“I won’t stop. I can’t stop,” I say, and I’m talking about this—hands, fingers, fists—but I’m talking, too, about this. Whatever this is between the two of us.

This temporary fling with my American lover. A fling that is going to consume me. I can sense it building already. I can tell where it’s going and what it’ll do to me.

My orgasm edges closer, and I’m overwhelmed by desire, by the crush of agonizing bliss as he takes us both to the edge, where we’re moaning and groaning and coming once again.

Whatever this is—I don’t want it to stop.



Later, at Coffee O’clock, Fitz grins as I list all the chores I’ll have to do for Maeve. She doesn’t need to know the specifics of how I came to owe so many, but Fitz is privy to the X-rated exchange rate of dirty deed to necessary chore.

And each one is worth it.

I show him on my phone the jukebox I’m buying for her. “As soon as I slept with you, I owed her that.”

“Love that jukebox,” he says with a naughty grin.

As he eats a very late breakfast of yogurt and blueberries, he points to the task list marching down the paper. “Ooh! I know something else you need on there. Add ‘sanitize the ice bins,’” he says with wicked glee.

I arch a brow. “And why am I adding that?”

He leans across the table, his grin all crooked. “That’s so you can pay up for what I’m going to do to you tonight.”

I roll my eyes, then wiggle my fingers. “Serve it up.”

“It’s pretty dirty.”

“You think I can’t handle it?”

“I don’t know if you want me to say it out loud.”

“Bet I do. Be a big boy. Just use your words.”

“You sure?”

“If you can’t say it, you can’t do it,” I challenge.

Fitz lets out a faint growl, jerks his chair closer to me, then brings his bearded jaw close to my ear. His whiskers brush my cheek, sending sparks across my skin as he whispers low and smoky words detailing his plans, then flicks his tongue across my earlobe, a promise of how he’ll make good.

I close my eyes, letting the image flash in my mind before I open them again, a little woozy already. “Why, yes, I think that will be worth sanitizing the ice bins.”

“I. Can’t. Wait.”

We leave, saying goodbye to Penny, and head to meet Maeve at her favorite park. She’s lounging on a green bench, wearing a huge pair of sunglasses, a bouncy brunette ponytail, and a cat-that-ate-the-canary grin.

She holds open a paperback, but she’s not reading. She’s gloating as she watches us striding toward her. I decide to let her enjoy her moment. It’s the least I can do for her.

I take Fitz’s hand and link my fingers through his. He shoots me a surprised but thoroughly delighted look, then squeezes back.

Maeve’s brown eyes pop, and her smile is worthy of a GIF. Setting down the book, she leaps up from the bench and swings her gaze from Fitz to me to our hands. “I’m just going to say it. Emma and me and the expo—you’re both welcome.”

Yup. She’s a tabby feasting on canaries today.

“Anything you need,” Fitz says, “ever. You let me know.” Then he kisses her cheek. “I owe you big-time.”

She pumps a fist. “Knew it. Called it. Also . . .” She points from Fitz to me and back. “You two are seriously cute.”

“We’re not cute, but thank you.”

Fitz stage-whispers, “We’re cute. Just admit it.”

“Not cute. In any case, Maeve, this is James Fitzgerald. But you can call him Fitz.” I give him a deadpan look. “Or should she call you ‘Yo, Fitzgerald’?”

“Fitz will do just fine, smart-ass,” he says, grinning.

Maeve whistles her appreciation. “Oh my God, shut up, you two. Just shut up with your smiling and your flirting.”

All I can do is laugh. “Thanks again for covering for me.” I drop Fitz’s hand, dip my fingers into my pocket, and give her a piece of paper.

She arches one brow. “What is this?”

Fitz claps me on the back, looking too proud for words. “I offered to help with his chores, but he refused.”

“It’s my to-do list. They’re the chores I’ll owe you.”

Her eyes twinkle with delight as she unfolds it and reads aloud. “Scrub the bar tops, clean out the glass washing system, sanitize the ice bins, wipe down the bottles in the speed wells, brush on a fresh coat of chalkboard paint for our specials, hang up Maeve’s art that I keep swearing I’ll put up one day, and install the new sound system.” She clutches the paper to her chest and looks up with cartoon-character-size eyes. “The one that’s compatible with a certain jukebox?”

I wave a hand dismissively. “Yes. At this rate, I’ll owe you ten.”

Fitz scoffs, muttering under his breath, “More like fifty.”

Tags: Lauren Blakely Romance
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