Daniel’s hand came up to cover her breast and it took all her willpower to pull away from his touch. She gestured to the busy stables to the left of the house, blushing when she saw Gus and Jason leaning against the wall, unabashedly watching them.
“Jerks,” she muttered.
“On the plus side, I didn’t get my head blown off,” Daniel murmured, laughter coating his words.
“Actually, Grandpa quite likes you,” Alex told him. “He’d like you more if you married me.”
Daniel jerked back, frowned and then released a strangled laugh. “I’m not sure what to say to that.” He rubbed his jaw. “How do you feel about that?”
“Getting married?” Alex cocked her head to the side, pretending to think. “I think that sounds like a fine idea.” She grinned at his astonishment and held up her hand to keep him from grabbing her again. “Slow down, cowboy, I’m not getting engaged with tear tracks on my cheeks and blue rings around my eyes and with my male relatives watching us like hawks. But do feel free to propose in the high meadow, preferably with a lovely ring and a bottle of champagne.”
Daniel pretended to consider her statement. “Hmm, the ring I can do. But it’ll have to be nonalcoholic champagne, and whose land will it be on?” He smiled and Alex’s heart flipped over.
“Ours,” Alex said, the words catching in her throat. “Yours, mine, ours.”
Daniel nodded, raw, unbridled emotion in his eyes and on his face and in his touch. Alex watched his eyes as he bent to kiss her, silently saying a heartfelt thank-you to whatever force had brought them to this point. They were going to have a hell of a life and she couldn’t wait for it to start.
“Hey, you two, what’s the status?” Alex jumped, startled, and she turned to see her Gus a few feet from them, waving his phone in the air. Since when did he carry a phone? Alex wondered. “Rosie wants to know.”
Daniel gently banged his forehead on her collarbone. “God.”
“Everything is sorted,” Alex told Gus, making a shooing movement with her hand.
“Rosie, let’s hallelujah the county! Call everyone—we’re going to paint the house. And the porch.” Gus flipped his phone closed—so old she was surprised it still worked—caught Daniel’s eye and gestured to the truck. “Well, come on, then. This stuff isn’t going to move itself. Take it into the house and we can have a chat about what comes next.”
The last thing she wanted to do was to talk to Gus, or anyone. What she really wanted to do was to divest Daniel of his clothes and make love to him as his future wife.
Daniel looked from her to his truck, adjusted his ball cap and shook his head. “As much as I appreciate the offer, sir, I’m going to stick to my original plan.”
“And that was?” Alex asked as his hand enveloped hers.
“To kidnap you and your stuff.” He flashed a grin at Gus as he wrapped an arm around her waist and easily carried her to his truck. He bundled her into the passenger seat and saluted Gus. “I try to learn from my elders, sir.”
At six months pregnant, Alex required a wedding dress with an empire waistline but, catching a glance at her reflection in the gleaming glass door as she stepped out of the TCC function room, she saw that she still looked pretty amazing. The dress’s bodice gathered into a knot behind her breasts and the chiffon overskirt, which was dotted with embroidered roses, flowed to the floor. She was, as everyone kept telling her, glowing. Alex knew that had as much to do with her husband of two hours as it did her pregnancy.
She was married. Alex looked down at the band of diamonds Dan had put on her ring finger earlier, a companion piece to her sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring, and took a moment to count her many blessings. Her partnership with Mike was smooth sailing, and while commuting was a pain, so far it was working. She was living in Dan’s house and they were deciding how to completely renovate Rose’s old house together. In Rose she found both a mentor, a friend and an ally. And in getting to know Sarah’s oldest friend, she felt like she had a piece of her grandmother back.