Wicked Whiskey Love

By: Melissa Foster

Sarah laughed softly at her quick change of topic. “Lila turns one at the end of next month, and Bradley will be four in April.”

“Next month? What date?” Bones asked as they came to the corner of her street.

His lips quirked into a hopeful smile, and she wondered what he was hoping for. He had the most beautiful, full lips, the kind women paid good money to emulate. She often found herself staring at them, thinking about things she shouldn’t think about, like how they’d feel pressed against hers or sliding along her neck and whether he’d kiss hard and demanding or slow and titillating. She shifted her gaze to her baby in his arms to try to distract herself from those thoughts. Lila’s sweet little hand rested on his jaw. Her daughter had gone to Bones without hesitation from the very first time he’d tried to hold her. Sometimes Sarah was jealous of that easy trust, wishing she could muster it. But other times her daughter’s trusting innocence underscored Sarah’s responsibility to watch out for her children and protect them from snakes in the grass.

“Birthday?” he said with an amused grin.

Oh crap. She’d forgotten he was waiting for an answer. “November thirtieth.”

“Dude,” Truman said in a low voice. “Now, that’s what Gemma would call fate.”

“Fate?” Sarah had a love-hate relationship with ethereal things like fate. Before moving to Peaceful Harbor, her life had been too awful to believe some higher power was guiding it. She’d believed fate was something weak people relied upon. But then Scott had found his way to working on the oil rigs, she’d escaped her father’s wrath, and eventually, Josie had, too, giving her hope that some guiding light would lead them all to happiness. But then she’d landed on the streets. Every time happiness was within her grasp, it was torn away, proving time and time again that fate was for the weak—and surviving was for the strong.

“That’s my birthday, too.” Bones pressed his tempting lips to her daughter’s forehead, earning a sleepy murmur from Lila. “No wonder I adore this little lady so much.”

The man was a walking ovary explosion.

“We have to throw a joint birthday party!” Gemma said. “I’ll bring dress-up clothes for the kids.” She owned Princess for a Day Boutique, where she hosted children’s parties and offered a variety of costumes and themes. She’d hired Sarah to do the kids’ hair for two parties recently, and Sarah had loved seeing so many happy, creative kids in one place.

Finlay clapped her hands. “That’s perfect!”

“You don’t have to do that,” Sarah interjected. “I usually just make a cake and get them a little something.”

“I think it sounds like a great idea,” Bones said, gazing down at her daughter. “Turning one is a big deal. She deserves fanfare. Why don’t we do it on Thanksgiving? Everyone will be there anyway. I’m hosting it at my place.”

Everyone agreed, and as Finlay and Gemma talked about themes, Sarah touched Bones’s sleeve to get his attention, speaking just above a whisper. “We can’t just take over your family’s Thanksgiving.”

“Darlin’, you became family the second Bullet pulled you from that burning car. Have Thanksgiving with us. You and the kids and Scott belong there.”

She’d never belonged anywhere. He couldn’t imagine the way that made her feel all gooey and happy inside.

“Of course they’re going to join us,” Finlay said. “I’ve got a whole allergen-free feast planned. I’ve been menu planning for the past two weeks.”

Now she wanted to cry. Stupid pregnancy hormones. They made her overly emotional. And when Bones was around, horny as a cat in heat. Struggling to force those emotions down deep she said, “But it will take me a lifetime to repay you for everything you’ve already done for us. And you don’t even know us that well. We could be bad people.”

“What the fu—”

“Bullet!” Finlay cut him off, eyeing Kennedy in his arms.

Bones shook his head, looking at Sarah like she’d lost her mind.

“I think we’d know if you were a bad person by now,” Gemma said. “At least our guys would. They have a sixth sense for trouble.”

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