Chapter Fifteen

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With the symphonic songs of frogs having returned after the fireworks show, with the thick blanket of darkness having tucked everyone into bed, Danielle stirred and reached through the cool cover of soft sheets, seeking to feel the heated body of Beckett. But regardless of how far she reached, she wasn't rewarded with that expected contact with his bare skin and lean strength.

Her eyes opened sleepily and she searched around the room that was splashed only with the silvery light of the moon and its reflection on the lake.

She lay back between the gloriously gentle sheets that enveloped her like smooth silk spun around her naked flesh, as she wondered where he'd gone.

She glanced at her plastic toy ring, the glowing green halo making her smile. Only Beckett would think to propose with a superhero ring. Only Beckett could get away with such a silly gesture.

Smiling through the solitude, she maneuvered onto her side, stared at the moonlight that rode in shimmery ribbons on the otherwise black lake.

Her heart was humming, happy. She had no idea what would come next, how her parents or grandmother would react to a Yale grad choosing marriage over a career opportunity in California, but she'd made the decision, hadn't she? She was an educated woman who would work to balance her heart and her ambitions the best she could. There were plenty of opportunities in New York, and people commuted on the train from Connecticut to Manhattan every day. She could make it work. She would make it work.

But there was time to think about that later. For just that moment, for the rest of the night, her mind wouldn't give rise to planning or questioning. Instead, it would let her heart take the lead.

When the door creaked open, she scooted up to rest against the wooden headboard, pulled the sheet up to cover her just in case it wasn't Beckett.

But it was. And he carried a tray inside the room, then nudged the door closed with his foot.

When it latched, he glanced in and saw the silhouette of her face, the dark and shadowed planes and curves carved out of moonlight. Damn lucky, he thought again.

"What's all this?"

"Well, it didn't work yesterday morning, so I decided to try again."

He slid the tray onto the bed then reached for the sheet that covered her and pulled it down to reveal her skin, her neck, her full breasts, washed in silver light.

He hadn't stopped devouring her—which was why he'd gone in search of sustenance in the first place—and he knew he never would stop.

Kissing and teasing one nipple then the other, feeling the under-curve of her breasts, giving total gratitude to the Gods that had created her, he made his way up to her face where his lips skimmed over hers, enticing them to open. And for a moment he felt like a rogue rebel who'd come to rescue the hot princess in the cold confines of a castle.

"What are you doing to me?" he asked mostly rhetorically, leaning back to look at her. It was safe to say fairytales had never entered his realm of thought beyond a casual dismissal, but they filled it now. Though, admittedly, what moved through his mind spilled generously into the gutter.

"Must be the ring," she said with a hint of conspiracy in her voice.

"The ring, the woman. A powerful combination." He reached for the tray he'd set at the foot of the bed, slid it up toward them.

"You brought food, bless you."

"Five of everything. It's officially the fifth of July now so I thought five of everything was a good number. It's a redo of yesterday morning. Figured I could do better."

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