‘Blerch.’ Callie shoved her fingers in her ears. ‘Too much information.’

‘Then I don’t suppose you want to know about the lady kissing your dad on the cottage balcony at the moment?’

Callie slapped her hands over her eyes. ‘No! What is wrong with you people?’ She spread her fingers and looked at Rowan. ‘Please tell me that she’s older than us for a change.’

‘A little older.’ Rowan laughed. ‘Okay, a lot older.’

Callie slowly lowered her hands. ‘How much older? Five years? Ten?’ she asked hopefully.

‘Try thirty.’ Rowan grinned.

Callie turned around and through the kitchen window looked at Annie, who was standing in Patch’s arms and laughing up at him. In the morning sunlight they could see the fine lines around her eyes, the lack of tone in her arms. But her face was radiant and Patch’s face reflected her happiness.

They looked like happy-ever-after.

‘Oh, my, I think I’m going to cry,’ Callie said, her words soaked with emotion. ‘I think my daddy might be in love.’

‘Crap on a stick,’ Seb said from the doorway. ‘That’s all I need to hear. I’m going back to bed.’

Callie jumped up, snaked her arms around Seb’s waist and squeezed. ‘If I have to watch them play tonsil hockey so do you. Hey, big bro’.’

Seb dropped a kiss on her blonde head as he tucked her under his arm. His two favourite women in the room, and Ro was making him coffee. At least he hoped she was—though he thought that he needed it intravenously injected for the caffeine to have any effect soon.

Rowan walked to the fridge to grab a carton of milk and Seb had to hold Callie tighter to keep from reaching for her. Not necessarily to start anything—he was wiped!—but he just wanted to touch her, connect with her.

This was ridiculous, he thought. He’d never wanted to be close to someone before, had never sought out female company, yet he wanted to be closer to Rowan, needed to spend time with her outside the bedroom. He wanted more than sex. He needed...time, he decided. He just wanted more time.

Her parents were back and, judging by the looks she was sending towards their house, he could see that she was nervous about a repeat of last night’s dismal performance. Seb stepped away from Callie and took the cup Rowan held out to him. He wanted to discuss her parents with her, see where she was mentally, and reassure her that he would go next door with her if she needed him to.

‘Any chance of breakfast?’ Callie asked brightly.

‘Pancakes and bacon?’ Rowan quickly responded with the suggestion of their favourite childhood meal—the only one that they could ever cook with any success.

‘Whoop!’ Callie bounced up again—Tigger on speed—and yanked open the freezer, looking for bacon.

‘Top left?’ Seb suggested, dropping into a chair and placing his bare feet up onto the seat next to him. Coffee, kick in, please.

He watched in resignation as Callie and Rowan fell into conversation as if they had seen each other yesterday, and tuned out automatically when they started discussing Callie’s latest boyfriend in case he heard something he’d rather not...

Like the fact that Callie was having sex. Which he did not need to know. Ever.

Seb sighed into his coffee. He loved his sister, but he cursed her returning to Cape Town right now. He was selfish enough to want Rowan to himself for the little time she was in the country.

‘Anyway, he was spectacular in the sack, but he couldn’t hold a conversation with a stump.’

He saw the look Rowan sent his way, caught the teasing glint in her eyes because she knew how uncomfortable he felt hearing this stuff.

‘Spectacular in the sack? Tell me more.’

‘If you do, I’ll beat you,’ Seb interrupted, and changed the subject before they ganged up on him. ‘Have you done any work on your netsukes, Ro? Anything?’



‘There’s no need to be snarky.’ Rowan gently smacked the back of his head.

‘You took two weeks to find out information I could probably have found in an hour. If that,’ Seb retorted. ‘I think snarky is called for.’

‘I hate a bragger.’ Rowan flicked his shoulder and Seb caught her finger and tugged her closer.

‘That’s not what you said last night,’ Seb said, his voice silky as his brain started to fire on all cylinders.

Callie cracked an egg into a bowl and pulled a face. ‘Eeew! Gross! TMI, thank you. Tell me about these netsukes so that I can push the thought of you two out of my head.’

Seb kissed Rowan’s finger before letting her go.

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