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It didn’t make me feel much better.

But it helped when Mac patted Joelle on the head and stood, then shouted, “Bridget Mackenzie! Get your sexy ass in my office right now!”

His old lady came hurrying out of the kitchen with a sour expression on her face and planted her hands on her hips. “No need to bellow, Jared!”

He pointed toward his office. “Now. We need to talk about your girls.”

Bridget rolled her eyes and stalked down the hallway. Before he followed her, he shot a smug grin at me and drawled, “It’s not as long off as you think, Breaker.” He smiled after delivering the dig and hurried after his wife.

“Fucking hell,” I groaned.

“Yeah, fucking hell,” Joelle sighed. “I’m never going to date. Boys are gross.”

Ireland gasped, “We don’t say words like that, Joelle.”

I just grinned and beckoned my daughter over. She skipped in my direction and let me pull her into my lap. “That’s my girl,” I praised. “Never forget that boys are gross.”

Extra Epilogue


“You will never guess what happened today, Mom.” Joelle tossed her backpack on the kitchen table and beamed a huge smile at me.

As a sixteen-year-old girl, it was rare for her to come home from school in such a good mood. Puberty had hit her hard a few years ago, so I lived for these moments when I got flashes of my sweet daughter. Especially since it was my best chance to love on her without any complaints.

Crossing the room to pull her in for a hug, I brushed a kiss against the top of her head before asking, “Did you ace your physics exam?”

“Yeah, I got an A on it, but that’s not something to get super excited about.” Her nose wrinkled as she rolled her eyes. “It’s just a boring test.”

Her tone made it obvious that she thought my guess was silly, so I tried another. “Did you get chosen for a solo in the Back to School Bash?”

“I get picked for stuff like that all the time, Mom. Sheesh.” She heaved a deep sigh, shaking her head. “I’m the best musician in my class, and everybody knows it.”

“You’ve got me there.” I probably should have told her to be a little more humble, but I was so proud of her talent. “Sorry, I’m all out of guesses.”

She bounced on her feet, rubbing her hands together. “Remember how I told you about the new girl who transferred in this year?” I nodded. “Well, she’s killer on the drums and Emily slays on the guitar, so we decided we should form a band. Like you did with Sally, Michelle, and Sara before you married Dad and had kids and stuff. Back when you were still young.”

Being a mom definitely made me feel old at times—like when my children acted as though I was ancient. “I just turned thirty-seven, kiddo.”

“You know what I meant, Mom. It’s not as though you can go to the bar to perform every weekend anymore like you used to.”

Sebastian walked into the kitchen with our other children, and he didn’t look happy. “You better not be saying that because you expect your band to play at bars like your mom’s did.”

“You don’t need to worry about that yet, Daddy. I don’t think we’re going to get booked to play at places like that anytime soon. First, we need to build a name for ourselves doing smaller gigs..” With that announcement—and ignoring the glare from her father—our oldest daughter turned around and raced up the stairs.

As the other kids scampered after their big sister, Sebastian turned to me and crossed his arms over his broad chest. “No way in hell is that ever going to happen.”

“That battle is a long way off.” Gathering all of the backpacks and shoes, I put them away in the cubbies in the mudroom. “They haven’t even come up with a name for their band yet.”

“Yeah, but you saw how excited she was.” He ran his fingers through his thick, dark hair. “I don’t see her letting this drop without a fight.”

I grinned at him. “I think what you meant to say was that Joelle will give you the puppy dog eyes, and then you’ll cave because she has you wrapped around her little finger.”

“I blame you for this,” he grumbled.

“Hey, you’re the one who thought it was a great idea for me to teach the kids piano,” I reminded him, my smile widening at how grumpy he was being over this. His protectiveness of me had extended to our children, and I loved how he was with them. But that didn’t stop me from teasing him about it since I had so much fun with his reactions.

“Playing classical music at your baby grand is a fuck of a lot different than standing behind a keyboard on stage in front of a crowd.”

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