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It was starting to feel like she had a crush on her own husband.

The sound of the doorbell ringing intruded upon her thoughts. A quick glance at her watch showed it was almost seven o’clock. When the pealing of the bell continued, she left the guest room and headed toward the front door. Who could it be? Honor was already inside, eating macaroni and cheese in the kitchen with Aidan. It was a little bit odd that Aidan hadn’t run to the door to open it. More times than not, that’s what he did.

Ruby swung the door open, letting out a squeak when Liam’s tall frame filled the doorway.

“Good evening,” he drawled, handing her a bouquet of white roses, baby’s breath and red carnations. He was dressed in a dark jacket paired with a white shirt and a tan pair of slacks. He looked simply divine. She discreetly sniffed the air around them. He smelled pine-fresh like the great outdoors.

“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” he asked, his lips twitching with merriment.

“Seriously?” she blurted. He was standing there looking handsome and swoon-worthy and capable of completely sweeping her off her feet.

He grinned, showcasing his perfect set of pearly whites. “Yes, seriously. This is a first-date move. Since you can’t remember our real first date, I figured we should make this the first one. As I recall, I showed up at your apartment and rang your bell, presented you with flowers and took you out on the town.”

If she hadn’t already had a major-league crush on Liam, this would have pushed her straight over the edge. She ushered him in, firmly closing the door behind him. When she turned back to him, he was standing mere inches from her, staring her down with his magnetic blue eyes.

“You look amazing.” Liam’s eyes were full of appreciation as he looked her up and down, his gaze lingering a few beats too long. Something hummed and buzzed in the air—an awareness that felt palpable.

“Thank you,” she murmured. “You don’t look half bad yourself.”

Suddenly, Honor and Aidan were standing there, grinning from ear to ear.

Ruby placed her hand on her hip. “I suppose the two of you were in on this, huh?” she asked.

“Yep,” Aidan said. “Auntie Honor said it was romantic.” Aidan made a face.

Ruby felt her cheeks blushing. It had been terribly romantic.

“Let me take your flowers and put them in a vase while you get your coat and purse,” Honor suggested. She reached for the bouquet and pressed it to her nose. “If I can find a guy who’ll give me flowers and moonlight, I might just marry him.”

Although Honor’s tone was teasing, Ruby sensed something lying behind her words. A true yearning to be connected with someone, she imagined.

After getting her purse and coat, Ruby joined Liam in the living room where they said their goodbyes to Aidan and Honor. As they set off into the freezing-cold night, Ruby couldn’t resist asking Liam where they were headed.

“There’s a restaurant over by the pier that only opens for dinner service. We used to be regulars there. It’s called The Bay.”

“So why only dinner service?” Ruby asked, feeling curious about the place.

“The owners are getting a little on in years. They came here from Italy more than thirty years ago. It was their dream to open a restaurant here and they did. But a few years ago this town had a recession. Everyone was hurting. Sal and Renata had to cut back their service to only one a day.” He glanced over at her and smiled. “And the funny thing is they’re doing better now than ever, since they streamlined the business.”

“That’s fantastic,” Ruby said as she looked out the window at the scenery whizzing by. “I love hearing success stories like that.”

“Me, too. It reminds me of Cameron. It took a tremendous amount of courage for him to open the Moose Café. He was coming off a huge town scandal involving Paige’s father and embezzlement of town funds. There were a lot of naysayers.”

“I’m sad he had to go through that, but I’m really happy he prevailed in the end. He and Paige and Emma seem so happy.”

“They are. It hasn’t been an easy road, though. They’ve endured a lot, but they’ve come out on the other side,” Liam said. He turned off the road and entered a small parking lot near the pier. A red house glowing with brilliant lights stood about fifty feet away. A large tree decorated with twinkling ornaments stood in front of the farmhouse-style house.

Liam placed his hand on the small of her back and led her inside. The interior was packed with customers. It almost seemed as if every single table was occupied. Fantastic scents wafted in the air. The clanging of glasses and cutlery rang out.

“Liam! Nice to see you here.” An older man with salt-and-pepper hair and a large frame greeted them. He locked gazes with her, then reached out and grabbed her by the arm. “Ruby! I’m Sal Terrazo. This is my place. And I’m very honored to have you here tonight. Let me show you to your table.” He held out his elbow so Ruby could loop her arm through it. Once they arrived at the table, he pulled out her chair for her and then placed her napkin in her lap with a flourish.

“Your waiter will be over shortly. If the two of you need anything at all, don’t hesitate to tell me.” With a slight bow, he disappeared from the table.

Ruby almost gasped out loud when she realized they were seated right by the window overlooking Kachemak Bay. It was easily the best table in the whole place.

“Did you bribe someone for this spot?” she teased.

Liam flashed a knowing smile. “I didn’t have to. Let’s just say that the owners are the founding members of the Ruby Prescott Fan Club. They were more than happy to provide us with this incredible view.”

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