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“That wasn’t nice.” I grinned up at him as he looked back down at me.

His eyes were already darkening, taking in my eyes, my lips, remaining on my lips, still on my lips, and then he rolled completely over top of me. Our door was wide open. We had two recent college graduates in their own showers. Our little dude was downstairs and currently doing his best impersonation of a human alarm clock, but nope. He nestled in, grinding into me, and my mind turned off.

Sea turtles who?

He grinned, dropping his head and kissing my neck. “You and my mom seemed good last night.”

I frowned, a hand to his chin and I lifted his head up. “Excuse me?”

Another grin. His hand slid around my waist, sliding up my back, but I knew it would move down. He said before that happened, “You two cooked last night together. Don’t think I didn’t notice. Kept expecting the house to burn down.”

I was annoyed.

I scowled. “Are you kidding?”

“No, babe. That’s not a joke.”

Ah. Screw it. He was half-right to worry.

It’d been a long road for Barb and Charles (now Chuck once Grayson was born), but we were at the place where we could cook an entire meal for hungry teammates, college students, and three-year-olds together and I was happy. When Stone let them know we were serious, they hadn’t been pleased. They warned him off me, saying I’d turn around and finish blackmailing them exactly how Gail had started.

I’d been furious until Jared happened, and how he heard, I had no clue. He wasn’t saying.

He was the one who went up to her at the end of his basketball game. Sweaty. Had been one of the two star players for that game, and when Barb went up to him to congratulate him on the win, he asked her if she said what he heard she said. She stammered, stepping back. Her neck and face went beet red. Charles had been there, and he stepped back, coughing, uncomfortable. There’d been two other couples with them, and the women looked aghast. One of the husbands coughed, laughing, but Stone got a phone call that night.

It’d been loud and long, until Stone said, “She’s going to be my wife one day. It would be smart for you to change your attitude.” That was it. He hung up, and he didn’t take another call from her for six months.

Barb and Charles changed their attitudes.

But then it was on my end, and I had to get over everything they’d done to my family and me.

So that’d been another long journey of ups and downs.

But we cooked a meal together last night, and there’d been wine, and while Barb cut back on hers, I upped mine so we met in the middle. It was a wine-compromise, and it worked. It also helped that they adored Grayson, and I knew they were hoping for another four grandchildren. Not two, not one more. Four. Chuck told me one night after too many bourbons.

So yes, we were all a work in progress, but things were getting smoother. Much, much smoother.

They also earned bonus points because not only could we hear them getting up to start the coffee, but they’d been adamant they’d attend the hatching, too. I also heard Barb asking Stone one night if it was true that an octopus changed colors when they slept.

I yelled from the other room, “They also come to say thank you if you save their lives. It’s true. Youtube it.”

I said now to Stone, “She’s been trying. It helps.”

He lifted his head from my throat. “Babe. She’s been kissing your ass for years now.”

I was growing heated, but not in the bad way. I shrugged before twining my arms around his neck. “There was a lot of stuff she needed to kiss my ass about.” Then I grinned. “Now shut up and give me a proper good morning kiss before we go off to shield baby turtles from frigate birds.”

So he did just that.

And after Stone carried me to the shower, behind a locked door, we were quick but panting when we finished just in time to dress and dash downstairs. Jared was shaking his head. Apollo was smirking, again. Grayson was dressed and jumping up and down. Barb and Chuck were at the door, having helped to get everyone ready and dressed and fed.

Barb held out two coffees for us and a bag. “Those are toasted bagels for you both. Now we must go or we’ll miss the hatching.”

We were off.

We got there in time.

The babies were just crawling out, starting their speeding for the ocean, and people lined the way for them. With Stone’s arm around my shoulders, with Grayson leaning against both of us and standing on our toes, and with both of my brothers with us, and yes, even with Grandpa and Grandma there, I was happy.

I tipped my head back.

Stone gazed down, those eyes reading my need and he bent his head.

His lips touched mine, and then I raised up and told him we needed to stop for a pregnancy test on the way home.

* * *

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