“I now pronounce you husband and wife.”
Callie gazed at Jack and saw the love he had for her staring right back. It was like a dream, and she was afraid she’d wake up to find herself alone in her bed and Jack still on the run.
His fingers skimmed her cheek, and the sensation let her know this was no dream. Jack Holland was her husband.
“You may kiss your bride,” the Justice of the Peace prompted. Jack wasted no time.
His lips on hers were heavenly. She wanted to grab him and take him to her room. How soon could she get rid of the guests?
Applause brought her back to reality, and she eased away from the addictive lips.
“If we eat the cake now, will they all go home?” Jack’s grin caused a tidal wave in her stomach. His proximity still had that effect on her. Even after his living with them for the past month.
“I was having similar thoughts. Maybe we need to spend a minute or two before we kick them out. Some of them drove an awful long way to get here.”
Jack drew her into his arms, and they faced the small crowd gathered in Callie’s living room. Heather, her sister, Charlotte, and their parents, Domenic and Nicoletta Silva were here for Callie. The couple had been more parental toward her than her own parents ever had.
The guys from Jack’s platoon had all shown up, too. Chris Shaunessy had driven up from Maryland last night with his new fiancée, Meg. The one who’d been his informant not too long ago. Callie liked that they got a happily ever after, as well.
Scott milled around chatting with Drew Thayer, the lawyer who lived a few towns over. Keith Cho, the Boston police officer, had driven in this morning, while Nick White had roared up on his motorcycle with only a few minutes to spare.
Jonathan danced in between the guests, excited to have so much attention on him. Of course, Jack had spent lots of time with their son since he’d been living here. Scott had told him to take a few weeks off before he started his new position at Holland Construction.
Once they got back from their honeymoon, Jack would be diving right into the business. She’d miss him during the day, but at least she’d know he was coming home every night. That had been his deal with Scott. Jack would take care of the job sites that were closest.
A few at a time, they received hugs and congratulations from the guests. Heather marched to the kitchen and began pulling food from the fridge, Charlotte helping her.
When Callie twisted to assist, Jack put his arm over her shoulder and whispered, “Heather told me I had to keep you right here all day. You’re not allowed to serve at your own wedding.”
Chris slapped Jack on the arm and grinned. “Congratulations. You had to beat me to the altar, huh? You always were competitive.”
Keith tipped his chin at Jonathan. “Why the rushed wedding? It’s already been more than two years.”
Jack’s jaw tightened. “I’m damned sure going to be married when the next one arrives.”
“Next one?” Drew raised an eyebrow.
Scott chuckled. “Let me guess. Your week in Vermont at Christmas?”
Heat crawled up Callie’s face, and she ducked out of Jack’s arm. Let him have guy talk with his friends. “Excuse me.”
Jack kissed her cheek before allowing her to leave. In the kitchen, she snagged a toothpick and speared a savory meatball with it. Ooh, so good.
“Thank you, Mrs. Silva, for having your cook make all this food for us.”
Heather’s mom waved her hand. “I’m happy to help, my dear. After all you’ve been through, you certainly didn’t need to worry about catering the event.
She hadn’t worried about anything as Heather had planned the entire affair. Not that there was a lot to plan. Food, some flowers, and her dress. Heather and Charlotte had brought her to Silvaggios, their family’s clothing store, and helped her pick out a dress that was perfect for a small wedding. It was her first wedding, but since she’d already had a child with Jack, she hadn’t wanted the big white dress.
This one was cream lace, with long sleeves and a sweetheart neckline and a skirt that fell almost to her ankles. She’d borrowed another pair of shoes from Charlotte, not wanting to spend money on an expensive pair she’d never wear again.
Jonathan dashed into the kitchen, crashing into Heather’s legs, then reached for a cookie on the table.
“Are you sure you’re up for watching him for four days?” she asked her friend.
Heather scooped the child into her arms, planted a kiss on his cheek, then plopped him back on the floor.
“I’m always up for being with my godson. Even hyped up on sugar. If you and Jack want more time for an extended honeymoon, simply say the word.”
“Four days by ourselves will be perfect. Jack’s still trying to make up for the years he missed with Jonathan and doesn’t want to be away from him too long. I do appreciate your parents letting us use the chalet again.” The memories from the Vermont house had all been good ones. Callie touched her belly, still flat, though she knew it wouldn’t stay that way very long.
The guests filed through the kitchen, loading plates with food. Callie enjoyed the friendly, almost family vibe she got from everyone here. She loved getting to know the men who were like brothers to Jack and who had watched his back while they’d served in the army.
Heather scooted past Scott, her eyes lowered, on her way to the corner of the living room where Callie stood.
“Is everything okay?”
Heather’s brows drew together. “Everything’s good. Why?”
“I noticed you’ve been avoiding Scott today. Making sure you aren’t anywhere near him.”
Heather blew out a puff of air. “That’s ridiculous. We don’t have to pretend we like each other anymore, so I’m not.”
“I don’t understand. Scott’s a nice guy. After all he did for Jonathan and me over the years, I’m surprised you haven’t seen it, too.”
Heather’s gaze flew to the man in question, who strode in their direction. “Yeah, yeah, he’s a saint. I need to use the ladies’ room.” Her friend bolted up the stairs, causing Scott to freeze in place his eyes following her friend go up. There was a bathroom downstairs, too.
Jack appeared behind her and drew her in close. She snuggled into his arms, knowing she’d never tire of this.
“Can we kick them all out yet?” Jack whispered in her ear.
“Hmm, that sounds wonderful. Have you noticed Scott and Heather dancing around each other? I’m not sure what’s going on with those two.”
He pressed his lips to her cheek. “Whatever it is, they can figure it out for themselves. It’s their story. Our story is having a happy ending.”
Twisting in his arms, she faced him. “You’re sure?”
His eyes gleamed with mischief but also with love. “I’m absolutely positive.”
His lips on hers made her believe it, too.