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Undercover Love(67)

By:Lucy Score

She admired the sparkle of her rings under the light from the desk lamp. She was Mrs. Baine. She had given him thirty days but he only took twenty before he slid the wedding ring on her finger in front of a small crowd of friends and family in an intimate ceremony at the lake house.

And now? Now, she lived in a home with a racquetball court and woke up every morning next to Jason. They dined outside picnic-style most nights after long days at work and launched kayaks from the backyard on the weekends. Next week she would be joining him on a business trip to Rome. It would be her second Europe trip since the wedding.

She had watched Jason relax millimeter by millimeter into a new life, one free from Victoria and her threats.

Theirs was a good life.

“What’s going through your mind, Mrs. Baine?”

Ashley swiveled to face him. Jason leaned against the doorway. With his sleeves rolled up and feet bare he was the picture of relaxed.

She rose to greet him with a kiss. “You caught me. I was just thinking about how lucky I am.”

“Good, because there’s something I want to talk to you about.” Jason produced a stack of papers from behind his back and handed them to her.

Ashley crinkled her nose at the legal documents. “It’s kind of late for a prenup since we’re already married.”

He gave her a look of mock exasperation. “It’s not a prenup. Read, please.” He tapped the pages with a long finger.

Ashley skimmed the first page. “What is this?”

“It’s a purchase agreement for Dwell.”

“You’re buying the store?”

“No, you are.”

“What do you mean I’m buying it? The store is mine? What about Barbara?”

“Barbara was interested in retiring and I was interested in your future.”

“You two discussed this without even consulting me?”

“I wanted to surprise you. Consider it a wedding present.”

“And what is that brand new SUV in the garage then?”

“An engagement present.”

Ashley bit her lip to keep from smiling. “You’re doing it again. You’re swooping in and interfering with my life. Have you learned nothing?”

“I think you mean our life. And there was no swooping. I am incapable of swooping. Barbara approached me and you of all people know the store is a sound investment. Would you rather work for some stranger who buys Barbara out or do you want to work for yourself?”

“Wouldn’t I be working for you?”

“This is your store. This is your name on the agreement.”

“That’s a lot of zeros to have my name attached to it.”

“You forget what resources you have available to you. What’s mine is yours.” He tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear and put the papers on her desk. “I want you to be happy, Ashley. I want you to have everything.”

“Damn, you’re good at this.”

“Wait, I have one more good point to make before you concede.”

“You’re pretty cocky, Romeo.”

“When we travel, you can use the trips to buy inventory for the store.”

He had her and he knew it. It was her dream. She had even scheduled an appointment with a wholesaler in Rome while Jason was in meetings.

“What if I don’t want to run Dwell?” she asked with a dainty shrug.

“Then you can do something else and hire someone to run it.”

He leaned down and kissed her neck.

“You’re trying to distract me.”

“Tell me you want it.” His lips brushed her jawline. “Tell me it’s exactly what you want.”

Ashley sighed as he moved to her mouth.

“I want it and I want you. I want it all. It’s exactly what I want.”