Finn paid. He always paid. And he was sneaky about it too. She never even saw the check before he had it handled.
After, they headed to Lands End, a park near the windswept shoreline at the mouth of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The three of them followed a trail along a former rail bed to the rocky cliffs that revealed a heart-stopping, stunning three-hundred-and-sixty-degree vista of the bay. The wild blue ocean below was dotted with whitecaps thanks to the heavy surf of the early evening.
“Wow,” she whispered. “Makes you realize that the whole world isn’t centered around your own hopes and dreams.”
He looked out at the view. “What are your hopes and dreams?”
She glanced at him, startled.
“I know you love being a boat captain,” he said. “But what else do you want for yourself? To own your own charter business? To have a family?”
He was serious, so she answered truthfully. “I do love my job but I don’t want to run an empire or anything. I’m happy doing what I do. And . . .” Her heart was suddenly pounding. “I do want a family.” Because his eyes felt like mirrors into her own soul, she turned to the water again. “Someday,” she whispered.
His hand slipped into hers, warm and strong.
She held on and breathed for a moment. “And you?”
“I love my job too,” he said. “And I want to keep the pub for as long as it works. But I don’t want to live in the city forever. I want a family too, and I’d rather have a yard and a street where they can ride their bikes and have other kids nearby . . .”
She smiled. “You want a white picket fence, Finn?”
“It doesn’t have to be white,” he said and made her laugh.
And yearn . . .
Thor enjoyed himself thoroughly, chasing after squirrels until one of them turned on him and chased him right back into Pru’s arms.
Finn shook his head. “He’s missing something.”
“He doesn’t have the killer gene,” she admitted, giving the mutt a squeeze.
“I was thinking balls . . .” But he took Thor and carried him for her, letting the dog nuzzle at the crook of his neck.
Pru rolled her eyes, but inside, secretly, she wanted to nuzzle there too.
“Look,” Finn said, grabbing her hand with his free one, pointing with their joined fingers to the hillside below of cypress and wildflowers every color under the sun.
“Wow,” she whispered. “Gorgeous.”
“Yeah,” he said, looking at her.
She laughed. “That’s cheesy.”
He grinned. “You liked it.”
“No, I didn’t.”
He peered at her over his dark sunglasses, letting his gaze slip past her face.
She followed his line of sight and realized that her nipples were pressing eagerly against the thin white cotton of her shirt. “That’s because I’m cold,” she said and crossed her arms over her chest.
He laughed. “It’s seventy-five degrees.”
“Downright chilly,” she said, nose in the air.
Grinning, he reeled her in, and with Thor protesting between them, he kissed the living daylights out of her.
Then he tugged her down the trail, heading for the epic ruins of Sutro Baths.
She’d never been here before. Even better, they were alone. Pru had no idea why, maybe because it was the middle of the week, or just late enough in the day, but they had the place to themselves.
They walked through the ruins and Finn showed her a small, rocky cave. It was cool inside. Quiet.
Finn brought her over to a small opening that allowed her to see out to the rocky beach. Standing inside the cave, surrounded by the cavernous rock and way-too-sexy man, she could not only see the water but feel it in the cool mist that blew into the cave and stirred the hair at her temple.
Thor wriggled to be freed and Finn set him down, where he immediately scampered to a pile of rocks to explore.
This left Finn’s hands free to tug Pru into him. “I should probably admit,” he said, his mouth at her ear, “being alone in here is giving me ideas.”
She bit her lower lip. Her too!
Laughing quietly at her expression, he fisted one hand in her hair. The other slid down and squeezed her ass. “You too?”
Okay, yes, so maybe she had a secret fantasy about doing it somewhere that they could maybe get caught, but she wasn’t about to tell him so. Absolutely not. “I have a secret fantasy about doing it somewhere where we could maybe get caught,” she said. Dammit, mouth!
His grin was fast and wicked, assuring her he was absolutely up for the challenge. She laughed again, nervously now. “But I’m pretty sure it’s just a fantasy,” she said quickly, putting her hands on his chest to keep him at arm’s length.