Craving the Cowboy(68)

By: Liz Isaacson

He couldn’t wait another moment to kiss her, so he didn’t. She melted into him, matched the tempo of his mouth, and fisted her fingers in his jacket to bring him even closer.

“Felicity,” he whispered, his lips catching against hers. “I wanted to talk to you about something.”

“Right now?” She pressed into him again and kissed him like she hadn’t seen him in months, which of course, she hadn’t.

“Yes.” He put a couple of inches between them, his brain firing on all cylinders just to keep up with the conversation.

He had beautiful words rehearsed. All lined up. But all he could think of now when faced with the woman he loved was, “I want to get married as soon as possible after you return to Grape Seed Falls.”

Surprise paraded across Felicity’s face. She obviously hadn’t been expecting marriage to be the topic, and Dwayne mentally kicked himself for bringing it up. His sister had been right, blast it.


“We’ve talked about a family,” he said. “We need to get married to do that.”

“Yeah, I know, sure.” She stepped away from him and slicked her hair back with her palm. “How soon after I come back?”

“How long will it take you to plan a wedding?”

Pure panic poured across her face now, and Dwayne could only appreciate that she wasn’t hiding it from him. She sputtered and seemed to fold into herself when she hugged her arms around her middle.

“Forget it,” Dwayne said. “Let’s go inside. It smells like chocolate.” He moved to step past her, but she blocked him.

“I can’t forget it.” She gazed up at him, her fear fading. “I want to get married. I do. I just…need some time to wrap my head around it.” She tipped up on her toes and grazed her mouth across his. “You understand that, don’t you?”

If anyone did, it was him. He nodded, forced a smile to his lips, and said, “Of course, Felicity. Whatever you need.” But something writhed inside him. Something that demanded to know what he needed, and how he could get it without pushing her away.

Chapter Twenty-Five

Dwayne enjoyed Christmas with Felicity and her family. The food was good, and it turned out that he was really good at hearts, a card game she and her brothers took very seriously. Parker had pouted about his loss all through pie and ice cream—until Dwayne told him about King and that he should come ride the bay at the ranch.

Felicity took him shopping on Boxing Day, and they laughed and held hands and wandered the streets. Near the end of the day, she squeezed his hand and said, “There’s a jewelry store right there. You wanna go in?”

Dwayne couldn’t find the words to tell her that he’d already bought a ring. “Sure.” He let her lead him into the store, already well-versed with the display cases, the diamond cuts, and the ring sizes.

But Felicity wasn’t, and she asked a lot of questions and even tried on a few rings. Dwayne was relieved to see her asking for “more traditional gold,” and that she didn’t seem to prefer one cut above the other.

He did learn that she needed a size eight, and he vowed to get her ring ready for her as soon as he got home. They left the store without buying anything, and Dwayne pulled her into his side. “That was fun.”

“You know what? It was.” She giggled and leaned further into him. “I’ll admit I was scared when you said married yesterday.”


“It just hasn’t been on my mind. That’s all.”

Dwayne approached his truck and paused. “I have more to tell you,” he said. “A lot has changed around Grape Seed Ranch since you left.”

Her eyebrows lifted and she said, “It has?”

“I’ll start with the easy stuff.” He opened the door and gestured for her to climb in.

“Start talkin’,” she said as she boosted herself into the cab.

He leaned into the truck and put his hand on her knee. “My parents moved out of the homestead, and I moved into it.”

Felicity watched as Dwayne grinned, closed the door, and went around the front of the truck to get behind the steering wheel.