I Do ONLY
an If Only novel by A.J. Pine
Duncan McAllister is marrying Elaina Tripoli tomorrow. Except—he’s missing. Jordan, Noah, Griffin, Maggie, and Miles arrive in Greece for the festivities to find frantic messages from both the bride and groom. Noah and Griffin set off to find Duncan while Jordan, Maggie, and Miles try to salvage what should be a day of celebration before the wedding.
But the Americans have their own baggage. Noah’s got a surprise planned for Jordan that has to go perfectly. Griffin’s keeping life-changing news from Maggie. And Miles—well, he wasn’t looking for love on this trip until a Greek sous chef named Alex rocks his world.
The race is on for Duncan to make it back to Elaina before she decides not to take him back at all. For Noah to make sure his monumental plan goes off without a hitch. For Griffin to tell Maggie the truth without losing her. For Miles to admit that letting himself fall in love is worth the risk.
Happily Ever After waits at the finish line…if the four couples can make it on time.
Title: I Do
Series: If Only, #3
Author: A.J. Pine
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Length: 261 pages
Release Date: November 2015
Price listed is for the U.S. digital format. Please confirm pricing and availability with the retailer before downloading.
Novels by author A.J. Pine:
Series book one: If Only
Series book two: What If
Series book three: I Do
An Excerpt from:
by A.J. Pine
Copyright © 2015 by A.J. Pine. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.
|There is no such thing as overpacking. There is no such thing as overpacking. There is no such thing as overpacking.|
Now all Jordan had to do was click her heels together three times and her suitcase would close, right?
“Finished!” Noah yelled from the kitchen/living room—the only other room aside from the bedroom and a sad excuse for a bathroom.
“Packing or grading?” Jordan asked before dropping down, butt first, onto the unzipped case. She blew a lock of hair out of her eyes, but it fell back as soon as the puff of air left her lips.
“Figures,” she mumbled. She couldn’t even contain her hair. How would she contain the contents necessary for a trip overseas where she would be a bridesmaid for the first time? She didn’t know how to bridesmaid, let alone perform such duties in a foreign country. So she packed everything from a bathing suit to a parka. Maybe one of the two would have to go.
She looked up, sensing Noah’s presence, expecting quiet condescension at her inability to embrace the whole less is more concept.
Instead, he leaned in the doorframe and quirked a brow, dark waves flopping over his forehead.
“Both.” His brows furrowed. “I finished both. Grading and packing.” Noah’s eyes drank her in. “Nice outfit, Brooks.” The left corner of his mouth hinted at a grin. Then he was squatting in front of her, lifting the strap of her camisole that had strayed from her shoulder.
Goose bumps peppered Jordan’s skin at the soft graze of his fingertips. God, he could still set her on fire with the simplest touch, even after three years.
“I mean it,” he continued, his lips trailing after his fingers, brushing her pebbled skin. “This is my favorite outfit of yours. You should wear it every day.”
Butterflies danced in her belly at the low rasp of his voice. He dropped to his knees, resting a hand on her bare thigh and using the other to free her neck from its blanket of hair.
He nipped at the flesh below her ear, and she let out something between a sigh and a moan.
“This is what I wear every day…unless I’m in class.” She tried to sound annoyed, to assure the beautiful man doing beautiful things to her that she would wear more than pajamas at home—once grad school was over and she was done volleying between her own writing projects and grading those of her undergrad students.
“Do you remember what I look like in real clothes? Because I don’t. I’m not even sure I can wear a dress to the wedding. My body may actually reject it, like a virus.” She flailed her arms and added, “Danger, Will Robinson. Foreign object. Must destroy.”
This didn’t deter him. Jordan was ready to protest further, but then Noah’s fingertips reached the hem of her boy shorts, and she forgot why she was so frustrated. That is, until Noah’s lips found hers, and the two of them lost their balance, tumbling over the side of the still unzipped suitcase and into the frame of their bed.
“Shit!” she said.
Jordan rubbed her temple, and Noah massaged his shoulder.
He chuckled. “Loving you really is a contact sport, isn’t it?” He kissed the spot where her head had greeted the metal frame. “You okay?”
Jordan sighed. “You still love me? You do see the mess sitting in front of you, right?”
“Technically,” he said, his grin widening, “you’re more sprawled than sitting.”
She reached over her head to grab a pillow, but Noah caught her wrist before she could whack him with it. This was good, the two of them finding a few moments to pretend like all they had on their list was getting her suitcase closed. It wasn’t that things weren’t good between them. They were perfect when they had time for little moments like this. But the whole being-an-adult thing—classes, teaching, the day-to-day stresses—often got in the way.
“You’re so busy,” she said. “We both are. And…” Her voice broke a bit on that word, so she cleared her throat and tried to hold it together. “I feel like everything around us is so crazy. I just…I miss you.”
It sounded silly saying that when he was next to her in bed every night. But it was the truth. She thought back to the year they’d met studying abroad in Scotland, how it took them ten months to finally get things right. Despite how difficult the whole falling-in-love thing was, it seemed like a cakewalk compared to balancing her MFA with Noah’s first years as a teacher. They just needed a small window of simple. A reboot. She wanted to remind him that someday it would be more like this—quiet time alone instead of the tornado that had been their lives for the past three years—maybe even with less physical injury.
“Your suitcase?” he said. “That’s a mess. But you, Brooks?” He pulled her to him, scooping her up and depositing her onto his lap. “I’m so proud of you. You thought you had no direction when we met, and look at you now. You’re a student, a teacher, and soon your passion for writing will also be your career.” He kissed her softly on the forehead. “You amaze me. Every single day.”
Jordan took in a sharp breath. Yes, his touch could still drive her crazy, but it was the things he said—ridiculous things like being proud of her when she still felt so directionless—that melted her heart.
“And I miss you, too,” he said, his voice growing serious so she knew she wasn’t imagining the strain. “We’ll get through this—the hard stuff. And God, yes, I love you. Never question that.”
She kissed him, teasing his bottom lip with her tongue and teeth as she felt his smile against hers. They would get past the hard part, wouldn’t they?
“Run away with me to Greece,” she whispered to him.
“Already got my passport,” he answered, warm breath mingling with her own.
“And your kilt?”
Noah’s smile widened, and she leaned back to see his blue eyes shine at her.
“And my kilt,” he said.
With that he snuck a finger under the hem he’d teased before.
“We still have an hour before the taxi comes.” His statement came out like a question.
“How long will it take you to fix my suitcase problem?” Jordan asked.
He lay her back gently on the floor, one finger still under the soft cotton, tracing the line where her thigh connected to her hip—following it down until Jordan wasn’t sure she’d even bring a suitcase anymore, not if ditching the wardrobe meant more time for Noah to torment her until she forgot her own name.
His thumb brushed over the outside of her shorts, right between her legs, and yep—she might as well have been nameless at that point. But when he whispered Brooks, she knew without a doubt who she was.
She was the girl who fell for the boy and somehow managed to make it work for three years and counting. He was now the man she always knew he’d become, and together they were headed back to where it all began—to watch her former roommate, Elaina, and the boy in the kilt she swore she’d never fall for, Duncan, say, “I do.” Then Jordan and Noah would trace their steps back to Scotland, where they’d met and where they’d gotten it all so wrong before finally getting it right.
“Screw the suitcase,” she whispered, and Noah’s lips traced the line of her jaw until they rested at her ear.
“As you wish.”
|Jordan strode past the skycap, and Noah followed her into the terminal.|
“We could have checked the bags outside,” he told her. He may have purged half her closet from her luggage, but that didn’t mean he wanted to weave through an amusement park–length line with both their bags when they could have taken care of it outside.
Once in line, she turned to face him.
“This way we save a little extra cash.”
She combed the hair off his brow, and, well, he couldn’t argue with the logic of her touch—or the fact that this trip was already costing them money they didn’t have. But for the next week, he didn’t want her to worry about money or graduation or any of the normal, daily stressors.
He waggled his brows. “Means I can buy some shitty airplane headphones for the in-flight entertainment.”
Jordan hooked a finger in the collar of his T-shirt.
“I thought I was your in-flight entertainment.” She pouted, and Noah’s pants suddenly grew tighter in the groin region.
“Jesus, Brooks. We’re not even checked in yet.”
She bit her lip, then unbuttoned her gray peacoat and unwound her scarf. Her V-neck T-shirt was pulled off center so he could see the strap of her bra. The short flight from Columbus to New York meant not much more than an hour of alone time before meeting up with the rest of the group, and then plenty of time for his pants to loosen up on their own.
“What?” Jordan asked, but her grin told him she knew what she did to him.
“Did you really seat us next to…”
For fuck’s sake. He sounded like enough of a dick without finishing the question, but the words were already out there. God, he hated Jordan seeing him like this.
“Griffin and Maggie?” Of course she finished the thought. “No, we’re not next to them. We’re one row in front of them. And, babe? It’s been three years. We’re past all that, right?”
The line was moving now, which gave him a reprieve from having to look her in the eye and tell her that yes, when he wasn’t thinking about how he almost blew his chance with her three years ago, he was past all that, past her dating Griffin when Noah said they could only be friends despite how much he knew he was falling for her. But when all that was going to be sitting one row behind them for eleven and a half hours and spending the weekend with them, it was hard not to go back there in his head.
When Jordan hefted her suitcase onto the scale at the check-in counter, Noah gave his messenger bag, still slung over his shoulder, a safety pat, reassuring himself of the small velvet box inside. He would have a do-over after their time in Greece, on the train ride from London to Scotland. As long as everything went according to plan—no unnecessary stress for the girl who never relaxed—he would leave the States with his girlfriend and return with his fiancée.
Jordan gasped, patted her pockets, riffled through her purse, and Noah’s eyes grew wide.
“My passport!” she yelled. “Shit, Noah, my passport!”
He let out a long, shaky breath as he pulled both their passports from the back pocket of his jeans and lay them down on the counter.
Nervous laughter erupted from his girlfriend’s lips.
“This trip is going to be the end of me, isn’t it?” she asked as she steadied herself against the counter.
He looped his arm around her waist and drew her near as the airline attendant checked their bags to New York and through their connecting flight to Thessaloniki, Greece.
No, he hoped. This is only the beginning.