Shaking his head, Gabe looked away just as Nic entered the room, carrying a small tray with one glass on it. Irritation flared. He didn’t like seeing her serve his fucking uncle.

She picked up the glass and placed it on the coaster next to the recliner. Nic shot him a quick grin as she turned and glanced at him, and when he winked, her entire face flushed a pretty pink. She hurried out of the room, and it took everything in him not to chase after her.

He didn’t know what Nic was to him, but she was like a goddamn addiction.

“I see some things never change.”

He looked over at Stefan sharply. “What does that mean?”

Stefan shrugged, and he didn’t respond. Probably was a good thing, because no more than a minute later, Sabrina entered the room.

Right behind her was Parker.

Sabrina caught sight of him and her red-painted lips spread so widely he thought her face would crack. “Gabe, what a pleasant surprise.”

Fuck.

He was not going to let this woman ruin his mood. He started to rise.

“Now look at what you’ve done, Sabrina.” Stefan grinned around his glass. “You’re chasing my nephew off.”

“I did no such thing.” The tips of her cheeks flushed.

Gabe rose, coming to his full height. He looked at the siblings closely and then focused on Parker. “I find it odd that you’ve been here so much lately,” Gabe said. “Wonder why that is.”

Parker shrugged. “Just getting to know my future in-laws better.”

From the recliner came a derisive snort. “I’m sure it has nothing to do with the hot little housekeeper running around.”

Gabe’s jaw locked down. “It better not be.”

“Of course not.” Sabrina sounded legitimately bewildered by the suggestion. “That’s the most foolish thing I’ve heard all day.”

Gabe held Parker’s gaze. The fucker stared back at him boldly.

“You seem oddly concerned about that if it were the case,” Parker replied.

“She’s like family to us.” Gabe stepped forward, smiling when Parker inched back a step. “Unlike those in this room.”

Sabrina sucked in a sharp breath.

The senator laughed. “Come spend time with me, Sabrina. Tell me about the charity you’re working on. What is it? Is it for the Daughters of something or another?”

Gabe scanned the room, wondering what the hell these three were up to, because this wasn’t the first time the three of them had spent time together.

Whatever it was, he wanted to be as far away from it as possible.

Leaving the three together, he went in search of Nic. Screw waiting around on her. He found her in the kitchen, staring at a slip of paper. Her back was to him, but she heard him.

Looking over her shoulder, she smiled. It was shy, and for some damn reason, he felt a surge of protectiveness he couldn’t quite explain. “Hey,” she said, turning back to her paper. “Guess what?”

He knew he shouldn’t do what he was about to do. Not with his house full of Harringtons and her father roaming around, but that didn’t stop him.

Gabe came up behind her, placing his hands on her hips. “What?”

He felt Nic’s reaction to his touch. The tiniest shiver that coursed through her as he tugged her back against his chest. “I just got a call about an hour ago from the property manager of the apartment I was looking at.”

“What’s the deal?” He slid his hands around, over her stomach.

The pink from earlier returned to her cheeks. “I got the apartment.”

“That’s awesome.” He turned her around, so she was facing him. “Seriously.”

“I know.” She held the slip of paper between them. “I’m super stoked about it.”

“When you going to move?”

“I don’t know.” A big smile crossed her face, a beautiful one. “You know me. I’m impatient, so probably as soon as the space is empty.”

He laughed. “Yeah, I give you two weeks tops to move in.”

“So, that stuff you said I could have . . . ?”

“Yours.”

She laughed. “I really should pay you for that.”

“You can.” His gaze dropped to her mouth. Her lips weren’t the only place he hadn’t tasted yet. So were her breasts. Now was neither the time nor the place for either of those things. “Let me take you out to dinner to celebrate.”

“For real?” Surprise colored her voice.

“Yeah.” He grinned at her. “This Friday. Have dinner with me.”

She stared at him a moment and then glanced over his shoulder. “Aren’t you worried about what people will think?”

“We’re going out to dinner. Not robbing a store.”

Nic cocked her head to the side as she raised her brows. “If people see us, they’re going to talk.”

“People always talk when they see a de Vincent,” he replied. “I don’t care. Do you?”

She took a moment to answer that, long enough to really start to worry him, but then a teasing gleam filled her eyes. “People will think I’m out having dinner with an older brother or something.”

He let out a low chuckle. “Nice, Nic.”

She laughed. “I’m kidding. I don’t care what people think. I’ll have dinner with you.”

“That’s my girl,” he said, sliding his hands off her before he did something stupid.

She stepped back, staring up at him through those long eyelashes. “It better be that super expensive steakhouse you talked about before.”

Chapter 23

“Cheers to new apartments!” Bree raised her margarita.

Grinning, Nikki raised hers in toast, as did Rosie. “Cheers!”

It was Tuesday evening and she’d joined the girls for Taco Tuesdays and drinks to celebrate her apartment. She’d left the de Vincent house and drove straight to the complex to sign the lease.

“I cannot believe you’re moving in next weekend.” Bree shook her head. “I’d need at least a month to pack and label everything accordingly.”

“That’s because you’re a bit obsessive,” Rosie pointed out.

“True.” Bree shrugged. “I like things to be orderly. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

“I don’t have enough stuff to do that much packing.” Nikki picked at what was left of her taco. “Most of my stuff from college is in storage.”

“And did you hear?” Rosie turned to Bree. “Gabe is furnishing her entire apartment with his handcrafted goods.”

Bree’s mouth dropped open, and Nikki swore a piece of lettuce had fallen out. “What?”

“He is not.” She shot Rosie a dark look. “He offered just a couple of pieces.”

Slowly, Bree lowered her glass to the table. “His stuff costs—”

“I know how much it costs.” Nikki picked up her drink. “It’s just old stuff he’s had for a while.”

Bree stared at her.

“Oh, and he’s also taking her out on a date to celebrate,” Rosie added. “Let’s not forget that.”

“It’s not a date,” she argued even though her heart did a happy little cartwheel. “We’re just doing a celebratory dinner.”

“Nikki, don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining,” Rosie replied, and Nikki wrinkled her nose. “I know you two aren’t just friends. Don’t forget that I know things.”

“Know what things?” Bree demanded.

Nikki sat back, nursing her drink while Rosie gave Bree the lowdown on what had happened between her and Gabe the night of her failed date with Gerald. Thank God she hadn’t told Rosie about the most recent event.

When Rosie was done, Nikki narrowed her eyes. “I’m never telling you anything again.”

Rosie laughed.

“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me.” Bree leaned forward, her eyes wide. “You have to tell me. Does he have a big—”

“Can we please change the subject?” Nikki asked. “We’re celebrating my apartment. Not my celebratory dinner date.”

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