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  • Shalador's Lady(Black Jewels,Book 8)(188) by Anne Bishop
  • “Oh!” Delight filled her. “Oh, Gray! Look!”

    He grinned. “The first blooms of spring.”

    Sturdy little flowers poked up through the snow, purple and yellow and white. Similar to one of the spring flowers in Dharo, but not quite the same. The kind of flower Gray called common ground.

    “Bulbs?” Cassie asked.

    “Yep. There are a couple more varieties planted around the tree, but they’ll bloom later in the spring.”

    “A couple—” Wondering how he knew that since the court hadn’t been here last spring, she turned to look at him—and saw something in his eyes that left her breathless. “These weren’t here last spring, were they?”

    He shook his head. “I planted them this past fall. Wanted it to be a surprise.”

    You’re the surprise.“Thank you.”

    A choice. A chance.

    “Gray?”

    “Cassie?”

    “Could you consider marrying me?”

    No expression on his face. Blank eyes. Then, hesitantly, “Really? You’re not teasing me?”

    She shook her head. “I wouldn’t tease about that. I love you when you’re Gray and when you’re Jared Blaed. I want to build a life with you that spans the seasons.”

    “You’re in love with me?” His eyes looked a little less blank, but she wasn’t sure his brain was fully working.

    “Yes, I’m in love with you.”

    “Cassie.”

    He kissed her with enough heat to sizzle through her body and melt bone. Then he wrapped his arms around her and held on.

    “I fell in love with you the first time I met you,” he said. “That’s what gave me the courage to wake up and grow up. So that I could be with you.” He eased back enough to look at her. “You’re going to buy me a wedding ring, right?”

    Happy tears stung her eyes. She laughed. “Yes, I’m going to buy you a traditional ring.”

    “Come on,” Gray said. “Let’s—”

    *Gray? Cassie?*

    Vae trotted up to them. She wagged a greeting, then stared at both of them.

    *Cassie is crying, and you are happy,* she told Gray, her words accompanied by a growl. *Why?*

    “I’m happy too,” Cassie said, wiping tears off her face. “Gray and I are going to get married.”

    “Do you know about human marriage?” Gray asked.

    *I know.* The growling stopped and the tail wagged with more enthusiasm. *Is this a secret?*

    Gray laughed. “No, it’s not a secret.”

    Vae lifted her muzzle and howled. A few moments later, Khollie howled from the other side of the stone fence. A few moments after that, Lloyd and Kief joined in. Then Darcy. Then Keely.

    They heard another faint howl coming from the direction of Eyota’s main street.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire