Beatrix launched forward and hugged her sister. “I love you,” she said.

As they stood embracing, Ollie tried to wrap his trunk around them.


“We’re not keeping him,” Leo warned. “You’re going to find some kind of sanctuary or refuge for him, Beatrix.”

“Yes, of course. Some place with other elephants. He’ll want to live among his own kind.” Beaming, Beatrix led the elephant out of the granary. “But in the meantime . . . won’t the neighbors love it when I take Ollie out for a walk?”

Dressed in a white nightgown, her fair hair loose and flowing, Win entered the bedroom to find Kev waiting for her.

Their first night as husband and wife.

And although Kev, in all his dark handsomeness, was beloved and familiar to her, she felt a pleasant ripple of nervousness.

He stripped off his shirt, revealing a sleek, powerful torso, and tossed it aside.

His gaze smoldered as it passed over her slowly. Standing beside the bed, he extended a commanding hand, palm-up.

“Your slipper,” he said.

So he intended to adhere to the Romany tradition, Win thought, amused and perhaps the slightest bit annoyed. Her shoe would be placed on his side of the bed to show who was master. Very well. He could have his symbolic victory.

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Although it would prove nothing.

Win removed a slipper and went to hand it to him.

In the process, however, she nearly tripped over something on the floor. She paused to glance down at it in mild surprise.

A large black man’s shoe had been placed on her side of the bed.

Understanding, Win glanced up at him with laughter in her gaze. “But who’ll be in charge?”

Taking her slipper, Kev set it ceremoniously on the floor, and reached for her.

“We’ll take turns,” he said, his hard arms closing around her, his warm breath caressing her lips just before he kissed her. “Me first.”

- The End -

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