The Wedding(59)

By: Emma Darcy

He gave a funny little laugh. “As far back as then? You loved me then?”

She nodded.

“You mean I’ve been sweating blood to get you married to me, and you actually wanted to marry me all along?” he demanded, his arrogant confidence returning in a burst that blew aside all uncertainties.

“Well, I wouldn’t precisely say that.” Tessa backtracked. After all, it wasn’t good for their relationship for Blaize to be too arrogantly confident of her. He might start taking her for granted. “I wasn’t sure that a marriage between us would work. I thought I was taking an awful gamble saying yes.”

“You thought you were taking a gamble!” He threw back his head and laughed. Then he picked her up and whirled her onto the bed, pinning her down when she teasingly tried to escape him. “I’ve got you!” he said. “And I’m not letting you go, so you might as well resign yourself to your fate, Stockton,” he said with mock severity.

“I’m resigned, sir. Very happily resigned,” she returned cheekily. “But you have to call me Callagan, sir. I got married today.”

“Yes. You did.” He kissed her. “And don’t you forget it.”

She kissed him back. “I have an excellent memory, sir.”

“Tessa darling, you have a lot to make up for.”

“I do?”

“Yes, you do. I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life, thinking of a way to put a proposal of marriage to you. I spent the whole of that Sunday convincing myself I had a chance. I was almost sure you hadn’t just been pretending to be happy with me that weekend—”

“I wasn’t.”

“—and I couldn’t believe that your responses to me weren’t genuine.”

“They were.”

“But when it came to the point—make or break time—it was still the most terrifying moment of my life.”

“You? Terrified?”

“Oh, it was all very fine for you, my darling. I wasn’t using you as some kind of fantasy lover who couldn’t be accepted into real life. You put me through hell!”

“Would a little taste of heaven help you forget, darling Blaize?” she asked, sliding her hands over him in deliberate provocation.

He growled.

She started to unbutton his shirt.

“You’re a witch. You know that?” he accused, busying his hands on a similar exercise. “A provocative little witch who cast a spell on me months ago.”

She slid her hands over his bare chest and ran her fingernails over his strongly muscled shoulders. He shuddered. His eyes narrowed threateningly.

“I think I might use one of those bottles of d’Yquem.”

“Well, we’d still have one left,” Tessa consoled him.

“On the other hand, I don’t like to repeat myself.”

“Surprise me then.”

He did. In many and glorious ways. Tessa secretly thought to herself that he really was a fantasy lover, but he made it all beautifully real. Ecstatically real. Afterwards, she even felt brave enough to ask him about his marriage to Candice.

“It was good for its time,” he replied. “It was what I wanted then. A very active social scene. Riding high. Maybe we would have grown together.”

He fanned Tessa’s long hair out on the pillow as he thought about it. “I can’t imagine I would ever have had with Candice what I have with you.”

“And what’s that?” she asked.

“We don’t need anyone else,” he answered simply. “Like that weekend we had on the boat. It was great...just being with each other. And now it’s like that all the time for me.”

“For me, too,” Tessa said softly.

He trailed butterfly kisses around her face. “When did you know that you loved me, Blaize?” Tessa asked curiously.

He gave her a rueful little smile. “Oh, about the time I picked you up to put you in the helicopter. That felt very right to me. This is my woman, I thought. But, of course, I knew you weren’t mine. Then the situation changed and I thought I could make you mine. Until you cried that second night... and I couldn’t comfort you. Because I was the wrong man—’’

“You weren’t the wrong man, Blaize.” She held his face between her hands, and her eyes glowed all her love for him. “I cried because you made me feel so much, and I didn’t think you cared for me at all. It seemed so wrong. But it wasn’t wrong at all. It was right, wasn’t it?”

“Yes. It was right.”

He kissed her deeply in the full knowledge of their love and need for each other.

It was their wedding day.