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A Baby for the Boss(58)

By´╝ÜMaureen Child



Mike flipped the top of the box open, and showed her a canary yellow diamond, glittering in an old-fashioned setting that seemed to Jenny as if it were made especially for her. “When did you—”

“Yesterday,” he said. “After our talk the night before last, I drove into Vegas, found the best jeweler in the city and got this ring for you.” He lifted her chin with the tips of his fingers until her teary eyes met his. “I knew, before your uncle showed up, that I love you. I trust you. I need you, Jenny. I always will.”

“Mike...” Her bottom lip trembled.

Taking her left hand in his, he slid the ring onto her finger and sealed it there with a kiss. “Say you’ll take the ring, Jenny. And me.”

It was a gift, Jenny told herself. A gift from the universe, because suddenly she had everything she’d ever wanted most in her life. She looked up into his beautiful eyes and saw her own love shining back at her.

“Jenny?” he asked, a half laugh in his voice, “you’re starting to worry me...”

“There’s no need, Mike. I love you. I have since that first night in Phoenix.” She went up on her toes and kissed him lightly. “I’ll take the ring. And you. And I promise I will love you forever.”

“Thank God,” he whispered and pulled her in close. His arms wrapped around her, her head nestled on his chest, she heard him say, “You are the best thing that has ever happened to me, Jenny Marshall, and I swear I will never let you go.”





Epilogue

A few months later, the wedding was held at the Balboa Pavilion. Built in 1905, the Victorian-style building was on the National Register of Historic Places, and a California landmark. The grand ballroom boasted dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows that provided a spectacular view of one of the largest small-yacht harbors in the world.

Candles flickered on the linen-draped tables scattered around the wide room. Yellow and white flowers decorated every surface and cascaded over the front of the bride-and-groom table. And tiny white fairy lights sparkled and shone on every window as the day wore down and night rushed in.

“It was all perfect,” Jenny mused, leaning back against her brand-new husband.

Mike’s arms wrapped around her middle, his hands tenderly cupping the bump of their child, and he dipped his head to kiss the curve of her throat. “It was, and you are the most beautiful bride ever.”

Jenny did feel pretty in her white off-the-shoulder dress that clung to her bosom and waist, then fell in a soft swirl of skirt to the floor. Mike, of course, was gorgeous: tall, handsome and looking as though he’d been born to wear a tux.

“I love you,” she whispered, tipping her head back to look at him.

“Never get tired of hearing that.” He grinned, kissed her and swore, “I love you, too. And I’m going to show you how much every day of our honeymoon.”

A slow, knowing smile curved her lips. “You haven’t had a vacation in years. I can hardly believe we’re taking a week in Ireland and a week in London.”

“And,” he teased, “another week in Tuscany.”

“Really?” Jenny turned in his arms and hugged him. “You didn’t tell me!”

“Surprise!” He grinned down at her and said, “An artist really should tour Italy, don’t you think?”

“Absolutely.” Jenny couldn’t possibly be happier, she thought. A man who loved her, a baby on the way, a job she loved and so many friends who had come to wish them well.

“Maybe we’ll look around, see if we can find a spot we like, buy a place of our own there.”

“Seriously?” He shrugged. “Why not? We can take the kids there every summer.”

“Kids?” she repeated, still grinning.

“Well, we’re not gonna stop at one, are we?” He patted her belly and she caught his hand and held it in place, linking the three of them.

“No, we’re not,” she agreed, then leaned back against him and watched their guests dance on the wide wooden floor beneath thousands of tiny white lights.

“Your uncle and Betty look like they’re having fun,” he said, giving a nod toward the dance floor.

Jenny smiled to see Hank and Betty dancing together, alongside Mike’s parents. The four of them had hit it off well enough that they were all planning a trip to wine country together. Their family was big and growing, Jenny thought, and she couldn’t be happier.

“You two should be dancing,” Brady said as he and Aine approached. Their infant son had stayed home in Ireland with Aine’s mother, and though of course they were worried about leaving him, they were also enjoying the little break from parenthood.

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