Chapter 1: Prologue
Dating Declan – Prologue
“Declan! What are you doing here?” The last person Elizabeth Watson expected to see at her door was James' former, and hopefully soon to be restored, protege. She and Declan parted on good terms after Christmas, all things considered. She'd saved his life and he'd barely kept his job when James caught them in an infirmary bed together. It didn't seem quite fair.
Declan's smile was warm and genuine, “My flight was canceled, thought I'd stop by and see how you're weathering the storms before I check-in to my hotel.”
“I'm all stocked up and ready. I just heard the approaching storm has canceled all flights for the rest of today and possibly tomorrow as well. I'm sorry you got caught in it, come in and get warm.” She stepped back, opening the door to allow Declan into her apartment. “It's good to see you, Declan. I was worried James would feed you to some abnormal after I went back to school.” She took his heavy jacket and scarf, putting them on hooks behind the door with hers.
Declan laughed, “Too right.”
He carefully wiped his boots on the rug so he wouldn't track mud in, and Elizabeth smiled at his thoughtfulness. She gestured to her comfortably worn couch. “Sit, please. Would you like some tea? I have the kettle on, it's that kind of day. Gloomy, gray and cold.” She gave him a wistful little smile. “Reminds me a bit of London.”
A horn honked loudly down on the street outside, and Beth laughed because they could hear the raised voices of the cab drivers, even on the sixth floor. “Until they start shouting at each other and using rude hand gestures, then I know I'm in Manhattan. Are you hungry?”
“A bit, yes. I don't eat airport food if I can avoid it,” Declan confessed.
Elizabeth nodded, understanding the sentiment completely. “With the amount of time you must spend in strange airports, I don't blame you.”
Declan stretched an arm across the back of the couch. “I've always wondered why you chose New York City, its loud and crowded. After life in London, I thought you'd choose somewhere a nit more quiet. Is there a special program here that interests you, or was it to get as far from James as possible?”
Elizabeth listened from the tiny kitchen while she made the mugs of tea and fixed them each a turkey sandwich and some chocolate biscuits. “I'm seriously considering the food science degree program, it's excellent here. Too many years following the cooks around the kitchen begging for scraps, I guess,” she chuckled. “As for the James, I can handle him most of the time. Mostly, I wanted a grand adventure. When I was first adopted, I dreamed I was stolen from America as a baby and just ended up in London by mistake. Silly, I know.”
Declan took a cautious sip from the mug she offered and shrugged, “Anything's possible. James doesn't know where any of the children came from. I guess if you want an adventure, America is a good place for it. Plenty of trouble a young woman can get into.”
“I never get into trouble,” Elizabeth huffed, dramatically. “I'm the good daughter who meekly does everything James tells her to do.” Her sarcasm was not lost on Declan, especially in light of recent events.
She put their plates on the coffee table within easy reach and took the chair across from him, tucking her legs up under her. “So, rumor has it you've been working at the Old City Sanctuary since Christmas. I guess working for Dr. Magnus beats being sacked outright, or shipped off to Siberia. Or does it?”
“It worked out better than I expected,” Declan nodded. “And James needed time to cool off.”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “I told James not to blame you for what happened. He's such a prude.”
“I think any man has a right to want blood when he finds his teenage daughter tucked up in bed with the help.”
Elizabeth scowled into her mug. It was just like Declan to defend James to his dying breath. The 'help' indeed. “You are far more to the London Sanctuary than 'the help', and if James doesn't appreciate you, he doesn't deserve you.”
“I'm an employee of the Sanctuary and I've no right to even look at his daughters.”
Beth smiled at his tone, poor Declan was a white Knight trapped in the wrong era. “I don't see why you can't look, his daughters spend a great deal of time looking at you. Not to mention thinking scandalous thoughts about you.”
Declan choked on his tea, and wheezed, “Is that why you saved my life?”
“If you're asking if I have an embarrassing teenage crush on you, the answer is... most definitely, but that had nothing to do with saving your life.”
Declan leaned forward to put his empty plate and mug onto the table. Elizabeth felt a flash of pride at how quickly her impromptu lunch was devoured. The poor man really had been hungry. “Then, why? You had to know James wouldn't sanction a plan that involved sex between us, even to save my life.”
“Oh bugger what James thinks!” Beth growled. “He's not God, he's just a man, a very old and set in his ways, Victorian man. I'm not his 'property' and he needs to realize that I'm almost to my majority. I need to be the one to make my choices or I'll be useless.”
Elizabeth hesitated, not sure if she should spell it all out for him, but giving in because it seemed like information he had a right to know. “I've lived in the London Sanctuary for over eleven years, Declan. I've seen so many strange, terrifying things I feel like I've lived as long as James, sometimes. Men come and go, they stay for a bit and either quit... or die. People don't live very long when they work for James, not long enough for us to get attached to them, and certainly not long enough for James to become attached.” She took a long sip of tea before continuing, “You've become James' arms and legs, the one who does the tasks James physically can't do. And maybe your military training makes a difference in your longevity, I don't know.
“Once I knew I had this power and how it only works through sex, I kept it secret from everyone, especially James. I regret shocking him the way I did, but it's a frightening responsibility, life and death. You're a good man, Declan, and James leans on you more than he has ever has with anyone. I don't think he sees you the way you see yourself at all; I think when he looks at you he sees an eldest son, the heir to his legacy. His adopted children are still too young to take over the Sanctuary. Most of them still need a bloody keeper. When he told me you were poisoned, James was beside himself at the prospect of you dying, and racked with guilt he couldn't find a way to save you. I swear I didn't have time to think about anything beyond you surviving the night. I was sure I could heal you, and I did.”
Elizabeth had been staring at her hands in her lap, and when she hazarded a glance at Declan, it made her smile to see his slack jawed expression. He was rendered speechless, so she decided to tweak him, “And poor me, I had to lose my virginity with a hot guy in the name of saving us all.” Her lame attempt at humor seemed to get his brain back on track. “I figured you and I would have some awkward moments from this. It's alright, you know. I'm too young to think about a serious relationship with you or anyone, and I don't expect or want anything from the whole fiasco beyond maybe us staying friends.”
“You think James means to name me as his successor to head the London Sanctuary?” His blue eyes were dark and his expression gravely serious.
Declan had probably never considered the possibility, he didn't crave authority like some of the people James had working for him. He did the dirtiest jobs, volunteered for the most dangerous missions, and never complained about anything, no matter how bad things seemed to get. It was just not in his nature. “I do. And I'm not the only one; everyone feels the way I do, you know nothing is a secret with telepaths in the House. We trust you like we've never trusted anyone but James. If the Council and Dr Magnus tried to make anyone else Head of the London House, they wouldn't last a week before we tossed what was left of them out into the street.”
Beth unfolded herself and stood up, collecting the dishes and taking them into the kitchen. As she washed them, she watched Declan process the information she'd unceremoniously dumped into his lap. If he ran for the hills, she was going to be in serious trouble. Elizabeth didn't feel like she'd misjudged him, he was their Knight, gallant and handsome and brave. James should be happy to offer up one of his precious daughters as a virgin sacrifice.
Much to her relief, Declan didn't look like he was going to bolt from her apartment, never to be seen again. Just the opposite in fact, his head had fallen back to rest on the back of the couch and he stared up at the ceiling lost in thought.
Declan's long legs stretched out under the table and crossed at the ankles. He really was nice to look at. There wasn't a night in the last two months Beth didn't lie awake in bed and play their hasty sex scene over and over in her head until she fell into a tormented, lustful sleep. Raging hormones were a real bitch sometimes.
“Please say something,” Elizabeth begged.
Declan's head rolled in her direction until those blue eyes were fixed on her. “So, I'm hot, am I?” The corner of his mouth turned up in a small, smug smile.
Her cheeks flamed, “Of all the things to fixate on in my speech, you have to pick that.” It was like a dream when you stand naked in front of an auditorium of people making a speech you can't remember, only more humiliating. “Ask me something else.”
“Are you coming home for Spring Break?”
Elizabeth breathed a sigh of relief at the change of topic. “I don't know. I wasn't really planning on it. Cancun sounds more pleasant than London in March... or maybe a beach in Miami... Girls Gone Wild and all that. Why?”
“I've had two months to think about it, and I feel I owe you dinner, at least, for saving my life. Next time you get back to London.”
Now, it was Elizabeth's turn to gape. “Are you suggesting a... date?”
Declan stood and strode across the room to stand before her, his height made it a bit awkward looking up at him. His hand cupped her cheek, warm and gentle. “I realize I'm entirely too old for you, and James will take a piece or two out of my hide, but yes. I'd like to take you on a dinner date. If people mistake me for your father, so be it.”
Beth rolled her eyes and moved her hands to his chest, he was very warm under her palms. “You aren't that old... and I'm not quite as innocent as you may think. I wasn't planning on saving my virginity for a future husband or anything like that, it's just...” she sighed, dramatically, “college guys leave a lot to be desired. Most are sex crazed idiots. I'd want to mace them if they even tried to put a hand on me.”
“I can imagine; I was their age once,” Declan winced. “I'm sure I was a complete arse.”
Elizabeth smiled up at him, “I don't believe you could be like the guys around here. ”
“I've developed a healthy respect for women since those days, and I've lost my taste for sex in the back of autos and in cramped storage closets.”
“Damn. There goes half my fantasies about you.”
Declan laughed. “I prefer beds or rugs before a roaring fire, now.”
Turning the conversation back to a prospective date, she said, “Nobody in London would have the nerve to say anything against us if we went out to dinner. Except James, of course, and I'm going to give him a piece of my mind when I get home, if not before, for being such an ass to you.”
They made their way back into the living room the intimacy of the moment fading. This time, though, she chose to sit beside him on the couch. It felt different being this close to him, not as safe. She could feel the heat of his body where her legging clad knee rested against his thigh.
“On second thought, maybe we should go to dinner here in the States. Might be wise to keep an ocean between us and James' temper.”
“Well, if we get the blizzard of the century this weekend, you may get stranded in this apartment with me and I'd have to feed you and let you share my bed until the roads are cleared.”
Declan leaned in until their noses were almost touching. “You have a comfortable couch.”
“You aren't going to fall for it, are you?”
“No,” Declan said, sternly.
“What if I bat my eyelashes and wear lacy, seductive clothes?”
Declan's shrugged, “Might kiss you.”
“And if I wear nothing at all?”
“Besides wrapping you in a blanket, so you don't freeze in this weather? I'd probably take you over my knee and redden your backside. If we are going to see where this attraction goes, there should be ground rules.”
Elizabeth pulled a face. “Such as?”
“Such as practicing discretion and waiting until we have James' blessing before we make our date or dates public knowledge. And not disrespecting James by carrying on under his roof if we do more than date.”
Beth sighed, “And there went the rest of my fantasies about you...”
Declan leaned in and brushed his lips softly across hers. “I'll help you come up with some new ones. I have a feeling it will be near July before we convince James I'm not out to use you for sex and break your heart...”
“So, what if you are? It's my life and my body and I'll not have James telling me what I can and can't do with either.”
Declan kissed her, again, just as softly, then stood up. “Spoken like someone living eight hours from London by plane. I should get going.”
She followed him to the door. “You don't have to go.”
“I do.” Declan put his coat and scarf on, then turned back to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth tried again, more determined this time, “I don't want you to go.”
Declan chuckled, “Of course you don't, but you need to learn to walk before you can run, luv.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Elizabeth frowned up at him, but before she could say anything else, Declan was very thoroughly and passionately kissing her. He continued to kiss her until her eyes glazed over and she melted into his arms.
Eventually, he let her go and opened the door out into the hallway. “Let me handle James, 'Lizabeth. I'll see you for spring break...”
“Yeah, okay...” Elizabeth managed weakly, still melted from his kisses. She closed the door behind him and leaned against it for support. “Damn that man can kiss.”
“I heard that,” his voice called through the door.
Chapter 2: First Date
Declan knocked on the door frame to the sitting room of James' private suite. The door was rarely closed and knocking wasn't required, just something Declan felt showed respect for James' personal space. He hated disturbing the small amount of time their Head of House took for himself, especially for something trivial. He was going to ask his mentor for permission to take his second eldest daughter on a date while she was home for Spring Break from college, and that was anything but trivial. It felt like walking before a judge, or a firing squad.
“Are you just going to stand in the hall, or were you planning to come in?” James asked, watching the younger man with obvious amusement. “This scotch isn't going to drink itself, you know.” He gestured to a glass sitting on the low table between the couches.
James had been expecting him, as always, two steps ahead. “I'd like a word with you,” Declan started.
“Sit.” The tone was sharp, and Declan knew an order when he heard one. The firing squad it would be then. He sat on the couch and sank back into the soft cushions. James handed him the glass. “Drink that.”
Declan frowned at being ordered around again, but took a sip of the single malt scotch. He opened his mouth to speak, but James got there first, “Yes, Elizabeth is coming home for her break. You've come to ask my permission to take her on a date.”
“I have, yes.”
James narrowed his dark eyes at Declan, “Why?”
Declan winced. He knew this wasn't going to go easily, and he should have been more prepared for this conversation. He tried to find words, “I like 'Lizabeth. She and I get on well.” James made a strangled sound in his throat, but didn't interrupt. “What she did... was very brave. Her ability saved my life. I owe her for that.”
“You went to see her in New York.”
“I did.” It didn't surprise him that James knew about his visit. The man knew every bloody thing going on in his adopted children's lives. “I wanted to make sure she had enough supplies to weather the snowstorms.”
The corner of James' mouth twitched, and Declan tried harder, “My flight was snowed in. I was on my way to my hotel and stopped in to see if there was anything she needed.”
James blinked once, slowly. “Did you have sex with her?”
“No!” Declan exclaimed, stunned by the directness of the question. “We talked a bit, that's all. I swear it, James. I'm not a predator out to pounce on your girl the minute your back is turned. She's lovely, yes, but she deserves to be treated with respect.”
“Did you kiss her?”
Declan cleared his throat. “I did, yes.” He took another sip of his drink, relishing the burn. “But, I would never take it beyond a goodnight kiss without your blessing.”
“You aren't going to get my blessing, she is a child. And you are too old and worldly for her. The whole idea is ridiculous. Find someone else to warm your bed.”
Declan sighed, “I'm not asking for permission to bed her, just take her out.”
“Isn't that the same thing to young people of this era? Hooking up?” James huffed. “Go to dinner, have sex, then move on to someone else without another thought.”
“Not going to be like that. Elizabeth deserves better than a romp and brush off.”
James nodded, “Quite right, she does.”
“I'd be taking her to dinner and drinks, sex isn't a part of that plan. How many younger men would you trust to keep their word on something like that?”
“No stops at the apartment you keep a few blocks from here?”
It was Declan's turn to smirk, “Not on a first date, no.” After a long uncomfortable silence, Declan finished the drink and really needed another. Things were not coming down in his favor at all.
James broke into his thoughts, “She's had a lover at school, a young woman from her apartment building. I met her on one of my visits. Bossy little thing with blue tips on her hair. Have they broken up?”
Declan wasn't surprised that Elizabeth wasn't a complete innocent. “I've no idea.” She'd mentioned she had experience. Most nineteen year olds weren't completely sheltered, and she had lived away from home for over a year. Plenty of time for exploration.
“What will you do after the date, or a few dates, if she decides she doesn't fancy you, or men, at all?”
“Do you think it's likely?” The attraction Declan felt was not one-sided, he knew that much. Their kiss proved that.
“I think it's a definite possibility. I think she'll get what she wants from you, sex, and then move on.”
“Isn't that a possibility with any woman?”
“The whole things sets a terrible precedent in my Sanctuary.” James moved on to his next point, and Declan was relieved. “No man working here should be looking at one of my daughters if he wants to wake up with all his parts still attached to his body.”
Declan opened his mouth to cry foul, but James cut him off, “I've seen the way your eyes follow her in a room, so no use denying it. You danced with her twice at the last Midwinter Ball. Don't tell me thoughts of physical intimacy haven't crossed your mind and started long before she was of legal age for it.” For some reason, James wasn't counting the fact that they had already been intimate once.
Declan counted it. There were nights it was all he thought about. “Of course I've looked. She's beautiful, but that only means I'm a man and I have eyes, doesn't make me a bloody pervert,” Declan fumed.
“Go pour yourself another drink, you need it. And pour me one while you're at it.” James stopped his pacing and sat down. Declan handed him the drink and went back to his place on the opposite couch. “What do you see in her, Declan? What could someone that young possibly have to offer you?”
Fighting the urge to roll his eyes, Declan shrugged. “She's young, yet, but I like the person she's becoming: generous, kind, gentle, but strong. She hides it well, but she's a steel underneath the softness. Elizabeth knows her mind, knows what she wants; all she lacks is confidence in herself. It will come with time, and with someone she trusts to support her independence.” He hadn't intended it to come out as a slight on James' parenting, but the raised eyebrow told him he'd scored a hit and the man was not going to let him get away with it.
“I let her go to America for school.”
“Aye, you did. But I was the one she discussed the idea with before she ever mentioned it to you.” Declan willed James to understand. He was bloody brilliant, he should be able to see how Declan would be a good choice for his daughter. “You can trust me not to break her heart.”
“Not her heart I'm worried about. I like you, Declan, and I'd hate to see my sweet, innocent seeming daughter chew you up and spit you out.”
“I think I can take care of myself in that.”
James shook his head. “I've got a mission for you.”
“Yes, I'm sending you to Greece to collect a specific variety of swamp toad.”
Declan scowled. “I've gone and bollocks-ed up this whole thing if you're sending me out of town. Elizabeth isn't going to be happy.”
“I imagine not, but she's not the one in charge of this place, I am. And if I want you toad hunting, then off you go. She'll get over it.” As an afterthought, James added, “She'll turn twenty in August. You don't get my blessing to even look at her until then, if at all. I'm going to be keeping my eye on you.”
Declan grimaced at him, “You make me bloody glad I'm not one of your kids.”
“Who says you aren't?” James smirked.
The first thing Declan did the evening he returned from Greece was to take a long hot shower to get the last of the swamp mud off. The next was to look for Elizabeth. She would be leaving in a little over a day. Her vacation was nearly finished and he hadn't even laid eyes on her.
It took a while, but he finally found her in the back garden. Her back was against the trunk of an old tree and she blinked up at him when he cast a shadow over her.
“Declan. What a pleasant surprise. Find lots of toads in Greece?” Glassy eyes peered up at him.
It took him a minute before he figured out what was wrong. Elizabeth was well and truly drunk. He offered her a hand and she took it and let him pull her to her feet. She was unsteady, so he put an arm around her to steady her. “You're drunk,” he said gently. “This isn't the way to get James' blessing on our date.”
Elizabeth did the last thing he would have expected and the most devastating. She broke down and started to weep against his chest. Quiet, miserable sobs undid him and he found himself holding her and whispering comforting nonsense in her ear. “Did you try to talk to James?”
“Yes,” Elizabeth sniffed. “He doesn't have a problem with you. He said the problem is... me.”
“Bloody fine job there, James,” Declan growled. “Come on, 'Lizabeth.” He took her by the hand and led her down to the garage level. It took a minute while he dug around in the saddlebag on his motorcycle before he pulled out a stoppered vial. Uncorking it, he pressed it to Elizabeth's soft lips. “Drink that.”
Beth shuddered and tried not to gag, “Oh hell, that tastes bad. What was that?”
“Buzz Kill.” Elizabeth's eyes got huge; Apparently, she'd heard of it. “Where did you get a vial of Buzz Kill? That stuff is borderline red-listed.”
“In a place like this?” Declan smirked, “I have my sources. Only use it to sober up before I drive.”
“Why give it to me?”
Declan smirked. “I want you sober for our first date. You're going to have to hang on tight.” He gestured to his motorcycle. “We're going for a ride.”
“But James said...”
Declan sighed and pressed a kiss to those lips. “You're nineteen. He can't do a bloody thing about it.”
“He could fire you.”
“I'd like to see him try it,” Declan said. He went to the locker where he kept his riding gear and pulled out a pair of helmets and two leather jackets. He gave his best jacket to Elizabeth, helping her zip it up; he put the other one on himself and handed her a helmet. They had only ever gone for a ride one other time, and it was more like a spin around the block last summer. The memory of her arms holding tight around his waist had been the subject of several very interesting dreams in the year since then.
He straddled the bike and held out a hand for her. “Come on, before he notices we're missing and calls a lock-down.”
Elizabeth climbed on and hugged him from behind. Her cheek pressed between his shoulder blades and Declan had to bite back a groan at the way she felt wrapped around him. They'd never survive waiting until she turned twenty at this rate. “Helmet on. How are you feeling?”
Elizabeth piled her long hair into a messy bun and slid the helmet on, “Almost sober.” She held tight as Declan started the motorcycle and maneuvered them out of the underground garage.
Upstairs, James watched their departure on the security monitor and frowned; his companion patted his shoulder. “You can't stop it, they're already a couple.”
“I don't have to like it,” James groused, “don't you remember how Nikola would ramble on about the futility of young love...”
The woman laughed. “Nikola will approve of this match, so stop being such a grumpy old curmudgeon. Declan is a good man and Elizabeth adores him.”
“I better get some grandchildren out of this mess, or I'll never forgive you.”
There would be grandchildren if she had anything to say about it. Helen Bancroft smiled, slyly. “Anything's possible, James.”
James sighed. “You can go back to your top secret work now, I'll leave them be. And, I know better than to ask why you have such an interest in my daughter's love life. I don't really want to know.”
Helen patted his hand, “Probably best not to think too much about it.”
“How're you doing back there?” Declan took them on scenic route to Greenwich Park, it was one of his favorites drives. The microphone inside the helmet picked up her soft laughter, and Declan smiled to himself.
“This is great! I feel like I'm flying...”
Declan agreed with the sentiment. Whenever things got too stressful at the Sanctuary and he found he couldn't sleep, or after a major crisis was averted, he'd go for a ride to help unwind. He'd hoped Elizabeth would enjoy it. “I come here when I need to get away.” He gestured to the manicured grounds of the park.
“It's lovely. I haven't been here since we did a tour of the Royal Observatory in school.”
They parked the motorcycle and hiked until they found the perfect spot; then stretched out on the grass side by side to watch the sunset.
“Are you going to be alright?”
Elizabeth smiled. “I guess that depends on how loudly James yells when we get home. I don't understand him. I'm not the first of the girls to want to date someone from the Network.” She wasn't the eldest of the James' children. The year after she was adopted James had come across a thirteen year old empath who'd been sold into prostitution in Singapore's red light district. It wasn't easy, but James freed Geena and brought her to London. She quickly became the mother figure none of them had ever had, but all desperately needed. Now, she worked in the New Delhi Sanctuary and specialized in rescuing abused Abnormal children.
“Geena is a special case. She was much older and already sexually active long before James found her.” He glanced at 'Lizabeth. “You're the first of the young ones to...”
Elizabeth sighed, “He would be patting me on the back and offering me a scotch if I was one of the boys.”
“Not if he caught one of the boys in the infirmary with me.”
Elizabeth imagined it and laughed so hard tears came to her eyes. “Maybe you're right.”
“Do you miss London?” Declan asked.
Beth rolled onto her side to look at him. “I miss my family. And the residents. And I guess I miss London when it's not raining. The City is so different, so busy and exciting. I just love it; I love America.”
“Don't let James hear you talk that way or he'll think you never plan to come back home.” Declan had been wondering about that. Once she had a taste of freedom, he didn't figure Elizabeth for the type to willingly get back in the cage.
“I'll visit, of course.”
“Ah.” Declan smirked because his hunch was right. James was going to have more to worry about than just whether or not his daughter took Declan as a lover. She liked her freedom. He didn't like New York City, but he could see the appeal the place would hold to someone like Elizabeth.
“What about you, Declan. You know everything about me, and that's not very fair. Must you be such an enigma?”
Declan shrugged, “What would you like to know?”
Declan sat up, smiling, “At my age, everything could take a while...”
“James is making such a fuss about ages, so how old are you exactly?”
“Thirty-four. Thirty-five come November.”
Elizabeth bit her lower lip and Declan's eyes couldn't seem to stop watching that lip. “What about a girlfriend?”
Declan laughed, “Do you think I'd be risking castration pursuing you, if I had a lover already?”
“No, I suppose not. Silly question.” She took more time with the next one. “I know you were in the SAS. Why did you leave?”
Declan plucked bits of grass and let the breeze take them. “I started at Sandhurst at 16, served more than my time and was ready to move on, looking for new challenges. I was suggested for intelligence work, nothing exciting or glamorous. Then, the offers came from private security contractors, and that was how I met James.” The sun was almost down, and he slid closer to Elizabeth's body heat.
Elizabeth smiled wickedly, “Do you like working for the Sanctuary Network?”
Declan matched her smile with one of his own, “I'd be put out if I had to leave it, so yes. I like it well enough.”
“Maybe we shouldn't date, then.”
“Too late. We're already dating. Die is cast.” Declan really wanted to kiss her. He ran a fingertip along her cheek to her mouth.
Elizabeth giggled. “Is this date going to involve food and beer?”
“I'll feed you, but I think you've had enough to drink for one night. I'm all out of Buzz Kill.” Declan stood with a sigh and offered her a hand up. She took it and got to her feet, brushed the grass off.
Elizabeth raised her eyebrows at him. “I only have one night left after tonight; I need fish and chips.”
He put the helmet into her hands and stole a kiss at the same time. “Your wish is my command.”
To be continued...