Page 14 of Principal Obsession

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She sends back a string of hearts and kisses.

* * *

Rose meetsme at the door and practically leaps into my arms, “I’ve been staring at the clock all day waiting for seven. Where are we going?”

“How about a kiss first, princess?”

“I’m sorry.” She falls into my embrace, and I deliberately prolong my kiss to see how long she can control herself.

“Will you tell me now?” she whines.

“If you keep this up, I’m going to have to blindfold you.” I shake my finger at her, and she flashes an exaggerated pout.

She asks for a hint as we pull away from the curb.

“You look hot as hell, girl. It’d be a shame to mess up your makeup with a blindfold. Now, be patient. You’ll know soon enough,” I tell her.

She puts her head on my shoulder and says, “It really doesn’t matter where we go as long as I’m with you.”

The road winds and bends into a forest landscape as we drive further from town. Rose watches out the window as the city lights fade behind us. She must be thinking that I’ve lost my mind. Did I tell her to dress up only to take her on a moonlight hike in the forest? Her confusion pleases me because I know it will add to the excitement she feels when she sees where I’m taking her.

Thirty minutes later, we arrive in Barclay, a small resort town that boasts some of the best restaurants in the area. I pull into the parking lot of Café Maria where I’ve made our reservations.

“I’ve never been here before,” Rose mumbles, staring out the window at the Italian inspired stucco building.

“Café Maria?” I ask her.

“This town. I didn’t know it existed.”

“You’re in for a treat. Café Maria has the best food around and, if you’re a good girl, we can take a moonlight boat ride on the lake after.”

“That’s very romantic,” she beams.

We enter the building and several heads turn.

“What an exceptional piece of eye candy you are, princess, “ I whisper as I watch three men at the bar gaze at the stunning girl on my arm.

Her cheeks redden and she bats her eyes at me and says, “You’re the sexiest man alive.”

The hostess leads us to our table. I specifically requested it because it looks out on the moonlit gardens. The gentle rush of water cascading into the fountain combines melodically with the sounds of the string quartet seated on the tiny stage.

“This is incredible.” Rose places her hand in mine and smiles.

I examine her perfect features in our candle lit corner and reply, “You’re incredible.”

She opens the menu and looks bewildered by the selections so I take it from her. She seems relieved when I say, “I’ll order for us, princess. I promise you’ll like it.”

Our dinner is served in traditional Italian fashion with each course outshining the last.

“You’re not overwhelmed by all this food are you?” I ask Rose.

“No, it’s amazing. It’s a lot but still amazing.”

Our waiter returns with coffee and two small glasses of amaretto. “Your boat sails in fifteen minutes, sir,” he advises me.

“I’m not old enough,” Rose whispers.

“I think you can handle a mouthful of liqueur and besides, I won’t tell,” I tease. I lift my glass and toast, “To the most beautiful girl in the world.”

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