Authors: Nicole Edwards
back door creaked open, causing the women to go silent as they turned toward
you boys at? Get it in gear. Your brothers are out here bitchin’,” Curtis
called when he stuck his head in the back door. “Sorry, ladies,” he added with
a cheeky grin.
laughed with the others at the table and watched as Brendon and Braydon
gathered up as many boxes as they could fit in their arms before heading toward
think Zane was onto something. Why do we do this on Thanksgiving?” Brendon
muttered to his twin as they passed through the kitchen, a smirk on his face.
immediately glanced over at Lorrie to see their mother grinning. “They moan and
groan about it every year, but in case you didn’t notice, their father and I
never even mentioned putting up the tree or the lights.”
round of laughter erupted at the table.
hadn’t even realized it, but Lorrie was right. No one had instructed the men to
move on to the Christmas decorating, although Zane had already informed her
before they came over that it was a tradition for them to put up the tree on
had to admit, she was rather fond of this tradition, and it would seem that the
Walker brothers were too, even if they liked to make everyone think otherwise.
mind was filled with thoughts of her first Christmas with Zane. They had to get
a tree, ornaments, lights; the whole nine yards. And going out to find the
perfect gift for him was something she was anxiously waiting for.
and maybe a little extra attention for Zane since, based on the heated look he
was sending her, he was looking forward to a different form of celebration
was pretty sure he had mentioned before just how much he hated ladders. More
than once at that. So why was it that he was hanging on to the gutter while
attaching tiny plastic clips that were too small for his fingers to control?
dude, you gonna take all day?” Kaleb muttered from the safety and security of
the ground below.
didn’t turn to look at him because heights just weren’t his thing and he
happened to like the way his head looked right there on his shoulders. No point
in trying to rearrange his anatomy by falling to the ground at this point.
the next clip in place, Sawyer tugged the strand of lights that were half
hanging off of the roof, half strung around the ladder and clipped them in
place. Hell, he hoped these damn things actually lit up because, if he had to
guess, Kaleb hadn’t bothered to check that out before tossing an end up to him.
Now, if you get a move on, we might have them up by this Christmas, not the
the hell up,” he grumbled to his brother. “I’d like to see you go any faster.”
your ass down then and I’ll show you how it’s done,” Kaleb taunted.
need to tell him twice. Without further ado, Sawyer scrambled down the ladder
and Vanna White’d his hands toward the ladder as a gesture for his brother to
of standing around to supervise, Sawyer ventured to the stack of boxes that
Brendon and Braydon had just brought out. Originally, when he’d snagged Kaleb
and their father to join him outside, he had thought they were just going to
have to plug up the eight foot tall inflatable Santa Claus that his mother
adored. Instead, he’d somehow been talked into the rest of the lights which
meant the rest of his evening was shot.
that he had any plans anyway. Unless he considered heading out to Moonshiners
for the night. Or maybe the bar in the neighboring town. Either way, the only
positive on his horizon at the moment was the potential for sex. Considering it
was going to be the normal routine of picking up a woman, taking her back to
his place or going to hers – which he preferred because he could get away
easier – and then either waking up alone, or waking up to find he needed to
break some woman’s heart and send her on her way.
seemed to be the story of his life these days.
there was no reason to go there. If Kennedy Endsley would give him half a
chance, he’d be more than willing to substantiate those rumors she’d heard
about him. Because yes, he was known as the fun-loving playboy, and he’d
rightfully earned that title, thank you very much. Then again, that seemed to
be her hang up with him. Or so she said.
that he was proud – ok, maybe he was a little proud. Even if that did make him
a horn dog. That was life. He had no complaints at the moment. His family was
all in good health, the resort was about a month and a half from being
complete, Walker Demolition, despite the neglect they’d been giving that
company, was still thriving, and he wouldn’t have to spend a night alone if he
didn’t want to.
wasn’t like he needed any more than that. And, as was his motto, he was
certainly going to continue to look on the bright side.
Sawyer teeter back and forth on the ladder was amusing, but boring as hell.
Knowing that he would gladly hand over the task of stringing up the lights,
Kaleb continued to rib him until he gave up. And what do you know, twenty
minutes later, Kaleb was finished, three strands of lights hanging effortlessly
across the front of the house.
gonna turn these on?” he hollered toward the twins who were propped on the
front porch railing, dangling their feet down one side while they chatted it up
like a couple of cackling hens.
time I checked, your legs weren’t broken,” Brendon snapped, laughing. Of
course, his comeback was followed by him jumping off of the rail to shove the
plug into the wall socket on the porch.
fit of laughter erupted behind him, and Kaleb turned to see Sawyer nearly
rolling on the ground, Zane moving in behind him with a satisfied grin on his
so maybe he should’ve plugged the damn things up to see if they worked first.
many strands are out this time?” Ethan called as he made his way around from
the side of the house.
like half of them. That’s better than last year, right?” Braydon answered,
moving out from under the porch to stand beside Sawyer.
stared up at the roofline, smiling. This he could fix, just like he did every
year. Then again, he didn’t mind entertaining his brothers, and they’d come to
expect him to put the lights up half lit anyway.
ready for any one of you assholes to volunteer to do this anytime you’d like,”
Kaleb retorted, trying to conceal his own amusement.
that time, Beau, Travis and Gage made their appearance from around the back of
the house with Curtis not far behind. Another round of laughter along with some
snide comments about consistency.
Yadda, yadda, yadda.
me a strand that works, would ya?” Kaleb called out to anyone who was willing
to listen. The twins were the first to move, but that didn’t surprise him,
those boys had more energy than the crowded toy aisle at Walmart before
fifteen minutes and a round of
this is how it should be done’s
Kaleb was once again climbing down the ladder.
did good, boy,” Curtis said approvingly, slapping Kaleb on the back.
he told his father. “Next year, get one of them to do the hard stuff, would
laughed, knowing that ever since Kaleb had been old enough to climb a ladder,
he’d been the one to vie for the opportunity to hang the Christmas lights. This
year was no different.
thought had his mind wandering to his own house. How in the world was he going
to hang lights on it? Perusing the faces of his brothers and their friends,
Kaleb grinned. He’d have to come up with a plan because if he knew his wife,
and he certainly did, she was going to want to outdo the rest of the
neighborhood when it came to her decorations.
of his wife…
came strolling across the front yard, a beaming smile on her face. She didn’t
stop until she was pressed up against his side, her arm around his lower back
as she stared up at the lights. Since the days were shorter, it was dark enough
that the reds and greens and yellows lit up the roofline and twinkled nicely in
nice,” she said with the same approval in her tone as his father had.
Leaning down he pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “Think you might want to
reward me later?” he asked, making sure to keep his voice low enough that the
others couldn’t hear.
that depends,” she answered quickly.
good you can be later?”
chuckled, pulling Zoey closer against his side. The woman sure knew how to keep
him in line.
in the front yard of her in-laws house, the festive holiday decorations the
only light to see by, Zoey felt a sense of enlightenment. Things were good in
her world. This was her family, and even listening to seven grown men fuss for
hours about doing work that they hadn’t even had to be asked to do, this was
one of those days she was thankful for. Thanksgiving was certainly a fitting
name for the holiday.
her father had refused to come to dinner, using the excuse that he wasn’t up to
being around people, Zoey knew she would get to spend some time with him soon
when she took the leftovers that Lorrie had packaged up over to his little
then, after they spent some time together, she’d have Kaleb all to herself for
you cold?” Kaleb asked, chafing her arm with his hand as he cuddled her closer
to his side.
night was brisk, but not unbearable and being seven months pregnant, she
actually welcomed the change in weather. Seemed hot flashes – or the pregnancy
equivalent – were something to be dealt with so she’d take the relief any way
she could get it. “Nope, I’m good,” she reassured him.
left to do?” Kaleb called out to the men standing around.
home,” Zane answered.
on the way V was watching him, Zoey knew her best friend was eager to take him
home. Not that she could blame them. She was actually quite interested in
getting back to her house as well. Some quiet time with her husband sounded
like heaven at the moment.
the empty boxes and let’s get them back up to the attic,” Travis instructed,
ever the drill sergeant.
sir,” Brendon said with a salute.
brushed him off and moved to grab one of the boxes as Gage, Beau, Sawyer and
Curtis all fell into step alongside him.
when are y’all coming to my house to do the same thing?” Kaleb asked, sliding
his hand into Zoey’s.
up at her husband, she smiled. As they fell into step with the other, she said,
“I’ll make chili and cornbread if y’all will say yes.”
her surprise, despite the enormous dinner they’d finished a short while ago,
all of the men within earshot agreed. Of course they did. They were men. The
best way to get them to do what you wanted was to bribe them with a home cooked
When?” Sawyer asked, stopping to allow Zoey and Kaleb to catch up.
weekend?” Kaleb asked.
like a plan. I’ll bring the beer if your woman’s got the chili.”
they made their way back inside the house, they were greeted by a rumble of
conversation as everyone said their goodbyes.
you so much for dinner,” Zoey told Lorrie as the older woman pulled her in for
pleasure, honey,” Lorrie replied. “And don’t forget to tell your father he
doesn’t have a choice for Christmas. I’ll come over and pull him out of his
house myself if I have to.”
do it, too,” Curtis groaned as he patted Zoey’s shoulder. He was careful with
her, and he claimed it was because she was fragile in her pregnant state, but
she knew Curtis didn’t know what to do with girls, considering he’d raised
seven strapping boys.
I know she will,” Zoey told him. “But don’t you worry, I’ll bring him this,”
she said as she held up a large Tupperware container, “and I’ll tell him at the
same time. He won’t be able to refuse.”
looking forward to it,” Lorrie said with a smile. “If you need anything at all,
just give me a call.”
And the same goes with y’all,” she reminded them. “Oh, and one more thing,”
Zoey added. “Do you mind if I help with Christmas dinner? I’m not the best cook
in the world, but I’d love to come over and help.”
way Lorrie’s crystal blue eyes brightened had tears forming in Zoey’s eyes.
Damned pregnancy hormones.
I’d love that.” Before Zoey knew what was happening, Lorrie threw her arms
around her, pulling her close once more.
to cry, because, well, because she would look like an overemotional wreck, Zoey
took a step back and grabbed Kaleb’s hand. “All right, well, I’ve got to get
him home so he can figure out how to put my Christmas decorations up.”
just like she expected, Kaleb groaned.
did he know, but she had a few tricks up her sleeve. There was something to be
said about bribing a man to do the hard work. And with him, she knew food
wasn’t the easiest way to get him to comply.