“Candles, wine, and what’s this?” Marcie lifted a silver plate warmer.
A light breeze drifted in the open patio doors fluttering the thin gauze of her white swimsuit cover. She peered up at Sam when he didn’t answer. He never failed to take her breath away. The way he looked in his white cotton shirt, his khaki shorts as he lit the candles on the small table in their beachfront suite in Mazatlan.
“What’s the occasion?” Marcie touched the pink roses with sprigs of baby’s breath in the center glass vase. She leaned over and breathed in the perfume and glanced shyly up at Sam. His wavy hair had lightened from the two weeks they’d spent in the bright Mexican sun. His tanned face appeared relaxed as if he’d left all his worries behind. But then she still couldn’t believe he resigned from the DEA. And after the investigation collapsed, he whisked her away protecting her as if he could shelter her from everything.
“Valentine’s Day, did you forget?”
Maybe it was the way she stood so still and watched him that had him striding around the table and lifting her long windswept hair over her tanned shoulder. She leaned into his touch and needed to breathe. He was so damn good-looking, and still turned every woman’s head. But Sam was faithful to her. So it shouldn’t surprise her he’d plan something like this, but old wounds were hard to shake. With Dan, the one who fooled her, she’d told herself a hundred times it didn’t matter each time he ignored her on those special days. And she’d let him.
“Hey babe are you crying?” She reached for his wrist after he wiped away her tears.
“Will I ever get used to what an amazing man you are, I matter to you. And I can’t help this. Because I can’t believe I found you. That you love me. And you never turned your back on me—not once. Even after you found out what I’d done.”
He didn’t smile but the heat from his mesmerizing blue eyes left no doubt he’d move heaven and earth to be with her. Marcie kissed his palm when he cupped her cheek. And she allowed him to pull her into his solid arms as he rested his chin on top of her head.
“So what’s for dinner?” She linked her fingers with his. He slid out her chair— helped her sit, and rested his hand possessively—protectively on her bare shoulder, when the wide neckline of the soft cotton slipped down, exposing the thin purple bikini strap.
“Maybe I should change.” Marcie started to get up, but Sam leaned down and touched his lips with hers.
“No. You look fabulous, all sexy under that sheer dress you got going on there over that band aid you call a bathing suit. It’ll be less to peel off that sexy body of yours.” His smile was intoxicating as he lifted the metal plate warmer. “Rack of lamb, asparagus with hollandaise.”
“Mm” Marcie scooped back her hair and breathed in the fragrant aroma. “I’m starving. Thank you for doing this. I should have thought of it.” The truth was she had but a lingering fear of rejection poked its ugly head, like an unwelcome guest. Take a chance and believe was something she worked on with Sam—every day. Not once had he used her. He was the genuine knight she’d always asked for. And she loved every moment they spent together, whether sleeping, talking, sitting or just holding hands.
The candles flickered in the dim room as the sun lingered at the edge of the ocean—the perfect horizon—the perfect romantic setting with her Mr. Right.
Sam uncorked the light blush wine and filled her glass. The fruity aroma she’d loved the first few times in Mexico, but lately turned her stomach. Sam held up his glass. “To the most beautiful honest woman who turned my life upside down and made me believe once again that truelove’s possible.”
Her throat thickened and she tried to swallow past the lump wedged in her throat. She’d barely shed a tear her entire life, but since meeting Sam it felt as if she constantly blinked back that endless sting of tears burning her eyes. She wasn’t one of those weepy women, so why? Maybe, for the first time in her life she had a man who truly loved her—who truly believed in her.
“I love you. Damn you—look what you do to me.” Her hand trembled as she raised her glass and touched his. When he took a drink she didn’t. She set down her glass, and dropped her gaze to her plate. Picking up her fork and knife she cut into the lamb, took a bite and nearly groaned as the savory tender lamb melted in her mouth. All the while she could feel his eyes burning into her.
She swallowed as she looked up. Sam tilted his head and swirled the light peachy colored wine in his glass. “Something up?”
Marcie blinked and wiped her mouth with the blue cloth napkin.
“You’ve not had a sip of wine in a week. And don’t think I haven’t noticed you turned two shades of gray each time you get a whiff of that Mexican food wafting in from those outdoor stands. And you’ve been tired, unusually so. But then again, after what you’ve been through I just thought…” He shoved an index finger at her glass. “And you’re not drinking again. You feeling okay?”
She bit her lip. Set down her fork and rested her napkin in her lap. Marcie warmed as she met the gaze of the man she loved, who didn’t have a dishonest bone his gorgeous body. “Sam how do you feel about kids?”
Lorhainne Eckhart began her writing career in 2008, when she published her first novel, The Captain’s Lady, a Contemporary Military Romance through The Wild Rose Press. You can find Lorhainne most days on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, contributing posts to her two blogs The Choice of Giving and Illusions while actively promoting her books, The Forgotten Child, The Captain’s Lady, her supernatural romantic suspense series, The Choice, and a children’s illustrated adventure, A Father’s Love.
Lorhainne Eckhart is a member of the RWA, Sisters in Crime and Victoria RWA. She lives on a small Island in the Northern Gulf. And somewhere in her busy schedule she finds time to write and be a full-time mom to her three children. She is the mother of a special needs child, her greatest gift having to learn organization and how to stay focused on what’s really important in life. She lives by simple rules, the same she teaches her children, stay honest, keep your word always, never take advantage of anyone, and treat everyone with respect. She’s an advocate for children with special needs. Passionate about preserving our environment and much of what Lorhainne advocates finds a way into each of her stories.