Everlast (Ever #2) - Alex Grayson

Part I

Chapter One


35 Years Old

After slipping the oven mitt over my hand, I pull open the oven door, then immediately wave my hand in front of my face until the wave of heat doesn’t threaten to singe my eyebrows. Grabbing the pan, I place it on top of the oven. Golden brown and fluffy. The perfect combination.

The buttermilk biscuit recipe is Mom’s, and it comes with a lot of good memories. Any time she’d make biscuits when I was a kid, she’d let me press my knuckles down to flatten the dough. I smile as I look down at the small indents on the top. I’ve passed down that tradition to my own daughter. Gemma always gets so excited when I make them for that very reason.

I scoop the biscuits up and put them on a plate, then drop the pan into the sudsy water in the sink. I’m no neat freak by any means, but I always like to do the dishes as I’m cooking. It saves time, prevents the sink from being overloaded, and it’s less that’ll have to be done later.

I’m just rinsing out a bowl when a hard, muscular chest presses against my back, and my favorite woodsy scent surrounds me.

“How’s my girl today?” a deep voice rumbles, nuzzling into my neck. It never ceases to amaze me how just Lincoln’s voice can send shivers through my body, make my heart race, and fill me with warmth. Even after twenty-seven years of knowing him—seventeen of those years married—he can make me smile at the drop of a hat. Today is no different.

My lips curve, and he loosens his arms enough for me to turn around. Black hair, just long enough for me to run my hands through the top, stormy-gray eyes, and a neatly trimmed beard; he’s still the most handsome man I’ve ever known.

“Hey, you.”

His answering smile causes slight wrinkles to form at the corners of his eyes. He leans down at the same time I roll to my tippy toes, and we meet in the middle for a slow kiss. I sigh into his mouth. It’s crazy and maybe a bit excessive, especially since we’ve been married for so long, but I always miss him when we’re not together. Like there’s some vital part of me lying dormant until we’re together again.

When we pull apart, I rest my hands against his pecs and stare up at him. His arms lock loosely around my waist.

“Well?” I ask excitedly. “Did you get the commission?”

His big grin is enough of an answer. “I did.”

“Oh my, God! Really?” I toss my arms around his neck and hug him tight. “I’m so proud of you!”

The Fischer commission is something Lincoln has been working at tirelessly for the last two months. Fischer Investments is a new multi-billion dollar company that’s moving to the city, and they’ve had bids out for art deco. The job is to cover their entire, newly-built building. There will be over a hundred offices, numerous waiting rooms, and board rooms that need custom made art deco. It’s a huge deal, and the pay is outrageously high. Lincoln has been in competition with two other designers and has worked hard at proving his worth to the company by making sample pieces.

That work has paid off. Lincoln is a damn good artist, and he can pretty much make anything out of everything. I couldn’t be more happy for him.

“I met with the owner today, and he told me the good news.” I raise my brow, surprised he met the actual owner. “He said he liked my work so much that he wanted to meet me.”

“Wow. Not that it’s a surprise, but you must have really impressed him.”

“Apparently so. He asked for a few pieces for his home as well. Not only his penthouse in the city but a couple of his vacation homes.”

My excitement grows, along with my pride. I know Lincoln is a master at his art, but it’s always nice when someone else recognizes it too. He’s come a long way since he first started his own business nine years ago. Bradshaw Designs started with a single client and has worked its way up in the art industry. He’s built a solid reputation; one clients can count on. He’s had people from all over the world request his pieces.

“When do you start?”

“Immediately. The schedule is pretty lax right now since they don’t plan to open until next year, but the owner wants a few pieces done as