Expecting his child(47)

By: Leanne Banks

Gideon cracked a broad grin. "I'm armed for the occasion," he said, and pulled out cigars.

* * *

One week later, on a hot, sunny day, Martina's brother Brock gave her away in marriage to a good-for-nothing Coltrane, who had turned out to be good-for-everything for her. The small gathering included just the two families, who had made peace with the birth of Anna Logan Coltrane. Adam and Brock were discussing cattle, and Tyler expressed an interest in learning to fence with Gideon.

Since last week, Martina had learned a small meteor shower had precipitated the dust storm. That might not have been stars falling over West Texas, but it was close enough to be a sign for her. More importantly, she couldn't imagine not being with Noah Coltrane for the rest of her life. Martina chose a long, ivory, silk empire dress, and Jill had put flowers in her hair. Felicity held the baby while Noah took Martina's hand and said his vows.

"With this ring, I thee wed," he said, his heart in his eyes.

Martina still couldn't believe it. She repeated her vows, then whispered, "Pinch me."

His eyebrows lifted in disbelief. "What?" he whispered back.

"Pinch me," she said. "I can't believe this is happening."

"I can do better than that," he said, then pulled her into his arms and kissed her deeply.

The minister gave a long-suffering sigh, and his lips twitched. "Most people wait, but I can tell you two aren't much on waiting. I now pronounce you husband and wife," he said.

Noah kissed her again, sealing his vows. "I love you," he said.

Her heart turned over. "I'll never get tired of hearing you say that." Noah would never quite understand how his love had healed her of the emptiness she'd felt because her father had been unable to show his love. Martina was determined to spend a lifetime reminding Noah how important he was to her. She glanced around at the happy faces of their families. "I think we've finally done it," she said. "I think we've learned how to beat the Logan curse."

Tyler and Brock nodded in agreement and walked toward her. They kissed her on opposite cheeks. "I think you sealed it," Brock said.

"And buried a grudge at the same time," Tyler added.

It never failed to bring tears to her eyes knowing that the three men she loved most had made amends.

"How's that?" Noah asked.

"You should know. You're the one who taught me," Martina said, lifting a hand to his cheek. "Love hard, always."

"Always," he promised.

And they always did.

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