Wicked Whiskey Love

By: Melissa Foster

Christ. He was in his thirties. Would they ever stop bringing up this shit?

Sarah snort-laughed as she sat down beside Chicki, quickly covering her mouth. Her beautiful brown eyes flicked up to his, dancing with amusement. Damn she was gorgeous. Sometimes those eyes of hers looked troubled and haunted or a million miles away, and other times, like now, they were carefree and innocent, even if it lasted for only a few brief seconds. He wanted to capture those seconds in a glass, treasure them, and give her more reasons to feel that way.

“You think that’s funny, do you?” he said to Sarah. “I bet your mother has some embarrassing stories about you, too.”

Sarah’s face blanched, and pain appeared in her eyes.

“My grandma is in heaven,” Bradley said matter-of-factly. He thrust his cotton candy at Lila, who grabbed a fistful and began sucking it off her fingers.

Man, I’m batting a thousand today.

Bones touched Sarah’s shoulder and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize…”

“It’s okay,” she mumbled just as Lila shoved her sticky fingers into Sarah’s mouth. Sarah gently moved her daughter’s wrist, keeping her from putting her sticky hand elsewhere, and smiled lovingly, the pain instantly disappearing. “Mm. Thank you, Lila boo.”

It was that smile, the one she shared only with her children, that had first captured Bones’s attention when he’d seen her in the hospital after her accident. Sarah was as guarded as a wounded bird, but when it came to her children, she was strong, open, and loving. He wondered what had happened in her life to make her so untrusting of others.

“Here come the troops.” Red pointed across to the sidewalk, where Bullet, Finlay, and Tinkerbell led a pack of their siblings and friends, a motley crew of princesses and the worst-looking, hairy, thick-legged cheerleaders Bones had ever seen.

Babs nudged Chicki. “They look like they’re ready to go have some fun before trick or treating. Come on, girls. Let’s let these young’uns do their thing.”

“Thank you for watching Bradley,” Sarah said. “Bradley, say thank you, honey.”

Bradley threw his arms around Chicki’s neck and said, “Thank you!” His high-pitched voice rang out as he scrambled off her lap and into Red’s, doling out more hugs and kisses. Then he threw himself into Babs’s arms.

Bones wondered if he missed his own grandmother.

Sarah went up on her knees, and he helped her to her feet, drawing her body against his and holding her there for a beat just to see her blush. As if on cue, her cheeks flushed, and she put space between them. If she blushed when he held her, what would she do when he got his mouth and hands on her? When he poured his desires into pleasuring her?

I can’t wait to find out.

He’d always found pregnancy a time of wonder and beauty, but he’d never been attracted to a pregnant woman before Sarah. There was something about the sweet, sexy blonde, pregnant belly and all, that had drawn him in from the start. She was feminine, and yet she resonated inner strength like a watchful soldier who had seen too much darkness. The thought made his blood simmer, though he had no idea if he was reading her right. He had all types of women vying for his attention, but he rarely dated women from Peaceful Harbor, preferring to keep his conquests far away from his turf, protecting his reputation with the same vehemence he protected his family. But with Sarah, he had no choice. There was an unstoppable force driving him toward her—and for once in his life it wasn’t his head, but his heart.

“Thank you for letting Bradley ride in your sidecar and monopolize your attention during the parade,” Sarah said as she adjusted Lila on her hip.

“He’s a great boy. I enjoy having him around.” He raked his eyes down her body, lowered his voice, and tried to earn the sexy blush he loved. “I’d like to take you for a ride sometime.” Her eyes widened, and he worried he’d pushed too far, so he added, “In my sidecar.”

His mother and her friends rose to their feet, watching him with a spark of intuition, as if they sensed his feelings for Sarah growing right before their eyes. Damn, he hated that spark. He swore they had some kind of truth radar, having caught him and his siblings weaving stories on too many occasions to count when they were kids. He shifted on his feet, turning away from them and toward Sarah. He didn’t know much about her background. She evaded questions about her past and the children’s father—or fathers—like armor deflected bullets. She’d mentioned an ex, but he didn’t know if she was married and using ex figuratively, hiding out from an actual ex, or if she was just cautious in general. She had two beautiful children, was pregnant with another man’s child, and still she had invaded his darkest fantasies and provoked protective urges well beyond what he was used to. There was no denying the burn of attraction he felt, but the idea of messing around with another man’s woman wasn’t even on his radar.

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