“Never say never.” I pointed to Ford, who had come out of the stable to welcome Nixon. “I've got one of my own.”
Her gaze dropped to the diamond glinting on my hand. “So is that … from him?”
I nodded, biting my lip against a huge, foolish grin. Ford had proposed just a few days ago and I could still barely believe it. My ring was absolutely stunning. A modest two carats, hand-crafted by a local jeweler to Ford’s exact specifications. I absolutely loved it. And the man who gave it to me.
“Wow. That's a hell of a rock. You sure know how to pick 'em.”
Before I could laugh and tell her to shut up, Mom came trotting over to welcome Avery. She was soon followed by Russ, Ford, and Nixon. I didn't miss the latter's double-take when he saw Avery, admiring my stepsister from head to toe, before his vivid blue eyes finally settled on hers. Her cheeks flushed slightly and her mouth curved in a subtle cat-smile, surprised yet sultry. Go get him, girl, I thought.
As Ford came to stand beside me, he squeezed my hand. I still marveled at that simple gesture—how we could just do affectionate things without thinking, without checking over our shoulders or worrying about the day we'd be discovered. Revealing our relationship to Mom and Russ had been the most excruciatingly awkward half hour of my life. But from where I was standing now, it had been worth every single minute. Now we could enjoy each other's presence whenever we wanted … and our perfect life together had just begun.