Official Website of USA Today bestselling author Tawdra Kandle
MAKE ME BEG Bonus Epilogue!
Thanks for reading MAKE ME BEG!
Here’s the bonus epilogue I promised . . .
“How does this work, exactly?”
I gazed at the man who sat across from me. Candlelight flickered on the table between us, casting shadows on Griffin Rockingham’s impossibly handsome face.
“Could you be a little more specific?” I ran the tip of my tongue between my lips. “Do you mean dinner? I think we just order our food and wait for them to bring it to us. I know this is a very posh new restaurant, but I’m fairly certain that it runs the way others do.”
“Brat.” Roc rolled his eyes and shook his head, but I didn’t miss the way his lips twitched. “What I meant was, how will it work between us? This is our first date—officially, that is. What happens next?”
I leaned back in my chair. “Well, I suppose that depends.”
One side of my mouth curved up. “On whether or not you consider this evening a success. And if you plan to ask me on another date.”
“Oh, princess.” Roc’s eyes flared with a heat I couldn’t miss, even in the dim light. “There’s no question about that. But perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves. After all, this date isn’t over yet.”
“You have an excellent point.” I picked up my wine glass and sipped a really fine Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru 2012. “But I must tell you, this has been the best date I’ve been on in . . . well, in a very long time. So the chances of me agreeing to a second date are good. The odds are in your favor.”
“I’m very relieved.” Roc’s voice was dry. “Do you have any idea how nervous I’ve been over these past three weeks? Making plans for a first date and then having to wait twenty-one days until it happened is not a good idea.”
“I’m sorry about that.” I stretched my arm across the table and laid my hand over Roc’s. “Although it wasn’t completely my fault. I had no idea that my niece and nephew had gifted me a nasty virus before I left the States. And then you were called out of town unexpectedly right as I began to recover.”
“The worst luck,” Roc groaned. “My father likes to pretend he’s at death’s door in order to drag us all back to the ancestral home. I was tempted to ignore him this time, but my brother insisted that he was truly quite ill.”
“Well, I’m relieved that he managed to rally and survive.” I smiled, thinking fondly of my late grandfather, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, a man who might not have been above such well-meaning subterfuge himself.
“He did.” Roc nodded. “He’s just fine and will likely outlive us all. But since his recovery coincided with Christmas, I couldn’t very well deny his request to stay for the holiday, especially as I knew you were going to be at Sandringham with the King anyway.”
“Exactly. And I couldn’t very well beg off attending at the last minute, given that His Majesty used the Yuletide season as an excuse to gift me with a new residence of my very own.” I sighed happily. “It’s just a little flat at KP, but I’m thrilled to have my own home again. And he’s asked me to take up some of my official duties again. I can still keep my job, but I’m also going to be able to work with a few of my favorite charities.”
“His Majesty is very fortunate that you agreed—he’s lucky to have you as a representative of the Crown. And I completely understand why you spent Christmas with your family, as did I. It was the right thing to do for both of us, even if the waiting was excruciating.” He paused, lowering his voice. “The only things that kept me from utter despair were your texts and calls. If we hadn’t been able to stay in touch, to talk, I might have believed that what happened in the US was just a sweet dream.”
“You’re right. I felt the same way.” I paused. “But I’ve had a great deal of time to think, too, and one thing that occurred to me was that if we truly want to make this work, we cannot keep looking backward. We can only focus on the future.”
“On our future.” Roc twisted his hand so that our palms were pressed together. “I’ll admit to you that over these past three weeks, I’ve been tempted to make some of the same mistakes I did before.”
I tilted my head. “Such as?”
He smiled wryly. “I wanted to suggest that we simply re-marry and finally claim our very own happily ever after. I’m . . . impatient for us to be together, Daisy. But the time we had apart—I mean, after I left you in America—reminded me that this time, if we want to make things right, we should move slowly. We should take our time and date, and I should woo you.”
Passion stirred my blood. “I like the idea of being wooed. By you, of course.”
“Then woo you I shall.” Roc squeezed my hand. “I thought that tonight, I’d make a good beginning, and if you agreed, we might continue the wooing on New Year’s Eve.” He paused. “Assuming you don’t have a date already.”
“I do not.” I rested my chin in my free hand. “And I would love to ring in the new year with you, Griffin.”
“I hope you won’t be disappointed.” His thumb slid between our joined hands and caressed my palm. “I was thinking that we’d spend the evening quietly, just the two of us, at my flat in the city. I can make us dinner—“
I sat back in feigned shock, pressing my hand to my chest. “You are going to cook for me?”
“All part of the wooing, darling,” he assured me. “And trust me, I’ve become an accomplished chef in the last few years. Let me prove it.”
“Absolutely. I can’t wait.”
“Excellent.” Roc lifted his wine goblet to his lips. “There was something else . . . I was planning it as a surprise for tomorrow night, but I think I should give you some warning, all things considered.”
Unease stirred within me. “A surprise? Should I be terrified?”
“I don’t think so.” He bent his elbow, moving my hand to brush his lips over my knuckles. “I had had the thought before, but then when you told me about your new home, I acted rather impulsively.”
I fastened him with a stern glare and released his hand. “Tell me what you did, Griffin. Tell me right now.”
“All right, all right.” Still, he hesitated. “Do you remember Al Jones, the man who was fostering the puppy who fell in love with you at yoga?”
I nodded. “Of course, I do. I got his information from the charity so that I can send donations directly to Al and his wife.”
“Ah. Well, I also reached out to Mr. Jones, because I thought that perhaps a new home needed a new puppy.”
“You didn’t!” I covered my mouth with my fingers. “Did you really? That sweet puppy is going to be mine?”
“Eventually,” Roc cautioned. “Sending a dog overseas takes a lot of paperwork and red tape. But yes, hopefully by Valentine’s Day, you’ll be a puppy mama.”
“Oh, Griffin!!” I leaped to my feet and circled the table, throwing my arms around him. “Thank you! This is the best gift ever. I can’t wait to hold him!”
“Until you can, might I suggest an alternative? A temporary placeholder for the darling pup?” Roc eased me onto his lap. “I promise, my kisses are just as sweet, my cuddling is top-notch, and I have a very cold nose.”
“That works for me,” I murmured, nuzzling Roc’s neck and reveling in his swift intake of breath. “And depending on the quality of your wooing, I might even keep you after the pup arrives.”
“Oh, darling princess.” Roc guided my lips to his and bent his head over me. “That’s a promise I’m determined to make sure you keep.”
And then he kissed me, and I forgot about puppies, palaces, and plans.