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“Hope to Christ you never do,” he whispered back.

I nodded. I hoped so too.

His hand left my neck and came to my chin, lifting it up. I opened my eyes and his knuckles swept down my cheek.

I really liked it when he did that.

“Speakin’ of that, Sweet Pea, you got a call to make.”

I sighed again. Then I nodded.

“One thing,” he stated when I started to pull away.

I stopped and tipped my head to the side.

He grinned and decreed, “We’re startin’ with the hot tub.”

I pressed my chest deep into his and grinned back.

Chapter Thirty-Four

Drowning

“Babe, seriously?”

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I jumped and whirled to see Hawk standing in the bathroom door looking hot wearing a dark gray suit and deep red shirt opened at the collar.

“Jeez, Cabe, you scared the crap out of me.”

His eyes shifted the length of me then came back to mine.

“I’m twenty minutes late and you’re still not ready?”

I turned to the bathroom mirror, lifted my mascara wand and ignored his impatient question. “How do you do that anyway?”

“Gwen, babe, we gotta go. Why are you runnin’ so late? You aren’t even dressed.”

“Well, I made a shoe decision change,” I stroked mascara on my lashes. “I’m not wearing the Choos. I’m wearing the Valentinos.”

“A shoe decision change leads to bein’ more than twenty minutes late?”

“The Choos are silver. The Valentinos are a blush. Sure, the Valentinos have crystal and mesh but I’d gone gray, smoky and drama. The blush requires soft pink, glimmer and dewy. That required total cleanse off and reapplication of makeup,” I explained.

Hawk was silent and my eyes shifted to him.

Nope, no less impatient even with an explanation.

I tried a different tactic.

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“I won’t be a minute,” I assured him on a complete lie.

He dug his phone out of the inside of his jacket pocket, flipped it open, hit some buttons and put it to his ear. His eyes came back to me. My eyes went back to the mirror and my mascara wand went back to swiping.

Then I felt his presence leave and I heard him say, “Bax, Gwen’s runnin’ late. We’re still at her house but leavin’ in five.”

I finished my makeup and went to my bedroom. Hawk was whereabouts unknown. This happened a lot even though my house wasn’t a rambling mansion. Hawk, I’d discovered, could disappear yet stick around just as easily as he could vanish into or appear out of thin air.

At first I found this disturbing. Now I was used to it.

I spritzed with perfume, put the diamond studs in my ears that Dad and Meredith gave me upon graduation from U of C and I slipped off my robe and started to dress.

As it was a special occasion, I’d, of course, made a new purchase. I’d done the unthinkable and moved away from the little black dress. This was a little, shimmery, dove gray dress. It had barely there straps that held up a draped bodice and the rest of the dress to my sides just behind my armpits. It had no back. At all. The little drape at the back rested against my upper ass. It was short, the skirt hugged my hips, the material clingy on the rest of me.

It was perfect for the Choos. The thing was, three weeks ago, I was shopping with Elvira and I tried on the Valentinos. The Valentinos were the dream, la-la land of shoes. Blush satin. Four and three quarter inch spiked heel with platform at the sole. Peep-toed pump with a huge see through, multi-layered mesh bow lined in satin and crystals with more crystals leading up in bands around the foot to the bow on the toe. They were to-die-for. They were to-kill-for. They were the impossible dream.

That was until I thanked the shoe person and started to put them back in their box, Elvira whipped out her phone, called Hawk, got the go ahead and then whipped out the company credit card.

She was in throes of ecstasy. I called Hawk and told him he couldn’t possibly considering they cost nearly double the price of the Choos.

His reply, “Babe,” then disconnect.

Elvira bought the shoes. Thirty minutes later, I bought a boatload of sexy underwear, the sexiest of which I put on under my clothes so Hawk could discover them, like unwrapping a present. When he did, he took one look, his pupils dilated instantaneously and it took him approximately three point two five seconds to take them off.

At that point, I decided that I’d have to find another form of gratitude.

I was still searching.

I pulled on the dress and sat on the side of the bed, opening the shoebox and unveiling the Valentinos.

I had vowed to myself to take them back and return them.

I changed my mind.

Then I had vowed to myself I would never wear them. I couldn’t possibly walk on what was more than most people’s monthly mortgage payments.

However, I again changed my mind.

I was sliding on shoe two when Hawk walked in my bedroom door.

I put my foot to the floor and looked up at him, standing. “Glad you’re here, baby, I need you to help me with my bracelet.”

I walked to the dresser and opened my jewelry drawer, unearthing the Tiffany’s box.

He’d bought me a diamond bracelet too, just as he said, that very next day after we became us for the second time. I told him he couldn’t possibly do that either and when in the store, refused to pick one. So he did.

I pulled the bracelet out of the box and shut the drawer just when I felt Hawk’s fingertips on the skin of my side right where the material started. Those fingertips became a hand gliding into my dress, across my ribs and then up where they cupped my opposite breast. Then he pulled me into his front.

“Hawk,” I whispered, my head falling back to his shoulder as his thumb swept my nipple and I repeated, “Hawk.”

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“Hold onto the dresser, baby,” he muttered into my ear.

“What?” I breathed as his other hand tugged up the skirt of my dress.

“Hold on,” he ordered.

“We’re late,” I reminded him then sucked in breath when I got another nipple swipe.

“We’re gonna be later,” Hawk replied.

“But –”

“Hold on,” he repeated, his hand sliding into the front of my panties.

Oh God.

He hit the golden spot.

Oh God.

My head turned so my forehead was pressed to his neck.

“We’ll be quick now,” he whispered. “But later, I’ll show you how I really feel about this dress.”

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