Authors: Terri Anne Browning
any help. This party is something that she’s been trying to get sorted for weeks now.”
“Sure. Love you.” She walked into the room, her shirt over her nose as she approached Lyric on the
changing table. Seeing his sister, Lyric gave a happy squeal and reached for her. Lucy kissed the top of his head, covered in dark brownish red hair. “Love you, stinky.” Walking over to me she did the same to Luca.
“I don’t know who smells worse, Luc. You or Lyric.” He just giggled again.
When she started to turn away I caught hold of her hand and turned her to face me. To look at her right
this minute all you would see was the happy girl, the mask she put on for everyone. She wasn’t over the
kidnapping and truthfully neither was I. Layla and I had finally put our foot down a few months ago and
forced her to start seeing a therapist. I couldn’t really tell if it was working, though. The nightmares were just as disturbing and most nights she either ended up in bed between me and Layla or I crawled into bed
with her. I wanted to help her get over the monsters in her nightmares, but was helpless to do anything
about them other than to hold her while she slept at night.
“Love you, Lu.”
She grinned, an honest all the way to her eyes grin. “I love you too, Daddy.”
The house was quiet when we arrived. With Nevaeh in my arms and Angel beside me carrying the
diaper bag and two pies, we walked through the house and out onto the patio. The place was crowded
already and I grinned, thinking that today was going to be better than Emmie had ever imagined.
Nik was sitting down in a lounger, letting people come to him instead of him going to them. He had his
two-month-old son in his arms and didn’t look like he was going to relinquish hold on Jagger any time
soon. I couldn’t blame him. I felt just as territorial over Nevaeh.
Mia sat at the end of the lounger, ever the proud big sister. Letting people know quick that if they
touched her new baby brother the wrong way she would be dealing out the punishments—normally a kick to the shins to whoever had made Jagger cry. When she spotted me, however, she gave up her guard post
and ran over. “Uncle Drake! I missed you.”
I lifted her into my free arm and kissed the top of her red head. Nevaeh reached forward, touching
Mia’s face and giggling. Mia kissed the baby’s hand. “Hi, Nevie. I really like your dress. It’s so pretty.”
“Where’s your momma, Mia?” Angel asked, glancing around at the crowd. “I don’t see her?”
“She’s in her office with Rachel and Felicity.” Mia wiggled and I set her down. “Luca! Luca!”
My head turned to find Jesse chasing after his oldest son as he crawled toward the pool. “Gods, that boy
is a handful.” I grinned. “And to think, that’s your cousin, Nevaeh. You actually share DNA with that kid.”
Angel elbowed me in the ribs, but she was grinning. “I’m going to find Layla and see if she needs any
help with Lyric.”
“So you’re offering to help her with the good baby, not the trouble-making one?” She narrowed her
eyes at me, but she couldn’t really dispute that statement. Lyric really was the good twin so far. He rarely cried, hardly got into trouble and when he did it was usually instigated by his brother. Nine-month-old
hooligan that he was.
“Like Nevaeh is little miss perfect.” Jesse snorted coming up beside us with Luca firmly in his arms. He
was grinning like a proud papa bear. “She’s got you so twisted around her little finger that you don’t see
just how horrible she really is.”
I grunted. “Yeah, because she’s off stealing, murdering, and shit.”
“Dude, she bit Luca the last time she was at our house.”
“Only after the little runt pushed her down while she was trying to pull herself up.” While we bantered,
Nevaeh showed her obvious disgust with her older cousin by reaching forward and hugging him. Luca met
her halfway, loving on her just as hard as she was loving on him.
Someone produced a glass of iced tea for us and I stood laughing with my friend and brother-in-law as
we watched everyone else around us. I spotted Lucy sitting at a table with Harris and Jenna. She looked
happy, but wondered if she really was hiding behind the mask Lana had said she had adopted to make the
adults around her merely think she was okay.
The members of OtherWorld were walking around, all with iced tea or soft drinks in their hands. You
would never find a drop of alcohol at one of Emmie’s parties. Not only was it because of the kids who ran
around, but for my benefit too. I was thankful for that, but really it wasn’t a problem for me if other people were drinking. I’d been to parties where there was beer and even harder stuff flowing like water, and
although there had been cravings, I’d been able to curb them. The simple thought of Angel and Nevaeh
were enough to keep my hands steady.
Around us everyone was starting to grow quiet and I turned my head to find Emmie standing by the
sliding doors of the house. She had a huge grin on her face and her happiness was so infectious that I
couldn’t help but grin back. She’s been working so hard and this party was just proof of how much she had
achieved over the last six months or so.
My heart was in my throat as I stood in front of all my friends, family, and employees. I’d never
thought that life could be as perfect as it was right at this moment, but it was and I was going to soak it all up for as long as I possibly could.
I let my eyes roam around my back yard, taking in the sight of my husband holding our son. That right
there was the sweetest sight in the world to me and would never grow old. Jagger might have been another
surprise baby, but he was no less loved. From the moment I had felt him kick inside of me I had known he
was going to twist my heart like a pretzel, which he had the moment he had opened his blue eyes and
smiled right at me.
The world was going to know exactly what a momma’s boy looked like, because even at two months
old he was already spoiled to the point of rottenness. I was his favorite person in the world and Nik had to
fight for his attention most days. I didn’t mind sharing him though, just as Nik didn’t mind sharing Mia’s adoration with me.
A squirming baby caught my attention and I turned my gaze on Jesse who was struggling to hold onto
his beast of a son. I figured he was holding Luca simply because he was the one who could control that
twin better than his mother. I had joked while Layla was pregnant that if she had boys I was going to make
Lyric my favorite, and while I loved my Ric to pieces, Luca was so much like his father I couldn’t help but feel a little more drawn to him.
Beside him stood Drake who was holding his own slice of heaven. To me, Mia would always be the
most beautiful little girl on the planet, but Nevaeh was definitely second runner up. Long, thick black hair, blue-gray eyes and the most angelic little face I had ever seen. The happiness I saw in Drake’s eyes made
me love the little girl twice as much. There were no more shadows in his eyes, not even the ones that had
lingered after he had married Lana. With one precious little bundle he had been made whole.
Shane sat with Harper on a lounger and the squirming bundle of fur on her lap made me sigh. He had
told me he was getting her a dog, but I had thought it would be a Shorkie or something equally as small and adorable. Not something that would grow to be as big as Harper was. But she seemed completely in love
with the wiggling puppy, her smile a better sight than the sadness I had seen there for the last few months.
OtherWorld was spread around the patio along with Rachel, Natalie, and the newest addition to my
staff, Felicity. I’d found Felicity in May, just a few weeks before Jagger had made his calm, well-planned
entrance into the world.
I knew of her past, knew where she had come from and grown up around. That really hadn’t bothered
me. If anything, when I had done the background check on her through Seller’s security company her
experience with hardcore, badass men had been something to tip the scales in her favor. Her degree in early childhood education along with growing up around a motorcycle club might not make her the perfect
candidate for nanny to some people, but to me she was fucking perfect. It meant she wasn’t going to take
shit off of anyone—which she had already proved by putting three rockers in their places after they had hit on her.
Felicity worked hard. Mia and the other kids adored her, making my life so much easier when it came to
work. I didn’t feel guilty anymore for having to ask for help, because I knew that my kids were lucky to
have someone like Felicity in their lives.
It was because of Felicity that I was going to be able to move forward with the career I had accidently
stepped into by becoming not only Demon’s Wings manager but also taking on OtherWorld and now two
other bands. The bands, Trance and Alchemy, were just starting out. They had been doing the whole bar
scene for the last two years when Nik had discovered Trance. It had been Devlin who had turned my
attention to Alchemy. And while I was working on getting them both a record deal, they would be touring
with OtherWorld as their opening acts.
That was what today was about. This party was to celebrate all of those accomplishments and welcome
the two bands into our lives officially.
Nik stood, still holding Jagger against his chest and came to stand beside me. He kissed my lips softly
before whispering against my ear. “So fucking proud of you, baby girl.”
I couldn’t hide my shiver of pure, raw desire and didn’t even try. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” He kissed me again then took a step back. This particular show was mine.
“I’d like to thank everyone for coming today. It’s been a crazy six months, but we can finally welcome
Trance and Alchemy on board to E Management.”
Axton let out a loud whoop and everyone started clapping. Yeah, I thought, as I stood there with
everyone that mattered in my life. Everything was perfect right now.
More By TERRI ANNE BROWNING Coming 2014
Angel’s Halo: Entangled
The Rocker That Wants Me (AXTON)
Reese Book 2 (Title To Be Announced)
John Legend “All of Me”
American Authors “Best Day of My Life”
Beth Crowley “Warrior”
Christina Perri “Human”
Starset “My Demons”
The Script “I’m Yours”
Evanescence “Lost In Paradise”
Pearl Jam “Sirens”
The Fray “Love Don’t Die”