Rose leaned to the side to look at the Latino man and Gus saw the flare of appreciation in her eyes. Yeah, yeah, he was good-looking, but she wore his ring now.
“Rosie...” he warned.
Rose flashed him an impudent grin and turned her attention back to Amanda. “He looks a bit familiar, but no, I don’t know him. Why?”
“He was in here the other day, looking for you. I think someone gave him directions to The Silver C.”
“Since the wedding, I’ve been staying with Gus at the Lone Wolf,” Rose said, blushing.
They really had to work out where they were going to live on a permanent basis, Gus thought. Strangely, Rose seemed more at home in his house than she did in hers. He’d been on tenterhooks, waiting for Rose to suggest that he move into Ed’s house and still didn’t know how to respond—he didn’t think an “over my cold dead body” would go down well—but Rose had yet to make the request. That being said, they needed a house that was theirs, one neither of them had to share with the ghosts of the past.
“I should go to The Silver C, check up on the work.”
“Daniel’s foreman is a good man and no doubt Daniel is issuing his orders from Galloway Cove.” Gus stroked the inside of her wrist to reassure her. He tipped his head back in a subtle gesture to the stranger. “Do you want to see what he wants?”
Rose shrugged and then nodded. “I’m here. He’s here. Might as well.” Rose looked at Amanda and smiled. “Would you mind sending him our way, Amanda, honey?”
Amanda nodded and glided, graceful as ever, away. Gus turned in his seat as dark, flashing eyes snapped to them. Gus looked at him, instantly recognized those eyes—funny that Rose didn’t—and sighed. Oh hell, this could be either very good or very bad. The man slid off his chair at the counter and walked over to him.
The man stopped by their table and Gus could feel the tension rolling off him. He primed himself, ready to jump up and defend his woman. He might be old, but his reflexes were still sharp. Nobody would ever be allowed to hurt his Rosie again.
“That’s Mrs. Slade to you, son,” Gus growled.
“My apologies.” The man held out his hand to Rose, and Gus felt his temperature rise, when instead of shaking it like a good Texan would do, he lifted Rose’s knuckles to his lips. “My name is Hector Lamb and I believe I am—”
“Daniel’s father.” Rose snatched her hand out of his grip, leaned back and sliced and diced him with her laser-sharp eyes.
“Where the hell have you been and why are you only showing up now?”
* * *
At the top of the trail, Daniel stopped, turned and looked at her as if he were surprised to see her on his heels. “Are you sure you’re pregnant?” he demanded, hands on his hips, his eyes shaded by the brim of a well-worn ball cap.
“What makes you say that?” Alex removed her own cap and wiped her forearm across her forehead before resettling the cap on her head. They were deep into the mini jungle that covered most of the island, and it was humid as hell on a rainy day. She couldn’t wait to get to the swimming hole that was reputed to be at the end of this long trail.
“You aren’t experiencing morning sickness, you haven’t had any weird cravings, you haven’t been moody,” Daniel replied. “And you’re still as slim as you always were...”
Admittedly, it was taking some time for her to show, but there were signs. “The band of these shorts is tight and my boobs are definitely bigger.”
Daniel sent her a steady look but she caught the devilry in his eyes. He lifted his hands and placed them on her bikini-top-covered breasts. “I don’t believe you. I have to check.”
His thumbs immediately found her nipples and Alex tipped her head up to receive his kiss. Oh, she liked this Daniel, this relaxed, funny, thoughtful man. For the first time since she’d moved back to Royal, they were connected on both a mental and physical level, and yeah, they gelled.
Whenever they weren’t making love—which seemed to happen morning, noon and night—they talked and laughed. They had their differences, but their value systems were the same, their priorities were in sync. Respect and independence of action and thought were important to them and family always came first.