By: Gail McHugh

Chapter Two

Cream or Sugar

Emily awoke the next morning, her slumberous gaze mesmerized by Dillon’s sleeping body. She rested her head against his warm chest as her mind drifted over their relationship. As with anyone, there were quirks, and he was full of them. She knew she would get used to all of it, but in the meantime, his fast-paced lifestyle was the biggest challenge for her. At first, their differences didn’t seem so big to her because their relationship grew and blossomed in her world. Now that she was coexisting in his, there was a lot she needed to accept.

Trophy girlfriend wasn’t on her top-ten list, and since she’d moved to New York, this was a side of Dillon she was starting to see. From the couple of times she’d gone out with him, it seemed like he was parading her around to the few friends of his that she’d met. Over the last few weeks, she also noticed a possessive shift in his demeanor. Sometimes it was cute—in a boyfriend kind of way—but most times, it was overbearing and confusing. Nonetheless, in that moment, as her senses soaked in all of the good he had done for her, Emily accepted it for what it was.

She curled her body closer to his, moving a wayward strand of hair away from his forehead.

Letting out a yawn, he smiled at her. “You’re up early,” he said, his voice husky from just waking. “I must not have done a good job sexing you into a coma last night.”

Playfully nuzzling her nose in the crook of his arm, she smiled. “If you had sexed me into a coma, you would never be able to be with me again, sir.”

“Ah, that you are incorrect on, my love. I’d still take it from you—coma or not.”

“That’s just sick,” she giggled, sitting up.

A predatory glimmer sparkled in his brown eyes. “Ready for round two?”

“Aren’t you taking me to breakfast this morning like you promised?”

“Of course I am.”

“Well, I have to be at work by ten o’clock, and I still need to shower.”

“You know I’m good for a quickie if need be,” he said, rising to his feet and then pulling her from the bed.

Unable to say no to his sexual advance, she followed without a fight as he undressed them both before they reached the bathroom. She propped herself on top of the vanity and watched as he turned on the water. She could feel the edgy energy radiating from his body as he strolled over to her, wearing a boyish grin that got her every time. He pulled her into his mouth and kissed her so softly that she felt her lips shiver against his. She could no sooner free herself from the hypnotic spell of his kiss if she wanted to. With his hands smoothing everywhere, branding his hot touch against her skin, fervor fueled in her blood, making her body strain for more. He shifted his mouth to the valley between her breasts and suddenly slid his tongue across her nipple. It drove her wild.

Staring up at her, he sucked and swirled his tongue around its taut peak. “You like that, don’t you?”

“Yes,” she breathed out as her hands gripped his hair.

With a slow, maddening pace, he tunneled his fingers inside her wet pussy. The pressure was excruciatingly wonderful, correlating with the sudden tightening sensation between her legs. He pushed harder against her mouth while she dug her nails into his back, clawing and grasping at his flesh. Dillon groaned as she ran her hands across his chest, her fingers slowly sliding down every muscled ridge on his abdomen. She wrapped her legs around his waist, and he carried her into the shower. Backing her against the wall, she let out a gasp of pleasure when he sank perfectly deep inside her, every nerve ending lit on fire as her body melded together as one with his.

“Ah, Christ, you feel so good, Em,” he hissed, his voice thick with desire.

Emily clung to his shoulders as the hot water trickled down their bodies. Her ache for him increased with every pulse and thrust. With their lips locked in a magnificent fiery of sexual gratification, Emily clenched her legs tighter around his waist to allow him to bury himself to the hilt. Arching her body rhythmically against his, she took everything he had to give. Dillon’s eyes dilated when he felt her hot, slick flesh contract tighter around him. Emily moaned out in satisfied completion when she felt Dillon jerk, shudder, and tremble against her. Burying his face in her neck, he let out a guttural groan as he climaxed. Pulling back, their gazes met and locked, holding steady as their breathing slowed to a normal pace.

“I love you, Emily,” he said as he gently placed her down and pulled her into him. “I’m happy you’re here with me.”

“I love you, too, and I’m sorry for the way I acted last night before you left.” She started feathering kisses across his chest, her hands framing his face. “I’ll try to be more understanding with your wacky schedules from now on.”

He gave her a soft grin. “I know you will.”

They spent the next half hour showering one another. Dillon playfully ran the soap over her body, and Emily returned the gesture as she cleaned his back. It was then that she realized what he said last night was correct. She needed to be there with Dillon. She loved him. There wasn’t a fiber in her soul that thought she could live so far away from him again.

Considering they didn’t have time to go out to eat breakfast, Emily wound up cooking for them. After cleaning up, Dillon left for work. She got ready for her shift and then called her sister, Lisa, who lived in California. She missed her tremendously. Older than Emily by ten years, Lisa was like a second mother. She married her high-school sweetheart, Michael, six years ago. Because of her absentee father, Emily looked to Michael in ways that she would’ve looked to her own father had he been there. Lisa and Michael meant the world to Emily. Not that seeing them was easy before her mom died, but literally being on opposite sides of the continent now, Emily knew that their visits would be less frequent. However, they made a tentative date to try to see each other within the next few months.

Once finished, Emily jumped in a taxi and headed to work. On her way, she found herself remembering how much her mom wanted to visit New York. She went as far as booking tickets to a show on Broadway, but she fell ill shortly after. The rapid-fire pace of events after she was sick prevented her from being able to go. It was a bittersweet thought in Emily’s head at that moment. Here she was in the city her mother longed to visit, but she wasn’t there with her. As she made her way into the restaurant, Emily tried to push the sorrow invading her thoughts to the side.

“Hey! You no gonna say hi to me?” Roberto, the Spanish cook, asked Emily. “Me like you, Emmy. Me like you a lot.”

“Hi, Roberto,” she laughed. “I like you, too.”

He blushed as Emily punched her card through the time clock. Fallon let her know that they felt she was strong enough to have her own station. Since she was able to pull her weight during the rush yesterday, they gave her a few tables to start with. Her first set of customers was a few New York City police officers.

Antonio watched her closely as she approached them.

“Hello, my name’s Emily. I’ll be taking care of you today.” Smiling, she pulled her pen and pad out of her apron. “Would you gentlemen like to place your drink orders, or do you know what you want?”

The oldest officer, a man with salt-and-pepper hair, smiled back. “You’re not our regular waitress.”

“No, sir, I’m not. I just started working here yesterday, so you gentlemen need to take it easy on me, okay?” Emily gestured over her shoulder to Antonio. “My boss is watching.”

With warm faces, they laughed, clearly amused at her remark.

The youngest cop chimed in. “Who? Antonio? Nah, he’s harmless.”

The middle-aged cop gave a smirk. “Don’t worry. We’ll try to be nice, but sometimes we can be a pain in the ass.”

“Well, don’t be too hard on me, boys.” Emily smiled, happy that they all had a sense of humor. “What can I get you gentlemen to drink?”

Emily took their orders and sent them back to the kitchen. She had another few tables come in before the lunch rush really picked up. The place went from being pretty calm to a madhouse layered with every type of customer she could’ve imagined.

As Emily walked out with one table’s orders, Antonio called out to her. “Hey, Country,” he said, motioning to one of her booths in the corner. “You just got sat again. Are you okay to take another?”

She adjusted the tray she was carrying on her shoulder. “Yeah, I’m cool. I’ll be right there.”

He nodded and whisked off to the front door to greet more customers.

She reached for a tray stand, sat the food down, and handed the plates out to a party of five. “Does anyone need anything else?” she asked the group.

An attractive brunette in a summer dress looked up, holding an empty glass of soda. “I need a refill, please.”

Emily gave a hurried smile and grabbed the glass. “I’ll be right back.”

She headed over to the soda fountain, glancing over to the table where she could barely see the lone gentleman that she had yet to greet. “Shit,” she mumbled to herself.

Quickly returning to the party of five, she handed the woman her drink. “Sorry about that. Does anyone need anything else?” she asked, inwardly praying no one did.

They all shook their heads no.

Emily let out a soft sigh of relief and let them know she’d be back to check on them. Walking away, she pulled her order pad from her apron and rounded the corner. Sliding her hand across her sweaty forehead, she approached the table and accidentally dropped her pen to the ground in front of the booth. She knelt down to pick it up, but before she could, the stranger’s hand reached for it.

“Thank you,” Emily said, still crouched on the floor. “I appreciate that. Can I…” Her voice trailed off when she made eye contact with the patron.

It was Mr. Tall, Dark, and Fuckable Handsome from the elevator. Her breath caught at the sight of him sitting there casually as she slowly stood up. She literally had to hold onto the table for balance. He was even better looking than she remembered. Not that less than twenty-four hours could erase his image from her head, but now he was just so there, so male, and so enthralling. He sparked that all too familiar tingle across her skin. He had his suit jacket off, hung neatly on a hook next to the booth. He was wearing a crisp white button-down shirt, and the stark absence of color only emphasized his clear blue eyes.

Gavin’s lips curled into a smile. “You don’t look too happy to see me.”

“I’m just a little…I…” Emily struggled to find her words.

Gavin wasn’t about to admit that his need to see her again was intense—so fucking intense that he actually canceled a meeting with a large account in hopes of catching her at work. Nor would he tell her that when the elevator doors closed last night, he was left feeling oddly robbed by her departure.

"You ran off so quickly last night that I didn't get a chance to give you a tip for delivering the food."

“Ooohhh.” Emily elongated the word, trying to think of something to say since he seemed to wipe her clear of any thoughts. “Right…about the way I left…I’m sorry about that.” She bit down on the pen cap and quickly asked, “Can I get you something to drink?”

Gavin flicked his gaze to her beautiful lips and smiled at what he thought to be a nervous reaction on her part. “Yes, I’ll take a coffee, please.”

“Do you take cream or sugar in that?”

He cocked his head to the side. “Do you?”

“Do I what?”

“Take cream or sugar in your coffee?”

Thrown by his question, she shifted on her feet. “Why do you want to know?”

Gavin paused for a moment, a grin softening his mouth. “Well, I’m trying to find out as much as I can about you. I figured coffee was an easy enough topic to conquer. I may be wrong though.”

A light laugh escaped Emily’s lips. “Seems a little stalkerish. Wouldn’t you agree?”

“Mmm…a stalker. That’s a new one and pretty brutal,” he laughed, amusement lighting up his eyes. “I’d like to call it curiosity.”

She shook her head and smiled. “Okay, so you haven’t answered my question. Would you like cream or sugar?”

“You haven’t answered my question.” He arched one, perfect brow. “Do you take cream or sugar with your coffee?”

Seeing it was a battle she was sure to lose, she gave in. “Yes.”

“Ah, opposites do attract. Perfect.” He leaned back in his seat and crossed his arms. “I’ll take mine black, please.”

Emily blinked once and then twice more, taking in his sensual face for a few more seconds. She turned away, striding back to the party of five; she asked if they needed anything else and dropped off their check. She made her way to the coffee bar, again feeling breathless by this stranger. As Emily prepared his java, Fallon promptly made her way over to her.

With her hair dyed jet black today, her mouth dropped open in Gavin’s direction. “Country, do you know that guy?”

Emily drew in a deep breath and looked to where Gavin was sitting, his attention now on a newspaper in his hand. “No…well…kind of, I guess.” She placed his coffee on a tray.

Fallon yanked Emily’s pad from her apron, scribbled her name and number on it, and handed it back to her. “Puh-lease give this to him. My eyes have never feasted on such extreme fucking hotness in my life.”

“That would be an understatement.” Emily started to walk away and then turned back to Fallon. “Wait, what about your father-aged boyfriend?” she laughed.

Fallon placed her hands on her hips and smirked. “I make myself available to any age, race, or gender if given the right opportunity.”

Shaking her head, Emily laughed and made her way back to the table. Trying to control her pounding heart, she tried to guess his age. She didn’t think he looked a day over twenty-five. With a shaky hand, she set the coffee down in front of Gavin.

He gave her a wide-eyed smile and placed the newspaper beside him.

“Have you decided what you want to eat?” she asked, glancing down to his onyx cufflinks and expensive-looking watch.

“Actually, I haven’t even looked at the menu yet,” he replied, picking it up to scan it over.

“Okay, I’ll be right back then.”

“Wait,” he said with a grin. “Can you recommend anything in particular?”

“The only thing I’ve eaten here is the Asiago cheese and portabella mushroom panini sandwich.”

“Good suggestion. I’ll take that then.”

She went to write down his order but stopped. “It has spinach on it, too. Is that alright?”

Slowly dragging his bottom lip between his teeth, Gavin smiled. “Does it include your name and number with it as well?”

Damn him and those lips, Emily thought to herself.

Trying to act as if she was unriveted by his question, she pulled Fallon’s number out and handed it to him. “No, not mine, but she wanted me to give you hers.” Emily crooked her neck in Fallon’s direction where she was standing at the host station watching them. “Hope she’s your type.”

Gavin didn’t take his eyes off Emily, not even for a second. “I’m not interested in her,” he answered evenly, sliding the piece of paper to the edge of the table.

“How do you know you’re not interested? You haven’t turned around to look at her.”

Resting his elbow on the table, a smile softened his perfectly sinful mouth. “I know I’m not interested in her because the only woman’s name and number in Manhattan that I want is standing right here.”

Emily shifted on her feet, her breath catching in the back of her throat. “Well, I’m sorry. I have a boyfriend.”

“I assumed you did,” he replied, casually crossing his legs. “It would seem almost impossible for you not to have one.”

“You assumed I did, yet you’re still asking me for my number?”

With the stroke of his gaze shifting to her left hand, he smiled. “Yes, but I don’t see a ring on your finger, and while there’s not a ring on your finger, there still may be hope for me.”

Emily raised an incredulous brow. “So you’re basically saying that you’re a cheater?”

“I’ve said no such thing,” he laughed.

Smiling, she tilted her head to the side. “Well, you’re assuming that I would cheat on my boyfriend to go out on a date with you, so that right there makes you a cheater.”

“I’m hoping you’ll break up with your boyfriend and go out on a date with me,” he quickly countered with a wry curving of his lips. “That right there makes me an honest man.”

She started writing down his order. “Honest, no. Conceited, yes.”

“I prefer to use the term hopeful,” he replied, studying the way she nervously bit her lip. “Can I at least get the name of the breathtakingly beautiful waitress who’s taking care of me then?”

Heated by his words, but not wanting to reveal her real name, Emily simply replied, “Molly. My name’s Molly.”

Gavin opened his mouth to speak when Antonio called out from across the restaurant.

“Country, you have a phone call.”

Emily unwillingly tore her attention from Gavin. She sauntered over to the host station where Fallon stood with a curious look molding her face.

“Well, what did he say?” Fallon asked.

Emily frowned. “He has a girlfriend.”

“Fuck, and I waited, too,” she blurted out. Picking up her purse, she headed out the door. “Guess the old man will have to do for now. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

After a wave to bid Fallon goodbye, Emily reached for the phone and found it was Dillon calling to make plans for the evening. After they hung up, she was glad that he called. It brought her thoughts back to where she knew they should be. Drawing in a deep breath, she strolled over to the computer and entered Gavin’s order. She greeted a family of three and completed her side work for the day.

Eventually, she risked a glance over to Gavin when she took a seat at the coffee bar to wait for his order. She felt inordinately overwhelmed as their eyes met and locked. She was confused. She didn’t know why she was shaken by his gaze and hated the fact that she actually liked the way he stared at her. Emily suddenly snapped from her coma-like daze when she heard one of the cooks call for her. She went into the kitchen, picked up Gavin’s food, and grabbed a coffee pot.

“One Asiago cheese and portabella mushroom panini sandwich with spinach,” she said, placing it down in front of him. “And here’s a little more coffee for you.”

“Thank you.” Gavin’s eyes flicked to her neck as she leaned over to pour the coffee, the sweet scent of her body teasing his nose. Picturing his lips sliding against her beautiful skin, he brought his attention back to her face and gave her a smile. He cleared his throat, trying to rid himself of the vision.

Emily’s heart thumped erratically as he stared at her. “Can I get you anything else for now?”

“Actually, yes. I’m sorry,” he said, trying to pull himself from the odd spell she’d cast on him. “I received a call notifying me that I need to get back to the office. Can you bring me a box to put this in?”

“Oh…I’m sorry it took so long,” she said, picking up the plate. “I’ll just put it in a box for you.”

“Don’t worry about it. I should’ve said something earlier.” He rose to his feet, shrugging into his suit jacket. “Take your time.”

Emily turned away, striding toward the kitchen door.

Gavin took out a business card and two $100 bills. He wrapped them around the card and covered it up with a $5 bill.

Emily returned with the box and handed it to him. “Again, I’m sorry it took so long,” she said, staring into his eyes. Her senses automatically became heated again.

Gavin leaned himself in, inches from her face. Reaching for her hand, he placed the money-wrapped card in her palm, his breath soft against her ear. “And I told you not to worry about it.”

Emily froze as her breathing became as ragged as her heartbeat. His warm breath so close to her body almost sent her over the edge. He radiated a palpable, sexual energy that she couldn’t deny—and she was pretty damn sure that no other warm-blooded female would be able to resist either. Unable to form a sentence, she didn’t answer as she looked up into his eyes.

His mouth curved into an alluring smile. “Call me if you change your mind, Molly.”

With that, he turned and walked out the door while the eyes of every woman in the restaurant followed him.

Emily let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. She thumbed through the cash not only shocked to see how much he’d tipped her, but that he’d left his card, too. Blank side up, she fought with herself to not turn it over. She let out a sigh, inwardly furious at herself, as she tried to brush thoughts about this man out of her head. It was no use. He was invading every corner of her mind.

She couldn’t deny that she found him beyond attractive; she’d been startled into staring the first time she saw him. There was something mysterious about his eyes, which were a shade of blue so light they almost begged her to submit to him, obey him, and do some of the naughtiest things with him that her mind could conjure up. Maybe it was the curve of his cheekbones, which fell slightly short of being too high. Possibly, it was the smooth, raspy tone of his voice, which basically disarmed her every cognitive thought the first time he talked to her.

Of course he has a bedroom voice to go with those bedroom eyes.

He was definitely a fuckable, bedroom-voice-and-eyes-bearing specimen. Fuckable or not, Emily knew she’d have to resist as long as her sanity ruled over her subconscious mind. It took everything she had in her to make her way into the kitchen without looking at his name and contact number. Against every sexual demon in her head that screamed at her to go for it, she threw the card into the garbage, her fingers tingling from its absence.

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