Gunnar Daniels was seeing red…and a whole lot of milk chocolate too…
Gunnar slapped the picture facedown and glared at his employee-turned-partner. “Direct your eyes somewhere else!”
Damon Wilkes merely smirked and wagged his eyebrows. “Can I get an amen?!”
Gunnar’s jaw set in a firm line as his eyebrow arched. Damon stepped back, his hands up in surrender.
“I’m just sayin’…we got some fine-ass women carryin’ our names…or about to, in your case…”
Gunnar didn’t respond, but he also couldn’t help but flip the photograph over again. There was a slight glare from the light as it hit the glossy paper, but it couldn’t block the sight of his fiancée wearing nothing but a smile on a deep-red, fuzzy, heart-shaped carpet. It didn’t matter none of her goodies weren’t on full display, just the hint of all the deliciousness she had to offer made Gunnar want to commit numerous felonies.
“You’re crumplin’ the edges, man,” Damon said, his own dark-chocolate hand pointing to Gunnar’s pale fingers. “I don’t think Tyler would appreciate that.”
Gunnar threw down the pictures and shot up, pacing in what little space he had behind his desk. Running his fingers through his light-brown hair, he wracked his mind trying to figure just when the hell Tyler had even had time to take the pictures…and who did.
Plopping back down in his chair, Gunnar dialed a familiar number, not even caring it was butt-crack in the morning where this person was.
“Somebody better be dying,” came the surly voice.
“You will, søster…”
“Why?” the woman asked on a yawn, sounding far too unconcerned about her impending execution.
“Why do I have naked pictures of my fiancée sitting on my desk?”
Inge gasped, and then she squealed. Gunnar heard her husband complain in the background. “You got them! How do they look? She just looks decadent, doesn’t she?”
“Oh, shut up and accept the fact din forlovede er nydelig,” Inge commanded.
Gunnar gritted his teeth and huffed. He didn’t need pictures to know Tyler was beautiful. He’d noticed that the first time he saw her, although he hadn’t accepted her type of beauty as immediately. He’d been used to the manufactured variety from the fashion world—had been part of it. But Tyler was a different kind, natural and overflowing with it from the inside that Gunnar had forgotten “beauty” meant a single-digit dress size and long, flowing hair like his industry had tried to make him believe. Never mind the fact that, point blank, Tyler was stunning regardless of her measurements, but they’d had a few rocky moments during the beginning of their relationship trying to convince each other that Tyler’s beauty was acceptable…preferred…to the commoditized versions magazines and commercials sold.
“Who took the pictures?” Gunnar asked, changing tack. When Inge didn’t answer immediately, his gray eyes narrowed. “Inge, tell me the photographer didn’t have a penis.”
“What if he were gay—”
“I don’t fucking care—!”
“What if she were gay?”
Gunnar’s nostrils flared and his hand tightened around the receiver, both at Inge’s question and the fact Damon wasn’t doing a very good job of not laughing at him.
“Point being,” Gunnar said, doing his best to keep his voice level. “Nobody should be seeing my woman naked but me!”
“The photos are tastefully done and they aren’t going on sale, Gunnar,” Inge said, irritation seeping into her speech. “And if it makes you feel any better, I took the photos and I developed them, okay?”
He felt as if he were about to pop several essential blood vessels even though Inge’s confession did lower his heart rate dramatically. Taking a deep breath, Gunnar dropped his tone even more. “Whose idea was this?”
Now that did surprise him. “Really?”
“Yes, she said she wanted to do something special for you. What a jerk she’s being, huh?”
Gunnar scowled at his sister’s sarcasm. “I got it.”
“Do you? Why are you so pissy? I think she looks hot. If I weren’t happily married and heterosexual, I’d do her.”
Gunnar rolled his eyes. “Really, Inge.”
His sister chuckled and blew a kiss into the phone. “Hush up and go make passionate love to your woman. I’m ready to be an aunt, bror. Get to it!”
And with that, the little hellion hung up the phone. Sometimes Gunnar wondered if Inge knew he were the older of the two…and then he remembered Inge didn’t give a flying darn. She was a bossy little thing, knew what she wanted and made sure she got it, which was why she headed a successful talent agency with the love of her life.
But when Inge was right, she was right.
“I’m leaving,” Gunnar announced to a Damon who’d been leaning on the back two legs of the chair.
“Now? Ain’t this a bit early for you?”
It was Friday, the day before Valentine’s Day, in fact, and the sun had just set. To be fair, Damon had a point. He was usually the last to leave, especially with the plans to open a new GD Gym and Fitness in Chapel Hill in full bore. The only times he saw Tyler were when she stopped by the gym for a quick visit, and usually with Wendy and Damon, Jr., who was now three and a half months.
Gunnar hung his head. He’d not been the world’s most attentive fiancée these last few weeks, letting the excitement over the new baby disguise the fact he hadn’t been as available as he should’ve been.
I don’t even have a gift!
Damon’s eyes widened just as Gunnar’s did. “Oooh, you in trrooouubbllee!”
“Shut up!” Gunnar groused, gathering his items so he could go directly to the mall.
“I’m taking my wife to the Sheraton in Raleigh so we can have a romantic Valentine’s Day without Junior…I knew there was something off when Wen said Ty would help Carmen watch the baby for us…”
Gunnar had thought it was impossible for him to feel like a bigger idiot, but he’d been so wrong. Hell, he’d just called Inge and she was in Australia for her romantic Valentine’s Day getaway!
“For what it’s worth, Tyler doesn’t strike me as the type to want a big production,” Damon mused.
Gunnar paused his frantic motion. That was true. Last year he’d given her a box of Girl Scout cookies and she’d acted like he’d given her the world’s biggest diamond.
“That’s not the point,” Gunnar said, resuming his packing of his messenger bag.
“At least you know that,” Damon said.
“What am I gonna do? Super Bowl’s over. March Madness hadn’t started…”
“If you have a tape of last year’s Super Bowl that might help,” Damon said with a little grin.
Gunnar chuckled. Last year Tyler’s favorite team had won it all. This year, they’d been one and done in the postseason. He’d had enough foresight to sit with her through that tragic evening at least.
“She deserves more than that,” Gunnar said.
“Again, you are absolutely right. Good luck trying to prove that to her in the eleventh hour!”
Resisting the urge to stick out his tongue, Gunnar hopped into his Jeep and went to the mall. He’d never seen so many men there in his life, and all of them were running in and out of frou-frou stores trying to find that perfect last-minute gift. However after an hour of looking himself, nothing jumped out at him…nothing shouted, “Tyler”, so he left. He didn’t know exactly where he was going when he got into his Jeep and pulled out of the parking lot, so he was slightly surprised when he ended up in Tyler’s driveway. When he rang the doorbell, however, the last thing he’d expected to see was his fiancée holding a sleeping Damon, Jr. in her arms.
Tyler’s eyes widened with surprise, then her brows furrowed together as she bounced the baby to keep him lulled. “Gunnar?”
She shouldn’t be shocked he’d come to see her, and that was entirely his fault. Sighing he stepped across the threshold and kissed her forehead. “Hallo, elskling.”
Tyler leaned into his kiss, one of her hands pressed against his chest so he didn’t crush her and the baby. “Are you okay? You seem upset…”
Gunnar shook his head, letting a gentle finger trace the top of Damon, Jr.’s head. “I’ve been an awful intended.”
He kissed her mouth gently. “I’ve been neglecting you. I’m sorry.”
“Neglecting me?” Tyler asked, confused. “You’ve been busy with the gym—”
“I should never be too busy for you, kjære,” he insisted, not moving from her lips. “You are going to be my wife. You have to be the most important person in my life, and I haven’t adjusted as well as I’d like to that fact.”
Tyler pulled back and held the baby tighter to her, looking at Gunnar sorrowfully. “I should apologize to you, too, then. I’ve been all about the baby these last few weeks, I haven’t really been home, made myself available—”
“She’s your sister, and he’s your nephew, I understand,” Gunnar said.
“But the same applies for me,” Tyler challenged, cooing a little when the baby started to fuss. He settled back down, burying his face into Tyler’s chest, and Gunnar grinned. He couldn’t blame Damon, Jr. for his new position. As if knowing where Gunnar’s mind had gone, Tyler sucked her teeth.
“He’s a baby and family!” she chastised.
“But he’s also in one of my favorite places,” Gunnar said, wagging his eyebrows.
Tyler blushed but shook her head, leaving the doorway to go back to the living room where there was a blanket spread out for Damon, Jr. Gunnar followed and watched Tyler put Damon in the baby bouncer. When she was done, he held out his arms and Tyler cuddled with him on the couch. They just watched their nephew sleep and Gunnar felt his hand slide down until it rested on Tyler’s stomach.
She chuckled slightly and looked up at him. “Gunnar…”
He shrugged and grinned also. “I can’t help it. I want several of my own.”
“Hmm,” he intoned, settling his mouth into the crook of her neck. She tasted so good, his favorite butterscotch candy, and he let his tongue swirl around her collarbone. He grinned against her skin.
“Thank you for my Valentine’s Day gift.”
He saw her frown, and then he saw her eyes widen. “What?!”
Chuckling, Gunnar pried his mouth away from her flesh and rifled through his messenger bag for the envelope that held the pictures. He pulled out the glossy paper, watching Tyler’s eyes widen even further.
“That’s not me…” She sighed with awe and frowned. “That can’t possibly be me…”
And yet it was. Sultry chocolate-brown eyes peeked over a smooth, dark-brown shoulder. The way she’d manipulated her body only displayed peeks of sensuous feminine curves, her natural hair pinned up in tempting disarray. All of the photos were classy, a Nubian Botticelli and Ruben in digital form, and he was just as much in awe as she was.
“My God, you are exquisite,” Gunnar whispered, not even looking at the photos anymore, but of a real, breathing Tyler sitting next to him wearing a long-sleeved gray T-shirt that had a hole in the left elbow and sweatpants that stopped right at the ankles.
“I think Inge sent us the wrong photos!” Tyler joked.
Gunnar shook his head and captured her chin in his grasp, turning her face to his. “These are of you. This is how beautiful you are. She didn’t do much. The makeup is minimal; the hairstyle you do by yourself occasionally when you step out the shower. But it’s your eyes, Tyler…I don’t know if it was because you were taking these for me or—”
“I was taking them for me,” Tyler murmured, relieving him of the pictures. “I’d mentioned I might show them to you, but Inge…she convinced me…”
“She said it was your idea—”
“Well, to do it, ultimately, yes. I approached her when we went to California for Christmas. But I’m talking about earlier than that, when we went to LA the first time…”
That was when he’d proposed to Tyler. It hadn’t mattered they’d only known each other for eight months; he knew she was supposed to be his wife much earlier than that. But they’d had some rough times, complete with her having a hospital stay because she hadn’t been eating properly and exercising too much while taking diet pills. His Tyler, his voluptuous, sexy, beautiful Tyler, had been tripping because she couldn’t believe he’d wanted her just the way she was. And he couldn’t blame her; he hadn’t been very nice to her when she’d come to the gym that first time for a personal training session. He’d taken his bad mood at the time out on her and had insulted her weight. His mother and Inge had socked him good several times when they’d found that out.
“So you decided to take these pictures to prove something?” Gunnar ultimately asked.
“Yes.” She smiled. “I think I did.”
“I’ve always known you were lovely, kjære,” Gunnar said, letting his nose drift along her temple. “Another reason why I’ve been a bad fiancée—I haven’t shown you just how beautiful you are in a long time.”
He cut off the protest he knew was coming by kissing her. When he pulled back, Tyler’s eyes were glazed and the baby was whimpering once more. Grinning slightly, Gunnar went to Damon, Jr. and settled him down, returning to the couch to sit next to Tyler.
Damon, Jr.’s brown eyes looked at Gunnar curiously, and then the baby grinned.
“You two are conspiring against me,” Tyler complained.
Gunnar chuckled, not bothering to look at Tyler as he gave a thick finger for the child to grasp. “Why do you say that? Damon’s just bonding with his Uncle Gunnar, isn’t he?”
“No…you two are trying to convince me it’s a good idea to go half on a baby right now…”
Gunnar laughed as quietly as he could, nipping Tyler’s nose with his teeth. “Because you know you want to give me some babies. Like I don’t know you taking care of Damon isn’t practice—”
“How chauvinistic of you!” Tyler cried.
Gunnar laughed again. “You know good and well it isn’t, Tyler Marie. Whenever we went to California I was with Greta and Singe more than their parents were!”
Tyler’s mini ire softened and she rested her chin on his shoulder. “You really want these babies.”
“I love children, and I’d love them with you. I’ve never made a secret of that.”
Tyler dropped her eyes, knowing he was right. Shifting to place her cheek on his shoulder, she let her fingers trail over his and Damon’s. “A baby…”
“We aren’t married.”
“Neither were Wendy and Damon when they conceived Junior here.”
Tyler was about to say something further when the front door opened. Immediately, she shot off the couch and went to the woman who was entering the home.
“Hi, Mommy, how are you?” Tyler asked, hugging the older, shorter, slimmer woman. Though in her sixties, Gunnar didn’t think his future mother-in-law looked a day over forty.
“Beuna, chica, buena,” Carmen said, kissing her daughter’s cheek. She walked further into the house and Gunnar leaned his head back against the couch. “¿Hijo, como estás?”
“I am well, mor,” Gunnar said as Carmen kissed his forehead. Carmen Colón Carver had become a second mother to him, stepping in while his own mother Tekla was in Norway. Carmen and Tekla got on very well, and sometimes Gunnar thought they were more excited about August 8th than he and Tyler were.
“Mommy, I gave Damon a bottle and hour ago and then—”
“Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, corazón,” Carmen said, cupping her daughter’s cheek. “Spend it with your young man.”
“Go on, you two,” Carmen said with a grin, taking her grandson from Gunnar’s arms. “It’s a day for lovers.”
Gunnar stood and saw Tyler’s indecision all on her face. He suddenly realized why she’d conveniently let Gunnar forget about the holiday. Carmen. She would be spending it alone, and after years of not having her mother close, Tyler deigned to leave her by herself.
His heart swelling further with love, Gunnar approached Tyler and cupped her cheeks in his hands. “She’ll be all right, kjære,” he whispered.
Tyler looked at him in confusion. “What?”
“Your mother…she’ll be all right.”
She looked at him in surprise. “What do you mean?”
Grinning, he kissed her softly. “Being alone. She’ll be okay, honey. Besides, she knows where to get us and Wendy and Damon should something happen with the baby.”
Pulling back slightly, Tyler looked around Gunnar to see her mother grinning at a beaming Damon. “Mommy.”
“Listen to your young man, corazón,” Carmen said. “We will be fine, won’t we, nieto?”
The baby laughed and reached out chubby hands to his grandmother’s lips.
With that, Gunnar went back over to Carmen and Damon, kissing both on the cheek before grabbing his messenger bag and the photos from the couch, then taking Tyler’s hand in his.
“We’ll be at my house,” Gunnar told his future mother-in-law.
“And we’ll be here. You two have a happy Valentine’s Day.”
“We’ll have dinner tomorrow!” Tyler said as Gunnar led her out the door.
“I better not even see you tomorrow, corazón!” Carmen said on a laugh. Gunnar guffawed, especially at Tyler’s shocked expression.
“Did my mama just—?!”
“Give us permission to give her more grandbabies? Yes, yes, she did.”
Tyler glared at him, jutting her glorious hip out and crossed her arms underneath her breasts. Grinning further, Gunnar approached her and, to her obvious amazement, lifted her off her feet and buried his face in her chest. She laughed and wrapped her arms and legs around him.
He kissed the space over her heart and started walking them to his Jeep. “Hmm, kjære, you were saying something?”
“Put me down before you throw out your back!”
He leaned her against the Jeep and kissed her hard, grinding his hardening crotch against her. “Oh, I plan to throw it out, all right…”
Tyler laughed harder. “You are a mess!”
“A mess o’ love!” Gunnar yelled, leaning back and shaking his head like a maniac. He chuckled as Tyler pulled his head back up and kissed him again.
“I didn’t get you anything for Valentine’s Day,” he said when they broke apart for air.
Tyler just arched an eyebrow and ground her pelvis against his. “I think you can more than make it up to me…”
And with that Gunnar immediately set her on the ground and told her to get in the vehicle...To continue reading, please visit Savannah's Google Group!