Adam waited with bated breath for her answer. His heart silently begged for a yes while his brain urged for patience. Their happy ending--he refused to believe they would have anything less now--was twenty years waiting to happen. A few more minutes wouldn't hurt either of them, not after all they'd discussed and admitted.
He watched her face, the slow smile that curved her full lips, the fine lines that appeared at the corner of her eyes, the way they lit up as she leaned toward him. Warm breath whispered over his lips. She tipped her head to the side and brushed the tip of her nose over his cheek. He closed his eyes and sighed. Her nearness, the sweet scent of orange and mint, overwhelmed his senses and he was lost in the familiarity of Emmaline.
The softly spoken word penetrated the heavy fog of comfort blanketing him. He reared back, eyes wide open, and stared. "What'd you say?"
She chuckled. "I said yes."
Adam swallowed hard. Disbelief warred with excitement. This moment was too good to be true. He wanted to grab and hold onto it with both hands yet wanted some reassurance she was sincere. He studied her and knew she spoke from the heart. The softness in her features revealed nothing but truth. He almost sighed in relief but settled for a smile instead.
He nodded. "Okay then."
"You gonna kiss her or wait another ten years to do that?"
Red colored her cheeks as Emmaline choked on a laugh. Adam half-turned and eyed their son with faux irritation.
Brandon leaned against the entryway, a lazy grin on his face. "You didn't really think I'd stay outside the whole time, did you?" He snorted. "You should know better."
"You'd think I do," Adam drawled and rubbed Emmaline's back. "But I figured you'd have outgrown that annoying habit by now."
Brandon laughed and straightened. "Wishful thinking, Dad." He stepped closer, gaze fixed on his mom's face as his amusement gave way to concern. "But, seriously, are you okay now? Both of you?"
Adam turned to the woman in his arms. Her beautiful face flushed pink, amber eyes bright with silent laughter. She nodded and he knew. He cupped her cheek, let his thumb trail lightly over her soft skin.
"We're okay," he murmured.
He closed the space between him and the one woman he wanted, could ever want. She said his name, a whispered prayer that he answered with a touch of his lips to hers. Her swift intake of breath ended as he swept her into his arms, locked her against his body and poured every apology, every admission, every hope, every ounce of desire he had for her into his kiss.
She sighed when he pulled away, eyelids fluttering open when he kissed the tip of her nose. He gazed into her eyes, saw the determination in them and he prayed she saw the same in his. They weren't the people they were when they first met. They weren't even the same people from a decade ago. They were older, wiser, stronger.
Warmth filled his heart. Contentment seeped through his veins. He leaned forward and captured Emmaline's mouth with a soul-searing kiss. Whatever came next, they'd face it together, beat the odds, and come out on top. He pulled back and smiled.
He'd give her everything he had this time because she, more than anyone else, deserved nothing less.