Wicked Whiskey Love

By: Melissa Foster

Bones tossed her a suggestive wink. Her stomach dipped, and she looked away, her cheeks burning. But his draw was too strong, and she had to steal another glance.

Her heart thundered as she took in his handsome, rugged features and a body that put every other man to shame. She noticed several women watching him. He didn’t seem to pay any mind to the attention he drew as he talked with Bradley, Sarah’s real Thing 1. Her boy was as enamored with Bones as she was. He’d refused the Dr. Seuss–themed costumes in favor of matching Bones.

Bradley hadn’t even batted an eye when four-year-old Kennedy, the daughter of their friends Truman and Gemma Gritt, had convinced all the guys in their group to dress up as cheerleaders while she dressed up as a football player—with a pink tiara, of course. Bradley carried his pom-poms proudly and had even been willing to wear the skirt. The men, however, weren’t quite as open to the idea. They’d donned denim shorts, white T-shirts that read TEAM KENNEDY across the front, black leather vests with the Dark Knights emblem on the back, and their biker boots. Pom-poms were not optional, and most of the men had them crammed in their back pockets.

Bones seemed to enjoy taking her family under his very sexy wings. He had insisted on buying Bradley a little leather vest and boots. The tattooed, burly bikers had revealed their hearts of gold, and her little boy had been over the moon to be included. Bones did a lot for them. He was helping Scott finish their basement, and he helped Sarah with the kids when they went out as a group. Sarah was still learning to accept such generosity and was slowly coming to understand that not all gifts were given expecting something in return.

As her friends moved toward the edge of the float, their significant others appeared like the cavalry to help them. Bullet lifted his fiancée, Finlay, into his arms, kissing her on the way down. His thick arms and body swallowed her up as their rottweiler, Tinkerbell, who had ridden on the float with Finlay, whined for attention. Finlay owned the catering company for whom the float was built, and she looked adorable in a short pink skirt and white apron that proudly displayed Finlay’s in fancy pink script, along with a big, puffy baker’s hat. The petite blonde had been another saving grace for Sarah after the accident, preparing allergen-free meals for her day after day.

Bullet and Finlay were getting married next weekend. Although Finlay was as demure as a bunny and Bullet was like a beast ready to charge, they made love look easy.

Sarah had once believed love could be something, though certainly not easy. She’d since learned how treacherous even thinking about being in love could be.

On the other side of the float Scott helped Dixie and their friend Isabel climb down. He had that goofy look in his eyes guys got around hot girls. It was nice to see him involved and happy.

“Daddy!” Kennedy hollered to Truman as he approached. She clung to Gemma’s hand. “Get me and Mama!”

Carrying Lincoln, their toddler, Truman reached for Kennedy. “Come on down, princess.”

“I’m a footballer, Daddy!” Kennedy climbed down as Bear, Bones’s younger brother, helped Gemma down, then reached for his wife, Crystal.

She noticed Bones holding Bradley’s hand and heading her way. The love and support of the Whiskeys was beyond admirable. She swore their protective nature was woven into the very fabric of their beings. The crowd pushed forward, and she lost track of Bones and her boy.

Scott pushed through the crowd and reached for Lila. “Give her to me, and then I’ll help you down.” He didn’t seem to care how silly he looked dressed as the Cat in the Hat to match their Dr. Seuss theme, and she loved him even more for it.

When they’d first reconnected, she’d seen hints of their father in his facial features. She’d mentioned it to Scott, and he’d stopped shaving and had let his hair grow out. Sarah didn’t think that mattered now that she’d gotten to know him. There was no hint of her father left in him.

“I’m not sure I should give up my baby to a giant cat-man,” Sarah teased as she handed him the sleeping baby.

Scott had kept a heavy hand on Sarah’s shoulder during the entire parade. No doubt he worried that this life they were creating could go up in smoke at any moment and she’d disappear again. It would take a pack of wolves to separate her from the brother she hadn’t seen in so many years she’d thought she’d lost him forever.

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