“That’s a great point.” I turned to Josh, asking him a brand new question. “Now, Josh, how do you get into the mind of the athlete when you’re negotiating for them?”

“That’s honestly not my goal, Lily. My goal is to make it work for all parties,” he said, and I tried to rein in a grin. Mostly I succeeded. But a part of me was patting myself on the back for this.

Because here I was.

Finn and I weren’t just the same. We were better.

And this—my work—this incredibly vital part of my life and my identity still clicked.

This was the proof. I’d come out on the other side still me.

Only better.

“Good point. You always want to try to find common ground,” I said, seconding him, thinking too that common ground was often key.

In business. In friendship. In love. In the bedroom.

That was the goal.

And as these two top agents answered the rest of my questions, I kept thinking they had common ground.

And the ground was hot.

Because the enemies to lovers vibe they had felt scorching.

So scorching that when the session ended, and I thanked him, I pulled Haven aside after Josh left.

“You go girl,” I said.

She arched a brow. “What do you mean?”

I shrugged playfully. “You two have some kind of energy.”

She waved a hand. “Nah, it’s nothing.”

I simply smiled. She’d figure it out sooner or later.

Sooner, I hoped as I said goodbye and headed home, delighting in the day I’d had, and looking ahead to another night of pleasure.

That’s what the nights with Finn were, and we had so many in front of us.

I was a lucky woman indeed.



Some things you just knew at first blush.

When you’ve met the right man.

When you’ve found the perfect dress.

And when you were the happiest you’d ever been.

As I walked down the aisle in a white, V-neck sheath gown, I was incandescently happy.

I was marrying the man I adored, the man who gave me everything and then more.

All my friends were there, and both my maid of honor, Kate, and my bridesmaid, Nina, looked radiant.

My wedding dress, I’d purchased myself, all too happy to plunk down the cash as I remembered Kate’s words in the shop. This dress is on me if Finn doesn’t say yes when you ask him . . .

I was glad she was right. I was thrilled she’d pushed me along and subtly, or maybe not so subtly, encouraged me to go after my dreams.

My dirty, naughty dreams.

And they’d all come true.

She was indeed a fantastic best friend.

I had everything I’d ever wanted.

I hoped my friends would find their happy-ever-afters, too, in and out of the bedroom.

As I spotted Adam staring at Nina, I wondered briefly if hers was right in front of her.

I smiled inside, since I’d always suspected the two of them might be perfect together. The virgin and the guy next door.

And I had a feeling I was going to be right about something else. Call me crazy, but as I said my I dos, I caught a knowing glance between the best man and the maid of honor.

Maybe Kate was attracted to him after all.

Well, she had good taste.

I put thoughts of them aside, though, as I kissed my husband and stepped into what I knew would be a lifetime of dirty, wedded bliss.

A little later

When we went to Wimbledon later that year, I bumped into Haven and Josh again.

“Hey, Lily!” Haven called to me. “Long time no see.”

I flashed a smile. “Hey! Good to see you again,” I said, then turned to the gorgeous man by my side. “This is my husband, Finn Nichols.”

I introduced them to the love of my life and we all shook hands. Finn knew I’d moderated the panel with them the day after our special night, and that’s why I couldn’t resist grinning when he said to the two of them, “Pleasure to meet you all. I heard you were in our hometown earlier this year, and you set the conference on fire.”

“Sparks were indeed flying,” Haven said, then waggled a ring. “And look what happened. He just proposed.”

“Congratulations,” Finn said, beaming. “Glad to see the sparks turned into the good kind of fire.”

“Let me see that beauty,” I said, then oohed and aahed over Haven’s ring before I met her eyes, with a naughty glint in mine, I was sure. “And now you should ask him to give you an extra special engagement gift.”

“Oh, should I?” Haven’s eyebrows rose.

“Yes. Just ask him for your deepest fantasy,” I said.

Finn chuckled. “And I’m sure he’ll give it to you.”

He draped a possessive arm around me.

He’d given me my fantasy.

My secret.

My naughtiest wish.

And something more.

He’d given me the keys to myself.

I was the woman I’d always wanted to be—heart, mind, body and soul.

After they left, I turned to Finn. “You are the gift. Always.”

Tags: Lauren Blakely The Gift Erotic
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