His grin is wicked and satisfied as he says one word. “That.”

I arch a brow, barely letting myself hope. I haven’t let my mind go there. It would be too much. Too good. Too unreal. “That?”

His expression is fierce, and his eyes never stray from mine, and his gaze never breaks as he holds my face. “Marry me.”

For a few seconds, I’m living in a dream, or maybe in a rom-com. The entire bar goes incredibly still, library-quiet, and I am aware out of the corner of my eye that everyone is now looking at us. That the noise and the bustle has died down as my customers figure out what’s going on in this corner of the bar.

We are in the proverbial spotlight. And I should care. But I don’t, because all I care about is him and the two words he just said. And the words he keeps saying, because he doesn’t stop talking, because Fitz is a talker, and he can’t ever stop running at the mouth, and I love it, I love everything he’s saying, every single word.

“I don’t know how any of this works, Dean,” he says. “But I will do whatever it takes for you. I want you to come to New York with me and live with me and be with me. Now, tomorrow, always. And I will do whatever you need me to do to make that happen. Whatever I can do to make your life easier, to make our life together happen, I will do it. I will do whatever it takes to have you come to New York and be my husband.”

The air rushes out of my lungs. I try to form words, but I can’t think. I can only feel . . . feel this intensity, this passion, this wild, wonderful love.

And when I think I can’t possibly feel anything more, he gets down on one knee, making it all so real.

Fitz reaches into his pocket, takes out a velvet box, and flips it open. A platinum band. It’s simple, classy.

For me.

I am floored.

Utterly floored and still speechless.

I try to say something, to say yes, to say God, I fucking love you so much, but my throat is clogged with emotion—with happiness and so much love I don’t know how to contain it, or if I even can.

He looks up at me, his blue eyes so vulnerable and so full of hope. “I have no idea if you’ll even consider this, but I will regret it for the rest of my life if I don’t ask you, because I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I love you so damn much. I love you more than anything. More than anyone. And I am heartsick without you.”

My own heart is ten sizes too big. It beats outside my chest, and I can’t contain it. Because my heart starts and ends with him.

There are a million questions, a thousand things I need to figure out, but there is only one answer in the entire world.

The one I’ve been saying to him all along. The place I knew I would go with him. “Yes.”

But that isn’t all I have to say. That word unlocks everything else inside me, all the things I feel every second. It frees the truest thing I’ve ever known. “You’re the love of my life, James Fitzgerald. You are absolutely the love of my life.”

His smile spreads slow and easy, like he’s taking this in, like he’s not sure I said that. Like he just discovered fire or magic, and this love is equally as wondrous.

It feels that way to me.

Fitz slides the ring on my finger, then threads his hand through mine. I yank him up, bring him to me, clasp his face, and kiss those lips I have missed every night and every morning.

I kiss the hell out of him.

I kiss him like it’s the only thing I’ve wanted to do since he left.

Like he’s the only one I ever want to kiss again.

Like he’s the only man for me.

Because he is, and I love him so fucking much.

That is all.

When we break the kiss, we’re eye to eye, face-to-face, and he looks drunk on happiness.

“Yes? You mean it? You will?” he asks again, maybe needing to make sure. “You’ll marry me?”

“I mean it. Every word.” I look around the bar, this little slice of my life here. The place that’s been my home. Then I run my hand along Fitz’s bearded jaw, and he moves with me, like he always has, leaning into my palm. “I’ve lived here my entire life,” I say as I touch him. “And it’s been an incredible life. One that was perfectly good until that day when you walked into it and upended everything. You changed everything. You took over my heart, mind, and body. So, the answer is yes. I’ll go anywhere with you. You are my home.”


Tags: Lauren Blakely Romance
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