Amelia stopped before him, her skirts crowded between his parted knees. The clean, salty, evergreen scent of him drifted to her nostrils. "I have a proposition for you," she said, trying for a businesslike tone. "A very sensible one. You see? She paused to clear her throat. "I've been thinking about your problem."

"What problem?" Cam played lightly with the folds of her skirts, watching her face alertly.

"Your good-luck curse. I know how to get rid of it. You should marry into a family with very, very bad luck. A family with expensive problems. And then you won't have to be embarrassed about having so much money, because it will flow out nearly as fast as it comes in."

"Very sensible." Cam took her shaking hand in his, pressed it between his warm palms. And touched his foot to her rapidly tapping one. "Hummingbird," he whispered, "you don't have to be nervous with me."

Gathering her courage, Amelia blurted out, "I want your ring. I want never to take it off again. I want to be your romni forever"—she paused with a quick, abashed smile?"whatever that is."

"My bride. My wife."

Amelia froze in a moment of throat-clenching delight as she felt him slide the gold ring onto her finger, easing it to the base. "When we were with Leo, tonight," she said scratchily, "I knew exactly how he felt about losing Laura. He told me once that I couldn't understand unless I had loved someone that way. He was right. And tonight, as I watched you with him ... I knew what I would think at the very last moment of my life."

His thumb smoothed over the tender surface of her knuckle. "Yes, love?"

"I would think," she continued, "'Oh, if I could have just one more day with Cam. I would fit a lifetime into those few hours.'"

"Not necessary," he assured her gently. "Statistically speaking, we'll have at least ten, fifteen thousand days to spend together."

"I don't want to be apart from you for even one of them."

Cam cupped her small, serious face in his hands, his thumbs skimming the trace of tears beneath her eyes. His gaze caressed her. "Are we to live in sin, love, or will you finally agree to marry me?"

"Yes. Yes. I'll marry you. Although... I still can't promise to obey you."

Cam laughed quietly. "We'll manage around that. If you'll at least promise to love me."

Amelia gripped his wrists, his pulse steady and strong beneath her fingertips. "Oh, I do love you, you're?

"I love you, too."

"—my fate. You're everything I? She would have said more, if he had not pulled her head to his, kissing her with hard, thrilling pressure.

They undressed with haste, tugging at each other's clothes with a clumsiness wrought of desire and fervor. When at last their skin was laid bare, Cam's urgency eased. His hands glided over her with deliberate slowness, every caress bringing tremors of pleasure to the surface. His features were austerely beautiful as he rolled her to her back. His mouth lowered to her br**sts, his hands cupping the rounded flesh, tongue and teeth gently navigating the tips.

Amelia moaned his name, surrendering helplessly as he rose to kneel between her legs. His hand closed over her hips, lifting and bracing them on his spread thighs. Cam watched her, his eyes flashing demon-fire as he stroked her, toying with the soft cleft, the sensitive flesh within.

She reached for him, needing his weight on her, unable to pull him down. All she could do was whimper and arch as he filled her with his fingers, his thumb making wicked swirls, his thighs solid beneath her straining hips. Her breath hissed between her teeth, while her hands tightened around handfuls of the bed linens.

His fingers slid away from her, leaving her shuddering as her body closed in vain around the emptiness. But then he was pushing into her, filling her completely. She lifted high to take him, and gasped as he eased over her with deliberate slowness.

Her hand crept blindly from his shoulder to his face, where she felt the shape of his smile. "Don't tease," she muttered, trembling with need. "I can't bear it."

"Sweetheart..." His silky whisper caressed her cheek. "I'm afraid you'll have to."

"Wh-why?" She caught her breath as he withdrew, giving her only the tip of his shaft.'

"Because there's nothing I love more than teasing you." And he took an eternity to push inside her again, his hands caressing her, every movement so incremental and delicious and merciless that by the time he entered her completely, she had already cl**axed. Twice.

"Stay inside me," she begged hoarsely, as he began a steady rhythm, the heat building again. "Stay, stay? The words flattened into a long moan.

Cam bent over her, driving ruthlessly hard, his breath coming in hot strikes against her face and throat. He stared into her dazed eyes, taking fierce satisfaction in the sight of her pleasure. His hands slipped beneath her skull, cradling her head as he kissed her. He buried a vehement groan into the sweet depths of her mouth, and let his release spin out inside her.

Cuddling her afterward, Cam traced lazy patterns on her back and shoulders. Amelia rested on him, enjoying the steady lift and fall of his breathing.

"After the wedding," he murmured, "I may take you away with me for a little while."

"Where?" she asked readily, turning to press her lips against his chest.

"To look for my tribe."

"You've already found your tribe." She hitched a leg over his hips. "It's called the Hathaways."