BECAUSE OF YOU
Paulina was nested in the pit of Tripp’s arm. He rubbed the silken skin of her shoulder. “I’d say a cup of tea would hit the spot, hey? What d’you say?” He pecked the top of her head.
“Mmm…I could lie like this forever.” Her breath dusted his nipple.
Yep, now was the time to withdraw the pink box in his jacket pocket. “I’ll be right back.”
He wormed his arm from out beneath her. She cuddled the pillow, peeking at him through a fringe of dark lashes.
Tripp tugged on his jeans. When he opened the bedroom door, Shaman scampered inside. He bolted for the bed and sniffed beneath.
Hmm, Miss Kitty must’ve been hiding there when he’d made love to Paulina.
Chuckling, Tripp ambled into the kitchen and started the digital kettle to heat the water. From the cupboard, he withdrew Paulina’s favorite mug and one for himself. He set them on the granite countertop. It would be tough for her to leave behind what she’d lovingly decorated, but he’d give her free rein at his place, because his house would become their home.
He set the tea bags in the mugs.
Shaman trotted back into the kitchen.
“She’s in the middle, far from your snout.” Tripp snickered. “You’re gonna have to get along with her, if ya get my drift.” He winked at his dog. “C’mon.”
With Shaman creeping at Tripp’s bare feet, he headed into the addition and riffled through his jacket. The velvet of the box caressed his palm. He held his finger to his lips while the dog cocked his head.
“C’mon, boy,” he whispered. Maybe he should do something corny and put the ring in Paulina’s tea. Or would the hot liquid do something to the gold? Maybe that was a bad idea.
Once their teas had steeped, he used honey to flavor Paulina’s and added sugar to his. He ambled back to the bedroom. Shaman followed.
Paulina sat up with her knees drawn to her beautiful tits and her back against the pillow. She held out her hands. “Thanks.”
“Miss Kitty still under the bed?” Tripp handed Paulina a mug.
“Of course.” Paulina motioned at Shaman. “You know how she feels about him.”
“Welp, they’d better get used to each other.” There was no time like the present to spit out what he had to say.
He reached into the back of his pants where he’d tucked the box in order to carry their tea from the kitchen.
“What’re you doing?” Paulina peered.
Heat coated Tripp’s face. His free hand was behind his back, his palm on the velvet box. “I got something to ask you.” He set his mug on the nightstand and sat on the edge of the mattress.
“Ask away.” She sipped. Her red mouth spread into a smile, and her eyes sparked. Strands of long hair dusted her waist.
A frog seemed to grow inside Tripp’s throat. Of all the moments to ribbit or croak. He swallowed. Damn, this woman could be intimidating. Maybe it was her see-through-him stare, the same kind of stare she used when assessing financial statements at work. Or it could have been her clipped tone.
“You’re not at the office.” His statement came out with a dash of humor.
Paulina’s scrutinizing expression vanished. Her dark eyes glittered once more. “No, I’m not. I’m with you. And I am so looking forward to my holiday.”
“Our holiday.” He leaned in and kissed her supple mouth.
“Yes, ours.” Delight filled her voice.
“We don’t always have to book our holidays this way,” Tripp slowly began. His knee bobbed on its own. Try as he might, he couldn’t stop the darn thing from shaking.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean…we can do other stuff for our holidays…if you say yes.” Shit, had his suggestion come out as a croak or a ribbit?
“Yes?” Paulina tapped her nail on her lip. Her black brows narrowed slightly. Her mouth curved at the corners. “What are you up to?”
Maybe he was handling this the wrong way. He’d taken many workshops on people, because his job demanded an ability to read others. Paulina fell in the blue zone. A woman of facts, logic, and planning.
Aw hell, there wasn’t going to be an easy way to say what he had to say.
He thrust forward the pink box and opened the lid. “Marry me, and we can do whatever we wish on our holidays for the rest of our lives.”