“Well, Avery, I wasn’t exactly doing missions in the Bahamas.”
She lets out an awkward laugh. “Duh, Avery. Man, I’m just going to stop talking.”
My hand squeezes hers. “Hey, I’m just giving you a hard time. To answer your question, until recently, I’ve never really thought of moving out of Maple Oaks. It’s always been a good home base for me.”
She doesn’t miss a beat. “Until recently?”
I look over at her. Her dark blonde waves look like they’re glowing in the morning sunlight. “Yeah, lately, I’ve been thinking that maybe getting out of town wouldn’t be so bad. I hear Boston is lovely in the Spring.”
Her lips pull up into a wide smile as she tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. I want to make her smile like that every single day for the rest of my life.
I pull into the parking lot of the town diner and park the truck. I get out and walk over to open Avery’s door. By the time I get over there, though, she’s already stepped out.
I sigh. “Angel, I know you’re not from here, but down here, in the South, we tend to try to hold the doors for our women.”
“Why?” She asks, confused.
“Sorry. I haven’t seen a lot of that in my dating life.”
“Well, you better get used to it.” I tell her. “Keep that sexy ass of yours in the seat until I come open your door.”
She gives me a small salute. “Yes, sir.”
I lean in to whisper. “Call me sir again, and I’ll give you a reason to when I fuck you.”
She turns to me, her tongue running over her bottom lip. “Yes, sir.”
With that, she turns and starts to walk toward the diner.
I’m going to make her pay for that later.
I take a couple of quick steps to catch up with her and then take her hand in mine.
We walk inside, and the hostess greets us with a warm smile before leading us to a booth in front of one of the large windows.
“Whoa,” Avery says, looking at the massive menu.
“Yeah, when you’re one of the few restaurants in town, you have to have a lot of options. But don’t worry, it’s all good.”
A couple minutes later, we hear a loud, “Well, would you look what the cat dragged in!”
Without having to look, I know exactly who it is.
“Hey, Louisa,” I greet as the older woman appears at the table next to us. She leans down to wrap her arms around my shoulders.
“How are you doing, kiddo?”
“Can’t complain.” I gesture to Avery. “Louisa, I’d like you to meet my girl, Avery.”
Louisa looks at me with wide eyes for a moment before reaching to shake Avery’s hand. “Lovely to meet you, Darlin’. You must be something special if you have him calling you his girl.”
I worry how Avery will respond, but she just smiles and says, “Well, I think he’s pretty special, too.”
Lord, Avery gives me a warm fuzzy feeling that I didn’t think I was capable of having. She’s incredible.
I look at Louisa, who is grinning from ear to ear. She sets her hand on my shoulder. “Oh, don’t I know it?! Avery, are you from around here?”