Sunday, March 19, 2017

Will you marry me...and other proposals

March 20

In honor of National Proposal Day, I decided to share the proposals from three of my books:

“I haven’t worn this dress in years,” Celeste said as Kent opened the door of the car. “I’m surprised it still fits.”
“It looks a little loose to me.”
“Not really.”
“Too loose is better than being too tight, isn’t it?” He closed the door and went around to the other side. “You’re gorgeous, Velvet. More beautiful than ever, and that’s going some.”
They didn’t talk in the elevator that whisked them to the top floor. Kent paid their admission fee but didn’t move to help her with her coat. “Leave it on and come outside with me.”
“It’s cold out there.”
“Just for a few minutes. I’ve got a couple of things to tell you.”
Unease began to nibble at her stomach. “All right.” She stepped through the French doors onto the tile of the outdoor pavilion. When she shivered, not altogether with the cold, Kent put his arm around her shoulders and moved her close to him.
 “First of all, I’ve thought about college and law school and decided it isn’t what I want.”
“Oh, Kent, why? Are you sure? You have the money, and everything’s all set up.”
“I’m sure. It’s like you said—it was something that was going to change my life, only now my life doesn’t need changing. I have what I want, Velvet.” He reached for her hand. “I talked to Mr. Bozeman, and he said he’d rather have me manage the warehouse than anybody else. I’d actually sent him a couple of guys to talk to last week, but he didn’t hire either one of them.”
He brought her fingers to his lips and kissed them. “Look, I can always take some business classes at the junior college here, if I decide I need them, but I know the plumbing business inside out. I like it, too. Mr. Bozeman said since I was staying on, he wanted to open a wholesale store in the front and sell to contractors. There’s lots of building going on since the war.”
“But what if you look back and wish you hadn’t given up this chance at school?”
“Did you look back, Velvet? When you took Jonny, you said you knew it was what you wanted. So did you look back?”
“No, and I never will.”
“I won’t either. It feels right, doing what I know, what I enjoy. Not going off to tilt with windmills. I’ve done my share of fighting, in Europe and at home, too. I’m tired of it. I made it through the war alive, which is more than a lot of guys did. It’s time to live. Really live.”
He slipped a jeweler’s box from his pocket. “Will you marry me, Velvet? I’ll be the best husband I know how to be. The best father, too. All I can do is try, but I think now… I think I just might succeed.” He opened the box and took out a ring. The small, perfect diamond gleamed in the reflected light from the ballroom. “It’s not big, but it’s a good one.”
He slipped it on her finger. “And, by the way, Jonny helped me pick it out.”

They ate chicken salad and deviled eggs to the sound of rain spattering the top of the car and skidding across the windshield. When they’d finished and transferred the basket again, Ruthann moved across the seat, careful to keep Drew’s leg level, and leaned back in his arms.
He scattered soft kisses on her neck and cheeks and buried his face in her hair. “I love you, precious girl.” He slid his hands down her arms to her hands. “Someday—someday soon, I hope—I’ll lead you up a mountain, and then we’ll take the last few steps together and fling ourselves into the abyss.”
“That’s almost like poetry.”
“Does it need interpreting?”
“I don’t think so. No, it doesn’t.” His warm breath on her neck stirred feelings Ruthann savored rather than shrank from.
His breath came faster. “You make me hope again. To remember what it means to be young and in love.”
“Maybe those two things don’t really go together.”
“Why not?”
“I suppose you can be both, but maybe one doesn’t appreciate the other.”
He laughed softly. “I’ve rubbed off on you.”
She turned in his arms. “You have a beautiful soul. I want to deserve it.”
“You will. You do.” His hands drifted up to her shoulders. “Marry me, Ruthann.” His eyes searched hers as they’d done the first day she’d met him. “Marry me soon. I love you…need you…want you.”
 “Yes,” she whispered. “Yes.”

Sam’s Last Stand (Book 6 of the Penelope Pembroke Cozy Mystery Series)

Jake had just finished asking the blessing over what he said was a piddling supper of sandwiches and soup, even if he was going to stuff himself at the Christmas party the next night, when Sam strolled in. Wearing a white turtleneck stretched across his broad chest and a tan leather jacket falling just below his denim hips, he took Penelope’s breath away.
“Hello, Nell. Mr. Kelley.”
“Welcome home, son! Hate to tell you the pickings are pretty slim tonight. We’re supposed to save our appetites for the party tomorrow.”
Sam stripped off his jacket and hung it on an empty hook beside the back door. Penelope realized her mouth was hanging open and closed it. “No hello Sam?” he asked, bending to kiss the top of her head.
She tensed. “You just walk in and out of here like…”
“Like it’s home,” Jake finished. “Nellie, get the man something to eat.”
“He can get it himself. The soup’s in the crockpot.”
Sam laughed, took a bowl from the cabinet, and ladled soup into it. “Mr. Kelley—Jake—I have a question for you.”
“Shoot, son.”
“How about if I take your daughter off your hands?”
Jake cackled. “I’d like that fine. She’s been talking about the old folks home again lately.”
“I have not!” Penelope sat up straight and glared at her father.
Jake winked at her. “Just how far do you want to take her, Sam?”
“Oh, about as far as St. Hyacinth’s and back.”
“Then that’s okay. I won’t miss any meals.”
“Daddy, stop it!”
Sam reached into his pocket and pulled out a velvet ring box. “I think this is what you wanted.” He flipped open the box and held it under Penelope’s nose.
She stared at the wide gold band gleaming against white satin. “I…” She pursed her lips and looked from Sam to her father and back again. “You both take a lot for granted,” she snapped.
“I just don’t want to mess with the status quo,” Jake said, reaching for another sandwich half. “Meals on time, laundry done, dry-cleaning sent out.”
“You can get all that at the old folks home,” Penelope muttered.
Sam wiggled the box. “So, what about it, Nell?”
“What about what?”
Sam’s eyes sought the ceiling. “Do you want me to get down on one knee?”
“It might help.”
Jake grinned. “Aw, Nellie, I didn’t get down on my knees to propose to your mother. We were sitting in the swing out back of her house, and I popped the question, sort of like Sam just did.”
“That was then, and this is now,” Penelope said through tight lips.
               Sam slid out of his chair to his knees. “Penelope Corinne Louise, please marry me. Tonight, tomorrow, anytime you want to. Just do it.”
Penelope closed her eyes against the hot tears forming. “Don’t be so melodramatic.”
Sam took her hand and brought it to his lips. “Nell, I love you. Will you marry me?”
Her eyes flew open and searched his which were also suspiciously bright. She nodded.
Sam brought his face close to hers and kissed her. “Thank you,” he whispered.
“I’m ready for dessert,” Jake said in a husky voice.

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