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By:Cherry Adair

“No. But I’ve made God so many promises, I owe Him one.”

“I have no doubt you owe Him more than one,” Mia told him dryly, combing his hair off his face with gentle fingers. “You can start by stopping killing people. Any people. For any and all reasons.”

An easy promise. “I can do that, unless of course they threaten you or the babies; then all bets are off. You were to be my last job. I was off to Brazil to get ready for my LA showing in six months.”

“How convenient, then, that I have loads of space for your studio right here in San Francisco, and we’re so close to Los Angeles.”

“You seem to have all the answers but one.”

She gave him a surprised look. “I think we’ve covered the Q and A. What else is there?”

“Marry me. We have the rest of our lives to get to know one another better than we do now.” She started to speak but he placed his finger on her lips. He didn’t want to hear anything she had to say except yes. His heart pounded. His entire life had been on hold until this moment.

“I don’t want to wait. I love you, Mia.” He replaced his finger with his mouth for a tender, sweet, gentle kiss. He wanted her to know the love he felt for her was more than the hot, grinding sex they shared. It was soft and emotional and real. “I love you more than I’ve loved anyone in my life.” His voice was just above a whisper. “I never knew this kind of love existed. But I don’t want to waste a single day anticipating the rest of our lives together.” He brushed a tendril of hair from off her cheek and then brushed his lips on the same spot. “I want it all, Mia. I want it now. I want it with you.”

His throat tightened. He knew that if she rejected him now, he would be shattered just as he’d been when he thought she’d died in his arms. Cruz realized the enormity of how good things were and how in mere seconds they could slip through his fingers from one breath to the next.

“I promise I’ll be a good father. I’ll be faithful. I’ll protect you. I love you. This is my vow to you. I’ll be your rock, your sanctuary, your partner.” He smiled, but it was fear, not joy, that he felt at this moment as he waited for her to answer him. To say yes to him handing her his heart, to giving her his life so they could have a life together. Yet, looking in her beautiful, intelligent, loving eyes, he had hope she would say she’d be his.

“I can’t live without you, Mia. Is that too dramatic?” His heart was beating too fast, his mouth dry. “But without you I’d wither and die. No pressure.”

Mia wrapped her arms around his neck. “I love you to the moon and back, Cruz. The answer is yes. Yes, I will marry you, and give you beautiful babies who’ll inherit the goodness and integrity of their father, who’ll paint wild and exciting paintings. We’ll travel the world and, if we have to be apart, rush home to each other as quickly as possible.” She brushed his lips with hers. “We have so many names between us; which should we use?”

“How about ‘Cruz’ and ‘Mia’ in the bedroom, and ‘darling’ everywhere else?”