“I love you.”

“And I love you.”

I knew before this moment that I was going to ask Emma to marry me, but for some reason, this is the one where I become impatient to make her my fiancée. This is the one where I know it needs to be sooner than later.

We end the evening by decorating our own tree in the beach house, and drinking Irish coffee while talking. I could get lost in nothing but talking to Emma for hours on end, and so I do. We fall asleep by the fireplace and I carry her to bed where I hold her close, and vow once again, to never let her go.


The next morning, I invite Emma’s brother to meet me for coffee before he leaves for the airport. This pleases Emma which is a bonus but not my purpose. I choose a little local joint next to a jewelry store that I know will create a special ring for Emma. Chance and I sit and talk about the merger that is all but done at this point and when we finish off our coffees, I say, “Can I have your sister’s hand in marriage?”

He blanches and then says, “Hell yes, man. Is that why we’re by the jewelry store? Let’s go. I want to make sure you pick something good enough for her.”

It’s a surreal brotherly moment.

It hurts.

And yet, somehow, it heals.


Christmas Eve

Emma has fretted about the perfect gifts for everyone for weeks, and with the Knight-Bennett merger done and over with, she’s embraced Jill’s job to the point that she just might not let it go. She even designed custom time pieces for Eric and Grayson to thank them for all their time. Inside the cards read: May the love of your life always find her way to you, the way you helped Jax find his way to me.

By evening, presents overflow under the castle tree and Emma and I settle in for a romantic Christmas Eve meal I had the chef prepare. “This is a surprise,” she says, as we sit down for a candlelight meal that includes Maine’s staple of lobster, as well as her favorite mac and cheese. “A new tradition?”

“This would be an excellent new tradition.”

We drink wine and talk, laughing as we always do together. When our bellies are full, we move to the living room to settle in front of the fireplace. “Can I give you your gift now?” she asks excitedly.

“No yet,” I say and nerves assail me which is crazy. This is Emma. I walk to the tree and reach under the decorative cover beneath it to remove the ring I’ve hidden there. I stand up with it behind my back. “Me first.”

She smiles this bright sunshine smile, perched on the edge of a chair. “Why do you seem nervous? You know I’ll love anything you get me. Honestly you’ve given me such a gift just being here, Jax. I love this place and you and—”

I go down on a knee in front of her. “Emma.”

“You’re very serious right now. You’re making me nervous.”

I stroke a dark silky strand of hair from her face. “No, baby. Nothing is wrong. In fact, something is very right.”

“Oh. Good.”

“Yes. It is. We are. And I am a better man because of you.” I bring the velvet case in between us. “Marry me, Emma, and make this year end with me smiling, baby. With us together forever.”

“One chapter ends. A whole new book begins. Yes, I’ll marry you. You’re my best friend. How could I not marry you?”

My lips curve. “You haven’t even looked at the ring.”

“Because the ring doesn’t make my decision.”

“Good to know, but you’d like to see it, right?”

She laces her fingers together, and her eyes light. “Yes, please.”

I open the lid to display the three-carat diamond in the center of a spray of smaller diamonds. “It’s designed to look like sunshine because you light up every room you enter.”

She tears up. “That is really special.” She glances up at me. “And my gift isn’t so good anymore. It’s like groceries.”

“The only gift I need is you saying yes.” I take the ring out of the box and slide it on her finger. “It’s perfect.”

I scoop her up and carry her to our bedroom, where the ring is the only thing I leave on her. A long time later we lay facing each other, relaxed and dozing in and out of sleep, when she murmurs, “My gift is like underwear. Yours is perfect.”

I chuckle over the way she’s fretting because I meant what I told her. She’s perfect. She’s my gift this Christmas. She’s my light in a year of darkness.


Tags: Lisa Renee Jones Naked Trilogy Erotic
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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