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Emily snorted. “And I bet you’d find that sexy.”

“Beyond reason,” Gavin answered, handing their bags to his chauffeur. He pulled Emily into his arms, his smile wide. “I wouldn’t mind that as my Christmas gift tomorrow. You, naked in a red bow, wearing those horns.”

Emily lifted a brow, her voice husky. “You forgot about the red, six-inch stiletto heels, my hair pinned up off my shoulders, and a bottle of champagne. My belly button could serve as your glass.”

Gavin’s eyes flared with instant, primal need. “Get in the limo.” He opened the door for her.

“Is that a threat?” Emily asked nonchalantly, trying to rile him up as she slipped in. She scooted across the cool leather seat and watched Gavin duck in behind her. “Because if so, it sounded… weak.”

Without a moment’s hesitation, Gavin dragged her body on top of his, straddled her legs over his waist, and hit the button for the privacy screen, sealing them off from the driver’s view. Emily went warm with pleasure as Gavin eased his hands through her hair, bringing her lips down to his. He kissed her hard, his tongue licking greedily over hers. God, he tasted so good. A cross between the bourbon he was drinking on the flight over and minty gum. It made her high. He made her high. His smell, touch, and taste did things to her body she’d never experienced. She couldn’t help but moan into his mouth as he slid a hand down her neck, along the arched curve of her spine, settling on her waist. His grip tightened in her hair, his kiss becoming desperate. Her heart took a nosedive into her stomach.

“Gavin,” she breathed, “my sister’s house is less than five minutes away.”

Still kissing her, he slipped his hand under her shirt, his voice strangled deep with desire. “I’ll tell the driver not to stop until we’re finished.”

Pulling back, a frown split her lips. She glanced at her watch. “We can’t. It’s already four. Dinner’s at a quarter after. My sister’s borderline OCD. She’ll seriously panic if we leave her waiting.”

Sighing, Gavin scrubbed his hands over his face. Staring at Emily, he shook his head, a lazy grin pulling at his mouth. “You know I’m inhaling every inch of your body after everyone goes to sleep, right?”

Emily smiled. “I would hope that you do.”

“I have every intention of doing so.” Resting his hands on her hips, he swept his gaze over her face. “Okay. Let’s play twenty questions.”

Emily gave a look of confusion. “Uh, okay.”

“Emily, I have a massive hard-on right now that I’m pretty sure isn’t going down anytime soon. I’m also pretty sure it won’t look too good in front of your sister and brother-in-law. I need something to take my mind off of the things I was planning on doing to you on the way over. Get where I’m going?”

Covering her mouth, Emily stifled a laugh. “I do. Okay. Twenty questions. You start.”

Gavin shifted beneath Emily, trying to ignore his need to rip her clothing right from her body. “My driver knows where we’re going, but I forgot the name of the town they live in.”

“La Jolla.”

“Beach community?” Gavin asked, swiping a hurried hand through his hair.

Emily nodded, clearly able to see he was still suffering. “Right on the beach,” she answered quickly.

Gavin cleared his throat. “Nice. What does your brother-in-law do for a living?”

“He’s a computer engineer.”

“Ah, a computer geek. Cool.”

Emily smiled. “Yes. A certified computer geek.”

“And your sister? What does she do for a living?”

“She’s also a computer engineer.”

Gavin lifted a brow, the corner of his mouth tipped upward. “Two computer geeks. That sex must be pretty dull.”

Emily crinkled her forehead. “What does that have to do with it? I’m a teacher. That’s kind of geeky.”

“Mmm, no, that’s sexy. Even David Lee Roth agrees he’s hot for teacher.”

Emily let out a laugh. Knowing she shouldn’t but unable to resist, she leaned down and placed a soft kiss on his lips. “I’m seriously starting to think you need therapy.”

Circling his hands around her waist, Gavin flicked his blue eyes to her mouth. “I’m going to need a cold shower if you do that again. Or I could tell the driver to keep going while I give you an early Christmas gift in the back of this limo. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“Deal.” Emily smiled, but her features quickly softened. “Thank you,” she whispered.

Confusion blanketed his face. “For what?”

“For coming out here with me for Christmas. Even though we celebrated early with them, I know it’s hard for you to spend it away from your family. Especially your niece and nephew.”

Emily was correct. This was the first time Gavin wouldn’t spend Christmas surrounded by his family, but it was her first Christmas without her mother. He knew she should be at her sister’s side. He gently ran his hands over her arms. He hoped being together on Christmas would ease some of the grief he knew they would experience. “Don’t thank me. All I want to do is love and take care of you, Emily. I know you need your family right now. Nothing would’ve stopped me from making sure you were out here with Lisa.”

His words tightened around Emily’s heart, anchoring deep in her soul, a place no one else had ever attempted to gain access to. No one. Staring at perfection, both inside and out, Emily leaned down and kissed him, wanting nothing more than to pour every ounce of her love into that kiss. As Gavin’s mouth whispered over hers, Emily had never felt more alive, never felt more complete than she did right there and then. At the same time, sadness set in. She’d nearly lost this man. Fate had a weird way of circling back over paths that were meant to cross. This was something Emily had always believed in and she knew it’d happened with her and Gavin. Now, there wasn’t a thing she wouldn’t do to make sure their paths never drifted apart from one another again.

“I liked that kiss,” Gavin whispered as Emily pulled back. “But you know what that kiss did, right?”

Emily laughed. “Yes. I’m sitting on top of you, so I can feel what it’s done.”

“Okay. As long as you remember I’m inhaling you later, it’s all good.” Gavin shifted, trying to get comfortable as his body screamed at him. “And I don’t care if your sister and Michael hear us.”

Smiling, she shook her head. Her gaze shifted to the sandy beaches and rocky shorelines coming into view as the limousine made its way into her sister’s hilly seaside neighborhood. La Jolla was nothing short of a pure oasis, a glorious retreat from the sweet insanity of New York. With the sun beginning its descent, the scenery popped and sparkled with vibrant Christmas lights twinkling against each home. Emily sighed. She loved this time of year.

As suspected, Lisa was eagerly awaiting them when they stopped in front of the home, her smile showing she was as excited as Emily. Emily heard her squeal, and it made her laugh. After dropping a quick kiss on his cheek, she hopped off of Gavin’s lap, swung open the door, and raced into her sister’s arms. She hugged Lisa tightly, comforted by her presence. Though it was just shy of a month since Emily had seen her, it’d felt like an eternity, considering everything that’d happened.


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