She dropped her chin, her eyes widening. “You want what?”
“I’m a miserable sod without you.” Sebastian got up from his chair, rounded the table and kneeled beside her, gently stoked the side of her face. “I miss you, Daisy.”
“No you don’t,” she whispered. “You didn’t speak to me all day.”
All through the ceremony and reception, he’d been unable to take his eyes off her. When Daisy had finally sat down to enjoy the ceremony, her face luminous and her smile wistful, he’d stared for so long and hard that he’d nearly forgotten to give Christian the ring.
“You had me all tongue-tied.” He smiled. “As a man in love would be in your presence.”
“What about Kate and Romanov Industries?” she asked, shooting to her feet and stumbling back. Her face had turned pale and her hands trembled, as she fumbled for the bar stool behind her.
Fear raced through him. All this way to see her and because he blurted out his feelings, she would fall and hurt herself. “Careful.”
“I need to sit down again,” she said, her voice reedy thin.
Standing, he crossed the small distance between them, scooped her up in his arms. He walked to the bed, then climbed on top of the mattress and settled her against him, stealing a hand up the front of her cardigan to touch her belly. “There is no me and Kate, or even Romanov Industries. I wasn’t voted in as president and there were no conditions in the first place,” he said, silently cheering as her body relaxed against him. She had to believe him, or she’d still be stiff as a board. “I made the entire thing up so you’d be forced to leave me.”
“What about the news on the website?” Her brows drew together. “It looked real when you gave me the iPad.”
“Paid a bloke a lot of money to create it,” he confessed. “I didn’t think I deserved you, and for damn sure you didn’t deserve to put up with someone like me.”
“But that was for me to decide, not you,” she said shakily. “How can I be sure you won’t do that to me again?”
Again? Hope beat in his chest. “You can’t be sure. I can only promise not to, and you’ll have to decide if I’m worthy of your trust.”
“Please, just stop saying all the right things.” Tears pricked her eyes and her lower lip trembled as she looked up at him. “You’re not being fair.”
“Why is that, darling?”
“Because my stupid pregnancy hormones want me to forgive you.”
Hope beat in his chest. He lightly caressed her stomach. “Does your very smart pregnancy hormones want me to keep holding you like this?”
Her head dropped back on his shoulder. “Yes.”
He tipped her chin up and gently placed a kiss on her lush mouth. “To kiss you like this?”
“Forgive me, Daisy.” He kissed her again. “Decide I’m worthy of your trust, and I’ll hold and kiss you like this forever.”
She blew out a shaky breath, the tip of one finger tracing the top of his hand. “I saw The Rectory…and the fainting couch the day I you sent me away, or what was left of it.”
His cheeks heated. “I was furious. My father had tainted the only place I’d thought was mine. ”
“I know, but you should have talked to me. You should have trusted and believed me, even after you decided to tear the place apart.” Her pretty hazel eyes fixed on him. “Why on earth didn’t you trust me?”
“I didn’t trust myself, not after listening to—it all boiled down to I loved you enough to let you go and find someone who was a billion times better than me. Someone different.”
“Better than you?” Her body trembled and his heart broke into pieces. “I never needed you to be different. I never wanted you to change. The man I fell in love with went to work with all the other world domination guys. Only my earl of world domination is a good guy where it counts. He just didn’t know it.”
“Marry me, Daisy.” He pulled her ring out of his pocket and held it between them. “Be my countess. I’ll take you and the baby to every tourist trap, in every country in the world that doesn’t involve heights.”
Laughing, she said, “I don’t want the world, Sebastian. You’re more than enough. I love you.”
“Is that a yes?”
He slid the ring on her finger and captured her lips with his, leaving him breathless when she finally broke their kiss. Cupping her face with his hands, he said, “So I bought this shop, called The Sweet Spot, and I need a manager. Know anyone?”
“But the buyer was James Franklin,” she said.
“Listed him as the contact on the contract. He’s the attorney who handles things stateside for me.”
“You really bought my store? Anything else you’re keeping from me, earl of sneaky things?”
“I’m no longer in the running to be President of Romanov Industries. Ever. I gave it all up.”
“You’re not?” Her eyes widened. “What does that mean?”
He bit the side of his lip. “It means that I am completely at your service, until you no longer require me.”
“So no world domination stuff anymore?” She actually looked a little let down, and he had to grin.
“Only the majority shareholder now.”
“But what will you do?”
“I was thinking of a long holiday. Perhaps a trip around the world, with you.” He raised his brows. “But if you’re too busy, I—”
“Can we start at Alnwick Castle?”
“Any Harry Potter movie landmark you wish.” He kissed her nose. “Wherever, whenever, however. My time belongs to you.”
“I love you, Sebastian Romanov.”
He dipped his head and kissed her again, slowly, like they had all the time in the world to rediscover each other—which they did. He grinned at her. “And I love you.”
A baby’s cry woke Daisy out of a dead sleep. Before she could move, Sebastian joined her, their son cradled in his arms.
“I changed his nappy. He’s better now,” he said. “Aren’t you, my fine lad?”
Rhys Westmoreland Romanov, the future Earl of Spenserfield and all of three months old, cooed at his dad. The baby was the spitting image of his father, right down to his pale blue eyes that showed no signs of changing colors. Her momma would have been proud, especially since they’d name Rhys after Daisy’s dad.