Chapter Fifteen

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Her sleep had been so sound that the trilling of her alarm clock jolted her into a surreal world. She jerked and sat straight up in a frazzle, then scrambled to stamp out the noise. She missed the pin at the top and sent the clock clattering onto the floor.

She swore and scooped it up, turned the ringer off, and swore again on a sigh.

And behind her, a low laugh. "For someone who hates comedy pictures, you just put on a hell of a show."

Twisting around, Dorothy experienced shock, then panic, then sublime elation all in the span of a few seconds.

Robbie was cozy in her bed, pillow squished beneath his head and the heavy blanket up to his chin. The room was toasty and his cheeks were pink from the heat; he must have gotten up to stoke the fire in the night and left the bedroom door open.

"Sorry, I forgot to fix it. I don't have to be up for another hour. Are you hungry?"

"Starving, but I'm too comfortable to get up just yet even to eat. Come back here."

A spot of blue caught her eye and she noticed the kimono still pooled on the floor where it had fallen the night before. Then, the flotsam and jetsam of Robbie's clothing scattered around the bed.

Realizing she was naked, she flushed and reached for the end of the cover and yanked it, but Robbie didn't give it up easily. He laughed again and tugged the blanket back.

"A little late once the horse is out of the barn, isn't it?"

"Shush," she managed breathlessly, and the burn of being caught without her clothes was eclipsed by that of being teased.

He lifted the blanket a little. "You can have it if you come back under here."

"Oh, I can't," she murmured, but her body moved as though obeying a sorcerer's spell. It was Thursday, not Sunday. She had to get up and get things done, get washed and dressed and use her free time for something useful.

But once she was under the blanket and he had tucked it around her shoulders, the scrape of his unshaved chin against her cheek and the warmth of his body against hers made all of those little things that should be done seem so unimportant.

He crooked his arm under her neck to cradle her and pulled her closer, and Dorothy closed her eyes with the heat of his mouth against hers. He kissed her softly, stealing her breath and igniting all her senses so that when he drew back just enough to meet her gaze, she felt as though she was floating on some cloud and not in that old bed.

"Are you all right?" he asked.

It seemed like such a ridiculous question that she laughed. How could she be anything but all right at that moment?

"I'm fine," she whispered. Beneath the covers, she ran her hand along his arm to his shoulder and settled her palm on the back of his neck. Just a bit of pressure and he leaned forward again for another kiss.

"I suppose I can settle down now," he murmured softly against her lips.

"What do you mean?"

"I was awake at dawn. Once I came back to bed, I couldn't get back to sleep. I just watched you, and then I'd start to worry you'd change your mind as soon as you woke up." He lifted his head and raised his brows. "You haven't changed your mind, have you?"

"A little late once the horse is out of the barn, isn't it?"

Robbie laughed and shook his head against the pillow. "That's not what I meant, obviously."

She wiggled closer to him beneath the covers. "I know, and I haven't changed my mind -- and I won't."

"Then you'll still marry me?"

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