Chapter 1


I guess I really had taught Shane—and therefore the rest of my guys—a lesson when he had tried to throw Drake a bachelor party almost two years ago. So I had no one else to blame but myself. I kept trying to remind myself of that as I pushed Mia’s empty stroller through the amusement part.

Fuck, why was it so hot?

Of course, I had it better than my heavily pregnant best friend walking—waddling, really—beside me. Layla was seven months pregnant with twins. Even in the slight coolness of California’s normal October weather she was sweating and sucking down cherry ICEEs as if she were dying of thirst. I wasn’t sure if it was because of the heat or because she was addicted to those damned things since her cravings had started kicking her ass a few months ago.

Trailing behind me was an equally pregnant Lana, who in comparison to her older sister looked cool, calm, and radiant with her cute little baby bump. Her long black hair was shiny, her skin flawless and glowing, and her eyes a brilliant honey gold with all the happiness that seemed to blaze out of them. I wanted to hate her for looking so good when she should have been miserable like her sister was just now, but I couldn’t. I loved Lana fiercely and would never let my stubbornness come between us again.

I glanced back at Lana, and the man holding her hand as they walked slowly behind me. Drake looked a little bored but he was smiling at whatever his pregnant wife was murmuring as she pointed out a group of people standing in line to get their pictures taken with Shrek and Fiona. They looked good together, happier than I had ever seen them. Even as miserable as I was feeling just now, the sight of Drake so happy made me smile.

I turned my eyes back to the two men walking in front of me. Jesse was wearing a T-shirt that Layla had bought on our shopping spree through Universal the evening before. A Shrek shirt that said, “Just Another Bald Sexy Guy” in green. Beside him walked his adopted daughter, Lucy, who was eating ice cream on a stick shaped like Sponge Bob. Lucy held onto her dad’s hand as they led the way toward one of the rides she just had to ride today because we were going home in the morning. It was Nik, however, that my eyes couldn’t help straying toward. In his favorite pair of jeans that I had bought him five years ago that hung low on his hips and a light gray T-shirt that stretched across his chest making my mouth water. Damn, my husband looked yummy.

“Is that a good Popsicle, Mia?” Nik asked and I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. He was carrying Mia on his shoulders. Our daughter’s rainbow Popsicle was melting because she was more interested in watching everything around her than actually eating the cool, sweet treat that her Uncle Jesse had bought for her. Nik had sugary sweet gel in his hair courtesy of the Popsicle.

“It’s yummy, Daddy,” Mia assured her father as she took a tiny lick before turning her attention back to what looked like a vendor selling Despicable Me hats. She already had three, one of which was currently on her auburn head in such a precarious position that it was a wonder that it still remained there.

“I have to pee… again,” Layla muttered as she glanced around for a street sign that would let us know where the closest bathrooms were.

“We’re close to a restroom,” Harper assured her as she and Shane stepped around Drake with a new bottle of water for me.

I stopped to take a sip of the cool water, feeling my stomach roiling for the hundredth time in the last hour. It was my own fault, I kept reminding myself.

My guys had learned through Shane that bachelor parties were a no-go with their women. I had beat that into their heads with the way I had helped Harper and Lana when Shane had decided to throw a ‘surprise’ party for Drake right before he had married Lana. So what had Harper and Shane decided to do when it came time to celebrate their upcoming wedding?

Three days at Universal Studios.

Three. Freaking. Days.

I was sick of seeing Shrek and his gang. Last night as we had walked through Universal Studios with Halloween Horror Nights creatures walking the streets, I had even thrown up all over a Walking Dead zombie when he had tried to scare me.

Okay, so it was really whatever bug I had picked up, but it made me feel marginally better to blame it on the theme park and the many characters that went with them.

“Look, Layla!” Lucy’s excited voice called back to her sister/adoptive mother.

Layla smiled at the nine-year-old despite obviously being so uncomfortable. “You and Dad go on, baby.”

Jesse shot her a look of concern but she waved him on as Lucy tugged him toward the ride. “I’m fine, Jess. Take her.”

“Baby, I’m going to take Mia on this one,” Nik called back to me.

I swallowed my nausea and nodded. “Okay. Love you.” I glanced at Mia, offering her a smile. When my purple-mouthed baby smiled back, I blew her a kiss. “Love you, Mia.”

“Love you more, Momma.”

My heart melted as I watched my two favorite people on the planet walk away. It was hard to comprehend that they were both mine… As soon as they were out of sight my smile disappeared and I leaned my head down as I fought another wave of nausea. Sweat beaded on my forehead and upper lip. Thank gods we were going home in the morning.

“Okay, that’s it.” I glanced up at Layla. She had a hand on one of her curvy hips and a stubborn look on her gorgeous face. “You’re going back to the hotel. You can barely keep water down.”

I grimaced, trying to put on my game face. I could handle a little bit of nausea for a few more hours. “I’m fine.”

Harper stepped up beside Layla, and Lana came up to flank her other side. I mentally sighed, knowing that my girls were ganging up on me. “You’re pale and pouring the sweat,” Lana told me. “It’s not that hot out here, Em.”

My eyes went to Layla who was flushed from the heat. “Layla would disagree.”

“Layla is seven months pregnant with twin giants,” Harper argued. “She would be hot at the North Pole. You’re sick, Em. That bug that was going around Mia’s preschool is kicking your ass.”

“I’ll be fine.” I glanced over my girls’ heads to two of my guys standing behind them. Drake and Shane wore similar expressions of concern mixed with determination. “Tell them I will be fine.”

“The last time I saw you this sick you ended up in the hospital.” Drake’s eyes looked haunted as he remembered that scary night when Axton Cage had to take me to the hospital after I had passed out.