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The snowman rolled his eyes to the sky. “Now you tell me.”

“Sam… I mean Frosty… means well, I promise,” Bow-tie-man assured us. “He just doesn’t understand that when you’re as tall as he is, a snowman with a big smile looks less like less like Olaf from Frozen and more like… well, a terrifying, man-eating yeti.”

“Truman’s right. I’d never intentionally frighten a kid.” Sam the snowman sounded remorseful.

“No harm done,” Derek said grudgingly as Wolfe peeked his head out and smiled.

“Let’s go home, baby,” Truman suggested, patting Sam’s arm. He lowered his voice just slightly. “I’m not sure I’ve ever told you this, but I kinda have a thing for terrifying, man-eating yetis.”

Sam snorted. “Is that so?”

“Mmhmm. I’ll let you scare the pants right off me,” Truman assured him.

Once he’d hustled the snow menace away from the children, we all scattered again to find the perfect tree, even though there was an unspoken agreement little Wolfe would be the one selecting the tree today. Thankfully, his dads helped make sure it was the right size for the spot Mikey had designated.

After an incredibly long family portrait session, we returned to the lodge to discover a large spread of lunch foods and hot drinks set out for us.

I helped fix plates for Granny and Irene, who had to have been tired from all the walking and waiting in the cold, and then I got myself a bowl of shrimp and grits along with another piece of homemade bread.

Once I’d eaten it all, I secretly wondered if it would be appropriate to claim nap time. For the sake of the older ladies, obviously.

But as everyone finished their meals, I somehow ended up with little Reenie in my arms. She was rosy-cheeked and adorably dead asleep, which meant I didn’t dare even breathe for fear of waking her. Nico came over to check on his daughter, crouching down in front of my chair and brushing a wisp of hair off her forehead.

“Sleeping babies are perfection,” he said softly. “It almost makes up for being hellions when they’re awake.”

“She’s pretty sweet,” I agreed. “And I noticed your other daughter is really good with her.”

Nico’s lips turned up in an easy smile. “Most of the time. Pippa has her horrible moments as all three-year-olds do, but we’re pretty lucky. Sometimes I look at the girls, and I still can’t believe I’m a dad.”

I glanced across the sunroom sitting area to where Nico’s husband West was helping Grandpa string the tree with lights. Instead of untangling the strands, West was watching Nico with a look of adoration on his face. It made my stomach tighten with envy.

“You’re really lucky,” I said without thinking.

Nico looked up at me. The snakebite piercings in his lower lip were sexy as hell, and I wondered if I’d ever get used to being around so many beautiful, engaging men without feeling like I was in a store full of forbidden candy.

“Luckier than I ever imagined,” he admitted, turning to find West in the crowd. They shared an intimate look that made me avert my eyes. When he turned back to me, he tilted his head as if studying me. “What about you?”

I barked out a laugh loud enough to make Reenie stir in my arms. “Shit,” I whispered, rocking her gently to lull her back to sleep.

“She’s fine. Tell me why you laughed.”

I shrugged. “The Wildes and Marians make it look so easy, you know? Like you can just go out there and find your person and live happily ever after. It’s not like that in real life.”

I hadn’t meant to sound so negative, but it was true. My friends back home in Monterey lamented how hard it was to find a man who wanted a committed relationship. I wasn’t the only one who was discouraged by the hookup culture around us.

“Agreed,” Nico said with a nod. “I lived in the Bay Area for a while and enjoyed the hell out of my time there, getting with whoever I wanted to whenever I wanted to. I always joke that when I was ready to settle down, I had to leave San Francisco and move to a tiny Texas town to find my gay picket fence.”

I rolled my eyes. “Exactly. Explain to me how one tiny town in a red state can have an absurd amount of good gay men in it. I’ve half considered moving to Hobie at this point.”

Nico moved to the seat next to mine and sat down. “The thing about small towns is their ability to put two people together over and over again until you pretty much have to get past being cordial acquaintances. With West… well, let’s just say Hobie is so small, I couldn’t get the fucker out of my face.”

West had moved closer until he could overhear Nico’s words. His eyes danced with teasing light. “You wanted me in your face.”