The House Mate Page 35

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My fears that he would hesitate or flat-out refuse disappeared as his jaw tensed with determination and his eyes blazed with passion. He rose onto one knee and slowly reached into his pants pocket.

“I’m sure glad you came back, because while Dylan and I were out getting croissants, we passed a jewelry store, and she wouldn’t be deterred.” He tugged a box free and opened it with a click. I stared down in awe at a stunning diamond solitaire winking up at me. It was simply perfect.

“Addison, since the day we met, you’ve blown me away. From your wit and humor, to the sweet way you interact with Dylan—” The baby cooed and looked up from the blocks she’d been playing with to give Addison a grin. “From the way you attack life and make me want to be a better man, to the way you’ve rocked my socks off in bed. I can’t imagine anything that would make me happier than if you would agree to be my wife.”

Sincerity shone from his face as he gazed up at me, and I didn’t waste a second. I dropped to my knees beside him and shoved him back onto the rug, peppering his face with kisses.

“Yes! Yes, yes, yes!” Dylan squealed, scuttling over to join me, slobbering wet baby kisses all over Max’s face.

“Assin!” she hollered, clapping her hands as we all laughed.

Max gripped the nape of my neck and dragged me close for a second, peering deep into my eyes. “I love you so much.” He took my hand and slid the ring onto my finger with a satisfied nod. “And now you’re mine, forever and ever.”

I stared down at the ring, the sense of rightness settling over me almost overwhelming. “And you’re mine.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he murmured, trailing his hand over my cheek gently.

“Well, I mean, you are mine, but I meant it in a more immediate sense,” I said, happiness bubbling over into a fit of giggles.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asked, cocking his head suspiciously.

“It means it’s game night, buddy. And I’m the master of ceremonies. Better make sure you drink a lot of water and maybe do some carb loading.” I patted his cheek and then stood, lifting Dylan into my arms. “You’re going to need your strength.”

I sashayed away, adding a little swing to my hips as I went into the kitchen in search of chocolate croissants.

“Addison?” Max called, his voice laced with laughter. “Should I be afraid?”

“Oh yeaaaah.”

Epilogue

Max

One year later . . .

“Please give it up for the bride and groom as they dance for the first time as husband and wife!”

I pulled Addison into my arms and held her close, pressing my face into her neck to breathe in her scent. All the fussy business was done now, and I got to spend the rest of my night with my best girls, surrounded by loved ones and friends.

For the life of me, I couldn’t recall why I’d been so averse to the concept of marriage. The last year with Addison and the baby had been the best of my life, and I thanked the fates every day that we’d found each other.

Addison had decided she’d like to spend the first few years at home raising Dylan while I worked, and she’d picked up some classes at the local university so that when Dylan hit kindergarten age, she could teach at the local elementary school. We’d already both decided that we’d love to add more kids to the mix, especially now that Jenn had signed over her rights to Dylan, and Addison had officially adopted her. She’d been concerned about trying before the adoption was final because she never wanted Dylan to feel like she was less ours than any other kids we might be lucky enough to have.

For the past month since the papers had gone through, we’d been having the time of our lives “trying,” and I couldn’t wait to add another bundle of joy to our little family.

“Love you, Mrs. Alexander,” I murmured into her sweet-smelling hair.

“Love you too, Mr. Alexander,” Addison whispered back, her breath against my ear making my pulse jackhammer, just like she’d known it would. She flattened her breasts against me and tightened her hold around my neck.

“You’re a very naughty wife,” I muttered, clutching her hips with a chuckle.

Suddenly, there was a chorus of “awwww” followed by roaring laughter, and I straightened just in time to see Dylan sprinting toward us, her dimples flashing. She’d apparently had enough of her flower girl’s dress and had managed to get it halfway off as my mother chased her, smiling ruefully.

“Sorry, she’s a slippery one.”

“It’s okay, Mom, we’ve got her,” Addison said with a beaming smile as she bent to scoop Dylan up into her arms. The baby wrapped one plump arm around each of us.

“Dylan dance too?”

“Of course, sweet pea,” I said, swaying to the music.

“Thank you, Max.” Addison’s gaze tripped from me to Dylan and back again. “Thank you for inviting me in and for letting me become Dylan’s mom. She’s a gift to me, and so are you.”

My throat went a little tight at the swell of love rising inside me. “I didn’t even know how empty my life was until you both came into it.”

“It’s perfect, and so was today. Exactly what I wanted. Family, fun, and full of laughs and love,” Addison said, her soft smile growing wider with excitement. “And tomorrow, Hawaii! We get to spend a week in paradise.”

“I’m already there, baby,” I murmured, crushing them both closer. “I’m already there.”

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