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“Shut the hell up,” Granny barked. “The old lady wants to say something.”

Tilly stood and glared over at her friend. Granny ignored her and snuggled Irene closer. “Go on.”

Tilly made her way over to the tree, where she instructed the nearest Wilde cousin to hand her a specific gift. “Thank you,” she said, taking the small box and turning toward me. “I have something special for Miller that I wanted you all to be here for.”

“Oh god,” Simone groaned under her breath. “Prepare yourself. Did anyone ever tell you the story about the Love Junk Christmas?”

Did I want to know? I wasn’t so sure.

Jude covered his face with his hands. “I can’t watch. If it’s anything like that frozen vampire-shaped plug from last year—”

Derek covered his husband’s mouth. “We don’t speak of that. We had a deal.”

“I just don’t think any sex toy should be chocolate cream pie flavored, that’s all,” Jude said between his fingers. “It makes a horrible mess. And it’s… indecent.”

Beau Marian’s face turned deep red. “Don’t get me started on the vampire lube she sent us. Lube should never be a viscous red color. Ever.”

Maverick shuddered. “Don’t make me puke. Once was enough.”

Tilly made a sharp hushing sound. “I’ll have you know those are quality, American-made products, and half the proceeds of the Vampire Bites collection went to the Red Cross. I helped Noah come up with the slogan.”

“‘Give back while you give it up’ was inspired,” Granny said reverently. “I can see where Miller gets his marketing prowess.”

Teddy snorted. “Using those products was like fucking people back to life, really.”

Jamie smacked him. “I actually quite enjoyed the fangs. In fact, we still have a pair we—”

Thomas cleared his throat. “Let Tilly speak.”

Rebecca let out a breath and muttered her gratitude.

Tilly ignored everyone and handed me the small gift. “For my beloved grandchild. May it be the beginning of a long life full of beautiful celebrations.”

I put my hand on my heart. Here she was trying to be serious, and no one gave her a chance. “Thank you. That means so much to me.”

I opened the wrapping carefully to reveal a stunning ornament. It looked like a disk of hand-blown glass with a splash of bright colors trapped inside. In colorful script on the front, it read, “I left my heart in Colorado.”

Tears came to my eyes. I looked up at her. “How did you know? This is so special.”

She nodded. “I told you I know you better than you think.”

Granny muttered something about being disappointed in the boring gift, but Irene shushed her.

“Wait,” Augie said from his spot on the floor nearby. “There’s more on the back.”

Suddenly, Tilly’s kind expression turned mischievous. “Oh, did I forget to tell you? Hm.”

I turned it over and read it out loud. “And my dick is there, too.”

I blinked at the script as my brain tried processing what I’d just said.

Darius let out a huff of suppressed laughter. “Wow, you’re right. You really do know him well, Tilly.”

No one held back their reactions. The room filled with laughter. Tilly shot me a self-satisfied wink and returned to her seat.

I mouthed, “Dirty old woman,” at her and then put my hand over my heart. “I love you.”

Lior sighed. “That’s better than the scepter ornament I got when I joined the family.”

Felix rolled his eyes. “I keep telling you, that’s not an ornament,” he groaned before a blush stole up his neck. “And it’s not a scepter either.”

Arthur shuddered but kept his mouth shut. Griff wasn’t as polite. “Hell no it’s not. It’s a KingMaker Deluxe with Court Jester attachment. I helped her pick it out. After one use, you won’t be able to sit on your throne for at least a week.”

Felix squeaked and buried his face in his cheesy Christmas sweatshirt.

Darius leaned over and whispered in my ear. “I still can’t believe you’re related to these people.”

I glanced around the room at the motley collection of personalities. Every person in here carried a kind heart and a fierce devotion to their family.

To our family.

“Me neither,” I admitted softly. “But I’m starting to.”


Several Weeks Later - Darius

“Take him down, motherfucker!” Tiller shouted at the television mounted high above the bar. Despite his own team’s season being over, Tiller was still obviously invested in the outcome of whatever playoff game was being shown at Pie Hole.

Mikey muttered into his giant slice of pepperoni. “There are children here, dammit. Watch your mouth.”

Tiller looked around as if realizing for the first time we weren’t alone in the pizza restaurant. “Sorry,” he said to a frowning mother nearby. He was famous enough and beautiful enough to make the woman blush and apologize back to him.

Tiller’s friend Sam let out a deep bark of laughter that flustered the woman even more. I wondered if she realized both men were taken by other men. Sam’s partner, Truman, was practically sitting on Sam’s lap, but the woman wouldn’t have been able to see that from where she sat with her family.