“Have I told you that you look amazeballs in yellow?” Emily laughed, snuggling against his chest.
Michael snorted, reaching for an olive on a platter filled with cold cuts and cheese. “Yeah right. He looks like Big Bird on crack.” Lisa smacked his arm and pulled the cookies from the oven. “That hurt, babe.” Michael mocked pain and rubbed his arm.
Gavin shook his head. “You might be right, Michael, but if you’d received the… gifts I did in exchange for wearing this, you might find yourself on a crack high modeling a Knicks sweatshirt.”
Emily blushed and laughed.
“Not a chance, buddy,” Michael replied, popping the olive into his mouth. “No matter what my sister-in-law gave you, considering your big, goofy ass looks like it was hit with a hearty blast of sun, I’m thinking you need to withhold your last Christmas gift and give it to me instead. Hell, I’d be your girlfriend and wear a Knicks sweatshirt. Me love you long time, Gavin.”
“Michael!” Lisa gasped, smacking his arm again.
Michael chuckled, and Emily looked at Gavin, her expression confused. “Last gift? I thought we were done exchanging?”
Gavin popped a knowing brow, a smirk on his face. “Ah. That’s what I had you thinking, sweets. To be quite honest, I’m filled with surprises that’ll keep your mind… blown… constantly.” Dipping his head, he pulled her closer, his lips brushing her ear. “And I’m not just talking about when those gorgeous, shaking legs are wrapped around my head while you’re moaning my name.”
Emily whipped her head around, glancing over her shoulder at Michael and Lisa. Thankfully, they weren’t paying attention. Quickly, she pulled Gavin down for a heart-stopping kiss, and then she whispered into his ear, “Thank you so very much for making my legs shake the way you do.”
Gavin grinned, his eyes filled with considerable male appreciation. “The pleasure’s always mine.” Emily smiled, and Gavin looked at Michael. “Hey, Lakers loser.”
Michael snapped his head up from where he was digging into the smorgasbord of food piled on the counter. “What’s up, New York Knicks-don’t-have-a-chance-in-their-wildest-fucking-dreams nobody?”
Gavin threw his head back and laughed. “Whatever you say.”
“Yeah. We’ll see.” Michael swiped a beer from the refrigerator. “What can I do for you?”
“I forgot to grab the, uh”—Gavin looked down at Emily and back to Michael—”you know, those things, from you last night.”
Leaning against the counter, Michael took a long pull from his beer and shrugged. “I’m not sure I know what you’re talking about.”
For the third time in less than five minutes, Lisa swatted his arm. “Michael. You know what he’s asking for. Stop being a jackhole.”
“Damn, babe. It’s Christmas.” Lisa rolled her eyes. Shaking his head, Michael snorted and dug into his pocket.
Gavin let out a puff of air, turned Emily around, and slid his arms around her waist. Walking behind her, he moved her toward Michael and yanked something from his hand that Emily couldn’t see.
“What are you all up to?” Emily’s eyes flicked to her sister, whose face looked as if it was about to burst at the seams with joy.
“Does she have sneakers on?” was Lisa’s answer, clapping as Emily and Gavin rounded the corner to the mudroom flanking the back end of the house.
“Nope,” Gavin called. “What size are you, Lisa?”
“Six,” Lisa answered.
“Sit,” Gavin commanded, pointing to a bench as he released Emily’s waist.
With a curious look molding her face, Emily sat. “What am I, a dog?”
“Mmm, I bet if you were, you’d have a sexy bark.”
Smiling, Emily shook her head as Gavin knelt down and scanned a row of shoes underneath the bench. He plucked what appeared to be a size six Nike woman’s running shoe off the floor and propped Emily’s foot on his thigh. After slipping her foot into the sneaker and tying it, he repeated the process with the other.
Once finished, he looked up at her, his smile wide. “Comfortable?”
Emily crossed her arms. “What are you doing?”
“You didn’t answer my question. Are they comfortable?”
“Yes. They’re comfortable.”
“Good,” Gavin said, lacing his fingers in hers as he stood, pulling her up from the bench. “You ready?”
Emily slid her sweatshirt hood over her head. “To go running? Sure. Why not? I’ll need to burn off today’s calories anyway.”
“First: I’ll help you burn off those calories later. I’m the best workout you can get.” Emily rolled her eyes and giggled. “Second: we’re running and we’re running fast. But not with our feet.” Gavin stopped short at the garage door.
“Okay. Now you’re scaring me.”
Dipping his head, Gavin cupped the back of her neck and stared into her eyes. “Emily Cooper, the only thing you have to fear is how much I’m going to love you for the rest of your life. And… how many times I’m going to make those legs shake. But that’s beside the point. Never fear me, sweets. Understand?”
With a breezy smile, Emily lifted her hand in a salute. “Yes, sir, Mr. Blake. I completely and fully understand, sir.”
Amused and somewhat turned on, Gavin chuckled and swung open the door to the dark garage.
Before flipping on the lights, Emily could see the smile splitting his face, and she couldn’t help but sigh in contentment. God, she loved the charismatic energy he released. She knew it bled from his pores the moment she met him, and it captivated her. It gripped her, drew her in, anchoring around her heart.
When her eyes adjusted, Emily’s pulse quickened and her breath caught. Her gaze fell upon the most elegant vehicle she’d ever seen. White, sleek, and wrapped in a larger-than-life red bow, its sophisticated design was something she pictured Hollywood movie stars cruising in.
“Oh my God, Gavin. You didn’t,” she breathed, stepping down the stairs in a haze. Her eyes shifted between him and the car.
After walking down the stairs as well, Gavin wrapped his arms around her waist, resting his chin on her shoulder. “I did. Do you like it?”
“Like it? I love it.” Sliding her hand along the magnificent contour of the hood, she moved around the extraordinary machine, her heart slamming in her chest. “What is it?”
“That would be a car, Emily.”
Pulling her gaze from the vehicle, she turned around, tilted her head, and laughed. “I know it’s a car. I mean, what kind is it? I’ve never seen one like this.”
Gavin chuckled, slid the hood from her head, and placed a kiss on her crown. “I knew what you meant.” He winked. “It’s a Maserati GranTurismo S, and we’re about to run it through the streets like two certified maniacs in love. I insist on speeding. Got it?” Stepping back, he tossed her the keys, and she caught them, a smile beaming from ear to ear.
Throwing her arms around his neck, Emily pushed up on her tiptoes and dragged Gavin down to her lips. She kissed him hard, pulling his body closer. “Yes. Got it. But you didn’t have to do this. I told you I didn’t need one. Are we driving it back to New York?”