Kami sat at the desk Rayce had made for her and opened one of the many drawers. She loved the desk with all its nooks and crannies. A place for everything, just like she’d dreamed of as a teen.
She’d had so many dreams.
And the important ones had come true.
Kami pulled the small box out of the drawer and opened the lid. She slid the photos out of the box and onto the desktop. She wanted to see them all at once. A collage of memories. So many personal highlights.
There weren’t many from before they’d arrived in Bloo Moose. They’d never owned a camera that she could remember but somehow there were a few pictures of Kami as a baby.
Her favorite was of her mom holding her on her lap. It didn’t appear as if Carolina had known the picture was being taken. Carolina was sitting on an chair holding Kami. The smile on her mom’s face was one Kami had seen so many times. Full of love and joy.
No matter how hard Carolina’s life had been, she’d always been able to find both.
“Wish you were here, Mom.” Brushing her fingers over the photo, she spread out the next ones. These were from their time in Bloo Moose when Kami had been a teen.
Rayce’s younger sister Lil had been a photographer even back then. Kami and Lil had become friends on the first day of high school and Lil had printed out several photos for Kami.
Kami’s first time on a boat at LaChance Lodge.
Playing tennis with Rayce.
Sitting on the dock with Rayce behind her, his arms wrapped around her, keeping her safe even then.
They’d been so young. Kids with stars in their eyes and love in their hearts. While that had young love had shattered, they’d found their way back to each other. She wished she could go back and whisper to that shattered girl that everything would work out.
The last few photos were from various tournaments with her mom holding trophies and laughing. A few more of Carolina posing at some of the famous landmarks they’d seen around the world.
A knock sounded on the door and Kami called out for the person to enter without hesitation. Not only did Kami’s Kamp have excellent security installed, the two people she needed to worry about were in jail where they belonged.
She was free and she was safe.
Lil opened the door and grinned. “Maid of Honor reporting for duty.”
Kami smiled back as Lil moved over and hugged her. Her friend gasped when she saw the photos spread on the desk. “I remember those. I can’t believe you still have them. That seems so long ago.”
Lil pointed at one photo of the entire LaChance family and Kami on a boat. “That was a perfect afternoon. That was the first photo I ever took with a tripod and a timer. My first selfie.”
Then Lil pictured up the photo of Carolina holding Kami on her lap. “This is a fabulous picture. Your mom was so great. Whenever she watched you play tennis, this was the smile she wore. And when she watched you and Rayce, too.”
Kami nodded and swallowed back the tears. “I miss her so much.”
Lil nodded and squeezed her hand. “I know. And while today is all about the future and the happy, it’s also about her. I think she’s here with you.” Lil tapped her finger right over Kami’s heart.
A tear slipped out and Lil flapped her hands. “No. No tears. No one will ever let me live it down if I make you cry. Can you imagine what name Max will come up for me? You have to stop.”
As her friend had probably intended, Kami laughed and swallowed the tears. “I think you’re right on both counts. Mom’s here. And Max would have a ball finding the perfect nickname for you.”
“Probably L’il Meanie.”
Kami shook her head. “No one could ever call you Meanie.”
Lil rolled her eyes. “Except Max. Okay. Time to focus. We’ve got a wedding to get to. Do you have a list? What do we have to do? Where’s your dress? What’s first?”
Kami laughed and shoved down the nerves. “It’s a tiny, casual wedding, Lil.”
Lil brushed that away. “We’re still going to make sure Rayce is drooling. Do you have your mom’s necklace?”
Kami grabbed the box from another nook in the desk. She’d had it polished and it was gorgeous. A simple gold chain with a heart. Kami had bought it for Carolina with the winnings from her first tournament.
Carolina had worn it every day and had used it as a touchstone when she was tired or worn out.
Until now, Kami had kept it safe, kept it close, but she’d never worn it.
Today, she’d wear it as her Something Old to keep her mom close.
“What if she thinks it’s dumb?” Rayce knew he sounded panicky, but that was okay. He was panicky. He looked at the neatly-stacked boxes and wondered if he’d lost his mind.
It was supposed to be a fun surprise. Keeping with the style of their wedding. Casual. Simple. Was it too silly? Would she think he was nuts?
Jaz thumped him on the back. “Chill out, Rayce. You know Kami better than anyone. These are perfect.”
Was his twin right? Rayce looked at Max and Gage for their opinions. The men had taken over the boys’ locker room at Kami’s Kamp for their wedding preparations and the boxes were stacked on one of the benches.
One for each of the four men in here. Kami and Lil. Rayce’s parents. Their officiant Scott and his partner Nathan.
And a couple of dozen for their guests.
He’d been excited about the idea. He’d thought it would be fun and make Kami smile. Now, he wasn’t sure at all.
Most brides appeared to want to control every detail of the their wedding outfit. Kami wasn’t most people and he’d thought she’d love this.
Now, panic was crawling up his throat.
Max picked up two boxes and handed them to Rayce. “Go.”
Gage rolled his eyes. “Rayce. You’re turning into a bridezilla. Take them and go talk to her.”
He grabbed the boxes and hustled through the building until he reached Kami’s office.
He knocked. “It’s me, Kami. I have to talk to you about something.”
His sister opened the door a crack and stared at him. “Two things, brother dearest. One, you just gave Kami a heart attack. She thinks you want to call off the wedding.”
Hell. “No. Not a chance. No second thoughts. I love her totally and completely. I just need her opinion on something.”
Lil rolled her eyes. Hard. “You hear that, Kami? Dumbass brother isn’t changing his mind. He’s still madly in love with you.”
Kami laughed behind the door. “What do you need my opinion about?”
Lil pointed at him. “And I’m not going anywhere. If I leave you alone, you’re going to see the bride before the wedding. We’re not breaking that tradition.”
Rayce blew out a breath. “I bought something. A lot of somethings actually. I thought it was fun and would go with the whole Something New and Something Blue thing. Now I don’t know if it’s a silly idea.”
Lil raised her eyebrows.
Kami sounded closer to the door when she spoke. “What did you buy?”
Instead of answering, he shoved the two boxes at Lil. “Here.”
He wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans. Lil stuck her foot in the door to keep it open and took the boxes.
Rayce closed his eyes and breathed while he waited. He was glad he hadn’t changed yet because he would have sweated right through his dress shirt.
Through the door, he heard Kami’s gasp and then she laughed. A genuine happy laugh. Not a you-are-the-worst laugh.
And his world realigned.
“They’re perfect, Rayce. Perfect. I love them and I love you.”
Relief had him grinning. “I love you, too. See you soon.”
And then he jogged back to the locker room with a bounce in his step. The sooner he got ready, the sooner he could kiss his bride.
Kami couldn’t stop smiling. If she’d had any doubts, which she hadn’t, Rayce’s surprise for Something New would have convinced her.
She hadn’t wanted a traditional wedding or wedding dress. She and Lil had done some online shopping and found a pretty dress that had some echoes of the dress she’d worn on their date to High Reaches.
The dress was a silky halter style with a full skirt of soft layers of blue and white. A blue like her courts and the logo she’d designed with her mom.
And a blue that perfectly matched the shoes in her hand.
Blue tennis shoes with the white back-to-back Ks of her Kamp’s logo on the sides.
She’d spent most of her life in tennis shoes. Getting married in them was perfect. It showed how well Rayce knew her and how much he loved her. He had to have had them designed and specially made.
She slipped them on, not in the least surprised when they fit perfectly. Lil’s did as well.
“I love him so much, Lil. He’s the best man I know.”
Lil grinned. “Don’t tell him that. We’ll never get his head through the door. But he is pretty great. I’m so happy for you two.”
Another knock on the door had them both sharing a smile. “More sneakers?”
Lil laughed and moved to the door. This time she opened it wide to let her parents into the room.
Remi and Jeanette LaChance were wonderful people. They’d handed LaChance Lodge over to Gage and bought a huge RV to tour the country. They’d driven in yesterday from somewhere in Pennsylvania for the wedding.
When Remi spun Jeanette in a dance, Kami realized their shoes matched hers and Lil’s.
How many pairs had the man ordered?
Jeanette pulled her in for a hug. When she stood back, she touched the necklace Kami wore. “That’s a beautiful Something Old. Your mom would be thrilled you’re wearing it. She was so proud of you and loved you so much. And she’d be thrilled that you and Rayce figured it out.”
Kami breathed deeply to stop the tears and held onto Jeanette.
Remi moved in and put his arms around them both. “No tears, ladies. Not on such a wonderful day.”
Then Remi took both of Kami’s hands in his. “We would love to be your something borrowed today. We would love to stand in for your lovely mother and I would be honored to walk you down the aisle.”
Kami blinked back more tears and hugged him hard. “You’re the dad I always wished I had. Thank you.”
Remi kissed her hair and squeezed her tight. “We’ll always be here for you, Kami. Anything you need.”
Lil blew out a sharp whistle and they all looked at her.
She laughed and threw her hands up in the air. “No tears. No runny noses. No red eyes. No weeping. It’s a happy day. Shape up, people.”
Rayce changed into his new shirt. A blue that matched the shoes and the courts.
Today was all about showing his love for Kami. Honoring the color she and her mom had chosen was his way of showing her he loved all of her. The fact that it echoed the town name made it even better.
Gage slapped him on the shoulder. “You’re the first one of us taking the plunge. How you feeling?”
Rayce grinned at his older brother. “Now that I know she loves the shoes? Perfect. And impatient.”
His brothers and Max wore white shirts with ties the same shade of blue as his own shirt. All three of them would stand at his side. The four of them had been a team since they were kids and he couldn’t imagine taking this step without them.
Lil would stand with Kami. His dad was walking her down the aisle. They’d be surrounded by his family. And soon they’d officially be her family too.
Max patted him on the back. “Let’s move.”
It had been a few months since Dan Wilding had shot out the windows and tried to take Kami. Every time Rayce walked this path, the fear tried to consume him again. He hoped the man spent the rest of his life behind bars.
Inside the dome, their friends were seated. Max’s parents. Megs Carter. Claude, Lisa, and the kids. Sawyer and Myla. Darby and Quinn. Nathan and Scott. Luc, Jean-Paul and their families. His and Claude’s crews. More friends.
When Scott spotted them, he stood and took his place by the dais they’d set up at the front.
“Wait for me.” Rayce’s mom called out as she hurried up the hallway.
She hugged Rayce first and kissed his cheek. “I’m so proud of you and happy for you. You’re a very lucky man and she’s a very lucky woman.” He hugged her hard, glad he’d always had such amazing parents in his corner.
Music started to play and Gage held out his elbow for his mom. They walked to the front with Rayce, Jaz, and Max right behind.
At the front Scott shook his hand.
From the baseline of the court where they stood, the blue shoes on every pair of feet in the crowd stood out and made him smile. Not only would they not mess up the courts, they made a pretty awesome statement of how Bloo Moose supported its own.
The music changed and Rayce’s eyes flew to the door.
His sister waved at him with a big grin. She wore a yellow dress and carried a bouquet of yellow and blue flowers. Once she reached the front, she kissed his cheek and then stood to the side.
Then he only had eyes for Kami. She held onto his dad’s arm and smiled at Rayce. He couldn’t look away, could barely breathe. She was always gorgeous, but today she shone even brighter than normal.
For so many years, he’d thought this day would never happen. He’d lost her and he’d lost hope. Now he had both.
Her hair hung loosely around her shoulders in waves and she carried more flowers. Her dress swung around her knees and he got peeks of those sexy-as-hell legs that he’d never get enough of.
She was cane free and walking tall.
Rayce had to swallow hard to keep his emotions from boiling over. He was so damn proud of this amazing woman.
His dad’s subtle cough had Rayce realizing he’d got lost in Kami’s eyes. He grinned and shook his dad’s hand then pulled him in for a hug. “Thanks Dad. You’re the best.”
Then Rayce took both of Kami’s hands and lifted them to his mouth. She dropped the flowers with a laugh.
And he had to capture that laugh in a kiss.
Scott sighed dramatically. “Looks like we’re altering the itinerary again.”
When Rayce lifted his head, Scott stage-whispered. “You’re not supposed to kiss her yet.”
Rayce grinned back. “Can’t help it.” To prove it, he kissed her again while everyone laughed.
Scott spoke again. “It gives me great pleasure to help you two get started on the next set in your adventure. It’s been a long game for both of you, but I’m sure you’ll have the advantage now as you have a new baseline for the future. The ball is in your court.”
The entire group laughed at the terrible puns and a few people cat-called from the audience.
Scott grinned and motioned to Kami. “The court is yours.”
Kami squeezed Rayce’s hands. Her nerves had flown away. She’d given speeches in front of huge crowds before after winning tournaments. She’d done media interviews and press appearances.
But this crowd, these speeches, this man. They were the most important ones of her life. While that should have made her nervous, it simply filled her up with joy.
“When Mom and I first came to Bloo Moose, it wasn’t long before we realized it was the first place we’d ever felt at home.” Kami turned to the crowd and realized that not only did these people love her and have her back, they were also wearing the new shoes Rayce had designed.
“All of you contributed to that.” She pointed at her foot and then at all the matching shoes. “You still are.”
She turned back to Rayce. “Especially you. You showed me what life could be like. You challenged me. You supported me.”
His eyes glimmered with regret. She didn’t want that so she reached up to kiss him lightly. Scott sighed dramatically and the crowd chuckled.
“You believed in me. Even when I was broken and angry and lost. You believed in me and you still do. You make me want to be better, to be stronger. I love everything about you. I want to be at your side while you make the world a better, more beautiful place with every board you nail in place, with every plan you bring to life, with every dream you create. I love you, Rayce and I’m going to love you forever.”
Kami blew out a breath. It wasn’t quite what she’d planned to say. Her words had been volleyed away with all the emotions swirling.
Rayce’s eyes were damp and he closed them briefly before swallowing hard and opening them again. He brought her hands to his lips again and grinned at her.
“You’ve made me forget what I was going to say so I’m going to wing it here. You’re the strongest person I know, Kami. You bring so much determination and willpower to everything you do. I think I fell in the love the first time you kicked my ass on that tennis court outside the school.”
The audience chuckled and Rayce grinned at her. “You’ve been through so much, but you shine. Your love and compassion know no bounds. Carolina would be so damn proud of you. I’m so damn proud of you.”
Her eyes filled with tears and he squeezed her hands.
“I want to stand at your side as you make the world a better place, one racket, one tennis court, one kid at a time. I’m the luckiest man in the world today. I love you and I promise to love you forever.”
They started to lean together for a kiss, but Scott threw his hands up dramatically and shouted. “Wait!”
More laughter followed.
Scott grinned. “I’ve debated which pun to use here.”
Everyone in the room groaned.
“I thought about going with the banner you’ve got up there.”
Scott pointed at the Love Means Everything sign that hung from the rafters. It was in the same font as her tattoo and the tennis ball Rayce had etched.
“But then I decided there were so many other options. Match point. Championship point. Game, set, match. Kiss serve. Game on.”
While the crowd laughed and Scott continued to list tennis pun after tennis pun, Kami hooked her hands around Rayce’s neck and leaned in to whisper. “Love really does mean everything.”
Rayce closed the distance and was kissing her when Scott finally announced. “I now pronounce you husband and wife. Keep on kissing your bride. Advantage LaChance.”