“You still not having made up your mind about staying here,” she finished for me. “Well,” she mused over it, “I tell you what . . . Why don’t you take the meeting instead? You are the business side of this business, so it really only makes sense.”

I guess it couldn’t hurt and it would be a nice distraction. “Okay. When and where is the meeting set?”

“In two days at a bar on King’s Way. We decided a bar kept it relaxed, casual, no pressure.”

“Okay. I’ll be there.”

* * *

As I walked into the bar at number one King’s Way, where I was supposed to be meeting Henry Lawson, fashion buyer, I was calm and prepared. If I were perhaps more excited at the prospect of adding the items we sold at Darraign to a department store I might have been nervous, but as it was I was unsure about the whole thing, so I felt like I was attending the meeting to feel this guy out as much as he was interviewing me.

The huge bar was positioned center of the room with tables and stools at the window and tables and bench seating along the right. There was no one on this side of the bar, so I smiled at the bartender, who nodded hello and began to walk around to the other side.

I scanned the seating that ran along the outer wall and then flicked my gaze up toward the end of the bar.

And I froze in place.

My heart was pounding in my ears as I stared at the oh-so-familiar profile of the man sitting at the end of the bar, drinking a beer.

A gorgeous profile.



That word always sounded so cheesy to me unless it was said at a wedding or a funeral, but it was the one perfect word right now for how I felt about him.

As if he sensed my stare, he looked up and tensed. His intimate gaze burned through my clothes as he studied every inch of me. And then he unfolded his tall, beautiful body from the stool and started striding slowly toward me.

Craig stopped a few feet from me and I almost moaned in distress.

I wanted him in my arms.

I wanted to breathe him in.

And yet for some reason my feet wouldn’t move.

“Looking for Henry Lawson?” He gave me a small smile with more than a hint of wicked mischief in it.

Once I stopped shivering in pleasure at the sound of his deep voice I processed his words. My mouth fell open in surprise. “Darcy . . . She set this up?”

Craig nodded, his expression suddenly serious. “She called me to tell me that you wanted to come home but you were afraid I wouldn’t want you anymore because you left.”

I felt another jolt of surprise. Christ, my sister knew me much better than I realized.

“I told her I understood why you left and I’ve never held it against you. For three weeks I wished for a reason to hate you, to make it easier, but there was none. I had nothing to hold on to but the sheer amount of love and agony I felt watching you walk through security at the airport.” The pain melted from his eyes. “Until now.”

“So . . . wh-why are you here instead of letting me come to you?”

“Because by the time Darcy called I’d already booked my flight. Mum, Mags, and Jeannie gave me their blessing to start a life here. With you. I called a mate of mine who works construction over here and arranged to stay with him for a while, and I’ve got an appointment with a financial officer at the bank to look over my business plans for opening my own bar. Australia appeals to me. I like the weather. I like the people. This is a good move for me. That we can be together just makes it perfect. Owning my own bar probably won’t happen right away, but I’m sure I can get work somewhere until I can get it up and running. Anyway, when Darcy heard all that she said she wanted to be in on surprising you, so she set this little scenario up.”

I could barely breathe with the happiness that was flooding over me all of a sudden. I couldn’t even think what to say that would encapsulate all that I was feeling. Finally I decided on, “Get over here.”

He flashed me a grin before closing the space between us and wrapping me up in his arms and off my feet. I buried my face in his neck as he held on tight.

A few seconds later he lowered me to my feet. I pulled his head down with me and kissed him with all the longing that had built up inside of me these last few weeks.

Was it only weeks? It had felt like years.

“I love you,” I murmured against his mouth. “I’ve missed you more than anything.”

“I’ve missed you, too,” he groaned. “Fuck, I love you, lady.”

I grinned at his declaration. It wasn’t the words of a poet but it was romantic as hell to me.


The low morning light was starting to fall into the room from a band of glass at the top of Rain’s window that wasn’t covered by a blind. He’d need to fix that for her.

The light spilled across Rain’s face as she lay sleeping, and for the first time in weeks Craig’s soul was soothed.

He should be asleep but jet lag was playing havoc with him. When he arrived in Sydney he’d crashed on his friend’s sofa bed for two hours before getting up to get ready to meet Rain. Now it was early in the morning but to him it was late afternoon and he was wide awake. Even after his energetic reunion with Rain.

He trailed the back of his knuckles across the soft skin of her upper arm, tracing a familiar freckle with his thumb. Not too long ago he thought he’d never see that freckle again.

A rush of affection for the freckle overcame him and he couldn’t help but lean over to press his lips to it. When he pulled back Rain’s sleepy gaze met his. She gave him a soft smile before reaching up to brush her fingers over his cheek. “Jet lag?”

He nodded. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“Don’t worry about it. I don’t want to miss a thing.”

Amusement flooded him. “I don’t want to close my eyes,” he sang. “I don’t want to fall asleep.”

“Ugh.” She made a face and punched at him halfheartedly. “Ruin the moment, why don’t you.”

Craig laughed and fell over her, making her giggle. He kissed her nose. “I take it Aerosmith won’t be on our wedding playlist, then?”

She blinked sleepily, and fuck if it wasn’t adorable. “Excuse me?”

“You heard me.” He nudged her legs apart, deciding if she was awake then she was going to help him burn off the jet lag.


He nodded, pressing kisses along her elegant jaw. “One day.”

He felt her smile. “One day,” she repeated.

“Because,” he whispered in her ear. “This is forever.”

Pulling back to see her expression, Craig was gratified to see the surprise in her eyes. “You really think so?” she whispered back.

“Aye,” he told her as he kissed her sweet mouth. “I can’t lose you again. No matter what happens I will fight like fuck to keep you.”

Rain gave him a slow, sweet, and slightly smug smile that made him laugh. “And so the realist becomes a romantic.”

He grinned at her assessment because no one else who knew him would ever suggest such a thing. But then again, no one else knew him in the way that this woman did, and no one else ever would. “Only with you, darlin’, only with you.”

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