Anything for You

By: Kristan Higgins

Before you get down on bent knee... should be pretty darn sure the answer will be yes. For ten years, Connor O’Rourke has been waiting for Jessica Dunn to take their on-again, off-again relationship public, and he thinks the time has come. His restaurant is thriving, she’s got her dream job at Blue Heron Vineyard—it’s the perfect time to get married.

When he pops the question, however, her answer is a fond but firm no. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? Jess has her hands full with her younger brother, who’s now living with her full-time, and a great career after years of waitressing. What she and Connor have is perfect: friends with an excellent benefits package. Besides, with her difficult past (and reputation), she’s positive married life isn’t for her.

But this time, Connor says it’s all or nothing. If she doesn’t want to marry him, he’ll find someone who does. Easier said than done, given that he’s never loved anyone but her. And maybe Jessica isn’t quite as sure as she thinks...



Though the words were said with a smile, they definitely weren’t what Connor O’Rourke was hoping to hear. He was, after all, on a bent knee, holding up a diamond ring.

“I just asked you to marry me, Jess,” he said.

“And it was adorable.” She ruffled his hair. That didn’t bode well, either. “The answer is no, obviously. What were you thinking? And boy, I’m starving. Did you call for pizza yet?”

Okay. Granted, Jessica Dunn was...different. They’d been dating for the past eight months—or ten years, depending on how you counted it—and getting her to this moment had taken as much strategizing as, oh, D-Day. Still, he hadn’t quite anticipated this.

He tried again. “Jessica. Make me the happiest man on earth and say you’ll be my wife.”

“I heard you the first time, big guy. And I did wonder about all these candles. Nice touch, if a little on the fire-hazard side of things.”

“And your answer is?”

“You already know my answer, and you knew it long before you asked anything. Now come on, Connor. Upsy-daisy.”

He didn’t move. Jess sighed and folded her arms across her chest, giving him a patient look, eyebrow slightly raised.

Her phone buzzed, and she pulled it out of her pocket, because she always checked her phone, no matter what they were doing. “Iron Man is killing all the bad guys in the cave,” she said, deadpan.

This was normal—her brother dictating text updates on whatever movie he and Gerard, his occasional babysitter, were watching. It could be funny. At the moment, not so much.

“Can we be serious here?” he asked.

“I’m really hungry, Con.”

“If I feed you, will you say yes?”

“No. So up you go. Let’s have a nice night, okay? Weren’t we gonna watch Game of Thrones?”

Hail Mary, full of grace, she was really turning him down.

He didn’t get up. With the hand that was not holding the little black velvet box, he rubbed his hand across his jaw. He’d shaved for this and everything. The diamond winked in the candlelight, taunting him.

“Look, Jess,” he said. “I’m tired of feeling like you pay me by the hour. I’m tired of you breaking up with me. Why don’t we get married and stay together for the rest of our lives?”

“You ever hear that expression, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”

“Do you see me here on one knee with an expensive ring in my hand?”

“Yes. You’re hard to miss. And it’s very pretty. But I get the feeling you think you should love me for the simple reason that we’ve been sleeping together on and off for so many years—”