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His Lover's Little Secret Andrea Laurence 2022/8/3 13:54:36

“I’m hoping to fly one, too.”

Her brows went up in surprise. “Did you get demoted from CEO to pilot?”

“I wish,” he groaned. “But I’ve always wanted a Gulfstream model jet. The ones we’re acquiring could go over four thousand miles on one tank of gas. That could get me to Paris. I’ve always dreamed of flying across the Atlantic. But even if I can’t manage that, I can take one out from time to time. Even if it’s just to do a delivery. I don’t care. I just want to get out from behind the desk and get up there. It’s the only place I can ever find any peace.”

She understood that. Yoga did a lot to help center her mind and spirit, but nothing came close to losing herself in her art.

“I want more time out of the office, and Jared finally gives me a real reason to do it. There’s no point in work-life balance when you’ve got no life. But spending time with Jared needs to be a priority for me. I’ve already missed so much.”

Sabine was impressed by his heartfelt words. Gavin had quickly become enamored with Jared, and she was glad. Part of her had always worried that he might reject his son. The other part worried that he’d claim him with such force that he’d rip her child from her arms. This seemed a healthy medium. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad. He was trying.

“I found a great apartment in Greenwich Village overlooking Washington Square Park,” he said. “It has three bedrooms and it’s close to the subway.”

Sabine took a large sip of her wine. Here we go, she thought. “I thought you liked your apartment,” she said, playing dumb. “Getting tired of living at the Ritz-Carlton?”

Gavin frowned. “What? No. Not for me. For you. I’d prefer you to be closer to me, but I know you’d rather live downtown. You work in SoHo, right? You could easily walk to work from this apartment.”

Walking to work. She wouldn’t even allow herself to fantasize about a life without a long train commute each day. Or three bedrooms where she didn’t have to share with Jared. “I’m pretty sure it’s out of my budget.”

Gavin set his wine down on the coffee table. “I told you I wanted to help. Let me buy you an apartment.”

“And I told you I wanted to take this slowly. I probably couldn’t even afford the maintenance fee, much less the taxes or the mortgage itself. Homeowner’s insurance. The utilities on a place that large would be through the roof.”

He turned in his seat to face her, his serious businessman expression studying her. “How much is your rent here?”

He interrupted her with a number that was fewer than fifty dollars off the mark.

“Yes, pretty much,” she admitted, reluctantly.

“Tack on a couple hundred for utilities and such. So what if I bought an apartment and rented it to you for the same amount you’re paying now? That would be fair, right? You wouldn’t have to worry about all the fees associated with owning the place.”

She did have to admit that she preferred this idea. If she had to pay rent, she would continue working. She liked her job and wanted to keep doing it. But a three-bedroom apartment in the Village for the price of what she paid for a tiny place beyond the reach of the subway lines? That was insanity.

“That’s a ridiculous suggestion. My rent is less than a tenth of what the mortgage on that kind of apartment would be.”

Gavin shrugged. “I’m not concerned. You could live there rent-free for all I care. I just thought you would feel more comfortable if you contributed.”

“There’s a difference between helping us out and buying us a multimillion-dollar apartment.”

“I want you close,” he said. His dark eyes penetrated hers with an intensity that made her squirm slightly with a flush rising to her pale cheeks. Did he really mean her?

Sabine opened her mouth to argue, but he held up his hand to silence her protest. “I mean,” he corrected, “living in Manhattan will make it easier to handle the custody arrangements and trade-offs. When he starts at his new school, he would be closer. It would be safer. More convenient for everyone.”

Just as she thought. He wanted Jared close, not her. At least not for any reason more than the occasional booty call. “Especially for you,” she snapped, irritably.

“And you!” he added. “If I got things my way, the two of you would just move in with me. That’s certainly the cheapest option, since you seem so concerned about how much I spend, but I thought you would like having your own space better.”

She must seem like the most ungrateful person on the planet, but she knew what this was. A slippery slope. He would push, push, push until he had things just the way he wanted them. If he wanted them—or Jared, she should say—living with him, eventually he would. This apartment in the Village would just be a pit stop to make it look as if he was being reasonable.