course of our relationship. It’s never gotten old. I still feel the same spark, the same fluttering in my heart, the same craving to be in his universe. In fact, I feel it even deeper now that I finally know all sides of Julian Gage. And every day, I continue to fall more in love with every part of him.
When he stops humming, he lifts his head from mine and looks at me with a focused gaze. “You look beautiful, Guinevere.”
I bring my hands to the lapels of his suit jacket, smoothing them. “You clean up pretty good yourself.” I wink.
“I got something for you.”
“I told you…” I narrow my eyes on him. “No presents. You spoil me enough as it is. All I wanted for my birthday was to spend it with you.”
“What if I told you it’s not a birthday present?”
“I still don’t want it.”
“How about we test it out? I bought it to go with your outfit. Dana said it would really accentuate the jewels on the straps of your shoes. If you don’t like it, I’ll return it, okay?”
I playfully roll my eyes, feigning irritation. As much as I hate the thought of him spending money on me, I love that he spoils me. I love that he thinks of me so much.
“Okay.” He smiles, but it’s not as confident as usual. Reaching into the pocket of his pants, he pulls out a small box in that familiar blue hue unique to Tiffany’s. “I was planning on getting you something from Cartier instead, but figured Tiffany’s would have more meaning.”
My breath hitches as he repeats the same words he uttered on what was supposed to be our last night together. There’s only one possible way for me to respond to that. Tears fill my eyes as I stare at the leather box, knowing all too well what’s inside.
“It could be an empty box and it would be infinitely better than even the most expensive piece you could get from Cartier.”
“Phew.” He laughs nervously. “That’s a relief, because it really is just an empty box.”
“No, it’s not,” I whisper through the lump in my throat.
“You’re right. It’s not.”
He drops to one knee and pops open the ring box, then grabs my left hand in his. I exhale at the stunning diamond that greets me. It’s a princess-cut stone that’s easily three carats, the band thin and inlaid with even more diamonds.
“Guinevere Shea Fitzgerald, I couldn’t have planned for you to walk into my life even if I tried. I’ll never forget sitting in the corner of a bar after meeting with a client, wondering if it’s all worth it, hearing you tell the entire place how you were dumped. All I could remember thinking is that I needed to know you. I’d spent most of my life running from love. And then there was you.
“Our relationship may not have been conventional by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s what I love about us. We broke the rules. We weren’t supposed to find each other, but we did.” He brings the ring up to my finger, unshed tears forming behind his eyelids. “We weren’t supposed to fall in love with each other, but we did. And I fall in love with you all over again every day. I want to continue to fall in love with you every day for the rest of my life. Do me the honor of being my wife, of taking a risk on me, of loving all the pieces of me.”
His words are everything I could have dreamed for a proposal, and more. I never expected Julian to drop to one knee after only a year. I thought he’d need more time to get used to being in a real relationship. But that’s what makes this so exciting, so exhilarating. I never saw it coming. It was never planned.
“I’m not quite sure getting engaged was on the itinerary,” I joke, as I so often do every time we reach another milestone in our relationship. Like moving in together. Adopting a dog together. Discussing plans for a family. “At least, I didn’t see it there.”
He’s on his feet in an instant, yanking my body hard and fast against his, stealing my breath. He doesn’t even wait for me to say yes as he slides the ring onto my finger, where I plan to leave it for the rest of my days.
“Fuck the itinerary,” he growls, mouth descending toward mine.
“Fuck the itinerary indeed,” I murmur against his lips as he kisses me for the first time as my fiancé.
I hope you enjoyed this extra little scene with Evie and Julian!
Chloe's story is next. Wondering all about the mystery man Evie overheard during that phone call? Find out today in Wicked Games!
It all started in Vegas.
Now, I know what you're thinking... What happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in the city of sin.
Normally, I'd be inclined to agree.
Until Lincoln Moore walks into my life.
On paper, we mix as well as oil and water.
He's confident. Commanding. Successful.
Master of his universe.
I'm a hot mess, barely holding on as I struggle to balance my job, finally finishing college, and keeping my mother sober.
But when the lights go out, nothing else matters.
Until I learn the truth of who Lincoln Moore actually is.
Sure, I probably should have put the pieces together sooner, but our time together hasn't exactly been filled with riveting philosophical discussions about the meaning of life, if you know what I mean.
That still doesn't diminish the fact he could lose everything by being with me.
But is that enough to keep us apart? Or is what we have worth the risk?
There's only one way to find out.
Let the games begin...