Jordan froze when Vincent’s mom walked in. So far Jordan had been able to make polite conversation with the petite woman, but she’d avoided being alone with her or Zoe. Maybe that made her a chicken but she didn’t care.
Swallowing hard, she smiled. “I just had to take a call but I’m heading back out there in case you need privacy.” Maybe she just wanted to use Vincent’s bathroom or something.
Tanice Hansen gave her an assessing stare, her dark eyes unreadable. Vincent was right, his mom was a little scary. She was a beautiful woman, with flawless skin that made her appear decades younger than she had to be. And she was impossible to read. “I like the changes you’ve made around the place. It actually looks like someone lives here now.”
Jordan hadn’t been expecting that. Of course, she didn’t know what she was expecting from Tanice. “Thank you.” So far she’d only made a few small changes, but Vincent had been living like a caveman and she was adding feminine touches. Lord, the man hadn’t even had a wine opener. Thankfully he’d told her she could do whatever she wanted.
Tanice stepped farther into the room, looking around, again with that assessing eye. Lord, what was she thinking?
Jordan tried to think of something polite to say but felt like a deer in headlights.
His mother continued though. “When Vincent told me he was moving in with a woman after only a week I was stunned. But then he told me he’d known you back in California. He didn’t want to tell me everything, but eventually the whole story came out about why you left him and what happened in Key West. I don’t know why that boy thinks he can keep secrets from me,” she murmured, almost to herself.
“Oh.” She didn’t know what else to say. Jordan had broken Vincent’s heart seven years ago then put the woman’s son in mortal danger a week ago. If she was a mom, she probably wouldn’t be a fan of someone like herself.
Taking her completely by surprise, tears spilled down Tanice’s face as she stepped closer until they were only inches apart. Jordan wasn’t very tall but Tanice was even shorter. “I know we haven’t had a chance to talk alone yet, but I just wanted to say thank you.”
Jordan blinked, unsure what she meant. And she hated that the other woman was crying. She wanted to reach out and comfort her, but didn’t know if she should. “For what?”
“For not taking my son away. He didn’t say it, but he would have gone with you seven years ago. And it would have killed all of us.” Her voice cracked on the last word and she pulled Jordan into a tight hug.
The strength behind the woman’s grip surprised her but she hugged her back, relieved beyond belief by the woman’s acceptance of her.
“I know you don’t have family, so consider us yours now,” she said softly.
Jordan fought her own tears, swiping at the traitorous wetness as it threatened to spill over. Since she didn’t trust her voice, she only nodded.
As Tanice started to pull back, Zoe walked in, an almost mirror image of her mother. She saw them hugging and gave Jordan an almost sheepish smile. “I was hoping I’d catch you alone. A simple apology probably isn’t enough, but I’m sorry I called you a bitch. Mom told me what you did and—”
“You called her that? With a mouth like that it’s no wonder you don’t have a husband yet.” Tanice shook her head as she stepped back from Jordan, all her focus now solely on her daughter.
Jordan took the free moment to swipe away the rest of her tears.
Zoe rolled her eyes. “Mom! Do we have to do this now? I’m just trying to apologize.”
Before Jordan could respond Vincent strode in. For a moment he looked panicked as he looked between all three women.
His mom started steering Zoe out as she said, “We’ll leave you two alone but we’ll see you outside in a few minutes.”
“Did they ambush you?” Vincent asked hesitantly as he shut the door behind them.
Smiling, Jordan shook her head. “No, I think your mom likes me.”
At that, he grinned and closed the distance between them. “Yeah, she might have mentioned something about hurting me if I ever hurt you. For what it’s worth, I don’t care what my family or anyone thinks of you. I love you, Jordan.”
Those words meant more than he could know. She’d been without family for so long and while she didn’t need a huge one, she did need him. “I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing that.” She wrapped her hands around the back of his neck, ready to pull him down for a kiss when he dropped to one knee. “What are you doing?” she whispered, her voice ragged as he pulled a small blue box from his pocket.
For a moment she could see the nervousness in his gaze as he popped it open. Her mouth fell open as she stared at the solitaire diamond. She didn’t know much about diamonds but it was big and sparkly and there was no mistaking what this was.
“Marry me.” His voice was just as ragged as hers had been.
With tears streaming down her face she fell to her knees in front of him and wrapped her arms around his neck in a tight grip. “Yes.”
She only let him pull back so he could slip the ring onto her left hand ring finger. Staring at it, a burst of elation took flight inside her, wonderful and still surreal. She knew it would take a while to get used to not feeling like she had to constantly look over her shoulder. And more importantly, she wanted to embrace just being happy and stop feeling like it was going to be ripped away from her at any moment. “It’s beautiful,” she whispered.
“You’re beautiful and now everyone knows you’re mine.” His voice had taken on that possessive quality that made her insides melt and she knew that if they didn’t have a houseful of guests, she’d be flat on her back in the next few seconds. But she kind of liked the anticipation. After so many years without him, she could wait another couple hours.