Ace (Band of Brothers #1)(104)

By: Lyra Parish

I couldn't help but smile and tilt my head at him.

"Good morning," he said, handing me the flowers. The smell of fresh petals reminded me of spring and mountain air. Ace wrapped his arms around me and gave me a huge hug. "Congratulations."

I gently pushed away from him and looked up into his eyes.

"For what?"

"For landing an interview with Rolling Stone."

I placed my hands on my hips. "Ace."

"All you have to say is thank you, babe," he said and kissed me on the forehead.

"Thank you," I whispered into his neck.

His lips touched mine then dragged across my face and kissed my neck and nibbled my ear. I sighed, loving the way his touch felt.

"I was thinking…"

Somehow my back was now pressed against the door and my body practically melted into it as he kissed me on my neck, ears, and mouth.

"Yes?" I somehow forced out.

My eyes popped open and this time he had taken a small step away.

"I was thinking you should move in with me. Each morning, I find myself wishing you were with me. Every night, I wish that I could kiss you good-night and hold you until the morning. The heart knows what it wants, and Elizabeth Riley, I want you."

My heart swelled and it felt like I needed to learn how to speak again.

"When?" I stood on my tippy toes and kissed him, still stuck on the fact he’d asked me to move in with him. Pure emotion led the way, not logic or reason.

"Now. As soon as you say yes, I'll have a moving truck here and people to pack your apartment," he said. "I can't be without you for that long again."

"Ace ... I was only gone for a few days."

He placed his finger over my mouth.

"I realized last week that I don't ever want to be without you. Elizabeth Riley, you make me want to write love songs, you make me want to settle down and have a family, you make me want to be the best man that I can for you. I love you, Elizabeth. I love you so much."

I took in the words and allowed them to stream through me. Those three words were powerful, strong, and confident. We exchanged a million words with our eyes and his voice had filled in all the blanks. He had pulled out a knife and cut open his heart and like a Shakespeare love story, mine had followed the lead. It felt right, not forced, and I knew he’d meant what he said. Ace Hathway loved me.

That was our only truth and I felt exactly the same way. The feeling was undeniable—indescribable in every sense. I'd jump in headfirst without looking at the water below. I'd dive right into his arms and never let go.

"You make my heart sing and flutter, and I can't imagine my life without you. I love you too, Ace. I always will."

We kissed with so much fervor that I didn't think I would be able to stand. My knees went weak and I felt like I was melting into his. He grabbed my waist and smiled against my lips. I dropped my keys and he glanced down at the magazine that had already been folded and creased. He pulled it from under my arm, where it had been lodged since I had seen him, and flipped through the pages.

"My favorite quote is, ‘Ace Hathway has a heart, you have to know where to find it.’ Was it hard to find?"

"God, I love you," I said and wrapped my arms around him.

No matter where our relationship went from here, I knew it would be full of love and compassion and most of all, full of rock and roll.

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