Nick glared at her, disbelief in his eyes. Had he heard her right? Had she said wedding? "What are you talking about?"
"I don't want an engagement ring. I'm not much on wearing a lot of jewelry. A simple, wide gold band will be fine."
"Addy?" He turned completely around, looking her directly in the eye.
"We should go back to Sequana Falls for the honeymoon and stay in our cottage. That's where you fell in love with me, wasn't it?"
"I haven't asked you a we haven't discusseda""
"Nick Romero, if you think I'm going to let you run out on me, then you don't know me very well. I've waited my whole life to love a man the way I love you. I didn't think it was possible. I thought people only felt this way in romance books or in the movies."
"I'm not much of a bargain, Red. I don't know the first thing about being the kind of husband you need."
Addy smiled. "If you run, I'll follow you. There's not a place on this earth where you can hide. You're going to marry me, Nick, and that's final."
How could he respond to a statement like that? Addy was one determined woman. Did he have the guts to take the risk? If he married her, could he keep her happy? "You'll be taking a mighty big chance on me, Red."
"Do you love me, Nick?"
"Do Ia" Yes, I love you!"
"Have you ever loved another woman the way you love me?"
"Then I'm not taking such a big risk, am I?"
Grinning, Nick lifted his cane, placing it across Addy's back. Taking the ends of the cane in each hand, he pulled her toward him, pressing her against his chest, fitting her body snugly to his. "As long as you know what you're getting."
"I know exactly what I'm getting." She slipped her arms around his neck. "I'm getting the man I love."
Nick and Addy lay in the middle of her antique bed, their naked arms and legs entwined. Damp with their mingled sweat and the sweet essence of s.e.x, they kissed and stroked and whispered love words.
"Aren't you glad you decided to stay and marry me?" Addy licked the perspiration from his tiny male nipples.
He grabbed her hip in his big hand, pressing her closer to his side. "You're a very persuasive woman, Mrs. Romero-to-be."
"Mmma"hmm. I like the sound of that. Mrs. Romero. Addy Romero." She snuggled against him.
"I suppose you know that you've accomplished an impossible task," he said.
"What's that, taming a wild man?"
Nick laughed, playfully swatting her behind. "No. Capturing the most sought-after Latin lover in the world."
Moving quickly, Addy straddled his hips, tossing her long, flaming hair over her shoulder. "You've accomplished a task just as difficult. You've taught me what real love is all about."
Taking her hips in his hands, he moved her up and down, groaning when he felt a resurgence of pa.s.sion tightening his body. "And I've also turned a Plain-Jane, frustrated old maid into a beautiful, s.e.x-crazed hussy."
"Why, Nick, what a thing to say! I was never a frustrated old maid, just an unfulfilled woman."
"Woman, I'd like to fulfill you, and soon." He surged up against her, showing her he meant what he said.
"I think we should fulfill each other." She slid down his legs to his ankles, then lowered her body until her b.r.e.a.s.t.s touched his thighs. She ran her hands over his calves, caressing him.
"You've never said anything about my scarred leg." Nick threaded his fingers through her hair while she spread kisses over the top of his hairy thighs. "You've kissed it and caressed it, and you act as if it doesn't look any different from my good leg."
Addy's tongue touched him intimately. He groaned. "The scars on your leg are a part of you. When we make love, when I see you naked, I don't think about your crippled leg, except to regret all the pain you must have endured."
"I'm not quite the man I used to be because ofa""
"Nick Romero, you're more man with a crippled leg than any man I know with two strong legs. I've told you that before. Weren't you listening?"
She stroked him, pleasuring him with her wanton tongue. "Ah, Addy, you're good for my ego."
"I'm good for you, Nick."
He didn't disagree. She moved up his body, straddling his hips again. He thrust himself up and into her, grasping her waist as his mouth sought her b.r.e.a.s.t.s. She rode him wild and hard. He gave her a thorough loving, losing control the minute he felt her tighten around him and cry out her release.
In the aftermath of a second heated mating, they lay in each other's arms, listening to the sound of their breathing. Sated and spent, they touched each other with tender weakness.
"Ia"I lost two babies when I was married to Gerald." Addy's voice sounded loud in the hushed stillness of her bedroom.
"I know." He kissed her forehead. "Your father told me all about it."
"The doctors said I might not be able to carry a baby full term." She took a deep breath.
Nick pulled her close, kissing her with gentle sweetness. "I love you, Addy. You." He kissed her again. "Whether or not we ever have a child won't change the way I feel about you. We're so d.a.m.ned lucky to have found each other. What more could we want?"
"I want to give you children."
"Elizabeth said that I would have children. Your children." She smiled at him when he stared at her in confusion.
"Elizabeth saw children in our future?" G.o.d, he hoped Sam Dundee's little soothsayer knew what she was talking about. If ever a woman wanted and needed children, it was Addy.
"Two little girls, Nick. Maria will be the eldest. She'll be our little green-eyed brunette."
Nick raised up, bracing himself with his hand as he leaned over Addy. "Maria, huh? After my grandmother."
"And Maria's little sister will have my red hair and your black eyes. I want to name her Madeline after my mother."
The conviction in Addy's words made him believe these little girls would be a part of their future. Their finding each other and falling in love had been a miracle. Who was to say that G.o.d wouldn't grant them two more miracles? "You know what, Red? I can't think of anything I'd like better than to be surrounded by adoring females for the rest of my life."
"And I can't think of anything I'd like better than being one of those adoring females." She cuddled against him.
"I love you, Red."
"I love you, too." Silently she added, I'll love you forever, my paladin.
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