Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Sixty Two

The months after Christmas and leading up to the wedding in May started off with a big event, one of several to happen in their lives during that time.

Over New Year’s Matt and Charlotte had gotten engaged, much to Alex’s delight. In the midst of helping with details for Harry and Alex’s wedding in an official and in a bridesmaid capacity, somehow Charlotte managed to throw together a wedding of her own in just a little over a month.

On a cold day in the beginning of February, friends and family of Matt Emerson and Charlotte Blakely gathered at a small country church near Charlotte’s mother’s estate to watch them get married. Emma served as flower girl, Alex served as Maid-of-Honor and Harry was honored to be asked by Matt to be a groomsman. It was a role he generally declined to fill, simply because it usually took attention away from the bride and the groom. But on this occasion, he simply couldn’t – and didn’t want to – say no.

And as he stood up there in that small church, he was glad he hadn’t declined. He smiled wide and winked at Emma as she walked down the aisle in her adorable flower girl dress. And when Alex began the journey towards the front of the church he couldn’t help how his smile grew wider, how he couldn’t help but think that in just a few months she would be walking up the aisle again, only at the end of that aisle, she would become his wife.

He couldn’t help but sneak glances at her during the ceremony, only feeling the tiniest bit guilty for not paying his full attention to the couple pledging their lives to each other in front of them. But the way she was returning his glances with flirty one’s of her own, the way he knew that she could tell where his mind was and was completely teasing him with the way she looked at him, with the way her lips pulled up devilishly at the sides before she would turn her attention back to the bride and groom for a moment, ensured that he couldn’t stop if he tried.


“Mmmm…it was a beautiful wedding,” Alex sighed as she leaned into Harry’s side at their table that night at the intimate reception at Charlotte’s mother’s estate. The ballroom’s lights were dim, the candles everywhere giving off most of the light in the room and casting a warm glow over everything. “And look at them, they’re so happy.”

Harry’s eyes traveled to the couple on the dance floor, smiling at the way Matt and Charlotte looked; relaxed and happy and in love. “It was a wonderful wedding,” he agreed with a nod. He lifted his drink to his lips, taking a sip and then turning his eyes down to look at her. His smile pulled a bit wider when her eyes met his, slightly hazy from the alcohol.

“Although, if we’re being honest, Harry,” she said, her lips pulling up into a smug smile as she leaned in and her fingers moved to his thigh, dancing over the material of his pants. “You watched me more than them during the ceremony.”

“Ha!” His head tipped back in laughter. “You think so love?”

“I know so,” she nodded. “And I have to say…” Her eyes danced with mischief as she walked her fingers across his thigh. “I’m more than a little amazed that you haven’t pulled me off into a closet somewhere yet.”

“Are you now?” he chuckled and then he reached for her hand, plucking her fingers into his with a smirk and small shake of his head. “Because I’m thinking it’s you who wants to drag me off to a closet somewhere.”

Her bottom lip immediately jutted out into an adorable pout when he stopped the journey her fingers were making. “What’s this, Wales? I never thought I’d see the day.”

“Ah, love,” he murmured, his voice low as he pulling her fingers to his lips. “You know that I love where your mind is and where your hand was headed…” He shook his head slowly as his eyes held hers. “But not here.”

Alex couldn’t help the giggle that slipped from her lips. She couldn’t help it; she was happy, in love, more than a little drunk, and feeling bold and brave. She tugged her fingers from his and tilted her head to the side, her bottom lip pulling between her teeth and her eyes pulling wide and innocent. “I have no idea what you mean, Henry.”

Harry groaned low, knowing right then and there that Alex was on a mission and that mission was to take him down. And though he knew he should be probably either seriously stop her or stand up and pull her from the room and to some place private, the pulse of excitement that ran through him kept him right in that seat, wondering how far she would go.

“Alexandra, this isn’t exactly private…”

“Oh, that’s funny,” she smirked has her hand moved bag to his leg, her fingers skimming lightly over the material of his pants. “I seem to recall that you weren’t exactly worried about privacy the time you fucked me in my parent’s pool.”

“Jesus,” he half chuckled, half groaned with a shake of his head. He shifted in his seat, the images that always ran through his head at that memory making his blood run hot. “Alex…” he warned low, his eyes holding hers. “There are people around.”

“True,” Alex nodded, her grin flashing naughty. “But we’re here in this corner and…” Her tongue tipped out against her lips as her fingers slid across his thigh. “We’re mostly hidden by this table...” Her voice dropped into almost a whisper, she leaned in a bit closer, and her fingers slid into his lap, immediately finding the bulge under his tuxedo pants. Her fingers wrapped around it as a smirk of a smile tugged at her lips. “Well, what do we have here?”

“Fuck, Alex,” he breathed low, his hand moving to cover hers and turning his body more towards her, making it less obvious how much she was leaning over his lap. His eyes darted around the room, checking to see if they were being watched, but it seemed that they lacked any sort of audience. His breathed pulled heavy in his chest as her hand moved over him slowly – stroking up and down and squeezing him in her hot little fingers.

“God, I love when you’re like this,” Alex murmured, her voice low and utterly sexy. The hazy, happy smile was still on her lips as she leaned in a bit further. “When you can’t help yourself with me.”

“You make me fucking crazy,” Harry groaned, unable to help it when his hips shifted and he pressed himself up harder against her hand.

“Can I tell you a secret?” she whispered. Her hand squeezed, his lips parted, and his eyes turned down to hers, holding her gaze steady with his as the air grew hotter and heavier around them.

“God yes.”

“I love making you crazy, Harry.”


“I do,” she nodded. Her lip pulled between her teeth and he had to look away from her; he had to or he was going to fucking lose it. His eyes slid back forward but she kept talking, kept stroking. “I love when you get so hard you can barely stand it…like you are right now…”

“Jesus,” he growled, fighting the urge to close his eyes and just let her do whatever the fuck she wanted to him right there in that ballroom.

Spurred on by his reaction and the amount of alcohol she had consumed, she took a deep breath and decided to throw a bit more caution to the wind. “When you get hard like that…” she whispered as her fingers lifted away from him only to slide up to his zipper. She watched as his eyes flashed wide and he sucked in a large breath of air as she began to tug his zipper down slowly. “You have no idea how turned on that makes me…”

“Alex…” he almost panted, his mind warring between wanting her hands on him so badly he almost couldn’t take it and knowing that they absolutely could not do that right there.

But Alex wasn’t stopping. She couldn’t if she tried. Her need to touch him – to drive him mad – was going to win above everything else. She pulled his zipper all the way down, leaned in to his ear, and just as she slipped her hand inside she whispered, “You have no idea how wet it makes me…”

Every nerve in Harry’s body lit up as her fingers slid around him. A groan pulled from deep in his gut and as much as he didn’t want to, he reached for her, his fingers encircling her wrist and stalling her.

“No,” he breathed with a small shake of his head. He couldn’t help but chuckle when she pouted and her eyes turned pleading. “Alexandra Mae, you make me fucking insane. Jesus Christ…” His eyes held hers as he quickly pulled her hand from his pants and zipped himself back up. Then, surprising her, he stood and pulled her up with him. His hand clasped hers tightly as he moved from around the table and along the wall of the ballroom towards the doors.

“What are you doing?” Alex called out with a giggle.

“You know exactly what I’m doing,” Harry answered as he pulled her from the ballroom and turned quickly down the hall, moving away from the party and the music and the people.

He seemed to know where he was going as he rounded one corner and then another, pulling her down a wide hallway before he finally came to a stop in front of a set of ornate double doors. He turned to his side and when Alex followed his line of vision she was startled to see two POs standing there, one of his and one of hers. She hadn’t even noticed them following them out.

“Can you please secure the room?” Harry asked the POs. His voice was firm and business like, a stark difference from the whispered groans from just minutes before.

“Of course, Sir,” Alex’s PO, Patrick, answered with a nod.

“Thank you,” Harry nodded before he turned and pushed the doors open and tugged Alex in with him.

The doors had barely closed behind them before Harry had pulled Alex tightly against him and his mouth descended on hers, his tongue pushing in between her lips immediately, groaning as it met hers.

“Ohhhh…” she moaned into his mouth as her arms moved around his neck. She gasped as he pulled his lips from hers and began to blaze a hot trail down her jaw to her neck. “Harry, where are we?”

“Mrs. Blakely’s formal parlor,” he mumbled against her skin as he slowly walked her backward across the room until her backside bumped into one of the antique sofas in the middle of the room.

Soft laughter slipped from her lips and her hands moved into his hair. “Are we about to have sex in Mrs. Blakely’s formal parlor?”

“I’m about to fuck you senseless on Mrs. Blakely’s antique sofa,” he answered with a smug grin as his hands moved to her waist and he lifted her up and set her on the arm of the sofa.

Alex giggled, her eyes dancing as she looked up at him. He grinned devilishly and then just as his hands were sliding up her legs under her dress, just as his lips were about to take hers again, Alex gasped and her eyes flew wide.

“Oh God, Harry,” she whispered, the alcohol making her reaction a bit more dramatic than she probably intended it to be.

He tried to drop his lips to hers again, needing her, but she pulled back and he groaned. “What baby?”

“You asked the POs the secure the room.”

His eyes narrowed, unsure where she was going. “Yeah…”

“Harry, they’re going to know we’re in here having…sex.” She whispered the last word and he couldn’t help but laugh.

He lifted a brow and his lips twitched as he stepped further into her, pulling her thighs wider so he could press against her. “Alexandra, you just hand your hand on my cock in a room full of people and you’re worried that our POs know we’re in here having sex?”

A giggle burst from Alex’s lips and then she sighed, leaning into him as she did. “That’s incredibly silly of me.”

Harry grinned as his hands resumed the journey they had been on before she had interrupted, sliding up to find the lace band of her panties at her hips. His fingers curled into them and he began to slide them down her legs. “Incredibly silly,” he nodded, his voice dropping low as the lust rose higher between them. He stepped back and pulled her panties from her legs and tossed them to the floor, his eyes flickering with heat as he did. And then his hands returned to her legs, sliding up her calves and to her thighs, his fingers moving quickly up towards her center. “Now Alexandra, I believe you said something before about you being incredibly…” He trailed off with a groan as his fingers slid in against her, finding her hot and very wet, just like she had told him she was. “Fuck.”

“Told you,” she breathed with a bit to her lip. She moved her arms from around his neck, trailing her hands down his chest, over his stomach, and down to the waist of his pants, holding his eyes as she unbutton and unzipped him as his fingers stroked her into a frenzy. Her lips pulled into a smug smile when she found him and pulled him from his pants and his boxers; he was just as hard as he had been at the table. She ran a slow stroke up his length where her thumb swiped out to tease the tip of him. His eyes grew dark, his lips parted, and Alex’s breath grew ragged in anticipation.

She knew that look; that was the look of Harry about to lose control.

“And I believe that you,” she whispered as she ran another stroke up and down his length. “Said something about fucking me senseless on Mrs. Blakely’s antique sofa.”

Harry’s lips crashed down on hers and she gasped into his mouth in surprise. Her hands left his cock only to reach for his arms, wrapping her fingers around them for support when his hands moved to her hips and he pulled her forward on the arm of the couch. And then without preamble, he stepped closer, pressed himself against her entrance, and with a low groan he pushed himself all the way into her with one long, hard, deep stroke.

She moaned and her head fell back, her lips tearing from his as he pulled back and thrust back in. He reached up and wrapped his fingers around the back of her neck, pulling her back to him. And then, keeping her with him, keeping her gaze with his, he really began to move.

“Oh my God,” Alex gasped at the way he moved within her. It was fast and rough and a bit dirty and she loved it. “Harry…oh God…more…”

“Jesus…do you know what you do to me?” Harry growled just before he pulled her lips to his for a scorching kiss. His hands gripped at her tighter and he moved faster, determined to bring her to the kind of end that left her breathless and weak while she moaned his name and clenched fiercely around him. “Do you know how fucking crazy you make me?”

“Yes…” Alex moaned as she moved her legs around him, pulling him deeper, wanting more. “Harder…”

“Jesus Christ, Alex,” he groaned out into the room, although he could do nothing but exactly as she demanded of him. One arm moved around her, holding her tightly to him, and the other slipped between them. “Come on, Alex,” he commanded in a harsh breath as his fingers found her and instantly moved to stroke at her core. “Fuck. I’m too close…”

Alex’s head tipped back and she moaned low and long at the pleasure, at the way he felt within her and against her. And as much as she always wanted to prolong this moment, the way her body felt like it hummed when he was on the verge of taking her over the edge, there was just one thing she wanted more.

“Oh!” The sound pushed from her lips and her eyes flew open to his. “Oh God…Harry!”

“Yes,” he nodded, his lips pulling into a smug grin, his eyes holding her as he felt her begin to tense around him. “Let go, Alexandra.”

And she did. She wrapped her hand around the back of his neck, pulled his lips to hers, and she let go, clenching fiercely around him and bringing a groaning Harry right over the edge with her.

It was her giggle that finally pulled Harry’s eyes open after he had somewhat recovered, after he felt like he could breathe normally again. His gaze slid to hers and his own lips tilted up as she watched her try to control her mirth.

“Something funny, love?” he murmured low as both of his arms wrapped all the way around her and he pulled her close.

“You’re so predictable,” she giggled into a sigh as she tilted her head back to look up at him.

“Predictable?!” His eyebrows shot up. “I just dragged you from your brother’s wedding reception and into this room, where I…”

“Because that’s exactly what I wanted you to do,” she interrupted with a grin.

“You little schemer,” Harry chuckled as he leaned in to kiss her soundly. He loosened his hold on her and stepped back, slipping from her with a groan. He righted himself and then held out his hand for her, helping her down from the arm of the sofa.

She shrugged, moving her hands down her dress, smoothing it out and adjusting it into place. “What can I say?”

Harry laughed and shook his head. “I’m certainly not complaining.” He grinned as he held his hand out to her. “Ready to go back to the party?”

“Almost,” she smirked and then turned and bent to pick up her panties from where he threw them to the ground.

“Shit, don’t want to leave those in Mrs. Blakely’s parlor,” Harry laughed.

“I don’t,” she shook her head and then stepped up to him, her panties still in her hands as her eyes went wide and innocent. “I actually want to leave these…” Her hand slid inside his coat, he felt her stuff those black lace panties right into his pocket, and he couldn’t help the groan that pulled from his lips. “Right here,” she grinned as she stepped back and then patted his jacket pocket, her smile as smug as could be.

“Jesus Christ, Alex,” Harry muttered. “You’re going to kill me.”

“Awwww,” she mocked pouted and then took his hand and began to leave him from the room. “You’re so mistreated, Harry.”

He couldn’t help the burst of laughter that pushed from his lips. “Absolutely. But I love it.”


The wedding plans moved forward at full speed as they moved from winter into spring. There were rehearsals and cake tasting and food tastings and dress fittings and by the time April rolled around, Alex and Harry had made so many decisions it almost made her head spin.

But nothing quite affected her as much as choosing one of the most important pieces of her wedding day ensemble.

When Buckingham Palace had sent over the “catalogue” of tiaras she had to choose from to wear on her wedding day, Alex had set it on her desk in the spare room that had been converted to her office and let it sit there for two days.

For two days she let it sit there while she did other work and made other decisions, only glancing at it from time to time. And when she let her eyes wander over to it, her bottom lip would inevitably pull between her teeth and she would look away, too nervous about it to reach for the binder and open it.

“Okay, that’s enough,” Mia announced on the afternoon of the second day after watching Alex glance at the binder nervously and look away from the hundredth time that day.

“What?” Alex’s eyes were wide as they swung to her assistant.

Mia reached for the binder and held it out. “Alex, you have to look at the tiaras.”

Alex grimaced. “Am I that obvious?”

“Yes,” Mia nodded with a smirk. She shook the binder at Alex again, willing her to take it.

Alex sighed and reached for it, pulling it into her lap but leaving it unopened. “I don’t know why this freaks me out.”

Mia shook her head. “Me either. You usually don’t let this kind of stuff get to you.”

“This kind of stuff…” Alex snickered as she leaned back in in her chair. She took a deep breath and then turned her eyes back to Mia. “It’s the history of them all – the women who’ve worn these. I…” She swallowed at the sudden lump of emotion. “I have to choose which piece of history I want to put on my head for the day I marry Harry. I don’t know…”

“Okay, Alex…” Mia laughed as she reached out and snatched the binder. “You’re putting too much thought into this. Knock this whole ‘history of them all’ thing off.” She pulled open the binder and then shoved it back to Alex. “Pick the prettiest tiara.”

“What?” Alex’s eyes flashed wide and a nervous laugh fell from her lips.

“Flip through the damn book and pick the prettiest tiara, the one you think will look best with your dress and will suit you the best.”


“Alex!" Mia threw up her hands. "You get to be a Princess - or a Duchess, whatever - and wear a tiara and marry a Prince in Westminster Abbey. Please, for me - for the sake of anyone who would kill to pick from that book - be a Princess and pick the prettiest fucking tiara."

Alex couldn’t help the giggle that slipped from her lips. “I’m being pretty ridiculous, huh?”

“Yes,” Mia nodded firmly.

“You want to pick?” Alex teased, raising her eyebrows.

“Don’t even joke,” Mia narrowed her eyes.

“Ha! I’m sorry,” Alex smiled before taking a deep breath and pulling the binder open. “Okay. Let’s do this.”


“I picked a tiara today.”

Harry glanced up from his phone, his attention moving from the email he was reading to the beautiful blonde standing in the entry way of their living room. “You did?”

“Mmhmm,” she nodded as she moved from the entryway and slid onto the couch next to him. “Once I finally stopped freaking myself out over it, it was pretty easy.”

“Do I get to know, or is it a secret?” Harry asked softly, that playful smirk of a smile on his lips.

Alex’s eyes narrowed playfully. “I’ll tell you,” she whispered. “But remember…big secret.”

“Well, it just so happens that I’m good at those,” he teased her in return.

She sighed and leaned back into the couch, her eyes turning a bit serious. “The Strathmore Rose.”

“Ahh,” he nodded, his lips curling into a smile. “That’s a beautiful tiara, love. I can’t wait to see you in it.”

“Well, we don’t have too long to go, Captain,” she winked.

“We really don’t.” He reached up and brushed a piece of hair from her forehead. “Speaking of tiaras…I have something to show you.

“Please don’t tell me you bought a tiara for yourself.”

“Ha!” Harry laughed and shook his head. “No such luck. But…” His look grew a bit excited and sheepish all at once and Alex was instantly intrigued. “I had one designed for Emma.”

“What?” The word burst from her lips with a surprised laugh, her eyes flying wide.

“Listen, don’t get mad…”

“I’m not mad,” Alex shook her head quickly. “I’m surprised. Actually, I’m stunned. Harry…she’s seven.”

“Almost eight,” Harry corrected. “And just…will you come look at it with me? Let me explain it?”

“Okay…” Alex said slowly, almost cautiously.

But Harry was confident as he stood and took Alex’s hand. He led her from the living room and into his office. He opened up the cabinet that held his safe and turned the combination, opening it and pulling out a rather large black box. He moved over to his desk, setting the box down and leaving it closed while he turned to her and pulled her hands into his.

“I know I did this without asking, and you have every right to tell me I’m insane for spending all kinds of money on this but…just hear me out, okay?”

“I’m listening,” Alex smiled softly, encouraging him on.

“Okay,” he smiled. He squeezed her hands in his and then dropped them and moved back to the box. “I got to thinking about something I could give Emma – something that symbolizes promises this marriage means I’m making to her.” He slid the top from the box and inside Alex could see there were three smaller boxes. “This,” Harry said with a smile as he pulled out one of the smaller boxes. “Is what I would like for her to wear on our wedding day. It’s the first part of the tiara.”

“There are parts?” Alex asked, a bit in awe of what was happening.

“There are parts,” Harry confirmed as he slid the top from the small box, revealing a small, delicate tiara. It was a row of purple stones, each stone surrounded in smaller diamonds.

“Oh my God. Harry…” Alex breathed, her fingers reaching out to brush over it. “It’s gorgeous.”

“She loves purple,” Harry murmured, smiling as he looked down at the tiara.

“She does,” Alex agreed. “It’s perfect.”

Harry took a deep breath and set the box on his desk and reached for the next, pulling it open and revealing another small tiara, a little larger than the first, but this time it was entirely diamonds. “And this part she’ll get when she turns eighteen. It will get combined with the first one into one tiara.”

Alex couldn’t help the tears that moved into her eyes. She moved her fingers to her lips as she looked at it, amazed that he had all of this done and with such thought. “It’s beautiful,” she whispered.

Harry nodded and swallowed at the lump in his throat as he reached for the third box. “And the last part, she’ll get when she gets married. It will combine with the other two to form one whole tiara.”

He pulled the top from the box and Alex gasped at the beautiful silver leaf design of the piece, which was significantly larger than the other two.

“Harry…they’re amazing. She’s just going to…freak out.”

Harry chuckled and set the final box down and turned to her, pulling her to him. “I thought maybe I could give her the first one on her birthday next week. What do you think?”

“I think she’s not going to sleep for days she’ll be so excited,” Alex said, a breath of a laugh leaving her lips. “And she’ll love it. She’ll just love it.”

“God, I hope so,” Harry smiled softly.

“You’re amazing, you know that?” Alex murmured as she wrapped her arms around him.

“I do,” Harry nodded, a smug smile on his lips that made Alex laugh. “I also know that I’m leaving town tomorrow for five days for Army training so that means that you and I…”

And Alex didn’t even wait for him to finish. With a grin and a flash of determination in her eyes, she wrapped her hands around the back of his neck and pulled his lips right to hers.

God, she loved him.


Alex was just about ready to throw her hands in the air and give up on the seating chart she was working on for the reception. She had thought this would be the perfect time to work on it; Harry was out of town for two more days and Emma was at Molly’s for the afternoon. But the only thing she was accomplishing was frustration.

So when her phone rang out she reached for it instantly, glad for the interruption and grateful to have an excuse to push the chart to the side for the time being. She smiled wide when glanced at the caller ID and saw who was calling, now even more thankful for the interruption.

“Hey Mom,” she said brightly, relaxing back into her chair. “Perfect timing. I was just about to pull my hair out…”

“Alex…” Donna interrupted, her voice low and holding the kind of waver that made Alex’s heart pound in her chest, that sent a wave of alarm through her body.

“Mom? Are you…”

“Honey, you…your dad had a heart attack this morning. And I…I really think you and Matt need to come home.”