Then I stilled.

Something was wrong. Not just wrong, very wrong. And it was the look on Hawk’s mother’s face that was wrong. There was sadness there and I didn’t know her, I’d been in her presence less than a minute but that sadness touched my soul.


“Maria, honey, Cabe’s girl needs coffee,” the older man prompted quietly, Hawk’s mother’s body jerked and then she swept that sadness clean away.

Um. What the f**k was that?

“Right, of course, Gwen?” she said, hurrying to me. “I’m Maria. Cabe’s mother.”

She extended her hand and I took it even though Hawk didn’t let me go so I could do this. Her fingers curled around mine and she looked up at me from her petite height as I smiled down at her thinking, no wonder Hawk was hot, she wasn’t a spring chicken but she was still a complete knockout.

Her hand squeezed, mine squeezed back, she smiled a small smile, let me go and moved away.

Hmm. Not sure how that went.

“I’m Von,” one of the men at the stools put in and my head turned to him. He was the dimpled one.

“Hi,” I replied. “I’m Gwen.”

He was already grinning and the grin got bigger when he muttered, “I know.”

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Okey dokey.

“Von’s wife, Lucia, is a nurse, babe, she has a shift at Swedish this morning. The hellions who will eventually graduate to tearing up my place are his,” Hawk put in and I nodded up at him.

“Jury,” the other man at a stool added and my eyes went to him.

“Hey,” I replied.

“Your laptop work okay?” he asked and I suspected Jury was the firefighter and I also suspected he was on the cover of the Denver Firefighters calendar, picture used for the month of July, he was that hot. If the firefighters merged with the police officers and they did a group shot that included Lawson and Jury, the paper might spontaneously combust.

“Yes, thanks for getting that for me,” I said to him.

“No problems,” he muttered, staring at me. In fact, they were all still staring at me except Maria who was pouring coffee.

“Agustín,” Hawk’s Dad boomed, moving in my direction, a huge smile on his face, his looks so similar to Hawk’s it was uncanny and boded well for Hawk’s future. Hawk’s Mom was a knockout, his Dad, like my Dad, had managed to age without losing but a modicum of hotness. He lifted his hand and I took it when he went on. “Gus.”

“Gus,” I shook his hand, “Gwen.”

He let my hand go but kept smiling at me huge then his eyes swung to Hawk.

“Cabe, good taste. Nice eyes. Great hair. Fantastic ass,” he remarked and I froze in shock.

“Gus!” Maria shouted, swinging around as the male Delgado brood chuckled.

Gus turned to his wife. “It’s true.”

“Madre de dios,” she snapped. “That may be so but you don’t say it in front of her!”

Gus rocked back on his heels and crossed his arms on his chest. “Why not?”

Her eyes sliced to me then back to her husband and she swung an arm out to me. “Because look at her, you’ve offended her.”

“Um…” I put in hurriedly, “I’m not offended.” And I wasn’t, just surprised. I looked at Gus. “Cookie dough,” I explained. “My booty is carefully crafted from copious intake of cookie dough.”

“Whatever you’re doin’, sweetheart, it’s workin’.” He grinned then advised, “So don’t stop.”

“Divorce. D-i-v-o-r-c-e. Tomorrow. I’m callin’ my lawyers tomorrow,” Maria threatened and this seemed like a practiced speech.

“Woman, you don’t have lawyers,” Gus returned in a way that seemed practiced too.

Hmm. Maria and Gus bickered. This was somehow familiar.

“Well, I’m finding some!” Maria snapped then looked at me. “How do you take your coffee?”

“Milk and half a sugar,” I replied quickly.

“Half a sugar won’t help that ass,” Gus observed helpfully and Hawk’s body started shaking and I knew he was silently laughing

But that was when Maria turned swiftly, reached up, grabbed a mug and threw it at Gus.

Yes, she threw a mug at Gus.

Gus, clearly experienced with evasive maneuvering, ducked and the mug hit the counter and bounced off to fall to the floor, luckily unharmed because, seriously, Hawk’s mugs were kickass.

I stood stock-still and stared.

“Woman!” Gus yelled when he straightened and planted his hands on his hips. “Are you crazy? Now you’ve freaked Gwen out!”

Frighteningly, Maria’s eyes came to me. “Learn,” she warned, pointing a finger at me and leaning in. “All of them, they’re like this. Do not let them get away with it. Put your foot down right off the bat, Gwen, do you hear me?”

“I hear you,” I whispered.

“I didn’t put my foot down right off the bat,” she told me. “Dazzled by his good looks, that was me. Don’t get dazzled by Cabe’s good looks, Gwen, learn from me. He’s just a man. He might do things to make you think differently but, believe me, he’s just a man.”

“I’m not sure that’s true,” I shared. “I haven’t seen it with my own eyes but I think he can walk through walls.”

More male chuckles and more shaking of Hawk’s body against mine but Maria didn’t think anything was funny. “He can’t. I see now, you’re dazzled. Shake that off, querida. The sooner, the better.”

“Uh… okay,” I agreed because she sounded serious.

Her finger jerked to Gus. “Behave!” she ordered then turned back to my coffee.

Hawk’s head dipped so his mouth was at my ear. “You dazzled, Sweet Pea?”

I twisted my neck to catch his eye. Then I whispered, “Behave.”

He grinned at me and my body jolted not from surprise but because a young human ran into it.

I looked down into the black eyes and beautiful face of a Hawk-like little boy as he shifted to the front of me then slapped my thigh.

“Well hello, little person,” I said to him.

He slapped my thigh again as Von warned, “Javier.”

“Orange!” the boy shouted then slapped my thigh again and pointed at my hoodie.

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