the way you look tonight - Page 47

Jack sank down onto the couch with Mary, her curves soft beneath his muscles. “I’ll always be yours, Angel. Forever.”

Jack would never forget their first kiss under the mistletoe, and he would never forget this one, either.

Their first kiss after I love you…

Chapter Sixteen

The next day Jack was surprisingly full of energy as he went from meeting to meeting, despite the fact that neither he nor Mary had gotten much sleep, having spent most of the night discovering ever new joys of being with each other. Not even the string of corporate meetings he’d been in today could tax his strength when he knew Mary would be waiting for him at her house that evening with open arms.

Jack could still hardly believe he’d been lucky enough to stumble onto her photo shoot in Union Square that fateful afternoon, when all hope for his career had almost been lost. Just as she’d said, it had been a new beginning to something so much bigger, so much sweeter, than anything he could ever have imagined.

He’d been looking for a miracle to save his company…but in Mary he’d found far more than that.

This morning, when the first rays of light had come in through her bedroom window, he’d awakened with Mary spooned into his chest and hips, with his hand over her heart, and hers curled into his palm. Jack had been hit with a fierce need to keep her love all to himself, just for a little while longer. Soon he’d shout from the rooftops that Mary was his, but for just a few extra hours, he didn’t want to have to answer the questions that would surely come from all quarters—from people who knew them and journalists who didn’t—when their relationship was revealed.

“I know we’re not hiding anymore,” he’d said softly as she’d turned into his arms so that her head was in the crook of his shoulder and her hand was resting over his heart, “but I don’t think I’m ready to share you just yet.”

She’d smiled up at him, her olive skin and long, dark hair a beautiful contrast to the ivory sheets. “You know what they say about secret kisses, don’t you?”

He should have been completely tapped out from their lovemaking during the night, but when she let the sheets slip from her shoulders and moved her gorgeous naked curves over him, then showed him exactly how good secret kisses could be, Jack knew he’d never get enough of Mary. Their lovemaking had also helped him to ignore the relief that had flashed across her face when he’d said he wanted to keep things private between them a little while longer.

Still, he knew they couldn’t keep their love a secret forever. At some point in the very near future, they’d have to weather the fascination that was bound to come from an international celebrity choosing to settle down with an ordinary man who fiddled with electronics for a living. Jack desperately hoped Mary would be ready for that when it happened….

With bumper-to-bumper traffic in the city that afternoon, Jack decided it would be faster to forgo a taxi to Walter Industries and head there on foot, instead. Allen had asked to see Jack, Larry and Howie this afternoon so that they could touch base on the progress they’d made these past two weeks and to make sure they were all on the same page heading into the big pre-Christmas launch in a couple of days.

As he walked past a strip of high-end stores, the glint of light off a ring in a jewelry store window stopped Jack in his tracks.

He’d often heard it said that the key to success was never to make the mistake of letting something shiny along the path pull one’s attention away from the end goal. But, as an inventor, Jack had learned the enormous value of paying attention to those little glimmers that arrived and surprised him. Because sometimes you were so busy looking for answers that you missed seeing them when they were right in front of you.

He was inside the jewelry store a moment later asking to see the ring in the window. The diamond at the center of the slender band had been cut into a perfect circle and was set with smaller diamonds in a delicate ring all around it.

“This is a traditional Italian engagement ring from our estate collection,” the slim woman behind the counter told him. “It’s approximately eighty years old, and the woman who sold it to us said her grandmother wore it with great love her whole life. The smaller diamonds surrounding the center diamond symbolize the eternity of love.”

No wonder he’d been so drawn to the ring. It was not only from Italy, but it had a history of great love.

The woman discreetly showed him the price, and he had to blink a couple of times to process the large number before saying, “I’d appreciate it a great deal if you’d hold this ring for me. I don’t have the money right now, but I’ll get it.”

“I can hold it until closing, sir.”

“I’ll be back for it before then,” he promised.

It had been less than twenty-four hours since they’d declared their love for each other, but Jack had waited his whole life to meet Mary. Most people took a while to go from “I love you” to “Will you marry me?” But just as he couldn’t have held back that love from her last night, he knew he wouldn’t be able to wait for their new beginning to be official, either.

This was the ring he would give to Mary when he asked her to be his forever.

* * *

Fifteen minutes later, Jack walked into Allen’s office, barely noticing the spectacular view of the Bay and the bridge from the chairman’s windows.

“Great news, Jack,” Allen greeted him as he came around his desk and shook Jack’s hand. “We’ve got nearly all of the major retailers on board already, and we haven’t even had our official campaign launch yet.” Allen was as animated—and pleased—as Jack had ever seen him. “Mary’s face and personal endorsement of the Pocket Planner have been pure advertising gold. You were right not to give up hope on your invention. I’ve got a very good feeling about what the Christmas season is going to bring for all of us.”