DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES star MARCIA CROSS decided her new fiance TON MAHONEY was "a keeper" when he played word games with her in bed the night before the Emmy nominations were announced.

The redhead actress, 43, accepted 47-year-old stockbroker Mahoney's marriage proposal earlier this month (AUG05) after a whirlwind romance.

And Cross admits that she was particularly impressed with Mahoney's efforts to entertain her the night before the 14 July (05) announcement that she'd picked up her first ever Emmy nomination.

She says, "He told me the next day that he was doing it so I wouldn't be nervous. It was very sweet."