Lorene Cory studied the man sitting across the table from her and felt certain that she was the luckiest girl in Kansas, possibly the entire world.

He was walking across her lawn towards her. Despite the storms best efforts he still looked stunningly handsome, and not at all like a drowned rat. Lorene shuddered to think what she looked like. And that one shudder led to many and soon she was shivering violently.

Guy took a step forward reaching out his arms, then dropped them, then stepped again, then dithered some more, then decided what the hell, and unzipped the front of his jacket to wrap it and his arms around her. "What are you doing out here dressed like that? Come on let's go in and get you warm."

Having relaxed against his warm hard body, she jerked herself back. "No!"

If he wanted to see their son, he should have done it two years ago. The hell he was just going to waltz into their lives now! "You can talk on the porch. What do you want?"

He shrugged and ran to the porch, hauling her behind him. He seated her on the old swing seat that hung from the roof, and almost sat down beside her, when he jumped upright again and began pacing. Lorene's eyes followed him up and down with not a little confusion.

"What do you want?" she repeated, at a loss for what else to say.

He pulled out two crumpled pieces of paper from his pocket and thrust them at her without a word. Lorene examined them curiously. One was a black smudged envelope and the other was the letter that had been inside judging from the black stains that made most of the words illegible. She looked up at Guy completely flummoxed and tried to give them back to him, but his hands refused to take them.

"Guy … Mr Landers, I'm sorry, I don't underst– What do you want?" she stuttered.

"What did you write?"


"Who wrote on the envelope? Did you tell them to?"

"What on earth are you talking about?"

Guy stopped mid-pace and turned to her, and with one long stride stood in front of her. Taking her forearms between strong hands, he shook her as if he wanted to shake some sense into her, or maybe some sense out of her. "Two years ago you wrote me a letter; this letter," he snatched it from her grasp and brandished it beneath her nose. "It came in that envelope, and I, for two years I thought that was that. It seemed pretty obvious you never wanted to see or hear from me again. Which I don't blame you for, seeing as what I did to you. But I haven't been in my right mind for two years, I've been waking up at two in the morning worried about you, I feel sick every time the news reports another tornado is racing down the Alley, I don't want to but I do. And then yesterday, I realised the handwriting on the envelope and the letter was different and I had to know, I had to find out – What did you write in the letter? Who wrote on the envelope? Please."

Lorene stared, mouth open, gulping down air, "You didn't read my letter? So you don't know about–" Realising what she was saying, she changed tack. Glancing down again at the black smudges she now realised were words, and not very nice ones, it dawned on her with growing horror that the straight, no-nonsense letters were very familiar. "Oh Annie," she whispered despairingly, then looked up into Guy Landers' stunning blue eyes, dark with pent-up emotions she could not name.

"My friend Annie wrote on the envelope. She'd just been through a messy divorce, so when you just upped and left, she assumed … especially since I was … You never read my letter?" It still seemed impossible that he had not. "It was about–"

"Please, don't say. There was enough left that I could tell. But can't feelings change over time. In two years, couldn't they have changed even just a little? Lorene," he took her hands in his own and looked earnestly down at her. "I never once regretted that night. Do you believe in love at first sight?" he asked suddenly.

Lorene was about to shake her head, when she realised that love was a very good word for the feeling that mingled with hope every time the phone rang, before she picked it up and found it wasn't him, and it had begun long before she'd met him, when he was just another handsome face on the television, but inexplicably the only one she wanted to hear the news from. She opened her mouth to say so, but her moment of reckoning had taken too long for Guy's high-strung nerves.

"Never mind. But please let me say I do. Or if not first sight then first touch, when your fingers brushed mine as you handed me a plate of casserole, and I knew that all I ever wanted was to sit opposite you every night and be served casserole."

Lorene couldn't help it; her lips twitched, then curved into a smile, and then she burst out laughing. "I'm sorry, so sorry. That was so lovely and sweet, but it was the stupidest declaration of love I've ever heard."

Guy grinned sheepishly, "I know. But I meant it." And to underline his sincerity, he pulled her against him and firmly set his mouth over hers. Lorene felt the searing touch of his lips all through her body. Limbs which she hadn't even realised were trembling from cold, were flooded with heat. And deep within, a storm was brewing, the like of which had not been stirred in two years and, she knew now, would never be stirred by any but this man. Sighing with deep contentment, she opened her mouth to the incessant caress of his tongue and relaxed fully against him, moulding herself to his hard frame.

A loud crash from the kitchen brought her to attention. She glanced at Guy with wide pleading eyes. "You say you love me?"

"With all my heart," he replied with utter conviction.

"Might there be room for two?"

He frowned slightly, and she took a deep breath and opened the door of the house which let straight into the kitchen. "It was what I was trying to tell you in the letter."

Startled incredulous blue eyes met petulant ones.

"Where is Mistew Wabbit? You awe not Mistew Wabbit!"

"You're right, I'm not. I'm your daddy."

Noah blinked at him. "Will you make cookies?"

"If you'll tell me how. What do we put in first? Cabbage?" Noah chortled delightedly and banged his spoon against his high chair. When it was set in front of him, he happily stirred together flour and sugar, sending most of it to the floor.

Guy tore his eyes from his son and looked for Lorene standing tensely by the sink. "I'm right to assume he's mine?"

She nodded jerkily.

He reached for her and placed a gentle kiss against her forehead. "How could you possibly think I would do anything but absolutely love him from head to toes?"

She beamed, her happiness complete.

"Any chance we might try to begin a younger sibling for him tonight, or do you want to wait until after we're married?"
No, now it was.

Well, I don't know about you but I enjoyed myself. Especially titling chapters, oh dear ...