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His Lover's Little Secret Andrea Laurence 2022/8/3 13:54:40

“If it helps,” Gavin added, “Nora, the housekeeper, used to work as a nanny. She’s great with kids. If my parents need reinforcements, she’ll be there to help. Nothing will go wrong. You deserve some time to relax.”

“I don’t know, Gavin. When you took him to the circus, I was nearly panicked the whole time. That was the first time he’d gone somewhere without me aside from day care. And now you want to take me on a trip? How far are we going?”

“Only a short plane ride away.”

“Plane?” she cried, turning on the bench to face him full-on. “I really don’t want to be that far from him, Gavin.”

“It’s only about a two-hour flight. If we drove to the Hamptons it would take just as long to get back home with summer traffic.” He reached out and took her hand, relishing the cool glide of her skin against his. She had such delicate, feminine hands, more so than he remembered. He was used to them being rough with calluses from her wooden brushes, with paint embedded under her nails and along her cuticles. He hadn’t managed to get her back to painting yet, but this trip was a sure start.

“Please let me do this for you. Not only will you have a great time, but it’s my chance to share my passion with you the way you once shared your painting with me.”

Her green eyes met his, and he felt some of her resistance fading away. She knew how important this was to him. “You’re flying us there?”

Gavin smiled and nodded. It hadn’t been an original part of his plan, but when he asked Roger about chartering one of his jets, he’d laughed and told him they were practically his already. If he wanted to take one, he was welcome to it, and he could fly it himself.

“Roger is loaning me one of his jets for the trip. I’ve been dying to fly one, and I really want you to be up there with me when I do. That would make the experience that much more special.”

He loved to fly. Soaring through the air was the greatest high he’d ever experienced. It wasn’t the same when you weren’t sitting at the controls. The only thing that could make it better would be sharing it with her. Somehow, the idea of having Sabine beside him in the cockpit made his chest tight. He wanted to share this with her. He wanted to spoil her. She just had to let him.

She finally let the slightest smile curl her lips. He’d won, he could tell. The tiny smirk made him want to lean in and kiss her until she was blushing again, but this time with passion instead of irritation. But he’d have time soon enough. He wanted her in a swimsuit, her skin glistening with suntan oil. He couldn’t wait to feel the press of her bikini bottom against him as he held her in the ocean. They both needed this trip away for a million different reasons.

“I suppose you’re not going to tell me where we’re flying to.”

“Then how do I know what to pack?”

“Dress for sizzling-hot days lounging on the beach and cool nights overlooking the ocean. Throw a couple things in a bag and leave the rest up to me.”

Sabine wasn’t a big fan of flying, but she wasn’t about to tell Gavin that. It was his big love, like painting was for her, so she took her Dramamine, packed her bag and hoped for the best.

“You look nervous,” Gavin said after locking the door and sliding into the cockpit beside her.

“Me?” she asked with a nervous twitter of laughter. “Never.” She was thankful she’d worn large sunglasses today. Maybe he wouldn’t notice her eyes were closed the whole time.

The taxi down the runway wasn’t so bad. Gavin seemed very at ease with his headset on and vast display of controls in front of him. He had given her a headset of her own to wear so she could hear the air traffic controllers talking. She heard the tower give them clearance to take off.

“Here we go,” Gavin said with an impish smile that reminded her of Jared when he thought he was getting away with something naughty.

Gavin eased the accelerator forward and the jet started down the runway. At that point, Sabine closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She felt the lift as the plane surged into the sky, but she didn’t open her eyes.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” Gavin asked after a few minutes.

“Oh, yeah,” she said, seeing nothing but the dark inside of her eyelids.

“Sabine, open your eyes. Are you afraid to fly?”

She turned to him with a sheepish smile. “No, I’m afraid to crash. You know my boss survived a plane crash a few years ago, right? When you know someone it happened to, it makes it more real in your mind.” It was then that she looked through the glass and noticed nothing but ocean around them. He hadn’t mentioned flying over the ocean. She swallowed hard. She could do this. She didn’t really have a choice.