Becca pulled the dress out of the closet in LaChance Lodge’s guest room. Their wedding might be casual and tiny, but they’d decided to keep with a few traditions. Including not seeing each other before the ceremony. A decision she was now regretting.
Gage was the one who grounded her. She didn’t get too caught up in her head with him. She was definitely rattling around in her head now.
Not about marrying Gage. That was the easy part.
All the others watching them get married was the problem. Because despite becoming more comfortable in her own skin with her new job and her move to Bloo Moose, Becca was still an introvert.
She didn’t like being the focus of attention, didn’t want those eyes on her in case she did something ridiculous.
Becca blew out a breath and shook her head. She was doing something ridiculous right now. The only people arriving were family and friends. People she loved. There was nothing to worry about. Even if she did something silly, these were the people who would have her back.
Maybe if she got dressed, it would help her settle her nerves. At least they’d chosen a morning wedding and she didn’t have to spend the day thinking about it.
Becca slipped on the dress. Another one from Bea’s Boutique. Bea had called her when it had come in and told her the dress was made for her.
And it kind of felt like it was. A soft yellow underskirt and bodice all covered by a gauzy white wispy material.
She didn’t want to trip, so she was going with pretty white flats Lil had helped her find.
As if she’d conjured her up, Gage’s sister’s voice called through the door. “It’s me and Kami. Can we come in?”
Becca opened the door with a smile. “That would be amazing. You can stop me worrying.”
Lil frowned. “Worrying? What’s wrong?”
Becca smiled. “Absolutely nothing. Just imagining all the ways I could embarrass myself.”
Lil laughed and hugged her. “Don’t be silly. It’s going to be perfect.”
“I just wish the ceremony was done.”
Kami grinned. “I get that. I’m glad you’re wearing flats. I was so worried I’d trip. And then Rayce bought us all matching tennis sneakers.”
Becca laughed. “That’s awesome. You wore matching shoes?”
Lil nodded. “Not just them, but everyone in attendance. Parents, guests. Even Scott the officiant.”
Becca laughed again and her nerves settled. This was the family she was marrying into. A group of people who cared about each other far more than they cared about traditions and appearances.
Lil held up a couple of bouquets of daisies. “I thought you might like to carry these. I also brought a few tiny daisies. I thought we could weave them into your hair.”
Becca smiled as she nodded. “I have no idea how to do that, but it sounds wonderful.”
Kami laughed and held up her hands. “That’s all on Lil. All I can do with hair is pull it into a ponytail.”
The other women kept Becca relaxed and when her phone buzzed with a text, the nerves didn’t return.
The text was from Gage. Hey, Special Agent Bad Ass. You ready to do this thing?
Becca laughed as she replied. Definitely.
Let’s get this done so we can get to the good part.
She couldn’t agree more. On my way.
Gage knew the idea of the wedding ceremony was stressing out his fiancée and he wanted to fix it. They’d kept the group small and only invited those who were family and close friends. They were using the back deck at the lodge. And they were having it in the morning so she didn’t stress all day about it.
Becca had assured him she was fine and that her nerves were about the people watching her, not about the marriage.
He’d almost called everyone except their parents and Scott and told them to stay away until it was done. But that would cause questions and send more stress her way. He didn’t want their wedding to cause her any stress. He wanted it to be full of love and fun.
Her text had sounded normal so he shoved his phone back in his new jeans and kept his eye on the door. The twins and Max moved to stand with him.
They were keeping the whole thing casual with tables and chairs scattered around the deck and no aisle for Becca to walk down.
The door opened and Becca’s parents came through. They were good people. Quiet and serious with great big hearts, just like their daughter. Their smiles were wide and happy.
They held the door open as Lil and then Kami walked through. When Becca reached the threshold, she paused to hug her mom and then her dad. Her dad whispered something in her ear that had her laughing.
When she turned, her eyes locked on Gage and her smile widened again. He couldn’t see a single trace of nerves on her face or in her body language.
All he could see was joy.
Gage crossed to her in three strides and pulled her up on her toes to kiss her. She laughed into the kiss and then threw her arms around his neck.
He swung her in a circle without breaking the kiss. He only broke it off when the cheers surrounding him reminded him where they were.
Gage slid Becca to her feet and then leaned down to kiss her again. “You’re gorgeous, Becs.”
She smiled at him. “Right back at you, LaChance.” Then she reached up and brushed his lips again with hers.
Her beautiful dusky skin flushed as she glanced around the deck, realizing everyone had been watching her kiss him. Then she laughed and reached up to do it again.
Best feeling ever.
The crowd clapped and she grinned at everyone. Aside from her parents and his entire family, they’d invited Becca’s former team at the FBI along with Matt and Rick.
The cabins and the guest rooms at the lodge were all full with the out-of-town guests. Gage couldn’t be happier being surrounded by them all. And Becca looked good with it as well.
Deputy Scott Anders had agreed to be their officiant. He and his partner Nathan leaned against the deck railing and when Gage nodded at them, he stepped forward.
“It’s a true pleasure to join you two in marriage today. I’ve known Gage forever and am still surprised he managed to snag your attention, Becca.”
Everyone laughed as Gage rolled his eyes.
Scott continued. “It was a serious situation that brought you together, but you discovered a lot during that time. Not only did you work past your initial distrust of each other, but you learned to work as a team to save the day.”
“And me!” Matt’s voice broke into the words. “They saved me too.”
Another round of laughter.
Scott nodded. “And you saved Matt, too. A lot of good came from that time. The world is a safer place and you two found your soul mates. Ladies first, so Becca, would you like to say anything?”
Becca was surrounded by love. Her parents. Her friends. Matt. Gage’s family. And most of all, Gage himself. Her nerves had fled and she wasn’t afraid to speak her truth in front of these people.
She squeezed Gage’s hands and looked up into those deep beautiful eyes.
“When I arrived in Bloo Moose that second time, I was living my job. You figured out my super-secret undercover mission with one disdainful glance at my outfit.”
He grinned at her. “It was a pretty ugly suit.”
She laughed. “It was.” And she no longer had any like it in her closet.
“You pestered me into relaxing and finding a life outside of my job. You’re a really good pester-er.”
His brothers laughed and Lil called out. “You really are, Old Man.”
She smiled but kept looking into his eyes. “You taught Matt and I how to survive in the bush and kept us safe. You helped me find the self I’d hidden away and find some balance in my life. You cracked open the heart I’d kept contained and helped me become a much better person. You’re courageous, caring, and strong in all the ways that count. I love you Gage with every single part of me. I promise to love you forever.”
Becca swallowed hard to keep her emotions in control. Her love for this amazing man was spilling out but she didn’t want to ruin the day with tears.
Gage leaned down and kissed her lightly then stood back to his full height. His eyes stayed on hers, burning with emotion. “You impressed the hell out of me from the beginning. Special Agent Bad Ass who dissed the security here at the lodge.”
She opened her mouth to protest but he grinned and squeezed her hands.
“You chose to leave your comfort zone behind in order to save Matt, a boy you hadn’t known the day before. You proved again and again that you would do anything to keep him safe.” His grin widened. “You were even willing to work with me.”
She couldn’t contain the laugh.
“I love your courage and strength, your determination, and your desire to help those around you. You’ve helped me get over some emotional barricades and reminded me love is worth the risk. I love you, Becca with everything I am. I promise to always love you.”
He cupped her face and brushed at her cheeks with his thumbs making her realize she hadn’t kept the tears in after all.
Then he kissed her tears and her eyelids. “We make a good team, Becs, and we will for decades and decades to come. I love you.”
Scott said more, but Becca couldn’t concentrate on anything other than Gage.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife.”
Gage lifted her up on her toes again and kissed her before Scott finished the line.
“You may now…” Scott heaved out a dramatic sigh. “You may now kiss your bride. Or keep kissing her. Congratulations, you two.”
Gage struggled to keep his eyes off his bride. It had been hours since Scott had said the words and they reverberated in his head.
He wondered how Lauren would feel and decided that with her big heart, she’d be happy for him. Lauren had been gone a long time, but he’d known her well. She would want him to live his life fully, not hide as he’d been doing.
Today was his first day as a husband. He was going to do his damnedest to be a good one.
They’d had a brunch and games and supper. Lots of fun, lots of laughter and love. Becca’s FBI team had blended well with his family and the day had been great for everyone.
Becca had glowed through it all. Was still glowing. He wanted that glow to himself.
When she and Matt finished their horseshoe game, he walked over and took her hand. “Come on.”
She smiled as he tugged her down to the shore. He tucked her under his shoulder and she leaned into him. “It’s been an amazing day.”
He nodded and kissed her head. “It has and it’s about to get better.”
Her head whipped up to his and that sexy smile lit up everything inside him. “I like the sound of that.”
He chuckled and kept walking. Past the Lodge and to the family dock. There he led her along the dock and she gasped at the sight of the sailboat tied up at the end. “You finished it. Oh, Gage, it’s gorgeous.”
She hurried forward to look over the twenty-two footer. He’d been working on it for months and had finished only days ago. He stepped aboard and then held up a hand to stop her when Becca started to follow.
“Hang on there, Mrs. LaChance.”
She grinned at the name and then laughed when he scooped her into his arms and brought her on board. She looped her arms around his neck and kissed him. “Smooth move, Mr. Lin.”
No wonder he loved this woman. He kissed her again, then leaned down to place her on one of the benches. “Hang tight and we’ll get underway.”
He made quick work of the ropes and set the small motor to get them away from the Lodge. Once they were away from shore, he shut down the motor and set up the sails.
A soft evening breeze had them moving at a good clip. He aimed across the lake and south as Becca checked out every detail of the upper deck. For a woman who’d never stepped foot on a boat before she’d arrived in Bloo Moose, Becca moved easily with the boat’s rhythm.
His city girl—his wife—was enthralled with so many facets of small town life. She loved hiking and boating. She wasn’t a fan of fishing yet, but he’d bet she’d love to try ice fishing once the lake was frozen over.
Becca was always ready to try a new adventure. He knew she’d love the one he had planned for the night.
Becca loved the feel of the boat bumping over the waves in the soft evening breeze. Their wedding day had been fun and amazing. For a brief flutter before the day had begun, her nerves had consumed her. Then they’d taken flight and left her free to enjoy the day.
All because she realized she was doing exactly what she wanted. Marrying the man she loved more than she’d thought possible. Moving permanently to Bloo Moose. Being a part of Gage’s incredible family and the wacky little town.
They’d been surrounded by family and friends, love and laughter the entire day. It had been wonderful.
This was even better.
Gage settled into the side bench with the rudder beside him. He grinned and crooked his finger at her to join him.
“I’m not going to overbalance the boat if we’re on the same side?”
He rolled his eyes. “Any boat I build isn’t going to tip over because a slip of a woman moves around. Now come here.”
Laughing she crossed the boat and he tugged her onto his lap and kissed her.
She nodded her agreement. “Definitely better.”
She settled her head back into his shoulder as they moved across the lake. Reds and golds and stunning oranges filled the sky as the sun dropped behind the mountains. “It’s beautiful.”
“Yes, you are.”
She laughed and turned to kiss her husband again. She’d missed so much in life before meeting him and she probably laughed more in a single day now than she had in any previous year.
Becca reached up and tapped his nose. “You’re very good for me, you know.”
His eyebrows shot up. “I think we’re very good for each other.”
“I think you’re right.”
With the sun setting, Becca had assumed they’d turn back, but Gage guided the boat into a bay on the western shore of the lake. “Is this the same spot where we stopped to check in with our teams that day with Matt?”
He grinned. “It’s a nice private spot.”
Her body lit up at the sexy grin she loved. “How private?”
He waggled his eyebrows at her, then dropped the anchor. When he started to furl the sails, she moved to help. Sailing wasn’t as intuitive as hiking, but she having fun learning the basics.
Gage squeezed her hand. “Wait here.”
The dusk was deepening and the stars were starting to shine. Old Rebecca would have worried about so many things. Being out in the dark on a boat. Potential of being out of cell contact. Being out of her depth with her lack of knowledge of boating.
She felt none of that anxiety. Her trust in Gage was absolute, especially with all things outdoors. Whatever he had planned, it would be safe and fun. And judging by that smile of his, sexy too.
Moments later, Gage emerged with his arms loaded down with blankets, a basket, and a champagne bucket.
Laughing, she grabbed the bucket from him and set it on the side bench. He did the same with the blankets and basket. Then he used his phone to play some soft jazz through a speaker.
She was smiling when he took her hand and tugged her into a slow dance on the tiny deck of the boat. Becca snuggled into to him and rested her head on his shoulder.
“This is perfect, Gage.”
He coasted his hand up and down her side and rested his cheek on her hair. “It is. I love you, Becs and I’m glad to finally have you alone.”
She leaned back to smile at him. “Me too.”
His mouth crashed onto hers and the desire that had been humming all day lit with a roar and consumed her.
Gage knew he’d never get enough of Becca’s touch. Her fingers created trails of fire on his skin. Her eyes fired him up with a single sexy twinkle. And that mouth.
That glorious mouth.
Her lips could quirk in that way of hers and he would do anything to get his hands on her. He looked forward to a lifetime of exploring her and watching her tumble over the edge.
While his hands ran up and down her sides, he kept them moving and swaying to the music. He wanted their first time as a married couple to be full of romance and seduction.
There’d be plenty of time for fast and fun on other days. Today, he wanted to watch her melt and shiver in his arms.
While they kissed, he moved his hands to trace the outline of her dress. Soft touches along the edges of her neckline. Dips of his fingers to the sensitive skin beneath.
Becca sighed into the kiss and arched into him.
The jazz slid from one song into the next while he brushed his fingers over the lacy dress and finally over her breasts beneath.
Her soft intake of breath filled him power as he teased her through the dress. His body was hard as steel but he ignored his need and focused on her.
By the time he eased one hand under her skirt to touch her thighs, she was trembling with need. The most delicious sounds came from her lips and he breathed in every one.
His fingers moved to trace the edges of her panties. Tiny panties with lacy edges that nearly had his knees buckling. He whispered into their kiss. “Sexy, Becs. What color are they?”
When she spoke, her whisper was as trembly as her limbs. “Why don’t you find out?”
He chuckled and kissed her again, kept her moving in the dance. “Soon. Thought I’d watch you fly over the edge first.”
Then he dipped his finger inside the material and brushed it over her curls slowly. When he finally reached his finger inside her, he had to tighten his grip on her waist to keep her upright.
Her trust in him to give her pleasure and to keep her safe continued to astound him. This woman didn’t trust easily or often and her belief in him blew him away.
He kissed and stroked and teased while her breathing grew more shallow and when the orgasm burst through her, he swallowed her cry while he kept his hand moving to draw it out.
When she stopped shuddering, her eyelids fluttered open and she pulled him in for another kiss.
Gage eased the zipper of her dress down and then slipped it off her shoulders. He helped her step out of it and then stepped back to check out her sexy lingerie. “Yellow. I really like yellow, Becs.”
She laughed and started working on the buttons of his shirt. He shrugged it off, but when she reached for his belt, he grabbed her hands. “Not yet. I’ve been imagining tasting you all day. While you stand like a goddess in the starlight.”
He knelt and helped her slip out of her sexy panties, then turned his attention to sending over the edge again.
Becca snuggled against Gage and marveled at the stars above them. Too many to count.
Just like the orgasms they’d shared over the past few hours. Outside. On a boat in the middle of a bay.
She felt decadent and sated. And loved.
She kissed his chest. “I love you Gage. This has been the most magical day. More than I ever imagined.”
He chuckled. “Maybe we never have to leave here.”
“I have something for you, but I left it back in the guest room at the lodge.”
“You got me something? Shit. I didn’t think of that. I didn’t get you anything.”
That had Becca laughing. “You mean aside from the best wedding ever, a gorgeous ring, a romantic sunset sailboat ride, the best husband ever, and a bazillion orgasms?”
He rolled over her and kissed her. “Lil packed you a bag and put it in the berth, but I don’t know if she included your surprise.”
Becca shoved Gage over onto his back and jumped up. “Wait here.”
She grabbed one of the blankets to cover herself, but Gage grabbed it and grinned. “I like you naked.”
With a laugh, she turned her back on him and slowly swayed to the steps and down to the berth. Old Rebecca would be amazed.
A quick peek showed Lil was a perfect sister-in-law. She grabbed the box and hurried back up. Gage’s eyes roved her body as she returned and his grin widened.
“Looking damn good, Special Agent Bad Ass.”
He scooted to a sitting position and she sat across from him and handed him the box.
Gage ripped open the wrapping like a five-year-old at Christmas. Then he opened the box and his grin changed to a look of surprise and pleasure. His eyes flickered to her and back to the antique sextant and compass she’d found for him.
She swallowed the emotion she felt and whispered. “These remind me of you. You helped me find my direction, my place in the world. You helped me find balance and purpose in life. When I saw them, I wanted you to have them to know exactly what you mean to me, Gage.”
“Hell, Becs, these are amazing. And so are you. You humble me and make me so damn grateful you chose Bloo Moose for your super-secret undercover mission. Thank you. You’re my balance, too. Hey, maybe that’s the name for this boat. Balance. What do you think?”
Gage’s eyes were misty as he put the box to the side and lifted her easily to straddle him. “I love the gift, Becs. Every time I see them, I’ll think of you and those words.”
He kissed her forehead and simply held her for a long moment.
“Now, let’s start working on the next bazillion orgasms.”
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this bonus scene to Reaching For Balance, book 4 in the Bloo Moose Romantic Suspense series!
The next book in the series, Reaching For Christmas, spotlights Lil and Max.