“Okay, boys, time to shower then bed,” Cara instructs a few minutes later while grabbing a paper towel, and they each turn to pout at her.

“Do we really have to, Mom?” Jordan asks, pulling his jaw from her grasp as she attempts to clean off the cake and icing that has been smeared across his face.

“You really have to, honey,” she murmurs, wiping Kenyon’s face before helping him down off the counter. “If you guys want to go to the zoo tomorrow, you need to get to bed.”

“Oh, all right,” Jordan grumbles, scooting to the edge of the island before jumping down and running toward his dad, who Kenyon is already standing next to.

“Say goodnight to Uncle Dillon and Aunt Ashlyn,” Parker instructs, using the palms of his hands on the top of the boys’ heads to turn them to face Dillon and me.

“Night.” They grin, and then duck their heads and run off, shouting and laughing.

“I’ll be back,” Parker mutters before looking at Cara. “Are you coming?”

“It depends.” She turns to look at me. “Do you have wine?”

“I’ve got wine.” I smile, feeling Dillon’s body shake with silent laughter against my back.

“I guess I’m coming,” she sighs, and I laugh out loud watching them leave, then lean into Dillon and look up at him.

“Are you happy?”

“My favorite people are all under one roof,” he replies without answering, and I press farther into him.

“So you’re happy?” I surmise, but instead of answering again, he kisses me until I’m breathless.


Taking a sip of soda, I lean back against Dillon, who pulled me down onto his lap as soon as we got outside, and look across the gas-lit fire at Cara and Parker, who are sitting exactly like we are, and smile. I could hear Cara and Parker arguing with the boys the whole time they were upstairs and knew they would both need a drink by the time they were done, so I had Dillon start up the outdoor fireplace and open a bottle of wine. As soon as they came downstairs, I handed Cara a glass and Parker a beer and lead them to the backyard to relax.

“So tell me, how did Dillon finally convince you to go out with him?” Cara asks, and I bite my lip, trying to figure out how much I should tell her. She told me earlier that Dillon mentioned me to her and Parker during their last visit, but was convinced I wasn’t interested in him.

“I didn’t convince her,” he says, running his fingers along my hip under my sweater, and she frowns. Seeing the confused look on her face, I open my mouth to speak, but then snap it shut when Dillon continues. “When we went to Vegas for the dental convention, I canceled her room so she had to share mine. She got pissed at me and got drunk, so I took advantage of her inebriated state and dragged her to the nearest wedding chapel, where I married her. And the next morning, when she woke up asking for a divorce, I refused,” he finishes, and I know my eyes are as wide as Cara’s, which are staring back at me.

“Wow,” she whispers after a moment, and looks at Parker. “And I thought you were crazy.” Smiling, he tugs her head down toward his and says something I can’t hear, and her face softens before he pulls her even closer to kiss her.

Dragging my eyes from them, I look at Dillon. “What do you mean you canceled my room?” I ask, and he grins.

“I canceled my extra room the day I told you I needed you to come with me.”

“You did?” I breathe, and he runs his fingers across my stomach. “Were you planning on seducing me?”

“You refused to see there was something between us, so I was going to convince you there was, one way or another.”

“And you think I’m a nut.” I run my fingers along his jaw, watching his grin turn into a soft smile.

“It worked out in the end.”

“Yeah, but you still could have asked me out like a normal guy,” I mutter, and he wraps the front of my sweater in his fist and forces me closer.

“If I was normal, we wouldn’t be together.”

“You don’t know that.” I frown, and he pulls me even closer.

“Don’t forget, I’ve seen what you’ve done to normal men, baby.”

“Whatever.” I narrow my eyes on his when he chuckles.

“We’re gonna go on in and get to bed early,” Parker says suddenly. I turn to look at him, and then hide my smile when Cara ducks her head.

“Sure. Night, guys.”

“Night,” Cara replies quickly as Parker propels her into the house in front of him.

“I’m surprised he didn’t just pick her up and throw her over his shoulder like a caveman,” I mutter, feeling Dillon laugh, and my eyes drop to his. “I like them.”

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