Tristan on a Harley (Louisiana Knights Book 3) (20 page)

BOOK: Tristan on a Harley (Louisiana Knights Book 3)
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“I-I can’t stay.”

“Why not? You think you’ll find whatever it is you’re looking for at the next town down the road? It’s here, right in front of you, and you can’t or won’t see it.”

“I’m the one who needs to decide that.”

“I agree,” he said a shade too promptly. “You have to decide who you want to be and where you want to stay, and then do it and be damned to everyone else. I just don’t see that who your father might have been makes any difference.”

“Of course you do, or should. You’re a Benedict. Your family has been here since the flood. You and your cousins are old-time Chamelot with the old family plantation houses to prove it. You don’t want to take the chance that your children might be laughed at or slighted because they’re—different.”

“For God’s sake, Zeni, how can you sit there and say that? You have an IQ of 150, and mine is not nearly that high. Could you take the chance, even though our children might not be extra bright?”

“It’s not the same thing,” she said with a quick shake of her head.

“I say it is,” he insisted. “More than that, I’ll tell you something about this famous Benedict family you think is so aristocratic. It started in Tunica Parish with four brothers who had migrated west out of Virginia by way of Georgia and Mississippi. They didn’t wind up here in the back of beyond, a primitive wilderness at the time, simply because they found rich bottom land along the river. Oh, no. According to stories handed down in the family, they were running from something—God knows what, but probably a killing, accidental or otherwise. They’d picked up some interesting women along the way, too. One was a black-haired Native American, and another a misunderstood blonde, beautiful but no better than she had to be for good and various reasons. There was a Spanish female with a temper and a little knife she’d used once too often, and a Frenchwoman who’d made a career of marrying sickly older men—until she met a Benedict who was hale and hearty. About the best you can say for the whole crew is that they were strong, hardworking and ready to take whatever risks might be necessary to have a new and better life.”

“You’re making that up.” She was almost certain of it, though she wanted to believe him, longed to with every ounce of her being.

“Why would I do that?”

“You know why. Besides, it was long ago.”

“So is whatever happened in your family.”

She brushed that away with a quick gesture of one hand. “But the Benedicts are respected members of the community now. The name stands for stability and integrity and all the old-fashioned values that are so hard to find.”

“And you’re going to be all noble and refuse to marry me because of it, and because of something that might or might not be true about your family? Well, thank you very much.”

“Oh, is that supposed to be your part in all this?” she demanded as her annoyance rose with his accusation. “You’re going to be
all noble
and marry me in spite of it?”

“I want to marry you because I love you, Zeni, and I don’t take kindly to this idea of yours that I must be unable to accept your birth, whatever it might be, because I’m a Southern country boy.”

“I never said—”

“It seemed that way to me.”

She tightened her hands into fists, heartsick at arguing with him about something so personal, yet unable to stop. “Maybe it was, but a lot of people do think that way.”

“Some do, yes. But I’ll remind you that not everyone, or even every Southerner, is the same. You can’t judge a man by where he was born or how. No, and not by the vocal few whose brains are stuck back in the nineteenth century with their dead ancestors, and who never had an independent thought in their lives. This is the twenty-first century America, Zeni. Every single one of us is the child of an immigrant and a fine mixture of races and colors and wild-haired genes after thousands of years of population movements and enemy invasions. More than that, it’s been proven that we each and every one come from the same hot savannah in Africa. What the devil difference does it make what the color of our hair and skin might be? It’s what’s in our hearts that matters.”

“Oh, Trey.” She could barely see him for the tears that welled into her eyes, rising from the deep sense of healing inside her. He was such an unusual man, honest and compassionate, strong and true and, most of all, fair. She loved him beyond all thought, loved him enough to give him up if it was the best thing for him.

But if not? If it truly wasn’t best, what then?

“Marry me, Zeni,” he said, moving to kneel beside her chair, taking her hand and placing in her palm the antique ruby and diamond ring that stood for her heart and his protection of it. “Please marry me and help me name my granddad’s old house and turn it into a home. Help me build a life worth having. Marry me and have my children.”

“Are you sure? Are you really sure?”

“I was never more certain of anything in my life,” he said in deep avowal. “You are my life and the only future I need, the rose I yearn for despite its thorns. I love you more than I can say, need you beside me, want you in my heart for all the days of our lives. That is, if you meant what you whispered when you thought I might be dying, if you can always love me.”

“Yes,” she whispered, closing her fingers tight on his ring. “Yes. Oh, please yes.”

He joined her in her chair, taking her on his lap. She melted into him with gentle care for his injury, pushing her fingers into his hair as he took her mouth, her throat, pressing his face into her neck so she felt the moisture from his eyes, and then taking his mouth again for a kiss flavored with the salt of her own tears. Touching, holding in an agony of relief and promise, they came together in peace at last.

It was later, much later, when Zeni sighed and shifted, resting her forehead against his jawbone while he cupped her breast, his hand disappearing inside the open placket of her shirt.

“There’s something else I have to tell you,” she said, her voice musing and contented, yet just a tiny bit smug.

“What’s that?” he asked, his concentration elsewhere.

“The gene for intelligence is inherited through the mother’s DNA.”

His movement stilled. “What does that mean?”

“Why, only that our children will be of strong Benedict stock with all those good healthy genes, but they should also be bright, very bright indeed.”

“So my logic was all wrong?”

“I didn’t say that. It’s just that, well—these children of ours should be awesome.”

His hold upon her tightened, became caressing. “They will be. And I can’t wait to see. I really can’t wait.”

THE LOUISIANA KNIGHTS SERIES

About the Author

National and international bestselling author Jennifer Blake is a charter member of Romance Writers of America and recipient of the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. She hold numerous other honors, including the “Maggie”, the Holt Medallion, Reviewer’s Choice, Pioneer and Career Achievement Awards from
RT Book Reviews Magazine
, and the Frank Waters Award for literary excellence. She has written 73 books with translations in 22 languages and more than 35 million copies in print worldwide.

After three decades in traditional publishing, Jennifer established Steel Magnolia Press LLC with Phoenix Sullivan in 2011. This independent publishing company now publishes her work.

FMI:
http://www.jenniferblake.com
.

You can also find Jennifer on
Facebook
,
Twitter
, and
Pinterest
.

Find Jennifer’s Books On Amazon

More Titles by Jennifer Blake

Louisiana Knights Series

Lancelot of the Pines

Galahad in Jeans

Tristan on a Harley

Box Sets

Contemporary Collection Volume 1

Contemporary Collection Volume 2

Classic Gothics Collection

Italian Billionaire’s TwinPack

Louisiana History Collection Volume 1

Louisiana History Collection Volume 2

Love and Adventure Collection Volume 1

Love and Adventure Collection Volume 2

Louisiana Plantation Collection

No Ordinary Lovers

Royal Princes of Ruthenia

Sweetly Contemporary Collection Volume 1

Sweetly Contemporary Collection Volume 2

Contemporary Romance

The Tuscan’s Revenge Wedding

The Venetian’s Daring Seduction

The Amalfitano’s Bold Abduction

Holding the Tigress

Shameless

Wildest Dreams

Joy and Anger

Love and Smoke

Historical Romance

Silver-Tongued Devil

Arrow to the Heart

Spanish Serenade

Perfume of Paradise

Southern Rapture

Louisiana Dawn

Prisoner of Desire

Royal Passion

Fierce Eden

Midnight Waltz

Surrender In Moonlight

Royal Seduction

Embrace and Conquer

Golden Fancy

The Storm and the Splendor

Tender Betrayal

Notorious Angel

Love’s Wild Desire

Sweet Piracy

Romantic Suspense/Gothic

Night of the Candles

Bride of a Stranger

Dark Masquerade

Court of the Thorn Tree

The Bewitching Grace

Stranger at Plantation Inn

Secret of Mirror House

Sweet Contemporary Romance

April of Enchantment

Captive Kisses

Love at Sea

Snowbound Heart

Bayou Bride

The Abducted Heart

Nonfiction

Around the World in 100 Days (with Corey Faucheux)

Novellas

Queen for a Night

A Vision of Sugarplums

Pieces of Dreams

Out of the Dark

The Rent-A-Groom

The Warlock’s Daughter

Besieged Heart

Dream Lover

Find Jennifer’s Books On Amazon

Contact Jennifer Here:

[email protected]

Or follow her here:

http://jenniferblake.com

https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.blake.3914

https://twitter.com/JenniferBlake01

http://www.pinterest.com/jblakeauthor

http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Blake/e/B000APHHS8

Finally…

Feedback is of vital importance in today’s digital publishing world. If you enjoyed this book, it would be a kindness, and deeply appreciated, if you would post a review at Amazon.com.

Sincerely,

 

 

BOOK: Tristan on a Harley (Louisiana Knights Book 3)
10.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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