Nobody but Him

By: Victoria Purman

She pushed the shimmering pearl through the first buttonhole and eased the edges apart. His eyes widened and his hand came to rest on her knee, his grip tightening. When she popped the second button, the milky white curve of her breasts was revealed and his eyes moved there. As the third button was freed, Ry feasted his eyes on her silky red bra and groaned.

‘God, I love you, Julia Jones.’ His eyes glistened and she saw the crooked smile she loved so much. She believed him with all her heart.

‘You’re too easy, you know that?’

‘Only with you, JJ.’ He handed the box to her and waited.

Julia pushed herself up and took the box from his hand. She popped it open and just stared. Snuggled in a red velvet lining sat a gold band inset with small diamonds on either side of a sizeable rectangular centre stone. Julia blinked at it, looked at him.

‘Oh my God, Ry.’ Tears welled in her eyes as she stared at it. ‘I … I don’t know what to say.’

‘You could say you like it.’

‘It’s … it’s stunning.’

Ry lifted the ring out of its box and turned it in his fingers, holding it up to the light from the windows. ‘Lizzie said you’d like it.’

‘You mean she got to see it before I did?’

‘What do you think? I wasn’t going to buy you any old ring. What if I got it wrong and you made me pay for it for the rest of my life?’

‘The rest of our lives,’ Julia said, and felt that maybe, just then, her heart did explode. How she kept breathing was a mystery. Ry reached for her hand and slowly slid the ring on to her finger. She felt its weight, knowing what it represented, conscious of how far they’d come to make it to this point. Julia raised her hand up, so the light streaming in from outside, from her beloved sky, caught the stones. They sparkled and shimmered.

‘It’s flawless.’

Ry touched her cheek, wiping her tears away with gentle fingers. ‘I’ve had it for a week, but I wanted it to be right. Just you and me, here.’

Julia sighed against him and looked at the ring again. He took her hand in his, admiring the stone on her finger.

‘It’s right, Ry. It’s perfect.’

‘It suits you.’

‘Ry, I’m so lucky I got a second chance.’ She leaned up to kiss him tenderly. He kissed her right back.

‘I think we’re both lucky.’ They squeezed their hands together tight. ‘We’re going to make memories here, you and me. In this home.’

Home. It had nothing to do with the designer kitchen or the glass palace or the million dollar views. It had everything to do with the man who was holding her in his arms, whose voice still made her tremble, who looked at her with a heat and desire that no one else had ever felt for her. It had everything to do with where her heart and soul felt safe and protected and loved.

Julia looked up into Ry’s face and saw her happiness reflected right back at her. Her new chapter had begun. She twisted her fingers around Ry’s and pulled him to his feet. He steadied himself, looking down at her with a question in his eyes.

‘Where are we going?’

‘Come with me,’ she grinned.

Ten minutes later, Julia and Ry stood hand-in-hand at the outlook from Middle Point, the great white sandy beach and the magnificent, pulsing Southern Ocean spread out before them like nature’s banquet. Julia’s heart swelled as she took in her childhood playground. It was a clear spring day and great puffs of white clouds hovered in the southern sky to the horizon and beyond. The water was a light grey, a mirror of the sky, and Julia took in the coastline that led all the way to Goolwa and the northern tip of the Coorong wetlands. There were a few people on the beach, their dogs scampering after soggy tennis balls, and below them a handful of surfers were sitting astride their boards, a hundred metres out, waiting for the next wave.

Julia leaned into Ry, breathing in the fresh air. The wind teased her curls around her face and serenity seeped back into her bones.

‘It looks busy today.’

Julia glanced over her shoulder. Behind them, with only a road in between, was the Middle Point Pub. For more than a hundred years, the old stone building had been the centre of life in Julia’s hometown. It had a lot more life left in it now, under Ry’s careful ownership. The pub was a lot like its new owner, she decided. Filled with character, proud if its place and determined to make a lasting mark.

‘I love it here. I love you too, Ry.’

He brought her hands to his mouth, his soft lips a warm caress on her cold skin, his sapphire eyes shining, his heart all hers.

‘Welcome home, Julia.’

▶ Also By Victoria Purman

▶ Last Updated

▶ Hot Read

▶ Recommend

Top Books