“Okay,” I whispered, pulled out a chair, sat, unstrapped my strappy, black sandals and slid on my new, silver, watersnake, kickass Jimmy Choo platforms.

Just like when I tried them on at Nordstrom’s. Utter perfection.


I sat with one calf outstretched, staring at my foot and thinking I might have just found heaven on earth, shoe-style, when Hawk spoke.

“You gonna sit there and stare at those shoes for the next decade or you gonna get your ass in my car?”

My head tipped back and my feet were encased in Jimmy Choo shoes so Hawk being annoying deflected right off me.

“I’m going to stare at them for a decade,” I replied, smiling at him.

His eyes got that heated and intense look, my heart swelled even further and he said, “Babe, quit f**kin’ around and let’s go.”

I was still smiling when I stood, grabbed my purse and clutch off the table and walked to him on my new Jimmy Choos while Hawk watched.

Then I stopped close to him, put the hand that was clutching my wrap to his chest and I leaned in.

“Thanks, Hawk,” I whispered because I didn’t know what else to say. Those words were far from enough but I had to say something. And not because he bought me a beautiful pair of shoes that I wanted but because he heard Tracy mention it in passing and he sent his girl out to get them for me. And because I had a break-in and in two days my window was fixed and I had a security system installed. And he was sticking around to protect me and, because he was, likely due to his, Dad’s and Dog’s efforts, the fire that started in my parents’ living room didn’t engulf the house and my laptop had been saved.

And since “thanks” wasn’t enough, I leaned in, lifted up and touched my mouth to his.

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The second I did this, his head slanted and his arms closed around me, tight, yanking me deep into his body as his tongue invaded my mouth and my touch of lips turned into a full-blown, super-hot, leading-to-sex-on-my-battered-farm-table kiss.

My clutch and wrap had fallen to the floor because both my arms were around his neck, my body was plastered to his, one of his arms was tight around my back, the other hand had slid in my dress and down and was cupping the cheek of my ass, skin to skin (I was wearing a thong, which was a smart move on my part not only to avoid panty lines but because his warm, strong hand cupping my ass felt freaking great) when I heard my father clear his throat.

My body jerked, Hawk’s head came up and turned to the door as his hand slid out of my dress and up to the small of my back but his arms didn’t move even as my hands went to his shoulders and I pressed.

Slowly, my head turned and I saw my Dad walk in, a small smile playing at his lips, his eyes to the floor.

Oh my God. My father just saw me in a clinch with Hawk. A clinch that included Hawk’s hand in my dress cupping my ass.

Kill me. Someone. Kill me.

“Meredith forgot the bottle opener,” Dad mumbled as he walked to the utensils drawer.

“We might be late,” Hawk replied, still not letting me go, “or not home at all.”

Oh my God.

My eyes flew to his face and got squinty but he missed this because he was looking over my shoulder at Dad.

“Right,” Dad muttered, turning back to the door as Hawk let me go then stepped back and bent to retrieve my bag and wrap. “Have a good time,” Dad called as he walked out of the kitchen.

“Later, Dad,” I called back, my voice sounding strangled.

Then Hawk’s hands were on me, he turned me so my back was to him and I felt my wrap settle on my shoulders.

Then he turned me to face him and handed me my clutch.

“Did that just happen?” I whispered.

“Yep,” Hawk replied, grabbed my hand and tugged me to the door.

“My Dad just saw us making out with your hand on my ass,” I added detail, just to confirm.

Hawk opened the door and pulled me through, repeating, “Yep.”

“Well, at least I got my Jimmy Choos before I died. Now you can take me to the nearest railway crossing and I’ll throw myself in front of a train.”

Hawk kept his hand firm in mine as he led me down the steps of the back stoop and toward the gate of my backyard and he did this while chuckling.

“I’m not finding this funny,” I told him as he lifted the latch on the gate, pulled it open and tugged me through.

“Babe, you’ve been married, he knows you aren’t a virgin.”

“Uh… yeah but –”

“And he knows what type of guy I am because he’s the same type of guy so he pretty much knows I’m not gonna have a hot piece like his daughter and not kiss her with my hand on her ass, not to mention do other things to her.”

“You can quit talking now,” I told him.

He beeped the locks on the Camaro, opened the door and ignored me. “You think he waited until he put his band on her finger to get your stepmom in his bed, babe, you’re very wrong.”

He shoved me in the car while I put my hands over my ears and chanted, “La la la,” over and over again.

Even though I was chanting, I could still hear him chuckling.

Hawk slammed the door and I buckled in thinking, time to move on.

Hawk got in beside me, fired up the Camaro and we purred from the curb.


Hawk drove and he did this silently and he did this for awhile so I filled the conversational void.

“The security system is done.”

“I know.”

“Smoke taught us how to use it,” I went on.

Silence, then, “Smoke?”

“Your Numero Dos.”

“My Numero Dos?”

I turned to look at him. “Yeah. The Hispanic guy that supervised the work.”

Another beat of silence then Hawk burst out laughing.

“What’s funny?” I asked into his laughter.

“Smoke,” he said through his laughter.

“Uh… yeah. Smoke. That’s how he introduced himself.”

He stopped laughing but was still grinning when he stated, “Babe, he was f**kin’ with you. His name isn’t Smoke. It’s Jorge.”

I stared at him. Then I said, “He’s not known as Smoke?”


“That’s not, like, his street name or something?”

A brief chuckle then, “No.”

“Why would he tell me his name was Smoke?” I asked.

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