Gabby’s been hopelessly in love with her best friend Owen for what feels like forever, but playing his “fake” girlfriend when the entire boisterous Burnett clan visits is easier said than done. The more she tries to deny the attraction between them, the more obvious their chemistry becomes. But even though she’s not the only one feeling it, putting their friendship on the line is a risk she can’t take.
“How could I tell my mom it wasn’t true? That I made something up to stay home? I feel like a jerk, but I can’t tell her. Please, Gabby.”
Shaking her head, she began to pace again, her breath coming in short bursts. “Please what? Pretend to be your girlfriend for a week? No one will buy it. Half the time I’m not even sure you know I’m female.”
What? Sure, he didn’t think of her that way, but he wasn’t blind. She was definitely female. It’s not like he hadn’t noticed she had…breasts and curves and…damn, now he was thinking of both those things. He stared down at the ground, suddenly and uncomfortably aware of her…femininity more than ever before.
Even without looking at her, he could picture the elegant curve of her neck and the show of skin where her sweater hung loose, her gorgeous hair that made him think of rich chocolate and her pretty face with her endless, open smiles. Just because they were friends didn’t mean he was completely oblivious. Looking up, he saw she’d turned away, her hands gripping the counter.
He might not have thought too much about it, but he could damn well see she was a woman. And he didn’t need that knowledge or awareness getting in the way. He watched the rise and fall of her back, and then she turned and walked away from him. In the living room, she took over his spot by the window, staring out at the inky black sky. The stars were like little cutouts of light peeking in.
He leaned against the arch separating the living room and kitchen. “Look at me.” He waited until she did. “I know I’m asking a lot. It’ll probably be awkward. My family is loud and messy. Messier than you, if you can imagine.” She tried to scowl at him, but it had no heat, and that felt like a small victory. “I know you hate to lie and I hate asking you to. But you love Christmas and so do they. I don’t want to wreck it for them. It’s not a big deal—a few days with my family and no one will know otherwise. I’m asking you to help me and in return, I…I’ll give you something I know you’ve been wanting for a long time.”
Because he was staring at her so intently, he saw the way her eyes darkened and her chest flushed. Trying to avoid looking at her breasts, he caught her gaze again. Owen walked across the room once more, the scent of her shampoo catching him off-guard, kicking him in the gut with the delicious sweetness of it. Like candy or gingerbread. Maybe Christmas wasn’t so bad.
“What’s that?” she whispered, folding her arms so one hand rested on her biceps and the other rested against her mouth.
Closing the distance between them, he reached out a hand and stroked her hair. Her hands dropped to her sides. He trailed his finger down her jaw to her chin and tilted her head up to meet his gaze. She really did have gorgeous eyes. Knock-a-man-on-his-ass eyes that were watching him, full of an emotion he couldn’t name.
He smiled, bent his knees again, and then pinched her chin gently between his thumb and forefinger. “My apartment.”
So much so, she tattooed the words on her arm. She’s a mom and a wife, a friend,
sister, daughter, teacher, and book-lover. Her stories have a little bit of heat and a lot of heart. And maybe, some swoon-worthy moments that will make you smile.