“I think we need to quit asking each other so many questions.” She rose on her toes and kissed him again, trailing her lips along his jaw and chin. His arms came around her, pulling her flush against him. “Where’s your room?”

Sasha half-drug, half-carried her to a room three doors down from Ivy’s, the baby monitor clipped to her back pocket bumping against her.

He set her down on her feet and just looked at her, as if trying to memorize her face, then he claimed her mouth in a kiss so searing that her clothes should have been on fire. Her lashes fluttered and his hands were on her, pulling and tugging. Turning her one way, then another. When she finally opened her eyes, she looked down to find that neither of them had on any clothing.

He held out his hand. It visibly shook. “Do you see what you do to me?” He produced a condom, flashing her a grin and wiggling his brows. “Sleight of hand.”

Her own body trembled in response as he rolled it over his erection, then his mouth was on hers. She touched him everywhere, caressing and smoothing her palms over his chest, his back.

She tugged on his nipple rings with her teeth, licking at them and making him groan. She stroked the hard length of him, running her nails over the heavy sacs beneath it.

He spun her around, kissing and licking his way up her back as he told her how much he’d missed her and all the ways he would make it up to her.

“Every night, Rose…hell, several times a day if that’s what it takes,” he said between heated kisses on her neck. Then he whirled her around, his golden head bent over hers as he traced the curves of her body. “Perfection, utter perfection in every way.”

She could only smile, unable to speak. Words had never come easy for her, not like Sasha. That had never been her gift. But she knew in her soul that he meant them. Every. Last. Word.

“I love you,” she said. “I’ll tell you several times a day.”

He gave her a heart-stopping smile. “I’ll hold you to that.” Then his hands were in her hair, behind her head and gently tilting her face to his. He sealed his lips to hers, drinking her in and feeding her desire.

She dug her nails into his muscular shoulders. The cool, smooth texture of a wall behind her back startled her and she gasped. He used that moment to slide his talented tongue inside of her mouth while his hands drifted from her neck to her br**sts, teasing her ni**les and rolling them between his fingers.

Letting go of her br**sts, he leaned forward and she heard something crash to the floor. He lifted her, placing her on the top of the low dresser, the wood cold on her thighs and butt.

Pulling away she glanced at the floor, eyes widening at the mess he’d made. Then she looked up at him.

“Been meaning to redecorate this room,” he said with a grin. A dangerous hand drifted lower, skimming her stomach and cupping her where she ached. Where she throbbed. Where she grew so wet for him.

She no longer cared what he did to the floor, only to her.

He lifted her thighs, wrapping them around his lean hips. “Look at me, Rosebud.”

Her eyes felt so heavy, so drug-induced with love-sex-magic that she could barely open them. He penetrated her in a glide so slow and smooth that it made her want to scream and sigh at the same time. He was hot and thick where they were joined.

And he was hers. Completely. Forever.

He thrust inside of her, over and over. His rhythm steady, unlike the frantic beating of her heart. She gripped his shoulders tighter and buried her face in his neck, licking and scraping at his throat.

“I love you,” he said and angled his body in such a way that every roll of his hips made his groin touch her in just the right spot.

Her toes curled—Oh, God, was it ever the right spot—and her thighs gripped him tighter. She was so close, so…her head fell back as her body soared. She might have called out his name or God’s. Probably both. His hands cupped her butt, his breath harsh in her ear and he moved faster, harder.

“I love you,” she whispered. “I love you, love you, Sasha.”

He thrust a final time, deeper than ever before and held himself still as she pulsated around him. His forehead dropped to hers, his chest heaving while he breathed in great gulps of air.

“Sorry, I couldn’t make it to the bed,” he panted.

A trickle of sweat zigzagged down the valley between her br**sts. “I don’t care.” She laughed.

Still joined, he walked to his bed and let her tumble away from him. A minute later, he joined her, enfolding her in his arms as they sank into a mattress that felt more like a cloud. Something cool and hard slipped over her fourth finger and she furrowed her brows. Holding her hand up in the light, a yellow diamond shone brilliantly in the light streaming from the windows.

Now it was her turn to sound like a newspaper reporter. “How…what…when?”

Giving her a wicked smile, he said, “Don’t look so shocked, love. When one wants to marry a Holland, one must learn a few tricks to keep her on her toes. I had planned on returning to Holland Springs and wooing you properly, but my plans were thwarted.”

She shook her head, her breath hitching in her throat. “I love you, Sasha.”

“Call me Mr. Holland,” he said and she couldn’t keep the tears from falling. He kissed them away. “We’ll rebuild Strawberry Grove—so long as you let me do all the decorating.”

He couldn’t be serious. This was almost too much happiness for one day. “You’ll live in Holland Springs with me?”

“I’ll live anywhere with you and Ivy.”

She smiled through the last of her tears as they drifted off to sleep with one another.

They woke up to Ivy babbling over the baby monitor.

“I’ll get her.” Sasha leapt out of bed, grabbed some pajama bottoms and hopped out of the room as he put them on. He came back with Ivy a few minutes later and joined Rose in bed, placing the baby between them.

Rose sighed contentedly. “My family’s complete.”

“Our family’s complete,” he said, then he kissed her.


The town square of Holland Springs was awash in pinks, reds, and greens. All in honor of Mother’s Day and ripe strawberries. There was a Strawberry Queen, a pie-eating contest, and a strawberry-picking contest. Not wanting to ruin his vintage McQueen shirt, Sasha had opted out of the last two, and had been unable to cajole Rose into running for the first event.

He watched as his daughter toddled around Daisy’s display of cheesecake slices.

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