Lone Star SeductionBy: Day Leclaire
He cupped her face, his thumbs sweeping away tears she hadn’t even realized she’d cried. “I love you, Becca. I have since the moment we first met.”
“And I love you.” She hesitated, one final cloud casting a shadow on her happiness. “You realize your reputation will be linked with mine and my father’s?”
“I was a fool,” he said simply. “And I’m more sorry than I can possibly express. I’d be honored to have my name linked with yours and be part of your family.”
It was all she needed to hear. With a contented sigh, she surrendered to the inevitable…a life with Alex, filled with laughter, passion beyond imagining and a love that would last them for the rest of their lives. “Take me home, Alex.”
He swept her into his arms, allowing love to wash away the bitterness of the past and provide a pathway toward their future. “I thought you’d never ask.”
The small mission church was crowded to capacity, the beautiful stone building decorated for the Christmas Eve wedding ceremony in fresh greenery and red and white roses that combined their perfume with the delicate scent of candle wax. A soft prelude echoed off the walls and rafters as Alicia and Justin’s bridal party made its way down the aisle.
Cara, in her role as matron of honor, reached the altar just as the sweet herald of the Trumpet Voluntary sounded. And then Alicia appeared, glorious in a fitted ivory gown that swept into a long train. She clung to her brother’s arm, tears glistening from beneath the beautiful lace mantilla-style veil that framed her exquisite features. Beside her, Alex looked more handsome than Rebecca had ever seen him. While all eyes were riveted on his sister, his gaze never wavered from hers.
Once he’d given away the bride in traditional fashion, he crossed to where Rebecca was seated in the front pew. As the clock edged from Christmas Eve toward Christmas Day, the ceremony proceeded at a stately pace.
Through it all, Alex held her hand, their fingers interlaced. It couldn’t have been more perfect. While Justin and Alicia exchanged their vows, their love for one another unmistakable, the other couples who’d recently found a love just as deep and enduring exchanged looks of joy and passion. And then it was over. The newly married couple shared a lingering kiss while tears of happiness glistened in the eyes of those who watched.
Trumpets began the recessional, the familiar strands of Ode to Joy accompanying the bridal party’s departure. While the guests began a general exodus of the church, Alex gathered Rebecca into his arms.
“It’s been a long, hard road for us, hasn’t it, dulzura?”
“At times,” she conceded.
“Maybe because it’s been so hard, it makes this moment so much more meaningful.”
She smiled and asked, “This moment? Why this moment?”
“Listen.” Around them the bells tolled the midnight hour. “It’s the first minute of Christmas and my final responsibility to my family has been discharged.” He took her hand in his and slipped a ring onto her finger. “I can’t think of a better time to tell you that I love you more than life itself and to ask if you’ll marry me.”
A gorgeous diamond solitaire captured the flickering candlelight and threw it outward in rainbow rays of hope. “Oh, Alex.” It took her a moment to gather her self-control enough to respond. “I’ve loved you since the minute I first saw you.”
His gaze grew tender. “Is that a yes?”
She answered him with a kiss, a kiss that held all the passion their life together would bring and echoed the love that had filled the church that evening. When she pulled back, the expression in her eyes was beyond anything he’d ever see before.
“Yes, Alex. It’s definitely a yes.”