Well, damn, and also, how does she make sweats look so good?
Her hair shone caramel under the sun, and it was with a small dose of satisfaction that he watched her stumble, slow, and then stutter to a halt at the sight of him up against his truck.
“You all good?” he asked, not bothering to hide the once over he gave her. V-neck T-shirt; tight leggings that hugged her body in all the right places; PJ’s coffee cup clutched tight in one hand; a pair of pristine, white tennis shoes. He met her gaze. “Not used to walking without the weapons?”
“Weapons?” Her husky voice slid through him like a shot of bourbon. “I’m in the market of advertising eye shadows and false lashes, Gage, not shotguns.”
“Your shoes, Princess.” He met her gaze, swallowing a grin when a flush worked up her neck. “I was talking about those fuck-me heels you’ve worn each time I’ve seen you.”
As he was beginning to expect from her, her chin went up in defiance. “The shoes weren’t for you.”
“And I can walk perfectly fine in tennis shoes. I just . . . there was a rock.”
“Yeah?” He made a show of looking around her to where her near-fall had gone down. “What’s your classification between a rock and a pebble?”
Blue eyes narrowed. “I’d offer you a sip of my coffee to fix that grumpy attitude of yours, but since you’re inhuman and all . . .”
Gage pushed away from the truck. One step toward her. Two steps. Her chest inflated with a sharp inhale when he wrapped one hand around the Styrofoam cup. With a quick tug, he pulled it from her grasp and brought the rim to his mouth, drawing out the moment.
At her deadpan tone, he replied, “I would,” and then took a purposeful swallow of death itself.
Jesus. Coffee. And it was black, too. Not a single touch of cream or sugar to mitigate the bitterness.
It took everything in him not to cough and thump his chest, and he made do with returning the cup to her still waiting hand.
As though enjoying his misery, Lizzie took a long sip of the coffee, never taking her eyes off his face. Then, “Feel a lot manlier after that display of cavemanitis?”
It was seven-thirty in the morning, and the fire was already in her step. He should have downed the rest of her drink. She definitely didn’t need any more of a perk-me-up. “I think I liked you better in the heels,” he muttered, turning back for the truck.
“Because they make my legs look longer?”
He grasped the passenger’s side door handle, and drew it open for her. When she went to climb in, Gage put his hand to her back. “No, Princess, because you’re a hell of a lot less snarky when you’re an extra five inches taller. Might be the difference in oxygen levels.”
Her mouth parted in a surprised O just before he slammed the door shut.
Maria lives in New Orleans with her better half, where she can generally be found hiking with her two dogs, Zeus and Athena, kayaking in Louisiana’s inter-coastal waterways, or curled up on the couch with a good book.