“Please, Speedy.” He grabs my hand, his gorgeous brown eyes pleading up at me. “I need you.”

Well, if that doesn’t get me, nothing will. My heartbeat has tripled in time. And he’s still holding my hand, and my skin is on fire.


But I play it cool. “Fine”—I sigh—“I’ll come take care of you. It’s not like I have anything better to do right now anyway.”

He smiles. “You’re awesome.”

“I know. Now, come on, let’s go get your foot sorted, so we can get you home.”

Ava

Gabe lives in West Hollywood, so we’re actually heading back in the direction of where I left my car, which I’ll need to pick up later.

He directs me to his apartment building, and he tells me to park his car in one of his two allotted spaces in the underground parking lot.

I help him out of the car, and he allows me to, which is a miracle in itself. He’s been a lot more cordial since his apology earlier. We’ve still bickered, of course. It would be weird if we didn’t.

I hand him his crutches, and we head for the elevator.

He’s got a boot on, which goes up to just below his knee. It seems a little extreme to me for a broken foot, but I guess the doctor knows best.

And Tate wants him to keep his weight off his foot for the next few weeks, so no walking on it—hence, the crutches.

He looks kind of funny and not just because of the boot and crutches. But Tate had to cut off the leg of his pants, so the boot could be fitted. So, he has one leg of his pants cut above the knee while the other is still long.

We go inside the building and step into a huge lobby area to reach the elevators.

Gabe lifts his hand in greeting at the older man behind the security desk. “Hey, Harry.”

The man stands and comes around the desk. “Evening, Mr. Evans. What on earth happened to your leg?”

“Oh, she broke my foot.” He jerks his head at me.

For the love of God, I wish he’d stop telling people that! Even if it is true.

The security man’s eyes briefly come to me, and then a smile appears on his face. “Did you deserve it though?” he asks Gabe.

Gabe laughs. “Yeah, probably.”

“Thought so.” Harry chuckles. “You need me to do anything for you?”

“No, I’m good. Speedy’s going to be taking care of me for a few days. So, you’ll see her coming and going.”

“Shall I add her to the approved list?”

“Sure.”

“My name’s Ava, not Speedy,” I tell Harry.

“Ava. Got it. Good to meet you, Miss Ava.”

“You, too.” I smile. “And Ava’s just fine.”

The elevator pings its arrival, and the doors open.

“Catch you later, Harry,” Gabe says.

“Bye, Harry.”

Once we’re inside the elevator, Gabe puts a key in the control panel, turns it, and then presses the button for the penthouse.

Figures.

We ride up in silence, and I have a sudden bout of nerves.

I’m going to Gabriel Evans’s apartment.

Gabriel Evans!

I keep forgetting just who I’m with when I’m arguing with him. He just seems like this normal, regular guy.

He is a normal guy, dummy.

Who just happens to be adored by millions.

Me included.

And, now, I’m heading up to his apartment.

It feels a little more than surreal.

And, when the elevator doors open into his apartment, I’m reminded once again of exactly just who he is.

And not just because of the framed posters of some of his movies that hang in the huge foyer, but—

Holy shit, this place is amazing.

It’s a movie star’s home.

“Wow,” I say to him. “Your home is beautiful.”

I walk into the living space, which is the size of my whole apartment. It’s wall-to-wall windows, and I can see all of Hollywood from here. Dusk is just setting in. I bet it looks stunning at night when the city is all lit up.

I walk over to the window. “You have a terrace and a pool?” I turn to face him.

“Yeah.”

He empties his pants pocket of his cell, wallet, the key he just used in the elevator, and his hip flask, which I’m pretty sure must be empty from the way he was drinking it on the way back. Honestly, if I drank that much liquor, I’d be flat on my back right now. I’ve always been a lightweight.

He tosses his stuff onto the wooden coffee table in front of him, which looks like it probably cost more than my car.

Then, he sits down on the massive white leather sofa that faces the view, putting his foot up onto the footstool. He sets his crutches next to him. “I’m just gonna sit a minute, and then I’ll show you around.”

“No need. You sit and relax. I’ll show myself around. I can snoop better if you’re not tailing me.”

I grin, and he chuckles.

“Have at it.” He rests his head against the back of the sofa.

“You need me to get you anything?” I ask, walking over to him.

“Nah, I’m fine. Just gonna rest a sec.” He closes his eyes.

I look at his face. His full lips are pressed together. Enviably long lashes sweep his high cheekbones. His hair is all mussed up.

Lord, he’s pretty.

“Speedy, are you staring at me?”

I almost jump out of my skin. Busted.

“No! Of course I’m not,” I squeak. I step away, my heels suddenly sounding a lot louder on the marble floor.

He chuckles darkly.

I’m glad his eyes are still closed, as my face is flaming.

“Right, I’m going to look around. Be back in a few.” I drop my bag on the floor by the sofa.

“Don’t go looking in my underwear drawer, Speedy.”

“Why? What’s in there?”

He pops open one eye. “My underwear.”

“Funny.” I stick my tongue out at him and then head for the door on the other side of the room.

“You’re gonna look now to see if there is actually anything else in there, aren’t you?”

“Of course I am.”

His laughter follows me as I walk through the door and into a hallway.

I discover a sublime, large kitchen that looks like it’s never been used and a utility room. Two bedrooms, both with en suite bathrooms. I guess which bedroom is Gabe’s right away. Aside from the fact that there are dirty clothes tossed on the chaise, it has framed movie posters of Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, and all The Godfather films up on the wall. And there’s a photograph of him with Robert De Niro.

Must be a De Niro fan.

There’s also a framed picture of him and Tate on his nightstand. No picture of his parents though.

And there’s a Stephen King novel with a pair of reading glasses next to it.

It somehow seems sweet that he wears glasses for reading.

His bathroom is gorgeous. It has one of those freestanding claw tubs and a walk-in shower with one of those massive showerheads.

I salivate at the thought of using both. My soon-to-be ex-apartment only has a shower, and the water pressure sucks.

Also, there’s an office and a home gym.

I manage not to go snooping through drawers and cupboards even though the temptation is great, and when my self-tour is done, I go back into the living area.

“That dildo and lube in your nightstand are for personal use, right?” I tease as I walk over to him.

I know he’s sleeping right away. Not only because I didn’t get a rise out of him, but his mouth his slack, and an unlit cigarette is dangling from it.

He must have been exhausted if he fell asleep before he could even light his cigarette.

He looks so adorable. I’m tempted to snap a picture, but that would be super creepy.

I gently remove the cigarette from his mouth and the lighter from his open palm. I put the cigarette back in the pack, which is on the sofa beside him.

God knows where he got that pack of cigarettes. He probably has boxes stashed all over his apartment. He’d need to with the way he smokes.

I leave them next to him in case he wants a smoke when he wakes up.

I grab a blanket off the other sofa and lay it over him, covering him up.

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