Smiley Page 102

Smiley kept his eyes closed and regulated his breathing. He tried not to sweat.

’’The female loves you. She won\ back out. You\ e already mated.’’

He opened his eyes and stared at Jericho. They\d changed clothes and sat in the lobby, a table between them. They both tensed every time the elevator doors opened, waiting for Vanni to come down.

’’Did I forget anything?’’

Jericho shook his head. ’’It\s handled. Creek and I went over everything. We won\ let you down. We have a minister who is Species friendly and happy to do the ceremony. We\ve used him in the past and he\s good at keeping secrets. The task force team asked Beth what ring size Vanni is and we got matching gold bands for the ceremony. A team went out there on that hilltop overlooking the river and made it look pretty. We have four officers there just out of sight to make certain nothing goes wrong. It will just be words and rings exchanged at a pretty location. I have a camera in my pocket so there will be pictures for you to frame in your home. They said the weather is perfect and the sun will be going down during the ceremony. They even have lighting if we run late but we won\ .’’

’’We still haven\ really decided where we\ e going to live full-time.’’

’’There\s no hurry. Now you\ e just grasping at things to worry about. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing again.’’

’’Should I have put off the blood test? I was just afraid Vanni might get upset, depending on the outcome.’’

’’You said she wasn\ angry when you told her she could be pregnant.’’

’’She wasn\ .’’

’’Stop worrying. You\ e making me edgy.’’

’’Sorry.’’

’’It\s just a human wedding. You got her to agree to be your mate. The tough part is over. Relax.’’

’’You\ e right. She\s here and she\s mine.’’

’’Exactly.’’

The doors dinged for the elevator and Smiley held his breath. Beth stepped out first. He stood so fast his knee slammed into the edge of the table. He grimaced but ignored the pain. He rushed forward but came to a halt when Vanni stepped out. He swayed a little on his feet. A firm hand gripped his elbow to steady him.

Vanni\s hair was down and she wore a lacy dress that he hadn\ seen before. It accentuated her curves and made his kon*** hard. She was a vision of beauty. Her head turned and she spotted him. Her smile broke him out of his frozen moment.

’’I love you,’’ he blurted.

’’F*k,’’ Jericho muttered. The male released him. He seemed to fix his attention on Beth. ’’Is she as nervous as he is?’’

’’Like a virgin on prom night,’’ Beth stated. ’’Yes. I forgot. You probably don\ know what that means, do you? She\s good to go.’’

Smiley closed the distance between him and Vanni. He reached out and hoped she didn\ notice the way his hands trembled. He liked the way her cheeks turned slightly pink and how her tongue darted out to wet her lips. ’’You take my breath away.’’

’’I hope you don\ mind that I put on a little makeup. I wanted to look my best.’’

’’I\d have to throw you over my shoulder and carry you to our room to avoid taking you on the floor if you looked any better.’’

’’Smooth,’’ Jericho muttered.

’’Hot.’’ Beth sighed.

Smiley cringed a little inside. ’’I mean, you\ e beautiful.’’

Vanni ducked her head shyly before lifting her gaze and giving him a dazzling smile. ’’I\m ready. Are you?’’

’’Since the first moment I held you in my arms.’’ He offered her his hand. She took it and he transferred it to his forearm, moving to her side. ’’Let\s go. They brought us an SUV so your hair doesn\ get windblown.’’

’’That\s so thoughtful.’’

’’I\m trying to be,’’ he admitted.

Vanni leaned against him, holding his gaze. ’’Just be you. That\s who I love.’’

His chest hurt but he knew why. She was his mate, accepted him for who he was and he\d never thought he\d have that. ’’We\ e in this together. Always.’’

’’We are.’’ She gripped him a little tighter. ’’Let\s do this.’’

He loved his Vanni.

Epilogue

He tore his shirt over his head and tossed it on the grass. His gaze darted around the woods. ’’What do you think of the Wild Zone?’’

’’It\s beautiful. Are we going to meet any of the New Species who live here?’’

’’Not today. I asked them to stay out of sight but they are close. I didn\ want you to be frightened.’’

’’You explained that they look a little more animalistic than normal but they are New Species. I know I\m safe.’’

’’Are you sure you\ e feeling up to this?’’ Smiley studied her eyes, a frown marring his handsome face.

’’Yes. I\m sure.’’

’’Just stay close to me. I\d never allow anything to happen to you.’’ He glanced down at her belly. ’’To either of you.’’

’’I know. Stop worrying. It\s kind of hot but so am I. Are we going swimming or not?’’

He nodded. ’’Okay. Just remember that and try not to show fear. They can sense it. I talked to Leo this morning and he said they were hanging out in this spot. The fishing is great. Some of the residents are on standby in case they are needed. You\ e totally safe.’’

’’I really want to meet them.’’ Vanni felt excited. ’’This is so cool.’’


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