Page 36 of Protective Player

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I turn my face up to him and Dawson gives me a gentle kiss, his lips lingering on mine for a moment. He looks at me with those dark, soulful eyes that still manage to stop my heart every bit as much today as they did that first night we met outside the bar.

“Don’t forget we have that dinner on Friday.”

“I was doing my best to forget it. Thanks for reminding me,” I say with a roll of my eyes. “I don’t suppose you can come up with an excuse to get out of it?”

He laughs. “If you don’t want awards and recognition, you probably shouldn’t be so good at your job, babe. People in town love you and want to honor you for all you do. And you know what? You deserve it. So, stop fighting it. Let these people cherish you the way I do.”

“Nobody will ever cherish me the way you do.”

“You’re damn right. And that’s because you’re mine. All mine.”

“Yes, I am. And you’re all mine.”

“Damn right, I am.”

He gives me another kiss and I smile. “Go. Ride your horses. I need to finish up here and get down to the office.”

“Yes, ma’am. I’ll see you for dinner. I’ll make you something special.”

“Yeah? What are you going to make?”

“It’s a surprise.”

I laugh. “You’re still full of surprises even all these years later.”

“And I hope to keep surprising you for the rest of our lives.”

“I know you will.”

He gives me another quick kiss and a smile then turns and walks out of my office, leaving me with my work and my thoughts. My eyes drift over to the picture from our wedding.

It was on a small, private vineyard in Santa Barbara and was an amazing affair. The smiles on our faces haven’t dimmed a bit since that day. The next pictures over are photos of us as we started to grow our family. In the most recent one, Dawson is holding Dylan in his arms, and he couldn’t look prouder if he tried. It’s the most perfect picture ever and truly encapsulates just how happy we are.

I look out the window and see Dawson riding off on one of the horses, a big gray and black dappled stallion he’d named Stanley—of course—and smile.

Life is beautiful. Life is perfect. I don’t know what fate decided to bless me, or what I’ve done to deserve this life, but the one thing I can say without reservation is that I’m beyond grateful for it.

I never thought life—my life—could be this amazing or resemble anything close to the fairy tale it is. And it only gets better with every passing day.

The End.

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