With Tabitha’s hand gripped in mine, we reach the summit.
“There it is,” I beam down at her. “We’ve made it to Chilkoot Pass. At last.”
She tears her gaze away from the sweeping views offered from the summit and arches an eyebrow at me.
“At last? We made it on day three,” she says. “You told me that we were right on track and making good time. That’s why you woke me up before dawn.”
“I woke you up before dawn so we could get through this part before the sun gave you heatstroke.” I raise our linked hands to my lips and kiss the smooth skin on the back of her hand. “I meant that we started on this trail a few years ago, but never made it this far.”
“Oh, well.” She flushes from the attention and fans herself with the back of her free hand.
It’s nice to know I can still get her all hot and bothered even after a few years of marriage. All she has to do is glance at me and I get as hard as ever.
“We’ve been a little busy,” she says, “what with searching for treasure.”
“Starting a new job as the best history professor who ever lived,” I add.
Her cheeks grow even rosier at my praise. “Plus, we made ourselves a couple of beautiful babies somewhere along the way.”
“Oh, that’s right. The beautiful babies.” I wrap my arm around her shoulders and give her a gentle squeeze. I know she’s probably missing them like crazy right now. We decided to leave them with their cousins this time. “They have kept us busy.”
Which is an understatement. In Ryder and Reese, we each have our very own mini-me. We also have ourselves a couple of kids so rambunctious, they make the younger versions of my brothers and me look like angels instead of hellions.
They’re also the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. Besides finding Tabitha and making her fall as hard in love with me as I am with her.
Tabitha leans into my side, the perfect fit she’s always been. “Between a treasure hunt, two thriving careers, and a couple of babies, who had time to climb this mountain?”
“I’ve been on the pass at least a couple dozen times, actually.”
She rolls her beautiful brown eyes. “That’s because it’s your job to get city slickers safely through it without getting eaten by a bear or falling off a mountain.”
“You really have an interesting perspective on my job,” I muse. “Maybe we should start listing those among our other qualifications on our website.”
She shakes her head and I give her another squeeze.
“What do you make of it all now that you’re here?” I ask.
“It really is gorgeous.” She takes another three-hundred-and-sixty-degree look around us. “But, I’d say this trek must have been a pain in the butt while carrying a thousand pounds of supplies with you.”
I chuckle. “I’m sure those prospectors thought it was worth it on their quest for treasure.”
I’m lucky I didn’t have to go through half as much to find the greatest treasure in the world. A stunning woman who is my partner in every way. A couple of kids who fill our lives with joy and purpose. It’s a life well-lived.
“Have you seen enough?” I ask. “I don’t want us to lose our momentum now.”
“Is the rest of the hike that bad?”
I shake my head. “Not really, but I want to have enough energy to make love to you when we get to camp.”
She presses her lips to my chin, sending a dart of lust to my groin. “Lead the way, honey.”
* * *
I hope you enjoyed this bonus epilogue for RYKER.
Be sure to check out the next installment in the Princes of the Mountain series, ROMAN.