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“Alex?” She blinks in confusion.

“Give me the box, baby.” I need to fix this, stat. I don’t want this to be the way I propose to her, half-naked in bed. I want a story we can tell people. Not one we have to censor.

“What’s in here?” Her voice is barely above a whisper.

“I’ll show you later.” My fingers close around her wrist.

“Why can’t you show me now?” She strokes the velvet. She knows. I can tell by the way her eyes widen. “Alex?”

“Let’s have dinner first.” It’s a plea.

“Is this—are you?” Her gaze lifts, her smile soft as she clutches the box tightly in her hand. “It’s not a pair of earrings, is it?”


All my careful last-minute planning will go to shit if she opens the box. Or I could go with the flow. I sit up in a rush, and Violet finally let’s go of the box. Lifting her from my lap, I scan the bed for a shirt. One of mine is hanging on the footboard.

“Give me your arms,” I say, holding it out so she can put it on.

“But I thought—”

“We need to talk first.”

She blinks nervously but complies. I slip her hands through the sleeves and pull it over her head. Then I drop to one knee and flip the lid open.

“I love you, Violet Hall. You make every day an adventure. Marry me.”

Violet bites her lip and stares at the ring. “Are you sure?”

“One hundred and ten percent.”

“We’ve only been together for six months.”

My hand is starting to shake from the anxiety. Is this how rejection feels? If so, it sucks. “We can have a long engagement.”

“I don’t like big weddings.” Her panic is clear. “All those people make me nervous. I’ll mess up the vows and say something inappropriate.”

“It doesn’t have to be big. It can be just the two of us if you want. We can wait until next summer—or the one after if a year isn’t long enough. We can get married up here by a justice of the peace on the end of the dock at sunset. A damn Rastafarian can perform the ceremony if that’s what you want. I don’t care about the wedding part. All I want to be is connected to you in the most significant way possible. I want you as my wife.”

She strokes my cheek. “I love you so much.”

“Is that a yes?”

“Yes. It’s a yes.” Her smile is radiant, like the rising sun reflected on still water. I get to see it every goddamned day of my life.

I exhale in relief. “That’s good, that’s great. I almost thought you were going to say no.” I slip the ring onto her finger.

“I couldn’t say no to you from the beginning. Why would that change now?”

I thread my fingers through hers, kiss the back of her hand, and move to her lips.

“I’m sorry I ruined your proposal.”

“You didn’t ruin it.”

“I sorta did.” Her hands drift down my chest.

“I have some ideas if you feel like you might need to make up for it.”

“I bet you do.”

We make love as the day fades into evening and stay wrapped in each other until the sun disappears below the treeline.

Violet shudders. At first I think it’s because she’s cold, but then a stifled giggle bursts free.

“What’s so funny?”

She giggles again. “I was thinking about Super MC.”

It looks like Violet has given my dick a superhero name. It’s better than snuffie. “That’s not much of a surprise since he’s been making you come for the past hour.”

“Fishing for compliments?”

“Just stating facts.”

“I’m going to make him a tuxedo.”

“A tuxedo?”

“And I’ll make a veil for my beaver. They can have their own private ceremony.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Super MC. He needs a tux, but no tie. That would be dangerous.” Violet’s entire body shakes with pent-up laughter.

I take her face between my hands. “This ridiculousness right here”—I kiss her—“is why I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Her hands cover mine, her smile full of tenderness and love. “I’m so glad you fought for me. You’re the best chance I’ve taken.”

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