Author: Jaci Burton
"Me? How could this be my fault?"
"Good morning, everyone." Tara entered from the other side looking gorgeous, freshly showered, and obviously without a hangover.
"You bitch," Jenna said. "How can you look that good after last night?"
Tara poured herself a cup of coffee. "Easy. I only had two drinks. Someone had to help Liz corral you drunkards."
Alicia looked over at Savannah. "That explains how we got back to the hotel. Thank you both for taking care of us."
"It was our pleasure. The pictures of all of you are lovely, by the way," Liz said.
Jenna groaned. "Oh, God. What did I do?"
"You might have propositioned the bartender."
That shot her up straight on the sofa. "Shut the fuck up, Liz. I did not."
"You did. You told him you were madly in love with him and wanted him to come to St. Louis with you."
"Oh, shit. Tyler is going to kill me."
Tara laughed. "What she means is, you loved the way he mixed drinks and his interactions with the customers and you offered him a job at Riley's Club on the spot, even offering to pay his transportation to St. Louis."
"You did. He very kindly turned down your offer, saying he had a wife and a baby son and he was very happy living here."
"Fuck me. I must have been wasted. I don't remember any of that."
Liz held up her phone. "I have photos. And video."
"I hate you." Jenna sneered at her, then stood. "And it's obvious if I'm going to feel human again, I'm going to need some carbs, juice, and coffee, no matter how revolting the thought."
"I'll join you," Alicia said.
After they ate, everyone hit the pool for a little sweat session. When Liz suggested they go for a walk on the beach, Jenna groaned, saying she needed a nap.
"No, what you need is to sweat some of that alcohol out of your system."
"The logical part of me knows you're right. My stomach wants to tell you to fuck off."
Liz laughed and pulled Jenna out of the chaise.
They all took a long walk down the beach, the warm sun beating down on them. Liz had worn a hat and her cover-up and enough sunscreen to ward off a burn.
"This is nice," she said.
"What is?" Tara asked.
"Being here. With all of you."
Tara looped her arm in Liz's. "It has been fun. I had some reservations about coming. I thought I'd miss Sam too much."
"I sense a but in there."
"Actually, it's been good for me to get away. Between chasing after the baby, and being back at work, things have been intense. I needed a break."
"I'm glad you had a chance to unwind. By the way, I have massages scheduled for all of us this afternoon before we have to pack."
Jenna sighed. "Have I mentioned how much I love you?"
"You might have said that about fifteen times last night."
Jenna laughed. "As long as I only said it to you, then I'm okay."
"Oh, you loved everyone last night. Me, the other girls . . ."
"The bartender," Tara added. "The cocktail waitress who kept bringing you drinks."
"Don't forget the bouncer at the club. You sang to him."
Jenna's face went blank. "I did not."
"Oh, you did. He liked it though. He sang with you."
Alicia laughed. "I do remember that part. Hysterical."
Jenna lifted her chin. "I'm not speaking to any of you ever again."
Savannah put her arm around Jenna. "Yes, you are, honey, because we're your bridesmaids. And we got stinking drunk with you and made fools of ourselves, too. Now if that isn't love, what is?"
Jenna smiled and laid her head on Savannah's shoulder. "I love you guys."
Liz rolled her eyes.
They had their massages later in the day, which to Liz felt like absolute heaven. By the time they all returned to the room to shower and pack, she was both reluctant and eager to get home. She'd loved having an all-women weekend, but she missed Gavin. And she wasn't going to get pregnant spending time away from her husband.
The trip home was long, and by the time everyone said their good-byes, she was counting the minutes until she walked in her front door. It was late, and she knew Gavin's flight got in well before hers.
He was probably asleep. The house was lit up, though, and when she opened the garage door, she was surprised to see him still up.
"I thought you'd be sleeping," she said as she got out of the car.
He came over and enveloped her in his arms, pressing her against the car and kissing her deeply. She fell into his embrace, telling him without words just how much she'd missed him.
"Mmm," she said when he broke the kiss. "I missed that."
"Me, too. And I wanted to wait up for you and grab your luggage."
"Is that some kind of sexual euphemism?"
He laughed. "Well, no, but I can make it one if you want me to."
"That's all right. Carry on."
He pulled her bags out of the trunk of her car and carried them upstairs. She shrugged out of her jacket and hung it up, then followed him.
She'd been exhausted driving home, thinking of nothing more than throwing off her clothes and climbing in bed next to her sleeping husband. But since he wasn't asleep . . .
When he set her bags down, she came up behind him and pressed her body against his. "I missed you."
He grasped her hands. "I missed you too, babe." He turned around. "Did you have fun in Jamaica?"
He ran his finger across the tip of her nose. "It looks like you got a little sun."
She laughed. "Yeah, very little. You know my skin."
"I do. But I think I should inspect you fully to make sure you didn't get burned."
She kicked off her shoes. "Yes, you probably should."
He undid the buttons of her blouse one by one, his gaze burning into hers, making her hotter by the second
. Her nipples tightened, achingly sensitive against her bra as he pushed her blouse off her shoulders.
Gavin traced the swell of her breasts. "I thought about you a lot while I was in Vegas," he said.
She shuddered as she inhaled. "Did you? I thought about you, too."
"Yeah." He walked around behind her and unhooked her bra, then leaned in to lift her hair and press a kiss against the side of her neck. "We're always apart when I'm playing ball, so I like being with you during the off-season. It sucked being separated."
"It did." Goose bumps prickled across her skin as he kissed his way across her neck toward her shoulder. He nipped at her shoulder and she tilted her head back. "Gavin."
"I like the way you say my name when you're turned on."
He came around and faced her, dragging her bra down her arms. Her pants were next, and she held on to his shoulders while he tugged them down, then looked up at her, pulled her by her hips toward his face.
He nuzzled her sex, making her draw in a deep breath. She'd missed this closeness, this passion they shared when it was just the two of them. And when he drew her panties down and put his mouth on her sex, her legs trembled. Gavin grasped her thighs and held her in place as his tongue and lips did magical things to her clit.
She threaded her fingers through his dark hair as she watched his tongue roll over her clit. "You make me want to come. I'm ready. So ready."
He put his lips flat against her and sucked, catapulting her into orgasm. She rocked against his face, crying out as her climax sent her reeling. When he stood, she cupped the back of his neck and brought him down for a deep, soulful kiss that only made her pussy quiver more.
Gavin pushed her onto the bed and dropped his jeans. He was inside her a heartbeat later, her pussy still spasming. She tightened around his cock, feeling every inch of him thicken inside her. And when he began to move within her, it was the sweetest pleasure, a reminder of why she loved being with him. He knew just how to touch her, the exact rhythm that would get her primed and ready to go again.
When he ground against her, she lifted up, making sure he was buried deep, loving the look of fierce passion that furrowed his brow, the dark, predatory need reflected in his eyes that told her he was right there with her.
She wrapped her legs around his hips and held him there, her body hovering on the brink of oblivion. He knew it, too, because he stopped moving, and it was as if the earth had stopped spinning, as if the two of them were suspended in space. All she could hear was their breathing, all she could feel was the hard pounding of their hearts against each other and his cock twitching inside her.
It was heaven, and pure, torturous hell at the same time.
Then he kissed her, drove hard within her, and she shattered like a broken lightbulb, every piece of her gloriously illuminated from the inside out as he shuddered and came with her. He groaned against her mouth, his tongue twining with hers as they rode out their orgasms together.
Out of breath, she held tight to him, so glad to be home and in his arms. Because nothing was more perfect than this.
"All is right in my world again," she said, pressing a kiss to his shoulder.
He disentangled and pulled her against him. "Mine, too. I had fun this weekend, but I'm happy to be back home. Happy to have you back, too."
She tilted her head back and he brushed his lips against hers.
She was glad to have this idyllic moment with him, because she knew the next few weeks were going to be anything but calm.
Nathan had come home, and Tara and Mick were having everyone over for dinner to welcome him. Plus, he'd brought his girlfriend with him, and he wanted to introduce her to the immediate family before the wedding so she wouldn't be too overwhelmed.
Which immediately made Liz curious because she'd known nothing about this girlfriend.
"Did Mick tell you anything about her?" Liz asked Gavin as they drove over to the house.
"Just that she's pretty and she plays for the basketball team at UT."
Gavin glanced over at her. "What does that mean?"
"Absolutely nothing. I wonder if this is a new thing, because Tara hasn't mentioned her to me."
"Imagine that. You, not in the know about something."
She laughed. "Shut up."
"I guess you'll just have to find out about her like the rest of us."
"I suppose so."
They pulled up in front of the house and parked, then headed to the front door. "Looks like everyone's already here."
He grabbed her hand. "We're not late, Liz. You're just worried you're going to miss some vital gossip about this hot mystery girlfriend of Nathan's."
She squeezed his hand. "I am not. I couldn't care less." Okay, maybe she did care. She'd kind of taken it upon herself to become Nathan's not-quite-related-except-by-marriage-but-cared-about-the-kid-deeply aunt. Plus, she was firmly convinced Nathan had a profound athletic future, so she was a little overprotective of him. The last thing he needed was some gorgeous groupie sticking her claws in him and riding his coattails all the way to the NFL.
Gavin paused. "Liz."
"Mind your own business."
"What are you talking about?"
"Nathan. You don't want to step into that again. You know what kind of trouble you got yourself into before with Mick and Tara. You don't want to do it again."
"For God's sake, Gavin. I'm not even thinking about meddling in Nathan's personal life." Geez, her husband was annoyingly psychic at times.