Books by Sandi Lynn If you haven’t already done so, please check out my books. They are filled with heartwarming love stories, some with millionaires, and some with just regular everyday people who find love when they least expect it. Millionaires: The Forever Series (Forever Black, Forever You, Forever Us, Being Julia, Collin, A Forever Family) Love, Lust & A Millionaire His Proposed Deal Lie Next To Me (A Millionaire’s Love, Book 1) When I Lie with You ( A Millionaire’s Love, Book 2) A Love Called Simon Then You Happened Second Chance Love: Remembering You She Writes Love Love In Between (Love Series, Book 1) The Upside of Love (Love Series, Book 2)
Prologue Age 11 “I thought you liked me, Scott.” “I did, Avery, but now I like someone else. Sorry.” Age 14 “But you kissed me.” “Sorry about that, Avery. You’re a nice girl, but I’m not interested in you.” Age 16 “I lost my virginity to you! You said you loved me.” “I think we need to see other people and see what happens.” Age 18 “I thought we had something special.” “It’s not you, Avery. It’s me.” Age 19 “But, you said—” “I’m just not ready for a relationship right now. But if I was, I’d surely pick you.” Age 20 “I don’t understand.” “I don’t have time for a relationship right now and you shouldn’t either. Between our studies and my job, I just can’t give you the attention you deserve.” Age 21 “But I love you and I thought you loved me.” “Avery, you can do so much better than me. I’m letting you go so you can see that.” Age 22 “You’re breaking up with me, aren’t you?”
“I’ve just got this fear of commitment. Believe me, babe, it’s not you. It’s me. I just can’t be tied down. You did nothing wrong.” Age 23 “How could you sleep with her? I thought we were exclusive!” “Did we ever really agree to that? Listen, Avery, I think it’s best we don’t see each other anymore. I’m sorry. I didn’t know how to tell you and I don’t want this to make things at the office awkward between us.”
As I stepped out of the cab and onto the dry pavement of East 71st Street, I stood there with my suitcase in my hand and looked up at the twenty-three-story building. “Good day, ma’am,” a man spoke as he opened the building door. “Oh, hello,” I nervously spoke as I walked towards him. “May I help you with something?” I gave him a gentle smile. “I’m moving into apartment 20B. My name is Avery Lewis.” I set down my suitcase and extended my hand to him. “Welcome, Miss Lewis. My name is Davis and I’m the doorman here.” He shook my hand with a smile. “Is that all you have?” He pointed at my suitcase. “Yes. My furniture and boxes were delivered this morning.” “No.” He slowly shook his head. “There have been no deliveries here today.” “The movers were supposed to be here at nine o’clock this morning,” I said with a calm tone. “Sorry, Miss Lewis. It is ‘Miss,’ correct?” Those words were like a stab in the heart. Of course it was Miss. I was going to be Miss Lewis for the rest of my life. “You are correct. It’s Miss.” I gave a small smile. “I’m sorry, but like I said earlier, no deliveries came through here yet.” I sighed as I grabbed the handle of my suitcase. “Thank you, Davis, and please call me Avery. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going up to check out my new apartment.” “I’m sorry, Avery.”
“Not your fault, Davis.” I waved as I walked to the elevator and took it up to the twentieth floor. Opening the door to apartment 20B, I rolled in my suitcase and stood in the empty space. A space that was supposed to be filled with boxes and furniture. I walked into the small open kitchen with the cherry cabinets, white Corian countertops, and black ceramic tiled floor. One of the reasons I jumped on this apartment was because it had all stainless steel appliances, including a microwave and dishwasher. I rolled my suitcase across the oak wood floor to the bedroom. According to the realtor’s description, this was a king-size bedroom with ample closet space. The two very narrow closets that sat on one wall were hardly ample, but I guess considering the price of the rent for the Upper East Side, in my opinion, it was a fantastic deal, the bedroom itself was king-size. I stepped into the bathroom and flipped the light switch. It was small and very white. White walls, white ceramic tile, white Corian countertop, white tub with glass shower doors and, of course, a white toilet. I was definitely going to have to put some color in here to make it look less sterile. I pulled my phone from my purse and called the furniture company that was supposed to have my furniture here by nine a.m. “Hi, this is Avery Lewis and I was supposed to have a furniture delivery today at nine a.m. and I’m here at my apartment, there’s no furniture, and it’s now four o’clock.” “Hold on, Miss Lewis, and let me check with our delivery truck.” She put me on hold so I could listen to the snooze fest of the elevator music that was on the other end. “Thank you for holding, Miss Lewis. Unfortunately, the delivery truck that your furniture was on has broken down and it needs to be towed. We are sending another truck out there immediately and your furniture should be delivered some time tomorrow. Is the phone number we have on file a good one to reach you at?” I sighed. Of course the truck broke down. That was the kind of luck I had. “Yes, that number is fine. Thank you.” Click.
On to the next call. “Hi, this is Avery Lewis, and you were supposed to deliver my boxes to my new apartment in New York City this morning. I’m here and there are no boxes!” “I’m sorry, Miss Lewis, but according to our records, we have your delivery scheduled for tomorrow, not today.” Now I was getting really pissed off. “No. No. No. I told you that I was moving in today and I even have the email confirmation stating that my boxes would be delivered today!” I snapped. “Oh dear. Yes, I do see that now. I’m very sorry, but someone wrote the wrong date on the delivery manifest.” I paced around the living room holding my phone out and did a little angry dance, stomping my feet like a child. Why couldn’t anything ever go right? “Okay, listen to me very carefully. I signed a contract with your company stating that my boxes would be delivered today. You failed to honor that contract so therefore you will not charge me for the delivery.” “Oh, I’m afraid we can’t do that, but I will give you a ten percent discount for the inconvenience.” I took in a long sharp breath. “Excuse me, may I ask your name?” “It’s Babbie.” “Okay, Babbie, listen up. Your company is in direct violation of a signed agreement. Now, I’m a lawyer, and a damn good one in fact, and I will sue the ass off that company if I am charged a penny. And guess what? It’ll be free because I can do things like that myself. So it won’t cost me a cent to sue, but it will cost your company up the ass in legal fees when I’m done with you! Got it!” “Ah...Ah...yes, Miss Lewis. Your boxes will be delivered tomorrow at no charge to you. I’m terribly sorry this has happened and I will be finding out who made the error and see that they are reprimanded.” “Thank you.” Click. I sat down on the floor with my back up against the wall, legs stretched out and phone in my hand. I dialed my friend, Willow.
“Avery! Are you in New York yet?” she asked with excitement. “I’m here, in my apartment, with no furniture or any of my stuff from back home.” “Oh no. Delivery issues?” “To say the least.” “Well, since you can’t get settled, come on over. I’m making dinner and Cam will be home soon.” I could hear Kinsley screaming in the background and Hensley crying in her arms. “Sounds like fun,” I spoke hesitantly. “Great. You have the address, right?” “Yep. I have it in my phone. I’ll grab a cab now and head over.” “I can’t wait to see you!” I got up from the floor and went into the bedroom where my suitcase was. I pulled my hairbrush and makeup bag from it and went into the bathroom to freshen up. Looking at myself in the mirror, I saw my once bright blue eyes looked dull and tired. Touching up my eyeshadow and running a brush through my long, blonde, wavy hair was just what I needed. Being here in New York was a decision I didn’t make lightly. I was desperate to get out of Danbury, Connecticut, and when Finn, Muir, & Abernathy, one of the largest and most successful law firms in the country offered me a position, I had to really think about if it was the right choice. I hoped I made the right decision. I took the elevator down to the lobby and tried more than a handful of times to hail a cab. None would stop. Finally, Davis walked out and got one for me. “Thanks, Davis.” I smiled. “Where I come from, I had my own car and always drove myself around, so I’m not used to this yet.” “No worries, Avery. You will get used to it soon enough.” I climbed in and he shut the door. “473 Broadway, please.”
Liam “Good evening, Wyatt clan.” I smiled as I kissed Sophie and Delilah on their cheeks and took a seat next to Oliver. “Hi, Uncle Liam.” “Well, big brother. I closed the deal on the townhouse today. It’s officially mine at a cool $6.9 mil.” “Is that the one that was foreclosed on? The one over on East 71st Street?” Oliver asked. “Yep. I bought it for half of what it’s worth and I can’t wait to get started on the remodel.” “Are you keeping the apartment?” Delilah asked. “Nah. I’ve got that up for sale. I already have an interested buyer.” Oliver shook his head. “I can’t believe you’re going to fix that place up yourself. You know there are people that can do it for you.” “You know I love to get my hands dirty.” I smiled. “It’s going to take you forever to get that place done.” Oliver smirked. “No it won’t. All I’m doing is painting some of the rooms, replacing the hideous floor in the foyer, and remodeling one of the bathrooms. The point is that I’m doing it myself and, once it’s done, I can take pure pride in it.” “Very good, Liam. I like the way you think. If you need any help, let me know. You know Oliver won’t be able to help, but maybe I can.” “What’s that supposed to mean, sweetheart?” Oliver asked. “Nothing, darling. Eat your dinner.” Delilah gave me a wink and Sophie giggled. After finishing a great dinner, we went up to the family room for a drink. As soon as Delilah got Sophie ready for bed, she joined us.
“How was your date last night?” Oliver asked as he handed me a glass of bourbon. “It was okay. Nothing special. She wants to see me again, but I don’t know.” I took a sip of my drink. “Why? What was wrong with her?” Delilah asked. “I don’t know. Nothing I guess. There just wasn’t a connection.” “It sounds like she had a connection with you if she wants to see you again,” Oliver spoke. “Did you fuck her?” “OLIVER!” Delilah exclaimed. “What? It’s a perfectly reasonable question.” I sighed. “Yeah, but still no connection on my end.” “Did she say she wanted to see you again before or after you fucked her?” “OLIVER!” “What?” “After,” I replied. “Good job. You reeled her in with your dick. Once they’ve had a Wyatt man, they want more.” Oliver winked. “OLIVER!” Delilah exclaimed again. I couldn’t help but laugh. “Relax, sweetheart. I’m only teasing.” “It doesn’t matter anyway. I’m giving up my search for the right girl. With the townhouse and everything else I’ve got going on, I don’t have time for a relationship. My main focus from now on is getting the townhouse done and the company.” I got up from the couch and set my glass down on the bar. “Thanks for dinner and the drink. I better get going. I have to start packing up the apartment.” I heard Oliver sigh. “They have people that can do that for you.” “I know. I know.” I waved my hand as I walked out the door. ****
As I was getting ready for bed, a text message from Dani, the girl from last night, came through. “Hey there, sexy guy. I had a great time last night. How about we have dinner again tomorrow night?” I climbed into bed and sat up as I texted her back. “Hey, Dani. I already have plans tomorrow night with my brother. Maybe another time.” I hated lying to her, but I didn’t want to make her feel bad. She was a nice girl and I didn’t want to hurt her. “Okay. Let’s set a day and time now.” Oh shit. She wasn’t giving up. “I’ll check my calendar and get back with you. I just bought a townhouse and I’m going to be moving soon, so I’m going to be pretty busy packing and stuff.” “Whatever, asshole!” I rolled my eyes. I guess she kind of got the hint. I didn’t respond. My problem was that I could have any girl I wanted. But I just didn’t want any ordinary girl. I wanted The One. The one who would make my heart beat faster every time I was near her. The one who didn’t want me for my money or for the status I could give her. The one who would brighten up my day with a simple hello. The one who could make me laugh without even trying. The one who wasn’t fake or phony, but natural and who wasn’t afraid to be herself. And finally, the one who wasn’t perfect, but to me, she was. I’d had my fun with women over the years and I never wanted to be tied down. But now that I was twenty-nine years old, I couldn’t help think that I needed some stability in my life. But now that I’d bought the townhouse and embarked on a new adventure, that kind of stability would have to wait.
Avery “Oh my God, look at this place!” I spoke as I stepped inside Willow’s apartment. “Welcome to New York!” She gave me a tight squeeze. “Kinsley, come say hello to Auntie Avery.” Kinsley shyly walked over to me as I knelt down in front of her. “Look at you. You’re growing up so fast.” I smiled as I hugged her. “The last time I saw you was a year ago and you barely had any hair. Look at these beautiful curls.” I smiled. “And this is Hensley.” Cam walked over and kissed my cheek. “Hi, Cam.” I smiled as I took Hensley from him. “Oh my gosh. She’s gorgeous just like Kinsley.” Cam and Willow were from my hometown in Danbury, Connecticut, they were two years older than me, and both were my best friends. They’d been together since they were fifteen years old. As soon as Cam and Willow graduated college, Cam was hired by one of the top real estate companies in New York City selling million-dollar properties. They got married, moved to the city, and Willow got pregnant shortly after. She was now a stay-at-home mom and loving every minute of it. “This place is gorgeous,” I spoke as I looked around the apartment that was more than twice the size as mine. “Thank you. I did all the decorating myself.” She smirked. “And she spent a fortune doing it.” Cam sighed. “Ignore him. He told me to do whatever I wanted.” Cam chuckled and put Hensley and Kinsley to bed for the night. I helped Willow put dinner on the table and the three of us sat down. “Are you okay with being here?” Willow asked.
I knew exactly what she was asking. “I’m okay. I needed to get out of Danbury and make a fresh start.” “I understand that, but are you going to be okay here in New York?” “I guess I’ll have to be. There was no way I was turning down the offer from Finn, Muir, & Abernathy.” Cam pointed his fork at me. “Good girl, Avery. You can’t let your past decide your future. You did the right thing and that law firm is going to be happy to have you. You’re one kick-ass lawyer. Who can say that at your age? Most people, hell, almost all the people, would just be entering law school, not graduating and passing the bar at twentyone years old.” I gave a small smile as I looked down at my plate and twirled my fork around the spaghetti. “Does he know you’re here?” Willow asked. “No. How would he?” She shrugged as she brought her fork up to her lips. “So when do you start working as a super-hot shot lawyer? Not that you already weren’t, but I wouldn’t call the firm you worked for in Danbury big.” “I start on Monday. I wanted a few days to get settled in, but now that’s all screwed up since my furniture and boxes weren’t delivered today.” “No worries. They’ll be here tomorrow and you have Saturday and Sunday. I’ll come by and help you.” She smiled. Willow held up her wine glass. “To Avery. May your new life and fresh start in New York be filled with success and love.” “Here. Here.” Cam smiled as he held up his glass. “Maybe success but certainly not love. I’m done with guys.” “You a lesbian now like Claudia?” Cam asked. I laughed. “No. My focus is my career and nothing else. I won’t make the same mistakes again. I have lousy taste in men and I’m the one who always gets hurt while they walk away unaffected. See this?” I moved my hand up and down in front of me. “This is my defense wall.
It’s staying up and there isn’t a single douchebag guy in this world who’s going to break it down.” “You need love,” Willow pouted. “And you need sex,” Cam chimed in. “Love I don’t need, and as for sex, I can have meaningless sex just as well as any guy does.” I moved my hand up and down in front of me again. “The wall says so.” Cam chuckled and Willow sighed. “I have my job and I have both of you.” I got up from my seat. “I’d better get going. It’s getting late and I’m tired.” “Stay here tonight. You don’t have any furniture. Where are you going to sleep?” “Thanks, Willow, but I’ll be fine.” “Let me get you some blankets at least because I know you didn’t pack any in your suitcase.” A few moments later, she returned and handed me two blankets. “Call me tomorrow.” “I will and thank you.” I smiled as I kissed her and then Cam on the cheek. As I walked out the door, I stopped and turned around. “Hey, Cam. Do you think you can grab a cab for me?” “Sure. Come on.” **** I opened my eyes at the sound of someone banging on my door. SHIT! I could barely move as I tried to get up from the hard wood floor. I looked at the time on my phone. It was seven a.m. “HOLD ON. I’M COMING!” I yelled as I stumbled towards the door. When I opened it, four large men were standing in front of me. “Furniture?” I asked as I held my breath. “Yes, ma’am.” “Thank God, but it’s really early. Who delivers at this hour?”
“Sorry, ma’am, but we got on the road as soon as we loaded the truck. You were our first stop.” “Okay. Bring it on up.” I picked up the blankets off the floor and ran into the bathroom to brush my teeth. The four large men delivered my furniture and set it up where I told them. Finally, my apartment was starting to feel like home. Shortly after the deliverymen left, the moving truck from Danbury showed up with my boxes. As I stood in the small space known as my living room, I looked around at the multitude of boxes that sat in the middle of the floor. I needed coffee and I needed to find a gym before I could even think about unpacking. I changed into my workout clothes and headed out. “Good morning, Davis.” “Good morning, Avery. I see your deliveries came.” “Yes, and I need to find a gym and get in a good workout before I start unpacking. Are there any close by?” “There’s one two blocks from here. A really nice one. Owned by the Black family.” “Who?” I asked as I gave him a confused look. “Connor Black. One of the most influential families in New York.” “Oh. Sorry. I’ve never heard of them.” “I’m sure you will soon enough now that you’re living in New York.” He gave me the directions and wished me luck.
Liam I put my earphones in and set the treadmill to 6.2. Since it was Friday, I had taken the day off from work so I could head over to the townhouse to decide which project I was going to do first, but before I started, I needed to get in a good workout. The gym was more crowded than usual for a Friday. Everyone else must have had the same idea about skipping work. As I was running, my phone rang. It was Oliver. “Hey, what’s up? I’m at the gym,” I spoke as I continued running. “Have you seen the file for the Lloyd building? I can’t find it anywhere.” “Last I knew, you took it home with you.” “Shit. You’re right. Delilah distracted me this morning and I forgot to grab it.” I heard him sigh. “Thanks, bro. Enjoy your workout.” “Thanks, Oliver.” Click. I happened to look over at the beautiful woman who stepped on the treadmill next to me. Wow. She was pretty. She stood about five-feet seven and she wore her blonde hair up in a high ponytail. Damn, she was fit and those legs. That was what made up her height – her long, slender legs. I had never seen her here before and I had to quickly look away because she caught me staring at her. I took my earphones out when I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a hand on the other side of me reach over and touch the treadmill. “Hey, Lucy.” “Hi, Liam. Long time no talk. I thought I would have heard from you by now.” Lucy and I went on a couple of dates, slept together, and then I never called her back. Not because there was anything wrong with her.
She was a great girl. There just weren’t any feelings there on my end and I didn’t want to lead her on. “Sorry, Lucy. I’ve been really busy at work and life’s complicated right now. I’m in the process of moving and there’s a lot to do.” “I see,” she spoke with an attitude. “How about dinner tonight? I’d really like to see you again.” Shit. Shit. Shit. “I can’t. Like I said, I’m in the process of moving and I have a lot to do. Maybe another time.” “Yeah, sure. Okay,” she said with sadness as she got off the treadmill and walked away. As I was putting my earphones back in, I heard the woman on the other side of me speak. “Why don’t you just tell her that you’re not interested in her instead of leading her on and making her think you’re going to call her?” “Excuse me?” “I’m sorry. It’s none of my business, but we girls like to be told right off the bat if you’re not interested so we don’t spend months, days, and hours waiting around like complete idiots for a call that will never come.” Wow. Those eyes. So blue and beautiful, but I was taken aback just a bit by what she said. “Okay. I’ll remember that.” She put in her earphones and upped the speed on the treadmill. I seriously couldn’t believe she said that to me. I kept stealing little glances at her as I continued my run on the treadmill. She was fucking hot and I wanted to say something to her, but I had a feeling she thought I was a total douchebag. ****
Avery What a douchebag. A typical hot guy who strings women along because he doesn’t have the balls to tell them he’s not interested. The first thing I noticed besides his pretty face was how muscular he was.
It was obvious that he worked out every day. Maybe I shouldn’t have said what I did, but he needed to be told. I’d spent my life being strung along by guys who I thought were interested in me only to turn out they weren’t. They weren’t doing us any favors by trying to spare our feelings. If I could spare some girl from wasting her time pining away for a guy that wasn’t interested in her, then I would be happy. A while later, he got off the treadmill and disappeared. After completing a full thirty minutes of running, I went to the weight area to work on my arms and back and, lo and behold, there he was. I rolled my eyes, as the only weight bench available was the one next to him. ****
Liam I saw her out of the corner of my eye. I tried not to stare, but I couldn’t help it. I completed one set of presses and, as I sat up, Lucy walked by and looked at me. “Hey, Lucy. You got a minute.” She stopped and stood up. “What?” she asked. “Listen, I’m really sorry. You’re a great girl, but—” Shit. This was hard. Normally, I do this stuff over text. Never face to face. “But what, Liam?” She cocked her head. “I won’t be calling you. I just have so much going on in my life and I don’t want to lead you on.” She slowly nodded her head as she stared into my eyes. “Okay. Thanks. I appreciate you being honest. ASSHOLE!” She flipped me off as she walked away. I threw my arms up, turned around, and looked at the girl from the treadmill. “I didn’t say she would take it kindly.” She lay back on the bench and began pressing. I finished up a few more sets and went to the locker room to grab my things and leave. As I was walking out of the locker room, she was
walking my way and we almost collided because she was staring down at her phone. “Sorry. I didn’t see you,” she spoke. “You shouldn’t walk and text.” “And you shouldn’t go around breaking women’s hearts.” She smirked. I chuckled and opened the door, motioning for her to walk out first. “Thanks.” “You’re welcome. I’ll try not to break any more hearts today,” I said sarcastically. “I’m sure you can’t help yourself,” she replied. I stood there with my hands on my hips and watched her as she walked down the street. She was some girl. Gym girl. That was what I’d call her from now on. I hailed a cab and went to my townhouse.
Avery I finally finished unpacking and everything was in its proper place. I had called Willow like she asked but she couldn’t come over because Kinsley had a fever of 102 and Cam was at work. I stood in the living room and took in my new place. The gray couch I bought fit perfectly against the wall and the round glass coffee table and end table really complemented it. My moms, Claudia and Lisa, bought me my entertainment center and TV, which sat on the wall directly across from the couch. I took a picture and sent it to both of them. Claudia: “It looks great, Avery. I’m happy you’re finally settled.” Lisa: “Looking good, sweetheart.” Me: “Thank you. I’ll talk to you guys later. I’m going to grab something to eat. I love you both.” Claudia: Love you too, darling.” Lisa: “Love you, Avery.” That’s right. I had two moms. Claudia was my real mother who gave birth to me. She met my dad in college. She got pregnant and he got scared, so she relieved him of any fatherly obligation, including child support, but apparently, he still paid her monthly as much as he could. It wasn’t until I was two years old that she came out and finally admitted to the world she was a lesbian. She met Lisa, they fell in love, one year later Lisa moved in, and they made it official and married in 2008 when the state of Connecticut made same-sex marriages legal. I had never seen them as happy as the day of their wedding. Growing up with two lesbian parents wasn’t easy. I was ridiculed and called all kinds of names. I could have easily hid under a rock and turned into a recluse, but I didn’t. I embraced the fact that my parents had the courage to do what they did. They didn’t give a shit about what
people thought and that was how I grew up. Not giving a shit about what other people thought. It also helped having an IQ of 159, graduating high school at the age of fifteen, graduating college with a bachelor’s degree at the age of eighteen, and then graduating law school at the legal drinking age of twenty-one. My intelligence came from my mom and my dad. My mom, Claudia, was a well-known geneticist and my father was a highpowered attorney who graduated at the top of his class, just like me. Lisa, my other mom, was a psychiatrist who always tried to analyze me and gave me therapy for daddy issues as I grew up. When I was six years old, I met my father for the first time. I remember looking up at him and thinking he was tall. He would call every once in a while. Maybe four times a year, and the last time I saw him was when I turned eleven. He stopped calling and I stopped caring. In fact, I hated him. I hated him for abandoning me not only once, but twice. I finally came to realize that all men would eventually abandon me, and after this last breakup, an office romance that never should have started, I put up the wall. It wasn’t an ordinary wall. It was a wall made of half glass and half stone. A wall where they could see a part of me, and if they tried to break me, they never could do it fully. I was protected and that was the way I was staying. **** I opened my eyes and stretched across my new bed. Grabbing my phone from the nightstand, I noticed there was a text message from Willow. “I have a fever and I’ve been up all night vomiting. I’m so sorry that you just got here and we can’t spend time together.” Poor Willow. “Get better soon. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. Can I bring you anything?” “NO! Stay away. I don’t want you to get this.” “If you change your mind, let me know. I can be over in a flash.”
“Thanks, Avery. Love you.” “Love you too. Get better!” I climbed out of bed and decided to start my day off at the gym. I changed out of my pajamas, put my hair up in a ponytail, brushed my teeth, and grabbed a bottle of water on my way out the door. After doing a twenty-minute warm-up, I went to the weight area, and he, the heartbreaker from yesterday, was lifting weights. He didn’t see me, which was good, so I went on the other side and climbed on the leg press machine to do some leg presses. I was minding my own business, pressing and listening to my music, when I looked up and saw him staring down at me. I took my earphones out. “That’s a lot of weight you have going on there.” He gently smiled. I finished my set and sat there, taking in his sexy face. “So what are you implying? Are you saying that it’s too much for me because I’m a woman?” “No. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m impressed.” “Impressed because I’m a woman? I can guarantee that you wouldn’t be so impressed if a man was sitting here pressing the same amount of weight.” He scratched his head. “True. It’s nice to see you again. I didn’t get the chance to ask you yesterday, but are you new to this gym, because I’ve never seen you here before.” “Do you know every person that comes to this gym?” His eyes narrowed and I could tell he was beginning to get aggravated. “Do you always answer a question with a question?” “Yes. Normally, I do. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have two more sets to do.” I put my earphones back in and pressed play on my music. He walked away shaking his head. Fuck. He was hot and he wanted to talk, but he was a guy and couldn’t be trusted. I was sure he was nothing but one of those gym rats that scoped out women to fuck. But God, was he good looking. Shit, Avery, get the thoughts out of your head. Get him out of your head. I continued doing leg presses and when I finished, I went to over
to the mats in front of the wall of mirrors and began doing some squats. After my workout was complete, I went to the locker room to grab my things, and as I was walking out, he walked out from the men’s locker room. My conscience was getting the best of me. Damn it! “Hey. I am new here. I just joined yesterday.” “I thought so. To answer your question, I do know just about everyone who comes here. I work out every day and I’ve been coming here for years. In fact, one of my best friend’s parents own this gym.” “Oh. That’s nice.” He held the door open for me and we walked outside. “Well, have a good day, Gym Guy.” My mouth gave way to a small smile. “You too, Gym Girl.”
Liam I went back to the apartment, showered, changed into some old clothes, and headed to the townhouse. As I stood outside the 6,000-square-foot brown-bricked building, I smiled. Stepping into the garden foyer, I sighed and shook my head at the flooring the previous owners put down. This was going to be my first project since I couldn’t stand looking at it. I ended up at a place called Class Carpet and Interiors on the Upper West Side. After looking at the hardwood floor samples and different colors, I decided on an oak color to match the color of the staircase throughout the house. “May I help you, sir?” a nice saleslady asked. I pulled a piece of paper from my pocket and handed it to her. “I would like to order this floor. Here are the measurements.” I smiled. “Excellent choice. Let’s schedule an appointment for our team to come out and give you a quote.” I looked at her in confusion. “No need. I just gave you the measurements, so please just order the floor.” “May I ask who’s installing the floor for you?” “I am.” “But, sir, we have professionals that can do that for you,” she spoke with a hint of irritation. “But, ma’am, I’m doing it myself and I don’t think I like you insinuating that I’m not a professional.” She sighed and suddenly became nervous. “Fine. I’ll get this ordered for you right away. Just let me see when we can deliver it to you.” She walked over to her computer and began typing. “Your floor can be delivered in about a week.”
“That’s fine.” I gave her my information and handed her my credit card. “Thank you for your business, Mr. Wyatt. I would like you to know that once the floor is in your possession, we aren’t responsible if you damage it or if any mishaps should occur.” “I understand. Thank you,” I spoke with a hint of attitude. After walking out in irritation, I saw an upscale furniture store across the street and decided to pop in and take a look around. I had the furniture from my apartment that I was moving, but I wanted a new bed. A bed that was only going to be for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my bed at the apartment, but since I was moving into a new home, I wanted something untouched by a woman. A new bed, a new start, and one that I would no longer share with just anyone. “Uncle Liam!” I heard Sophie yell from across the store. I turned around as she ran over to me and grabbed my hand. “Hey, Soph. What are you doing here?” “Looking at a new kitchen table with Mom. She’s over there.” She pointed. Delilah turned around and began walking towards me. “Furniture shopping for the new townhouse?” She smiled as she kissed my cheek. “Sort of. I’m in the market for a new bed.” “Oh?” She raised her eyebrow. I covered Sophie’s ears. “I want something new. New bed, fresh start, untainted by women.” “Uncle Liam, stop it!” Sophie giggled as she removed my hands from her ears. “Why do you need a new table?” I asked. “One of the chairs broke last night.” “Daddy sat down and he fell.” Sophie laughed. “Now that would have been a sight to see.” I chuckled. I held out my arm to Delilah. “Come on. Come bed shopping with me.” ****
Later that evening, I met Collin and Max for dinner and drinks at the Lincoln Square Steak restaurant. “Are you and Oliver attending the Business Law and Leadership Gala next Saturday?” Max asked. “Yeah. Are the two of you going?” “Yep. We’ll be there,” Collin answered. I took a sip of my drink and looked across the restaurant. The corners of my mouth curved up as I stared at Gym Girl sitting at a table alone. “What? Why are you smiling?” Max asked as he turned his head. “Are you staring at a woman?” Collin smiled. I set my napkin on the table and got up from my seat. “If you’ll excuse me for a moment, I would like to say hi.” As I approached her, she looked up at me with her beautiful blue eyes. Her blonde hair was down, flowing over her shoulders in waves, and she was wearing makeup. My God, she was even more beautiful at this moment. “Excuse me, I just wanted to say hello and that I hope you’re enjoying your dinner.” “Hello.” She smiled at me. “Are you dining alone?” “Yes. I am. I was out doing some shopping and I stumbled across this place. So here I am.” “Would you like to join me and my friends over there?” I asked as I turned around and pointed to my table. “No thank you. I’m just about finished here and I’m heading home. But thanks for the offer.” “You’re welcome. Have a nice night, Gym Girl.” I smiled as I turned around and walked back to my table. “You too, Gym Guy.” I sat down in my chair and Collin and Max were staring at me with wide grins on their faces. “Spill it, Wyatt,” Collin spoke.
“Yeah. Who’s the hot chick?” Max asked. I took a bite of my steak and looked up as Gym Girl walked out of the restaurant. “She’s a girl I met at the gym.” “What’s her name?” Collin asked. “I don’t know,” I spoke with a smile. “I call her Gym Girl. I just met her yesterday.” “Okay,” Max said, drawing out the word. You met her yesterday and you don’t know her name?” “Nope. All I know is she’s Gym Girl. She really won’t give me the time of day. But I do know that there’s something about her that intrigues me.” “She’s a beautiful woman,” Collin spoke. “That she is, but it’s not just her looks. That girl has quite an attitude. She’s different.” “I still find it odd that you don’t know her name.” Max laughed. “I’ll get her name soon. Don’t worry.” I smirked.
Avery As I walked home from the restaurant, I found myself smiling. I couldn’t believe I saw Gym Guy. Something happened when I saw him walking over to my table. My heart started to pick up the pace and my palms began to sweat. He looked so handsome in his khaki pants and blue button-down shirt. I’d only seen him in his gym clothes and he was just as sexy in regular clothes. He was a player, I could tell. I bet he’d broken a shitload of hearts. The thing that was sticking in my mind was how someone that handsome was single. Maybe he wasn’t single. Maybe he had a girlfriend. I knew he wasn’t married because he wasn’t wearing a band. I stepped into my apartment, changed into my pajamas, and planted myself on the couch, flipping through channels and looking for something to watch. A Saturday night at eight o’clock and I was sitting by myself in my apartment. The worse part was that Gym Guy saw me eating alone. I felt like a loser. I grabbed my phone and sent Willow a text message. “How are you feeling?” “Much better. Thanks. How was your day?” “Good. I went to the gym, did some more organizing, did some shopping, had dinner, and now I’m sitting on the couch.” “Sounds relaxing. I love my kids and all but sometimes, I crave alone time.” “I bet. Let’s plan a girls’ day. We’ll go do the spa thing.” “Definitely. I’m really happy you’re here, Avery.” “Me too. Now go get some rest and I’ll talk to you soon.” ****
Liam As I sat in my apartment, I looked around at all the packed boxes that sat in the middle of the place. This was my last night here and I was excited to be moving into the townhouse tomorrow. I was going to wait until next weekend, but why wait? The interested buyer I had for the apartment backed out, so the sooner I got out of here, the sooner the real estate agent could start showing it. I climbed into bed and placed my hands behind my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about Gym Girl and the way she looked tonight. Seeing her at the restaurant made my day so much better and I thought I was already having a good day. The next morning, I hit the gym before the movers came. As I was on the treadmill, I kept watching to see if she’d show up. She didn’t. I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t disappointed because I was. I really wanted to see her again, even if it was just for a few minutes. I’d never done this before. I’d never felt this before. Even though I didn’t know her name, it didn’t matter. She already left a mark on me and I needed to find out who she truly was. As I was walking out of the men’s locker room, she was on her way into the women’s. “Hey, Gym Girl.” I smiled. “Hey, Gym Guy. Are you done already?” “Yeah. I needed to get in a quick workout. I’m moving today and the movers are supposed to be at my apartment in about fifteen minutes.” “Cool. Happy moving day.” “Thanks.” I began to walk away and then stopped. “Are you going to be here tomorrow?” “Umm. Yeah, but around six a.m. I start my new job tomorrow.” “That’s the time I’m usually here during the week. I usually work out before heading to the office unless I’m meeting my friend, Collin. So I’ll see you tomorrow.” “Okay. See you tomorrow.” She gave a friendly smile.
And now my day was complete. A friendly chat and a smile from Gym Girl was all I needed. **** “Uh.” I rubbed the back of my neck as I got up from the couch. My bed was being delivered today and I couldn’t wait to sleep in it. Staring at the boxes that overtook the first floor of the house, I sighed because I needed to find some time to unpack and put everything away. I went upstairs to my bedroom, brushed my teeth, shaved, threw on my gym clothes, and grabbed my suit from the closet. I smiled as I grabbed my gym bag and headed out the door. I couldn’t wait to see her. She was all I thought about last night as I was trying to fall asleep. This shit was crazy. I’d never thought about a girl this way before and I didn’t even know her. Fuck! This couldn’t have happened at a worse time. I walked into the gym and there she was, running on the treadmill, looking as beautiful as ever. I put my things away in the locker room and climbed on the open treadmill next to her. “Good morning.” I gave a wide grin. “Good morning. How did moving day go?” She remembered that I moved yesterday. This was good. Real good. “It went great. I have a houseful of boxes that need to be unpacked but other than that, all is good.” She gave me a small smile. “So, you start a new job today?” “Yep.” “Are you nervous?” “A little.” “Where are you going to be working at?” “A place.” She smiled. “Which place? New York is filled with a million places.” I laughed. “Just a place. It’s really no big deal.”
She didn’t want me knowing where she worked. I was kind of bothered by that because she probably thought I was some stalker. “Okay. If you say so. Then I won’t tell you where I work.” “Okay.” She spoke as if she didn’t care. I sighed and cut my run on the treadmill short. This was not the way I expected to start my day. I was starting to see her in a whole new light. She obviously wasn’t interested in me the same way I was with her, so I was going to end it here. I climbed off the treadmill. “Have a great workout and a good day. Good luck with your new job.” I walked away.
Avery I looked at Gym Guy as he walked away. Was it something I said? Was he seriously pissed off that I didn’t tell him where I worked? I was up all night thinking about him and, to be honest, it freaked me out. I know how this works. Two people have an attraction to each other, they exchange phone numbers, go on a date, sleep together, say all kinds of heart-melting things to each other, and then BAM! See ya, bitch. It was nice knowing you and all, but I think we should see other people. The story of my life and it stopped now. I ran longer on the treadmill than I usually did and headed to the locker room without lifting any weights. Things were awkward enough and I just couldn’t deal with it right now. Especially since I was already nervous about starting at the law firm. I showered, changed into my business suit, did my hair and makeup, and grabbed my bag. As I was walking out of the locker room, I stopped when I saw him walking out. He was in a dark gray tailored, expensive designer suit that looked really good on him. Okay, too hot for words. He didn’t see me and I stayed back, watching him walk away with his gym bag and briefcase. I hadn’t pegged him for the businessman type. I thought maybe contractor or something where he got his hands dirty. I was wrong. Dead wrong and suddenly things became a whole lot easier. All guys were off limits, but businessmen ranked at the top, even if he did cause an unbearable ache between my legs every time I saw him. **** “Welcome to Finn, Muir, & Abernathy, Miss Lewis.” Timothy Finn smiled as I took a seat across from him at his desk.
“Thank you,” I replied with a lump in my throat. “Mark and Adam are in court right now, but they’ll stop by to see you later. I’ll be honest with you, Avery, they weren’t too keen on hiring you because of your age. Your record is impeccable and I know that I did the right thing by convincing them. You aren’t going to let this firm down, right?” “No, Mr. Finn. I won’t.” I smiled nervously. “Please call me Tim.” Timothy Finn was fifty-six years old, and even though he only stood about five feet, eight inches tall with salt and pepper hair, he was an attractive man. He and the partners flew out to Connecticut for a golf outing and scheduled an interview with me while they were there. I will admit that Tim is the most laidback of the three. “Come on, kid. I’ll show you to your office and you can get settled.” Call me “kid” again and that’s going to score you a kick in the balls. I followed him down the hall and met a few people along the way. “Avery, meet Ella, your secretary. She will be at your beck and call at all times.” Oh my. Ella. She looked to be in her mid-thirties with long, black, straight hair, dark chocolate eyes, and cleavage that took up the whole room, which she wasn’t afraid to show off. “It’s nice to meet you, Ella.” I extended my hand. “Welcome to the firm, Miss Lewis.” “Please, call me Avery.” “And here is your office.” Tim showed the way. I stepped inside and smiled. It was way bigger than my office back in Danbury and it even had two windows. A beautiful cherry wood desk sat in the corner with two black leather chairs neatly placed in front of it. Law books filled the matching bookcases that lined the wall to the left of the desk and matching low file cabinets sat to the right. It was a cozy office and I could see me being very comfortable here.
“Get settled and Ella will show you around and introduce you to the rest of the staff. I have a meeting to get to.” He looked at his watch and walked out. I spent the rest of the day with Ella as she showed me around the firm. She seemed like a girl who knew how to have fun and we clicked instantly. ****
Liam When I arrived home, I found Clara in the kitchen. “What’s that amazing smell?” I asked as I set my briefcase down. “Beef tenderloin.” Clara smiled as I kissed her cheek. “What are you doing here?” “Welcome home.” Delilah smiled as she walked in the kitchen. “Uncle Liam!” Sophie smiled as she ran to me. “I hope you don’t mind, but as we were waiting for the bed to be delivered, we kind of took it upon ourselves to unpack for you,” Delilah spoke. “You unpacked for me? Oh my God, thank you!” I smiled as I kissed her cheek. “I helped.” Sophie smiled. “And now we’re all going to have dinner together. Oliver is on his way.” “Wow. I don’t know what to say. You are a Godsend.” I placed my hand on her arm. “Come upstairs and see your bed. I took the boxes labeled bedroom and put them in your room. You’re responsible for unpacking those.” She smiled. We went upstairs and the first thing Delilah did was lie across my new bed. “What are you doing?” I laughed. “I’m tainting your bed.”
“Me too.” Sophie giggled as she lay down next to Delilah. “Do I need to be worried that my wife and my daughter are lying across your bed?” Oliver said as he placed his hand on my shoulder. I laughed. “This place is great, little brother. Congratulations.” “Thanks, man.” We heard Clara over the intercom. “Dinner is ready.” “Are you stealing my maid?” he asked as he hooked his arm around me. “I think she likes it here. Can she work for both of us? I really love her cooking.” I smiled. “No. Hire your own Clara.” He smirked. We went downstairs and took our seats in the dining room while Clara placed dinner on the table. Oliver held up his glass. “I’d like to make a toast to Liam. Here’s to our first of many dinners in your new home.” “Thanks, Oliver.” I gave a small smile as we tapped our glasses together. Dinner was amazing as usual and Sophie was getting tired, so Clara took her home while Delilah and Oliver stayed back and had a drink with me. “What’s wrong with you?” Oliver asked. “You’ve seemed off all day.” I sighed. “Nothing.” “Not buying it,” he spoke. “I can tell when something’s bothering you.” “There’s this girl at the gym I was interested in and we talked a few times, but she wants nothing to do with me.” “And you know this how?” Delilah asked. “Because she refused to tell me where she works and she won’t tell me her name. I call her Gym Girl and she calls me Gym Guy.” Delilah laughed. “Sorry, Liam, but that’s funny.”
“Don’t give her a second thought,” Oliver chimed in. “She sounds weird as hell.” “Or careful,” Delilah spoke. “Maybe she’s had issues with guys in the past. You don’t know her story. Maybe something happened to her.” “Or maybe she’s a lesbian.” Oliver smirked. “She’s not a lesbian, Oliver.” “How do you really know that?” “Because she laid into me about lying to some girl about how I said I would call her.” “Wait. What?” Delilah said as she waved her hand back and forth. I sighed and took a drink of my bourbon. “I ran into a girl that I went on a date with and she wanted to do dinner. I told her that I was moving and really busy and that I’d call her. Gym Girl piped in and told me just to be straight with her about my intentions of never calling her. She went on to say that girls don’t like to wait around like idiots waiting for a call that would never come or something like that.” “She sounds very ballsy.” Oliver smiled. “She is and she’s amazing. I can’t stop thinking about her.” “It’s called lust, my friend.” Oliver held up his glass. “It sounds like you have it bad for Gym Girl.” “Maybe I do or did for a couple of days. I’m over it now.” “Yeah. Sounds like you really are.” Oliver winked. Delilah walked over and gave me a kiss and whispered in my ear, “If Oliver would have given up, we wouldn’t be together. Have a good night. Enjoy your new bed.” Oliver gave me a light hug and whispered in my ear, “We Wyatt men always get what we want. Remember that.”
Avery I hadn’t been at the gym the past couple of days because the partners decided to dump ten cases at once on me. I needed to become familiar with each of them, so I brought my work home with me and stayed up later than I should have. “Good morning, Ella,” I said as I passed by her desk and walked into my office. “Morning. I have your coffee.” I set the files on my desk and turned around, taking the cup of coffee from her. “Thank you. I needed this. Do me a favor and pull the phone records for Mr. Williams. I need to see if that sneaky bastard is lying about his calls.” “Sure thing, boss.” She smiled as she strutted her way back to her desk. I spent the morning working on the Williams vs. Williams case, a high-profile divorce case in which we represented Mrs. Williams. I was getting hungry, so I made my way to the kitchen area of the office and grabbed my yogurt from the refrigerator. As I was walking back to my office, I heard Tim call my name. “Avery.” I turned around and stopped dead in my tracks, jaw dropping to the floor and my heart racing. “I’d like you to meet one of our biggest clients, Oliver and Liam Wyatt of Wyatt Enterprises.” I gulped. “Oliver. Liam. This is our newest associate, Avery Lewis.” “It’s nice to meet you.” Oliver Wyatt extended his hand. “It’s nice to meet you too.”
I looked at Liam, who was standing there, smiling at me. “It’s nice to meet you, Avery Lewis.” He extended his hand. Shit. Shit. Shit. You have got to be kidding me. Gym Guy was one of my firm’s biggest clients? I gave him a smile as his eyes stared into mine while I lightly shook his hand. His touch was explosive and a fiery sensation ripped through my body. “It’s nice to meet you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have cases I need to work on.” I walked away with shaking knees back to my office. As soon as I returned to my office, I sat down in my chair and let out a deep breath. “Avery Lewis, eh?” I looked up and Liam walked into my office, shut the door, and took a seat in front of my desk. “Yes. May I help you with something, Mr. Wyatt?” “Mr. Wyatt?” He arched his brow. “Call me Liam. So, you’re a lawyer working for one of the top law firms in the country and you couldn’t tell me that. Why?” He tilted his head and flashed his sexy smile. For fuck sake, he was so damn hot that I had to cross my legs. “It’s not that I couldn’t tell you, I just didn’t want to.” “Why not?” Gee, maybe because every time you’re near me, I can’t control the ache between my legs and it’s annoying. “I’m just a very private person. I don’t give out my personal information to random strangers.” “I see. Well, now that we are no longer strangers and we know each other’s names, how about dinner some time?” “Sorry, but I can’t.” “You can’t or you won’t?” He smirked. “See this pile right here?” I put my hand on top of the mountain of files. “These take up my dinner time.” “You need to take a break at some point.”
My office door opened and Oliver poked his head in. “Liam, we need to get back to the office.” “I’m coming, Oliver.” He got up from his seat and held out his hand. “It was a pleasure seeing you again. It’s nice to know you as Avery instead of Gym Girl.” Against my better judgment, I placed my hand in his and the fiery sensation that shot throughout my body earlier intensified. “Have a good day, Liam.” He walked out and, in an instant, Ella came running in. “Oh my God, that’s Liam Wyatt. He’s one of New York’s most eligible bachelors and he was in here talking to you! Do you need me to fan you?” She picked up a file folder and began waving it in front of me. “Give me that and stop it!” I took the file from her hand. “He’s so into you. Did you see the way he looked at you?” “He stopped in to say hi. We know each other from the gym and that’s it.” “Aw, Avery. You’re young and you have a lot to learn about men and that sexy as fuck man wants you.” She grinned as she slowly nodded her head. “Listen, Ella,” I got up from my chair and walked around my office, “I know all there is to know about men. They’re users, liars, and cheaters. We’re nothing but their puppets and they’re the puppeteers, manipulating us to get what they want, and then BAM!” I clapped my hands together. “When they get us exactly where they want us, it’s over. We’re kicked to the curb and left in nothing but a pool of tears with a broken heart wondering what it was that we did wrong to make them leave. So, if Mr. Liam Wyatt has a thing for me, then I feel sorry for him because you see this?” I moved my hand up and down in front of me. “I see nothing.” She shook her head in confusion. “Look closer, Ella. It’s my wall and the wall is there to tell all interested men to back off!”
“Oh.” Her face twisted and her eyes narrowed. “I’m going to go out on a limb here, Avery, and assume you’ve been deeply hurt before.” “More times than I can count. Now, I have a pile of work to do.” I walked back to my desk and sat down. ****
Liam I couldn’t get over the fact that gym girl was an associate at Finn, Muir, & Abernathy. It had me wondering how old she was. She looked younger than me, but Finn didn’t hire new law school graduates. He only hired established lawyers. “You move fast,” Oliver spoke as we walked out of the building, distracting me from my thoughts. “What?” “You just met that new associate, Avery Lewis, and you were already in her office hitting on her.” He smiled. “Oliver, she’s Gym Girl.” He stopped behind me. “What did you say?” I turned around. “That’s the girl from the gym I was telling you and Delilah about last night.” I climbed in the back of Oliver’s limo. Oliver slid in next to me. “Did you ask her out while you were making yourself comfortable in her office?” I shrugged. “I told her we should have dinner some time.” “And?” “She basically said no.” “She’s pretty,” Oliver spoke. “She’s beautiful.” I smiled. “You’ll figure it out and, when you do, she won’t be able to say no. After all, you are my brother.” He winked. “You are so full of yourself.” I chuckled. When the workday ended, and I was on my way home from the office, I stopped at the Food Emporium to pick up some things for
dinner. I had decided that tonight was the night that I would cook in my new home. I grabbed a cart and headed to the produce section to get some vegetables for a stir-fry. As I was looking over the green peppers, my phone rang. “Hey, Collin. What’s up?” “Just calling to see how your move went.” “It went good. I’m thinking about having a housewarming party as soon as I get the new floor in the foyer put in.” “Sounds like a plan. I can’t wait to see your new bachelor pad.” I looked up and saw Avery standing there staring at me. “Hey, Collin. Let me call you back.” “Sure, bro. I’ll talk to you soon.” Click. “Hello there.” I smiled. “Hi. Don’t you have people that do that for you?” she asked. “Do what for me?” “Your shopping.” “Nope. I do my own shopping.” “I see,” she said as she picked up a green pepper and examined it. “Are you on your way home from work too?” I asked. “Yeah. I needed to pick up a few things.” “So you live around here?” She glared at me for a moment before answering my question. “Yeah. I do.” I could tell she wasn’t about to tell me exactly where she lived, so I didn’t press it. “Me too.” In fact, I could tell she was uncomfortable, so I decided that I wasn’t going to ask her any more questions. “It was nice seeing you again, Avery. I better get going.” “Yeah. Okay. I’ll see you around, Liam.” Her mouth gave way to a small smile. I collected a few more vegetables and then headed over to the meat section to get some chicken.
Avery Over the next couple of days, I saw Liam at the gym, but he didn’t say too much to me. A simple hi and have a nice day were the only words that escaped his lips. I found it odd since he always seemed to go out of his way to talk to me. I would catch myself unwillingly stealing small glances at him as he lifted weights. His body was ripped and my mind often traveled to the places it shouldn’t have been. Thinking about how his strong arms would feel wrapped around my body and playing the guessing game of how many inches his cock was. It was those uncontrollable thoughts that made the fierce ache I had down below intensify. God, I was horny and it had seemed like forever since I’d had sex with someone other than my B.O.B. I was sitting at my desk, prepping for court tomorrow when there was a knock on my office door. “Come in,” I spoke without looking up. “Hello there, Avery.” That voice. I gulped as I looked up and saw Harrison standing in my office. “What are you doing here, Harrison?” My tone was stern and my stomach started to ache. “I was in town for a client meeting and I heard you were the new associate here, so I thought I’d stop by and say hi.” “Hi? Just hi? What about an apology?” “Avery.” He cocked his head and gave a small smile as he held out his hands. “I did nothing wrong, babe.” I slowly got up from my desk and slammed down my pen. “Nothing? So it’s okay to sleep around on your girlfriend?” I said rather loudly.
“Keep it down. I never said we were exclusive. We’ve already been over this. I thought maybe you got over it, but I guess I was wrong. I just wanted to say hi and see your new office.” I pointed my finger at him as I slowly walked over to where he was standing. “We dated for four months and not once did you say you wanted to see other people!” I jammed my finger into his chest as he backed up and began walking out of my office. “All those times you cancelled plans on me, you were out sleeping around with one of your whores. You are a pathetic excuse for a human being and I hope you catch chlamydia!” I yelled as he stumbled into the hall. I crossed my arms and looked down for a moment. “Wow, Avery. I don’t even know what the hell I ever saw in you.” “Keep talking, hotshot, and I’ll end your fucking career with one hell of a sexual harassment suit, and you know I’ll win!” I looked straight ahead at Ella as she sat there wide-eyed. Looking to my right, Oliver and Liam Wyatt were standing there with their hands placed in their pockets. I shook my head, turned around, and shut my office door. Before I could even make it back to my desk, the door opened. “Not now, Ella.” “Are you okay?” Liam asked. “Why do you care?” I spoke with an attitude. “Please just leave.” “I’m afraid I can’t do that just yet. I’m not leaving until you tell me you’re okay.” “I’m fine.” I inhaled a deep breath as I sat down behind my desk. “That was one hell of a scene. I especially loved it when you told him you hope he catches chlamydia.” He smiled. “Does he work here?” “No. He works at the firm I left back in Danbury, Connecticut. It was something that never should have happened. I was stupid and—I don’t even know why I’m telling you this.” I placed my hand on my forehead. “Maybe because I’m a nice guy and you feel comfortable around me.” I rolled my eyes. “Can you please just go, Liam?”
“No. I’m not going anywhere until you agree to have dinner with me tonight.” Was he kidding? “I’m not having dinner with you tonight.” “I think you should have dinner with him tonight,” Ella said as she walked in and put a file on my desk. “Your secretary is a very smart woman and if she says you should have dinner with me, then you should.” I sighed as I slumped back in my chair and stared at him. “If I agree to have dinner with you, will you agree to leave me alone?” “Yes.” He smiled. “Fine, Mr. Wyatt. I will have dinner with you tonight, but I can’t be out late because I have to be in court first thing in the morning.” “I promise to have you home early. I’ll make reservations for seven o’clock. Give me your address so I can pick you up.” “You’re good and sneaky. I will meet you at the restaurant. There’s no need to pick me up.” “Okay. Then give me your phone number and I’ll text you the name of the restaurant.” “You can call my secretary and tell her.” I gave a cocky smile. He sighed. “That works too. I’ll see you tonight at seven.” I slowly shook my head as he walked out of my office. What was I doing? This wasn’t a good idea. Ella stopped in the doorway and put her hands up. “Don’t shoot me, but he’s a really nice guy and you should get to know him. Don’t let one bad apple deter you from sampling the good and crisp ones.” I frowned as I glared at her. “What?” “Never mind. Go and have a nice dinner with that hot and sexy corporate man and when you come in tomorrow, I want all the juicy details!” She winked and walked out of my office. “There aren’t going to be any juicy details,” I yelled.
After eating lunch in my office and going through the final details for court tomorrow, my phone rang. “Hey, Willow.” “Hi, Avery. Cam and I are going to dinner tonight and want you to come with.” “As much as I’d love to, I can’t. I already have dinner plans with someone.” “Oh? And would this someone be of the male species?” “Yes, and don’t say another word. He’s a guy I know from the gym. We’re sort of friends, I guess.” “You guess? What the hell is going on?” “It’s a long story and I promise to tell you about it later.” As we continued our conversation, my phone beeped with a text message. I put Willow on speaker and checked it. “Le Bernardin. 155 West 51st street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. See you at seven.” What the—“Willow, I have to go and yell at my secretary. I’ll call you tomorrow.” I hung up and walked out to Ella’s desk, staring at her as she sat and typed at her computer. “May I help you with something?” she asked without looking at me. “Did you give Mr. Wyatt my phone number?” She put her hands up. “Okay. Okay. But come on, Avery, he’s so hot and he should have your number. What if he had to cancel or something at the last minute and you were sitting in the restaurant all alone waiting for him, looking at your watch as the time ticks away and thinking you were stood up. You have man issues and I know that’s exactly what you’d be thinking.” I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply. “Fine.” I turned on my heels and walked back into my office.
Liam “I like Avery. She’s got spunk. She reminds me of Delilah.” Oliver smiled as he patted my back. “She agreed to have dinner with me tonight.” “Good man. I knew you’d figure out a way. After witnessing that little scene outside her office, I can see why she’s been avoiding you. It’s obvious she has been deeply hurt. I can relate.” I laughed. “God help me if she’s anything like you.” Oliver grinned and we went our separate ways. I headed home to change, and when I got there, I noticed the flooring for the foyer had been delivered. The last thing I needed was to be going out, but Avery Lewis had me intrigued which, at this moment, took priority over putting in my floor. Ordering a drink, I looked at my watch. It was six fifty-five. “Checking to see if you have enough time to bolt?” Avery asked as she slid in the seat across from me. I chuckled. “Are you always this witty?” I smiled. She smiled back as the waitress took her drink order. “I’ll have a dry martini with a twist.” “Very good,” the waitress spoke as she walked away. “Thank you for having dinner with me,” I said to get the conversation going. Her eyes sparkled under the illuminating lights and, being a man who was very attracted to her, my cock twitched more than it should have. “I want to apologize for earlier,” she said as she took a sip of her water. “For what?”
“At my office. The little scene you witnessed. It was very unprofessional, but he caught me off guard.” “No need to apologize. I found it entertaining. Oliver told me that he likes you. He said you have spunk.” She laughed. “Tell Oliver I said thank you.” The waitress returned and set our drinks in front of us. Avery quickly took a sip. “I’m sorry, but I have to ask you this and you can tell me it’s none of my business, but how old are you?” “Mr. Wyatt, don’t you know it’s impolite to ask a woman her age?” “Yes, I’m aware, but you have me all confused because Finn, Muir, and Abernathy doesn’t hire new law graduates.” “You didn’t google me or have me checked out?” “No. I didn’t. That’s my brother’s thing, not mine.” “I’ll be twenty-four next week.” With a raised brow, I looked at her in confusion. “I graduated law school when I was twenty-one.” Shit. Was she serious? “How is that possible?” She took another sip of her martini. “When you have an I.Q. of 159, it’s easy.” She looked down. “And here is when you tell me it was nice meeting me, but you have an emergency and you have to leave.” “Why do you say that?” I asked. “Because that’s what most men do.” “I’m not most men, Avery.” I took a sip of my scotch. “My niece, Sophie, Oliver’s daughter, has an I.Q. of 160 and she’s one of the most fascinating people I know.” “Really?” She smiled. “How old is Sophie?” “She’s six and she’s an amazing artist. Her paintings will blow your mind.” “I’d love to meet her someday.” “Okay. I can arrange that.” I smiled. ****
Avery Having dinner with Liam was more comfortable than I thought it would be. I found him easy to talk to. Something I really hadn’t found with anyone besides Willow and Cam. The fact that his niece was a genius comforted me because that meant he understood and he didn’t seem to feel threatened by it like most men did. “Now that I told you my age, it’s time to tell me yours. You and Oliver seem a little young to be owning a multibillion-dollar company.” “I just turned twenty-nine a couple of months ago. We started out by flipping houses and built Wyatt Enterprises from there.” “Interesting. Your parents must be very proud.” “I haven’t seen my parents since I was seventeen years old. They moved to Germany and have never been back.” “I’m sorry. Do you talk to them?” “Sometimes. Not very often. My brother wants nothing to do with them. They just found out about Sophie and his marriage to Delilah.” “Is Delilah Sophie’s mother?” “Not biological mother. She was Sophie’s nanny.” “Oh?” I asked in surprise. “It’s a long story. I’ll tell you all about it some time.” He laughed. His laugh was cute. In fact, everything about him was cute. Okay, sexy. Everything about him was sexy and he really turned me on. “Avery?” I heard Willow’s voice behind me. “Liam?” I heard Cam say. “Willow, Cam, what are you doing here?” I asked with surprise. “I was going to call you in the morning, Liam,” Cam said. “There’s an offer on your apartment and you’re going to like it.” “Wonderful news.” Liam smiled. “Hold up here? You two know each other?” I asked as I pointed to Cam and Liam.
“Cameron is my real estate agent. He helped me find my townhouse and now he’s selling my apartment.” “Oh my God!” Willow exclaimed. “Is this—?” “Uh huh.” Cam smiled at her. “But you didn’t—” “Nope.” Cam shook his head. “What’s going on?” I asked as I gave the evil eye to Cam and Willow. “Oh, nothing. You two enjoy your dinner. We’re going to go sit down now. It was nice to meet you, Liam.” The two of them walked away and Liam looked at me. “How do you know them?” “They’re my best friends. We grew up together in Danbury, Connecticut.” “What a small world.” He grinned at me. “It sure is.” My phone dinged and when I pulled it from my purse, there were two text messages. One from Willow and one from Cam. Willow: “That’s the guy Cameron wanted to set you up with. How freaky is that?” Cam: “Liam Wyatt is a great guy. Be nice to him.” “Everything okay?” Liam asked. “Yeah. Just a message about court tomorrow,” I lied.
Liam The more I sat and talked to Avery, the more I liked her. She might have been only twenty-four, but she acted more mature than the other women I had dated. “Your parents must be very proud of you, especially your dad.” As soon as the waitress set down Avery’s second martini, she took a larger sip than normal. “Now there’s an interesting subject.” She set her glass down. “I don’t have a father. Well, I mean, I do, but he left before I was born. I was six years old when I first met him and on my eleventh birthday was the last time I saw him. In those five years, he called a few times to talk to me. I haven’t heard from him since.” “I’m really sorry, Avery. I had no idea.” “It’s fine. He’s an asshole and I could care less about him. But I did grow up with two moms.” I arched my brow at her and she smiled. “Claudia is my birth mother and Lisa, her partner, is my step-mom, I guess. Lisa has been in my life since I was two years old.” “So your mom’s a lesbian?” “Yes. I grew up in a lesbian household. Claudia is a geneticist and Lisa is a psychiatrist.” “Wow. That’s great. I bet it’s been hard on them since you moved here to New York.” “Yeah, it has, but they only want the best for me and whatever makes me happy.” “And what does make Avery Lewis happy?” I asked with a grin. “Being a lawyer makes me happy.”
We talked a little more and when we finished our dinner, Avery pulled out her wallet and handed me some cash. “What’s this for?” “For my dinner.” “Sorry, but dinner’s on me.” I smiled. “No. I’m paying for my own because if I let you pay, then this would be considered a date, which it is not.” “Seriously, Avery. Don’t be ridiculous. I’ve got this and, no, it’s not a date. It’s a business dinner.” I winked. “Let Wyatt Enterprises pick up the tab.” “Thank you, Liam.” “You’re welcome.” We left the restaurant and I was about to hail a cab when she stopped me. “It’s a beautiful night; would you like to walk me home?” “I would love to walk you home, but that would mean you’d have to tell me where you live.” “I live at 400 East 71st Street.” She smiled. I cocked my head. “Really? I live at 162 East 71st Street. I’m only about a seven-minute walk from you. You do realize that from here, it’s about forty minutes back to your place.” “I figured as much. Are you afraid to walk forty minutes, Gym Guy?” “No.” I chuckled. “But will your feet be okay in those heels?” I pointed to her shoes. She reached down and took them off. “They will be now.” As we walked down the streets of New York, the air was getting cooler, and I could tell she was cold by the way she had her arms crossed. “Are you cold?” “Just a bit, but I’ll be fine. I guess it wasn’t such a beautiful night after all.”
I took off my suit coat and wrapped it around her shoulders. “Here. This will keep you warm.” “What about you?” “I’m fine.” “Thank you.” She smiled. Continuing our walk back to Avery’s place, we talked about our college days. It was hard to believe that she graduated college when I was first entering it. This woman was amazing. ****
Avery We reached my building and stood in front of the front doors. The only thing I could think about was having sex with him. He was hot and the flashes in my mind of us rolling around in my bed excited me all night. He didn’t work at my firm and there was no harm in sleeping with him. Meaningless sex, right? Two consenting adults having fun after a nice dinner and a few drinks. No harm. Just fun. “Thank you again for having dinner with me. I had a great time.” He smiled as he stared into my eyes. This was that awkward moment. You know, the one where the guy isn’t sure if he should kiss the girl on the lips or the cheek? Shit. The ache between my legs was so fierce that I took control of the awkward moment and smashed my mouth into his. He didn’t pull away. He reciprocated by slipping his tongue inside my mouth, melting every fiber inside my body. I pulled away and looked at him, my heart beating at the speed of light, ready to jump out of my chest. “I think you need to walk me up to my apartment,” I spoke with bated breath. “I can do that.” He grabbed my hand. We climbed into the elevator, and as soon as I hit the button for the twentieth floor, he took my arms and pushed me up against the wall,
pinning my arms above my head and kissing me with such heat that I almost had an orgasm. The elevator stopped. He let go of me and when the doors opened, we walked to my apartment. I fumbled through my purse for my key. “Well, here it is. My apartment,” I spoke nervously. “Good night, Avery.” He leaned in and kissed me again as if he thought he was leaving. I placed my hands on each side of his face as our tongues tangled and our heated lips intertwined. His strong hands ran up and down my sides, causing my knees to go weak. “Would you like to come inside?” “Are you sure?” he asked between kisses. “Yes. I’m very sure.” “Then I’d love to.” I turned around and unlocked the door. We barely made it inside as I kicked it shut with my foot. My hand immediately went to the bulge in his pants. He was solid and ready. He reached back and unzipped my dress, taking down my straps and letting it fall to the ground. I stood there, my body on display in only a black push-up bra and a black thong. A growl made its way up his throat as his lips traveled across my neck and down to my breasts. Unbuckling his belt, I unzipped his pants and stuck my hand down the front of him, taking him in my hand. Oh my God, he was thick and long. Excitement coursed throughout me at the thought of him being inside me. He reached around and unhooked my bra, tossing it to the floor and taking my erect nipples between his fingers. “You’re so beautiful, Avery.” He picked me up and held on to me, asking me where the bedroom was. “To the left,” I said breathlessly as my lips tasted his. He lay me down on the bed, standing up and staring at me as he took down his pants and underwear, freeing his throbbing, thick, and vascular cock. He was incredibly gifted and I knew he was going to be the best fuck I’d ever had. His fingers hooked around the sides of my
panties as he slowly pulled them down and tossed them on the floor. He smiled at me as his hands cupped my ass and he bent down, placing his head between my legs and softly kissing my inner thigh. Bringing my hands to his head and tangling my fingers in his hair, his tongue slid up to my slick opening as he moaned in delight. “You taste so good. I’m going to make you come at least twice before I fuck you.” I liked that idea and his words heightened my excitement. Two orgasms pre-sex was going to be easy with him because I was just about to have orgasm number one. As his tongue circled my clit, his finger dipped inside me, finding my G spot right away and sending my body into overdrive as the wave of a mind-blowing orgasm took over. I tightened my legs around his head as my hands took hold of the comforter, gripping it tight while I threw my head back and moaned. “Orgasm number one.” He smiled as his mouth traveled up my torso and his lips wrapped around my nipple. I was breathless and still feeling the effects of that orgasm. He flipped me on my stomach and dragged his tongue down my spine while he reached around and took a firm hold of my breasts, taking my nipples between his fingers as he rubbed them, taking the abundance of excitement down below to a whole new level. “I need you to be inside of me, Liam. I can’t take it anymore. I need to feel you.” “You will as soon as you have orgasm number two,” he spoke with bated breath. He released my breasts and moved his hand down below, cupping me from behind and placing two of his fingers against my clit, rubbing it slow, then fast. “You’re so wet and hot,” he moaned. He dipped one finger inside and kept the other placed firmly against my clit, moving them in sync as the sensation and feeling of another orgasm crept up inside me. The noises that escaped me were ones I’d never let out before. But with him, I couldn’t control them.
We were like animals in heat who couldn’t get enough of each other. I reached my peak and let out a scream as my body gave in to another orgasm.
Liam She was on fire. Her body was more perfect than I’d ever imagined it would be. Her screams of excitement overtook me. She was soaked with pleasure and I couldn’t wait to be inside of her, to feel her warmth and the softness that resided inside. Once she came down from her orgasm, she flipped over and sat up, pushing me down on my back with a seductive look in her eye. “My turn.” She smiled. “Shit, Avery. I don’t have a condom.” “What do you mean? You’re a man and men always carry condoms with them,” she said as she leaned down and kissed me. “Not when they don’t plan on having sex with just anyone. Shit.” She looked at me as she took my cock firmly in her hand, stroking my shaft up and down as she reached over and opened the drawer in her nightstand. “I’m on the pill. See. I’ve taken them regularly.” She opened up her pill case and held it up to my face. “If you don’t mind not using a condom, I don’t either. As long as you’re clean.” “Oh, trust me. I’m clean. I take that very seriously.” “Good.” She smiled as she straddled me, rubbing her wetness along my stomach. She was so sexy and had me so turned on that I couldn’t take it anymore. I lifted her hips as she scooted down and the tip of my cock was at her entrance. She slowly slid down as I watched her bite her lip and she took my entire length inside her. We both gasped at the same time. Her hands were planted firmly on my chest as mine latched onto her breasts. She began moving her hips back and forth and then around in circles. I threw my head back as I lifted my hips and moved
in and out of her. The pressure was building and I wasn’t going to last much longer. I placed my thumb on her wet clit as she leaned back and moaned in excitement. Her taut abs and incredibly toned body sent me into bliss as we came together in sync, her spilling herself all over my cock and me pouring every ounce of come I had inside of her. She collapsed on top of me, our hearts beating rapidly as our breathing slowed. I held her tight and she lifted her head, kissing my lips before rolling off of me. We both lay there, breathless, flat on our backs, staring at each other. “Wow. That was—” “Yeah. I know.” I smiled. I grabbed her hand and held it for a few moments before she got up and went into the bathroom. “I like your bedroom,” I yelled as I looked around. “Thanks.” She walked out of the bathroom and slipped back into her panties. “You’re leaving, right?” she asked. I was caught off guard by her question. “Not unless you want me to stay.” “It’s just I have to get up really early and get to court. So I think it’s best if you just go back to your place.” “Okay,” I said as I got up and put on my clothes. Well, this was a first. I’d never been kicked out by a woman before and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. She walked me to the door and I ran the back of my hand along her cheek. “Good night, Avery. Sleep well.” I brushed my lips against hers. “Good night, Liam. You too.” She opened the door and I walked out. Why did I have the feeling that this was a one-time thing? ****
Shit. I left a file at the office that I needed for court. I grabbed my cell phone from the nightstand and called Ella. “Hello, boss.” “Ella, I need you to grab the Williams folder on my desk and bring it to the courthouse. I left it there by mistake yesterday.” “Sure thing. I’ll be there shortly.” “Thank you.” I finished getting ready and tried to hail a cab. I stepped out into the street and held my hand up as about four of them, totally empty, drove past me. “Assholes,” I shouted as I flipped them off. Davis walked out, laughing. “Here, Avery, let me get you one.” He whistled and one stopped. “Thank you, Davis. I promise I’ll get the hang of this.” “Have a good day, Avery.” He smiled as he shut the door. My body was still on fire from last night. I barely slept because all I could think about was Liam’s hands all over me. He was the best sex I’d ever had and he left me craving more. Spending the night wasn’t an option. There would be no cuddling up next to each other after sex and waking up wrapped in each other’s arms. I wouldn’t let myself become attached to him. I couldn’t. Last night was just about sex and that was the way it was going to stay. A man in his position wasn’t likely to settle down anyway. Even if he was, it wouldn’t last. Walking into the courthouse, I heard Ella yell my name. When I turned around, she halted a few feet in front of me with the file folder in her hand. “You’re glowing. Since I’ve met you, you’ve never glowed. OH MY GOD! You had sex with him!” “SHH! Keep your voice down,” I said as I took the file from her and led her to the corner by the elevator. “Let’s just say I let out all my pent-up frustrations.” “Was he as good as I imagined he’d be?” she asked.
“Better.” I winked. “Thanks for bringing this. I have to get in the courtroom now. I’ll see you later.” She walked away with a huge smile on her face as Joel and Mrs. Williams walked up to me. “Are you ready?” he asked. “Yep. I sure am.” I smiled as we walked into the courtroom. Joel was the associate who I would be working with on various cases, the Williams case being one of them. He was short, bald, chubby, and a nice guy who was married with two kids. The Williams case was a slam-dunk and Mrs. Williams walked away with half of everything, plus the house in France. Mr. Williams tried to defend the fact that he had sex with prostitutes based on the issue that his wife wasn’t having sex with him due to her medical condition, which caused him distress and mental anguish. The judge didn’t buy into it and thus awarded Mrs. Williams more than what she was asking for. As soon as I arrived back at the law firm, my phone dinged with a text message from Liam. “Hope you’re having a great day and court went well. Missed you at the gym this morning. Maybe we could do dinner again some time.” Missed me? Shit. No. No. No. There will be no missing anyone. “Won the case so my day is great. As for dinner, I’m pretty busy the next few nights. I’ll call you when I get some free time.” “Okay, you do that. I have a meeting to get to. Talk to you soon.” I walked into my office and stared at his response. Okay, you do that. I sensed a bit of attitude in those typed words. I sighed as I sat down at my desk. It was only sex. He promised to leave me alone if I had dinner with him.
Liam “Damn it,” I yelled as I cut my hand and got up from the floor. I walked into the kitchen and ran it under cold water. I’d spent the last couple of nights installing my new floor, trying to get my mind off of Avery, which wasn’t easy. She was unforgettable. Especially after the other night. She hadn’t called, texted, nothing. As I wrapped a towel around my hand, I heard a knock at the door. Making my way through the foyer and the half-done floor, I opened it to find Collin standing there holding up a bottle of scotch and a large pizza. “Greetings, friend. I bring floor-working food.” He grinned. “Come on in. Be careful where you walk.” “Wow, Liam. This place looks great. What did you do?” he asked as he pointed to my hand. “Cut it laying down the floor. I’ll be fine.” He followed me to the kitchen and set the pizza and scotch on the island. Removing the towel from my hand, I found it was still bleeding, so I ran upstairs to get a Band-Aid. When I came back, Collin had two glasses of scotch poured and the pizza was on the table. “Thanks for bringing this over,” I spoke as I took a slice of pizza from the box. “Where’s Amelia?” “She’s with my mom. They’re shopping for dresses for the gala Saturday night. You’re still going, right?” “Yeah. I’ll be there.” I took a sip of my scotch. “I know we’ve both been a little busy over the past few days, but how did your dinner go with Avery?” I sighed as I slowly shook my head. “That bad, eh?” he asked.
“No. Actually, it was amazing. We had a great dinner, great conversation, and the best sex I’d ever had.” “Wow. Then why the sigh?” “Because I think she used me.” I frowned. “How?” “I didn’t plan on sleeping with her. She pretty much threw herself at me and it happened.” Collin picked up his glass and laughed. “And now she won’t talk to you?” “Dude, she kicked me out of her apartment afterwards and when I texted her the next day telling her we should have dinner again, she told me she was busy and she’d get back with me, which we as men know what that means.” He continued laughing. “Sorry, bro. I don’t mean to laugh but, yeah, she used you for sex. How does it feel to be on the other side of things?” “Not good. Not good at all.” I shook my head. “Don’t despair, my friend. She’ll go out with you again. She’s playing hard to get.” He got up from his seat and rolled up his sleeves. “Come on; I’ll help you with that floor for a while.” **** As I reached over to turn off the annoying sound of my alarm clock, I could barely move. Between laying the floor last night and polishing off that bottle of scotch, I struggled to get my aching body and head out of bed. I was hoping that when I woke up, thoughts of Avery would be gone, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. She was as much in my head today as she had been since I saw her last. I changed into my workout clothes, grabbed my suit and my gym bag, and headed to the gym. I stepped onto the treadmill and decided to walk instead of run due to the fact that my aching body was already screaming at me. It was six
fifteen and no sign of Avery. In a way, I was relieved because seeing her again would only make me want her more. My relief quickly dissipated as she stepped on the treadmill next to me and smiled. “Good morning.” “Good morning,” I replied. “How are you?” “I’m good. How are you?” “Good. Thanks. I guess you’ve been busy, since I haven’t heard from you.” “Yeah. I’m up to my neck in cases.” “No worries. I’ve been really busy too.” I smiled to let her know that I wasn’t waiting around for her call, even though I was. “That’s good. Keeping busy is a good thing.” The question was brewing in my mind and it rolled off of my tongue before I had the chance to think about it. “Did you use me for sex?” She stopped the treadmill and stared at me. “Really? You want to have this discussion here?” “Why not? Nobody’s listening. They all have their earphones in and their music blaring.” Cocking her head and glaring at me, she restarted the treadmill and began to run. “Isn’t that what most people do? As human beings, our brains are wired for sex. It’s a necessity, like eating, for example. It doesn’t mean anything and you of all people should know that.” “Me of all people? What’s that supposed to mean?” “You’re rich, you’re way beyond hot, and you can have any woman you want. I can guarantee that you’ve had meaningless sex with more women than double my age.” Wow. I was insulted. “Double your age is taking it to the extreme and—” I stopped. I couldn’t say anything else because she was right. I did have sex with a lot of women over the years, but she made me out to be some kind of man whore. I stopped the treadmill and got off. “You don’t know anything about me, Miss Lewis. Have a good day.”
I walked away and went into the locker room to get ready for the office. ****
Avery He walked away angry. Maybe I shouldn’t have said it, but I needed to make it very clear that what happened between us meant absolutely nothing. That was what I kept telling myself. The more I said it, the more I believed it. I had to believe it. It was the only way to shield myself from any future humiliation. As I was running, I watched him walk out of the gym in his suit. His black, tailored, sexy as hell suit made me ache in areas I didn’t think possible. I shook my head as I turned up the volume of my music and upped the speed on the treadmill. I was running. Running from Liam Wyatt and myself. When I walked into the office, Ella jumped up from her desk and followed me inside with a cup of coffee in her hand. “Good morning,” she spoke as she set the cup down on my desk. “Morning. A good one it’s not.” I sat down and picked up my cup. “What happened?” “Had a little run-in with Mr. Wyatt at the gym. I said something, and he got all pissy and walked out.” “What did you say to him?” she asked as she took a seat. “He asked me if I used him for sex and I told him yes. Then I guess I practically called him a man whore.” Her jaw dropped. “Why would you call him that?” “I didn’t actually call him that. But I insinuated by stating that the number of women he probably had meaningless sex with was double my age.” “Oh, Avery. That wasn’t nice.” “I know, and I do feel bad for saying it, even if I don’t want to.” “You better call him and apologize.” She pointed at me. “Or he’ll never call you again.”
“Maybe that’s the point. I don’t want him calling me again.” “Yes you do. You’re just letting that stupid wall get in the way.” She got up from her seat and walked back to her desk. Sighing, I opened up a new case file. As I was looking it over, Adam Abernathy walked in. “Morning, Avery. Don’t forget about the Business, Law, and Leadership Gala tomorrow night at Capitale.” I looked at him in confusion. “I’m sorry, Mr. Abernathy, but I don’t know anything about it.” “It’s Adam, and Tim didn’t tell you?” “No.” I shook my head. He took a seat across from my desk. “He probably forgot. We normally don’t let first-year associates attend, but we want you there.” “Okay. Why?” He stared at me for a moment with pursed lips before answering my question. “You’re an asset to this firm. I know you’ve only been here a couple of weeks, but with your background and intelligence, we think it would be beneficial to you and this firm if you attended. Think of it as rubbing elbows with some of the country’s top CEOs. Maybe ones we’re trying to snag. The way you won the Kilbrand vs. Essex Corp. case back in Danbury was brilliant. Don’t think we didn’t do our research on you before we hired you.” “Really? Because according to Tim, he had to convince you and Mark to hire me.” “Ah, he told you that. Well, we were a little skeptical at first because of your age, but upon further investigation, we knew it would be a great decision. So, anyway.” He got up from his seat. “The gala is at six o’clock. We’ll see you there.” He winked. I pushed the intercom button on my desk phone. “Ella, could you please come here?” “What’s up?” “Apparently, I’m attending a gala tomorrow night. Did you know anything about that?”
“I had heard something about it.” She bit her bottom lip. “Actually, you’re the talk of the firm and other first-year associates are pissed.” Throwing my hands up, I couldn’t believe it. “Great. That explains why I keep getting evil looks and people stop talking when I walk by. How did everyone know about this but me?” “Don’t worry about it, Avery. They’re just jealous because they aren’t half as good as you are. Pay them no attention.” “Thanks, Ella.” She gave me a smile. As she walked out of my office, Tim walked in. “Avery, we need to see you in the conference room.” “Sure.” I nervously got up and followed him.
Liam As I was sitting back in my chair, thinking about the shit Avery said to me, Oliver stormed into my office. “We have a problem.” “What’s going on?” “We’re being sued.” “What else is new?” I laughed. “By Laurel.” His face was stern and full of anger. “What? What the fuck is she suing us for?” “Apparently, she was hosting an event at the Regency House and there was an incident.” “What kind of incident?” “All I know is she was hosting the event and the ceiling collapsed.” I couldn’t help the laughter that escaped me. “That’s terrible.” I continued laughing. “Nobody was hurt. Were they?” “No.” He threw a stack of papers on my desk. “She’s suing Wyatt Enterprises for $5.5 million dollars.” “What the fuck for?” “To compensate her for the loss of her event and mental anguish. We need to get over to Finn, Muir, & Abernathy. Let’s go. They’re waiting for us.” I sighed as I got up from my desk, put on my suitcoat, and headed out the door. When we arrived at the law firm, we were taken into the conference room. I stopped when I saw Avery sitting next to Tim. I was still angry at her for what she said earlier. “Gentlemen, have a seat,” Tim said as he pointed to the chairs across from him and Avery. “What’s going on, Tim?” Avery asked as she looked directly at me.
“A situation has come up for Wyatt Enterprises and Mark, who normally handles all their business, is detained with a headache of a case at the moment. So, I’m going to let you handle it. Under my supervision, of course. That’s if the Wyatt brothers don’t have any objections.” “But, Tim, she’s—” Oliver spoke. “She’s fine,” I interrupted as I stared directly at her. She didn’t look too happy and I was loving it. After reading over the complaint, she looked up at us. “This one is an easy win.” “That’s what I like to hear.” Tim smiled. “I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” Oliver spoke. “You have no clue who you’re dealing with.” She cocked her head and smirked. “Do you know this woman?” “She is Oliver’s ex-girlfriend and, obviously, she’s still mourning over the breakup,” I replied. “Thanks, Liam.” Oliver shook his head. “So this is a revenge suit. Okay. No problem.” “Like I said, you don’t know who you’re dealing with,” Oliver said. “And she doesn’t know who she’s dealing with. I’ll review the case file and then I’ll need to take depositions from you both. This won’t even make it to court. If it does, we’ll get it thrown out.” “You seem very confident, Miss Lewis.” Oliver smirked at her. “I am, Mr. Wyatt.” She looked at the paper again and, instantly, her expression changed. “Tim, I need to speak with you in private.” “Oliver. Liam. We’ll be in touch soon.” He stood up and extended his hand to us. After shaking it, I held mine out to Avery. “Thank you, Miss Lewis.” She was hesitant, but she had no choice as she placed her hand in mine. The electricity that went through me was insane and memories of our night together flooded my mind. Walking out of the conference room and out of the building, Oliver turned and looked at me.
“She’s a first-year associate. What the fuck is Tim doing?” “Relax, Oliver. She’s a genius, literally. She can handle this. She graduated law school when she was twenty-one.” “You’re kidding, right?” “No, I’m not. If it’ll make you feel better, have her checked out. But I’m not. I have confidence in her.” He placed his hand on my shoulder. “You slept with her. Didn’t you?” I didn’t respond and I just kept walking until we reached Oliver’s limo. ****
Avery “What did you want to talk to me about, Avery?” Tim asked as he shut his office door. “You need to get someone else for this case.” “Why? What’s the problem?” I didn’t want to tell him. I couldn’t tell him. I was literally shaking at the thought of having to take on this case. “The problem is the opposing attorney. Please don’t ask me any more questions. Just get someone else.” He crossed his hands as he stared at me from his desk. His eyes were searching deep within me for the answers to the questions he so desperately wanted to ask. “No. You’re the lead attorney on this case and there will be no more discussion about it. Whatever issues you have with John Carrington, get over it.” “But he’s one of the best lawyers in the state, Tim. How could you put me up against him? I’m a first-year associate. One of the partners should be handling this case.”
“I’m doing it because I believe in you, kid. And you better make sure we win or else the Wyatt brothers may look elsewhere for legal representation and we can’t afford to lose them.” I sighed as I turned around and walked towards the door. “Avery,” Tim called. I looked at him, my hand firmly planted on the door handle. “You went up against one of the toughest and unscrupulous lawyers in the Kilbrand vs. Essex Case. John Carrington isn’t as bad, so I have no clue why you’re worried.” I shook my head and walked out the door. It was taking every bit of sense I had not to grab my things and never look back. “I’m taking off for lunch, Ella, and then I’m leaving for the day. I have a dress to buy for tomorrow and I’ll work better at home.” “Okay. Have a good day, Avery.” I walked into my office and grabbed the pile of files on my desk, my purse, my cell phone, and took a cab to my apartment. Setting the files on my dining table, I pulled my phone from my purse and called Willow. “Hello.” “Willow, I need you to go dress shopping with me. I have to attend a gala tomorrow night and I have no clue what to wear.” “I can never say no to shopping. The kids will have to come. I don’t have a babysitter today.” “That’s great. I’ll be over your place in about a half hour. I just need to change out of my work clothes.” “Okay. We’ll be ready and waiting.”
Avery I held onto Kinsley’s hand as we walked through Bloomingdale’s because she had decided that she didn’t want to sit in the stroller with her sister. We took the elevator up to the floor where the evening gowns were beautifully displayed, not only on the mannequins, but on the silver racks as well. I’d never been to a gala before, so I wasn’t sure what kind of dress to buy. “How about this?” I asked Willow as I pulled a black short-sleeved dress from the rack. She tilted her head and narrowed her eyes. “Too plain.” “I like plain.” She walked away, shaking her head. I pulled some dresses that I liked and she pulled ones she liked. The saleslady took them into a fitting room for me and, as I tried them on, Willow sat on the couch, feeding Hensley her bottle. The first dress I tried on was the plain black one I liked. When I walked out of the dressing room, Willow looked at me with a shocked expression. “Makes you look frumpy. Take it off.” I rolled my eyes and changed into another gown. A bright blue one that she had picked. “Well?” “It’s okay. You can do better. Try on something else.” We played this game for over thirty minutes as I tried on every dress we picked. None of them worked. “May I ask what the occasion is?” the saleslady named Melissa asked. “She’s going to her first gala tomorrow night.”
She slowly nodded her head as she looked me up and down. “I think I may have the perfect dress for you. I’ll be right back.” A few moments later, she came back and held up a champagnecolored dress. “This will look amazing on you. The material is a jersey sheath and all the beads on it were sewn by hand.” “It’s too fancy,” I spoke. I looked over at Willow and she rolled her eyes at me. “Okay. Let me ask you this. Is this for the Business, Law, and Leadership Gala?” “Yes.” “This is perfect. The who’s who of the upper-class society will be dressed in their finest. You’ll fit right in with all the other millionaire’s wives.” “I’m not a millionaire’s wife. I’m a lawyer.” “Oh. Even better. Dress to impress.” She smiled. I sighed as I took the dress from her and walked into the dressing room. Staring at myself in the full-length mirror, the dress wasn’t that bad. From the capped sleeves, plunging V-neck beaded neckline to the deep plunging back bodice that was accented with jewels, I liked it. When I stepped outside the room, Willow’s jaw dropped. “Oh, Avery. That is beautiful on you. You look gorgeous.” “See. I told you.” Melissa winked. “And look at that fit. It’s perfect.” “It is and I like it.” I reached over and looked at the price tag. “Oh. Well, it was nice while it lasted.” “WHAT!” Willow exclaimed as she put Hensley back in the stroller. “Willow, it’s three thousand dollars!” “So what? You deserve it. Take the risk, Avery. Just do it! You’re playing in the big leagues now. You need to step things up a notch.” ****
As I put on my bowtie, I heard the doorbell ring. I ran downstairs to the foyer and opened the door for Oliver and Delilah. “Hey, bro.” I gave him a light hug. “Delilah, you look beautiful.” I smiled as I kissed her cheek. “Thank you, Liam.” “You two are early.” “That’s because we have something to tell you,” Oliver spoke as he walked into the living room. I looked at them both and smirked. “You two aren’t—” Delilah smiled as she excitedly nodded her head. “Yes. We’re having a baby.” “Oh my God, congratulations.” I gave her a tight hug. “That is great news.” I looked over at Oliver, who was grinning from ear to ear. “Congrats, bro. I’m so happy for you both,” I spoke as I gave him a hug. “Thanks, Liam. We’re really excited about it. We wanted to tell you before the gala because you’d be questioning why Delilah wasn’t drinking.” “Ah, good idea. Does Sophie know?” “We told her earlier. She’s really happy.” “That’s great. She’s going to make an awesome big sister. If you’ll excuse me for a moment, I’m going to grab my jacket and then we can leave.” “I’ll come with you.” Oliver followed me upstairs. “I checked out Avery.” I looked at him and rolled my eyes. “I figured you would.” “Do you remember that case last year that was in the newspapers, Kilbrand vs. Essex Corp.?” “Yeah. I remember.” “Avery was the defense attorney on that case.” “Wow. I had no idea. Do you feel better now having her defend us against Laurel?” “I will admit that I do.” He smiled. “Have you told Delilah?”
“Told Delilah what?” she asked as she came strolling into the bedroom. “I told her.” “I hope she gets what she deserves and that’s nothing!” Delilah exclaimed. “Is Avery going to be at the gala tonight?” “Probably not. She’s a first-year associate.” “I really want to meet her,” Delilah spoke as she sat down on my bed. I gave her a small smile and didn’t say anything. With the way things were going with Avery, it was highly unlikely Delilah was going to meet her anytime soon.
**** I was up at the bar getting a scotch when I felt a hand on my back. “Good to see you, man.” Collin smiled as I turned around. “Good to see you, Collin. Amelia, you look stunning,” I took hold of her hands and leaned in and kissed her cheek. “Thank you, Liam. You’re looking pretty handsome yourself.” She smiled. Collin flagged the bartender down and ordered Amelia a glass of wine and a scotch for himself. I happened to glance over where Oliver and Delilah were chatting it up with Connor and Ellery and saw Avery in the distance talking to Mark Muir and his wife. My heart began to pick up the pace as she took my breath away. “Excuse me, Collin. Amelia.” I began walking towards her and she looked at me. The moment her piercing blue eyes met with mine, the nervousness that resided in the pit of my stomach intensified. She placed her hand on Mark’s arm and then walked away, slowly walking in my direction.
“Hi.” I smiled. “You look beautiful.” “Thank you. Listen, I want to apologize for what I said yesterday morning.” “Please. Don’t worry about it. It’s okay.” “No, Liam. It’s not okay. I was out of line and now that we’re going to be working together on this case, I don’t want things to be awkward.” “They won’t be and I accept your apology.” I smiled tenderly at her. “Tim is waving me over. I’ll talk to you later.” I watched her as she walked away. My cock was twitching something fierce and the only thing I could think about was taking her to bed and exploring that sexy body of hers again. “I see she’s here.” Oliver walked up to me. “Yep. Something is definitely going on with Finn, Muir, & Abernathy.” “Well, make sure to bring her over and introduce her to Delilah.” “I will, bro.” I mixed and mingled for a while until I saw Avery over at the bar. I grabbed Delilah and took her over to her. “Avery, I would like to introduce you to my sister-in-law, Delilah. Delilah, this is Avery Lewis.” “It’s nice to meet you, Delilah. Liam has told me wonderful things about you.” The two of them lightly hugged. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Avery. Liam speaks very highly of you.” “Is that so?” she asked as she glanced at me. “Of course.” I smiled at her. “So, Oliver tells me you’re handling the lawsuit that Laurel started.” “Yes I am.” “Do me a favor and knock that bitch out.” She laughed. “I’ll try my best. I take it you aren’t fond of her?” “No, I’m not, and after talking to her, you’ll see why.”
“Delilah, there’s someone I’d like you to meet,” Oliver spoke as he lightly took her arm. “Hello, Avery. You look very beautiful.” “Thank you, Oliver.” The two of them walked away and I was left standing there with Avery, trying to keep my cock from getting any harder than it already was.
Avery Liam and I were standing making small talk when I looked behind him and my heart started to race something terrible. Suddenly, all the air was gone out of the room and it was hard to breathe. Liam noticed something was wrong and lightly took hold of my arm. “Are you okay?” “No. I’m not,” I whispered as what had me so anxiety ridden started to walk my way. “Get me out of here. NOW! Anywhere but this room.” “Okay. Tell me what’s going on.” “I need some air, Liam.” I hooked my arm in his and turned away as he led me out of the room and outside through some glass doors that led to a lighted patio. I leaned over the black wrought-iron railing and tried to catch my breath. Liam had his hand planted firmly on my back and I’d be lying if I said that his touch wasn’t what calmed me down. “I think you just had a panic attack. Do you normally get those?” “No. First one ever,” I spoke as I looked into his concerned eyes. “Are you going to tell me what set it off?” “No. It was nothing. I’m fine now.” “Nothing my ass, Avery. You looked like you saw a ghost or something. Was there someone in there you knew?” Don’t do it, Avery. Don’t tell him. Don’t open up. “Hey, you two.” Tim smiled as stepped out onto the patio. “What’s going on?” “We’re just discussing the case,” I lied with a forced smile. “Oh. There’s plenty of time for that. Come back inside and join the party.”
“Tim, one of the reasons I came out here was because I wasn’t feeling well. I think I’m just going to call it a night and go home.” “Okay.” His concerned eyes stared at me. “I hope you feel better, Avery. Do you want me to call someone to come get you?” “No. That’s alright.” “Well, since Liam is already out here with you, would you mind seeing her home safely?” he asked him. “Not at all, Tim.” “Good. Have a good night, you two.” He turned around and walked back inside. “You heard the man. He wants me to make sure you get home safely. So come on, let’s go.” “It’s okay, Liam. I can get home by myself. I’m a big girl.” “I know, but I told him I would take you, so I am. End of argument, Miss Lawyer.” “Fine. But don’t think you’re getting lucky.” I sighed as I walked away. “Correction. Don’t think you are getting lucky, Miss Lewis.” I secretly smiled at his comeback. He was good. I was impressed. He led me to a black limousine and opened the door for me. “Climb in.” “Is this yours?” “No. It’s Oliver’s. I sent him a text telling him I’m taking you home.” “Are you sure he won’t mind?” “Nope. Scott will be back before he even misses it. Scott, meet Avery Lewis. Avery meet Scott.” “Nice to make your acquaintance, Miss Lewis.” He smiled as he nodded. “Nice to meet you, Scott, and please call me Avery.” When we reached my building, Liam climbed out and held out his hand to help me. This damn dress was hard to maneuver in. Placing
my hand in his, I froze for a brief moment. Just long enough to feel the ache between my legs that was screaming at me from afar. “Thank you.” I smiled. “You’re welcome. At least let me walk you up to your door so I know you made it in safe.” I didn’t hesitate to answer. “Okay.” We took the elevator up to my floor and as soon as we stepped out, I reached in my purse for my key. “Well, here I am. Entering my apartment safely.” I inserted the key and turned the knob. “Good night, Avery. Would it be okay if I kissed your cheek?” he asked politely. “I suppose that would be fine.” Before his lips could reach my cheek, I smashed my mouth into his for a passionate kiss. What the fuck was I doing? I lost all control. It was my body vs. my brain and my body won. “What happened before can’t happen again,” I spoke with bated breath. “I know. It would be wrong,” he mumbled in between kisses. “So wrong. You’re my client now.” My hands instinctively grabbed hold of his waist. “You’re my lawyer.” His lips traveled to my neck. I kicked the door open with my foot as his lips met mine once again. I started to back inside my apartment with him following, our lips locked together. “We can’t, Liam.” I didn’t stop kissing him. “I know.” But neither of us stopped and, before I knew it, the door was shut and his fingers were unzipping my dress. Just before it was about to fall, I screeched. “Not on the floor. This is a three-thousand-dollar dress.” He stopped and looked at me. “You paid three thousand dollars.” “I know what you’re thinking but Willow made me buy it.”
“As far as I’m concerned, it was worth every penny.” His smile grew wide. My lips brushed against him one last time before he removed my dress and carefully laid in on the table. Picking me up and carrying me to the bedroom, he laid me down on the bed and stared at my naked breasts as he stripped out of his clothes and his tongue made its way up my inner thighs. ****
Liam Tasting her again was the highlight of my night. I had longed to do this ever since our first night together and she tasted even sweeter this time around. Clamping my mouth over her swollen spot, I gently sucked as I plunged a finger inside of her, listening to the sweet sounds of the moans that escaped her. I moved my way up her torso and over to her perfectly round breasts. Her nipples were so hard and begging to be sucked. The minute my lips clamped around them, her pleasure heightened and I knew she was about to come. Moving my finger inside of her and pressing my thumb against her clit, I suckled at her breast until she couldn’t take anymore as her body tightened and she let out a deep, pleasurable moan, releasing herself to me. My cock was hard and more than ready to be inside of her. “I have condoms this time.” I lightly kissed her lips. “Were you planning on having sex with me again?” she asked with a small beautiful smile. “I had a small window of hope.” “Have you had sex with anyone since me?” “Absolutely not.” “No condom needed.” “I was hoping you’d say that.” I hovered over her and placed myself between her legs, the tip of my cock touching her entrance.
As I stared into her amazing eyes, I slowly pushed inside of her, both of us gasping from the pleasurable feeling that resided in us. She brought my head down to her and kissed my lips as her legs wrapped around my waist, taking me deeper inside. We weren’t fucking. We were making love and I wanted to take in every moment. I broke our kiss as I brushed a strand of her hair from her face and our eyes locked on each other. I moved slowly in and out of her, taking in the beauty that was beneath me. I sped up the pace as I could feel her swell around my cock, making it almost impossible for me to hold back. Thrusting in and out of her, my lips traveled to her neck and then down to her breasts as her legs tightened around me. She called out my name as a pool of warmth rushed over my cock. This was it. “That’s it, Avery. You’re making me come right now, baby.” I pushed deep inside her one last time and moaned as I spilled every last pleasurable drop inside her. I collapsed on top of her, burying my face into the side of her neck while her hands stroked my hair and our breathing returned to normal. Rolling off of her, she looked at me with a smile and took my hand, interlacing our fingers. I wanted to stay like this, but I knew it was only a matter of time before she kicked me out again. There was something about her look that displayed a hint of sadness. She let go of my hand and moved to the edge of the bed, sitting up with her feet planted on the floor. I reached over and softly stroked her back. “What’s wrong?” “It was my father.” “What?” I asked as I sat up. She turned her head and looked back at me. “My panic attack was due to seeing my father at the gala.” “Your father is here in New York?” “Yes. He’s a lawyer and has his own firm.” “Who’s your father?” “John Carrington.”
I was shocked. “Of Carrington & Lockley?” “Yep. That would be the one.” She got up from the bed and pulled a pink satin robe from her closet. “I don’t understand. If you knew he was here, why would you work in the same city knowing you’d eventually run into him?” “It was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Who knows, Liam?” She sat down on the bed and I took hold of her hand. “Maybe I wanted to run into him and rub it in his face.” “Does he know you’re a lawyer?” “I don’t know. I’m sure he does.” “But I don’t understand why he wouldn’t have offered you a job with his firm?” “Because that would mean he would have to acknowledge he had a kid. You are the only person besides Willow and Cam who knows this. Please keep it to yourself.” I brought her hand up to my lips and softly pressed them against it. “Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone. The partners at Finn, Muir, & Abernathy don’t know?” “No. How would they? My mother made sure not to give me his last name. So besides the birth certificate stating he’s my father, there’s no other way to connect us.” “I’m sorry, Avery. I don’t know what to say.” “It gets worse.” She frowned. “He’s Laurel’s attorney.” “Oh for fuck sake. Are you kidding me?” “No. I wish I were. I’ll be facing him soon, and to be honest, I don’t know how I’m going to handle it. You saw what happened at the gala.” Seeing her in so much pain over this really bothered me. “You’re a strong woman, Avery, and you can do this.” She reached over and ran the back of her hand along my cheek. “Thanks. Thanks for tonight. I really needed that.” “And now it’s time for me to go.” I sighed as I got up. “Please understand, Liam. This is just sex, nothing else. There can never be anything else.”
I sighed as I got dressed. “Just sex, Avery? Are you sure about that?" “Yes. Very sure,” she replied. I walked out of her bedroom. “Liam, wait.” She grabbed my arm as she chased after me. “Don’t be mad. Please.” “I’m not. Have a good night.” I walked out of her apartment and headed home. As I walked down the brightly lit street, I stared at different couples as they walked along with me. Holding hands, hugging, laughing, being in love, and I will admit that I was jealous. They were everything I wanted. Unfortunately, the girl I wanted it with didn’t feel the same.
Avery After Liam left, I went into the kitchen and made a cup of tea, my body still reeling from the effects of him. Did I feel bad I kicked him out again? Of course. But I was a different person now. I was no longer that girl who relied on a man to love me. All my failed relationships led me to this point. Just sex, sex, and more sex. It wouldn’t be wise to let feelings get in the way of a casual fling. Had I become a so-called ice princess? I think so. Maybe not in the eyes of friends, but in the eyes of men, especially Liam Wyatt. I took my tea, grabbed the Wyatt file from the table, and climbed into bed. I was going to have to take depositions tomorrow and then meet with John and Laurel on Monday to try and get this thrown out. With John Carrington as her lawyer, it wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought. I wanted this case over as quickly as possible. I grabbed my phone from the nightstand and sent Liam a text message. “Hey. I’m going to need to meet with you and Oliver tomorrow to talk about the lawsuit. I know it’s Sunday, but if I meet with the two of you tomorrow, then I can get Laurel and her attorney in the office on Monday and hopefully knock this case out.” “I’m fine with it, but I’ll have to ask Oliver if he’s available. I’ll let you know after I talk to him.” “Okay. Thank you.” A few moments later, a text message came through from Liam. “Oliver said tomorrow is fine. We’ll meet at his house for breakfast at nine a.m. and discuss everything there. I’ll pick you up at eight thirty.” “There’s no need to pick me up. Just text me the address.” “I’m picking you up. End of discussion.”
I couldn’t help but smile. “Fine. I’ll see you at eight thirty. Good night.” “Good night, but it could be better.” “Good night, Liam.” “Good night, Avery.” I glanced over at the clock and it was after midnight. I closed the file case, plugged in my phone, turned the light off, and tried to get some sleep, which was hard to do since I couldn’t stop thinking about my father and what was yet to come. **** I called down to Davis and told him that Mr. Wyatt would be coming and to let him up. It was eight fifteen and I poured my second cup of coffee. As I was sitting at the table, my phone rang and it was my mom, Claudia. “Hi, Mom.” “Good morning, Avery. We haven’t heard from you in a while. How’s everything going?” At that moment, not realizing how fragile I was, my eyes started to sting with tears when I heard her voice. “Everything is going great. How are you and Lisa?” “We’re fine.” I couldn’t tell her about John, because if I did, I would break down and I didn’t want her to worry. “Your birthday is in a couple of days and we were thinking about coming to visit you for the day and heading back on Wednesday. I know you have to work, but we thought we could take you to dinner and stay the night. We could have a slumber party. Just the three of us. What do you say?” What kind of daughter would I be if I said no? I missed them terribly and if they were willing to come to New York to celebrate my birthday, then I didn’t object.
“That sounds good, Mom. I’d love for the two of you to come visit.” There was a knock at the door. I got up and answered it, letting Liam in. “Mom, I have to go. I’m meeting with some clients on a new case. I’ll see you in a couple of days.” “But it’s Sunday, Avery.” “Doesn’t matter, Mom. A lawyer always needs to be available. I have to go. I love you. Tell Lisa I love her and I’m looking forward to seeing both of you.” “Alright. We’ll see you soon. Love you, precious.” “Love you too, Mom.” I hit the end button and looked at Liam. “You’re early.” “Only by five minutes.” I couldn’t help but notice how sexy he looked in his casual clothes. Almost as sexy as last night in his tux. I had to look away because that all-too-familiar ache crept its way back up. “So are you going back to Danbury to see your parents?” he asked. “No. Actually, they’re coming here for my birthday. Dinner, slumber party. You know, girl things.” “Sounds like fun. Did you tell her about John?” “No. I’ll tell them both on Tuesday. Let me grab my purse and we can go.” “You’ll get to meet Sophie,” he yelled from the living room. “Great. I can’t wait to meet her.” I grabbed my purse and we headed out the door. As soon as we passed Davis, he winked at me and gave me a thumbs-up. I shook my head at him. “Have a great day, Avery.” He smiled. “You too, Davis.” Liam hailed a cab and talked about Clara’s cooking on the way over to his brother’s house. When the cab pulled up, he climbed out and I followed. As soon as Liam opened the front door, a little girl, whom I presumed was Sophie, ran into his arms.
“Uncle Liam.” She smiled. “Hey, sunshine.” He kissed her head. “I would like you to meet a friend of mine, Avery Lewis. Avery, this is my niece, Sophie.” I bent down and held out my hand to her. “Hello, Miss Sophie. It’s nice to meet you.” “It’s nice to meet you too.” She giggled as she placed her small hand in mine. “Hello, you two,” Delilah and Oliver spoke as they greeted us in the foyer. “Breakfast is ready.” “Good, because I’m starving,” Liam spoke. We followed them to the dining room and I couldn’t help but admire how beautiful Oliver and Delilah’s house was. “Your house is beautiful.” “Thank you.” Delilah smiled as she took her seat. I sat down next to Liam and Sophie took her place on the other side of him. “We’ll have a nice breakfast first and then discuss the other details,” Oliver spoke as he sipped his coffee. “Sorry for the short notice.” He put his hand up. “It’s fine. The sooner we can get this over with, the better.” “Uncle Liam says you’re really smart. Smart like me,” Sophie spoke. I looked at Liam and he smiled. Fuck him and his smiles. They sent shivers down my spine each and every time. “I guess you could say I am smart, but I bet you’re smarter.” “I paint and I’m really smart with numbers.” “I don’t paint, but I’m really smart with numbers too.” She giggled. “What do you do for a job?” “I’m a lawyer.” “How old are you?” “Twenty-three. I’ll be twenty-four on Tuesday.”
“So that means you graduated high school when you were fifteen and then graduated college when you were eighteen and then graduated from law school when you were twenty-one.” I couldn’t help but let out a small laugh. She was adorable. “That’s right.” A woman walked into the room and set breakfast on the table. “Clara meet Avery. Avery, this is Clara, the best cook in the world.” Liam grinned. “Nice to meet you, Clara.” “Nice to meet you, Avery. Welcome to the Wyatt home.” “Thank you.”
Liam Sitting around Oliver’s table with Avery was nice. It was something I could get used to doing. Oliver wasn’t too keen on meeting today because he had plans to play golf. I made him cancel because it was an easy excuse to spend a Sunday with Avery. If my plan went right, we’d be spending the entire day together. It would be up to Sophie to play her part. After we finished breakfast, Clara took Sophie upstairs so we could conduct our meeting. Once the table was cleared, Avery pulled out the files and her notepad. “Just to get this straight, Oliver, you were involved with Laurel at one point, correct?” “Unfortunately,” he replied. She looked at him and smiled. “Wyatt Enterprises purchased the Regency House about six months ago, correct?” “Yes.” “Were you aware of any leaks or roof problems?” “No. The roof had been replaced right before we purchased it, according to the bank officer, the inspector and the inspector’s report.” “Okay. I have people going out there today to inspect. They’ll have their report to me by tomorrow morning. Now, my plan is for us to meet with Laurel and her attorney some time tomorrow afternoon and try to settle this thing. Do you have any dirt on Laurel that we can use to weaken her character if need be?” Oliver looked at me and hesitantly answered Avery’s question. “She had an affair a couple years ago with a senator.” “Oh?” Avery smiled as she wrote on her notepad.
“You may want to tell her about how she was going to press charges against Delilah?” I spoke. “Huh?” Avery looked at Delilah. “I may have punched her in the face at a fundraiser one night.” “May I ask why?” Avery smirked. “She called me a whore. It had been a long time coming. By that point, she had threatened me numerous times.” “She sounds like a real winner. Thanks for telling me so I know exactly what kind of person I’m dealing with. We’ll pull out the senator affair if we have to. He was married, right?” She looked at Oliver. “Yes, and he and his wife just had a baby about a month before the affair started.” “Men.” I shook my head. “Hey. We aren’t all like that,” I said. “How long did the affair last?” “About six months. It ended because his child became sick and he needed to make his family his number one priority.” “Of course he did. I’m going to take a wild guess here and say that she didn’t walk away nicely.” Oliver smirked. “No, she didn’t. She blackmailed him into giving her money to go away quietly.” “Interesting. Okay. Well, that should be it. I will call the two of you tomorrow.” Just as Avery was getting up from her seat, Sophie ran into the room. “Uncle Liam, you promised me that you’d take me to Brooklyn Bridge Park and you haven’t yet. Can we go today? Please, Uncle Liam. P-l-e-a-s-e,” she whined. “Oh, I don’t know, Soph.” “P-l-e-a-s-e. You promised and today’s a perfect day.” “Okay, buttercup, since I did promise, we can go.” “Thank you.” She smiled as she wrapped her arms around my neck, giving me a big hug.
“You’re welcome. Miss Lewis was just leaving, so if you’re ready, we can head there now.” Sophie turned and looked at Avery, who was smiling down at her. “Can she come with us?” “Sure. If she wants to.” Say yes. Say yes. For the love of God, say yes. “Thanks for the invite, Sophie, but maybe another time.” Come on, Soph. Beg. Get her to come. “But you have to come. It’s the Brooklyn Bridge Park,” she squealed as she held out her arms. “It has amazing history! And there’s an ice cream factory! It’ll be so much fun and I know you’ll love it! Unless you’ve already been there.” She put on a sad face. Way to go, kid. Give her your full pout. I looked over at Delilah and Oliver and they sat there giving me an evil look. Apparently, they figured out what Sophie and I were up to. “No. I’m new to New York, so I’ve never been there. But you make it sound very exciting.” Avery smiled at her. “Then you have to come. P-L-E-A-S-E, Avery.” “Okay. You’ve convinced me. Sounds like it’ll be fun. Maybe your parents will want to go too.” “No. They have plans. Right, Daddy?” She turned and looked at Oliver. “Umm. Yes. We do have plans, so thank you, little brother, for spending the day with her.” “No problem. You know Sophie and I love spending time together.” I smiled. Sophie giggled. “I’m so excited you’re coming. Do you want to see my paintings?” “I’d love to.” Sophie took Avery’s hand and led her up to her room. I looked around the room and avoided eye contact with Oliver because I knew he was going to let me have it. “How does it feel to use your niece as woman bait?” he asked.
Delilah laughed. “I think it’s cute.” “Thank you, my dear sister in-law. And for your information, Oliver, I had a little talk with Sophie beforehand and she was more than happy to help her favorite uncle out. It’s a win-win situation. She gets to spend the day at Brooklyn Bridge Park and I get to spend the day with Avery. Her words, not mine.” I pointed at him. He rolled his eyes and shook his head. “You really like her. I’ve never seen you like this before.” “I do really like her. I like her a lot.” Delilah got up from her chair and kissed me on the head. “I like her too and you can use Sophie anytime you need to.” “Delilah!” Oliver exclaimed. “Lighten up, Oliver. It’s for love.” She winked.
Avery Liam held on to Sophie’s hand as we stepped onto the ferry and took it to Pier 1. I wasn’t stupid and I knew Sophie and Liam were in on this together. For him to go through all that just to get me to spend the day with him was cute. No, it was sexy because he was just that and I couldn’t help but be a little bit turned on by it. We took the ferry to the Dumbo section of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The minute Sophie saw the carousel, her eyes lit up and she started jumping up and down. “I thought we’d stop here first.” Liam smiled. I smiled as I stopped and stared at the beautiful glass pavilion that housed the stunning carousel. Sophie ran ahead and Liam called after her. “Soph, wait up.” He grabbed my hand, and I was caught off guard but I ran with him to catch up to Sophie. He looked at me and let go. “Sorry.” I gave him a small smile. The truth was it felt good to hold his hand and there was a part of me that didn’t want him to let go. Liam bought three tickets and we walked onto the platform. Sophie ran until she found the horse she wanted to ride. “I love this one!” she exclaimed. Liam helped her onto the horse and then turned to me. “Which one do want to ride?” “It doesn’t matter. I’ll ride anything.” He arched his brow as he flashed his sexy smile. I lightly punched his shoulder and laughed. Behind Sophie’s horse was two next to each other, so I chose the pretty white and intricately carved horse and
Liam climbed on the brown one. This was really cool and I was happy that I decided to tag along. “I know what you and Sophie did,” I whispered. “What did we do?” he asked as he looked me, his eyes filled with confusion. “You two planned this because you wanted me to come with you.” “I would never do such a thing.” “Really? I don’t believe you.” “Do you have proof?” “The staged conversation between the two of you was all the proof I needed.” “Innocent until proven guilty.” He raised his hand. I couldn’t help but let out a light laugh. I seemed to be doing that a lot when I was in Mr. Wyatt’s presence. The carousel began to move and Sophie looked back at us with a wide smile splayed across her face. “Hold on, Soph. I don’t need you falling off and getting hurt. Your mom and dad will never let me take you out again.” “Don’t worry, Uncle Liam. I will.” She giggled. “You’re really good with her.” “Thanks. She’s a great kid. I love kids and I love being around them.” “What about her real mom? Does she ever see her?” “She passed away and that’s when she came to live with Oliver. It wasn’t easy at first and Sophie had a lot of problems. Then Oliver met Delilah, hired her to take care of Sophie, and every day, she improved. All she needed was to feel loved and understood.” The way he said that struck a chord inside my heart. “I can understand that. It’s not easy being really smart and being understood. It’s hard for people like Sophie and me to find our place in the world.” “But you did, right?” he asked. “I suppose.”
Before he could ask any more questions, the ride was slowing down. Once it came to a complete stop, Liam helped Sophie off her horse, and to my surprise, she turned around and grabbed hold of my hand. “Let’s go get some ice cream!” She smiled. “Nah, I don’t want ice cream, Soph,” Liam spoke. “Yes, you do.” She poked him in the stomach. “You think so?” He laughed as he picked her up and threw her over his shoulder. Watching him with her was really sweet and it kind of tugged at my heartstrings. In fact, it tugged at more than just my heartstrings. Why was I always thinking about sex when I was around him? Shit. This was getting out of control. We spent the rest of the day at the park, eating ice cream, hot dogs, and playing with Sophie at the playground. We had a wonderful conversation about Monet and Van Gogh. She was getting tired and the sun was starting to set. “I better get you home before your dad goes all crazy on me.” “Will you carry me? I’m tired,” she whined. “You bet, sweetheart.” He knelt down and she wrapped her arms and legs around him, laying her head on his shoulder. ****
Liam We took Sophie back home, and when we arrived, Delilah took her from my arms and took her upstairs. “Did the three of you have fun?” Oliver asked. “We sure did. Sophie had a great time.” “I can tell. She’s exhausted. How about you, Avery? Did you have a good time?” “I did. It was a fun day.” “Good.”
“Okay, well, we’re leaving now, bro. Tell Delilah I said bye and I’ll see you tomorrow morning.” “Thanks again, Liam, for spending the day with Sophie.” “No problem. You know I love that little girl to death.” “What are you going to do when the baby comes? Can you handle both of them?” Avery looked at Oliver and then at me. “Is Delilah pregnant?” “Oh. Didn’t I tell you? I’m sorry. Yes, she is.” “Congratulations, Oliver. That’s wonderful.” “Thank you.” He smiled. “To answer your question, bro, of course I can handle both of them. Shit, have a few more and throw them my way.” Oliver chuckled and placed his hand on my back. “Go home. I’ll see you tomorrow.” We walked outside and I hailed us a cab. I opened the door for Avery and slid in next to her. “Did you really have a good time?” I asked. “Yes, Liam. I really had a good time.” The corners of her mouth curved into that beautiful smile that was etched into my brain. The smile I saw in my head every night before I went to sleep. My eyes focused on her lips as my hand grazed her cheek. Do I or don’t I? I wanted nothing more than to kiss her, and I got the feeling that she wanted me to. I leaned in and her lips slightly parted. Softly placing my lips on hers, I wanted to go slow to make sure she wanted it. Her lips tasted like the strawberry lip-gloss she put on earlier. She wasn’t pulling back or pushing me away as my tongue slid inside her mouth and our kiss became deeper.
Avery His kisses were perfect and, every time, I welcomed them. He wasn’t sloppy and he wasn’t fast. He was right on target and kissed like no one I’d ever kissed before. I was horny again and I couldn’t understand it. I was never like this with any of the guys I’d dated. I never initiated sex with them. They always did with me. With some, I could take it or leave it because it was just okay. But whenever Liam Wyatt looked at me, the sensation that formed between my legs was overwhelming and I swore I could orgasm just from his kiss. He pulled back and smiled at me as he ran his hand along my cheek. “I had a really good time today too.” Even though I was focused on this moment with him, my mind couldn’t help but go to tomorrow, and my nerves started to flare up. The cab driver pulled up to my building and Liam helped me out. Once I placed my hand in his, I couldn’t seem to let go of it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to let go. “Do you want to come upstairs?” “Are you sure?” My mouth gave way to a small smile. “Yes, I’m sure or I wouldn’t have asked.” “I’d love to.” When we approached the elevator, the doors were open and two other couples were already inside. With our fingers still interlaced, we rode the elevator in silence up to my floor. I had no choice but to let go of his hand to pull my key from my purse. Inserting it into the lock and opening the door, I walked in first and Liam followed, shutting and
locking it from behind. My fingers grabbed the bottom of my shirt as I pulled it off and tossed it on the floor. “Damn,” he moaned as he came from behind and softly kissed my neck. His hands pulled down the cups to my bra and his fingers found my hardened nipples. I turned around and found myself in his arms as our mouths smashed fiercely into each other. Before I knew it, my back was pinned against the wall by his strong body and his tongue slid down the center of my chest while his hands took down my bra straps. “Fuck me now, Liam. Right now!” He reached behind me and unhooked my bra, letting it fall to the ground as I fumbled with the button on my pants. Taking them down with my panties, he stripped out of his clothes and pushed his hard cock against me. Dipping in his fingers to make sure I was wet and ready, he thrust inside me like nobody’s business. I wrapped my legs around his waist as his grip on my ass was tight and strong, holding me up as if I weighed nothing. He continued to thrust in and out of me at a rapid pace, our hearts beating in sync and our skin becoming moist with sweat. It wasn’t long before I swelled around him and spoke his name as the riveting orgasm flowed through me. He pushed deeper inside me and stopped. “Jesus, Avery,” he moaned as he filled me with his come. He buried his face into the side of my neck while my arms tightened around him. I felt like I was holding on to him for dear life. He carried me to the bedroom and lay me down on the bed as he pulled out of me. I could hear my phone ringing from the other room. “I’ll go grab it for you,” Liam spoke as he went and fetched my purse. I pulled on my panties and slipped on my silk robe that was lying across the bed. Liam walked into the room and handed me my phone. “Hello.”
“Avery, it’s Mark Spears. We finished our inspection over at the Regency House. Who was the inspector that inspected it?” “I don’t know. Why?” “Because he obviously didn’t know what he was talking about. That ceiling had a leak in it for years. We found a piece of plaster that looked like it had a clean cut. If water was being held up in that ceiling, one clean cut and it would all come crashing down.” “Thank you, Mark. You’ll have the full detailed report on my desk in the morning?” “Yes. Have a good night, Avery.” “Thanks. You too.” I hit the end button and looked at Liam, who was sitting on my bed in his underwear looking hotter than fuck. “Who was the inspector for the Regency House?” “It was a foreclosure inspector that the bank hired. Why?” “Do you remember who the bank officer was that was handling the foreclosure?” “His name was Bart Cummings. What’s going on?” “Nothing. It’s just information I need to know to prepare my case.” I got up from the bed and handed Liam his clothes. He sighed as he took them from me. “I guess I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said as he got dressed and walked out the door. ****
Liam Avery Lewis was driving me crazy. This kicking me out after sex was going to stop. I didn’t even do that to the women I slept with. I at least extended them the courtesy of staying the night. If they left, it was on their own accord, not because I kicked them out. As I walked home, I thought about her birthday. I wanted to buy her something, but I didn’t want to cross the line. I was nothing to her except a fuck buddy,
but she was starting to become everything to me and I needed to get a grip on things before she sent me down the rabbit hole. As I walked through the front door, I stopped and looked at my foyer floor. It was finally finished and I was happy. Now it was time to move on to the next project. I just needed to decide what that was. Walking over to the bar, I poured myself a scotch and took a seat on the sofa. My phone started to ring and when I pulled it from my pocket, I noticed it was Clara calling. “Hello, sweet Clara.” “Hello, Mr. Liam. Sorry for calling so late, but I wanted to tell you that my sister is moving to New York in a couple of days and she’s looking for a job.” “What kind of job?” “The same job I do for your brother. Cooking, cleaning, etc.” “Full-time or part-time?” “Depends on what you want.” “Can she cook like you?” “Some say she’s better.” “Oh. Call me when she arrives and I’ll set up an interview.” “Thank you, Liam.” “You’re welcome, Clara. Have a good night.” “You too.” Perfect. I had put off interviewing housecleaners because I hadn’t had the time. If she was anything like Clara, she’d be hired right on the spot. I started to think about tomorrow and how Avery would see her father for the first time in thirteen years. I wanted nothing more than to be with her tonight and hold her, stroking her soft blonde hair and telling her that everything was going to be okay. I had a feeling that she was going to need me tomorrow more than she knew it. The thing I noticed about Avery was that she put on a tough act, but deep down inside, she was scared and fragile. After witnessing that encounter in her office between her and her ex, I got the feeling that she had been hurt more than once and she wasn’t going to let it happen again. I had
this overwhelming need to fix her and I was going to try my hardest to make her see that I wasn’t like every other guy out there.
Avery As I sat at my desk and inhaled my coffee, Greta, the firm’s investigator, walked into my office and took a seat across from me. “Morning, Avery. You wanted to see me?” “Good morning. I need you to check out a man named Bart Cummings, the foreclosure officer over at Metropolitan Commercial Bank, and the inspector he hired to inspect the Regency House.” “What exactly are you looking for?” “Anything and everything.” “I’m on it.” She smiled as she got up from her chair. “Hey, Avery,” Tim spoke as he stood in the doorway. “John Carrington and his client will be here at three o’clock. Call the Wyatt brothers and let them know.” “Thanks, Tim.” I threw my pen across my desk and took in a deep breath. I wasn’t ready for this. I picked up my phone and sent Liam a text message. “Hi, I need you and Oliver here at three o’clock for the meeting.” “Hi, okay. I’ll let Oliver know.” “Do you want to meet me for lunch?” Why did I just do that? “Sure. What time?” “How about noon?” “Noon it is. Where would you like to meet?” “I don’t care. You pick and I’ll meet you there.” “How about Loeb Restaurant in Central Park?” “Sounds good. I’ll see you there.” “Hey, are you okay, Avery?” “Yeah. I’m fine. I’ll see you soon.”
What the fuck was I doing? I was as nervous as shit and he was the first person I turned to. Placing my palm on my forehead, I began to lightly tap it. “Trying to knock some sense into that head of yours?” Ella smiled as she entered my office. “Very funny. I just have a lot on my mind.” “About the Wyatt case?” she asked. “Yeah. Tim put the pressure on and said I better win it.” “Pfft. Don’t listen to him. He lost the last four cases he worked on. Anyway, do you have lunch plans today?” “Actually I do. I’m meeting Liam.” “Oh?” Her face lit up. “To discuss the case before our meeting.” “So then Oliver will be there too?” I didn’t want her to know that I asked Liam to lunch, so I lied. “Yeah. He’ll be there.” She narrowed her eyes at me as she turned and walked out of the office. “What?” I yelled. I worked on another case, hoping that Greta would have found out some information by the time I left for lunch. Just as I was grabbing my purse from my desk drawer, she walked in. “Did you find out anything?” “I sure did. That foreclosure inspector has a habit of overlooking some things and the strange thing is that he only does inspections for Bart Cummings.” “That’s odd.” “That’s what I thought. So I dug further into Bart. He has a halfsister who lives here in New York.” I cocked my head and raised my brow. “Laurel?” “Yep. The Regency House had been on the market as a foreclosure for over a year before Wyatt Enterprises showed any interest in it.” “And they replaced the roof shortly before Wyatt purchased it?”
“No. They replaced it after they purchased it.” “But Oliver said the inspector told him it was just replaced before he bought it.” “Samuel Dowel, the inspector, is a liar. Guess who the roof contractor was that Bart Cummings hired to replace the roof?” “Who?” “Dowel’s brother.” “Interesting. Thanks, Greta. See if you can dig up anything else. I have a lunch meeting to get to.” “Will do, Avery.” I walked out of the office and waved goodbye to Ella. Something about what Greta found out wasn’t sitting right with me. ****
Liam I stood outside the restaurant and waited for Avery. I still couldn’t believe she asked me to lunch. I suspected her fears about facing her father were surfacing and she needed me, even if she wouldn’t admit it. A cab pulled up and Avery climbed out, looking as beautiful as ever. “Hi.” I smiled. “Hi. Have you been waiting long?” “No. I just got here.” I placed my hand on the small of her back as we walked inside and were immediately seated at a table. I could tell by the look on her face she was stressing out and it bothered me. I cared for her and I wanted to do anything I could to keep her calm. “Are you okay?” I asked with caution. “I don’t really know. I have no idea what my reaction is going to be when I see my father and that scares me.” I reached across the table and took hold of her hand. I expected her to pull away, but she didn’t.
“I know you’re nervous, but at three o’clock, you need to push all of your fears and anger aside. You’re not his daughter and he’s not your father. You two are lawyers trying a case and that’s the only thing you need to focus on at that moment. Whenever you feel like you’re going to lose control, just look at me. I’ll be right next to you.” “It’s not that simple, Liam. I haven’t seen or heard from him since I was eleven years old. I always used to play out in my head what I would say to him if I ever saw him again, and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. I tried to get off the case, but Tim wouldn’t hear of it. Damn it, what kind of man just gives up his child like that?” I was conflicted at that moment because all I kept thinking about was Oliver and how he wanted nothing to do with Sophie after she was born. I was the one who paid monthly visits to Sophie behind Oliver’s back. She was my niece and a part of my family and I wasn’t going to let her down. I believe that was why we were so close. I didn’t tell Avery about Oliver and I wasn’t going to. If anything, she would see him as something other than the man he was today. “I don’t know and I’m not defending his actions, but maybe something happened that you don’t know about. Your mom doesn’t know anything?” She let out a high-pitched laugh. “No. He never told her nothing and she didn’t care.” Our lunch arrived and I let go of her hand. We ate, talked a little more, and left the restaurant. “Want to share a cab?” I asked with a smile. “Our offices aren’t too far from each other.” “Sure.” After sliding into the back of the cab, Avery lightly placed her hand on my arm. “Thank you for meeting me, Liam. I’m feeling somewhat better about this meeting.” I leaned over and kissed the side of her head. Maybe I shouldn’t have, but at that moment, I didn’t really care.
“You’re welcome. You can do this, Avery.” I had the cab driver drop Avery off first and then take me to Wyatt Enterprises. Debating whether or not to tell Oliver about Avery’s father was a difficult decision since I promised her I wouldn’t tell anyone. But I thought Oliver should know just in case something happened between the two of them at that meeting. “Hey, bro. You have a minute?” “Sure. Come on in. I went to grab you for lunch and you were already gone.” I took a seat across from his desk and brought my ankle up to my leg. “I had lunch with Avery.” Oliver looked up at me and smiled. “How did it go? You two seem to be spending quite a bit of time together.” “There’s a reason we had lunch and there’s something I need to discuss with you, but it doesn’t leave this room. Do you understand?” He cocked his head while he leaned back in his chair. “What’s going on?” “Avery didn’t grow up with a father. He wanted nothing to do with her. He met her for the first time when she was six and then saw her sporadically until she was eleven. She hasn’t seen or heard from him since.” His eyes displayed a look of sympathy because he knew that could have easily been him and Sophie. “Why are you telling me this, Liam?” “Because John Carrington, Laurel’s lawyer, is Avery’s father.” “Fuck. You aren’t kidding, are you?” “No. I’m not, and she’s scared shitless to face him. I thought you should know in case something happens.” He took in a long inhalation. “I feel bad for her. You talked to her at lunch about it, right?” “Of course. I believe that’s why she asked me to lunch in the first place. She needed someone to talk to.” “Thanks for telling me and let’s hope the only friction in that meeting will be between us and Laurel.”
Avery “Avery, Carrington and his client are in the conference room. The Wyatt brothers are in there too.” “Thanks, Tim. Are you sitting in?” “Of course I am. Are you ready?” “Just give me a second. I’ll meet you in there.” I took in a long, deep breath as I got up from my desk and grabbed my files. I can do this. It’s no big deal. He’s nothing but a stranger to me. My stomach was twisted in such a tight knot, it hurt to walk. Placing my hand on the door handle, I inhaled deeply again and opened the door. All eyes were on me as I walked into the room. A sudden feeling of power overtook me the moment I saw my father staring at me. “Mr. Carrington, I’m Miss Lewis and I’ll be representing Wyatt Enterprises,” I spoke as I sat down in between Oliver and Liam. He didn’t say a word. All he did was give me a nod and a small smile. I looked at Laurel as she sat across from me. The air in the room was thick and it wasn’t because of me and John. It was between Oliver and Laurel. I could sense the hate between the two of them. “The kitchen ceiling collapsed, correct?” “Yes,” Laurel spoke. “During an important event I was hosting. Do you have any idea how humiliating that was? Do you know how much that event cost me?” “Oh please, you money-sucking—” “Liam, don’t,” Oliver spoke. “Don’t you have some company to pretend to run?” Laurel spoke as she glared at Liam. “Don’t you have some man to go blackmail?”
“Really, you two?” I chimed in. John wouldn’t stop staring at me and it was making me very uncomfortable. I needed to get this meeting over with and get out of the room as quickly as possible. “You’re suing my client for 5.5 million dollars and it’s not going to happen. Now, we can settle this like adults today or go before a judge. But I assure you that you’d be making a big mistake if you don’t settle today. I checked into the cost of the event and, considering the amount of time you put into it and half of the money you spent came from donations, my clients are prepared to offer you five thousand dollars for the inconvenience. Since you weren’t hurt in the incident, we think that’s a fair amount.” “Hold on a second,” Oliver spoke loudly. “She’s not getting a dime.” I put my hand up to him. “That’s an insult to my client, Avery.” “Miss Lewis to you, Mr. Carrington, and considering a lot of the money used for the event wasn’t her own, she isn’t entitled to anything above and beyond our offer.” “John, do something,” Laurel whined as she placed her hand on his arm. “No deal.” “Fine. What relation is Bart Cummings to you?” I asked Laurel. Her eyes widened as she looked at me. “I have no idea who that is.” “Miss Lewis, where are you going with this?” John asked. I pulled a piece of paper from my file and placed it in front of her. “So you just made all these phone calls to his cell phone number over the past six months and you don’t know who he is?” I cocked my head. “Laurel?” John asked as he looked at her. “He’s my half-brother.” “So why did you lie? I have records of three-way calls that were made from Bart Cumming’s cell phone to you and Dowel. Now why would you be talking to a bank foreclosure officer and an inspector when you had nothing, and I mean nothing to do with the Regency
House? Unless,” I pointed at her, “you weren’t quite over the fact that Mr. Wyatt dumped you and you felt you deserved compensation.” “You’re way out of line, Miss Lewis,” John stood up and spoke. “No. Your client and her half-brother plotted together to get money from Wyatt Enterprises. Here is the inspector report and photographs from the ceiling in question. Read it over carefully, Mr. Carrington.” He picked up the report and the photograph and looked it over. Then he looked up at me, narrowing his eyes. “This means nothing.” “Excuse me one moment.” I held up my finger and walked over to the door. I opened it and stepped into the hallway, signaling for Ella to bring in my laptop. She walked in and set it down on the table. I pulled up the security footage from the night of the event. Apparently, Laurel didn’t know there were security cameras around the place. I turned my laptop around and all eyes in the room focused on it. “How about this, Mr. Carrington?” I smiled. The footage showed Laurel, pointing to the ceiling, and a man, who I had yet to identify, making a cut into it and the two of them leaving the kitchen as it came crashing down. “Who is that man in the kitchen with you?” I asked her. She gulped and looked at John, who was glaring at her. “If you will excuse us for a moment, I need to speak privately with my client.” “Of course, John,” Tim spoke as he escorted them out of the room. “You are fucking brilliant, Avery.” Liam smiled as he looked at me. I glanced over at Oliver, who sat there with an angry look on his face. “That bitch ruined my property!” “Keep calm, Oliver. This isn’t over. I predict she’ll drop the suit, but you can go after her, the bank, and the roofing company for destruction of property, falsifying documents and fraud.” “Damn right I will.” Tim and John walked back into the room, but not Laurel. “Miss Lewis, my client has decided to drop the lawsuit against Wyatt Enterprises.”
“Of course she did. But you better prepare yourself, Mr. Carrington, because Wyatt Enterprises is coming after her and the bank for destruction of property and fraud.” “Well, she’ll have to find herself another lawyer, then.” The expression on his face looked pained, but I had the feeling it wasn’t because his client dropped the suit. I had a feeling it was because of me. “I’ll be in touch,” he whispered in my ear before walking out of the room. My stomach dropped, and once he left the room, I let out a deep breath, one that I’d been holding since before the meeting. “Thank you, Avery.” Oliver smiled as he shook my hand. “I want to move forward with the lawsuit and I want you to handle it.” “Okay. I’ll get started on the paperwork.” I looked over at Liam before he had a chance to say anything. “I’ll talk to you soon.” “Avery.” He lightly grabbed hold of my arm. I pulled away. “Don’t, Liam. I can’t right now.” I walked out of the conference room and went into my office, shutting the door behind me and trying to catch my breath. ****
Liam I started to go after her, but Oliver held me back. “Liam, she wants to be alone right now. Respect that or you could make things worse.” I sighed. “But, Oliver—” “No, Liam. Trust me. Give her some time and maybe call her later.” I shook my head and walked out of the room. The only thing I wanted to do was hold her and make sure she was okay. But Oliver was right. She told me no and I needed to respect her wishes, even though I didn’t agree. We climbed in the back of Oliver’s limo and headed back to the office.
“She’ll be okay, little brother. Why don’t you come over to the house for dinner tonight?” “Thanks, but I think I’m just going to go home and maybe order take-out.” “And wallow in self-pity?” he asked smugly. “Nope. No wallowing here. The paint was delivered yesterday for the upstairs bathroom. I think I’ll start on it tonight.” “I’ll never understand why you insist on doing those things yourself when there are people out there that can do it for you. You do realize that you’re taking food out of their mouths, right?” I rolled my eyes. “I think that’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever said.” He chuckled. “If you change your mind, come over.” We got out of the limo and headed back to our offices. I pulled my phone from my pocket and looked at it, debating whether or not to text Avery. Nope. I was going to wait until later. I finished up some work and then took a cab home. When I walked through the door, this amazing, and I mean amazing smell hit me instantly. What the fuck was going on? I walked into the kitchen and saw Clara, Delilah, and, I presumed, Clara’s sister hovering over the island. “Hello.” I smiled as I set down my briefcase. “What’s going on here?” “Good evening, Mr. Liam,” Clara spoke. “I would like you to meet my baby sister, Ana.” “Hello, Ana.” I extended my hand. “It’s nice to finally meet you.” “We brought Ana over for an interview. I hope you don’t mind,” Delilah spoke. “No. Not at all. Wow, it smells amazing in here. Who cooked?” I asked as I pointed to Clara and Ana. “I did, Mr. Wyatt. Clara tells me you love her cooking, but you’ll love mine better.” She winked. I was already starting to like her.
“Excellent. Let me go change and then we can talk.” “Thank you, Mr. Wyatt.” “No. Thank you, Ana, and please just call me Liam.”
Liam After I changed, I walked down the stairs and saw Oliver walking through the door. “Guess you’re not getting any painting done tonight.” He laughed. “Did you know about this?” “No. There was a text message from Delilah on my phone, saying to meet here.” “Well, you know I’m a sucker for great food.” We took our seats in the dining room and Ana served dinner. “I have made chicken cordon bleu with my special hollandaise sauce, orzo pilaf, steamed and lightly seasoned asparagus, and a fresh chopped salad with my homemade raspberry vinaigrette.” Shit. I was in heaven. “Sit down and join us, Ana.” “No, no. You eat and I’ll go clean up the kitchen.” “You can do that later. Please sit with us.” She gave me a smile as she sat down across from me. “Where’s Sophie?” I asked Delilah. “She’s over at Katie’s house. Sophie’s teaching her to paint. We’re picking her up later.” This was one of the best meals I’d had in a long time, but I didn’t dare tell Clara that. “You’re hired, Ana. Can you start tomorrow?” “Oh my, Liam. Are you sure?” “Yes. This was fantastic. Unfortunately, I don’t need a full-time housekeeper. So how about we start with three days a week and if I need you more, you can work more. We can discuss pay later.” “Thank you, Liam. It would be an honor to work for you.”
A wide grin splayed across my face. “Thank you, Ana. I’m flattered.” I looked at over at Oliver and he rolled his eyes. Oliver, Delilah, and I went into the living room and I poured us each a drink. “Oliver told me what happened today with Laurel. I wish I could have been there.” “Avery was brilliant. You should have seen her in action. It was quite a turn-on.” “Sounds like you two are becoming quite involved.” Delilah flashed her pretty smile. “I wouldn’t say that. She’s really sending me mixed signals.” “Give her time. She secretly loves you.” Oliver smirked. “I wish,” I spoke as I threw back my scotch. After finishing their drinks, Delilah and Oliver headed home and so did Ana and Clara. I went upstairs and pulled my phone from my pocket, sending Avery a text message. “Hi. I just wanted to make sure you’re okay.” I stared at my phone for a few moments, waiting for a response. When one didn’t come, I jumped in the shower. Once I finished showering, I put on my pajama bottoms and then heard a knock at the door. When I went downstairs and opened it, to my surprise, Avery was standing there. “Avery.” An expression of shock overtook me. She didn’t say a word. She grabbed my face and smashed her mouth against mine, kissing me passionately. I pulled her inside and shut the door. There was no way we were going to make it up two flights of stairs. As our lips were locked and her hand made its way down the front of my pajama bottoms, I led her over to the couch. Breaking our kiss, I lifted off her tank top and unhooked her bra as she slid down my pants and pushed me back onto the couch. Stepping out of her yoga pants and panties, she climbed on top of me and slowly slid herself down, taking in my entire length as I let out a deep moan. My fingers grazed her breasts before latching onto her hips. She threw
her head back in pleasure as she rode me and circled her hips in a motion that brought us both to one hell of an orgasm. “Christ, Avery,” I moaned as I came deep inside her. She wrapped her arms around me and buried her face into my neck. All I wanted to do was hold her for the rest of the night, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. She lifted her head and looked at me, biting down on her bottom lip. “Sorry for just showing up unannounced.” “Believe me, it’s perfectly okay.” I smiled. “How did you know where I lived?” “You told me when you walked me home from the restaurant that night.” She climbed off of me and reached over for her panties. “Ah, that’s right.” I got up from the couch and pulled on my pajama bottoms. As she was putting on her bra, I walked over and clasped it for her, while my lips softly kissed her beautiful shoulder. “Are you okay?” “Yeah. I’m great now.” She smiled as she turned around and placed her hand on my cheek. “Stay for a glass of wine.” “I can’t, Liam. I have to get home.” “Why? So you can sit there alone? Just one glass, Avery. One glass and we can talk.” She sighed. “Fine. One glass and then I’m out of here.” She followed me to the kitchen. I reached up in the cabinet and pulled out two wine glasses and a bottle of wine from the refrigerator. “You have a beautiful home.” “Thank you, but you haven’t even see half of it yet.” I handed her a glass. “I’ll give you the grand tour. Follow me.” ****
Liam’s house was stunning. For a guy, he had impeccable taste. He took me to his bedroom, which was equally just as amazing as the rest of the house. “This is where I sleep.” He smiled. “Very nice. I bet half of the women in New York have slept in that bed.” “Umm. No. Not one woman has been in that bed with me. It’s pure and has not been sexified yet. I bought it when I moved.” “Really? You’re telling me you haven’t had one woman in that bed with you?” His light and happy tone changed instantly to seriousness. “No. I haven’t. The only woman who will be sleeping in this bed next to me will be the one.” “The one?” I arched a brow. “The one woman I’m going to spend the rest of my life with.” I couldn’t help but let out a laugh as I patted his muscular bare chest. “Good luck with that.” I walked out the door. “What do you mean ‘good luck with that’? Do you think I’m kidding? Because I’m not.” I raised my hand as he followed behind me. “Okay. If you say so.” Walking back to the living room, I took a seat on the couch and Liam sat down next to me with his arm extended across the back as I sat sideways. “Talk to me, Avery. Tell me how you felt about seeing your father today. I was watching him and all he did was stare at you.” “I know and it was very uncomfortable, but I felt powerful being in that room and going up against him. As much as I wanted to slap him and tell him off, I wanted more to show off. To show him what his daughter, who he abandoned, had become.” “I must say you did an excellent job of showing him.” He smiled as he held up his wine glass in front of me.
I tipped mine to his and thanked him. “I better get going. I still have to get things ready for when Claudia and Lisa arrive tomorrow.” I handed Liam my glass and headed towards the door. “Thanks for dropping by.” His hand grazed over my cheek, sending spasms down below. “You’re welcome. Thanks for the sex and the wine.” “I wish you’d stay the night.” His voice was pleading. “And be the first to sleep in your un-sexified bed? I don’t think so.” “Who said anything about my bed? You can have the couch.” “Oh, thanks a lot.” I lightly smacked his chest. “I’ll talk to you later.” I walked down the steps to the sidewalk. “Have a happy birthday tomorrow, Avery,” he yelled to me. “Thank you. I’ll try.”
Avery Waking up alone on my birthday was not a good feeling. In the past, if I wasn’t waking up next to a guy, Claudia and Lisa were always home, down in the kitchen, making me Belgian waffles. I missed my Belgian waffles, but more importantly, I missed my moms and I couldn’t wait to see them today. I weighed my options before work: gym or Belgian waffles. Since it was my birthday and I was feeling a bit on the lonely side, I opted for Belgian waffles. I finished getting dressed, grabbed my briefcase, and headed to a diner down the street called Ollie’s. “Good morning. Just one today?” the perky brunette asked as I walked through the door. “Yes. Just one,” I replied. The sound of that riveted through me like a bad song. She sat me at a table by the window, and as soon as I sat down, I placed an order for Belgian waffles and I pulled my phone from my purse. There was a text message from Claudia and Lisa wishing me a happy birthday and a text from Willow. “Happy birthday! I wish I didn’t have that appointment today so I could see you. I’ll talk to Cam and we’ll set up dinner. Love you, babe.” “Thanks, Willow. Dinner sounds great! See you soon. Love you too.” The waitress walked over and set down the most delicious-looking Belgian waffles in front of me. Smiling, I picked up my fork and began to dig in. As I was cutting into the first piece, I heard a tap on the window. I looked up and saw Liam pointing at my plate with a smile on his face. He walked inside the diner and took the seat across from me. “So you decided to ditch the gym this morning for those?”
I laughed. “Yes. I couldn’t help myself.” “Happy birthday, Avery.” “Thank you.” I gave a tender smile. “Claudia and Lisa always make me Belgian waffles on my birthday. It’s kind of a tradition. It’s my first year waking up alone on my birthday, so I thought I would treat myself.” The corners of his mouth curved upwards. “You didn’t have to wake up alone. If you recall, I wanted you to spend the night at my place last night. I would have made you Belgian waffles.” I gulped and crossed my legs. The waitress walked over and poured Liam a cup of coffee. “May I take your order?” “Yeah. I’ll have what she’s having.” His killer smile was too much this early in the morning. Damn him for being so hot and nice. “Didn’t you just work out?” I asked. “Yep, but it’s your birthday and I don’t want you to eat Belgian waffles alone.” “You could have had some of mine.” He chuckled. “You won’t share a bed with me, but you’ll share your waffles?” “Yep. Sharing a plate of waffles isn’t dangerous.” He cocked his head and narrowed his eyes. “Why is sharing a bed dangerous?” “You’re a guy and wouldn’t understand. So let’s move onto another subject, please,” I spoke as I took a bite. Liam reached across the table and ran his finger down the corner of my mouth. My heart started racing and my thighs were starting to kill from being closed so tight. “You had whipped cream there.” He smiled. “Thank you.” I looked down as I wiped my mouth with my napkin. “Did Cam ever sell your apartment?”
“Yes. Funny you should mention that. I’m meeting with him to sign the papers this afternoon.” “Good. That must be a relief.” “It is. Now that’s one less thing I have to worry about.” I finished my waffles, and as Liam was finishing his, my phone beeped with a text message from Joel. “You need to meet me at the jailhouse in fifteen minutes. One of our clients was just arrested.” I sighed. “On my way.” “Everything okay?” Liam asked. “I have to go. One of my clients was just arrested.” I pulled out my wallet. Liam placed his hand on mine and I wanted to explode. “Your birthday breakfast is on me and I don’t want to hear a single word about it.” My eyes locked with his. “Not a word,” he said. “How about a thank you?” “I’ll take those two words.” His smile widened. “Thank you.” My lips gave way to a smile as I got up from my seat. “I’ll talk to you soon, Liam.” **** As I walked down the hall to my office, Ella jumped up out of her seat. “Happy birthday!” she exclaimed as she followed me inside. “Thank you. What’s all this?” I smiled as I looked around my decorated office. “Just a few balloons for your birthday. We’re having cake in the kitchen in an hour.” I noticed a large floral arrangement that was made up of light pink roses, white lilies, and sprays of greenery sitting on the edge of my desk. I opened the small white envelope and removed the card. “Happy birthday, Avery.
Love, John” My stomach tightened as I crushed the card in my hand. “So, is that from Liam?” Ella asked in excitement. “No. They’re from a client.” “Damn. I’ll come get you when we’re ready to do cake.” She walked out of my office and I sat down, feeling sick to my stomach. He hadn’t acknowledged my birthday in thirteen years. Why now? As I was pondering and being angry, I looked up to see Claudia and Lisa standing in the doorway. “Happy birthday, baby!” Claudia exclaimed. I jumped up from my chair and ran over to her and Lisa, giving them both tight hugs. “Happy birthday,” Lisa spoke as she kissed my cheek. “I’m so happy to see both of you.” I smiled with tears in my eyes. “You look thinner. Have you been taking care of yourself?” Claudia asked. “Yes, Mom, and I’m not thinner.” Lisa walked around my office, checking things out from the floor to the ceiling. “This is a nice office. Better than the one you had at the other firm. Oh, who are these beautiful flowers from?” she asked as she sniffed them. “From a client,” I lied. I just couldn’t tell them at that moment they were from John. I looked at my watch. I grabbed my purse and pulled the key to my apartment from it, and handed it over to Claudia. “Here’s my key and you already have the address. I have a meeting to get to now, but I’ll try to be home early.” “Sounds good, sweetheart,” Claudia spoke as she kissed my cheek. “Enjoy your day and we’ll see you soon. We have a lot to talk about.” “Okay. See you both soon.” As they walked out, Ella walked in. “Who were they?” “Ah, I’m sorry. I should have introduced you. Those two ladies are my moms.”
“Both of them?” she asked with confusion. “They’re lesbians.” I winked. “Oh. Cool. Anyway, it’s time for your birthday cake.” The office staff gathered as well as the partners and I blew out my twenty-four candles that lit up a beautifully decorated sheet cake. After thanking everyone and devouring a piece, Joel and I headed over to the courthouse. **** “Why are we going to Willow’s?” I asked as the three of us climbed in the cab. “Because she and Cameron are going to dinner with us. Surprise!” Lisa smiled. “What? Really?” “Yes, and we want to see this lovely apartment of hers first.” I was beyond excited to celebrate my birthday with my moms and Willow and Cam. It was starting to feel like old times. When we reached their apartment, I knocked on the door and it slowly opened, but it was dark inside. Suddenly, the lights went on and people were everywhere, shouting, “Surprise!” I placed my hands over my mouth and tears started to fill my eyes as Willow and Cam gave me a hug. “You didn’t really think we wouldn’t celebrate your birthday on your birthday, did you?” Willow smiled as she clasped my shoulders. “Oh my God, I can’t believe this. Thank you.” I stared across the room at all the people who gathered to celebrate my birthday, but the only person I saw was Liam, smiling at me and holding up his glass.
Liam Seeing her so happy made my night. She deserved it, especially after seeing what her father had done to her. She smiled at me from across the room, and at that very moment, I knew for a fact I was falling in love with her. I grabbed a glass of champagne, walked over to where she was standing, and handed it to her. “Happy birthday, Avery.” “Thank you, Liam.” “Well, hello there, you stunningly handsome young man,” the woman next to Avery spoke as she looked me up and down. “Claudia, Lisa, this is Liam Wyatt, a client and friend of mine. Liam, these two lovely ladies are my moms.” I leaned in and gave each of them a light kiss on the cheek. “It’s a pleasure to meet both of you.” “It’s nice to meet you too, Liam.” Claudia smiled. “I’d totally go straight for you.” Lisa smirked. I chuckled. “Thank you. I think.” “Mom! Stop it!” Avery squealed. “Liam, I’m sorry.” “Don’t be. I think they’re great.” I gave them a wink. She placed her hand on my arm. “I’ll be right back. Willow is calling me over.” I stood there as Claudia and Lisa stared me down and talked amongst themselves, not caring that I was standing right there in front of them. “Boyfriend?” Claudia asked as she looked at Lisa. “It’s possible. But I doubt it. Remember what Avery said after Harrison. Plus, wouldn’t she have told us?”
“I know, but this one’s different. He’s actually hot and no, she wouldn’t have told us.” I cleared my throat. “I can hear you.” “We know.” Claudia smiled. “So why don’t you fill us in on who you really are.” “I’m Avery’s friend and client. Just like she said.” “They’re sleeping together,” Lisa spoke to Claudia. “Excuse me? How do you know that?” I asked. Lisa narrowed her eyes and slowly nodded her head. “Body language, my dear. The two of you have the body language that indicates you’re sleeping together.” “Well, I can assure you we’re not.” There was no way in hell I was admitting to her parents that we were having sex. That was wrong on so many levels. “What are the three of you talking about?” Avery asked as she walked over. Thank God. “We were just asking Liam if the two of you were sleeping together. No big deal, sweetheart.” Avery rolled her eyes. “Why do you two always do this? Yes, we’ve slept together a few times and that’s it. Casual sex and two adults having a good time. Other than that, there’s nothing going on. I’ll be right back. Cam is waving me over.” I suddenly became nervous as Claudia and Lisa stared at me. I couldn’t believe Avery just told them that. Who admits that to their parents? I wanted to run out of there and away from them as fast as I could, but they had me backed up against the wall. “You seem like a really nice guy, Liam, and we don’t want you to get hurt by Avery’s actions,” Lisa spoke. “What are you talking about?” “Avery’s been hurt many times,” Claudia said. “And she has daddy issues,” Lisa chimed in.
“I know all about her father. She told me and I know how hard it was seeing him again.” Both of their eyes widened. “What? She saw John?” Claudia asked. Shit. Shit. Shit. “She didn’t tell you? He was the opposing attorney on the case she was working on for us.” “No she did not,” Claudia expressed with irritation. “Please don’t tell her I told you. Let her be the one. Now, back to how I’d be hurt by her actions.” I wanted to know exactly what they meant. Lisa sighed. “The reason I said that is because I can tell you really like her. I can see it in the way you look at her, but I get the feeling she isn’t reciprocating. Am I right?” I pursed my lips together. “Yes. You’re right. I’m trying. I really am. And when we do spend time together, it’s amazing.” “And the sex is great?” Claudia asked. I just sat there and stared at her. I couldn’t believe I was having this awkward conversation with them. “You don’t have to answer. I can tell by the expression on your face that it is.” She smiled. “Listen,” Lisa said as she placed her hand on my arm. “We’ve always been very sexually open with our daughter and there’s no need to be embarrassed. If the two of you are having great sex, I say ‘wonderful.’ But if you want more from her and she’s not willing to give it, there’s a problem.” Claudia chimed in, “After her breakup with that nasty, self-absorbed man, Harrison, Avery shut down. That was the final straw. She’s dated a lot of guys and every one of them led her on and then broke her heart. In her weird-ass mind, she somehow thought Harrison was different.” “But we knew right off the bat he was a player and he was going to hurt her,” Lisa intervened.
“We never liked him and Avery knew it, but she didn’t care. But you, on the other hand, I think it’s safe to say we like you.” Claudia smiled. I laughed. “You don’t even know me.” “Well, let’s just say we have already spoken to Cameron and Willow and then we googled you, Mr. Wyatt. You seem like a good man with a good head on your shoulders and you know exactly what you want. If you want a relationship with our daughter, then you’re going to have to chip away at that stupid wall she’s put up. Has she mentioned the wall to you?” “No.” I shook my head. “She will.” Lisa rolled her eyes. “She’s a fighter. That’s what makes her a damn good lawyer and you’ll have to fight back twice as hard.” I cleared my throat as I saw Avery walking towards us. “What’s going on over here?” she asked as she took a seat in the chair across from us. “Nothing, sweetheart. Liam was just telling us about his company,” Claudia spoke. “I see.” She glared at the three of us. The party continued and Willow brought out a birthday cake and we all sang “Happy Birthday” to Avery. I couldn’t help but to take a few pictures of her. She was so beautiful and so happy. When the last guest left, I asked Avery if she would come out on the balcony with me. She did and I handed her a beautifully wrapped box with a white bow. “Happy birthday. I wanted to give you this in private.” “Liam, you didn’t have to get me anything.” “Yeah, Avery, I did. It’s your birthday and we’re friends. Plus, you’re my lawyer and I always buy my lawyers something for their birthdays.” “No you don’t.” She laughed. “Okay. I don’t. But this year, I did. Go ahead and open it.” The smile on her face grew as she untied the white bow and removed the lid from the box.
“Liam. Oh my God. This is my favorite perfume. How did you know?” “That night I was at your place, I saw the bottle on your dresser and noticed it was almost empty.” She looked at me and then looked down. “Thank you, but you shouldn’t have.” I placed my finger under her chin. “You’re welcome.” A tender smile crossed my lips. “Wait, what’s this?” She pulled out the white card that was attached to the inside lid. She laughed. “Good for one night of sex. No sleepover required. Any time and any place.” She wrapped her arms around me and gave me a hug. “I wish I could take you up on that offer now, but my parents are spending the night and I have to go home with them.” “I know. The offer doesn’t have an expiration date, so you can use it at any time. I better get going so you can spend some time with your family.” I placed my lips on her forehead. “I hope you had a great birthday.” “I did.” She smiled brightly at me. I said goodbye to Lisa, Claudia, Willow, and Cameron and headed home. I kept thinking about the conversation we had about Avery’s socalled wall and I was determined to break through it, little by little and piece by piece.
Avery After thanking Willow and Cam for the best birthday party ever, my moms and I slid into the back of a cab and headed home. “So are you going to tell us what is in the box Liam gave you?” Claudia asked. “A bottle of Coco Chanel perfume and a card for a night of sex.” “Damn. I like that man.” Lisa smiled. “So exactly what is going on between the two of you? You say you’re only sleeping together, but I think there’s more,” Claudia spoke. “There’s nothing going on between us except sex. That I promise you.” The cab pulled up to my building and we climbed out and went up to my apartment. “But he seems like a really great guy and I can tell he really likes you.” “Yeah. He really does seem interested in you, Avery,” Lisa chimed. “He is a great guy and that’s why I’m keeping him at a distance. The wall,” I moved my hand up and down in front of me, “is protecting me.” “You and that damn wall,” Claudia snapped. “You need to knock that down and start living life again, sweetie.” I sighed. “I am living life, Mom. I’m happy with the way things are. Guys do it all the time, so why can’t I? Listen, I don’t want to discuss Liam Wyatt anymore tonight. There’s something else we need to talk about.” Nervousness filled my insides, as I was about to spring on them that I saw John.
“I saw John. He was the opposing attorney for the client that was suing Wyatt Enterprises.” “And? What did the little ball-less bastard have to say?” Claudia asked as she and Lisa took a seat on the couch. “Not much. We did our business and he did a lot of staring. When the meeting was over, he whispered to me that he’d be in touch.” “Have you heard from him since?” Lisa asked. “The flowers you saw on my desk were from him with a card wishing me a happy birthday.” Claudia got up from the couch and walked into the kitchen, shaking her head. “So after all these years, the spineless piece of shit actually acknowledged your birthday.” “What are you going to do?” Lisa asked in a calm tone. “I’m doing nothing. He doesn’t have the right to want to be a part of my life. If we happen to run into each other in court, I’ll look the other way. He’s nothing to me but a stranger.” “I knew this was going to happen if you took that job,” Claudia spoke as she leaned against the counter. “I knew you were going to run into him and you knew it too.” She pointed her finger at me. “Maybe I did know it.” “You want his approval, Avery,” Lisa spoke. “It’s natural. He’s your father, even if he doesn’t act like one, he still is. You want him to be proud of you.” “I could care less what he thinks about me.” Tears started to sting my eyes. Lisa got up from the couch and wrapped her arms around me, kissing the top of my head. “It’s okay, sweetheart. You’re only human and it’s normal to want his acceptance and praise, even if he is the total asshole of the entire male species.” ****
Claudia and Lisa were up before me at five a.m. I rolled off the couch and dragged my tired ass to my bedroom to shower and get ready for work. They wanted to get an early start back because Claudia had some work to finish up in the lab, so we decided to have one last breakfast together before they left. “Do you know where you want to go to breakfast?” I asked. “We’re going to Ollie’s. We saw it yesterday when we were walking around,” Claudia spoke as she poured me a cup of coffee. “Great place. I was just there yesterday morning having Belgian waffles.” “Aw, Avery.” Lisa pouted. “We were just discussing that yesterday, how weird it was not making those for you on your birthday.” Claudia walked over to me with her arms held out. “Come here, baby.” She gave me a tight hug. “We’re going to miss you.” “Mom, you’re only an hour and fifteen minutes away. We can see each other all the time. It’s just been crazy these last few weeks trying to get settled in here and at the law firm. I can make weekend visits any time.” “You’re right. But why do you seem so far away?” Lisa looked at the clock. “We better get going. I’m starving.” I grabbed my briefcase and purse and the three of us headed out the door to Ollie’s. “Why, hello there.” The perky brunette from yesterday smiled. “Three today?” “No. There will be four of us,” Claudia replied. I looked at her strangely. “Four? Who else is coming?” “Just a friend.” The brunette showed us to a table for four by the window. “Mom. What friend?” “Oh, there he is.” Lisa smiled as she waved. I turned around before taking my seat and saw Liam walking towards us. “Good morning,” he said with a smile as he took a seat next to me.
“Morning.” I narrowed one eye. “Mom?” She waved her hand in front of her face. “We had such a nice conversation last night and we’ve really taken a liking to Mr. Wyatt, so we wanted to say a proper goodbye with a nice breakfast. We sent him a text message last night asking if he would like to join us.” I rolled my eyes. I knew exactly what she and Lisa were doing. I pulled my phone from my purse and scrolled through my text messages. “Liam, this is Claudia, Avery’s mother. We would love for you to meet us and Avery for breakfast tomorrow morning at eight o’clock at Ollie’s.” “Thank you, Claudia. I would love to.” I held up my phone. “This is an invasion of privacy.” “Oh please. We only sent a text message.” Once again, I rolled my eyes and took a sip of my coffee. “You’ve never asked one of my guy friends to breakfast.” “That’s because we didn’t like any of them.” Lisa smiled. I sighed as the waitress brought out breakfast. We ate, talked, and then I had to head to the office. Outside of the diner, I hugged Claudia and Lisa goodbye and so did Liam. I frowned. “You make sure to come back home in a couple of weeks for the weekend and bring this handsome guy with you.” Claudia winked as she placed her hand on Liam’s chest. “Goodbye, mothers.” I frowned. They climbed into the car with a smile and pulled away. I shook my head as I looked at Liam. “What? I can’t help it if they like me.” “I have to go to work. Have a nice day, Mr. Wyatt.” I began to walk away. “Hey, Avery,” Liam called out to me. I stopped and looked at him. “How about dinner tonight?” “Working late. Maybe another time.”
“I’m holding you to that.” I put my hand up and waved as I continued to walk down the street with a smile splayed across my face.
Liam Placing my hands in my pockets, I walked down the street with a smile on my face. Avery didn’t know it yet, but she was having dinner with me tonight. Claudia and Lisa told me I’d have to fight back twice as hard and that was exactly what I planned to do. No more of this game that was going on and no more Mr. Nice Guy. I wanted Avery Lewis as my girl and I was going to fucking make sure that happened. Sitting in my office, I pulled my phone from my pocket and called Avery’s secretary, Ella. “Avery Lewis’s office, Ella speaking.” “Ella, it’s Liam Wyatt.” “Well, hi there, Mr.—” “Shh. I don’t want Avery to know I’m calling.” “Okay, then. How may I help you?” “Avery said she’s working late tonight. I need you to find out if she’s working alone or if someone else will be working with her. I want to bring her dinner at the office.” “Oh, that’s so sweet. Okay. I’m on it. Give me your number and I’ll call you back as soon as I find out.” “Thank you, Ella. Remember, not a word of this to Avery.” “My lips are sealed.” I ended the call and leaned back in my chair. As I was pondering what to order for dinner, Oliver walked in the office. “You look like you’re in deep thought. What’s going on?” “Just deciding on what to bring Avery for dinner at her office later.” “So the two of you are having dinner again? Nice.” “She doesn’t know it yet.”
Oliver raised his brow. “A surprise dinner. Even better.” “I asked her earlier to have dinner with me and she said she was working late and maybe another time. I’m done playing games, bro. I’m going after her with everything I have. I don’t care if it takes a day, a week, a month, or even a year. I’m going to make her mine.” “Now that’s the brother I know and love!” His smile grew as he got up from his seat. “Did you need to talk to me about something?” I asked. “No. I was just going to ask you if you wanted to go out to dinner with us tonight. But I guess you already have other plans.” “Thanks, bro. Maybe next time.” As Oliver was leaving my office, my phone rang. “Liam Wyatt.” “It’s Ella,” she said in a whisper. “Hi, Ella.” “Avery will be working alone tonight. Joel was supposed to work on a case with her, but his wife is ill and he has to leave.” “Are you sure she’s staying at the office?” “Yes. She said she has a lot of work to do and she’ll be here late.” “Thank you, Ella. I owe you one.” “You’re welcome. Have fun tonight.” “I fully intend to.” I heard her giggle before I ended the call. **** It was eight o’clock when I took the elevator up to Avery’s office. As I approached, she was sitting behind her desk, looking at what I believed was a law book. “Ahem,” I cleared my throat as I stood in the doorway. She looked up and our eyes locked. “Liam, what are you doing here?”
I held up the white plastic bag I was carrying. “I brought you dinner. I hope you haven’t eaten already.” She put down her pen and closed the law book. “No. I haven’t had a chance. You didn’t have to do that.” “I know I didn’t, but I wanted to. You have to eat and I was hungry, so I thought we could dine together. It won’t kill you to take a small break.” She hesitated for a moment. Her eyes looked tired and her face looked drained, but she was still just as beautiful as always. “What did you bring?” “Chinese.” “My favorite. You may enter my office.” She smiled. I chuckled as I walked in and set the bag down on the chair. “Let’s go eat in the kitchen,” Avery spoke as she got up from her desk. I followed her out of the office and down the hallway to the kitchen area. “Are you the only one here?” “No, Mark is here too. He’s in his office tying up some loose ends on a case for court tomorrow.” I took the cartons out of the bag while Avery opened the refrigerator. “All we have is bottled water. Good?” “That’s fine.” I smiled as I sat down. “I wasn’t sure what you liked, so I got some chicken and pork.” “I like both.” She took the seat at the table across from me and handed me the bottled water. “Shit. I don’t think we have any plates.” “No problem. I’ll set the cartons in the middle of the table and we can share them.” This was perfect and there was no other place I wanted to be. Having dinner with her was something that I wanted to do every night. She made me feel incredible. It was something I’d never felt before. “How was your day?” she asked. “Busy. I don’t need to ask how yours was because from the looks of your desk, you’ve had a tough day.”
“The life of a lawyer.” She grinned as she stuck her chopsticks in the sesame chicken. “I really like Claudia and Lisa. They’re great ladies.” “Thanks. I think so too, even though they like to meddle in my life.” “Nah. I wouldn’t call it meddling. They just want you to be happy.” As we were talking, Mark walked in. “Hey, Liam, what are you doing here?” “Hey, Mark.” I got up and shook his hand. “We’re going over some information about the case for his company lawsuit,” Avery jumped in. “Ah. Over dinner?” he asked. “Yes, Mark. Over dinner. Is that a problem?” I asked with seriousness. “Umm. No. Whatever floats your boat. Anyway, I’m out of here. Don’t stay too much longer, Avery. I really don’t like it when the female associates are here late at night by themselves.” “I won’t, Mark.” “I’ll make sure she leaves safely,” I said before he walked out. “Thanks, Liam. I appreciate it.” He walked out and Avery sighed. “What’s wrong?” “Nothing. I’m just tired.” We finished eating and I helped Avery clean up. Walking back to her office, I noticed the pretty flowers sitting on the corner of her desk. “Those are pretty.” “I forgot to tell you last night. John sent them to me.” “Really? I’m surprised you didn’t throw them out.” “Believe me, I wanted to. But they’re too pretty to dump in the trash. I just hate looking at them, knowing they’re from him.” I took a seat in the chair across from her desk as she stood there. “What are you doing?” she asked. “Staying until you’re done. I’m not leaving you here alone.” “Why? Because I’m a woman? I could kick your ass.” She smiled. I cocked my head and studied her. “You think so?”
“I know so, Mr. Wyatt. Now be a good boy and leave my office.” I got up from my chair, grabbed her, and lightly pushed her up against the wall, holding her wrists above her head with one hand, while my other hand made its way up her skirt until my fingers reached her panties. She let out a light moan. My face was mere inches from hers. “Are you going to kick my ass?” I asked as my tongue trailed down the side of her neck. “Maybe. You have to do better than that.” Moving her panties to the side, I dipped a finger inside of her. She was already soaking wet with excitement. “How’s that?” I continued to roam her neck. She began to pant. “Better.” My tongue slid down her throat and in between the opening of her blouse. “Tell me what you want.” My fingers were still exploring her insides. My grip on her wrists tightened as she tried to wiggle out from under me. “Let go of my wrist and I’ll show you.” She bit down on her bottom lip and I almost lost it. I slowly let go of one wrist and she placed her hand over the fabric of my pants, lightly gripping my hard cock. “I want this.” My tongue lightly licked her lips, teasing her while my finger moved in and out of her. Her fingers undid my belt first before working my button and pulling the zipper down. Before I knew it, her hand reached down the front of my pants and took hold of me, softly caressing my cock. Her chest was moving up and down as our eyes locked onto each other. Her breathing was shallow as she moaned and her body gave way to an orgasm. “That’s it, baby. Come for me,” I whispered as I ran my lips across her neck.
I let go of her other wrist and unzipped her skirt, letting it fall to the ground. She stepped out of it and stood there in her red lace thong, high black heels, and cream-colored blouse. She was the sexiest woman I’d ever laid eyes on. After kicking off my shoes, she took down my pants, releasing my throbbing cock, which was dying to be inside of her. She stroked me up and down as I slowly unbuttoned her blouse, sliding it off her shoulders and admiring her large, round breasts, which were partially covered by a lace bra. I took hold of her hips and turned her around so she was facing her desk. After I took her panties down and gripped her beautifully toned ass, she bent over, begging me to fuck her. “Is this what you wanted?” I whispered as I thrust into her. “Yes,” she moaned softly. I moved in and out of her as my tongue explored her shoulder, making tiny circles, which drove her crazy. Reaching my hand over, I placed my finger on her clit, moving it in sync as my thrusting became more intense. Her moans grew louder as did mine and we both came at the same time. Pushing deep inside her, I halted and poured every last drop of pleasure inside of her. We stood there for a moment, catching our breath and letting our heart rates get back to normal. I wanted to tell her right then and there that I was in love with her. But if I did, I’d probably never see her again. So I silently thought it. Pulling out of her, I tightened my arms around her waist and laid my head on her shoulder. This was what I so desperately wanted. To hold her and protect her. After a few moments, we both got dressed and I took her home. “Thank you for dinner and for distracting me from my work.” “It was my pleasure.” I smiled as my lips brushed against hers. “Good night, Avery.” “Good night, Liam.” She stepped inside her apartment and shut the door. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more alone than I did at that moment.
Avery As soon as I shut the door, I leaned against it and slowly dropped to the floor. Things were getting more intense between us. He was getting more intense. The perfume, the breakfast, the dinner, and the amazing sex, which got hotter each time, were starting to mess with my head. I found myself thinking about him every second of the day. Simple things would remind me of him, and now, every time I sat down at my desk, the memory of what happened between us would always be there. I had just wanted him physically, and now I found myself wanting him emotionally. He was safe to talk to. As much as I tried to push him away, my defense was slowly fading and I couldn’t let that happen. It was new, adventurous, and exciting. But for how long would it last? How long until he came to me and said that we should see other people or that we should take a break? My feelings for him ran deeper than anyone else I’d ever been with and that was something I realized every day. If he hurt me, I didn’t think I could survive it. Okay, I would survive, but I would bury myself so deep that I wouldn’t be able to climb out. I already knew how this would play out. He was rich, very successful, sexy, and when he got bored with me, he’d seek out someone else. He was a millionaire playboy who could have anything he wanted with the snap of his fingers; the one who would walk away unharmed, leaving a trail of my destruction behind. The next day, I was sitting in my office, putting together the case for Wyatt Enterprises and trying to put Liam out of my mind until Ella walked in with a flower arrangement. “Look what just came for you.” She smiled.
My eyes diverted up and stared at the same exact flower arrangement that John sent me. “Open the card. Open the card,” Ella said excitedly as she set the arrangement on the other side of my desk. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me who it was from. I took the envelope out of her hand and opened it, pulling out the card inside. “Avery, I know they’re too pretty to throw away, so I sent you these to replace the ones John sent. Hopefully, you’ll feel more comfortable when you look at them. Love, Liam” What the fuck? I asked myself as I stared at the card. My heart started to ache and I didn’t know why. “Well, who are they from?” Ella bounced up and down. “Wyatt Enterprises. They’re thanking me for handling their case.” She looked at me and twisted her face. “Oh. Weird that they’re the same ones you already have. That must be a popular arrangement.” “Yeah. Probably.” I gave a small smile. She walked out of my office and I took the flowers that John sent, threw them in the trash, and set the ones that Liam sent in their place. Picking up my phone, I sent him a text message. “Thank you for the flowers. That was really sweet of you.” “You’re welcome. I’d like to see you later.” “I can’t. Willow scheduled us a spa appointment at six o’clock and then we’re going to dinner.” “Nice. Enjoy your spa treatment and I’ll talk to you later. Tell Willow I said hi.” “Thank you. I will.” I stared at my phone for a moment before setting it down. **** I met Willow at the spa and we relaxed with a great facial, massage, and a couple glasses of wine. When we were finished and discussing
where to have dinner, she received a call from her babysitter informing her that she had a family emergency and had to leave. We hugged goodbye, and I decided to walk home since the spa was only three blocks from my apartment. Walking down the street and checking my emails, I halted when I heard my name. “Hello, Avery.” My heart began to race as I stood and stared at my father. “I’ve been meaning to call you. Did you get my flowers?” Standing there, trying to control the nerves that took over me, I swallowed hard. “Yes, I did.” “Good. We need to talk.” We need to talk? He had my entire life to talk to me. “There’s nothing to talk about, John. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go.” I began to walk past him and he lightly grabbed my elbow. “Don’t walk away, Avery.” “Get your hand off of me!” I spoke through gritted teeth. “You have no right to ask me not to walk away when that’s all you’ve done my entire life.” “I get it. You’re angry. I wasn’t there for you.” John glanced behind me and I felt a light touch on my shoulder. “Avery, are you okay?” Liam asked. I looked at him and suddenly a calm sensation engulfed me. I turned and looked back at my father. “No. You’re wrong. I’m not angry. How can you be angry at someone you don’t even know?” I walked away, Liam following behind. “What the hell just happened back there?” he asked as he tried to catch up to me. “I need a drink. Would you care to join me?” I opened the door to a bar called Louie’s. We took a seat at a table for two. “What can I get you?” the waitress asked with a smile.
“I’ll have a whiskey sour. Make it a double.” “And I’ll have a scotch on the rocks, please,” Liam replied. His eyes stared into mine as he took hold of my hand, which was resting on the table. “Take a deep breath.” As soon as I did, the waitress returned with our drinks. I immediately picked up the glass and took a large sip. “I was on my home from my spa appointment and I ran into him. Do you believe he actually had the nerve to say that we needed to talk? Who the fuck does he think he is?” I took another large sip. “Calm down. Getting upset isn’t going to make things better.” “What could he possibly want to talk to me about?” “I don’t know. Maybe he wants to get to know you now.” “Well, too fucking bad for him because it isn’t happening.” “Avery, please don’t get mad at me, but you knew it was inevitable, you seeing him now that you’re living in New York. You’re going to have to deal with him sooner or later.” “I don’t have to do anything, Liam.” I threw back the rest of my whiskey, threw some money on the table, and walked out of the bar. I was pissed that he would even say that. Of course he came after me. “Wait up. I didn’t say that to make you mad.” “I just need to be alone. I’ll talk to you later. I’m sorry, Liam.” I walked away in a hurry. I only had one more block until I reached my apartment building and all I wanted to do was climb into a hot bath and drown away all thoughts of my father.
Liam I had just left the restaurant after having dinner with Max when I saw Avery and her father down the street. I wanted to take her home, but I pissed her off with what I said. She was going to have to face him sooner or later whether she wanted to or not. She was strong, yet broken, and the only way she would be able to heal was by talking to him. She was reminding me more and more of Oliver and it was starting to bother me. The next morning, I woke up, showered, got ready for work, and headed over to Oliver’s house. “Good morning,” I spoke as I walked over and gave Delilah a kiss on her cheek. She put her hand over her mouth and ran out of the room. “Was it something I said?” I chuckled as I glanced at Oliver. “Morning sickness. We tried having sex this morning, but she had to keep getting up and running to the bathroom.” I couldn’t help but laugh and shake my head. “Have you heard from Sophie?” “Yep. She’s having a great time in Vermont. What’s wrong? You look like you haven’t slept.” “Is it that obvious?” I asked as I took a sip of my coffee. “What’s going on? Avery?” I sighed. “She ran into her father last night on the street and they had some words. Needless to say, she was very upset and then got pissed off at me when I told her she was going to have to face him sooner or later. I don’t know how to help her. I try to be there for her and she pushes me away. She reminds me so much of you, bro, before you met Delilah.”
“I would say that’s not a good thing.” “No, it’s not. I want a relationship with her. A real relationship. No more of this casual sex shit.” “I understand.” “How can a woman be so amazing but yet so complicated?” “Welcome to love, little brother.” He smiled. Delilah walked into the dining room. “What are you two talking about?” “Are you okay?” I asked as she sat down. “I will be around ten o’clock. That’s when this morning sickness seems to go away. Are you talking about Avery?” “Liam was just telling me how complicated she is,” Oliver replied. “She’s only complicated if that’s the way you see her.” I sighed and Oliver and I finished our breakfast and headed to the office. **** Sitting at my desk and looking over some contracts, I couldn’t think about anything but Avery. I needed to make sure she was okay after last night and, hopefully, she wasn’t still pissed at me. I picked up my phone and sent her a text message. I felt I had given her enough time. “Hi. Are you still pissed at me?” I set my phone down and waited for a response. An hour passed by and still nothing from her. Oliver walked into my office and threw a file on my desk. “We’re going to the Hamptons this weekend to meet with Jerry Greenwood to go over the negotiations for the purchase of his building. We’ll leave tomorrow afternoon and return Sunday night. I’ve rented us a yacht to stay on so we can set sail after the meeting.” “Thanks, Oliver, but I’ll just drive back after the meeting. You and Delilah have fun.”
“Sorry, little brother, but you’re coming with us. You’ve been working hard and you deserve some down time. A little sun and a few drinks will do you good. Plus, we can go jet skiing just like we used to.” “Oliver, seriously, I have the bathroom to finish painting.” “Fuck the bathroom. It’ll be there waiting for you when you get back. You’re going and I don’t want to hear another word about it.” He pointed at me as he walked out of the office. I shook my head and turned my chair so I was facing the window. Looking out into the city of New York, I thought that maybe it would be good to get away and get my mind off Avery. It wasn’t like she’d go out with me this weekend anyway. ****
Avery Walking out of the courtroom, I pulled my phone from my bag and saw Liam’s text message. “Sorry, I was in court. No, I’m not pissed off at you. I was angry last night because of him, not you. I’ll talk to you later. I have to get back into the courtroom.” What Liam said last night was true. I would have to face John sooner or later. Not in a courtroom or at the law office, but just the two of us, alone. I had a feeling that John wasn’t going to stop until we talked. Once I finished up in court, I headed back to the law firm and Ella stopped me before I reached my office. “Tim needs to see you in his office.” “Thanks, Ella.” I turned around and headed to Tim’s office. He was on the phone but waved me to come in. As I took a seat in front of this desk, he ended his call and sat back in his chair. “Ella said you wanted to see me?”
“Yes. Oliver Wyatt called and he needs you to go with him to the Hamptons this weekend to sit in on some negotiations for a building he’s looking at purchasing. He also insists that you spend the weekend with him and his wife on a yacht. You’ll leave tomorrow afternoon and return Sunday evening.” “What? Why?” “Because he likes you, Avery, and he needs his lawyer there to make sure he’s not getting screwed.” “I understand that. I’ll drive there tomorrow and drive back after the meeting.” “No. I don’t think you understand. He wants you to spend the weekend with him and his wife. If that’s what he wants, that’s what he’s going to get.” “But, Tim...” “No buts, Avery. You’re going. We can’t afford to lose Wyatt Enterprises as a client. You should feel honored that he even asked you.” “Fine. I’ll make sure to pack my bikini.” “That’s the spirit. Go have some fun.” He smiled. Once I returned to my office, I shut the door and pulled out my phone to call Liam. I knew damn well he was behind this. “Liam Wyatt.” “It’s Avery. Are you going to the Hamptons this weekend?” “Yeah. How did you know?” “Don’t play dumb with me, Wyatt.” “Whoa, Avery, I seriously have no clue what you’re talking about.” “Tim just told me that Oliver called him and needs me to come to the Hamptons to sit in on negotiations for a building your company is purchasing and then I’m to spend the weekend with him and Delilah on a yacht.” “I’m sorry. I didn’t know he asked you to go. He just told me about this trip this morning.” There was something in his voice that sounded sincere. Maybe he really didn’t know that Oliver insisted I come along. One of my many
talents was being able to read people, and I could always tell when someone was lying by the sound of their voice, the way they said things, and their body language. “Okay. Well, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow. I have to go. I have a shitload of work to do.” I ended the call and laid my forehead down on my desk. Spending an entire weekend with Liam Wyatt was going to be unbearable and not in a bad way. I needed to fight harder to get those feelings I had for him to disappear. But how could I do that when I’d be with him for three days? When my phone dinged, I looked over and saw a text message from Liam. “Since you’re going tomorrow, there’s no sense in us driving separate. I’ll be by your place around one o’clock to pick you up unless you just want to spend the night at my house.” “Ha ha. You’re cute when you think you’re funny. You don’t have a car, so how are we getting there?” “I have a car and a driver.” I frowned as I read his message. “I didn’t know that.” “There are a lot of things you don’t know about me, Avery. I’ll see you tomorrow. If you change your mind about spending the night, let me know.” “Nope. I won’t be changing my mind. I’ll see you tomorrow at one o’clock.” ****
Liam I placed my phone in my pocket and headed to Oliver’s office. “What are you doing?” “I’m working,” he spoke as he looked up from his computer.
“I meant what are you doing asking Avery to spend the weekend with us? She called me and sounded pissed. She thinks I put you up to calling Tim.” Oliver sighed. “I’m killing two birds with one stone. We need Avery at the negotiations because something about Jerry Greenwood isn’t sitting right with me and then you get to spend the entire weekend with her. Isn’t that what you want?” I hesitantly stared at him for a moment before answering his question. “Well, yeah, but not if she’s going to be pissed about it.” “I’m helping you out. Now you get to spend time with her and the two of you can get to know each other better. Who knows? Maybe she’ll let you sleep in her bed.” He winked. “Use this opportunity to break through that wall of hers. No need to thank me.” He smiled. I rolled my eyes and walked out of his office. Spending the weekend with her was going to be the best weekend of my life. Or at least, I hoped. This was my chance to win her over. If I didn’t accomplish that this weekend, I might as well forget it.
Avery I pulled my bikini out of the drawer and threw it in my bag. If we were going to be on a yacht, I would definitely need it. I finished packing and set my bag by the door. Since Liam was picking me up at one o’clock, I decided to work from home in the morning. I talked to my mom and Lisa last night and had to lie to them about what I was doing this weekend. If I would’ve told them I was spending it with Liam, I would’ve received a lecture about him, and that was something I didn’t need right now. As I was cleaning up the kitchen, there was a knock at the door. I took in a deep breath and opened it. “Hello, Avery. Are you ready?” Liam asked with a smile. “Yes. Come on in. I just have to grab my purse.” He reached down and grabbed my bag from the floor. “You don’t need to carry my bag. I can do it.” “It’s fine. I got it.” We took the elevator downstairs, and as we were walking out of the building, Davis gave me a happy smile and a thumbs-up. I was really going to have to tell him to stop doing that. Outside the building, parked at the curb, was a black Rolls Royce with a tall, distinguishedlooking man holding open the passenger door. “Declan, meet Avery Lewis. Avery, meet Declan, my driver.” “Hello, Miss Lewis. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.” He smiled. “It’s nice to meet you, Declan. Please call me Avery.” Declan took my bag from Liam as we slid into the plush back seat. “So, where have you been hiding him?” I asked.
Liam snickered. “Declan is my occasional driver. On call at all times when I need him. Unlike Oliver, I don’t mind taking taxis or walking to where I need to go. I use the car and Declan for special occasions.” “I see. I like this car. It’s nice.” “Thank you, Miss Lewis. How’s work going?” “Busy. The life of a lawyer is never dull, that’s for sure.” “I can imagine.” The corners of his mouth curved up and the ache between my legs was back with a vengeance. Not only because of his panty-melting smile, but also the way he smelled. His light musk, woodsy scent was sending my pheromones into overdrive. “So tell me about this building your company is thinking about purchasing.” “Oliver doesn’t trust Jerry Greenwood, so he wants you to sit in and listen and look for any loopholes in the negotiations.” “You really didn’t know that he called Tim, did you?” He tilted his head and gave me a small smile. “No, I really didn’t know. Not until you called and told me.” We arrived at the marina, where Oliver dropped off Delilah, and the three of us climbed into Oliver’s car and headed to the meeting. “Thanks for coming, Avery. I appreciate it,” Oliver spoke. “Didn’t have much of a choice, Oliver. Tim is paranoid that you’re going to take your business elsewhere. Have you given him a reason to think that?” Oliver laughed. “Not that I know of.” We arrived at the building and we were greeted by Jerry Greenwood. “Well, hello there, beautiful.” He smiled in a creepy way that sent bad vibes down my spine. “Hello, Mr. Greenwood. I’m Avery Lewis, attorney for Wyatt Enterprises.” “A pretty little thing like you should be a super model, not an attorney.”
I looked over at Liam, who was keeping a close eye on Mr. Greenwood. He took us up to his office and the negotiations began. Every time he looked over at me, he winked. I could tell Liam was getting pissed by the look on his face. Upon studying the contract that he drew up, I found many inconsistencies that would have cost Oliver a pretty penny. “My advice is that you come down twenty percent on the asking price.” Jerry Greenwood chuckled. “You’re funny, little lady. I’m sorry, but how old are you? You look awful young to be a lawyer. How long have you been practicing law?” I glared at him and could see Oliver and Liam staring at me out of the corner of my eye, waiting for my response. “My age is none of your concern, Mr. Greenwood, and how long I’ve been practicing is irrelevant. The data you provided Wyatt Enterprises and the data I’ve pulled up on my iPad suggest two different options. Could you excuse us for a moment, please?” I asked him. “Sure. I’ll be right outside.” I leaned over so I was facing both Oliver and Liam. “Listen, you need to reconsider the purchase of this building. He’s overinflating the price to cover something else. I just don’t know what it is yet. This whole deal seems sketchy to me and it could end up costing you a hell of a lot of money in the long run.” “So you’re saying to walk away?” Oliver asked with seriousness. “Yes. The numbers long term aren’t adding up. I just think this will be a very bad investment.” “Liam?” Oliver asked. “I wasn’t keen on this to begin with, Oliver, and you knew that. If Avery says it’s a bad deal, then I think we should walk away.” Oliver nodded his head as he got up from his chair. Liam and I followed behind. “Thank you, Jerry, but Wyatt Enterprises is no longer interested in this purchase. Have a nice day.”
“Wait! What? You’re going to listen to her? Come on, Oliver.” “Goodbye, Jerry.” He waved. Arriving back at the yacht, Delilah informed Oliver that she wasn’t feeling well and that maybe they should head back to the city. “Are you sure, sweetheart?” Oliver asked as he stroked her cheek. “You feel warm.” “It just hit me suddenly. I’ll be more comfortable at home, Oliver.” He kissed her forehead and then turned to me and Liam. “Well, I need to get Delilah home. Everything is already paid for, so you two stay and enjoy the weekend.” “I’m so sorry,” Delilah expressed as she looked at me. “No. Don’t be. You need to take care of yourself.” “I hope you feel better, Delilah,” Liam spoke as he kissed her cheek. She gave him a small smile as she and Oliver left the boat. Great, now it was just me and Liam. The two of us, alone, on a yacht, sailing into the middle of the ocean where there was no escape if I needed to. What would I escape from? My feelings? My indecision about him? Liam took hold of my hand. “Listen, we don’t have to stay here. If you want, we can go home. I don’t want you to be uncomfortable.” “You’re such a gentleman, and since we’re here, we might as well enjoy it.” “Are you sure?” “Yes. I’m sure.” I smiled. I found myself missing his touch. His hands roaming my naked body and his warm lips pressed against mine. To most women, this would be a dream. But to me, it was a nightmare. My own hell that I couldn’t escape. To so badly want to be with someone and to know that I would ultimately fuck things up and make him leave was the only thought that resided in my head. “Excuse me, Mr. Wyatt. Dinner is served.” “Thank you, Lawrence. We’ll be up in a minute. “I hope you’re hungry.”
“I’m starving.” We walked to the dining area where a table with white linens, fine china, and crystal glasses was set. Liam pulled out my chair. “Thank you.” “You’re welcome,” he spoke as he took the seat across from me.
Liam Delilah wasn’t sick. She felt perfectly fine when I kissed her cheek. As cool as a cucumber. This was Oliver’s plan all along. He never had any intention of staying on this boat. He did this for me so I could be alone with the woman I was in love with. As we finished up dinner, the sun was about to set. I grabbed our wine glasses and told Avery to follow me up to the deck of the yacht. We took seats in the lounge chairs that faced the ocean. “The sun is about to set,” I spoke. “It’s one of the most beautiful sights in the world.” “I love watching the sun set almost as much as I love to watch it rise. I remember when I went to California with Claudia and Lisa for vacation. I would get up every morning at the crack of dawn, walk down to the beach, and perch myself in the sand, waiting for the sun to rise. It was so beautiful the way it rose over the ocean water. It symbolized the start of a brand new day and I could make that day anything I wanted to. Of course, they thought I was crazy, but I found it soothing.” I reached over and took hold of her hand. “May I?” I asked. “Yes, you may,” she spoke with a smile. I held up my glass to her. “Here’s to sunrises and sunsets.” She tapped her glass against mine and took a sip. We sat there in silence as we watched the sun set over the ocean. It surely was beautiful, but not as beautiful as Avery was sitting there watching it. This was a moment that I’d never forget. I wanted nothing more than to hold her, to wrap my arms around her, and keep her close to my heart. A heart that was no longer empty, but full and content every time she was around.
I pulled my phone from my pocket and put on some music. “Will you dance with me?” I asked, nervously waiting for her to tell me hell no. But she didn’t. She softly smiled as she nodded her head. Still holding on to her hand, we both stood up, and I placed my other hand on her hip as we swayed back and forth to the music. Staring into her beautiful blue eyes made me happy. She made me happy, and before this weekend was over, I was going to tell her. I was going to risk everything. My eyes left hers and traveled to her lips. Leaning in, I softly kissed her and pulled back to study her reaction. Her reaction was comforting. A simple smile escaped her lips and her eyes were telling me to keep going. Leaning in again, I took her bottom lip between my teeth. A moan escaped her as she tilted her head back, allowing my tongue to slide across her soft skin. I pulled her into me, my erection pressing against her pelvis. “This is what you do to me, Avery. You make me want you so badly.” Her hand traveled to the front of my pants, the palm of her hand pressing against my cock. “If you want me, then take me.” I picked her up and carried her down to the bedroom, standing her in front of the bed. My hands gripped the bottom of her shirt and lifted it over her head, tossing it to the side while her hands reached back and unzipped her skirt, which fell to the ground. She stood before me in her bra and matching panties, a goddess-like creature that was waiting to be devoured. Stripping out of my clothes, I reached around her and unhooked her bra, slowly removing it to reveal her supple breasts. My hands latched on to them, massaging every inch of them before my fingers found their way to her hardened nipples, which were full of excitement and yearning to be played with. Her breath hitched as I lay her down on the bed, back pressed firmly against the mattress. I spread her legs wide, and my tongue drew tiny circles around her inner thigh. “Oh God, Liam,” she panted.
As my fingers dipped over the cotton fabric that covered her slick spot, I could feel the wetness already pouring from her, making my erection even harder to the point that I thought I was going to explode. I needed to taste her, take her in my mouth, and give her the greatest pleasure she’d ever had. After I pulled down her panties, my tongue slid up her thigh and to her already swollen clit, while my fingers dipped inside her. Arching her back, she let out a low moan. “I need you to come for me, baby,” I whispered as my tongue circled around her and my fingers moved in and out. “Oh God, please don’t stop. I’m so—” She couldn’t finish her words as her body shook and the satisfied whisper of my name escaped her lips. I couldn’t hold out anymore. I needed to be inside her, to feel the warmth enveloped around my cock. Hovering over her and softly stroking her face, I pushed inside of her, burying myself so deep that we both gasped as our lips met each other in our heated moment of ecstasy. ****
Avery Our bodies coordinated perfectly with each other and his orgasms seemed to become more intense each time we made love. Every time we touched, we entered our own private world, my brain emptying all thoughts and concerns. His breathing heavy, he thrust in and out of me swiftly, satisfying both our needs and applying the right pressure that sent my body over the edge to another euphoric orgasm. He halted deep inside me, a low groan emerging from his lips as he threw his head back and strained as he said my name, filling my insides with his come. Slowly falling on top of me, our bodies covered in sweat, Liam took hold of my hands and interlaced our fingers, extending my arms over my head and burying his face into my neck while our breathing returned to normal.
He let go of my hands and rolled off of me, wrapping his arms around me tightly and pulling me to his chest. “You are so incredible,” he whispered as he stroked my hair. “So are you.” Laying my head against his muscular chest and being wrapped around his body made me feel protected, a feeling I’d never felt with any other guy. I was swimming in dangerous territory as the wall I built around me started to perish. Every time we made love—hell, every time he spoke to me—a piece would crumble and fall away. I needed to get up and go to my own room. Hesitantly, I broke from his embrace, and as I started to climb out of bed, he grabbed my hand tightly and held on as if I was his lifeline. “Please don’t go. Please stay in this bed with me. Let me hold you until you fall asleep and then I promise I’ll leave and go sleep in the other room.” I swallowed hard as I stared into his pleading eyes. He wasn’t asking to spend the full night with me. He only wanted to stay until I fell asleep. I gave him a small smile as I crawled under the covers and into his arms. My indecision still ate away at me as I lay there, safe, secure, with the most beautiful man in the world protecting me from my own insecurities. I remember drifting into a sound sleep but was awakened by his movement as he kissed my shoulder and began to get out of bed. Without turning around, I reached behind me and took hold of his arm, stopping him before both of his feet could touch the ground. “Don’t go.” “Are you sure?” he whispered. I turned around, holding the sheet that covered my breasts and softly stroked his arm. “Yes.” Even though darkness infiltrated the room, I could feel his smile as he nestled back in and laid his head on the pillow, wrapping his arm around me. I laid my head against his chest as his lips pressed against
me. I had just broken my number one rule and another piece of my wall came crumbling down.
Liam I couldn’t help but stare at her as she peacefully slept in my arms. Finally, she gave in and spent the night with me. When she asked me not to go, she made me the happiest man in the world. She slowly opened her eyes and the corners of her mouth slightly curved upwards as she looked at me. “Good morning.” I kissed her forehead. “Good morning. How long have you been awake?” “Just a few minutes.” My finger traced a line across her collarbone. “What time is it?” she asked with a yawn. “It’s eight o’clock.” “I haven’t slept in this late in a long time.” I kissed her lips and climbed out of bed. “Where are you going?” “I’ll be right back.” I went into the bathroom and turned on the shower. Walking back into the room, I held out my hand to her. “I thought we could start the day with a shower before breakfast.” She sat up and let the sheet fell off of her, exposing her beautiful breasts. She looked down at my cock, which was already hard and wanting her. “Sounds nice.” She smiled as she placed her hand in mine and I led her to the bathroom. She stepped in first and I followed, closing the large glass door behind me. With the warm water beating down her backside, my hands took hold of her breasts, massaging them fully as my lips brushed against hers. Her hands were planted firmly on my hips and then over my cock. Her grip was firm as she stroked me up and down. Breaking our kiss, she slid her tongue slowly down my
chest and to my abdomen. She got down on her knees and wrapped her lips around me. I was pleasantly surprised and let out a low moan. When I placed my hands on her head, she took my entire length in her mouth, sucking and rolling her tongue along my most sensitive spot. Fuck. She was going to make me come. I pulled out of her mouth and stood her up, turning her around so she was facing the wall. She planted her hands firmly against the marble tile, and I thrust into her from behind, hard and deep, our wet skin pressed against each other. I placed my hands on hers, interlacing our fingers as I moved in and out of her. The pressure was building for both of us. Her moans deepened as she orgasmed, causing me to do the same. I pushed one last time, holding steady as I filled her with my come. She looked back at me as our lips met and we kissed one last time before I pulled out of her and we finished up our shower. We spent the day doing nothing but lying in the sun, eating, drinking, and talking. She was the most relaxed I’d seen her since we met. We talked a lot about the Kilbrand vs. Essex case, and even though I knew she was incredibly smart, it fascinated me to listen to her. She loved her job. It was obvious because she lit up every time she talked about stepping foot inside the courtroom. She was exactly what I wanted and needed. “Have you ever been jet skiing?” I asked as I stared at her long, sculpted legs and perfectly taut abs. She looked at me over her sunglasses. “No. I’ve never been. To be honest, it actually kind of scares me.” “Really? It’s a lot of fun.” “I’ll have to try it some time.” “How about now?” I grinned. “The yacht has Jet Skis.” She took off her glasses and I could see the panic settle into her eyes. “Umm. No way. Maybe if we were on a lake, but not on the ocean. Are you nuts?” I chuckled. “Me and Oliver always used to jet ski in the ocean.”
I got up from my lounge chair and held out my hand. “Come on. You can ride with me. I’ll make sure you’re safe.” She put her sunglasses back on and stared ahead at the water. “Are you crazy?” “Maybe just a little.” Grabbing her hand, I pulled her up from the chair and led her down to the back of the boat where the Jet Skis were. The captain was already standing there with two wet suits in his hand. Grabbing one for Avery, I handed it to her. “Put this on. The water is pretty cold.” “Another reason why I’m not going,” she said as she pushed the wet suit away. “Come on, Avery. Live a little. It’s so much fun and I promise I won’t go too fast.” With a tilted head, a glaring eye, and a sigh, she took the wet suit from me and put it on. “If I want to stop, you better stop.” “I will. I promise. The last thing I want is for you to be scared. Here, put your life jacket on.” I put on my wetsuit and life jacket and the captain lowered one Jet Ski into the water. After I climbed on first, he helped Avery climb on behind me. Instantly, her arms wrapped tightly around me. ****
Avery I loved the water. I loved the ocean. Just as long as I was safe on a large boat or looking at it from the land. Why was I even on this Jet Ski with him? On a lake, yes. On an ocean, I was terrified. I held on tightly before Liam even took off. He turned his head and looked at me. “Are you okay? You don’t have to go if you don’t want to.” Now he tells me. “I’m fine. I put my big girl panties on.” I gave a terrified smile.
“Remember, if at any time you want me to turn back, just say the word.” He took off, racing across the open water. My heart was trying to escape my chest as the spray of waves crept up around us. Feeling the pressure of the wind against my face was startling at first, but I felt safe with him. He promised to keep me safe and, suddenly, I found myself smiling as he full-throttled across the blue water. “Are you okay?” he yelled as he slightly turned his head. “Yeah. I’m good.” I smiled as I kissed his cheek. We continued to ride for a while, my grip loosening around him. When we arrived back at the boat, the captain held out his hand and helped me up. “I see you survived.” He grinned. “I did. It was a lot of fun.” Liam climbed back on the boat and we took off our wetsuits and handed them to the captain. Liam hooked his arm around me and kissed the side of my head. “I know you loved it. Admit it.” Laying my head on his shoulder, I smiled. “I did. It was quite a rush. Thank you for letting me hang on to you so tight.” “You can hang on to me whenever you want.” He winked. Heading to the bedroom, we attempted to change into our clothes for dinner, but ended up having hot sex and having dinner delivered to the room, where we had more sex, watched a movie, had sex again, and then drifted off into a sound sleep. Something was happening or had happened. This wasn’t casual sex anymore. It had gone beyond that in the blink of an eye and my insecurities and fears reared their ugly little heads, warning me of what was going to come if I continued my relationship with Liam.
Avery We spent part of the next day enjoying the sun as the boat headed back to shore. The weekend spent with him was one of the best times I’d ever had in my life. My mind was filled with confusion because I didn’t want it to end, yet it did. The boat docked and we were back to reality; a reality where the distractions of life would eventually pull us apart. I became sad and Liam could sense it. We climbed into the back of his Rolls Royce. “What’s wrong?” he asked with a pout. “Nothing,” I lied. I wanted to tell him all the things I was feeling, the good and the bad, but I couldn’t. He took hold of my hand and interlaced our fingers, giving me a light squeeze. “I had an amazing time this weekend, Avery. It’s probably, no, it was the best weekend of my life.” “Nah. I’m sure you’ve had lots of amazing weekends.” “You’re right, I have. But none of them compare to this weekend spent with you.” Tears filled my eyes as I stared out the window. He was a kind, beautiful man and he deserved so much better than me. “Did I say something wrong?” he asked. “No.” A tear fell from my eye and I gently wiped it away. “Why are you crying?” I didn’t answer him. I couldn’t. “Avery. Look at me,” he commanded. I lightly shook my head. “Please, Liam. Just stop.” The car pulled up to my apartment building and I couldn’t get out fast enough. The air was thick and I felt like I was suffocating. Liam
climbed out and Declan took my bag from the trunk. I took it from him and looked at Liam. His eyes not only displayed sadness, but also a hint of anger. “You’re just going to walk away from me after this weekend?” he snapped as he followed me inside the building. “Please, Liam. I don’t want to do this right now.” I stepped inside the elevator, and just as the doors began to shut, Liam stopped it with his hand. “I don’t care, Avery. What the hell is the matter with you?” A lady and her child stepped inside the elevator and looked at Liam. He stepped in and the doors shut. As the elevator began to go up, silence filled the small area and the woman glared at Liam. As soon as she stepped out onto the eighteenth floor and the doors shut, Liam turned to me. He was angry and I didn’t blame him. “I just need you to talk to me. Please, Avery. Let’s just talk about this.” “This? Tell me exactly what ‘this’ is?” I sharply spoke as I stepped off the elevator. My hands were steadily shaking as I fumbled for my keys in my purse. After I unlocked the door, Liam grabbed my bag and followed me inside. “Us. We need to talk about us and what we felt this weekend. Hell, what I’ve felt since the first day I met you.” I stood with my back to him because I couldn’t bear for him to see the tears that filled my eyes once again. “What the fuck are you so afraid of? We’ve had a connection from day one and you can’t deny that.” “It’s casual sex, Liam.” “Stop with the casual sex bullshit, Avery.” He raised his voice. “What’s happening between us is more than that and you know it. Why do you keep trying to push me away?”
By this time, the tears were streaming down my face. He walked over and stood in front of me, wiping them away as he held my face in his hands. “I’m in love with you, baby. I know you don’t want to hear that, but it’s the truth and I’m not sorry for saying it.” My heart was in my throat, making it impossible to breathe. “Please tell me why you keep fighting this.” The fear that had built up inside of me unleashed itself and I couldn’t control it, so I pushed away from him. “You’ll leave. Just like all the others. Everything is great now, but eventually, you’ll get sick of me and you’ll leave. If I allow myself to be with you, I will be the one who will be destroyed when it’s over and I can’t let that happen. I won’t let that happen.” “What are you talking about? I’m not going to destroy you.” He began to walk towards me and I immediately put up my hand to stop him. “You will. Why me, Liam? You can have any girl in the world. You’ve been with a countless number of women. Why me?” “Okay, you really need to stop saying that. I don’t want any girl in the world. I only want the one that stole my heart and took my breath away, and she’s standing right in front of me. Why the fuck is that so hard for you to believe?” He put his hands in his pockets and turned away. I swore I saw his eyes fill with tears. “Because they never stay. Just when things are going good and a level of comfort settles in, they bolt. Filling my head with bullshit about how it’s them and not me. I lost my virginity to a guy who said he loved me and then turned around a week later and said we should see other people. I trusted too much and I can’t trust anymore. My heart can’t take it. I can’t take it. I have a lot of insecurities that led me to this point. Can’t you see this?” I waved my hand up and down in front of me. “You mean your wall? I’ve heard about your wall, Avery, and to me, it’s utter bullshit.”
“It’s not bullshit. It’s protecting me,” I yelled. “Protecting you from what? Life? What are you going to do? Be alone for the rest of your life because you’re too afraid of getting hurt?” “Yes.” “Jesus Christ, Avery. You cannot stand there and tell me this weekend meant nothing to you. You cannot tell me that every time we make love, it doesn’t mean anything. You and I both know there’s a deep connection. I feel it every time I’m inside you. I feel it when I’m with you and when I’m not with you. I feel it all the fucking time! I’m so in love with you.” I placed my hands over my ears. “Stop saying that. You only think you’re in love with me until the next girl walks into your life.” He placed his hands on his head and paced around the living room. “There isn’t going to be another girl. You’re the only girl in this world for me. I’m not like the other guys. You should know that by now.” I looked down in sadness. He was right. He wasn’t like the other guys, but the fear of being hurt was greater. ****
Liam The pain in my heart as I stood there and listened to her was something I’d never felt before. It was the kind of pain that Avery was so scared of. I wasn’t getting through to her and it was killing me. Seeing her hurting and pushing me away was heartbreaking. I wanted to hold her and press her head against my chest, telling her how much I loved her, but she didn’t want to hear it. “You went looking for love because of your father issues. Unfortunately, you found the wrong kind of love each time. I’m never going to hurt you, Avery.” I walked over to her and lifted her chin with my finger so her teary eyes were staring into mine. “I love you, Avery Lewis, and no matter what you say or do, I will always love you. If you want to push me away, I’ll still love you. If you tell me you hate me, I’ll still
love you. If you never want to see me again, I’ll still love you. You have made yourself a permanent part of my heart and soul and nothing will ever change that.” She began to sob as she placed her fists on my chest and held them there for a moment. “Please go, Liam,” she whispered as she turned away from me. This was a losing battle. She wasn’t going to give in to her fears for anything. The best thing I could do for her was to walk away like she asked. “Fine. I’m going. Maybe I was mistaken and you really don’t have feelings for me. I hope you find what you’re looking for someday, Avery, and no matter what, I’ll still love you. I will always love you.” I kissed the top of her head, and with tears in my eyes, I walked out the door.
Avery I ran to my bedroom and threw myself on the bed, curled up in a fetal position, and cried like I never cried before. My body hurt. Everything from head to toe hurt. I didn’t understand what this was and why I was feeling it. This weekend had been incredible. One of the best weekends of my life. When I was with him, I was me. I wasn’t me with a wall. As long as he didn’t say anything hinting towards a relationship or life together, I could be me. But as soon as he did, the wall shot up, my defenses rose, and I became a different person. In my mind, it was better to handle the pain now than a year or two down the road. I closed my eyes and slept the rest of the night. I could barely open my eyes. They were crusted shut as I stumbled to the bathroom. Between all the crying last night and the mascara, my eyes didn’t stand a chance. Turning on the warm water, I reached for a washcloth and gently patted my eyes until I could fully open them. I felt sick to my stomach and debated whether or not to call Tim and tell him that I was sick and not coming in to work. But maybe work would be the best place for me today. I needed the distraction to get my mind off of Liam. After showering, I reached in my purse for my phone. I had two missed calls and a voice message from Willow, a text message from Claudia, and a text message from a number I didn’t recognize. I swallowed hard as I read it. “Avery, it’s John. I know you don’t want to talk, but I think we should. I think there are some things you want to say to me and I don’t blame you. Call me or text me back. I want to get to know you, Avery. I know it’s a little late for me to be saying that, but it’s the truth.”
My world felt like it was closing in on me. First Liam and now John. I threw my phone on the bed and continued getting ready for work. As I was straightening my hair, my phone rang. It was Ella. “Hello.” “Oh thank God you picked up. Your case for Brady vs. Callahan got moved up to this morning at nine o’clock.” “WHAT?!” I practically screamed into the phone. “We aren’t ready. The court date was set for next week.” “I know. I’m sorry. Something about the judge moving all the cases up because he wants to go on vacation next week. You have to go directly to the courthouse. Joel is stopping by the firm now to pick up the case files. He said he’ll meet you there.” “Shit. Thanks, Ella. I’ll see you later.” This was not good and it was the last thing I needed. I hurried and put on my black pencil skirt with the short, button-down jacket. I slipped my feet into my black heels, grabbed my bag, and headed out the door. I needed coffee and I needed it bad. I wasn’t going to get through this if I didn’t stop and get a cup. Standing in line at the Starbucks down the street, and six people later, I finally ordered a venti Americano with a triple shot of espresso and a pump of hazelnut. As I pulled my wallet from my purse, I heard a voice to the side of me. “This one’s on me,” Oliver spoke. I swallowed hard as I looked at him. I expected to see anger in his eyes because I was sure that Liam told him everything last night. But the only thing I saw was empathy. “Thanks, Oliver, but you don’t need to do that.” “I know I don’t, but I want to. You’re my lawyer and you’ve saved me millions of dollars and the least I could do is buy you a coffee.” I looked at my watch again in a panic. “Thank you again, I have to go. I’m going to be late for court.” “I’m heading to my office and we pass the courthouse on the way. Come with me and I’ll have Scott drop you off.”
“Really?” I bit down on my bottom lip. “Of course.” He held out his hand, motioning me to go first. I slid into the back of his limo and said good morning to Scott. Taking a sip of my coffee, I noted that Oliver was watching me. “How’s Delilah feeling?” I asked. “Much better. Except for the morning sickness.” He smiled. “So tell me how your weekend on the boat went.” Was he serious? Maybe he didn’t talk to Liam and he didn’t know what happened. “Haven’t you talked to your brother?” I asked. “No. I tried to call him last night, but it kept going to voicemail. Was he with you?” “No. He dropped me off and left. I haven’t talked to him since.” “Are you okay?” He asked with concern. “Actually, no, I’m not. I just found out that my court case was moved to this morning and I’m not ready, so I’m really stressed out right now.” “Prepared or unprepared, you’ll do great.” He smiled. Scott pulled up to the courthouse and I let out a sigh of relief. As Oliver opened the door, I slid out with the help of his hand. “Avery, is there something wrong? Did something happen between you and my brother?” “You’ll just have to talk to him, Oliver. Thanks for the ride.” I turned on my heels and started my ascent up the stairs of the courthouse. ****
Liam I didn’t shave this morning and I didn’t care. I sat at my desk, still feeling the pain of what happened yesterday. Oliver walked in my office. “You’re alive.” “What?” I frowned.
“I kept trying to call you last night, but it went straight to voicemail.” He glared at me as he walked across the office and sat down in the chair facing my desk. “It was dead and I forgot to charge it when I got home.” I looked down at the papers I was trying to concentrate on. His eyes narrowed as he studied me. “I saw Avery this morning.” I quickly looked up at him. “Where?” “What happened between the two of you?” “Where did you see her?” “At Starbucks. I bought her coffee and then gave her a ride to the courthouse because she was running late. I asked her how the weekend was and she ignored me. She told me that I needed to talk to you.” I sighed as I leaned back in my chair. “We won’t be seeing each other anymore. She freaked out when I told her I wanted to be with her.” I paused. “And she freaked out even more when I told her I was in love with her. I tried talking to her, bro, but she wants nothing to do with any type of relationship. She’s completely happy with just having a casual sex relationship.” “I see.” He folded his hands and brought them up to his chin. “I’m sorry, Liam. I know how much you love her. Give her some time. She’ll come around and change her mind. I know she’s in love with you. I can see it. She just needs some time to take that next step, especially if she’s been hurt in the past.” “Yeah, whatever, Oliver. Listen, I don’t want to talk about her anymore. I’m trying my hardest to put her out of my mind.” “I understand. I’ll be in my office if you need me.” He gave me a sympathetic smile and walked out the door. There was nothing that I could do that was going to keep her off my mind. Her scent still lingered on me and her smile was etched so far into my brain that it was all I saw every minute of every day.
Avery I let out a breath as I stepped out of the courtroom, Joel following behind. “Jesus, Avery, you were on fire in there. For us not being prepared, you really gave it to Callahan and his attorney. At one point, I thought the judge was going to hold you in contempt.” “Thanks, Joel.” I gave a small smile. The truth was I was pissed as hell and it was easy to take it out on the opposing client. Joel softly touched my arm. “I’m going to grab something to eat with my wife. Would you like to join us?” “Thanks, Joel, but I’m not very hungry. I’m just going to head to the office. I’ll see you later. Enjoy your lunch.” “Okay.” He smiled as he walked away. Pulling my phone from my purse, I stiffened when I heard a voice behind me. “You sure know how to make everyone listen to you in a courtroom.” My heart started to pound. “Did you get my text message?” I slowly turned around and took in a sharp inhale. “Yes. I haven’t had a chance to reply. What are you doing here, John?” “I was in the building and I saw you walk into the courtroom, so I took a seat in the back. Seeing you in action at the law firm is one thing, but seeing you in action in the courtroom is remarkable. I’m very proud of you.” “Save it, John. I don’t need your approval.” I walked away and he followed me.
“Whether you need it or not, I’m giving it to you. Come to my home tonight for dinner.” “No.” I pushed the button to the elevator. “Why?” “You know why. I have no interest in getting to know you. That ship sailed a long time ago.” “I’m your father, Avery.” I looked at him with rage and anger streaming across my face. “Just because we have the same blood running through us doesn’t make you my father. A father is someone who’s there for his children. To guide them through the ups and downs, to celebrate every milestone of their life and to love them unconditionally, whether they were planned or not. You failed, John.” “You’re right, I did, and I’m sorry.” The elevator doors opened and I stepped inside. “It’s too late for apologies.” The doors shut and I was no longer in the presence of John Carrington. **** Over the next several days, the only thing I did was exist. I found another gym to work out in so I didn’t have to see Liam, and I threw myself into my work to the point where I wasn’t getting home until eleven o’clock at night. Claudia and Lisa knew something was wrong. They could hear it in my voice, and even though I kept insisting I was fine, they didn’t believe me. Being in New York really took its toll on me. It was eleven o’clock when I stepped inside the doors of my apartment building. I was startled when I saw Oliver Wyatt sitting in the lobby chair. “Oliver, what are you doing here?” “Waiting for you. You sure keep late hours, Miss Lewis.” He grinned. “Trying to keep myself busy.”
“I can relate to that. Listen, I need to talk to you.” “Now? Oliver, it’s late and I’m really tired.” “Now, Avery. You can bill me hours for this talk we’re going to have.” “Fine. Come on.” We walked to the elevator. Stepping inside my apartment, Oliver shut the door behind him. “Can I offer you something to drink? Water, coffee, wine?” He raised his hand. “I’m fine. Thank you.” “If you’re here to talk about Liam, don’t.” “I’m actually here to talk about me.” I shot him a confused look. “Let’s go sit down. You’ll be more comfortable. You look like you’re about to fall over.” I took a seat on the couch and Oliver sat down next to me. “Does Liam know you’re here?” “No, and I think it’s best that he never finds out. Listen, I spent twelve years of my life using women for sex because I couldn’t commit to a relationship. The minute they mentioned the word, I was out. You and I are more alike than you know, Avery.” “What about Sophie’s mother?” “Liam didn’t tell you?” “No, he just told me that she passed away and that’s when Sophie came to live with you full-time.” He looked down and I got the feeling he was about to tell me something bad. “I never wanted kids or a relationship and Sophie’s mother knew that. She tricked me and got pregnant on purpose. I am ashamed to admit that I wanted nothing to do with my daughter from the time she was conceived until the time she came to live with me. I never even met her until she was three years old when her mother showed up on my doorstep with her and then took off for hours, leaving her behind.” I couldn’t help but to glare at him. He was exactly like John. Now I understood why Liam never told me.
“Sophie’s mother was a drug addict and needed money. I wrote her a check and saw Sophie on her birthday and holidays. Mainly Christmas. She barely knew who I was and when Elaine, her mother, passed away, she was sent to live with me.” “Let me guess. You weren’t happy about that.” “Not really, but she was an innocent child and she needed me. She had a lot of behavioral problems at first, and then I met Delilah.” A grin graced his face. “She changed my and Sophie’s world. For the first time in my life, I was in love and no matter how hard I tried to fight it, I couldn’t.” “Why are you telling me all this, Oliver?” “Because. When I was eighteen years old, I thought I had found the love of my life. I was going to propose to her and then I found her cheating on me. It destroyed me and turned my heart into stone. The pain I felt was unbearable and I swore that I would never allow myself to experience that kind of pain again. So I didn’t. I kept busy, worked very long hours, met all kinds of different women, had casual sex, and thought that was just how my life was going to continue. Come to find out, after meeting Delilah, I never really knew what love was. I was more hurt by the rejection.” “How did you get over it? I mean, you and Delilah are perfect and so happy and in love.” “I went back and spoke to the girl who I thought I loved all those years ago and got many needed answers. I put closure on my past, Avery, so I could move forward in my future. Liam told me about John and how many times you’ve been hurt by guys over the course of your life. I think your main problem is with John. Stop and think about it for a minute. Have you ever truly been in love with someone? Or were you just hurting so badly because of the rejection, not because you loved them?” Tears started to fill my eyes. “I don’t know,” I whispered. Oliver reached over and took hold of my hand. “I think you do, Avery. Deep down, you know. Liam is a great man. Hell, I’ll even go as
far and tell you that he’s a lot better man than I am. Sure, he’s dated on and off over the past years, but I’ve never seen him like this. I’ve never seen him this happy. His face lights up when your name is mentioned. When he talks about you, he’s full of excitement and enthusiasm. You’re the one he’s been waiting for his entire life just like Delilah was the one I was waiting for. Go get your answers and start living your life in peace. You deserve to be happy, Avery. Don’t let anyone take that from you.” He kissed my forehead and got up from the couch. “Remember, don’t tell Liam I was here.” He winked. I got up and walked him to the door. “Oliver?” “Yeah?” he turned around. “Was Delilah really sick?” “No. She wasn’t.” The corners of his mouth curved upwards. “Thank you,” I whispered. “You’re welcome. Have a good night.” ****
Liam I kept myself busy over the next several days with work, landing new clients and closing major deals. I was sitting in my office when Max Hamilton walked in. “Hey, Max.” I stood up from my chair and we fist bumped. “I’m here to rescue you, bro. Let’s go.” “Where are we going?” “To dinner with Collin. The three of us are going to have a man’s night out. Have a great dinner, some drinks, talk.” “Thanks. I appreciate it, but I can’t.” “We knew you’d say that. Collin’s waiting outside for us in the car. You’re not going to be a downer and stay locked up in this office all night. Going out with us will do you some good.” “Fine.” I sighed. “But I won’t be very good company.”
We walked out of the building and climbed into Collin’s Range Rover. “Hey, man,” I spoke. “Glad you decided to join us.” He smiled. “Like I had a choice. Where are we going?” “We’re going to Wolfgang’s Steakhouse for a real man’s dinner!” Max exclaimed. When we arrived at the restaurant, we were immediately seated at a table. “What may I get you gentlemen to drink?” the waitress asked. “Give us three scotches and bring a round of whiskey shots,” Collin replied. “Whiskey shots? I don’t know about those, man.” “Me and my mom were doing them the other night. They’re kind of addicting.” “Your mom is so cool.” I smiled. “Thanks. I’ll tell her you said that. She was asking about you the other night. So tell us, your bros, what’s going on?” “Avery made it very clear she doesn’t want anything to do with me or a relationship.” “Ouch. That hurts,” Max spoke as he shook his head. The waitress brought our drinks and we each picked up a shot glass. “Here’s to forgetting about women for tonight!” Collin said as he held up his glass. “Don’t tell Amelia I said that.” I chuckled and threw back my shot of whiskey. We ate, talked, and drank a little too much. All was good, though, because my best friends made me forget about Avery for a while. I woke up the next morning with a hangover and thoughts of Avery. I missed her so much, and every day, instead of getting easier, it got harder. As I lay in bed, thinking about things, the first thought that came to my mind was getting out of New York for a while. I was thinking a trip to California might do me some good.
Avery Oliver’s talk really got to me. As I lay in bed, I thought about how much I missed Liam. Being away from him was hurting me more than being with him. I missed his smile, his laugh, his overall sexiness, his kindness, and I really missed the amazing mind-blowing sex we had. I knew what I had to do. I picked up my phone from the nightstand and sent John a text message. “It’s Avery. I would like to come over later and talk.” “Of course. How about seven o’clock?” “Seven is fine. Text me your address.” When I arrived at the office, Tim stopped me in the hallway. “Avery. I need to see you in my office.” Shit. Now what? I turned around, followed him, and took a seat as he shut the door. “I saw you the other day, having what appeared to be an argument with John Carrington at the courthouse. What was that about? You aren’t working on any cases where he’s the opposing attorney.” Shit. Shit. Shit. I didn’t even see him there. Was he lurking around watching me? “I didn’t see you there.” “I was there. Now tell me what’s going on and why were you arguing with John Carrington.” “It’s a personal situation, Tim, and I’d rather not get into it.” “Are you sleeping with him?” “Oh my God! NO! Why the hell would you think that?” “Because to me, it looked like a lover’s quarrel.” I looked at him as a wave of shock swept over my face. “He’s my father!” I blurted out.
He sat there, staring at me, no words able to come from his lips. “Come again?” “He’s my father,” I spoke softly. “I wasn’t aware that John Carrington had any children.” “He doesn’t exactly make it known.” He began shaking his head. “If you’re his kid, why aren’t you working for him at his law firm?” “Because my father has been absent from my life since I was born.” “That’s why you wanted off the Wyatt case.” “Yes.” “I’m sorry, Avery, but if you would have told me that in the first place, I would have taken you off the case. But I will say, you really handled yourself like a star.” “Now you know. So are we finished here?” “Yes. I’m sorry. If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask.” I gave him a small nod. “Please keep that to yourself.” “I will.” I went to my office and buried myself in my cases. I kept glancing at my cellphone. Why? I had no clue. Maybe I was hoping to hear from Liam. He said he would still love me no matter what. All I needed was a little time. I left the office around five thirty and headed home to change my clothes before going to see John. Nerves flared up inside me as I grabbed my purse and headed out the door. What the hell was I doing? Was I even ready for this? Ready or not, I had no choice. **** John lived in a penthouse in SoHo. Walking into the building, I gave the doorman my name and he called up to let John know I arrived. “You may take the elevator up to the top floor.” He smiled. “Thank you.”
I nervously stepped into the elevator and pushed the button to the 20th floor. As the doors opened, I stepped inside a small hallway and knocked on the large double wooden doors. I took in a deep breath and tried to control the shakiness I was feeling. “Hello, Avery,” John spoke as he opened the door. “Please come in.” Stepping inside, I looked around at the beauty of his home. The walls were trimmed in a dark cherry with light beige walls, giving the place an elegant feel. “Dinner will be ready soon,” he spoke as he led me to the living room. “Dinner wasn’t necessary.” He walked over to the bar area that sat in the corner of the room. “What may I get you to drink?” He was right on target because I needed a drink more than ever at this moment. “Dry martini on the rocks with a twist.” “Excellent choice.” He made two martinis and handed me a glass. There was a thickness in the air and I could sense he was just as nervous as I was. Considering my past behavior with him, he should have been. “Thank you for coming by. It means a lot to me,” he spoke as he took a seat in one of the wing-backed chairs. “I didn’t come here for you. I came for me. For answers. Because if I want to move on with my life, I need to put closure on our non-existent relationship.” “Okay. What do you want to know?” “Why you abandoned me and why I never heard from you again after my eleventh birthday.” He let out a sigh as he took a sip of his drink. “I was young and I had dreams. Kids weren’t in my plan, Avery.” “Then maybe you should have taken better precautions,” I snapped.
He simply nodded his head as he took another sip. “Perhaps, but I was young and things happen.” “So because I wasn’t part of your plan, you thought that it was just okay to abandon your child? The human being you created with another person?” “At the time, yes. Like I said, I was young and I had a goal. But as time went on, guilt crept in and that’s when I decided it was time to meet you.” “What happened after my eleventh birthday?” “I met someone and she didn’t like children.” “She sounds like a real bitch. So you chose this woman over your own child? Just like you chose your career over your own child?” I spoke with anger. “Yes. I’m ashamed to admit that I did.” “So did you marry her? Where is she?” “The relationship only lasted a couple of years. We decided that it wasn’t working out, so we split. Listen, Avery, you had a good life with Claudia and Lisa. You didn’t need me messing things up.” “You’re my father! I wanted you there to mess things up. I wanted a father like every other kid had. Do you have any idea how bad you’ve hurt me? The number of failed relationships I had because of my daddy issues? The abandonment that still resides in my heart?” “I’m sorry.” “Mr. Carrington?” A young woman stepped into the room. “Dinner is served.” “Thank you, Elsa. Avery, let’s have dinner and continue this conversation after.” What the fuck? Who the hell did he think he was? I wasn’t even hungry because I was so angry. Reluctantly, I followed him into the dining room and took the seat across from him. Silence filled the room as I managed to nibble on some food. “Why did you choose to become a lawyer?” he asked, breaking the silence.
“Because I love to argue and I find the law fascinating.” A grin crossed his face. “Same here. I suppose you inherited that from me.” I ignored his comment because I didn’t want to inherit anything from him. “Does your mother know that you’re seeing me?” “No. Neither of them do.” He chuckled. “I can just imagine what they’d say.” “They’d call you a few choice words.” “I bet. Avery, I want you to know how proud I am of you and I’m proud to call you my daughter. I followed the Kilbrand vs. Essex case and you nailed it. You have no idea how many times I wanted to call you and tell you.” “Then why didn’t you?” “For this reason. The way you’re behaving towards me. I was scared that you’d tell me to fuck off.” “You’re right. I would have.” We finished dinner and continued our conversation back in the living room. “Why did you move to New York? You knew I was here. Weren’t you worried about running into me?” “I moved here for my job. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up.” “Come work for me at my firm.” I almost choked on my second martini. “What?” “Come work for me. We’d be a great team. You are quickly rising to the top and I can help you.” “There is no way in hell I’d work for you and I don’t need your help. Everything I’ve accomplished, I’ve done on my own.” “I’ll make you a partner. You’d be the youngest to ever make partner.” “What part of ‘no’ do you not understand? You gave up your right to help me. You gave up your right to be my father. You not only
abandoned me once, but twice, and I don’t think I’ll ever forgive you for that.” “Then what are you doing here?” he asked with cold eyes. “To say what I had to say and to find out why you didn’t want me. And now I know. You had plans, dreams, and a kid wasn’t part of that.” “Things can be different now. Let me make all those years up to you.” I got up from my seat and paced around the room. “What the hell is the matter with you? Do you really think that I’m just going to let you walk into my life as if nothing ever happened? You are a very selfish man, John Carrington.” “I will admit that I am just that. If you don’t want a relationship with me, then I guess our conversation here is over. But I do hope you’ll change your mind.” I set my glass down on the bar and grabbed my purse from the couch. “You’re right. Our conversation is over. Goodbye, John.” As I walked to the door, he called out to me. “I never wanted you to be like me, Avery. I’m a very selfish man with little emotion and you didn’t deserve to have someone like me in your life. I knew that Claudia would find someone who would love you just as much and raise you right. I always loved you. I may not have been in your life, but I never once stopped thinking about you. I want you to be happy, and if that means you can be without me around, then so be it. But I won’t give back these moments we spent together.” My heart was pounding fiercely and I was fighting myself to keep it together. I took in a deep breath as I stood and stared at the door. “Goodbye, John.” I opened the door and walked out. As soon as the elevator doors opened, I stepped inside and tears started to pour from my eyes. I pulled out my phone as I exited the building because I desperately wanted to call Liam, but I couldn’t. After everything I said to him, I was too scared. I’d never forget the hurt in his eyes when he left
my apartment and the look of disappointment on his face. I had hurt him deeply and I was so ashamed.
Liam After leaving the office, I stopped by Oliver’s house to tell him and Delilah that I was leaving for California. “Good evening, Wyatt clan.” I smiled as I walked into the living room. Delilah was teaching Sophie a song on the piano and Oliver was sitting on the couch with his laptop. “Uncle Liam!” Sophie grinned as she ran over and gave me a hug. “Hey, buttercup.” I kissed her head. Walking over with a smile, Delilah gave me a kiss on the cheek. “Are you okay?” she asked. “Yeah. I need to talk to you and Oliver about something.” “Sophie, why don’t you go up to your room for a while so we grownups can talk? We’ll come get you when we’re done.” She huffed. “But I want to see Uncle Liam!” I knelt down in front of her, clasping her shoulders. “As soon as we’re done talking, I’ll take you for ice cream.” “Okay!” She ran up the stairs to her room. “What’s going on?” Oliver asked as he got up from the couch and walked over to the bar. “I’m leaving for California in the morning.” He stopped pouring the scotch and looked at me. “Why?” “I think you know why, Oliver,” Delilah spoke. “I need to get out of New York for a while and clear my head.” “Running away isn’t going to help, little brother,” he spoke as he handed me my drink. “I’m not running away. I’m going to think and I can’t do that while I’m here in New York. There’s too many distractions.” “How long are you going to be gone?” Delilah asked with concern.
“I don’t know yet. Maybe a couple of weeks. Maybe longer.” “And the company?” Oliver asked. “Come on, Oliver. The company can survive without me for a while.” “Maybe the company can, but I’ll miss you.” “I’ll miss both of you too, but this is something I need to do.” “Where in California are you going?” Delilah asked. “Malibu. I’ve rented a house on the beach by Ian and Rory.” Delilah walked over and hugged me. “You better keep in touch and let us know you’re okay.” “I’ll be fine. I’m keeping my cell phone off, so if you need to reach me, you can call the house phone. I’ll give you the number when I get there.” Oliver came over and placed his hand on my shoulder, pulling me into a light hug. “Sort out your shit and hurry up and get back here. It won’t be the same without you.” “I will. Thanks, Oliver. I better get upstairs and take Sophie for ice cream. It’s getting kind of late. Do you two want to come?” “No. You take her and tell her you’re going away for a while. She’s not going to be happy,” Oliver spoke with seriousness. “I’ll talk to her.” I started to head up the stairs. “You better call us when you get there so we know you arrived safely,” Delilah shouted. “Yes, Mom.” I turned and gave her a wink. Opening the door to Sophie’s room, I found her sitting on the bed reading a book. “Are you ready, sunshine?” I smiled. “Yes! I love ice cream.” She jumped off the bed and took hold of my hand. We walked down a couple of blocks to her favorite ice cream shop. After ordering our ice cream cones, we went outside and took a seat at the table. “The weather will be changing soon and we won’t be able to sit outside and eat our ice cream anymore.”
“I know. So we better enjoy it while we can.” She smiled. “There’s something I need to talk to you about, Sophie.” “What about?” “I’m leaving tomorrow for California.” “For how long?” she asked as she licked her ice cream. “I don’t know. For a while.” “Because of Avery?” She looked up at me with her beautiful green eyes. “How do you know about that?” “I overheard Daddy talking to Mommy one night about how upset you were that she didn’t want a relationship with you.” I sighed. “I’m going to California to clear my head and to think about some things. I’ll be back, so don’t you worry.” “Do you want my opinion, Uncle Liam?” I smiled as I shook my head at her. Sometimes, holding a conversation with Sophie was like talking to an adult. “Sure, kiddo.” “I think Avery loves you and when the time is right, she’ll tell you. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t love you? You’re an awesome uncle.” She smiled. I tilted my head and then leaned over and kissed her cheek. “Thank you, Miss Sophie. I think you’re an awesome niece and I love you.” “I love you too and so will Avery.” “I hope so, buttercup.” “I hope the baby is a girl. I want a sister,” she said out of nowhere. “What if it’s a boy?” She sighed. “A brother would be okay. But a sister would be the best!” “Promise me something,” I spoke to her. “What?” “Promise me that you’ll be very close to your brother or sister, like me and your dad are. There’s nothing greater than the bond between siblings. You’ll always have each other.”
“I will be. I’m going to be the best big sister in the world.” “I know you will be, Soph.” We finished our ice cream and walked home. As soon as we stepped inside, I knelt down and gave her a big hug and kiss. “Be good for your mom and dad and I’ll see you when I get back.” “I’m going to miss you, Uncle Liam.” A tear fell from her eye. “I’ll miss you too and when I get back, we’ll do something really fun together.” “Okay.” Her little arms tightened around me. I said goodbye to Oliver and Delilah one last time and headed home.
Avery It was Saturday morning and I decided to go home to Danbury for the weekend. I needed to talk to Claudia and Lisa and I needed the comfort of my childhood home. I packed a bag and climbed into the car I had rented. Pulling into the driveway, I shut the car off and stared at the Tudor-style home with the white vinyl siding and black shutters. Suddenly, the front door opened and Claudia stood there, trying to figure out who was in her driveway. I climbed out of the car and smiled at her. She yelled for Lisa and came running out to me with open arms. “Avery, what a surprise!” she exclaimed. It didn’t take more than two seconds for me to break down in her arms, sobbing like a child. She held me tight. “Oh, baby. What happened? Liam?” she asked. I nodded my head and she took me inside the house. “Tell us what happened,” Lisa spoke sympathetically as she handed me a tissue. “I blew it. I know I did. He told me he loved me and I turned my back on him and told him to leave. I’ll never forget the look on his face. He was so hurt. I hurt him. How could I do that?” I started to cry again. “Calm down,” Lisa said as she rubbed my back. “Crying like this isn’t going to help anything. It’s only going to leave you with a bad headache and you’ll feel worse. Dry your tears and I’ll get you a glass of wine.” Claudia handed me another tissue and I dried my eyes and blew my nose. Taking in a deep breath, I began to calm down as I took a sip of the wine Lisa handed me.
“There’s something else I need to tell you. I had dinner with John and it didn’t go so well.” “I knew it was only a matter of time before the two of you would talk. What did that little fucker say to you?” Claudia asked as she took hold of my hand. “He told me that a child wasn’t part of his life plan and that he was a very selfish man with little emotion and he didn’t want me to turn out like him.” “Smartest thing that man has said since I’ve known him,” Claudia spoke. I let a small smile cross my lips when she said that. “So how did you leave things with him?” Lisa asked. “I told him goodbye. I only went to see him to put closure on my past with him. If I want to move forward with Liam, I had to settle things with John. I needed the answers to my questions and I needed to hear him say them.” “Understandable and very wise, Avery,” Lisa spoke as she kissed the top of my head. “So do you think you accomplished that with John?” “I think so.” “Do you feel you are mentally ready to enter into a relationship with that fine young man named Liam?” “I love him. I’m in love with him. I realized that with my past relationships I was so desperately seeking a male to love me that the first sign he was interested in me, I attached myself to him, both physically and emotionally. I was choosing anyone who looked my way. I wasn’t hurt that they didn’t love me, I was hurt because of the rejection, and that’s what I held on to. I never cared about those other guys. But Liam is different. I felt things with him that I’d never felt before.” “Like what?” Lisa asked as she poured more wine into my glass. “I don’t know how to describe it. I felt like I’ve known him my entire life. He’s kind, generous, funny, and just overall amazing. He
would do anything for me. You know those flowers John sent me for my birthday?” “Uh-huh.” Claudia frowned. “Liam told me that he was surprised I didn’t throw them in the trash. I told him that I wanted to, but the flowers were too pretty to throw away. The next day, he sent me the same exact arrangement with a card that said he hoped I would feel more comfortable looking at them knowing they weren’t from John.” Lisa put her hand over her heart. “I’m telling you, I’d go straight for that sweet man.” “Will you stop it? You sound like a teenager with a schoolgirl crush,” Claudia spat. Lisa and I both laughed. “I lied to you both about last weekend when you asked me to come home for a visit.” “What do you mean?” Claudia asked. “I spent the weekend on a yacht with Liam. It was just the two of us and we had the best time together. We sat in the sun and drank wine all day. We played a couple of games. We went on a Jet Ski. We talked a lot and we had the best sex.” Claudia shook her head. “If you had such a great weekend, why did you push him away and make him leave?” “Because he told me that he was in love with me and he wanted a relationship. I freaked out. I wasn’t thinking with a clear head. I was scared.” “Scared of what?” Lisa asked. “Scared because I felt the same way about him and all I saw in my fucked-up mind was disaster and heartbreak. It was actually Liam’s brother, Oliver, who made me see that I needed to settle my past with John if I wanted to move forward with my future.” “Hmm. He sounds like a smart man. But I do believe that I’ve been telling you that since you were a teenager,” Lisa spoke.
“Well, that doesn’t matter now. What matters is that you are in love for real and you have a chance at a beautiful life with Liam.” Claudia smiled as she placed her hand on my cheek. “I’m scared to see him. I hurt him in such a deep way that I’m so frightened he won’t forgive me.” “Aw, sweetheart. If he loves you like he says he does, he will welcome you with open arms. Call him right now.” “I can’t.” “You can.” Lisa smiled as she picked up my phone, pulled up Liam’s number, and hit the call button. “Here. See how easy that was.” “Oh my God.” I grabbed the phone from her hand. It went straight to voicemail and I hung up. “It went straight to voicemail.” “Try again later.” Claudia smiled as she ran her hand down my hair. We went to dinner and talked some more. I tried calling Liam a couple of more times, but it kept going to voicemail. As I was lying in bed, Claudia walked into my room. “Still can’t get ahold of him?” “No. It’s weird. It’s like his phone is off or something. Maybe he blocked me,” I spoke in a panicked voice. “He didn’t block you, sweetheart. Maybe his phone broke and he just hasn’t gotten around to getting a new one yet. Listen, I want you to head back to New York tomorrow morning and go to his house. Tell him how much you love him and how much you want to be with him.” “What if he slams the door in my face?” “Do you really think he’d do that?” She softly smiled. “No.” “Then it’s settled. I’ll make you some Belgian waffles in the morning and you can head back after breakfast.” “Okay.” She kissed my forehead and walked out of the room. I closed my eyes and tried to get some sleep, but all I could think about was Liam.
Avery I dropped off the rental car and took a cab to Liam’s house. My stomach was a nervous wreck and I found myself shaking. Knocking on the door, I stood there and waited for him to answer, but he didn’t, so I knocked again. When he didn’t answer, I tried to call his phone for the millionth time today and it still went straight to voicemail. I had now become worried. After knocking a few more times, I turned around and hailed a cab to Oliver’s house. If anyone knew what was going on, he would. As I knocked on the door, Delilah answered. “Avery,” she spoke in shock and gave me a hug. “Come in.” Oliver walked down the stairs. “Avery. How are you?” He walked over and kissed my cheek. “I’m okay. Hey, I’m sorry to drop over unannounced, but do you know where Liam is? I’ve been trying to call him for the past couple of days and his phone goes straight to voicemail. I just went to his house and he wasn’t home.” Oliver gave me a small smile. “Come up to the living room.” I followed him and Delilah to the living room, where Sophie was watching TV. “Avery!” she spoke with excitement as she jumped up and gave me a hug. “Hi, Sophie. How are you?” “Good.” “Sophie, can you—” Oliver started to speak. “I know. I know. Go to my room so you can have a grownup conversation.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. She looked at me and asked me to bend down so she could whisper in my ear. “I told Uncle Liam that you’d be back.” She smiled. I patted her head and she went upstairs. “Can I get you a drink?” Oliver asked. “A glass of wine would be fine. Thank you.” I took a seat next to Delilah on the couch and she took hold of my hand. “How are you really doing?” “I’m okay now. Where’s Liam? I really need to talk to him.” “Liam is in California,” Oliver spoke as he handed me the glass of wine. “California? Why?” “He said he needed to get out of New York for a while and clear his head.” “Oh.” I looked down in disappointment and my heart started to hurt something awful. “Did you put closure on your past?” Oliver asked. “I did and I need to talk to Liam. I just hope it isn’t too late.” “It’s never too late.” Delilah smiled as she gave my hand a squeeze. “Go to him. I’ll give you the address where he’s staying. He rented a house on the beach in Malibu.” Oliver smiled. “I don’t think I can. My job—” “What’s the one thing Tim is afraid of?” “Losing Wyatt Enterprises as a client,” I replied. “Exactly. Go to California and don’t give your job a second thought. It’ll be there waiting for you when you get back.” “You’re right.” I pulled out my phone and looked at the flight schedule. “Shit. The next flight out is tomorrow morning at eleven o’clock. All the other flights are booked.” “See, Delilah. It’s instances like this when I need my own plane.” “Don’t worry. Liam will still be there no matter what time you get in. Plus, it’ll give you a chance to talk to Tim first before you leave,” Delilah spoke.
“And if he gives you any problems, you are to call me right away.” Oliver winked. I took in a deep breath. “Thank you, Oliver. You have done so much for me and I need to repay you somehow.” “You’re welcome. You can repay me by making my brother happy. That’s all I want.” “That won’t be a problem because it’s all I want. I love him so much and I need to apologize to him. I can’t believe how stupid I was.” “We’ve all been there, Avery. You’re not alone.” Oliver sighed. I gave him and Delilah a hug goodbye and went home to pack for my trip to California. ****
Liam As I sat in the warm sand, I stared out at the Pacific Ocean. The waves were fierce today and the weather was hot. The first night I was here, I met up with Ian and Rory. We had a great dinner and great conversation. Both of them could tell something was wrong, so I ended up telling them about Avery. “Liam, over here. The burgers and dogs are almost ready,” Luke yelled across the beach. I got up, dusted the sand off my shorts, and joined my friends, Luke, Lily, Cameron, and Sierra for a picnic. “You know, I did the same thing you’re doing,” Luke spoke. “So did I,” Cameron chimed in. “What’s that?” “Left town to clear my head.” Luke smiled. “Let’s just say we both know how hard it is when the person you love rejects you,” Cameron said. “But look at us now. We’re with them and we couldn’t be happier.” “In the end, things always work out, bro.” Luke winked.
“Not in my case. Avery is so stubborn and dead set against any kind of relationship.” “So was Sierra.” “So what was Sierra?” she asked as she hooked her arm around Cameron. “Dead set against any kind of relationship.” “Yeah, I was. But I ended up swimming in a nasty, dirty lake to him.” “The lake wasn’t dirty, Sierra.” Cameron chuckled. “Yes it was. But I loved him and it was all worth it.” She gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Fate, my man. Fate plays a serious role in our lives. Sometimes, people don’t get that,” Luke spoke as he set down the plate of hamburgers and hot dogs on the table. “If you’re meant to be with Avery, it’ll happen. Trust me.” I was happy that my friends had more optimism than I did. “The band is playing at the bar tonight,” Luke announced. “And I want everyone to be there. First round of drinks are on me.” “Oh, we’ll definitely be there.” Sierra smiled. “You coming, Liam?” Luke asked. “Sure. I’ll be there.” After we ate, Lily and Sierra went swimming while we men sat on the beach, popped open a beer, and talked. “You need to move out here, bro.” Luke smiled. “Why don’t you and Oliver open up another office here?” “We’ve talked about it. It’s not out of the question.” “Now all we need is to get Collin’s ass out here more,” Cameron spoke. “The four of us should go on a man’s trip. You know how the women are always going off for a girls’ weekend? We should meet up somewhere and do something for a few days,” Luke suggested. “And do what?” I asked.
“We could go camping in the mountains, do some hiking, some fishing. No women allowed. Just us guys.” Luke smiled. “We wouldn’t have to worry about Sierra. There’s no way in hell she’d even want to go. But it sounds like a good idea.” We all held up our beer bottles and clanked them together.
Avery I stepped inside the law firm and went straight to Tim’s office. His door was open and he was sitting behind his desk sipping on a cup of coffee. “Tim, do you have a second? I need to talk to you.” “Sure, Avery. Come on in.” He looked at me with a frown. “Why are you dressed like that?” “I need to take some time off.” With an arched brow, he said, “I don’t believe that’s possible. You have a lot of cases going on right now. Is there a problem? Did someone die?” “No.” God, this was hard. I didn’t know how to tell him that I was flying out to California to tell someone I was in love with him. “Avery, I’m sorry, but it’s not possible right now and you practically just started. You don’t have vacation yet.” “I know and I’m sorry, but this is really important.” “You need to tell me what’s going on.” “I’m flying out to California. I made a huge mistake with a guy and I need to tell him that I love him.” He waved his hand in the air. “Wait a minute. You want time off so you can go tell a guy you love him?” “Umm. Yes.” “Have you lost your mind? This is a law firm. You’re a lawyer. You have cases. This guy can wait.” “No, actually, he can’t. I hurt him deeply, Tim, and I need to make things right. I need to make things right before it’s too late.” “Avery, end of discussion. You can’t leave. What would the other employees think if I just let you take off like that with no notice?”
I took in a deep breath. “It’s Liam Wyatt.” “What’s Liam Wyatt?” he asked. “The man I need to go tell I love. He’s in California right now because of me. Because I hurt him.” “Damn it, Avery. Why didn’t you say that to begin with? Get out of here. Go get your man and bring him back happy! Make sure he’s happy!” “Thanks, Tim. I knew you’d understand.” “Happy, Avery. Happy!” he shouted as I walked out of his office. I climbed in the back of Oliver’s limo. “Well, what did he say?” Oliver asked. “He said no until I told him it was Liam. Then he told me to go and make sure he’s happy.” Oliver laughed. “I figured as much.” Scott dropped Oliver off at Wyatt Enterprises first. Before Oliver climbed out of the limo, he took hold of my hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. “Good luck. Liam is going to be so happy to see you.” “Thank you, Oliver. I hope so.” **** My flight was delayed, and by time I got into LAX, it was already six o’clock. As I was exiting the airport, I noticed a man holding up a sign with my name on it. “Excuse me, I’m Avery Lewis.” “Good evening, Miss Lewis. My name is Chip and I’ll be driving you to Malibu.” “Nice to meet you, Chip, but I didn’t order a car service.” “Mr. Wyatt did, ma’am.” “Oh. That was very nice of him. How long until we get to Malibu?” “About an hour,” he replied as he took my bag from me. I inhaled sharply as Chip pulled up to the beach house that Liam was staying at. This was it. Moment of truth. My stomach was knotted
something awful and I was breaking out into a sweat as I walked to the front door. I rang the doorbell and nervously waited. What was I going to say? Was I going to start crying? God, I hoped not. I rang the doorbell again. No answer. Taking my bag with me, I walked around to the back of the house and gasped when I saw the beauty of it. The view was one of the most beautiful views I’d ever seen. I noticed down on the beach two chairs planted in the sand with a square table sitting in between. I decided to go and sit down and wait for Liam to get back. The sun was just about to set as I sat there and watched it over the blue ocean water. The waves were crashing into the shore as a light breeze swept over my face. This was what peaceful was. It had gotten dark and the moon had made his appearance in the night sky surrounded by stars. I looked at my phone. It was ten o’clock. It didn’t feel like I’d been sitting here for three hours. I was lost in my thoughts for most of the time. Another hour passed and it was eleven o’clock. What if he wasn’t coming home? Random thoughts started to invade my mind. What if he brought a girl back with him? Shit. As I was playing out the worst scenarios in my head, I heard a voice in the distance. “Excuse me, but this is private property.” My heart practically stopped at the sound of his voice and my stomach, which had finally relaxed during the peacefulness of ocean gazing, knotted up again, but this time, twice as hard. I stood up from the chair and turned around. “Even for me?” There was silence for a moment. “Avery? Is that you?” he asked as he started to walk towards me. “Hi, Liam,” I nervously spoke. He sprinted down the steps from the patio and down to the beach where I was standing. When he reached a few feet in front of me, he stopped. I suddenly became nervous that he was mad I was here. “What are you doing here?” “I—” I looked down as the words wouldn’t escape my lips.
He took a few steps closer to me and softly placed his hand on my cheek. “I’m so happy you’re here. I’ve missed you so much.” Hearing him say those words gave me the courage to pour my heart out to him. “I’ve missed you too and I’m so sorry.” A tear fell from my eye. “I’m sorry for everything I said to you back in New York. I’m sorry that I pushed you away.” He grabbed me and pulled me into him, holding me tight against his chest. “It’s okay, baby. I understand why you did it,” he spoke as he kissed the top of my head. “I’m just so happy you’re here now.” Feeling the warmth of his body and his strong arms wrapped around me made me feel whole. He made me feel like a whole person whenever he was around me, which I didn’t realize until after he was gone. “I kept trying to call your cellphone, but it went straight to voicemail.” “That’s because I have it turned off. How did you know where I was?” “Oliver and Delilah told me. I went to your house yesterday and you weren’t there and I was worried when I couldn’t get ahold of you.” His grip on me tightened. “God, I missed you so much.” He broke our embrace and softly brushed his lips against mine. His kiss awakened all my senses. Our passionate kiss was never ending. I never wanted it to stop. Our tongues met with desire as our lips twisted in pleasure. He picked me up and carried me into the house, our lips never parting. When we reached the bedroom, he set me down and took down the straps of my sun dress, letting it fall to the ground. His hands roamed up and down my sides and over my abdomen before reaching back and unhooking my bra. To be touched by this amazing man was what I’d been craving and had missed.
Liam To touch her, to feel her, and to kiss her again was the happiest moment of my life. My fingers hooked into the side of her panties, pulling them down to the floor. As I knelt in front of her, my tongue softly slid up her inner thigh and to her wet lips. A moan escaped her as her fingers tangled through my hair. She sat down on the edge of the bed, spreading her legs wide and inviting me in. My mouth devoured her, licking up and down and side to side. My lips wrapped around her clit as I plunged a finger inside her, stimulating her G spot. She went crazy. Her breathing hitched and her moans became more vocal. With one hand inside her and my mouth sucking her clit, I moved my other hand up to her breast and massaged it while taking her hard nipple between my fingers. Her body explode as she threw her head back, and before I knew it, my fingers were soaked with her pleasure. She lay back on the bed as I quickly stripped out of my clothes and hovered over her. Brushing a strand of hair from her face, I looked into her beautiful blue eyes. She placed her hands on each side of my face. “I love you, Liam.” She took my breath away with those three words. Running the back of my hand along her cheek, I smiled. “I love you too, Avery.” I thrust inside her and moaned as she swelled around my cock. Our lips met and our kiss deepened as I moved in and out of her. Her fingers dug into my back as she came for a second time. Her orgasm made mine more intense as I sped up the pace of my thrusting and moaned her name as I halted deep inside her and pushed out every last drop of come I had in me. Instead of collapsing on top of her, I didn’t move. All I wanted was to stare at how beautiful she was and tell her how much I loved her.
“You are so beautiful, Avery.” “So are you,” she whispered as she ran her finger across my lips. I pulled out of her and we climbed under the sheets. As I pulled her into me, she laid her head on my chest and snuggled against me as tightly as she could. This was where she belonged and I was never letting her go. “Let’s get some sleep and we’ll talk in the morning,” I said as I kissed her head. “Sounds good. I’m so tired.” “I love you, Avery Lewis. Good night.” “I love you, Liam Wyatt. Good night.” **** The next morning, as much as I hated getting out of bed, I decided to make Avery breakfast. I softly kissed her back before climbing out of bed, and she stirred. I threw on a pair of sweatpants and headed to the kitchen, where I made scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and fresh fruit cups, along with a pot of coffee. “What’s that amazing smell?” She smiled as she walked in the kitchen wearing my t-shirt. “I made breakfast for us.” “Mhmm. I love breakfast.” She walked over and wrapped her arms around my neck, her lips pressing against mine. “Good, because it’s ready. Let’s eat on the patio. It’s a beautiful morning.” I took the plates outside and set them on the table. Avery followed behind with our cups of coffee. Taking our seats, she stared out at the ocean. “It’s so beautiful here.” “Isn’t it? I love it.” She looked at me and smiled as she bit into a piece of bacon. “You have an amazing brother. I want you to know that.”
I chuckled. “Thank you. He is pretty amazing, isn’t he?” “Please don’t tell him I told you this, but he stopped by my place last week and we had a long talk. He told me about how he used to be about relationships and women and about Sophie.” “Really?” I asked in shock. “Yeah. He told about what happened with his girlfriend back when he was eighteen and how he put closure on his past so he could move forward with Delilah. I went and had dinner with John.” “So are the two of you okay now?” “No. Not really. I don’t think things will ever be okay with him and I’m fine with that. I just needed some answers.” “Did you get them?” “Yes, and talking to him made me realize things about my past relationships. I also went back to Danbury a couple of days ago and talked to Claudia and Lisa. Liam, I want us to start over if that’s okay.” “Come here.” I held out my arms to her and she sat down on my lap, wrapping her arms around my neck. “Today marks a new day and a new start for us. I would be honored if you would accept my request to be my girlfriend.” I smiled. “Nothing would give me more pleasure than to be your girlfriend.” She smiled back as she pressed her lips against mine. “Are you sure about that?” I asked as I ran my hand up her thigh until it reached her panties. “You’re bad, Mr. Wyatt.” She took my bottom lip between her teeth. “I can’t help myself when you’re around. You bring out the bad in me.” Moving the fabric of her panties to the side, I dipped a finger inside her. She gasped as we kissed and I took her inside where we made love on the couch in the living room. ****
Avery “How did you manage to get Tim to let you have time off from work?” Liam asked from the bathroom as I was putting in my earrings. “Well, he told me flat out no until I told him about you and how I was coming here to tell you that I loved you. After hearing that, he practically pushed me out of his office.” Liam chuckled. My phone rang and as I looked down at it. I noticed Tim was calling. “Speak of the devil.” I laughed. Liam walked out from the bathroom looking sexy as ever with a towel wrapped around his waist. “Hello,” I answered. “Avery, it’s Tim. How are you? How’s Liam doing?” “Liam and I are doing great, Tim. Thanks for asking.” “Excellent. That’s what I wanted to hear. Hey, any idea when you’ll be returning back to work?” I looked at Liam and whispered, “He wants to know when I’ll be coming back to work.” Liam walked over and took the phone from me. I almost busted out into laughter. “Tim, it’s Liam. Listen, Avery will be coming back to work when I’m ready to let her come back. Okay?” “Hey, Liam. Of course. Tell her to take her time. You two have fun over there in California.” “Thank you, Tim. We’ll be in touch soon.” He ended the call and handed my phone back to me. “Why didn’t you tell him that we’re flying back to New York tomorrow?” I laughed. “He didn’t need to know. Plus, I like playing with him.” I gave him a kiss and we headed to Luke’s bar so I could meet his friends.
“Your friends are so fun.” I laid my head on his shoulder as we sat holding hands on the beach under the moonlight. “They’re pretty cool.” He kissed the top of my head. “I wish we didn’t have to leave tomorrow. It’s so beautiful here.” “We’ll come back here in a couple of months when the weather in New York starts to get cold and snowy.” “I like that idea, but only if you promise to keep me warm on those cold and snowy days.” “You don’t have to worry about that. I’ll be keeping you warm in more ways than one.” I lifted my head and our lips met, falling into a passionate kiss. “We better get inside. I need to fuck you a couple of times before we go to bed.” Liam smiled as he ran his thumb across my lips. I quickly stood up. “I think I’m too tired for sex.” I smiled as I ran up to the house. Liam ran behind me and grabbed me, swung me around, and carried me into the house. “I better never hear those words come out of your mouth again. There’s no such thing.” He winked. And just like that, I melted in his arms. I was happy. For the first time in my life, I had found true love and the most perfect man in the world. A man that would change my life forever, and for once, I wasn’t scared of what the future held.
Liam When we arrived back in New York, Avery and I were more in love than ever. We spent every night together, alternating between her place and mine. Our separate lives were quickly becoming one. “Oops,” she said as she walked by me and hit me with the paintbrush roller, catching the back of my neck with paint. “Why, you! Get back here!” I yelled as she ran down the stairs and through the house, giggling. Little did she know that I pressed my hand in the paint before chasing her. I caught her and wrapped one arm around her waist while pressing my hand against her face, leaving my handprint of paint on her. She looked at me in shock as her jaw dropped, not believing that I would do such a thing. She took two of her fingers and pressed them in the wet paint on her face, then dragged them down mine. “Now what do we do?” I asked. “We’re covered in paint.” “I guess we’ll have to take a shower and wash it off each other.” She smiled as she kissed me. “I like the way you think.” I picked her up, and as I was carrying her upstairs, she pressed her fingers in the wet paint on the back of my neck and pressed each finger against my face, making small circles of paint across it. “You’re lucky I love you, woman.” “I know. I’m the luckiest girl alive.” She smiled. ****
Oliver had decided to drop the case against Laurel as long as she paid for all damages, which sent her right into bankruptcy. Oliver said that was good enough for him. Liam, on the other hand, wanted nothing more than for her to go to prison. As for Bart Cummings and his inspector, they both lost their licenses and were made to pay a huge fine. I met Liam for lunch, and as we were walking down the street, hand in hand, I saw John and a woman approaching us. “Hello, Avery.” He smiled as he looked at my and Liam’s hands. “Hello, John. You know Liam Wyatt.” “Of course. Nice to see you out of a conference room.” Liam gave him a nod. “Avery, this is Emily Withers. A friend of mine.” I couldn’t help but notice the glare she gave him. “Emily, this is my daughter, Avery.” “It’s nice to finally meet you, Avery. John has told me so much about you.” “Is that so?” I asked as I lightly shook her hand. “The four of us should get together for dinner one night.” John smirked. “Oh, that would be so much fun.” Emily smiled as she hooked her arm around John’s. “Maybe one night. Well, we have to get going. I need to get back to the office.” “The offer still stands, Avery,” John spoke with seriousness. “And the answer is still no, John. Have a good day,” I said as Liam and I walked away. “We’re never having dinner with them, are we?” he asked. “Hell no.” I shot him a look. “I didn’t think so. I was just making sure.” He winked. ****
I arrived at Liam’s house an hour early before his housewarming party started. As I walked through the door, Ana was coming from the kitchen. “Hi, Ana. Do you know where Liam is?” “He’s upstairs, Avery.” She smiled. “Thanks and, by the way, it smells amazing in here!” I went up to Liam’s room and found him standing in his closet with a towel wrapped around his waist and his hair dripping wet. Shit, I was going to have an orgasm just looking at him. “You’re worse than a girl.” I smiled as I walked into his closet and gave him a kiss. “What do you mean?” He chuckled. “You’re standing in here trying to decide what to wear. I see you looking over all your shirts.” “Okay, smarty pants, pick out an outfit for me.” “Okay. I will.” I walked over to where all his casual pants hung neatly in a row and took a black pair off the hanger. Then I walked over to the other side where a shelf held his neatly folded sweaters, pulling a beige-colored one out and handing it to him. “There you go. Outfit complete.” I smiled. “Nice choice.” He kissed my lips and walked out of the closet, me following behind. “Is that all I get?” He turned around and looked at me. “What do you mean?” He laughed. “I think you owe me some great sex for picking that out for you.” The corners of his mouth curved upwards as he removed his towel and threw it on the floor. “Is this what you want?” he asked as he pointed to his rapidly rising cock. “Mhmm.” I stood there with my arms crossed and a smile displayed across my face.
“Then take that dress off along with your panties and bra and stand up against that wall over there.” “Who says I’m wearing any panties?” I smirked. “Avery, you are so bad.” “Only for you.” I took off my dress, revealing the fact that I wasn’t lying about not wearing any panties and I took off my bra. Liam stood there as his eyes raked over my naked body. I walked over to the wall and stood up against it. In a matter of seconds, Liam was pressed against me, pinning my arms over my head with one hand while the other explored my most sensitive wet area. He didn’t waste any time as he brought my leg up to his waist and thrust into me hard and deep. “Is this what you wanted?” he grunted. “Yes. It’s exactly what I wanted,” I said breathlessly. He didn’t kiss me as he thrust in and out. He only stared into my eyes, taking full control of my body, watching the expression on my face as I fell deep into an orgasm and I did the same when he came. “May I finish getting ready for my party?” he asked with a smile. “Yes. Now that you’ve fully satisfied me for the next few hours, you may.” I grinned. “Oh?” He arched his brow. “Only for the next few hours? Then I really have my work cut out for me later.” “Indeed you do, Mr. Wyatt. Now get out of me and go get ready. Your guests will be arriving soon.” “You’re bossy.” He kissed my lips. “You love it.” “I love you.” “And I love you.” **** After the last guest left, Liam took hold of my hand and we walked up to his bedroom.
“You sure know how to throw a party, Wyatt.” “Thank you, Lewis. It turned out great, didn’t it?” “It sure did.” He walked up behind me as I was taking off my dress and wrapped his arms around me. “Are you cold?” “Not anymore since your hot and sexy body is wrapped around me.” “Come here.” He led me over to the fireplace in the corner of his bedroom and took hold of both my hands. “Avery, I want you to move in with me.” “I would love to, Liam, but I have my lease on my apartment.” “I know and I’ve been thinking about that. You can sublease it. I want to share my home with you. I want your business suits hanging next to mine. I want all your shower stuff in my shower and I want your clothes in my drawers. I want to come home to you every day in this house. It’s a really big house, baby, and I want you here living with me permanently.” “You have a lot of wants, Mr. Wyatt, and it’s a good thing I want all that too.” I smiled. “Is that a yes?” He chuckled. “Yes. I will move in with you.” He let out a sigh of relief and pulled me into a warm embrace. “I was worried you’d say no.” I looked up at the ceiling. “I like it here and I think I might like you too.” He broke our embrace. “You think you might like me? Is that what you said?” He began to tickle me. I screamed as I tried to make him stop, but I couldn’t. He picked me up and laid me down on the bed as he climbed on top of me. “I’m the luckiest man in the world. You complete me, Avery, and I will never stop loving you.” “I’m the luckiest girl in the world and I will never stop loving you.”
He brought his face closer to mine and our lips met with passion. To be loved by Liam Wyatt was the best thing that had ever happened to me. He was the best thing that had ever happened to me and I was going to make it my life’s mission to keep making him the happiest man in the world. ****
Liam Hearing Avery say yes to moving in with me was music to my ears. I’d searched my entire life for The One and I had finally found her. She would tell you she wasn’t perfect, but to me, she was, and that’s all that mattered. Getting her to move in with me was the first step. The next step was finding the perfect time and place to put a ring on her finger and ask her to be my wife. She was a gift from God and my number one priority. She was my girl and I would spend the rest of my life making sure she was happy, safe, and loved.
About The Author Sandi Lynn is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author who spends all of her days writing. She published her first novel, Forever Black, in February 2013 and hasn’t stopped writing since. Her addictions are shopping, going to the gym, romance novels, coffee, chocolate, margaritas, and giving readers an escape to another world. Please come connect with her at: www.facebook.com/Sandi.Lynn.Author www.twitter.com/SandilynnWriter www.authorsandilynn.com www.pinterest.com/sandilynnWriter www.instagram.com/sandilynnauthor https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6089757.Sandi_Lynn
@ Rozdział 1 LILY Luke’u Matthews, mówiłam ci, jak bardzo cię kocham? – Musnęłam palcem jego tors. – Mówiłaś, skarbie, ale nie chcę, żebyś kiedykolwiek przestała mi to powtarzać. Oderwałam głowę od jego piersi i pocałowałam go w usta – te usta, które
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DETOURED BY LOVE MICHELLE LYNN Contents Copyright Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve Chapter Thirteen Chapter Fourteen Chapter
DETOURED BY LOVE MICHELLE LYNN Contents Copyright Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve Chapter Thirteen Chapter Fourteen Chapter