“The Sinclair-Stone Institute,” I corrected. “I’m not going to be a Sinclair much longer. And you made this all happen, Eli. Thank you.”
What else could I say to the man who had already given me the world, and then offered me even more? There weren’t really words to describe how much he meant to me, not because he was rich, but because he was Eli.
“I didn’t really do that much. I found the opportunity, and I’m buying the facility. But there wouldn’t be a research center if you weren’t the most intelligent and driven person I know.”
“I’m going to be busy,” I warned him.
“I have to negotiate and purchase the company first,” he said. “And I don’t care if you’re busy, as long as you always come home to me.”
“I can do some things once we own the rights, and then build a team and decide on projects once we get back from our honeymoon.”
Eli was taking me to Australia, another one of my dream destinations. A place I wasn’t even sure I’d ever visit because I thought I’d be paying off student loans for decades.
“What did you decide about the DNA match?” he asked. “Are you going to tell your family?”
I’d never heard back from whoever had matched my DNA. And months had passed now. If I told my siblings, I knew they wouldn’t have any idea which one of them was responsible. “I’m not sure it would do any good. My brothers obviously don’t know, or they would have been with their child. I don’t know if it’s better or not to burden them if we don’t know who it is.”
“I’m willing to do some digging,” he offered. “I can probably get to somebody who can give me some information.”
The fact that I had a niece somewhere in the world had been bothering me, and Eli knew it. “Yes, please,” I answered. “I’d like to know her if I can find out where she is. And my brothers are in the position to help now. If I can get anything about her, I could probably figure out which brother is the father.”
“Now that Aiden, Seth, and I are starting up the new corporation, I spend a lot of time with both of them. Maybe I can get something out of them without spilling the beans.”
I rolled my eyes. “Good luck with that. All of my brothers are pretty closemouthed about their love lives, even if they don’t have a problem jumping into mine.”
“They’ll have no choice but to back out of it now,” he said drily. “I’ll be damned if they’re going to stand guard over you. That’s my job now.”
“It’s nobody’s job,” I retorted. “I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself. And speaking of that, what can I do to take care of you, Mr. Stone? Since you’ve just made my dreams come true, I really want to do something for you.”
“You know the only thing I ever want is to get you naked,” he said huskily.
I smiled at him and tightened my arms around his neck. That was not the only thing Eli wanted, but he did think about it an awful lot. Maybe as much as I did.
“I want to make you happy,” I told him.
“Way too late for that, Butterfly. I’m already happier than I could have ever imagined.”
He’d changed so much in the last few months, and he seemed much more content with who he was now. Eli talked openly and often about Austin, and there were pictures of his brother everywhere in his home.
Although he still did some dangerous things, they weren’t as outrageous as his previous pursuits. I was learning to rock climb along with him, but I drew the line at auto racing. I had bitten my fingernails to the quick when he’d done a celebrity racing event for charity last month, but I’d gotten through it.
The guy had a thing for fast cars, but I could live with that.
I was just glad he’d cancelled the challenge to swim the English Channel and the insanely dangerous multiskill race across the wilds of Patagonia.
Eli kept the crazy going for charity, but he was doing only the things he personally enjoyed.
“I love you,” I said, the declaration coming from the depths of my soul.
He nodded. “I know. That’s why I’m so damn happy. Because I love you, too, Butterfly.”
I kind of feel like a butterfly.
He lowered his head and kissed me, and I spread my wings a little further.
I’d come a long way from the woman I’d been just months ago, and it had nothing to do with my inheritance.
Eli had slowly pried me out of my shy, unconfident cocoon of confusion. Maybe I’d taken a few missteps along the way, but the night I’d agreed to let Eli show me his world had sealed my fate.
Even then, when he was a noncommitment kind of guy, I’d still instinctively trusted him.
I threaded my hands through his hair and kissed him back.
As long as I had this man who loved me so fiercely, I knew I was always going to keep flying higher.
We’d always be soaring side by side.