They planned the wedding in Dubai, at the Cohen’s largest newly acquired resort so Adele’s friends and family members could come down to attend the wedding. After months of hiding, there was no hint that anyone was searching for the person or persons who had been responsible for Landon’s death.
While in Jerusalem, Nick helped his father quietly sell most of his land holdings and business ventures. They made preparations to leave Israel, presumably forever. Nick knew his father was working on other business ventures in Dubai, but he was unwilling to even ask until after returning from his honeymoon.
Nick had one thing on his mind; planning a wedding so he could be with Adele forever. His older brothers teased him mercilessly about his unwillingness to be alone with his bride until after the wedding. He wasn’t taking any chances. He was already tempted nearly beyond restraint by the woman he’d loved since they were teenagers.
Adele planned a simple wedding that got out of hand. A girl could not marry the son of a billionaire and avoid having dignitaries from all over the world invited. The guest list was beyond their control, but she insisted on simplicity in her dress and flowers and pageantry, and a meal without drinking and partying. Nick was completely fine with that. He didn’t want anything—or anyone—ruining her special day.
The wedding party was nearly identical to that of his brother and Adele’s sister. The biggest change was the order of the lineup, and one additional brother: Nick’s best friend, Prince Marcos Sayid of Madain Saleh. The simple crown he wore was tucked within purposely shaggy hair, grown out just a little for the occasion. In his sorry attempt to conceal his royalty, Prince Marcos instead took on the appearance of a rock star in a tux with a crown. Every eligible woman in the room batted her eyelashes.
The large garden to the back of the resort, where Adele had first told Nick she loved him on the night before their siblings’ wedding, was the perfect location for her to walk down the cobblestone path to meet her groom.
Nick waited in anticipation, his brothers by his side, his father and very pregnant mother sitting in the first row of seats, and his friends and family nearby, for his bride to descend the path and come join her life to his.
The music shifted and Ruth began her descent, followed by Rachel, then Miriam, her dress altered to beautifully showcase her growing belly, and last was Leanne.
Again, there was a change in the tune emanating from the grand piano that had been carefully transported and placed in the garden, and the members of the audience stood. Nick wished they hadn’t. His view was impeded. He broke from his place of honor and stepped to his right, standing instead directly before the aisle where Adele would appear at the head of the path. He wanted to be the first to view the elegant woman who would descend unto him.
Tears ran unabashedly down his cheeks as Adele appeared on the arm of her father, Daniel Ashish. He held back his desire to run to her, sweep her into his arms and carry her the rest of the way, demanding the officiator hurry with their vows so he could be forevermore her husband.
Painstakingly slow she walked forward, cobblestone step by step by step, until she stood by his side and Daniel handed over his daughter for safekeeping to the man he had forbade enter his home a few short months prior.
Nick broke his gaze from his bride for a few brief seconds to look his new father-in-law in the eye, man to man, conveying with every fiber of his being that he would protect and cherish this woman whom they both loved.
With no further fanfare, Daniel released Adele’s hand and placed it into Nick’s, then ducked away to go and sit beside his wife in the front row.
“Can I kiss you now?” Nick whispered, gazing into Adele’s eyes.
“Nope,” she whispered back and winked at him. “Marry me first.”
He gently pulled her forward, never releasing her gaze and stood before the man who prompted their vows and rituals that would bind them together legally.
Nick barely registered the words he repeated, yet felt them to his core. He was promising everything to Adele and more. He was promising forever, if that existed.
As hurried as he’d been to get to this moment, when the officiator pronounced them husband and wife, time slowed. He closed the distance between them and lifted her face delicately, lowering his while maintaining eye contact until the last possible second. He hesitated and hovered inches from a kiss and waited for her to lift onto her toes and meet his lips, sealing their love for one another.
This was only their second real kiss as adults, and might as well have been their first with how sacred this felt.
When they pulled apart an inch or two, Nick pressed his forehead to Adele’s and whispered, “Thank you.”
Adele threw her arms around Nick’s neck and kissed him again, a combination of humor and passion, then pulled away and laughed lightly. “I love you!”
“I love you too.” Nick laughed along with her, lifting her off her feet playfully. Setting her back down he whispered for her ears only, “Am I allowed to admit I’m terrified right now?”
“Good, I’m not the only one.” She giggled. “How about this? Let’s go eat a little food, dance the obligatory number of dances, then go upstairs.”
“Sounds good to me,” Nick said a little louder than he should have.
Adele grabbed Nick’s hand and held it up triumphantly, calling out to the crowd, “Finally!”
Everyone laughed as Adele playfully tugged her groom up the cobblestone steps to the grand ballroom inside. Nick allowed himself to be pulled along, unable to deny his new wife one moment of this new excitement.
Nick had no idea how long it took the rest of the wedding party to ascend the path from the garden, but by the time anyone else arrived in the ballroom where the tables were situated around a small dancefloor, awaiting the meal, he and Adele were alone on the dancefloor holding one another close, swaying to dinner music played softly by the string quartet in the corner.
They eventually allowed others to pull them apart just far enough to sit at the head table and eat a little food. They were dragged around the room greeting the myriad of guests, dancing and dancing and dancing, cutting cake, posing for a million photographs, and hugging many friends and family.
“Look at Sam and Leanne,” Adele said from where they stood on the other side of the ballroom. Nick glanced over to the dancefloor where she pointed, and his heart warmed. They were dancing together, cheek to cheek, both of their eyes closed in a bliss he understood all too well.
“Reminds me of a few months ago when you and I held each other the same way at Lyle and Miriam’s wedding,” Nick said, pulling Adele closer. “Maybe a few months from now we’ll be celebrating another wedding.”
“If he can get her out of the library long enough to date,” Adele said. “Maybe we should warn him about the uphill battle he’ll fight.”
“Nah, I don’t want anything interrupting this moment. I remember what that was like.” Nick kissed the top of her head. “Besides there are a few other things I’d like to do right this minute.”
“Yeah?” Adele turned away from watching the dance and Nick caught her in his arms, loving the silky fabric of her wedding dress beneath his hands. “Do any of those things involve you finally taking me up to your suite?”
“Our suite,” Nick whispered. “From now until forever, what’s mine is yours.”
“All I’ve ever wanted from you was your heart.” Adele gazed into his eyes, passion replacing humor.
“You have my heart.” Nick pulled her closer and his breathing increased. “Would it be okay if I give you the rest of me too?”
“Only if I can give you the rest of me,” Adele whispered.
The purr that emanated from somewhere inside him came out as a soft growl. “Mrs. Cohen, I would very much like to escort you upstairs to our suite.”
“I’ll follow you anywhere, Mr. Cohen.”
With no other formal invitation or goodbye to friends and family, they ducked out the nearest door and Nick swept Adele into his arms, carrying her up the stairs.
Book Club Discussion Question: Well, what did you think? Are you ready to read Sam's story next? or perhaps skip over to Prince Marcos' story?