“You sly fucking dog,” Teal whispered as Trent helped her out of the truck. He’d passed the range and headed straight for the Italian restaurant she’d pointed out last week.
Trent placed Teal’s hand in the hook of his arm after tipping the valet. “You mentioned it smelled delicious the last time we passed it.” He gave a light shrug.
“It did.” She sniffed the air, taking in the scent of fresh baked garlic bread and pasta sauce. While Teal and Trent were doing well with the healthy eating, Teal was in the mood for chicken smothered in red sauce and a huge glass of wine.
Holding tight to his arm, she followed him through the parking lot and into the restaurant. Inside, as the hostess stated her spiel, Teal took in the nice décor and finely dressed occupants.
“Follow me,” the hostess called over her shoulder, as she led them to a cozy booth in the corner. She handed them two linen menus. “Your server will be with you shortly.”
Teal nodded. “Thank you.”
Trent leaned back in his seat and eyed the menu. “Nothing healthy at all on here.” Glancing at her over the menu, he winked. His hot gaze took her in, saying more than his sexy lips ever could. Placing down the menu, he bent forward. Candle light flickered, and the sound of tinkling laughter and hushed whispers surrounded them.
He placed his hand on the table palm up and slowly pushed toward her, his fingers outstretched in an open invitation. Teal accepted and placed her smaller hand into his. Closing his fingers around hers, he squeezed lightly. Teal met his gaze, taking in the sparks and the heat of his intense stare.
“Um . . . would you like to start with water, or perhaps a glass of wine?” the waitress said, appearing at the end of the table.
Teal was the first to look away. “Yes, a nice red for me, and Trent here will take whatever custom beer you have on tap, please.”
Jotting in her pad, she smiled in Trent’s direction. “We have some pleasant craft beers. If I may recommend?” Teal nodded. “Our, IPA, Rush Low, is great paired with our filet mignon, steamed asparagus, and garlic roasted potatoes.”
Teal cocked a brow and chanced a peek at Trent. He didn’t need that fancy shit. An ice-cold beer, a T-bone steak, and some loving, and Trent was as satisfied as they came.
However, tonight, for her, Trent nodded. And without an ounce of snark said, “Sure, that sounds good—medium.”
“I’ll have the same, but with the wine, please,” Teal added.
“Great, I’ll get that started for you.” Taking the menus, the woman strolled away to put in their orders.
Trent shoved his blonde hair over his shoulder, then threw his arm over the back of his chair. “Baby, let me ask you something.”
She caught a glint of mirth in his eyes and couldn’t help but get excited. Perking up, Teal leaned forward. “Hit me.”
Trent chuckled. “What do you think about—”
“Here you go.” A glass of wine and a tall, frosted glass of beer slid into Teal’s vision. “Your food will be out shortly.” And again, the waitress sauntered off.
Picking up her glass, Teal took a long sip of her wine. “What’s the question?”
He smirked. “Why don’t you want to celebrate your birthday?”
Teal blinked repeatedly, a bit confused by the question. “Huh? Where did that come from?” And then came another sip of wine. Crossing her legs, Teal leaned back, taking her wine with her. She rested her elbow on the back of the chair and got comfortable.
“You’re only thirty—” he started.
Teal sliced Trent in half with a glare cutting him off, and he burst into laughter.
“Okay, okay.” He held his hands up in mock surrender.
With a smirk, Teal lifted her hand and motioned for Trent to continue.
“But seriously, I want you to explain it to me. Why?” His eyes roved over her body, as they made a slow perusal. “Why would a beautiful, young woman such as yourself hate celebrating her birthday?” He took a sip of his beer and cursed under his breath.
“Hot damn, this shit is good. It’s so smooth.” Placing the beer down, he pushed the glass over to her. “Try it.”
Teal took the glass and lifted it. Taking a small sip, she smiled when the light flavor hit her tongue.
“I wasn’t expecting that. Hell, but at nine dollars a glass, it sure as shit better be good,” he said as Teal handed him back his glass.
“You want to tell me what that birthday comment was about?” she asked, unwilling to allow him to change the subject. The beer was good, yes, but there was more going on, and with Teal’s birthday a mere three weeks away, she feared Trent was going to make a huge deal of it.
As he opened his mouth, his phone tinkled a sound and Teal knew it was a text message. “Baby, just making conversation with you.”
Teal cocked a brow as Trent lifted the phone and peeked at the screen. A soft smile, she once thought was reserved only for her, played across his lips. “That better not be some party surprise for me.”
Becoming engrossed in his phone, Trent didn’t respond.
Teal placed her half-empty glass on the table and scooted forward, in hopes to get a closer look.
The sound of a plate being placed onto the table pulled Teal’s attention away from the phone. “Would you like more wine, ma’am?” the waitress asked, placing Trent’s plate in front of him.
Teal nodded, and to the waitress’ surprise, she lifted the glass and finished it in a few gulps. How the hell was she supposed to convince Trent not to make a huge deal about her birthday? She glanced up again to see that he was responding to the text. What was going on? He never responded to her texts, he would always just call her right back. He hated it, stating his fingers were too big and caused him to constantly get autocorrected.
Teal cocked a brow. “Trent.”
Shoving the phone in his pocket, Trent peered up at the waitress and mumbled, “Thank you. This looks good.” Then he unwrapped his utensils.
“Thank you.” Teal spoke to the waitress. As soon as she walked away, she crossed her arms over her chest and cleared her throat.
“What?” Trent asked. He cut into his steak and brought it to his mouth. Looking at her, his brow scrunched in confusion. “What, are we supposed to say grace or something?” He lowered the fork. “Shit, Teal, you know I’m—”
“Who was that on the other end of that text?” She smiled, maybe a bit too forcefully.
Trent placed a hand over the phone in his pocket. “Ah, hell baby.” He thrust a hand through his hair. “It was work, and I didn’t want to bother making a call since we got this date night going and all.” He lifted his chin toward her empty glass. “You getting more?”
Teal rolled her eyes. “Yeah.” Deciding to leave the text—most definitely about her birthday—alone, she lifted her fork and tried her food.
“What are you and Violet planning for this party?” Trent took a bite of steak.
After chewing her food, Teal spoke. “Violet is apparently leaving me in charge.” She shrugged. “She probably feels sorry for me and the fact I have jack shit to do all day.”
Trent’s eyes narrowed. “Or, she’s asking her friend for help with something important.” Dropping his fork, he grabbed the cloth napkin. “Look, you have got to stop acting as if raising our girl is boring.”
She froze mid-bite. “That is not what I meant, and you know it.” Teal kept her tone low. She was not about to get into an argument in public.
The waitress strolled over and placed a glass of wine on the table. Teal immediately snatched it up and took a sip.
He scoffed. “Then what am I supposed to think here, baby?”
Teal bit her lip and took a deep breath. “I don’t know.” Her honest answer shocked even her, but Teal didn’t stop there. “I never thought of myself as a stay at home mom. I’ve always worked. And though Emma is the light of my life, I can’t just be her mother, or just your wife.”
“Them titles suddenly ain’t good enough?”
She sensed the hurt in his voice, drowned in anger and disbelief. This was headed in the wrong direction and needed a course correction, fast. Setting the glass of wine down, Teal reached across the table and took Trent’s hand.
“No, it is more than enough, but I want to work as well. I’ve worked my entire life to create a good career and future for myself.” Squeezing his hand, she continued, “I can see in your eyes when I talk about going back to work after the twelve-month break we both decided on, that you aren’t going to be happy about it.”
“Hell no, I’m not, but you’re telling me, here and now, that the life I am offering you—”
“Don’t,” she demanded. “Do not act as if I am Harper or Shayla.” Teal’s face heated at the implied accusation. “To them, the life you wanted to give them wasn’t enough. Me wanting to work, to help support our family, is not the same thing and you know it.” Suddenly, her stomach protested the wine. Placing a hand over her stomach, Teal winced.
“I don’t know how to take what you say to me sometimes,” he admitted in a careful tone. “You want to go back to work after the twelve months? Fine. Will I be happy with it? Hell no. But I know it’s what you want.” He released her hand and picked up his fork and knife again.
Teal felt the tension between them ease a bit. “I just feel like this is a huge argument we keep pushing back for a later date.” She propped her elbow on the table and rested her chin in her hand, as she watched Trent shrug and go back to eating.
“Maybe so,” he said in between bites of food.
“I still love you though.” She blew him a kiss, hoping to lighten the mood a bit more.
“How could you not?” He smirked. “You gonna need any help with his party?”
“Um, probably. It’s supposed to be at the bar. It’s not a surprise or anything like that, so I can call Poe if I have any questions.”
His voice lowered as he asked, “You cool with going back to that place?”
“Yeah, I am. I mean Jake is out of the picture, so no worries there. Oh, and Violet said that Poe has personal security at the bar.” She lifted a shoulder. “That should keep everyone in line.”
“Personal security?” His untrusting tone gave her pause.
“Yeah.” Teal watched as Trent’s expression and body language altered. “That’s good, right?” It had been Teal’s condition. If you got a bunch of men together and drowned them in free liquor, chances were a fight of some sort would break out. On top of that, they weren’t completely closing the bar, so other people would be in the mix as well. “I asked for that because the bar’s regulars are still permitted to show up, and while we may be able to control close personal friends, I can’t say the same for drunk strangers.”
Trent finished his beer. “Who is heading this shit up?”
Teal wracked her brain for the name Violet had given her. “Renegade Security.”
Trent’s grip tightened on his knife.
He looked away from her. “You can’t hire anyone else?”
The waitress appeared at the table. “Another beer, sir?”
Trent muttered a dismissive, “Yeah,” then returned to the conversation. “There’s no one else?”
Teal shifted in her seat. “No, Poe said he has a contract with them.”
He stared past her, as if he were no longer in the moment. Perhaps a memory had stolen him from her, and Teal was not okay with that.
Snapping her fingers in front of his face, she called his name. “Trent, what’s going on in that head of yours?”
He focused on her and sat back in his seat. “Nothing, just thinking about something.”
Teal waited for an explanation and when one didn’t come, she spoke. “And?”
The prompt was left unanswered as Trent took the beer from the waitress and swigged half the thing down. Once he’d finished the glass, he released a small chuckle, but nothing else.
Nervous energy welled up inside of her. “Okay, so you want to tell me about this company, or should I call Poe?” She slipped off a heel and nudged Trent when he still didn’t speak. She placed her foot on his knee, keeping it there just in case she needed to kick the answer out of him.
“All right, it ain’t too bad.” He let out a long sigh. “I mean, it used to be run by this mean son of a bitch who’d once threatened Shayla.”
Teal closed her eyes and slumped in her seat. She hoped that even though she’d adopted Shayla’s biological daughter, she’d never have to hear that name again.
“But nothing to worry about now, he’s dead.”
A whoosh of relief burst from Teal. “Damn. You could have led with that, yeah?”
He cocked his neck to the side, stretching the tension from it. “Yeah, I should have.”
“Then why are you so worried?” Something wasn’t adding up for Teal. “What is the big deal if he is dead?”
“Dead or not, baby, I ain’t interested in partying with them.”
Her eyes widened and Teal picked up her wine and gulped some down. “Are you saying you won’t go?” She didn’t want to have Trent sit this out. Moreover, if Trent didn’t feel comfortable dealing with Renegade security, should she?
“No, baby. I’m going, and it ain’t such a big deal now.”
“He’s dead, so it should have never been a big deal.” Teal took a few more bites then placed her fork down.
“You done already?” Trent asked.
Checking his plate, she noted all his food was about gone, except for the veggies. “No, I’m just saving room for dessert.” She did a little excited wiggle.
With a grunt, Trent pushed his plate away. “Same here.” His eyes darkened and he reached below the table and grabbed the foot Teal had placed on his knee. She gasped when his thumb applied slight pressure to her instep. His light massaging continued until the waitress came, cleared the table, and took their dessert order—to go.
In the truck, Trent held Teal’s hand as he searched the radio for something to listen to. “I can’t believe there isn’t anything decent on the radio these days.” Trent lifted her hand to meet his lips.
“Hell, I’m not thinking about that shit.” He pushed her hand down until it was in his lap. Trent’s hard length pushed back against the seam of his jeans. “I just want to get you home and fuck you.”
Teal let out a giggle as her face heated. “Damn, where did that come from?”
“I’ve been thinking about it ever since that waitress back there explained how sweet and decadent that dark chocolate ganache would taste.” He opened her hand and placed her palm on his cock. “Shit, I was hard pressed not to tell her I was headed home to have my face in some of the best damned dark chocolate I’ve ever tasted.”
“What in the hell?” Slapping his chest with her free hand and squeezing his cock in the other, Teal said, “Well, do we have to wait? I wouldn’t mind some white chocolate for the road.”
He gently bucked into her palm. “Hmmm, don’t play, baby. You know I will pull this damned truck over and fuck you.”
Teal unzipped Trent’s jeans. “Oh no, I am completely serious about my sweets. You know that.” Trent’s gruff laughter sent a spark of heat to Teal’s core.
“You want a taste, right now?” he asked, his dark eyes darting from the road to her and then back again. Teal didn’t want to be pulled from a fiery wreckage by firefighters with her mouth wrapped around Trent’s member, so instead she opted for a quick hand job.
“I’ll taste it when we get home, but for now.” Teal stroked Trent, making sure to pay extra attention to his sensitive tip. As his moans grew louder Teal glanced at the speedometer and noticed that they were speeding. “Damn, slow down a bit.”
Trent followed her gaze. “Shit.” He hit the brakes and reached for her hand. “Maybe we should wait. Fuck, if I come while we are driving I’ll wind up killing us both.” Teal watched as Trent tucked himself away as best as he could then place his warm hand on her thigh. “Open up for me.”
“What?” She asked even as she did his bidding. “I thought we were waiting until we got home.”
Trent unbuttoned her pants. “That was for me.” The sound of her breathing mixed with the unzipping of her pants echoed in the car. While there wasn’t much room to play, Trent’s fingers made contact with her core through her panties. “Open wider for me.” Teal did so. She watched Trent’s fingers as they made little circles over her damp panties.
Trent’s voice deepened as his desire roared to life. “You already wet for me?” Teal nodded and threw her head back onto the headrest. A second ago, she couldn’t wait to get home, and now, she prayed they hit every fucking red light in the state. Trent’s talented fingers coaxed Teal’s clit forward and a deep moan from her. Her body heated as her core tightened ready for release.
Pushing her panties aside, he brushed her gently with his knuckles. The light sensation pulled Teal back from the ledge, while keeping her body wound tight.
“Trent,” She copied his earlier move and gently bucked into his hand urging her to give him what she needed.
Teal moved her hips with the motion of Trent’s hand, the slow build guaranteed her an orgasm she would not forget, and Trent knew it. He knew her body so well, that Teal believed he alone had been created to love her. He’d mastered her body, taken the time to taste every inch of her all while pushing her body to the max.
When he pulled his hand away, Teal’s eyes popped open. “What?” When she was greeted by the site of her home, Teal’s eyes widened. “When the hell?”
“Half way between more and harder.” Trent chuckled. “Come, baby. Let’s send these two home and finish what we started in here.”
Teal opened her door, unwilling to wait for Trent to make his way around the truck and open it for her. She shouted over her shoulder, “First one there gets to come first.”
The second her hand reached the door knob, Trent’s strong arms caught her and pulled her back into his chest. His warm lips met her ear, and warm breath fanned over her neck. Seconds later, Trent pressed his erection into her back as he spoke.
“My baby always comes first, and tonight, I remind you of that over and over, so you never forget it.”