Born in ice, p.50
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       Born in Ice, p.50
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         Part #2 of Born In series by Nora Roberts

  "More or less. More, actually." The panic was still there, brewing inside him. He only hoped it didn't show. "I said I love you, Brianna."

  "I know. I remember." She managed a smile as she rose. "You don't forget the first time you hear it."

  "The first time I heard it was the first time I made love to you. I was hoping I'd hear it again."

  "I love you, Grayson. You know I do."

  "We're going to see about that." He reached into his pocket and took out a small box.

  "You didn't have to buy me a gift. You only had to come home."

  "I thought about that a lot, driving back from Dublin. Coming home. It's the first time I have." He handed her the box. "I'd like to make it a habit."

  She opened the box and, bracing a hand on the bed behind her, sat again.

  "I harassed the manager of the hotel in Dublin until he had the gift shop opened. You Irish are so sentimental, I didn't even have to bribe him." He swallowed. "I thought I'd have better luck with a traditional ring. I want you to marry me, Brianna. I want us to make a home together."

  "Grayson-"

  "I know I'm a bad bet," he hurried on. "I don't deserve you. But you love me anyway. I can work anywhere, and I can help you here, with the inn."

  As she looked at him, her heart simply overflowed. He loved her, wanted her, and would stay. "Grayson-"

  "I'll still have to travel some." He plowed over her, terrified she'd refuse him. "But it wouldn't be like before. And sometimes you could come with me. We'd always come back here, Brie. Always. This place, it means almost as much to me as it does to you."

  "I know. I-"

  "You can't know," he interrupted. "I didn't know myself until I'd left. It's home. You're home. Not a trap," he murmured. "A sanctuary. A chance. I want to make a family here." He dragged a hand through his hair as she stared at him. "Jesus, I want that. Children, long-term plans. A future. And knowing you're right there, every night, every morning. No one could ever love you the way I do, Brianna. I want to pledge to you." He drew an unsteady breath. "From this day, from this hour."

  "Oh, Grayson." She choked out his name. Dreams, it seemed, could come true. "I've wanted-"

  "I've never loved anyone before, Brianna. In my whole life there's been no one but you. So I'll treasure you. I swear it. And if you'd just-"

  "Oh, be quiet, will you," she said between laughter and tears, "so I can say yes."

  "Yes?" He plucked her off the bed again, stared into her eyes. "No making me suffer first?"

  "The answer's yes. Just yes." She put her arms around him, laid her head on his shoulder. And smiled. "Welcome home, Grayson."

 
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