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Sirens in Bliss(5)

By:Sophie Oak

“He’s really more of a toddler, and he takes that very seriously.” Lexi buttoned her shirt back up with her free hand after shoving her phone in her pocket. Glancing around the room, she decided this really wasn’t the place to test her son’s newfound skills. “He’s also a climber.”

He would be attempting to haul himself up those bookshelves in the corner in an instant.

Beth settled herself into a comfy chair, pulling at the side of her shirt and placing her baby at her breast. The baby’s little hands came up, clutching at her prize as she nuzzled and began sucking.

Jack grunted a little, pointing down. He was so stubborn, so willful. And Chelsea was off the breast now. Sometimes the only peace and quiet she’d gotten since Chelsea was born had been those moments of feeding her baby, holding her to the breast.

“He’s fine.” Beth gestured to the perfectly clean floor. “Jamie and Noah completely baby proofed this place. We’re over here as often as we are in our own house. The bookshelves are secured against the wall.”

She sighed and lowered Jack to the ground. He immediately started toddling all over the place. He was going to be the death of her.

Her phone rang again.

Damn. Maybe her career would be the death of her.

“You’re getting popular,” Beth said with a smile.

“I’m getting insane.” She pulled a magazine out of Jack’s hand before glancing down at the caller ID. Her agent. If she answered that call, she would be on the phone for forty minutes. Kathy was a great agent, but she loved to talk. She couldn’t. She shoved the phone back in her jeans.

“I would think you would be happy. I remember how happy you were when you sold that first book. I remember holding your hand the first day it went on sale.” Beth’s eyes were sympathetic.

And Beth would know. Beth had been her first assistant. She’d only quit when she’d married Trev McNamara and Bo O’Malley and moved to Bliss. “I am happy.”

She loved her work. She just wasn’t crazy about her schedule. But it was completely necessary given her current situation. She just wondered how much time she had left.

“You could slow down.”

She thought about it every day. “I would lose my place.”

“Your place?”

How to explain it? Beth had only been around for the first year of her career. “The industry works fast these days.”

Beth nodded, her hand covering her daughter’s tiny head as she continued to suckle. “You wrote six books last year. I would say it’s rapid fire.”

Jack climbed on the coffee table, hoisting his little legs up as though he was attempting Mount Everest. Lexi sighed and pulled him back down. His tiny face frowned, but then lit up again as he found a new adventure. “It’s not exactly what I envisioned.”

She’d envisioned writing a book a year and making a million dollars and being celebrated for her talent.

The world didn’t work that way. Every single book was a fight. She made great money—more than the ranch, but not enough that she didn’t have to keep working. Not enough that she could sit back and relax every once and a while. She had to grind it out every day or people would forget about her. She had to fight for her place or someone else would take it.

And she had to pray she had enough money in the bank when the inevitable happened.

“How is the ranch doing?” Beth asked.

Lexi saved her son from taking a header off the TV stand. “It’s great. We broke even last year. We’ll show a profit this year.”

Ranching was hard work. It had taken years to switch from traditional to organic cattle ranching and build a new client base. Aidan put his heart and soul into the land. That was why she couldn’t stop.

“I heard Lucas cut back on his hours.”

Lucas was a lawyer. Before they’d been married he’d worked long hours in Dallas building a client base. In the last few years, he’d given up everyone except his brother, Jack Barnes, Julian Lodge, and select friends. He did almost all of his work out of the house. Unless there was something to do in court, he was at home.

Because Lexi spent a lot of her time on the road.

God, she missed her husbands. After Chelsea was born, she’d promised to slow down. She couldn’t tell them why she hadn’t.

“He wants to be close to the kids.”

“He wants to be close to his family. All of them.” Lucas walked into the room and caught Jack as he fell back off the bookshelf. It might be secured to the wall, but Jack wasn’t. Their son giggled as he fell into his dad’s arms. “You’re going to kill me, son.”

“He’s trying hard to kill himself.”

His eyes came up, those emerald orbs kicking her in the gut. “We missed you at breakfast. Aidan went out to help Trev and Bo and Jamie with the herd. They’re trying to get everything done so they can enjoy the wedding.”

It was just like Aidan. He would work his ass off to help the people around him. Couldn’t he see that was what she was trying to do? Her writing had started as something she wanted to do—a piece of her soul she couldn’t deny. And then she realized how much she could help her family with it. She’d been a little offended when Aidan had told her he wouldn’t put her money in the ranch. It was her home, too, but Aidan had been adamant that he wouldn’t take her money or Lucas’s. So she socked it away, hoping he would relent someday and allow her to help him.

Now she needed it because her idiocy might cost them the ranch. Her stomach turned at the thought.

“Why don’t you come and rest for a while? Beth wouldn’t mind watching Jack.” Lucas’s voice was a silky seduction.

Beth laughed a little. “Nope, Jack and I can watch some Disney movies. You two should rest. Resting can take your mind off a lot of things.”

Sex. That was how Lucas rested. He teased and tempted her to bed and then had his wicked way with her and after he’d wrung a couple of orgasms out of her, she could sleep for a few hours. So tempting. Aidan could join them. He could put her over his knee and spank her ass until she cried out all her tension and then he would be sweet as he fucked her senseless. She wouldn’t have to think about anything but them. She could just be their submissive for a few hours.

Lucas reached out to her, a sexy grin on his face. “Come on, baby. You look so tired.”

Horny was a better word for it.

The phone rang again.

“Hang it up and come with me.” Lucas’s voice had gone hard, commanding.

She bit her bottom lip. She wanted nothing more than to walk away with him, but she’d given up the right to do that. “I can’t. I’ve been waiting on this call. Just give me a minute.”

Lucas sighed, his whole face tightening. “It’s never just a minute, Lexi. Well, I’ll take Jack out to play. Chelsea’s sleeping, but I’ll take care of her, too. Try to eat sometime this morning.”

He cuddled Jack close and walked out into the morning air.

And Lexi was left behind. Again.

“That man is not happy,” Beth said with a shake of her head.

She wasn’t sure any of them were really happy right now. She kept telling herself it was just the ups and downs of a marriage, but she knew the truth. She just wasn’t ready to tell them yet. How long could she blame their problems on settling into the baby’s schedule? On a million little stresses?

How long could she fool herself into thinking she could solve this and they wouldn’t have to know how much her pride had cost them?

“No, he isn’t. Maybe he’ll settle back down when we get home.”

She would cling to lies as long as she could because she wasn’t ready to face the fact that her marriage might be over. When they found out what she’d done, they might be done with her.

She answered the phone and got on with business.

Chapter Three:


Rafe Kincaid looked down at the job offer. It was everything he’d hoped it would be. When he’d gone to bed the night before he hadn’t dreamed this would come through.

It was based on a lie and it would take him away from Bliss.

“Can you take her for a minute?” Cam was standing in front of him, their daughter in his hands. Sierra Rose was the cutest damn thing he’d ever seen. He immediately held his hands out, taking the baby into his arms. Her slight weight was deeply satisfying.

And her big brown eyes kicked him in the gut.

Sierra didn’t look like any of them. They shared not a strand of DNA, but she was his girl.

And he needed to do right by her. He couldn’t just keep living off Cam’s very small salary. Laura made even less. She was still working at the Stop ‘n’ Shop because no one had shown up to take her place and she was loyal to the man who had given her a job when she’d needed one.

Rafe needed to provide. He just wasn’t sure he could do it in Bliss.

There was a job waiting for him in Miami. A good job with a six-figure salary and a company car. It was a corporate job, not what he’d wanted when he’d first joined the FBI, but it would be more than enough to take care of his growing family. He could afford a much larger place than their rundown cabin. He had some money saved up, and Laura had been hinting that they should spend it to fix up the cabin, but Rafe had put her off. Cam had always just said the cabin was better than most places he’d lived.