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Ruby trailed behind him, not wanting to miss his moment.

Jasper walked into the living room, where the majority of guests were gathered. He looked around the room and finally spotted Hazel sitting next to Grace on the couch. When she spotted him approaching, she gave him the stink-eye. She did it so well Ruby thought she could give lessons on it.

“Hazel! We need to talk,” Jasper announced. Ruby made a face at Jasper. He was starting off on the wrong foot. He needed to be tender, not gruff.

“I don’t need to do anything! We’re no longer an item in case that addled brain of yours forgot!” Hazel said. She made a slashing motion in the air with her hand. “We’re history! Kaput!”

Yikes! This was not going to be easy, Ruby feared. She met Liam’s eyes from where he was standing across the room. His expression was doubtful.

“I love you, Hazel Tookes!” Jasper shouted.

The room got extraordinarily quiet. All eyes were glued to the unfolding drama. Guests began to trickle in from the other rooms to watch.

Hazel’s eyes widened. Ruby imagined she’d never heard Jasper declare his feelings in such a public forum. He moved closer and took Hazel’s hand in his. “The other night I made a plum fool of myself. And in the process, I dragged you down with me. I’ll regret that for the rest of my life.

“Hazel, you know that I already had the love of a lifetime.”

Hazel nodded. “Yes. Your wife, Harmony.”

Jasper nodded. “She was a fine woman. I lost her due to a mixture of my pig-headedness and her pride. I never imagined God would bless me twice in my life. But he did, Hazel. He brought me you. He sent me a supportive, beautiful woman who is my best friend. Someone I can laugh with and confide in, a woman who knows me inside and out, yet still thinks I’m worth loving. Half the time I know that I don’t deserve you, Hazel. What you’ve brought me and the entire Prescott clan is beyond anything I can articulate with mere words.”

By this time tears were streaming down Hazel’s face and she was choking back sobs. Ruby felt moisture on her own cheeks. A quick look around the room showed that most were becoming emotional. The raw emotion emanating from Jasper was undeniable.

“Would you make this old fool the happiest man in Alaska and consent to marry me?” He dug in his pocket for the ring box and popped it open. The diamond glinted and winked at Hazel from its throne. “I’d get down on one knee, but I’m not sure I would be able to get up.”

The room broke into laughter. Ruby looked over at Liam. He seemed as if he might burst with pride. Hazel stood and wrapped her arms around Jasper’s neck. She stared deeply into his eyes. “Jasper, you’ve made me the happiest woman in the world. All I ever wanted was to know that you loved me. And if you really want me as your bride, my answer is yes. A thousand times yes.” She leaned in and placed a smooch on Jasper’s lips that sealed the deal.

The room erupted into chaos. Shouts. Cheers. Whistles. The next thing Ruby knew Liam and Aidan were both at her side, sharing the heartwarming moment with her. Liam reached for her hand and squeezed it. It felt so right having their hands linked, as if they belonged together.

Ruby blinked back tears.

Jasper taking this leap of faith and putting his pride aside was a mighty thing indeed.

This had been a perfect evening, capped off by the knowledge that Jasper and Hazel had been blissfully reunited. Finally she could allow herself to believe in the possibility of a happily-ever-after with Liam. If someone as set in his ways as Jasper could make this huge shift, anything was possible. And she needed to believe, since she’d fallen in love all over again with her husband.

Hope shimmered in the room like the gold star on the Christmas tree.

Chapter Twelve

Ruby sat in the kitchen, studying one of her favorite cookbooks. She had volunteered to make the turkey for Christmas dinner at Jasper’s house, and she had no intention of delivering a dry, pathetic excuse for a turkey. Nope. It wasn’t happening. This turkey was going to go down in Love, Alaska, history as the juiciest, most succulent bird of all time. Liam would be so proud of her. And she would be extremely proud of herself, as well.

Something had been bothering her all morning. She had a slight headache and there was a strange feeling of dread hovering over her. It didn’t make any sense, considering all that was right in her world. Aidan was now calling her Mom. Her memories were slowly but surely coming back to her. And her relationship with Liam had turned romantic. Last night’s kiss had definitely moved them out of the friend zone. There was no doubt in her mind that she was falling in love with her husband.

Just the thought of it gave her goose bumps.

Meeting Liam for lunch at the Moose Café would serve as a nice treat in the middle of the day. And it felt much better to spend time with him than to sit around daydreaming about the tall, dark and handsome doctor who had captured her heart.

Aidan sat at a little table with Emma, who was hanging out with Camero

n at work today. From what Ruby observed, the two kids did more playing than eating. It was nice to watch the two of them together. Although there was a three-year age difference, they got along like two peas in a pod.

Liam swung his gaze from Aidan to her. “Something tells me Aidan wants a little sister or brother someday. We always wanted a big family.”

Ruby took a sip of her coffee. “We did?” she asked, her heart thundering inside her chest.

“At least ten,” Liam drawled.

Ruby’s jaw dropped. “Ten? Seriously?”

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