Leaving town? “I wasn’t leaving.” It was time to come completely clean. He’d meant to spring it on her when everyone was already here so she couldn’t turn him down. “I know how much you need to get the house done and keep costs down, so I called in a bunch of favors from my friends in the industry. I need to pick one of them up from the airport. I know I didn’t talk to—”
He couldn’t finish his sentence because his arms were suddenly full of Seraphina. She threw herself at him, her arms circling his neck, and there was no way he didn’t catch her. He held her close, wrapping his arms around her, and her words finally sank in. “You love me?”
Her smile warmed his whole world. “I do. I love you and so do Luc and my mom.”
“I don’t love you, man, but I approve,” Zep yelled.
Harry ignored her brother. All that mattered was her. “I love you, too. I want to stay here in Papillon and build something real with you. You should understand that I’m going to keep asking you to marry me, Seraphina Guidry.”
“You should understand that I’m going to say yes,” she replied. “But I come with some baggage.”
“Yeah, I’m going to want to make your baggage mine, too. I want to adopt Luc, and I’ll want to give him siblings.”
She held him tight. “I want all those things, too. I want a whole life with you.”
He kissed her in the middle of the road, that kiss promising everything he wanted to give her. A life with love and family, a man who would always stand beside her, who would be the best husband, father, and friend he could be.
He kissed her until he heard a mighty snort and realized they couldn’t get married if they were the victims of a gator attack. He shoved Sera behind him.
Her arms wound around his waist. “It’s okay. He’s just done resting. He’ll move on now.”
“You would almost think that gator knew what he was doing,” Zep shouted. “Who would have thought the old guy was such a romantic? Hey, okay. I’m going to jail now, sis. Harry, you treat her right.”
Roxie tipped her hat again as she shoved Zep in the back and drove off toward the jail.
He would make an interesting in-law.
He was going to marry her.
“So we’re going to pick up a friend in New Orleans?”
“He’s a roofer.”
Her eyes lit up. “I’ve been wanting to learn that. Let’s go. The road’s clear now.”
The road was clear and he could see his whole future.epilogueThree weeks later
Harry smiled down at his aunt as the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” began to play. They were in the backyard of Beaumont House, though it had been utterly transformed for Angie’s wedding. Twinkle lights made the whole place gauzy and romantic. Not two hours before, Angie had made her vows to Austin and he’d sat with Sera, Luc in his lap as he watched the proceedings.
This dance was the first time he’d had a chance to talk to his aunt in a week. She’d been crazy busy, and Sera had spent more time with Aunt Celeste than he had since there was a lot of woman-only stuff associated with a wedding. But he’d gotten to spend an awful lot of time with his little buddy. He and Luc were settling in nicely to the newly habitable Guidry Place.
“Hey, I thought you looked good walking Angie down the aisle,” he said.
Celeste smiled and looked far freer than he’d ever seen her. He could see his mom in her smile. “I was surprised when Angie asked me, but it felt good.”
“You’re the head of the Beaumont family now,” he said. “Even more since you took the CEO job.”
So many things had changed in the last few weeks. He and Sera were engaged and had moved into their future bed-and-breakfast. They were still working on the place every day, but it felt so good to be creating a home. Sera was already trying out every recipe she could, and all their friends were complaining they would gain weight because it was all delicious.
His aunt had taken over the CEO position at Beaumont Oil after Cal stepped down. Her first decision was to hire her daughter. The Beaumont women would lead the company into the future.
And Cal was moving to Dallas, where he’d taken a job in marketing. He was looking forward to making his way in the world.
“I finally figured out that the name means nothing. The people are all that matter,” Celeste replied. “For so long the Beaumont name felt like a chain around my neck, but you can change the meaning of a word if you try hard enough. It’s a different Beaumont family, one I think my son would have loved. And my sister.”