Daring the Wild Sparks, Book 2

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Hadley Beckett’s quest for wedded bliss perseveres. A dare. My intrepid sportscaster boyfriend, Finn Wilder, keeps me guessing and on edge, especially when it comes to jumping off bridges or marrying me. Infamously anti-marriage, he promised me he’d consider taking me to the altar if I give him more time. Done. We’re in our thirties, and the sand is running out of the hourglass. My clock is blaring. Diving headfirst and setting marriage aside for the moment, I try a different angle, and I shove my persuasion skills into overdrive to convince Finn to at least have a baby with me. Little did I know his issues run deeper than I ever imagined. It’s an uphill climb ahead, but I can’t back down. I have too much to lose, and executing my plan will be a leap of faith or folly. Still, I’m determined to triumph, but so is Finn Wilder. No matter what it takes.

Romance / Other
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

Love knows no bounds.

I have to remind myself of that.

Friday morning, I stop at the jewelry store to pick up Finn’s Easter gift. His ring won’t be ready until next week. When I pull over for gas halfway to Dover, I double-check my directions. I really need a GPS, which, along with getting a new phone, which Finn keeps telling me. I will sometime. Still, I make it to Dover in just under four hours. Not bad.

I find the street and notice the sizeable pink brick house at the end of the cul-de-sac, with an expansive front yard. A dentist and an architect can live in a house like that, I suppose. With mine and Finn’s salaries, we couldn’t afford it. He doesn’t make as much as Rod imagines.

The driveway is a half-circle deal with a four-car garage off to the side. I park next to the black Mustang. Definitely Finn’s rental.

Smiling, I roll my eyes and open my door, stretching while readjusting my ponytail. Running my hands over my gray T-shirt and my black nylon pants, I feebly attempt to look presentable. It was comfortable for the drive.

Popping my trunk, I walk to the rear of my car, still fixing my clothes. As I do, I nearly walk into a blue T-shirt. Startled, I look up, and my favorite lips are on mine. Finn’s lips feel good, especially after a long drive. Hauling me closer, he wraps his arms around my waist. Moving his lips to my cheek, brushing my skin, he whispers, “I missed you, baby. I’m glad you’re here.”

I angle my head to see his face, my gaze falling to his jubilant, full lips. I’ve missed his sexy smile. I tease, “I see that.” I giggle and kiss his stubbly cheek, which isn’t as prickly as a few days ago. “You shaved.”

Finn shrugs. “Had to. I don’t want a full beard.” He kisses me again, and my hands slip down to his chest, my fingers scratching over his shirt. Too soon, he pulls away, biting his lip like he’s uncomfortable. He nods to the house. “Let’s get your things inside.”

Finn picks up my suitcase, and I ask, “Where is everyone?”

“Ricky’s downstairs in the rec room, watching a movie. Chrissie is visiting friends. No clue about Simone. Mom is in her room.”

“Were you watching the movie with Ricky?”

“I was but couldn’t sit still. It was annoying him, so I came upstairs and sat in the living room.”

“Why so anxious?”

He grins. “I couldn’t wait for you to get here.” He nods his head to the big picture window. “I was watching for you.”

Giggling, I ask, “Like a doggy waiting for its owner to come home? Aww.”

“I’ve told you. I’m yours.” When I smile in response, he abruptly bends to kiss me, making me smile more. Almost as fast, he grabs my hand, leading me to the house and through the front door. Watching him go up the stairs with my suitcase, I notice his pants resemble mine. We often think alike. Before following him, I hear footsteps.

“There’s my girl!” I smile at Julie Stansborough. Roundish and bubbly, her short, dark blonde hair, matching glints of Finn’s golden hair. She bestowed her deep brown eyes upon my boyfriend. Out of the four kids, Finn got his good looks from her.

Setting my makeup and shower bags on the chair next to me, I walk into her outstretched arms. Squeezing me, she says, “It’s been too long! I missed you!”

I hug her, but she refuses to let go of me, another trait Finn inherited from her. Laughing, I say, “I’ve missed you, too!”

She sways us in our hug. “I can’t get enough of my beautiful Hadley.”

“We have something in common,” Finn declares from the staircase. Julie releases me, and Finn circles his arms around my waist, towing me into his chest.

Julie claps. “You two are adorable! I love it! I need to get my camera!” She ducks into the living room and spinning me to face him, Finn leans down to kiss me. My hands automatically go up to his enchanting hair, pulling him closer. His soft groan vibrates our lips.

A clicking sound makes me jump, but Finn holds me. “Gotcha!” Julie squeals. “I’m hanging it in the living room!”


“Shut up, Finn. You have no say, my dear boy.”

“I’ve noticed.”

She says, “I’ll send you each a copy for framing. I want more pictures. Come on. Hadley, stand in front of Finn, so he can put his arms around you like before.”

I scowl and anxiously pull at my ponytail. “I look horrendous.”

Julie frowns, and Finn holds me tightly, his cologne sparking desire. “Finn, tell Hadley how beautiful she is. She’ll believe you.”

“No, she won’t.” When Julie checks her camera, Finn goes to my ear. “You’re turning me on. You’re always stunning.” He slides his hands down to my hips, pressing my lower back into him, his studdered breathing in my ear. Awkward with his mother in front of us. He’s not full-blown aroused, but he’s getting there.

Finn swiftly raises his head. “Okay. I think we’re ready. Let’s get this over with.” He returns his hands to my waist and rests his chin against my temple. Feeling his smile makes me grin.

Julie takes pictures and then laughs. “You’re lucky to have such a pretty girlfriend, but Hadley’s even more beautiful on the inside. Don’t forget that, Finn Robert.” His mom hates Finnigan. I love his name.

“I know this, Mom,” he grumbles like a teen told to clean his room.

“What do you know?” Simone mocks as she skips down the stairs, her straight, light blonde hair bouncing around her shoulders. “I doubt it’s anything that will change the world.”

“Go back into your cage, Sims.”

“Make me, Wilderness. Hadley! It’s been forever! I swear the last time I saw you was when you broke your wrist.”

Finn loosens his grip on me. “That was three years ago. You’ve seen her since.”

“You never bring her around,” Simone states as she hugs me. In her early twenties, she’s never short on candor, enthusiasm, and optimism. I need all of those in my thirties.

“Do you blame me?” Finn scoffs.

Julie scolds, “Be nice.”

Simone releases me and clasps her hands together, bouncing. “That’s about to change, though! I’m transferring to VCU next semester. I’ll see you more often!”

“That’s so cool! Are you moving in with your brother?” He’s dying for a roommate.

Making a face, she nods to Finn. “That loser? He’ll lower my IQ. I’m staying in a dorm for now until I get an apartment.”

Julie asks, “Where’s Ricky? Still watching a movie?”

Finn replies, “Yep. He probably fell asleep, though.”

Simone impishly grins. “I’ll wake him up.”

Sliding his fingers between mine, Finn retorts, “You only want to scare him. I’m telling you, Ricky Tesco is always on alert.”

Simone shrugs. “Whatever. I’m going downstairs. You guys coming?”

Julie says, “Dinner isn’t until later. Hadley, did you want to go to the grocery store with me?”

Finn irritably answers, “No, she doesn’t. She just got here.”

Hopping over, Simone reaches up to pinch his cheek. “Look how grouchy you are, big bro! Does that mean what I think?”

Before Julie leaves the room, she points at Simone. “Don’t tease your brother.”

I give Julie an apologetic smile. “I’ll stay here and watch a movie if that’s okay.”

“No problem.” She spins around, warning. “Be good, Simone.”

As Julie leaves the foyer, Simone shouts, “I think you need to tell your son that! He has that look!”

Finn glowers at her. “What look?”

She pokes his chest, and he glances down to her hand. “You’re up to something, Finn Wilder. I know it.”

“And so are you, Simone Garrison. I’m positive.” He squeezes my hand, and Finn pulls me into the living room to the basement door. Many pictures of Chrishelle, Leighton, Finn, Simone, and Jack’s son, Beau, at various ages, fill the staircase walls.

I abruptly stop. Finn yanks my hand and looks over his shoulder when I don’t move. In one senior picture, Finn leans against a blue muscle car—not sure what kind. His magical hair is tousled, and he’s wearing blue jeans with a short-sleeve shirt, unbuttoned three down from the top. With his devilish smirk, Finn looks nearly the same, except shaggier hair and no stubble. He was hot. And now, he has more muscles from his crazy dares.

“What?” he asks.

Still mesmerized by the picture, I say, “We graduated the same year. I wish I had known you. Went to school with you.” I furtively glance at him, and he smiles, moving his fingers against mine.

“Me, too, baby. We would’ve been the Class Couple our senior year.”

“You weren’t half of a class couple your senior year?”

He peers up at the picture. “No. I didn’t really date.”

I quietly mutter, “You wouldn’t have dated me then, either. You were a baseball jock.”

Dragging my gaze away from the picture, I hesitantly look at him. Finn shakes his head. “I would’ve seen you, and that would’ve been it for me. Not a doubt in my mind.” I smile and roll my eyes, but he doesn’t smile or look away from me. “Total truth, Becks. I’m the same person as I was back in high school.” He pauses as he twists our fingers together. “I would’ve wanted you.”

Astounded, I stare at him, not knowing what to say. Without further comment, he walks me down the four steps to the first landing, but then brusquely pivots. He whispers, “Baby, we were meant to be, no matter when we met.”

I smile and mouth, “Okay.”

He kisses me. “I want to show you my dare.”

I’m suddenly nervous. “I can’t wait.”

“I can’t, either. We’ll watch it, and then we’ll go to my room.”

“You’ll show me your room?” I coyly ask, biting my lip.

“Along with something else,” Finn whispers and kisses me again. His free hand moves to my butt and pushes me closer to him. I drag my fingers over his chest. Tersely, he grabs my hand and brings it to his mouth, kissing it.

Giving me another quick kiss, he tugs me down the rest of the stairs, walking past the gleaming black bar with black-and-silver stools, and through a large doorway leading to the family room with cream carpeting and black leather furniture. I think of Rod’s stupid comment about Tonya and leather, and I hate myself for giggling.

Drinking a beer on the couch in front of the enormous TV, Ricky sees us, his habitually unkempt black hair shooting up in all directions. “Hadley, what’s up? So glad you’re finally here. Finn was driving me fucking nuts waiting for you.”

I look up at Finn, who rolls his eyes. Not taking my eyes off of Finn, I ask Ricky, “He was?”

“Yeah. Checking his phone or watch every five seconds, pacing and couldn’t sit still. I made him go upstairs. He’s so damn pussy-whipped.” I grin at Finn’s darting eyes and uneasiness.

“Shut up,” Finn gripes, letting go of my hand and grabbing his laptop from the sprawling bar. Enjoying his teasing, Ricky laughs and takes another swig of his beer.

“What’re you guys doing?” Simone asks, coming down the stairs and going behind the bar to open the refrigerator.

I sit on the other couch against the back wall as Finn follows with the laptop and answering, “Showing Hadley my Dare of the Week.” Hadley! Such a turn-on.

“I want to see!” Simone squeals and bounds over to us. She sets her drink on the coffee table and plunks down on the other side of me. “Don’t you want to see it, Ricky?”

He stretches his arms above his head and yawns. “Nope. Witnessed the dare firsthand. I stopped by before my shift. Old news.” Drinking his beer, he returns to his movie.

Finn pulls up the video and settles against the couch, putting his arm around me. He taps his fingers against my shoulder, and when I look at his face, he seems nervous. I turn to the computer as the video starts with Finn smiling at the camera.

“Hey, everyone. I’m here with my good friend Ronin, who’s helping me with this week’s dare. How’s it going, Ronin?”

“Great, Finn. I’m eager to get this started.”

“Same here. This week’s dare comes from someone who means the world to me. My girlfriend, Hadley, who is my heart and soul. We’ve been together for three years, and they’ve been the best years of my life…so far. She dared me to prove how much I love her. Well, challenge accepted, Hadley.”

I glance up at Finn, and he looks back to me. My stomach flips before I return my attention to the screen. His hand balls into a fist on my shoulder. I can’t believe he admitted on camera that he has a girlfriend, and my name, no less.

“So, Ronin is going to hook me up. Ronin, tell everyone what you do.”

“I own Screaming Ink, a tattoo parlor here in Richmond.”

“I’ve been here before, six times to be exact. I want a seventh. Do you think you can help me with that?”

“Totally. We already drew up the design. I just need you to take off your shirt.”

Finn looks at the camera and smirks. “That’s what they all tell me.”

Ronin laughs. “Show off. Just do it.”

I’m too shocked to move my eyes away from the screen.

“You got a new tattoo?” Simone asks, peering over my head at her brother. From the corner of my eye, I see his slight nod. What the hell? I never dared him to get another tattoo! This is not a marriage tradeoff!

In the video, Finn unclips the little mic on his red polo shirt and pulls the wire out of it. Then he removes the pack from behind him. He hands it to someone off-camera and then peels his shirt over his head, prominently displaying his tattoos and his sexy body. He fluffs up his hair, which makes him even hotter. If I’m salivating, his Finnatics will die over this.

“How long do you think it’ll take?” Finn asks as he hands over his shirt.

“It depends. Four hours, give or take.”

“Thank you for the last-minute set-up. I appreciate it.”

“No problem, Finn. After six tattoos, I’m excited to be a part of your show.”

Finn turns to the camera. “Obviously, we can’t show you the entire process, so we’ll film various phases of the tattoo and then the result.” He turns to Ronin. “Shall we?”

Ronin grabs a few things from a table. Smiling, Finn sits on what looks like a dentist’s chair. He turns to the camera. “I’m pretty nervous about this dare. Unlike other dares, this one is close to my heart, literally, since it’s where I’m getting my tattoo. Hadley, my Becks, this is for you, baby. I love you.” His smile widens as he looks away.

My eyes fill with tears. I wipe them away and cross my arms over my chest. Finn pulls my right arm away from me, resting our hands on his thigh.

Ronin hovers over Finn, prepping the area with alcohol and a razor to shave Finn’s chest, right above his left nipple. The video skips to Ronin, applying a stencil to Finn’s chest and purple ink to his skin. When he lifts it, the camera zooms to scrawled, purple lines. I see a heart with an unadorned keyhole in the middle. A chain wraps around the heart, with a cross hanging at the bottom. A waving banner loops under the chain, and in elegant writing is Becks.

The tears stream down my cheeks, and I cover my face with my left hand. Finn squeezes my right, pulling me close to him as I try to watch the rest of the video.

In the next shot, Ronin applies the needle to Finn’s glistening skin. Milo pans to Finn, who is biting his lip. He looks over to the camera and grins, a real smile, while he’s getting a painful tattoo for me.

The video jumps ahead to the tattoo nearly finished. With his head back, staring at the ceiling, he still grins, with occasional wincing. It’s so sexy.

The video skips more, and the tattoo’s border is a few shades of red. The heart and chain have a metallic look to them.

Ronin writes my name, forever a part of Finn Wilder. I cry again as I watch the video, Finn smiling at the colorful ink adorning his chest.

Finally, the video shows Ronin sitting back, checking his stunning art. Finn’s nickname for me is now permanently etched into his skin.

Finn turns to the camera. “It’s done. Hadley doesn’t know I did this, so by the time this airs, she had found out a few hours before. My nickname for her is Becks. I wanted her name close to my heart since she holds the key to it. I hope you love this as much as I do. Thanks for daring me. Best yet.”

As I try to stop my tears, Finn adorably smirks at the camera and promotes Ronin at Screaming Ink.

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