The Obsession

By: Nora Roberts



“It’s fine. I’m fine.”

“When you’re ready, Xander’s going to carry you upstairs so you can sleep awhile. We’ll all be right here. Just right here.”

“I’m so glad you’re here.”

“I’m going to help Harry. You call if you need anything.”

She smiled, sipped lemonade when he went inside. “It’s starting to feel like a dream. Did you know they were here?”

“Mason told me. They flew in early this morning.”

“You’re going to like them.”

“I already like them. What’s not to like? I’ve got a beer and I’m getting cheesy eggs.” He had to set the ice aside to dig the phone out of his pocket. “I’ll answer later. I’ve been getting calls and texts for hours. Everybody wants to know how you’re doing, come see you. Bring food, flowers, Jesus knows.”

“Everybody?”

“Name somebody. I bet they’ve called or texted.”

Like family, she thought. Friends and community could be like family if you let it happen.

“We could have some over—Harry loves to cook for people. It’s nice they want to. I’m just tired. Pill’s already kicking in.”

“Tomorrow. They can come tomorrow if you’re up for it.”

“That’s probably better. It’s okay now.”

“Is it?”

“Yes. I’m not going to ask what you said to him, but thank you for whatever you did say that drained the blood from his body.”

“You finished him off.”

“I finished.” She nodded. “I’m where I want to be, with who I want to be with, and I’m done worrying about blood ties and how people I don’t care about react.”

“Good.”

“And I love this spot. I love looking out at the water, and knowing I will day after day.”

“It’s a good spot. We ought to get married down there in the backyard.”

“It’s a good spot for— What?”

“Fall’s nice, all the color.” Contemplatively he sipped the beer. “October. That’d give you time to do what women think they need for it. Flowers and the dress, whatever.”

“But married? That’s—”

“How it ought to be.” Casually, he rubbed his big hand up and down her calf. “You’ve got until October to get used to it. That’s long enough.”

“You actually consider this a proposal?”

“I think it’s perfect,” Seth said from the doorway, then wiped his eyes and stepped back inside.

“I’ll get you a ring. We’ll make a good life here.”

“I haven’t said I’d—”

“You will,” he said easily. “I love you, Naomi. That’s the start, the finish, and everything in between.” He looked at her, those strong blue eyes. “You love me.”

“I do. I really do. I just never thought about getting married.” She took his injured hand, laid the ice over it again. “But I think I could get used to it.”

“Good. October. Anything else is negotiable.”

“The uncles are going to want one hell of a show.”

He shrugged. “Why wouldn’t they? Shows are fine, as long as there’s this.”

He leaned over, touched his lips to hers.

As long as there’s love, she thought, sighing into the kiss. And the good, strong place to build a life together.

A life of sunrises and lilacs, of friends and quiet moments.

And a really good dog.

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