Protect Me (Rivers Edge Book 4)(10)

By: Lacey Black

“Why does he always go to you so quickly?” Maddox asks as he sits down at the table.

“He knows who’s the coolest of all his uncles,” I say matter-of-factly.

“You wish, sweetheart. He’s just too young to know the difference yet,” Maddox says with a smug smile.

Travis sets a plate of food next to my plate and Grant dives into his food with gusto. Just as he’s sitting down next to me at the table, his cell phone chimes in his pocket. He quickly pulls it out, scans the message, and bursts out laughing.

“What’s so funny?” Avery asks.

“Apparently, Joss got to Jake’s a little too quickly. I have a text that says, ‘I just got the full view of your brother’s ass!’ with a face sticking out its tongue and one green with sickness,” Travis tells the table.

We all laugh just as Jake comes strutting through the front door. We take one look at his cocky, shit-eating grin, and all burst out laughing all over again.

“How’s it going, brother?” I ask with a smile.

“Excellent,” he replies as he pulls up the sides of his pants. Jake struts over and helps himself to a heaping plate of food. “I’m famished,” he says as he sits down at an empty seat and dives in. “Oh, and Travis?” Jake asks with a mouthful of food.

“Yeah?” Travis replies.

“It’s not my fault if your wife finds you second best now that she’s seen my ass,” he mumbles as he swallows his food. The entire table erupts into laughter.

“If anything she’s going to have nightmares now, man,” Travis quips with a smile. “I guess you need all the practice you can get before the honeymoon,” Travis adds.

“Practice what for the honeymoon?” Bean asks in all of her five year old innocence.

“Uncle Jake needs to practice his laziness for the honeymoon, Sweetie. Uncle Jake and Aunt Erin are going to do a lot of lying around,” Avery tells her daughter.

“You’re right. You do need practice,” Bean says innocently which causes the entire table to burst into another fit of laughter.

“Not funny,” Jake mumbles and takes a huge bite of his sausage.

I lean forward and look straight at Brooklyn. “See what I mean about crying? He has already had his feelings hurt,” I tell her with a wink. She giggles, eyes sparkling with mischief.

After the food is consumed, the guys, along with Grant who is still contently nestled in my arms, head out to the man cave to get down to business. Avery stays behind to give Ryder a bath before bedtime and to read Bean her choosing of princess stories.

“So, what’s the plan for next Saturday?” Jake asks.

“You just be ready at one o’clock. I’ll be picking you up at the house and we’re heading to your parents’ house,” Maddox says.

“Seriously?” Jake asks, annoyance written all over his face. “It’s my bachelor party and you’re taking me to my parents’ house?”

“To start off with. We’re trapshooting for the afternoon so bring your shotgun and as many shells as you can get your hands on. I have eight cases of clay pigeons ready to go. A handful of guys from the force are coming out, plus your brothers and father. Your mom is providing some appetizers in the afternoon and we’ll have plenty of beer,” Maddox says.

“Cool. I like it,” Jake says between swallows of beer.

“Then around six, we’ll head up to Jack’s Pub where your dad arranged for Laverne’s to cater steaks and a bunch of sides,” Maddox adds.

“Entertainment?” Jake asks with the rise of one of his eyebrows.

“I plead the fifth. This way, if anyone asks you,” Maddox starts as I interrupt, coughing the name, ‘Erin’, “you know nothing about the rest of the evening.”

“I’m pretty sure she already knows,” Jake says with a smile.

“What are the girls doing?” Travis asks.

“Spa night, I guess. Sounds boring as hell, but the thought of Erin getting rubbed on in some strip club makes me see red. So, spa night it is,” Jake says.

Details are gone over and plans are finalized as we finish our drinks in the cave. Grant fell asleep in my arms about fifteen minutes ago so Travis gathers up his stuff and gets ready to head out.

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