Kensi checked the lasagna recipe again. “Yep, got everything. This will be a snap,” she said to Monty. Deeks had dropped him off earlier. He said he was going for a brief run and afterwards take care of an errand. Kensi wondered for a moment about said errand. Deeks had been tight-lipped about it.

Monty whined and looked up at Kensi from his place by the back door. “Don’t give me that look. A girl who can break down, clean, and reassemble a sniper rifle can certainly handle a lasagna recipe.”


“Maybe he’s afraid I can’t pull this off. Maybe he’s going after burgers or something. But I’ll show him.”

She followed the directions to the letter and slid the baking dish into the oven. “There. Good to go,” she declared with a sense of satisfaction. There was also garlic bread and salad. But she could get those together after Deeks arrived.

“Woof! Woof!”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence, Monty. Okay, I’m going to shower so I’m counting on you to monitor the oven.”

The small table was already set. She’d even picked up some candles and bright blue placemats when she was out this morning.

“Why am I worrying so much about this? It’s only Deeks. We eat together all the time.” As if reprimanding her, Monty lifted his head and whined.

“Right. It’s not just Deeks, it’s Deeks! and it should be absolutely perfect.” She took one, two, three deep breaths to calm the butterflies in her stomach.

“Okay. Better.”

She showered and was now standing in the bedroom wrapped in a towel. She emptied the bag with her new bras on the bed. She picked up one after the other trying to decide which to put on. She loved all the colors. She’d gone back another day on a non-Deeks shopping trip and bought matching panties. At last, she picked up the black-and-ecru lace bra. This was the one Deeks had called “sassy and classy” when they’d been at the mall.

Yes! This is the one. So what if he’s already seen it? He only saw it once and who knows what might happen after dinner?

Kensi dressed and was brushing her hair when her hand paused. She sniffed. An acrid smell was emanating from the kitchen. “Oh no! No, no, no!” She ran to the oven and yanked the door open. “Seriously?” In disgust, she slammed the door shut. She wanted to scream and cry at the same time. The hairbrush was still in her hand and she slapped it down on the counter.

“What the hell? Dinner is ruined. What am I gonna do?”

Monty got up and headed into the living room. “Hey, don’t slink away when I’m talking to you,” groused Kensi.

The doorbell rang. “Woof! Woof!”

Kensi frowned and went to answer it. She opened the door and found Deeks standing there.

She gave him a puzzled look. “Did you forget your key?”

“Nope.” He made no effort to come in. Instead, he admired Kensi’s pink and black flowered tee shirt and pink shorts. Her feet were bare.

“Well? Are you going to stand there all night?”

Deeks grinned. With a flourish, he produced a bouquet of flowers from behind his back.

Kensi gasped in surprise. “What’s this?”

“We’re celebrating upgrading.” He thrust the flowers, already in a vase, at Kensi. Then he bent down and picked up the bottle of wine he’d set by the door. Kensi looked at it.

“So this was your errand?”

“Yeah. Good thing those came with a vase. I wasn’t sure if you had one or if you did, where it might be located.”

“Stop it,” said Kensi with a sigh.

Deeks followed her to the kitchen. “Mmm, do I smell spaghetti . . . with an undertone of burnt rubber?” His brow furrowed.

Kensi set the vase down with a bang. Her face contorted into a grimace. “It’s lasagna and I burned it. I kinda forgot about it when I was in the shower. You know, not used to cooking.”

No need to mention that I was obsessing over which new lingerie to wear tonight. In case you should see it later.

“I can always order a pizza or wings or something,” said Kensi.

Deeks put the wine on the counter. “Let me see.” Kensi had not bothered to take the lasagna out of the oven. He donned the oven mitts and pulled it out. The smell was worse up close. “Alrighty, then. I would classify this as a learning experience. Everybody has to start somewhere. But you know what, it’s only the edges that are burnt. The middle should be fine.”

Kensi bit her bottom lip and seemed on the verge of tears. She clenched her fists at her side. “I wanted everything to be perfect.”

He tossed the mitts aside and studied Kensi. Ms. Wikipedia was wound tighter than a drum for some reason. “Hey, it’ll be better than perfect. You just need to relax. Let’s open the wine.”

Kensi picked up the bottle. An expensive Merlot. “Were you planning to get me drunk and then ease me out of my clothes?” As soon as she said it, she sucked in a breath and her cheeks turned pink.

Slowly, Deeks smiled. He looked at the wine and back to Kensi. “Nah. I don’t need strong drink to help me do that.” He pointed a finger at her. “But that question gives me insight as to the direction of your thoughts, Fern.”

She glared at him. “Shut up. Stop acting like a lawyer. And it’s rude to point.”

“Does the witness deny it?” He was still smiling.

Kensi’s cell, which was on the counter, suddenly buzzed.

“Ignore it. We’re not on call,” said Deeks as he located her corkscrew in the drawer.

She tossed the phone aside. “Fine. Let’s have that wine.”

I really need it before I say something else stupid, she thought.

Deeks poured and handed her a glass. “To us and to your valiant effort at upgrading your cooking skills,” he said.

She took a big gulp. “Are you mocking me? Because if you are . . .”

“Not at all,” Deeks broke in. “Come on, Kens. Let’s not argue or fight or sling insults. Let’s . . .”

Kensi drained her glass and set it down. “Let’s what? Make love, not war?” Her eyes widened.

What the hell is wrong with me tonight?

Deeks could hardly believe his ears. Are we finally going to take that step? His pulse went into overdrive. For a moment, he was speechless and that never happened to Marty Deeks.

He got a grip. “Hell, yeah! That’s what I’m talking about.” He wanted to pump his fist, but somehow refrained from the silly gesture. He toyed with his glass for a moment and then put it on the counter.

He stepped closer and closer to Kensi until he forced her back against the refrigerator. He braced his hands on either side of her face and leaned in close. “I want you so much, Kensi. I want to make you mine.”

She stared deep into his ocean-blue eyes. A girl could drown in them. She was quietly slipping beneath the surface and she didn’t want to come back up. “I am yours,” she whispered. “Make love to me, Deeks.”

Those were the most thrilling words anyone had ever uttered to Deeks and he experienced a split second of lightheadedness. He gave his trademark grin. “I would never deny my lady what she wants.” He angled his head and slowly kissed her, savoring the sensation as if it was the first time their lips had met.

Kensi, too, relished the sensory overload. Her brain barely registered the fact that her magnet collection was imprinting on her back. Deeks’ body surrounded her and his own unique scent, plus ocean and surf and cologne, filled her nostrils. His hands lightly caressed her face and hair.

His hands dropped to her waist and gripped the hem of her tee shirt, pulling it upward. She leaned forward as he lifted it over her head.

His eyes darkened. “Wow! You wore this for me, didn’t you?” He definitely remembered that evening at Victoria’s Secret when she tried this on. “Sassy and classy.”

Her lips were tingling and she swallowed nervously. “I certainly don’t think Monty cares what I’m wearing.”

His eyes dropped to her chest. “This is beautiful, but it begs to be taken off.” He dragged his index finger slowly down one breast and felt her nipple tighten. Kensi’s eyes closed and her lips parted.

“Deeks, please,” she sighed.

“Please, what?”

“Love me.”

“I do love you, Kensi . . . and I will. Open your eyes.”

Kensi did as Deeks kissed her again. Her arms wound around his neck. Each fought to deepen their kisses. At last, Deeks reached down and lifted her bottom. She responded by wrapping her legs around his waist.

“Hang on, Fern. You’ll never forget this night.” He carried her to the bedroom and they fell together on the bed.

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