Though at the moment, with the bleak emptiness of the rest of his mortal journey facing him, he couldn’t help but wonder if he might have been better off never to have known her, never to have loved her, and never to have lost her. He closed his eyes and wept.

The panic crept closer, accompanied by a niggling doubt. Could she go back to her time? Did she want to? He shoved both thoughts aside forcefully. They were betrothed. It was too late for thinking. A betrothal was as binding as marriage. He could bed her with a clear conscience, sire sons and daughters on her and not call them bastards. She was bound to him and it was a bond she could not break. He would make certain of that. She’d stolen his heart, damn her, and he wouldn’t let that go unpunished.

She felt sleep creeping up on her like a relentless tide. She tried to summon up a craving for German chocolates. Or New York traffic. Late-night television. Nope. What she really needed was currently scratching her back with the most careful of scratches, humming an off-key melody under his breath. Jessica smiled.

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