Page 33

His Lover's Little Secret Andrea Laurence 2022/8/3 13:54:38

“I should’ve known,” she said, without acknowledging him. “You know there was a reason I ended this the last time. One of the reasons was that everyone in your world is a snob.”

“Not everyone,” he insisted. He wrapped his fingers around her delicate wrist to keep her from running off again and pulled her to a stop. “Just ignore Viola. She doesn’t matter to anyone but herself.”

She shook her head, the waves of her hair falling into her face as she looked down at the sidewalk. “It’s the same as last time, Gavin. People in your world are never going to see me as anything other than an interloper. Like you’re slumming for your own amusement. I don’t fit in and I never will.”

“I know,” he said. “That’s one of the many things that make you great.”

Her light green eyes met his for a moment, a glimmer of something—hope, maybe—quickly fading away. “Stop fooling yourself, Gavin. You belong with someone like Viola or this Rosemary woman that’s waiting on you to call again. We’re all wrong for each other. You’re only here with me now because of Jared.”

“Let me assure you that if I wanted a woman like Viola I could have one. I could have her, if I wanted to. She’s made that very clear over the years, but I’m not interested. I don’t want her.” He took a step closer, pulling Sabine against him. “I want you. Just as you are.”

“You say that now, but you wouldn’t answer her question,” she said, resisting his pull on her.

“Answer what question?”

“She asked what we were drinking to. You don’t want anyone to know about Jared, do you? Are you ashamed of him? Or of both of us?”

“Absolutely not!” he said as emphatically as he could. “I will gladly shout the news about my son from the rooftops. But I haven’t told my family yet. If Viola found out, it would be all over town. I don’t want them to hear it from her.”

Gavin slipped his arms around her waist, enjoying the feel of her against him, even under these circumstances. “I’d like to tell them tomorrow afternoon. Would you be able to bring Jared to meet them? Maybe around dinnertime? That would give them some time to adjust to the idea before you show up.”

“Why don’t you just come get him?” she said. Her bravado from her interaction with Viola had crumbled. Now she just looked worn down.

“Because I want them to spend time with you, too,” Gavin added. “I know you’ve met them before, but that was years ago. This is different.”

“And say what, Gavin? ‘Hey, everyone, you remember Sabine? Since you saw her last, she’s had my son and lied to all of us for over two years. We’ve got that worked out now. Don’t mind the nose ring.’”

“Pretty much,” he said with a smile. “How did you guess?”

Sabine’s gaze shot up to his. Red flushed her cheeks and she punched him in the shoulder. She hit him as furiously as she could and he barely felt it. He laughed at her assault, which only made it worse. She was like an angry kitten, hissing and clawing, but not dangerous enough to even break the skin. “I’m serious, Gavin!”

“I’m serious, too.” He meant every word of it. Gavin had gone into this thinking that he could indulge in Sabine’s body and keep his heart thoroughly out of the equation. She had no idea how badly she’d hurt him when she left, and he didn’t want her to know. But he’d opened the door to her once. No matter how hard he fought, it was too easy to open up to her again. It wasn’t love, but it was something more than his usual indifference.

Perhaps this time would be different. Even if they weren’t together, they would always be connected through Jared. They would be constants in an ever-changing life and he welcomed it, even if he didn’t know what they would do with it.

He slipped his finger under her chin and tipped her face up to him. “Serious about this.”

Gavin’s lips met hers before she could start arguing with him again. The moment he kissed her, she was lost. She melted into him, channeling her emotions into the kiss. Sabine let all of her anger, her frustration, her fear flow through her mouth and her fingertips. She buried her fingers through his dark hair, tugging his neck closer.

He responded in kind, his mouth punishing her with his kiss. His hands molded to her body, his fingers pressed hard into her flesh. The rough touch was a pleasure with a razor’s edge. She craved his intensity. The physical connection made everything else fade away. At least for tonight. Tomorrow was...tomorrow.