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His Lover's Little Secret Andrea Laurence 2022/8/3 13:54:35

Damn that stupid, erotic dream. When she fell asleep on the couch, she never expected to sleep that long. Or that she would have a sexual fantasy about Gavin while he was sitting there watching her. When she opened her eyes and he was touching her with the spark of passion in his eyes, she had to have him. She needed him.

And now it was done. She’d refused his proposal of marriage because he didn’t love her, yet she’d just slept with him. She was throwing mixed signals left, right and center.

But she had to go back out there eventually. Steeling her resolve, she exited the bedroom and pulled the door shut behind her. She made a quick stop in the restroom first, cleaning up and smoothing her hair back into a ponytail. When she returned to the living room, Gavin was fully dressed and sitting on the couch.

“Everything okay?” he asked.

“Yeah,” she said. “He’s back to sleep now. He probably won’t wake up again until the morning.” She nervously ran her hands over her shorts, not sure what to do with herself. “Did you guys have fun today?”

“We did. He’s a very well-behaved kid. Gave me almost no trouble. Almost,” he said with a smile.

Sabine was glad. She’d worried so much about them that she couldn’t paint. At least at first. She’d tried, but it had been so long since she’d painted that she didn’t know where to start. Instead, she’d taken a long, leisurely shower and indulged in extended grooming rituals she usually had to rush, like plucking her eyebrows and painting her toenails. One of her favorite chick flicks was on TV, so she sat down to watch it, and the next thing she knew, she was nodding off. She’d only expected to sleep for a half hour or so.

“I’m glad it went well.” She eyed the spot on the couch where she’d just been and decided she wasn’t quite ready to sit there yet. “Would you like some wine? I’m going to pour myself a glass.”

“Sure,” he said with a soft smile.

Sabine could tell this was awkward for him, too. And yet, he could’ve turned her down and left. But he didn’t. She disappeared into the kitchen and returned a few minutes later with two glasses of merlot. “It came out of a box, but I like it,” she said.

Gavin smiled in earnest, taking a large sip, then another. “It’s pretty good,” he admitted with surprise.

She sat down beside him and took her own sip. The wine seemed to flow directly into her veins, relaxing her immediately.

He pointed over at the blank canvas. “I’m surprised you didn’t paint at all today.”

Sabine looked at the white expanse that had been her nemesis for a good part of the afternoon. She couldn’t count how many times she’d put her pencil to the canvas to sketch the bones of a scene and then stopped. “I think I’ve forgotten how to paint.”

“That’s not possible,” Gavin argued. “You just need the right inspiration. I put you on the spot today. I bet if you relax and let the creative juices flow without the pressure of time, the ideas will come again.”

“You’re too gifted to set your dream aside. Even for Jared. We can work together to get you back to what you love. I mean, after we get the results and I have visitation rights, you’ll have more free time to yourself.”

That was the wrong thing to say. She had been nervous enough about tomorrow and the lab results that were coming in. Knowing he was already planning to “exercise his rights” and take Jared for long stretches of time just made her chest tight with anxiety. It was a sharp reminder that even after they’d had sex, he was really here for Jared, not her. He hadn’t mentioned anything about all of them spending time together. Or just the two of them. Any fantasies she had about there being any sort of family unit cobbled out of this mess were just that.

“And what about you?” she said, her tone a bit sharper than she’d planned. “You seem as wrapped up in the business as ever. We couldn’t get you off your phone yesterday. I’m thinking you don’t have much time to get in the cockpit anymore.”

“It’s been a while,” he admitted. “But I’m working on it. All those calls I was taking at the zoo,” he said, “were about a big deal I’m trying to pull together. Things were unraveling and I couldn’t let it happen.”

Sabine listened as he described his plans for BXS and Exclusivity Jetliners. It really did seem like a brilliant plan. There were plenty of wealthy and important people who would pay a premium for that kind of service. That didn’t mean she appreciated it interloping on their day out together, but she could see it was important to him and not just day-to-day management crap.