“I texted Kaidan, who was listed in my contacts under “James,” for James Bond. He’d chosen it. He had me listed as “Hot Chick From Gig.”
Video chat in 30.
His immediate response made me shake my head.
It was nice to know he could keep a sense of humor in the face of calamity. Or maybe he wasn’t joking...
“Are you two flirting?” Patti asked, her eyes darting to me from the road.
I blushed and deleted his message.”
“He froze. “I . . .” Then, as he searched my face with wonder, he slid from his seat and down to one knee. “My sweet, lovely Anna. I love you . . . and I want to marry you. But only if you want to. Do you? I mean, will you? Marry me?”
Be still my heart. His proposal was so adorably awkward that I had to laugh, sliding out of my chair so I could face him on my knees, too. I grabbed his face and kissed him for saying exactly what I needed to hear. We kissed once, twice, three times before he pulled back.
“Does it always take this long for someone to answer? It’s making me bloody nervous.”
I looked into his eyes. “Yes, Kai. I’ll marry you.”
“Halfway through the meal, while we were all laughing and telling stories, I made the mistake of placing my hand on Kaidan's upper thigh without thinking.
He let out a groan loud enough to silence the room. I slipped my hand back into my own lap, and Kaidan cleared his throat.
“Wow,” he said. “The corn pudding is fantastic.”
I snorted, which started a round of snickers. Patti smiled at Kaidan like he was a precious boy.
"Isn't it good? Anna found the recipe a few years ago. She's a great cook."
"Mm-hm." Kaidan gave a tight-lipped smile. "That she is.”
“This is right, Kai. We love each other.”
He closed his eyes. “I'd do anything for you.”
“Just love me,” I whispered”
“I laid back the lounge chair and rolled to my stomach, content.
Sounds of splashing faded as I dozed.
And then I heard a beautiful voice. . . .
“Cover your arse, and nobody gets hurt.”
I lifted my head to see Kaidan crouched next to me. He was here! Just as I was about to get up and throw my arms around him, his gaze slid down my body to my butt and stayed there. Hello, stormy eyes.
I felt twice as hot under the sun as I had one minute ago.
I threw the towel over my body, which forced his eyes back to mine.
“Hey,” I whispered.
He touched my face, and I leaned into his palm.
“I feel like it’s been a year since I saw you,” he said softly. “I’ve missed you.”
I reached up and cupped his hand. “I’ve missed you, too.”
“But you’re still in trouble.” His voice was low and gravelly.”
“You're so bloody cute,” he whispered, his voice all low and yummy.
Blood whooshed through my body. A Kai buzz. Oh, he was totally using the bedroom eyes...all heavy lidded and seductive. I don't even think he was trying. I suddenly felt shy. Even from the other side of the country, this boy was dangerous.”
“Stop!” I pinned him with a serious look. “No more. Get it out of your head, Kai! We are not running. This is happening whether you like it or not. It's time to get your game face on and get ready to kick some ass.”
“Jay took out his guitar. He was decent at it, but the piano was his best talent. He couldn’t get a certain riff right, so he handed the instrument to Kaidan, and my heart flipped.
I recalled him saying he played guitar, but I’d never actually seen or heard him play. Kaidan began to pick at each string, testing and tuning with his full attention. I watched the way his hands moved across the wood and strings, gently, reverently, his body seeming to curl around it as if it were a part of him. . . . I felt my hands getting sweaty, because watching Kaidan get lost in music did crazy things to me. My breathing became ragged and I couldn’t take my eyes off him.
He looked up at that moment and caught me staring hard. He knew. He knew what it did to me! I could tell because his badge expanded.
He angled himself away from the others and signed to me, I want to be alone with you tonight.
Patti did have a lot of guests staying in the house. I signed back, I’ll work on it.
“Excellent,” he whispered, a hot grin sliding onto his face.”
“That’s your damned female hormones talking, Jez.” Sonellion grabbed his crotch. “Grow some balls again.” She gave him a venomous look. “I have more clarity about the world in this body than I ever had with a set of balls.”
“Life was often so cruel, so ugly. And then, in the midst of all the madness, a precious gift would be placed in your lap. Because life could also be so sweet.”
“Behave, Kai.” My voice sounded more sultry than I intended. “I didn’t say a word.” He wet his lips, and I thought of that mouth on my body several days ago. We’d only been apart one day, and already it felt way longer. “Okay, stop,” I said. He grinned. “Stop what?” As if he didn’t know. Kaidan Rowe was anything but innocent, and well aware of his charm.”
“To love or have loved, that is enough... There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.”
“We all stood in the kitchen talking over one another. Marna and I noticed at the same time when Zania made her way back to Kopano’s side and slipped her arm snuggly under his. And then they shared a look so tender that Marna turned and gave me a hand-over-her-heart “Aww!” face. She then wrapped her arms around Jay, and they stood there holding each other with their eyes closed. So much emotion filled the room, but one stood out above the rest. . . .
Love was in the air.
Among other things. Like lust. And the smell of turkey. A weird combo.”
“They were speechless for a long while.
“It’s starting,” Marna finally said.
“Yep,” I whispered.
“Bring it, arseholes,” Ginger said.
In a rare moment of camaraderie I stuck out my fist and Ginger bumped it, causing Marna to say, “Aww!” Ginger rolled her eyes.”
“Hey, Kai,” Jay called from across from us.
“What’s the difference between a drummer and a large pizza?”
Kai held back a smile. “I’ve no clue.”
“A large pizza can feed a family of four!”
Everyone cracked up.
Blake said, “Thank God for Daddy’s money, huh?”
“Belief triggers the power to do.”
“I want to discover the deeper layers of His word, understand the tender mercies of His heart.”
“The anarch is oriented to facts, not ideas. He fights alone, as a free man, and would never dream of sacrificing himself to having one inadequacy supplant another and a new regime triumph over the old one. In this sense, he is closer to the philistine; the baker whose chief concern is to bake good bread; the peasant, who works his plow while armies march across his fields.”
“I wanted to be alone with the One. The One who scaled then careened from the heights of the Mount. The One who raised up the man from the mud. The One who fashioned me from a part of the man and knew me more intimately than even the adam.”
“I'd wager you have a vengeful streak a mile wide," he muttered.
"I am the least vengeful person I know," she said with a sniff. "And if you think otherwise, then perhaps you ought not to marry me."
"You're marrying me," he ground out, "if I have to drag you to the altar bound and gagged."
Ellie smiled waspishly. "You could try," she taunted, "but in your condition you couldn't drag a flea."
"And you say you're not vengeful."
"I seem to be developing a taste for it.”
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