Pulse / Page 21

Page 21

Emily giggled and started tapping the steering wheel in unison with him.

“Wait! Pull over here.” Gavin dropped his legs to the floor. He put his hand over Emily’s and threw the gear into neutral. Reaching for the steering wheel, he yanked it to the right, and the car rolled onto the side of the road. Gravel crunched as the car screeched to a stop.

Confusion peppered Emily’s face. “What are we doing?”

Staring into her eyes, expression serious, Gavin didn’t answer. Instead, he leaned over the console and gently brushed his lips against hers. Emily closed her eyes and tried to breathe. Voice low and lips on hers, he cupped her face. “Get out of the car.”

Eyes still closed, Emily sighed when she felt his hand and lips leave her face. With Etta James streaming out of the speakers now, she watched breathlessly as Gavin ducked out of his seat. She tried to regain her sudden spiked composure as she followed suit and slipped from the car. One foot in front of the other, she moved around to where he stood. Capturing her gaze, Gavin stepped closer, reached for her hand, and slowly swept her against his body. In the heat of the late afternoon sun, Emily nearly froze. Gavin slid his arm around her waist, took her hand, and cradled it to his chest.

“What are we doing?” she asked again, nearly breathless.

Gavin leaned down and touched his lips to hers. Skimming lightly, they tantalized but didn’t quite fulfill her need. Emily’s nerves lit up, wild and electric.

He looked into her eyes. “A do-over,” he softly replied, rocking them back and forth. He nibbled on her lip, his free hand gripping her waist. “This is where we argued yesterday. I want a do-over so when you think of this road, this is what you’ll remember. Me holding you… you staring into my eyes… and us kissing.” Maddeningly, he played with her lips again, giving her just a little bit more. He rolled his tongue in slow and deep. Emily moaned into his mouth, her senses engulfed in the feel of Gavin’s hand floating down her hip. “Do you know what song this is?” he asked, his eyes pinned to hers as they slowly swayed to the music. “Better yet, do you know who sings it?”

Above the roaring blood rushing through her veins and cars whipping by, Emily registered the sound of Etta James’s sultry voice. It purred from the speakers of the opened car doors. “At Last by Etta James.” Emily stared into his eyes as he pulled her closer.

“Very good, Miss Cooper,” he crooned against her ear. “Have you been studying jazz?”

Emily swallowed and shook her head. “My… my grandmother used to—”

Gavin covered her mouth with his. He parted her lips and slid his tongue in, groaning as he brought both hands up to cup her cheeks. He dominated the kiss, his tongue plunging, caressing, and dancing over hers. He licked into her ravenously as if he couldn’t get enough.

Emily’s breath caught. Her womb clenched. Feeling like a delicate flower against his chest, she went languid. Her body melted into his. Heat built between them, and his love and devotion surrounded her with warmth and passion beyond words.

“I love you,” Gavin whispered, slowly breaking the kiss. Still cupping her cheeks, he dipped his head and leaned his forehead against hers. “I want to break the rules with you. Kiss you passionately every day. Make you smile when you’re about to cry. I want no regrets with us. I want us to laugh together until we can’t breathe and it hurts. No man will ever love you the way I’m going to love you, Emily. You’re it. My last. My forever.”

Breath stolen, a lump formed in Emily’s throat. “I don’t know what to say,” she whispered, tears misting her eyes. “You breathe life into me, and I love you in more ways than I thought I was capable of loving, but you’re more than I feel I deserve.”

“No, I’m what you deserve.” Gavin ducked his head, kissing her again. “You deserve a man who remembers your grandmother used to listen to jazz while she cooked.”

Emily’s heart skidded. “You remember me telling you that?”

Gavin grinned against her mouth. “I remember everything you told me.” He smoothed his hands through her hair. “I’m going to break you, Emily Cooper. I’m going to break you down and slowly build you back up. Second by second, piece by piece, and memory by memory, I’m going to make you realize you’re worth what I’m going to give to you. If I have to open a dictionary every day and make you stare at the word ‘worth,’ I’ll do it.” Gavin pulled her closer and chuckled. “I’ll even paste a picture of myself next to it.”

Emily sniffled and let out a light giggle. “A picture of you, huh?”

“Yeah. A picture of me.” Gavin tightened his hold, his strong arms cradling her as he leaned into her ear. He grazed his lips along the shell. “I can make it a nude one if you really insist.”

Resting her cheek against his chest, Emily smiled. “What am I going to do with you?”

He looked down at her, and Emily met his gaze. Expression softening, Gavin angled his lips above hers, his eyes searching. “Move in with me.”

Emily pulled in a breath and went to speak but hesitated. Anxiety rained down on her, and her pulse leapt. She touched his jaw, her big green eyes staring up at him. “What?”

He cupped his hand over hers. “You heard me. I want you to move in with me. I know it’s—”

“Crazy,” she interrupted.

Gavin’s hands found the curve of her neck. “Yeah. It’s crazy, and it’s quick. It’s dangerous, reckless, and intoxicating.” Gavin paused, drawing her face closer. “But it’s what makes us. It’s what’s made us since the moment we met. Move in with me, Emily. Stay crazy, dangerous, reckless, and intoxicating with me. Just do it waking up by my side every morning.”

Emily dropped her gaze to the ground and nibbled on her thumb nail. The whole idea was more than intoxicating. God, everything about Gavin bled her dry of anything negative. However, her uncertainty of whether or not she could truly make him happy hammered through her thoughts. It was enough he’d taken her back, trusting her again with his heart, but something inside screamed she’d never be able to fulfill what he needed.

“I don’t know,” Emily said, looking up at him. “Let’s see what it’s like when we get back to New York. Give it time maybe.”

A slow smile smeared across Gavin’s face, and without warning, he picked up Emily, hauling her delicate body over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. “Emily Cooper, are you asking me to wait longer than I already have?”

“Gavin Blake, are you insane?” she gasped, curling her fists in the back of his T-shirt.

“I’m the one asking the questions.” Chuckling, Gavin strolled over to his car and set Emily on the hood. She gasped again and jumped off. “What?” he questioned.

Eyes wide, Emily swiped the hair away from her face. She frowned. “The hood burnt my ass.”

Gavin smirked and pulled his T-shirt over his head. He spread it out across the hood, picked Emily back up, and set her on top of it. “And here I was thinking your ass couldn’t get any hotter.” Smirk holding steady even as Emily stared at him as though he had ten heads, he shimmied between her legs. Leaning in, he softly kissed her lips. “Is that better for you? If not, I can take my shorts off to give that sweet ass added cushion.” He started unbuckling his belt.

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