Six months later
“No one killed each other, which is good.” Farrah loaded the plates into the dishwasher while Blake wiped down the dining table. “It’s actually kind of scary how well our moms get along.”
“Which is why they had to leave. I can’t have them ganging up on me.” Blake pitched his voice higher to imitate their moms. “Blake, are you treating Farrah right? Blake, this meatloaf is a little dry. Blake, why is Farrah the only person who gets a signature drink named after her?”
The Farrah, an orange blossom vodka martini with a splash of vanilla extract, debuted in Legends New York two months ago and was a massive hit.
Not to be egotistical or anything, but it was the only drink Farrah ordered when she visited the bar.
She giggled. “I mean, they’re valid questions.” She squealed as Blake swept her up from the ground and tossed her over his shoulder. “What are you doing? Put me down!”
“This is what you get for taking their side.” Blake threw her on the couch and straddled her, his powerful arms and thighs caging her in. His steel-hard erection dug into her stomach, and she was so wet she could feel her drenched panties sticking to her.
“You’re the one who invited them for dinner,” Farrah pointed out breathlessly.
“True. What was I thinking?” Blake’s day-old stubble scraped across her sensitive skin as he licked and sucked on her neck. Her nipples puckered in response, and a strangled moan fell from her throat.
“I don’t know,” Farrah gasped, lost in a wave of sensation.
Blake had flown both her mom and his family to New York. Joy earned her master’s in educational psychology in May, and she’d begged Blake for a trip to New York as her graduation present. He’d agreed and sprung for their parents to accompany her so they could have a big family celebration.
Farrah met Blake’s family a few months ago when she went with him to Austin to consult on a new design for the original Legends bar. After four years, it was time for an update, and she was officially the interior designer for all Legends projects going forward. Though she’d been hesitant about going into business with her boyfriend, they made it work.
Farrah’s design business was thriving even without the Legends portfolio, so she wasn’t reliant on Blake for income. She’d politely declined the interview offers from the firms that’d reached out after the Kelly scandal. And that magazine editor she’d worked for last fall? Turned out she was the new editor-in-chief of Mode de Vie, and she’d loved Farrah’s work so much she did an entire profile of her for the magazine. After that, the offers rolled in so fast Farrah couldn’t keep up.
As for Legends, she and Blake agreed she could walk away if it didn’t align with her goals anymore, but she didn’t have plans to do that anytime soon. As much as Farrah had enjoyed last year’s residential projects, hospitality design was her passion, and she loved creating new, innovative concepts for Blake’s expanding business and tailoring them to fit with the local culture.
Blake, meanwhile, assisted her with the practical aspects of scaling her now three-person design firm, F&J Creative, which comprised of Farrah; Jane, her old supervisor from KBI, and their assistant. Jane left KBI soon after New Year’s and called Farrah, asking if she’d be interested in partnering together.
Farrah agreed without hesitation. The other woman had the years of experience Farrah lacked, and Farrah had the fresh insight and appeal to a younger demographic. They made the perfect team.
Blake and Farrah took a lot of weekend trips to Austin after their initial visit. His father was a little cold, but she could tell he was trying. Tension remained between Joe and Blake—you couldn’t erase years of resentment and bad blood in the blink of an eye—but they were getting there. Meanwhile, his mother and sister welcomed Farrah with open arms. Joy pulled her aside the first night after dinner and thanked her for making Blake smile—for making him truly happy for the first time in a long time—and Farrah burst into tears in the downstairs hallway of the Ryans’ house.
The two of them had been great friends since, much to Blake’s chagrin. He always grumbled about them conspiring against him, and he wasn’t always wrong.
“Do you think your mom likes me?” Blake nibbled on the sensitive skin below her ear, dragging a whimper out of her.
“Probably.” Farrah’s mom loved him. Blake was tall, successful, and had a “wealthy face,” according to Chinese face reading standards. His only flaw was not understanding Chinese customs—he’d bought Cheryl a set of Diptyque candles for her birthday, since Farrah had mentioned how much her mom loved their scents, and Cheryl freaked out because candles were considered unlucky gifts in Chinese culture. Luckily, she forgave him after he followed up with a pair of 24K gold-and-jade earrings. Farrah picked them out herself, just to be safe. If that had failed, Blake flying Cheryl out this weekend so Farrah and Cheryl could spend quality mother-daughter time together sealed the deal. “Let’s not talk about my mom right now. It feels wrong.”
Blake’s chuckle vibrated against her chest. “Why’s that?”
“Because I’m about to do very dirty things to you.” Farrah reached for Blake’s belt buckle, but he grasped her wrist and tugged her hand away.
“Not yet. I have something to show you first.”
“I bet you do.” She tried to take off his pants again and was rebuffed, again.
“Nuh-uh. There’ll be time for that later.” Blake’s eyes sparkled with amusement and veiled lust as he pushed himself off her.
Farrah pouted. This better be good.
She followed him onto his balcony, trying to walk properly given the heavy, needy throb between her legs.
“What is it you want to show me?” While Farrah would much rather be having sex, she couldn’t tamp down her curiosity.
“I chose a good day for this.” Blake smiled, ignoring her question. “Look at this sunset.”
It was seven-thirty p.m., but since it was summer, the fiery ball of light was just beginning its descent beneath the horizon. Its slow march to slumber streaked the skies with an artist’s palette of pale purples, soft oranges, and cotton-candy pinks. In the distance, the lights of Manhattan flicked on, so dense and numerous they looked like a carpet of fallen stars draped across the city’s iconic skyline.
It was Farrah’s favorite view at her favorite time of the day.
But as much as it took her breath away, she didn’t understand why it was so important. They watched the sunset together every day.
She turned. “It’s beautiful, but I don’t—” Her words died in her throat.
Because Blake was no longer standing behind her. He was bent on one knee, and in his hand, he held a diamond. The most gorgeous, perfect yellow diamond Farrah had ever seen, one that blazed so bright it put the sun to shame.
The world tilted on its axis. Farrah’s hand flew to her mouth, her stomach tumbling over itself as her brain struggled to process the sight before her.
Blake’s hand shook as he spoke. “Five years ago, I told you I didn’t believe in love, and that the crazy, stupid love they showed in movies was a scam. You proved to me, minute by minute, day by day, how wrong I was, until one day I woke up and realized I’d fallen so deep I would never be able to dig myself out. And you know what? I don’t want to. But I also realized I wasn’t entirely wrong because that crazy, stupid love they showed in movies is nothing compared to what I feel for you. You are the stars in my night, the sun to my earth, and I thank fucking God every day that out of all the cities in all the world, I chose to study abroad in Shanghai. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have met you, and you. Are. Everything. But the one thing I want you to be, more than anything else, is my wife.” Blake’s voice turned hoarse. “Farrah Lin, will you marry me?”
Tears blurred her vision until Blake’s face swam before her, beautiful and taut with a mixture of nerves and anticipation.
From the moment she popped out of the womb, Farrah had overthought things. Every decision, from what to eat for breakfast to who she should give her heart to, came with a thousand branches of possibilities, spiraling and curling and tangling until they muddled her true desires.
But for once, Farrah didn’t think. She didn’t have to. The answer came swiftly as if it had been a part of her all along.
“Yes,” she choked out. “Yes, yes, yes! I’ll marry you!”
Blake sagged with relief. He slipped the ring on her finger, and then his lips were on hers. Her arms wrapped around his neck, and Farrah sank into a bliss so complete she must’ve died and gone to heaven.
“Future Mrs. Ryan,” he murmured. A thrill zipped through her at the moniker. “I love you so fucking much.”
“And I, you.” So much so her body and soul ached with it. Sensuous heat entered Farrah’s voice. “Now, why don’t you take me to that beautiful bedroom of yours and show me just how much you love me?”
She’d spent a lot of time designing that bedroom, and she intended to make full use of it.
Blake’s eyes lit up with a devilish glint, and he flashed her a smirk so devastating her knees buckled. “Yes, ma’am.”
Farrah squealed again as Blake picked her up and carried her, bridal style, inside the apartment, where he showed her, over and over, how much he loved her, until the darkness of the night melted into the golden warmth of sunrise.