“Why are you looking under the table? Your kids are still
fast asleep upstairs,” Talon asked, watching me stick my head under the table.
“Just checking,” I muttered, my face feeling numb.
I’d had too much to drink. Five shots were too much for me.
I hated tequila. But the guys looked so hopeful when I came back down. And then
they offered me alcohol, and it felt rude to say no.
“Checking for what?” he asked, looking under the table as
“The orgies?” I said and slapped a hand over my mouth. That
thought was supposed to stay in my head.
“Orgies? We don’t have orgies in the main room. And
definitely not under the table. Not enough space,” Talon said and then broke
out into roaring laughter.
I pushed him, his tall frame not moving an inch. “That’s
not… I meant… it was just…”
“I think you’ve got bad reception. You’re cutting out,”
Talon said, watching me with a twinkle in his eyes.
“You really thought we’d just all get down to business right
here?” Gears asked, amusement evident on his face.
“I read books,” I said, blinking to clear my vision.
“Books of what? Orgies?”
Talon shook his head, his eyes still beaming with mirth.
“You might see someone’s naked ass by the end of the night, but we keep the
rest in our rooms. Sorry to disappoint.”
I’d come to realize that everyone was really easygoing. They
all seemed to care about each other, liked to joke around, and welcomed me like
I was their long-lost sister.
Being part of something meant a lot to me. Being part of a
family, even if it wasn’t by blood, meant even more, especially since my own
had discarded me so easily.
“I love you guys,” I declared, throwing my arms around
Talon’s shoulders and my body into his arms, orgies forgotten.
He caught me, squeezing me around my middle. “How are you
this drunk already?”
After hugging the other guys in the group that consisted of
Gears, Grim, and a man they called Smoke, I settled back in my seat. I had a
permanent smile attached to my face, my cheeks aching.
“I’m not drunk, you are,” I said, crossing my arms over my
“You’ve had five shots over three hours and you can’t even
figure out how to cross your arms. That’s the definition of a lightweight,”
Gears said, taking a drink of his beer.
I looked down and noticed I hadn’t crossed my arms but instead
was holding my own hand over my chest. Huh,
I really thought I’d crossed them.
I squinted at the monitor sitting on the table. The image
was grainy, but when I saw Luca and Lena still fast asleep, I relaxed back into
“So how did you meet Ace?” Gears asked. “You don’t seem like
“You mean he doesn’t like a woman with a brain? Or is it the
kids? The half-Asian thing? You gotta be more specific here, dude.”
Grim smacked Gears over the head and murmured something to
him, causing his face to blanch.
“Sorry, Nora, that’s not what I meant. Forget I said
anything,” Gears said, his eyes shifting from me to Grim and back.
I waved him off, too drunk and happy to be offended by the
comment. “Don’t worry about it. I know I’m not exactly a catch.”
Grim heaved himself up and squeezed in next to me. “Girl, if
I was twenty years younger, I’d ask you to marry me today. You are the full
package. You can cook, you’re gorgeous, you’re funny and smart, and did I mention
I leaned my head on his shoulder. “Thanks, Grim. That’s a
really nice thing to say.”
“Don’t let Ace hear you,” Talon said from Grim’s other side.
“He’ll make you disappear faster than you can say ‘wedding.’”
Grim grunted in agreement and patted my hand that was holding
on to his bicep. “I don’t fear many things, but that man’s wrath is one of
them. Sorry, girly, no marriage for us.”
“Shame. I was looking forward to it. I’ve never been married
There was silence on the table and I sat up, brushing my
hair out of my eyes. “What? I bet none of you have been either.”
“You didn’t marry the kids’ father?” Talon asked.
“Nope. We were together eight years, had two kids, and he
always said it wasn’t the right time. Should have known something was up. But I
guess I like to learn my life lessons the hard way. Anyway, it all worked out
for the best, because there’s no way I could afford an attorney to get a
“That deserves another drink,” Grim announced and got up.