Chapter Thirty – Georgia on my Mind
by Jannine Gallant
A mirrored silver ball lowered to the countdown on the TV in the corner of the room. Five, four, three, two, one… Happy New Year!
Mitch deepened the kiss, and Candy clung to him, breathless. Finally he released her, and she gasped for air. Longing for this man sizzled through her.
“We could have gone out. Could have joined the masses in Times Square,” he said, pointing at the TV. “It is our first official holiday together.”
She leaned against him and let out a sigh. “I’m pretty happy right where I am. I don’t need pizzazz and hoopla, Mitch. Some of the happiest moments of my life were spent in a cabin tucked away in the woods.”
Stroking the hair back from her brow, his hand paused. “Uh, about that cabin…” He cleared his throat. “I realize your life is here in Manhattan.”
Candy scooted around to face him and took both his hands in hers. “Yes, it is. My company is important to me. But it doesn’t have to be my whole life.” She pressed their twined fingers against her breast. “There’s room in here for more.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Yeah?”
A smile curved her lips. “Did you think I was going to make you give up everything for me?”
“Now that you mention it…”
She punched his arm. “Funny man. Feeling pretty cocky since I’ve said yes?”
He raised her hand to his lips and kissed it. “Just relieved.” He rolled his eyes. “You have no idea how relieved.”
“Oh, I think I do. I was so certain I’d blown it for good with you. I let hurt get in the way of our happiness.”
“I was a bigger idiot not to trust you.” He grinned. “Just ask Jeb. He’ll tell you.”
“Jeb is a wise man. He knew all along we’d work it out.” She grinned. “I’m actually looking forward to hearing I told you so and getting a big, sloppy dog kiss from Major.”
He bent his head and kissed her, his mouth claiming hers, stoking the fire inside her. When they broke apart, she let out a shuddering breath.
He pressed his forehead against hers. “It’s after midnight. Time for bed?”
She nodded. “It’s a new year. What better way to start it.”
“I can’t think of one.” Mitch lifted her into his arms and settled her across his lap, his hand sliding beneath her shirt. “A time for fresh beginnings.”
She quivered as his fingers trailed across her ribcage and traced the underside of her breast. “New Year’s resolutions?”
“I have two. The first is to make you happy. Always. The second is to stop hiding from my past. I need to build a life for myself here with you.”
Candy looked into his beautiful blue eyes and saw the glint of determination in them. “At Crawford Industries?”
He shook his head. “I want to go forward, not back.”
“The Wright Way is always looking for new talent.” She smiled. “I can vouch for your creativity.”
He ran his finger along her jaw. “I do want to get involved with your work, but I was thinking more along the lines of your charitable causes.”
Warmth flowed through her. “Really?”
“Yeah. I’d like to give something back. I think it’s about time.”
She framed his face in her hands. “I do love you.”
He rose to his feet with her in his arms, his eyes alight with teasing. “I’m going to let you show me how much.”
She scattered kisses across his face as he headed toward the back of the apartment. “Big of you.”
“Isn’t it?” He hugged her tight, his hand curving to her bottom.
“About your cabin,” she said on a breathless gasp.
He pushed open the bedroom door. “It’ll be our refuge, our place to go when we want to be alone together.”
As she slid down the length of his body until her toes touched the carpet, she looked into his eyes and smiled. “Then we definitely haven’t seen the last of Georgia.”