The Enemy's Daughter(27)

By: Anne Marie Winston

"Of course I forgive you, Adam." But her voice, her expression, was still serious and reserved.

For the first time it occurred to him that her forgiveness and her love might not come hand in hand, and his heart felt like a lead weight in his chest.

"Thank you," she said, "for whatever you said to my father to bring him to his senses."

He shook his head, forcing himself to concentrate on her words. "I didn't. He loves you. He just didn't know how to show it, and honestly, I think he was afraid of caring too much for you. Losing your mother almost destroyed him. He couldn't take a chance on going through that again."

"But life is full of chances," she said.

"He knows that now," he told her, "and he's anxious to start fresh with you."

Silence fell.

"The press is on the terrace," he said. "I had to promise them that in exchange for the television time."

Her eyebrows rose. "What would you have done if I hadn't come?"

He shrugged. "They could have run some great footage of me looking like a total fool."

She smiled faintly. "Lucky for you I showed."

He searched her face. "Is it? You haven't answered me yet."

"What was the question?"

Understanding dawned, and with it the first glimmer of light returned to his world. He reached into his pocket and withdrew a small box. "Since you apparently saw the interview, you know what's in here." He dropped to one knee. "Selene Van Gelder, may I have your hand in marriage?"

She stood stock-still, closed her eyes for a moment, and when she opened them again, she was the one with tears in her eyes. "Yes," she whispered. "Oh, Adam, yes!"

Relief, heady and sweet, poured through him. He stood and opened his arms, and she came into them without hesitation. Her body was warm and soft and familiar and he pressed her close, seeking her mouth. "I thought I'd ruined things forever," he confessed when he lifted his mouth.

A shout from the terrace distracted them. "Put the ring on her finger, Danforth!"

Adam grinned, turning his head to acknowledge the intrusion. Then he looked down at her, nestled securely in his arms where she belonged. "Shall I?"

"I'd like to wear your ring," she said.

He stepped back a pace and opened the little box. "You did see the whole interview, right? So you know where I got this?"

She smiled tremulously. "Yes. To say I was stunned would be a gross understatement."

"Your father loves you," Adam said. "He knows he needs to work on how to show it." He removed the lovely diamond with its smaller matching stones on each side, and gently worked it onto her ring finger. "This is a symbol of our love, but it's also a symbol of family. Yours, mine and the one I hope we create together."

"Soon," she added, as they admired the ring together.

"As soon as you like." He drew her to him again. "Let's get out of here," he murmured against her mouth. "I don't want an audience for what I want to do with you next."

Selene laughed. "Why do I think I'm going to like it?" She feathered her fingers over the back of his neck and smiled as her hips brushed his.

He shivered as need rushed through him, and drew away to take her hand. "You'll never believe what happened to me yesterday," he said as he led her out of the garden toward the rest of their lives together.

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