Emily Hansen had a rough start to life and she isn’t going to let anything get in the way of her future. She doesn’t trust easily and she sure isn’t going to be stupid enough to fall in love. She has a plan to finish college and start a career. She doesn’t ever want to depend or need anyone but herself.
James Whittier is blown away when his cousin Bree introduces him to her college roommate, Emily. She’s shy, quiet, and he immediately feels the need to protect her. He pursues her carefully, knowing that she needs her independence before she can learn that he’s trustworthy. He loves her, he needs her, but will she break down her walls and let him in?
We listened to Christmas Carols on the way up, my hand resting on his thigh. As soon as we got to his home he opened the door and scooped me up and carried me inside.
“I would have loved to wake up next you, baby.” He nuzzled my neck and whispered gently.
I held him close, “James, it’s too soon for me to spend the night.”
He growled in frustration and kissed the top of my head. He gently lowered me and I wrapped my arms around him.
“Please don’t be upset.” I whispered.
“I’m not, baby. Just disappointed.” He leaned down and kissed me gently. “What if I promised that we’d keep our clothes on?”
I grinned, “What’s the fun in that?”
His eyes widened, “Don’t tease me, baby.”
I grabbed his face in my hands and kissed him with everything I had. His arms wound around me and he picked me up and sat us down in the big leather chair. I leaned my forehead against his and kissed his lips gently. I finally released his face and sat back.
“I promise,” I leaned forward and kissed him again, “When I am ready, I will let you know.”
He smiled and cupped my cheek in his hand. “Ok. No pressure.”
I climbed of his lap, “Thank you. Now it’s present time!” He had bought a two foot Christmas tree that sat beside the television. I had wrapped his presents and put them under the tree after I wrapped them.
“You go first.” I said as I handed him the crock pot. He shook the package and raised an eyebrow. He slowly peeled the paper back and I began to bounce, “Come on, and open it already.”
“Oh, somebody needs to learn patience.” He teased. He finally opened it up all the way and pulled it out. “Um, baby, I thought I was supposed to be the one to buy you appliances?”
“Oh my God if you ever buy me an iron or vacuum you’re a dead man.”
He laughed, “Good to know.”
“I wanted to get you something that we could use. Misha said this would last us forever.”
He grinned, “I like the sound of that.”
He pulled me on to his lap, “Thank you, baby. That was really thoughtful.”
I gave him the mittens and hat too. He unwrapped them faster, thankfully. “These are great.”
I snuggled into him. “I want you to stay warm.”
“I love them.”
“There’s more.” I leaned forward and gave him the cookbooks.
He opened it and raised an eyebrow. “Did Misha help you pick these out?”
“Yes, she said they’re both really good.” I shrugged, “I don’t know any crock pot recipes. She said these would have your favorite recipes in them.”
“I love it. Now it’s your turn.” He leaned over and pulled a small package out from the tree that I hadn’t noticed before.
It was a ring box.
“It’s not what you think.” He said softly, sensing my growing panic. “I mean not really. It’s a promise ring.”
“Oh.” I opened it and found a beautiful gold ring with a large light green round stone that was surrounded by diamonds. “It’s so beautiful.” I breathed.
He took the box from my hand and carefully took the ring out. “I hope it fits, we can get it sized if it doesn’t. The stone reminded me of your eyes.”
“It’s really pretty. What is it?”
He chuckled as he slid it on my ring finger, “I didn’t know it either. It’s a peridot.”
“I love it.” It slid perfectly onto my ring finger.
“I like my ring on your finger.” He said huskily.
“Me too.” I whispered.
A promise ring. A promise of a normal future. I snuggled into him and felt a tear fall down my cheek.
“Baby? Did I do something wrong?” James worried.
I shook my head, “No, you’re perfect. It’s perfect. I really love it.”
“Why are you crying love?”
“It’s been a big day for me, already.” I snuggled in closer to him, “Steve and Kara offered to adopt me this morning, and they were serious about it. They hung a stocking up for me. I’ve never had a stocking before.” A fat tear rolled down my cheek and he wiped it with his thumb, “And you…” I looked up and kissed him gently, “You are so perfect.”
He smiled down at me, “I adore you, Emily Hansen.”
I relaxed against him in the chair and let him hold me. I wanted him. Honestly, I wanted James; I wanted to live with him; I wanted to have his children; I wanted to become a part of his family. He was incredibly sweet and so patient with me and my baggage.