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I awoke to a sharp pain on my neck, and the first thing I saw was Saizo pulling away from my neck.

It only took me a moment to realize that he’d probably bitten me and left me with another set of hickeys.

“Stop doing that!” I grumbled, trying unsuccessfully to push him off of me. Unfortunately, we were so wrapped around each other that he didn't even budge.

Saizo glared down at me. “You deserved your punishment. You’re clearly a monkey in bed,” he groused, pointing to the way I’d somehow managed to wrap my legs around each one of his in several different places while I’d slept. “Or an octopus. I’m not some tree for you to wrap around, you know.”

I glared back even as I flushed in embarrassment. “I-it’s not my fault how I sleep!” I protested, trying to squirm out of his hold.

He sighed loudly. “That’s something a child would say.” He reached out to poke my forehead. “I thought you were done with acting childish. I guess some women never grow up, even after marriage.”

“H-hey! You’re the one who married me!” I sulked, unhappy with both his teasing—and my inability to tease him back.

Suddenly, he smirked at me. “I know of a better use for your mouth,” he replied, reaching out to trace my lower lip with his fingers, “and the perfect way to prove you’re really an adult, after all . . . ” he trailed off meaningfully.

“F-fine!” I said with a boldness I didn’t feel, not with the sun beginning to rise along with our visiting, early bird guests—namely Sasuke and Hanzo. “I will!” I was not going to back down, after all, and let my husband win . . . again.

He chuckled as he rolled over. “Then go right ahead. Seduce me.”

I sat up and leaned over him like he’d been doing moments before, unsure where, exactly to start. To be honest, I hadn't really done anything like this before; Saizo had always been the one to initiate, and he'd always taken charge. It was the first time I really had to do it, and from the way he held himself perfectly still, it was evident that he had no intentions of helping me.

After a moment, I decided to return what he’d done to me, so I began kissing his neck in awkward movements, still not fully comfortable with touching him so openly when the sun was already up.

We’d only been married a few months, after all, and I was still a little shy even when he took charge, and pounced in the middle of the night.

Shaking my head, I decided to focus on showing my new husband that I could tease him just as much as he teased and aroused me. I tried kissing him and biting his skin the way he nipped and teased me, but he only started laughing under me.

“Looks like you’re only good at squeezing people,” he teased, shaking with laughter. “And some people think an octopus is an aphrodisiac. Clearly, they’ve never met you.”

I found myself pouting as I dropped my weight to flop on top of him. “I tried!” I shouted against his neck, burying my face so he couldn't see me blush. “I tried taking lessons from Kuma about seducing men and—”

“Who did you practice on?” he asked sharply, all traces of laughter gone as he maneuvered my head until our eyes met.

I blinked in surprise. “Sasuke, but even he had to admit I wasn’t very good at the seduction ninja skills and—”

Saizo glowered. “Never ever do anything like that again. If you have to practice on someone, practice on me.” His jaw tightened. “I don’t trust that little monkey to teach you to do anything right in the first place. I'm the only one who can teach you properly."

I sighed, trying not to smile as I realized he was jealous of Sasuke. “I love you, Saizo,” I admitted softly, hoping he’d repeat the words again because he said them so rarely. “Only you.”

To prove my point, I kissed him quickly but gently on his lips, before pulling away with a slight flush.

His whole expression softened as he gently pulled me into his arms. “You’re such a rascal,” he said with a light flush on his cheeks. “I just can’t win against your charms.”

He gently kissed me, pulling me down to rest fully on top of him, our bodies flush together, as he proceeded to give me the sweetest kiss I’d ever received from him.

A few moments later, he wrapped his arms around me and gently rolled us so he was spooning me, his head tucked into my neck. He slowly gave my neck a gentle kiss, and then whispered, “I love you. Now go back to sleep, little octopus. The others can deal without us today. And," he added, gently nipping my ear as I gasped, "I want to sleep with my precious wife in my arms."

I grinned to myself as I closed my eyes and stifled a yawn. I didn't say the words aloud, but I wanted to spend the day curled up with him, too. I wrapped my arms around him and sighed happily to myself, because it was moments like these that filled me with happiness and love.

"I love you, too," I whispered, turning my head just enough to softly kiss him before I drifted off to sleep.

And as he smiled against my lips, I knew I was the luckiest woman in the world to have him as my husband.