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“I like her,” Cole says, looking into the house through the sliding door.

Ruby, his wife, and Allison, Cooper’s wife, are cleaning up dinner with Fawn and Courtney. The kids are off in the living room watching TV or tearing shit up with their grandma, who I’m sure is encouraging their bad behavior.

“I do, too. She’s nothing like Eva,” Cooper says, taking a pull from his own beer.

“She’s the best thing that ever happened to me,” I admit, looking around the table.

I know they all get it. Each of their wives is a strong woman. A woman who would do anything for her family. A woman who loves her husband beyond reason. I never knew what I was missing until I had that for myself.

“Maddi loves her, too,” I state.

“There’s a lot to love,” Dad says. I focus on him. “You did good. I’m happy for you, and your mom’s happy for you.”

“Thanks, Dad.” I take another pull from my beer to wash away the sudden tightness in my throat.

My parents were worried about me when I told them that I was having a kid and marrying Eva. They didn’t agree with me getting married to someone just because we were having a child together, but I didn’t listen to their advice when I should have.

“Do you plan on moving back here after you two get married?” Cooper asks.

“No, we’re settled in the city. Maddi is happy, Courtney has her job there, and I’m so busy that I have to turn clients away on a weekly basis. I didn’t think I would ever love any place more than here, but I’m finding that I enjoy living in New York.”

“What about you?” Cooper asks, looking at Levi. “Do you plan on moving back once Fawn has the baby?”

“Nope.” He shakes his head.

“Maybe Cole and I should talk the girls into moving to the city. I’m sure they could find a spot to open a bakery.”

Ruby and Allison are sisters who own a bakery in town, which is how they met my brothers.

“Your mother would lose her mind if you two left with her grandbabies,” Dad says.

Cooper nods, knowing Dad is not lying. My mom didn’t take the news that Levi was moving away from our hometown well, but he was single, and she knew that he was going after his dream of being a detective in the city. When I told her that Maddi and I were moving, she cried for two days. She loves having her kids and grandkids close, and if Cooper and Cole told her they were following us to the city, she would probably drive my dad up the wall until he gave in and moved, too.

A loud shriek causes us all to look into the house. Three kids zoom past the sliding glass door, chasing one another.

“I should go check on the kids. Who knows what Mom’s letting them get up to?” Cole says.

“I should get Courtney and Maddi back to the hotel.” I stand as well, then reach over and pat my dad on the shoulder. “See you in the morning.”

“See you then,” Dad agrees.

I lift my chin to him and my brothers before following Cole into the house. I stop to give Courtney a kiss—and to let her know that we are going to leave. Then I go in search of Maddi, whom I find in the living room playing with her cousins. When I tell her it’s time to head out, she pouts before going to tell everyone goodbye.

“You guys could have stayed here,” Mom says.

I smile at her. “I know, but the girls will be more comfortable at the hotel—in an actual bed.”

“The pullout is a bed.” She shakes her head.

“Last time I stayed on the pullout, I couldn’t walk right for a week,” I remind her. She pouts just as Maddi did moments ago. “We’ll be back in the morning to have breakfast before we head back to the city.”

“I never see you all anymore.”

“You can come see us anytime, too, Mom,” I say.

She stands to give me a hug. “I know. I just miss all my boys being under one roof.”

“Then maybe you shouldn’t have changed out our bedrooms for an office and a sewing room the second we left the house.” I grin, and her nose scrunches up. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

I kiss her cheek, then go get Maddi and Courtney. We load up the car we rented for the weekend and head to our hotel. Once there, I tuck an already-sleeping Maddi into her bed, then get into bed with Courtney.

“I love your family,” she tells me in the dark.

I smile against the back of her head. “They love you, too.”

“Can we come back for Christmas?” she asks.

My smile broadens. “Mom would like that.”


She goes quiet, and I listen to her breathing even out before I follow her off to sleep.

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