Home > The Book of Spells (Marriage to a Billionaire #4.5)

The Book of Spells (Marriage to a Billionaire #4.5)
Author: Jennifer Probst


A short story with Alexa and Nick from The Marriage Bargain

Nick Ryan lay down next to the fire and stroked the back flank of Old Yeller. He found the sweet spot and smiled when the dog’s leg quivered, and began beating the floor in the familiar rhythm of sudden ecstasy. After a few moments, he lost the momentum and slumped back into sleeping mode, his chest lifting with shallow pants.

He was sick.

Nick felt the wrongness in his bones. Yes, he was older. Since Alexa had taken him from the shelter, his age was a rough estimate, and the dog could be anywhere from ten to fifteen at this point. They’d assigned him an age and an October birthday so Nick estimated an approximate age of twelve years old. Optimistically. Old Yeller never had boundless energy, probably from his rough past and the air of dignity he wore like a royal cloak. Simba tortured him with love, rough play, and tumbled affection, but Old Yeller preferred the quiet moments in life like Nick. A good meal. A hot fire. Beautiful music. Simple fulfillment.

He never wanted to open himself up to loving an animal this much. Alexa had broken through his walls and strolled right into his heart, burying herself so deep she was pretty much a part of his anatomy. His beautiful daughters were a natural extension of their shared union and love, and he’d surrender everything for their happiness.

But this old, strange hound dog had always haunted his soul. Once he let him in, the idea of losing him shook his foundation. He sensed a sickness other than arthritis in Old Yeller’s tired bones, especially this past week. Nick needed to step up and get him to the vet.

It was time.

Warm hands slid around his waist, and the body that had carried two of his children pressed against him. “He’s still not better, is he?”

Nick sighed and rubbed the dog’s half torn ears. “No. I’m going to take the morning off and take him to the vet.”

“I can do it. I know you have a big board meeting tomorrow.”

Nick allowed himself to lean back into her quiet strength. “Yeah, and you know how much I despise them. I’ll love having an excuse to back out.”

Alexa laughed. She covered his hand and they both stroked the dog that had brought them together. “Ok. Maria has Musical Munchkins class, Lily has dance, and I only have to go into Bookcrazy for a few hours. Why don’t we have lunch afterwards?”

“Done. We haven’t played hooky in a while.”

“We haven’t played anything in a while.”

Nick grinned and twisted around. In one smooth motion, he flipped her over so her back pressed into the thick carpet and he loomed over her. The familiar surge of heat gripped him and he hardened instantly. His wife’s gasp was full of pleasure and excitement. His veins pumped with heat and the desire to claim. “You’re right. Maybe it’s time we correct that.”

Blue eyes widened, but he took note of her hardened ni**les and the way her thighs opened to welcome him. “What if the kids wake up?”

“They’ve been asleep for a while. I doubt they’ll come downstairs if they need something. We’ll hear them checking our bedroom first.”

“I don’t know, Nick, I haven’t shaved my legs and I wanted to put something pretty on for you and, oh!”

He shut her up the best way, with his mouth over hers. His tongue parted her lips and delved deep, while his hands tugged down her stretchy yoga pants. Her panties followed, until she was half naked, and the scent of her arousal drifted to his nostrils. Oh, yeah. She was hot for him still. He didn’t give a crap about sexy lingerie, or perfect legs, or anything other than possessing his wife completely.

He tore his mouth from hers. Shaky little breaths puffed from her swollen lips. “You must be very quiet, Alexa,” he whispered. “Do you think you can do that? We don’t want to wake the children.”

“Of course, why. Oh, God—“

He slid down, pushed open her thighs, and dipped his head. Her musky scent swarmed his senses and he encountered gorgeous wet heat when his mouth finally hit the sweet spot. Her choked cries drifted to his ears like music, and her orgasm shattered through her and filled him with a primitive triumph he never tired of.

God, he f**king loved this woman.

* * *

“We found a mass.”

Nick hated doctors. Hated the sterile environments that reminded him of the ability to die, get sick, and screw with a happy life. His palms dampened, and he fought the urge to wipe them on his jeans. It had taken him a long time to become confident enough in his ability to love, and trust, and believe that his family and wife wouldn’t leave him. Now, other terrors danced in the dark, taunting him. What if something happened he couldn’t control and he was left alone again? What if something happened to Alexa? His kids? His sister? And his beloved dog?

Nick cleared his throat, and dug for control. “Ok. Can you give me the details? Can you make him better?”

Dr. Jack was an older man, obviously in the business for a number of years, and emanated a friendly compassion Old Yeller was immediately drawn to. He was an obvious animal lover, and Nick liked the way he spoke to his dog, as if he wasn’t a piece of meat but an actual living patient that deserved respect. The doctor peered over his glasses, his eyes sad but kind. “I’ll need to do a biopsy. The tumor is close to the stomach area so it’s a delicate procedure. Then depending on the test results, we’ll need to go over our options.”

Icy fear trickled down his spine. “What type of options?”

“If it’s cancer, we try to remove it. With Old Yeller’s age, we’ve got the odds against us. It’ll be a long recovery, He may need chemotherapy, which I wouldn’t recommend. I’ve had owners who took a holistic approach, with herbs and acupuncture to lessen the pain, but again, with the age of the dog we need to look at other options.”

“I’m not putting him to sleep.” The stubborn words escaped his mouth before he had time to bite them back. As if with his own determination to save the dog, it would all work out.

Dr. Jack nodded. “I understand. We’ll explore all options but let’s wait for the test results first.”

“How long?”

“They have to go to our main lab so forty-eight hours.”

Nick rubbed his forehead. “Any way to get them quicker?”

“I’m putting a rush on them. But we’ll need a full two days. As soon as they come in, I’ll call. For now, keep his regular schedule.”

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