Morrow Creek Marshal(94)By: Lisa Plumley
For a moment, Dylan looked awestruck. “I have a home?”
“If you’d stop dawdling, yes.” Marielle tugged him a few steps down the alleyway. She didn’t only want kissing. “You do.”
“I have a home. With you,” he repeated.
She puzzled over his rapt expression. “Again,” she said while gesturing, “you’ll have to walk there with me.”
“We’re really going to be together?” Dylan asked.
At that, Marielle realized what was going on. She turned to delve her fingers in his hair, then gave a sturdy yank.
“Ouch!” Dylan rubbed his head. “What did you do that for?”
“To let you know you’re not dreaming.”
He grinned. “I think you need the same lesson.”
“Oh, no, I don’t!” Marielle backed away.
But Dylan caught her within seconds.
Dratted ankle. It had brought her and Dylan together...and now it was helping to keep them together, too.
Well, maybe it wasn’t all bad. Not really. Not in the end.
“Go ahead.” Valiantly, Marielle screwed up her courage. She shut her eyes, getting ready to have one of her own hairs pulled out in fair retribution. “Show me I’m not dreaming, either.”
Dylan came closer. He steadied himself with his hand on her shoulder. She felt his warmth, his nearness...his intention to gain the payback he deserved. Breath held, Marielle tensed.
Gently, very gently, Dylan kissed her. His breath feathered across her face, stirring all her memories of them together.
“You’re not dreaming,” he said.
As she opened her eyes and took his hand, as they examined the livery stable where the rollicking men’s and women’s club meeting was going on...and then chose to round the corner and travel toward the luxurious Lorndorff Hotel instead, Marielle knew it was true. Wonderfully, she wasn’t dreaming.
She’d found true love with Dylan, against all the odds.
She’d had to be brave. She’d had to risk everything. But she’d done it. From here on, there would only be more bravery, more risk and more effort—there would be, if they wanted to keep their happiness growing for the next decade or five.
They did. Dylan himself had told her so. She agreed.
As the two of them traveled through the moonlight toward the rest of their lives together, Marielle knew it would be worth it. All the effort, all the vulnerability, all the kisses and the hopes she and Dylan shared would blend into a love that was rare and recovered, and all the more precious for it.
“I hope you like weddings,” Marielle said, “because I don’t know if you’re aware of it or not, but Hudson and Corinne are—”
“Getting married,” Dylan surprised her by saying. He tossed her another devilish grin. “Believe me, I know it.”
He aimed a signifying glance over his shoulder at the livery stable. Then he mused aloud, “I think, if we try, we can beat them to it and save ourselves a whole lot of trouble.”
“Why, Sheriff Coyle.” Marielle batted her eyelashes at him. “Are you trying to evade the overall wisdom of the Morrow Creek Men’s Club? But the members are so very eager to give it!”
“You knew about that?” Dylan asked, walking faster.
Evidently, he was just as impatient as she was to sample that cushy bed in his suite at Olivia and Griffin’s hotel.
“Of course I know about it. All the women do. Every woman reports what she knows.” Marielle waved. “Do you think everyone in Morrow Creek is happily settled just on happenstance?” she asked, mimicking Daisy Cooper. “It takes effort.”
“And love,” Dylan amended. “A whole lot of love.”
“Plus some shared wisdom. Some matchmaking. And friends—and brothers—who are meddlesome...and often right.” Shrugging off the chill in the air, Marielle looked around at her peaceful, starlit community. Most of the households had settled down now. The saloon was quiet. The Lorndorff Hotel stretched upward nearby, promising untold wonders with Dylan. All of that still lay ahead for her, but right now, overall... “I love this town.”
“Me, too,” Dylan said. “Because it has you in it.”
Then they ascended the hotel’s steps and went into the ornate lobby, ready to begin their new life together with a reunion , a hurried-up wedding and probably a lot of advice.
Because that’s how things were done in Morrow Creek.
Lovingly. Sweetly. Meddlesomely...and wonderfully.