Liam leans across the table and lowers his voice. “Just go along with it. Act surprised. Act happy. What’s your middle name?”
He winks again. “Because it’s show time.”
He lets go of my hand and stands up, walks around to my side of the table, and to my astonishment, sinks down on one knee. I glance quickly around the restaurant. It wasn’t my imagination; the patrons, no doubt tipped off by our waiter, have been watching us, and now every head in the place is swiveled toward us, smiles of anticipation on every eager face.
I gape at him in alarm. I wasn’t expecting this so soon. Hell, I wasn’t expecting this at all. I thought we’d just go to city hall and sign some papers—
Kneeling in front of me, Liam clears his throat and takes my hand in his. “Brianna Elizabeth Winter, the moment I met you, I thought you were the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen,” he says loudly. “And since then, I’ve come to realize that you’re even smarter than you are beautiful.” He grins. “And you have excellent taste in whiskey and all things Irish.”
He reaches into his breast pocket and pulls out a ring. It looks like platinum and has an impressively large diamond. “This belonged to my grandmother.” He actually sounds a little choked up. “Brianna, will you do me the honor of being my wife?”
I stare at him. I gave up dreaming about a perfect proposal a long time ago, but if I hadn’t, it’s possible that it would have gone something like this.
Except maybe for the stranger kneeling at my feet and all the cell phones that are pointed at us from every angle.
I resist the temptation to look around the room in a wild panic and focus on Liam’s rugged face. I draw in a deep breath.
“Yes,” I say, but my voice comes out in a cracked whisper. I clear my throat and force a smile. “Yes, Liam. I’ll marry you.”
The restaurant erupts in cheers and clapping. Relief, not entirely faked, I think, floods Liam’s expression. My heart is pounding almost as much as it would be if this were a real proposal. Liam takes my left hand in his and slides the ring over my finger while I watch, a frozen smile on my face. The whole scene feels completely unreal. Any minute now, I’ll wake up—
“Kiss me,” Liam whispers.
I just stare at him.
He leans forward, takes my face in his hands, and pulls my face to his. Our lips meet, and ohhhh … Those full lips of his know their way around a woman’s mouth. They’re soft and warm and confident, and it’s been a long time since I kissed a man … Around us, lights flash, and I hear the roar of more cheering and a few whistles.
I have just enough presence of mind to flash my left hand at the cameras. Then, somewhat to my regret, Liam pulls away, his face alight, as if I’ve just made him the happiest man on earth.
I guess if he gets his green card, he will be.
Man of Matrimony releases on Amazon on April 2, 2019. Pre-order your copy now!