**Challenge director started the New Year off with a bang. “Peonies,” he said with (what I imagine was) a slightly devilish smile. “And butter. And a bed and breakfast.” So here you go. Enjoy!**
It was supposed to be a quiet, relaxing four day getaway to celebrate our anniversary. Mason had planned the whole thing as a surprise, and I was more than willing to go along. Even though I had to beg, plead, trade favors, and work overtime in order to get the time off from work. We’d spent too much time apart lately, and we were in desperate need of reconnecting. I couldn’t wait to have his undivided attention for four whole days, and to give him mine.
The bed and breakfast was practically on the shore of Lake George. It was open year round, but since it was the off season, Mason had gotten a really good rate. The drive had been long, and I wanted nothing more than to take a hot shower, crawl between the sheets, and wrap my body around Mason’s.
The little elderly lady behind the desk checked us in quickly and efficiently. I was actually surprised when we got a sweet smile and a pat on the hand instead of disgusted looks. Mason took care of everything, and then assured the nice woman that we could find our room on our own when she handed over the key.
Tromping up the stairs, it wasn’t hard to locate which door was ours. Mason unlocked it, then pushed the door open. He stood back to allow me to enter first, and I gave him a tired smile as I stepped past him. And stopped dead.
It had a king sized bed, which was nice. But that was the only redeeming quality. I rubbed my eyes, then blinked twice, just to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. I wasn’t. The room was covered in flowers. Big pink blooms. On the wall paper. On the bedspread. In the art on the walls and in a vase on the table. They were everywhere.
I did the slow pan over the Mason. He just laughed and gave a shrug.
“She did call it the Peony Room.” He gave me a nudge out of his way, then pulled his suitcase in and shut the door.
I was still staring at him like he was nuts. Then glanced around the room again. My eyes nearly fell right out of my head. “Butter.”
Mason gave me a puzzled frown. “What’s that now?”
I gestured toward the tray where a peony covered teapot sat alongside a plate of cookies and muffins. “The butter. Even the pads of butter are carved into little peony shapes. Who the hell does that?
Mason’s deep laugh made me scowl. “Rory, honey, stop focusing on the flowers and start focusing on the fact that we’re alone together for four whole days with nothing to do but enjoy each other. Be a good boy and unpack your suitcase. Then I’ll help you take a shower.” The eyebrow waggle was cute, but still my scowl deepened. He reached out and flipped the lock on the door.
Since Mason wouldn’t let me get out of this monstrosity of a room, I did as he requested and unpacked my suitcase. I grumbled the whole time, but I did it. He was much more efficient than I was, and within a few minutes, he wandered into the en suite. I heard the water turn on. I moved quicker, wanting this task to be done. I didn’t want Mason to start without me.
I’d just slid the last drawer closed when he appeared in the doorway. His dark eyes were hooded, and he looked at me like he wanted to eat me. I swallowed hard. I loved it when he looked at me that way.
“Take off your clothes, sweetheart, and come see what I found.”
I stripped fast. Mason disappeared in that moment I was pulling my shirt over my head. When the rest of my clothes were in a heap on the floor, I practically ran to the bathroom. Mason stood in the middle of the tiled floor, just as naked as I was, with a secret smile on his face. He took a step to the side, and the sweep of his arm drew my gaze to what was behind him.
A tub. A real claw-foot person sized tub. Filled with steaming water, and looking like heaven on earth. The noise I made was not exactly dignified, but Mason just laughed, took my hand and led me closer. He steadied me as I climbed in. The heat felt delicious as I sank down into the water. My whole body gave a satisfied shudder. And then Mason joined me, sliding in behind me and pulling my back up tight to his front.
I relaxed completely. For the first time in what felt like ages, every muscle in my body was loose, all the tension gone. Mason wrapped his arms around my waist, and one of his hands rubbed at my stomach. A prelude to what would come later. Right now, we were just enjoying each other.
I tipped my head back onto his shoulder and nosed along his jaw until he turned his head so that I could kiss him. The pink blooms in our room notwithstanding, this was turning out to be an awesome vacation by virtue of this tub—and the man inside it with me—alone.
“Happy anniversary, sweetheart,” Mason said softly as he broke the kiss.
I just grinned. “Happy anniversary.”