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“Well, since I’ll never get tired of saying them, I guess we’ll have to resign ourselves to making each other revoltingly happy for the rest of our lives.” He stepped away from her reluctantly, and Bronwyn had to bite back her protest as his gorgeous—and visibly aroused—body moved beyond her reach. When she unconsciously raised one of her hands toward him, he tut-tutted and waved a finger back and forth in front of her face

“Hands off the merchandise, lady. I have plans for this evening and I can’t have you distracting me. Why don’t you head up for a nap and a shower? And chat with Kayla like you’ve been dying to do for the last hour? Leave me to prepare our dinner.”

She grinned at the thought of him bumbling about in the kitchen. He really wasn’t the domestic god he seemed to think he was. He made a terrible mess and his meals were often culinary disasters, with unpalatable over- or undercooked dishes. Still, he tried—bless him—and she appreciated his efforts. He was always so disgustingly pleased with himself that she didn’t have the heart to mention the occasional raw potato or the burned edges on a steak. She blew him a little kiss and headed toward the hallway, picking up her overnight bag along the way.

“Dress code?” she turned to ask him, and he shrugged.

“Casual.”

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She nodded and turned away again.

“Give the munchkin my love.”

She flicked him a thumbs-up to acknowledge his request.

She made her way back downstairs an hour later, feeling refreshed after a short nap and a long shower. She had also called Kayla to say good night but the little girl had been distracted by a game she was playing with Rhys and Rick, so the call had been a little rushed. She had taken Bryce at his word and hadn’t dressed up, wearing only a pair of jeans and a loose T-shirt. She hadn’t bothered with shoes at all; the under-floor heating kept her feet warm enough

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Whatever Bryce was cooking up in the huge kitchen smelled surprisingly good. She was a little mystified when she got to the kitchen and saw no trace of him. Curiously, she poked around a few of the scattered Tupperware containers left on the white marble top of the gorgeous stone island in the middle of the kitchen. The whole house had a spacious log cabin feel to it, with its stone floors and wooden walls and high-beamed ceilings. Unfortunately her search yielded little in the way of answers except to inform her that whatever Bryce was offering for dinner was of the stick-in-the-microwave-and-heat variety. Which could only mean that he had asked someone else—probably Celeste—to cook it. She smiled ruefully at his minor deception, but her taste buds were truly grateful.

She heard a sound coming from the living room and headed in that direction. She found him out on the large, covered balcony, which had a spectacular view of the lagoon. In fact, they were so close to the water that it actually felt like they were on a boat out on the lagoon when they stood on the balcony. In winter, they were able to enclose the space entirely by slotting in glass panes between the eaves and the balcony railing. It allowed them to still enjoy the view without being exposed to the cold wind and rain. It was a pretty mild evening, so Bryce had a couple of the panes open, allowing the night sounds and the fragrant briny air to drift in.

He was bustling around the round table that he had shifted into the center of the balcony. It was covered in a white tablecloth—the finest linen of course—and he had pulled out all the stops, bringing out the best china and silverware for the occasion. He also had a gorgeous bouquet of red roses in a crystal vase as the centerpiece of the table. He was currently struggling to keep the candles lit. Every time he managed to get one tiny flame burning, a breeze would snuff it out, and he was starting to curse under his breath. She giggled to herself when he tried again, only to be foiled by another mischievous gust of wind.

She lovingly traced the lines of his strong back with her eyes and saw that he had changed his clothes. He was wearing a pair of faded jeans that conformed beautifully to the gorgeous curve of his firm butt and a black dress shirt with a pair of running shoes. His hair was damp and a bit messy, so he must have showered sometime in the last hour.

He swore even more vituperatively than before, and she rolled her eyes before walking up to stand beside him. He was so absorbed in his task that he didn’t notice her until she placed a hand on his back. He jumped before relaxing when he saw that it was Bronwyn.

“I can’t get the damned things lit,” he groused, gesturing to the two tall, white candles beautifully showcased in their sterling silver holders. Bronwyn twined her arm around his and sandwiched his large hand between hers. She rested her cheek against his hard deltoid and contemplated the problem, while idly playing with his fingers before straightening up and smiling at him. The living room light illuminated the balcony just enough to enable them to see each other. She held up a finger indicating that he should wait there before dashing back inside for a few minutes.

She returned with a triumphant smirk, holding up four little scented Glade candles in glass holders. They usually kept them around for candlelit baths. He grinned and grabbed a couple of the glasses from her.

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“Vanilla? My favorite,” he announced happily as he placed them strategically around the table. After they were lit, he frowned doubtfully at the scant light they offered. “Are there any more?” he asked, and she nodded.

I didn’t want to ruin your dinner by having the whole place reek of vanilla. Everything would taste like cake, she signed.

Fair point, he acknowledged.

“I think this is perfect.” She waved her arm at the table and he smiled.

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