Adored
 
    Chapter One
    “If you’re not careful, you’re going to get a spanking along with your engagement ring,” came the soft, husky warning.
     
    She’d seen that look before, heard that scolding tone of voice all too often, and knew it well enough that she absolutely could not suppress the urge to squirm in her chair, a movement which she knew his hawk eyes wouldn’t miss.
     
    Sean was down on one knee before her with a velvet ring box in his hand.  Tess could hear the distinct lack of the usual conversation that buzzed around them and knew that all eyes in the restaurant were on them.
     
    Damn he was handsome,  she thought.  Too damned handsome for her, really.  What did the man see in her, anyway?
     
    Sean could see her busy little mind whirring away, but succeeded in distracting her by opening the box to reveal the big marquis diamond with two good-sized baguettes on either side.  Her frosted pink fingertips had flown immediately to her matching pink frosted lips, those shockingly violet-blue eyes round with surprise.
     
    “Be mine.”  Not at all a question - more of a Valentine command, though this was the day after Valentine’s.
     
    With total disregard for the expensive dress she was wearing, Tess joined him on the carpet to throw her arms around him and whisper, “Yes, please,” into his ear and feel those muscled arms pull her even closer against him.
     
    Was that a sigh of relief she’d heard?  Had he been worried about her response?  She wondered.  Nah.  Sean was the most self-confident man she’d ever known.  Tess couldn’t imagine that he had even considered her saying anything other than exactly what he wanted.
     
    She also couldn’t imagine what the consequences would be if she’d said no.  Her bottom was still tingling from the spanking she’d received just before they had left on this little getaway.
     
    The rest of the patrons had erupted in cheers when it was obvious that she had said yes, and they were gifted by the owners of the restaurant with a second bottle of champagne, with which to toast their long and happy life together.
     
    Sean – ever the gentleman – helped her back into her chair, his hungry eyes never leaving her face as he then poured them both a glass, saying, as he raised his own, “To the woman I love.”
     
    To which she replied without hesitation, “To the man I love,” clinking her glass with his, then taking a healthy swallow of the bubbly, thinking all the while that it certainly hadn’t started out this way .  .  . 
     
     
    ******************
     
    Tessa Renee Martin had moved back to Thompson Bend, New Hampshire four years ago, because it was one of the few places she could remember having been happy as an Air Force brat.  Then the relationship that she had been sure was going to be her happily-ever-after had ended.  After she had drowned the pain of his betrayal in whiskey and – her true Achilles heel – gold vanilla cupcakes with four inches of frosting on top, she pulled herself back into the real world and knew she had to leave the comfortable life she’d found in Florida.
     
    The New Hampshire she found was much the same as she had remembered, with very few additions.  There was the ubiquitous Walmart on the outskirts of town, and – as was requisite in every New England town, it seemed – a Rite Aid or a Walgreen’s seemingly on every corner.
     
    She felt immediately as if she’d come home, and with a renewed sense of purpose determined to follow her dream and open a flower shop.  She had been the assistant manager of a very large one in Florida, but noticed that the distinctly, deliberately quaint downtown area of this tiny burg was lacking that service, and she thought that a florist might do well here. 
     
    Like almost all other small towns in the area, Thompson Bend had experienced a wave of gentrification that had produced expensive housing developments springing up out of what had previously been cow

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