One side railed against the Mick who was lying in bed next to Daphne, telling him that there was no way that a cowboy with no roots, no real family, no ties would ever be good enough for a woman like her. The other side wanted so badly to stay here in her warm arms, wanted to believe he was good enough, that he almost convinced himself.
He closed his eyes and willed his mind to still. He’d calmed crazed cattle, lived on the streets as a teenager, and survived a druggie mother, why was he scared now?
How could he possibly keep her? They had nothing in common except Missus B and Crazy. As much as he loved Missus B, he knew he wasn’t part of the family. She said he was, even Daphne had said he was, but blood runs thick. Being like family wasn’t the same as actually being family.
He was the hired help. Sissy’s jibe had hit so close to home because deep down that was how he felt. And everyone knew the hired help couldn’t live happily ever after with the princess.
Daphne stirred and snuggled into Mick, sighing as she cinched her arm around his waist. With that simple touch, Daphne wiped away any thought he had about living without her. Damn status and family, how was he supposed to walk away? But how could he stay?
Stop thinking so loud,” Daphne mumbled.
He laughed and kissed her hair. “Sorry,” he whispered, stroking her hair and back. “Go back to sleep.”
She propped herself up on her elbow and looked down at Mick. She reached up and gently brushed his tousled hair out of his face. She trailed her fingers over his temple and down his cheek, and he couldn’t help nuzzling into her hand to accept the caress.
He grabbed her hand and kissed her fingers. “Guess I need to shave, huh?”
Her teeth flashed in the darkness when she grinned. “Actually, turns out I’m kinda into the scruffy, outdoorsy type now.”
His heart skipped a beat. Or three. “Daphne…” he started.