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His Lover's Little Secret Andrea Laurence 2022/8/3 13:54:37

She smiled, wrinkling her nose with a touch of embarrassment. The movement caught the light on the tiny pink rhinestone in her nose. It was the same bright color as her lipstick and the chunky bracelet on her wrist. “Let me put these in some water and we can go.”

Gavin nodded and stepped across the threshold into the apartment. It was Friday night and as predicted, they were having dinner. Everything had gone smoothly. The paperwork had been filed in family court to add Gavin’s name to the birth certificate. Along with the addition, Jared’s last name would be updated to Brooks. He’d suggested making Jared’s middle name Hayes, but she said the name Thomas was more important to her. He’d thought Sabine would pitch a fit on the subject of Jared’s name, but it hadn’t concerned her.

The custody proposal Edmund put together was approved by both of them on the first draft. He hoped that he would see Jared more than required, but this established a minimum they were both comfortable with.

He noticed Marie’s coat hanging by the door when he came in, so he knew she was already there to watch Jared. Gavin looked around the apartment, but he didn’t see Marie or Jared anywhere. “Where is everyone?”

Then he heard giggles and splashing from the bathroom. He smiled, knowing Marie was probably soaked. After they’d told Jared that Gavin was his daddy, he’d insisted Daddy give him his bath that night. Gavin had gotten more water on him than the toddler in the tub, he was pretty certain.

Aside from that, the night had gone pretty smoothly. Apparently toddlers didn’t angst about things the way grown-ups did. Gavin was his daddy—great. Let’s go play.

“Marie is giving Jared a bath, although I think they’re probably having more fun with the bathtub paints than actually washing.”

Gavin wanted to peek in and say hello before they left, but he resisted. He’d gotten Sabine to agree to this dinner and the babysitter he provided. Right now, Jared was happy. If they went in to say goodbye, the giggles might disintegrate into tears. “Are you ready?”

She nodded, the luxurious black waves of her hair gracefully swaying along her jawline. “I already told Marie goodbye a few minutes ago so we could slip out. She seems to have everything under control.”

Since it was just the two of them tonight, he’d opted for the Aston Martin. He held the door for her, noting the elegant curve of her ankles in tall pink pumps as she slipped inside. Gavin had no clue how women walked in shoes like that, but he was extremely thankful they did.

They had seven-thirty reservations at one of the most sought-out, high-end restaurants in Manhattan. He’d made the reservation on Monday, feeling confident they would come to an agreement in time, but even then, it had taken some persuading to get a table. Most people booked a table several months in advance, but they knew better than to tell a Brooks no. He tended to get in wherever he wanted to, and he made it worth the ma?tre d’s efforts.

They checked in and were immediately taken to an intimate booth for two. The restaurant was the brainchild of a young, up-and-coming chef who snagged a James Beard award at the unheard-of age of twenty-two. The decor was decidedly modern with lots of glass, concrete and colored lights that glowed behind geometric wall panels.

Their table was like a cocoon wrapping around them and shielding them from the world. A green glass container on the table had a flickering candle inside, giving a moody light to their space. It was just enough to read their menus, but not enough to draw attention to who was inside the booth. It made the restaurant popular with the young celebrity set who wanted to go out but maintain their privacy.

“Have you ever been here?” Gavin asked.

Sabine took in all the sights with wide eyes. “No, but I’ve heard of it. My boss said her husband took her here for her birthday.”

“She said the food was good. The decor was a little modern for her taste, which is funny considering her clothing design has a contemporary edge to it that would fit right in.”

“I’ve been here once,” Gavin said. “It’s fine cuisine, but it’s not stuffy. I thought you’d like that.”

Sabine smiled and looked down. “Yes, there aren’t fifteen pieces of silverware, so that’s a relief.”

Gavin smiled and looked over the menu. He’d learned his lesson the first time they dated. His attempts to impress her with nice restaurants had only intimidated her and pointed out the wide gap of their social standings. She wasn’t like other women he’d dated. A lot of women in Manhattan expected to be wined and dined in the finest restaurants in town. Sabine was just as happy with Thai takeout eaten on the terrace of his apartment, if not more so.