“Mateo,” I murmur, pushing uselessly against his chest.

“I can’t think of a single good reason not to fuck you right now,” he states.

“I can,” I argue, biting back a smile as I jerk my head in the direction of the driver’s seat. “Adrian is right there. We can’t have sex in front of Adrian.”

“We’re not in front of Adrian, we’re behind Adrian. See, no problem.”

I roll my eyes, glancing up at Adrian in the rearview mirror. “Sorry about all this, Adrian. I’m very tipsy and he’s very sexy. We’ll behave less like godless sex fiends for the remainder of the ride.”

Adrian shakes his head, eyes on the road. “Doesn’t matter to me.”

“It’s impolite to have sex in the backseat while you’re driving us around,” I state, raising my eyebrows at Mateo and shoving him back.

He finally eases back into his seat, but he stays close. His hand settles on my thigh again, but then the devious thing moves between my legs. “Adrian’s no prude; he just said he doesn’t care.”

“He’s just being nice,” I state, biting back a grin as I catch his hand and lace my fingers with his to keep him from trying to touch me.

“No man in this family is overly worried about being nice,” Mateo informs me.

“It’s true,” Adrian says, glancing at me in the rearview mirror. “Fuck until your heart’s content. I’ve listened to men die; I doubt you’re gonna traumatize me. As long as there’s consent and no one’s getting hurt, I don’t give a damn.”

Rolling his eyes, Mateo leans in to comment, “Adrian takes all the fun out of sex.”

Adrian gives him a dead-eyed look in the rearview mirror, but Mateo is already grinning at him in anticipation. I chuckle, elbowing him in the side.

“You’re terrible,” I tell him, but with so much affection, you’d think I’m delivering a compliment.

“Don’t act like you don’t love it,” he says, draping an arm across my shoulder.

I turn into his embrace, burrowing into his chest but keeping my head tipped back so I can gaze up at him. “I love you.”

Mateo rewards me with a rare, unguarded smile and tucks my head under his chin so he can at least hold me. “I love you, too,” he murmurs.

I catch Adrian glancing at us in the rearview mirror, and though at first he was as gruff as ever, even he doesn’t stifle a faint smile before turning his attention back to the road.

Chapter Thirty Four


“Does everybody have their ticket?” Meg asks, eyebrows rising as she looks over the line assembled in the hall outside the media room.

“I do,” Lily volunteers, waving her printed movie ticket in the air.

“Me too,” clamors Isabella, joining in the waving.

I glance over at Mateo standing beside me, a hand resting lazily on my hip as we wait in line for the movie theater in our own home, courtesy of Meg.

“Do you have your ticket?” I tease, waving mine in front of his face.

Mateo rolls his eyes. “My ticket to get into my own media room in my own house?” The way he says it, it definitely sounds like he’s going to say no. So I grin when he holds it up to show me. “Of course I do.”

I look behind us at Adrian and Elise. “What about you guys?”

Adrian shakes his head. “This is stupid, so no, I do not.”

Elise flashes me two tickets. “I’ve got him covered.”

“Good thing.” I nod. “I’m pretty sure Meg would actually kick you out otherwise.”

“And my heart would be literally shattered,” Adrian deadpans.

Elise leans in and gives him a kiss. “You know you want to watch Beauty and the Beast.”

“I really don’t,” he replies.

I look back to the front and see Meg finally beginning to take tickets. Lily and Isabella go first, then Mateo and I are up.

Handing over my ticket, I say, “There you go, ma’am.”

Grimacing apologetically, she says, “You look underage. I’m gonna need to see some ID.”

“For Beauty and the Beast?” I ask, eyebrows rising.

Mateo shakes his head, reaching in front of me to hand over his ticket. “Let’s move this along, crazy.”

Isabella and Lily have moved on to the popcorn station, grabbing striped plastic containers full of popcorn and dropping some all over the floor.

Mateo sighs at the sight. “I don’t know why I agreed to this.”

Handing back our ripped tickets, Meg shoos us along so she can take tickets from Elise.

“Because you love us,” I inform him. “Just wait, she’s going to make us do this for Christmas movies next month, too; she told me.”

“Your first Morelli Christmas,” he remarks.

“I’m pretty excited. You buy me $800 shoes for dinner, so I’m pretty ready to see what you get me for Christmas. My current guess is an island.”

Grinning, he lets his eyes wander over my ass. “It seems like I need to buy you some new clothes. These aren’t even real pants.”

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