Again she didn’t respond.
Crap. Had he managed to screw things up already? They always bantered back and forth like this through text messages, but maybe she wasn’t as keen to be naughty in real life. If so, the weekend he had planned would have to be entirely reconfigured into something a little less porn script.
The limo door opened, and Melanie peeked in through the door. Gabe’s breath stalled in his chest. Had she always been so lovely?
“I’m in the mood for sausage,” she said. “Big, thick, and hard.”
His breathlessness ended in a chuckle.
“And juicy,” a female voice said from behind Melanie.
Melanie closed her eyes and pursed her lips. Gabe got the impression that she was counting in her head.
“Hi, Force!” the same female voice called, and the achingly beautiful face of Melanie’s friend Nikki appeared over Melanie’s shoulder. “Did you miss us?”
Gabe’s gaze darted to meet Melanie’s, but she had her eyes squeezed shut. He could tell the enabler in her was losing the battle to the hair-pulling, bitch-slapping she-cat that was about to break loose.
“Is this your surprise?” he asked. His surprise for her seemed to start flashing neon signs—XXX and Live Nude Girls and Adults Only. He grabbed the small package on the seat beside him and shoved it behind his hip as discreetly as possible.
“I told her she couldn’t come,” Melanie said out of the corner of her mouth, as if that would make it possible for Gabe, but not Nikki, to hear her words.
“But I took some initiative!” Nikki said as if she’d just been accepted into Harvard for Cheerleaders.
“Great,” Gabe said flatly. So much for kissing Melanie all the way to the venue while he used his surprise to make her scream his name in ecstasy. “I have to get to the stadium. Are you coming or not?”
“I’m not coming yet,” Melanie said with a naughty smile, her eyes popping open. “But I’m sure you can help me with that.”
His heart began to thud with excitement as she pinned him with a sultry look that without a doubt meant that she was very keen on being naughty in real life, if only they could manage to ditch her companion.
“Why don’t you ride up front with the driver?” Melanie said to Nikki, whom Melanie was very effectively blocking by splaying her body across the open door like an Olympic goalkeeper.
“I’m sure he gets lonely up there all by himself,” Melanie said. “And he’s really cute. Didn’t you notice?”
Gabe scowled. Melanie had noticed? He didn’t like to hear that.
“He is sort of cute in that tuxedo.” Nikki giggled. “Like a handsome penguin.”
Melanie rolled her eyes at Gabe. Why did she continue to hang out with that chick? She was obviously annoyed by her.
“Go keep him company.”
Melanie launched herself into the car and slammed the door behind her before Nikki could change her mind about keeping the handsome penguin in the driver’s seat company.
“I am so sorry about that,” Melanie said, her hazel eyes concealed behind thick lashes and black-framed glasses. “She just showed up on the plane, demanded some big cage fighter give up his seat so she could sit beside me, flirted with him through both flights, and then invited herself to ride in the limo.”
“I get the feeling she’s hard to deter once she sets her mind on something.”
“If only she’d show the same sort of dedication to getting her life back on track.”
Gabe had been playing out his reunion with Melanie in his head all evening, and this was definitely not what he’d had in mind. He’d figured they’d already be locked in an endless kiss—hands roving, bodies pressed together—but Nikki’s unexpected appearance made him feel awkward. It was as if Nikki were sitting between him and Melanie, even though the woman was in the front seat. Melanie was obviously affected by Nikki’s presence as well. She sat stiffly and glanced repeatedly toward the front of the limo as if waiting for a zombie to launch itself through the glass.
A knock sounded on the window between the driver’s seat and the passenger compartment before it slid down with a mechanical whir. Nikki, who was now wearing the chauffer’s black cap, faced backwards and leaned over the seat, waving both hands. She had a killer smile affixed to her face, and her blue eyes were wide. She really was a beautiful woman. Stunning. Gabe was sure most men tripped over their dicks trying to get in her pants. He was not one of them. Why would any man settle for superficial beauty when he could have someone like Melanie, who had brains, sensuality, and good looks?