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It certainly wasn’t Ryder’s intention to be anything more than a friend to Lydia, but his feelings became muddled from the moment they enacted the love scene. He had no intention of doing anything more than putting on a show for the benefit of them terrifying his mother.

When they practiced their love scene, Lydia was so timid at first. Observing her from a distance made him hypersensitive to her body language. Whenever she wasn’t sure of an idea, she would often nibble on the corner of her bottom lip. No matter what he presented to her as an idea, Lydia seemed to trust his opinion enough to go with whatever he asked.

The day he sat down with her in his private den and described the acting skills that would be required to pull off something of that magnitude. He explained how driven his mother was to know each individual action taken in his daily life. Ryder insisted he had no desire to rush her into an uncomfortable situation, but he was sure his mother knew about her and it was only a matter of time before she tried to interfere with their plans.

“My mother is well-meaning. She has worked diligently to protect our family and that’s the reason she behaves so erratically at times. I love her with all my heart and I don’t want to do anything to disrespect her, but I need your help to make this work.” Ryder explained the awkward position he was in with his mother.

“Kemi has made a mockery of my family. When he met my aunt, he found a vulnerable older woman who was hungry for affection. He abused her and broke her spirit. Once he had done all he could to break her, he left my aunt Williow and made disparaging comments about her as a woman in public areas.” The gentle giant ran his finger through his hair as he exposed all the dirty things her ex had done.

Ryder knew full well Lydia of all people had an inside track on the monster and his despicable appetites. He still remembered the first day he held her in his arms and how fragile she was after being on the receiving end of Kemi Eustace’s affections. It wasn’t his intention to stress her out with the issues his family had faced for some time, but he needed her to be on board with every action he made for this plan to achieve the level of success that he was seeking.


She recalled the day Ryder expressed his heartfelt concern for the troubles his family had inherited as a result of his aunt’s interactions with her ex. His sense of hopelessness when he described how his aunt had been used and humiliated was communicated loud and clear. To say she was touched by his distraught mannerism wouldn’t fully describe the way in which he tapped deep into her soul. Lydia knew from personal experience how hard it was to admit something so brutally personal.

It reached past her own pain. She could in no way imagine a woman old enough to be her mom suffering the brutal attacks Kemi had subjected on her to on a regular basis. That singular thought of brutalization made her stomach lurch violently. It made her sick to think of an elderly woman being assaulted and raped. Lydia drew from her personal experience with Kemi.

She was one hundred percent sure Ryder lacked a full picture of exactly what that beast did to his aunt. Based on the sorrow that wrapped itself around a man who was typically upbeat who possessed the most infectious laughter she had ever encountered, he was now rendered speechless as he considered the information that he had come to know. The long bouts of silence further squeezed Lydia’s because she knew he desperately needed her to make his plan work.

As she paced around the room in no specific pattern, a chill gripped her racing up her spine. Images flashed in her subconsciousness silently reminding her of what she had survived and who was there when no one else was. She rubbed her arms as a freezing cold wave washed over her even though it was the middle of June.

Lydia considered his pleas for her assistance. The plan he laid before her.

She stopped in front of the fireplace and reached her hands out to prop herself up against the cool stones.

Her eyes were drawn up to the picture of a young adorable blond boy posing in his family photo. With a twinkle in his whimsical blue eyes, the little boy stood in front of the two people she had come to learn was Ryder’s mother and father. She was always amazed at how much he resembled both of his parents. At a glance, she identified how the child had his father's sharp nose and alluring smile with minor features that were similar to his mother.

Looking away for a moment, Lydia recentered her focus on the little boy’s eyes. It was clear he had received that mesmerizing feature from his dad. Ryder smiled. His father smirked, yet, his mother seemed to struggle with the whole concept of a family picture. Upon close examination, the little strained smile on her face did nothing to hide the sorrow consuming her eyes.

Lydia wondered if Ryder took the time to examine the painting the way she had. If he had, surely he knew someone was wrong. Even as a small child, while he was a happy little tike, his parents displayed opposing emotions which led her to believe there was more to his mother’s aggression than Ryder knew or cared to discuss.

“I’m in.” With those two words, Lydia placed her trust in the man who had yet to let her down. She saw how he labored to right so many wrongs and she enjoyed being around him. His strength empowered her with the determination she needed to change the course of her own life and embrace goodness over all of the bad that had been thrust upon her.


After she said yes, Ryder found it became increasingly more difficult to maintain the reality that they were NOT a real couple. Even though they had agreed on all of the pomp and pageantry of the shows they were putting on for others, he was starting to lose sight of what was real in favor of something more.

With each day ending much like the day they sent his mother running for the hills, Ryder craved to lose himself in the illusion.

He wasn’t prepared for the way his body responded when Lydia’s warm skin made contact with him. The exercise clouded his senses. The way she began to innocuously touch him drawing soft little circles on his hand with her thumb made his thinking fuzzy. After their Vegas show, Ryder and Lydia spent many of their days snuggled in a platonic blanket of security.

Constant closeness made his skin tingle as his mind ventured into a forbidden place. Ryder was lost in a fantasy that always ended with Lydia’s body beneath him with nothing between them to prevent her from receiving the only gift he had left to give her.

His mind was lost in the sensual images now playing on a loop in his mind as Lydia joined him on the sofa. She placed a few pillows on his stomach like she had on other occasions and proceeded to make herself comfortable on his lap. Lucky for him, the pillows shielded his true feelings from her.

Every touch of her skin was like an electric shock bent on driving him insane. Her movements left Ryder consumed by a cloud of sexual inebriation. The brown sugar and vanilla cream scent she often wore made him so weak it was a good thing he wasn’t standing. If were to venture away from the couch, he might find himself overcome by the essence she exuded.

As her presence taunted him to seek out a release from the prison he had built around himself, Ryder found he was losing the battle to remain the platonic friend who was solely there to support his new friend. Considering they had settled into a routine of snuggling at the end of a long day, it wasn’t until his craving for more of her reached a definitive peak that he was forced to acknowledge how much he needed Lydia. She had him and he had no desire for her to let him go.

Completely unaware of the storm brewing beneath her, Lydia moved about to make herself more comfortable, she bumped one pillow sending it in an awkward direction threatening to expose what was stirring below. Just as she turned to readjust herself on her side, Lydia mistakingly knocked the pillows down to the floor.

Without a moment’s hesitation, she reached down to retrieve them from where they landed by his feet. The moment she lifted her head, Lydia came face to crotch with what he was hiding that whole time.

Lydia sat up as soon as what she had seen registered in her mind. Realizing how her presence affected her knight, at first, she scooted to the other end of the couch for a moment to process the new revelation.

For so long, Ryder ignored his desire for fear she would never reciprocate his feelings for her. He was sure she was incapable of seeing him in that light after all the damage that had been inflicted on her body and her heart.

Unable to withstand the pull she had on him, Ryder slid closer to her until they came face to face.

Blue eyes were faced with a lighter shade of blue eyes.

Ryder was caught off guard as her tiny hand came to rest on the side of his neck grazing his skin as she lightly caressed him. He witnessed how Lydia’s eyes widened like a deer caught in headlights as her breathing became labored with anticipation and uncertainty. The passion he found there was undeniable as he leaned in and felt both of her hands slide through his hair messaging his scalp as she tugged at him until their lips were a whisper apart.

Not one to miss a cue, he took advantage of the timing as his hands trailed from the base of her neck, down her shoulders, and finally slid the dress off her shoulders allowing it to fall to her waist as she sat next to him on the sofa. Lydia stood in an effort to be closer to him as she straddled Ryder’s lap. While still facing him, Ryder’s hands fought the bra she was wearing until he released her bountiful breasts from their prison.

He was in awe as he stared at her fullness begging him to be touched. Ryder moved without a care or a concern as he leaned forward to taste the dark chocolate drops pointing directly at him.

“Uhmmm... Ryder...”

“Lydia... oh my sweet lord. You are so fucking beautiful.”

This time it wasn’t a game as Ryder took his time exploring his wife’s body. He wasted not even one millisecond teaching Lydia what it was like to savor the lovemaking of a real man.

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