This is actually long after summer’s end and into winter, but I love this glimpse of Erin, Todd and Ben years after their story began in Laid Bare and a little over a year before LAID OPEN begins…
Brown Siblings: NEVER ENOUGH by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2011, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
When she walked into the living room where Erin lay on the floor, Marti sitting at her left and Alexander on her right, building a block tower, Gillian found herself filled with love for Adrian and his family.
Which is what Alexander called her.
“Hello there, little man.” She walked in and moved to sit with them. “They went on one last run and they’ll be back,” Gillian told Erin as Alexander patted her knee with his pudgy little fist.
“Yo, Alexander. And how has your morning been?”
He pointed to the blocks.
“What a fine builder you are. Show me more?”
He nodded enthusiastically and moved back to the blocks.
Ella walked in with Cope. “Hey, Gillian. I just made some hot chocolate, would you like some?”
“That would be lovely, thank you.”
Gillian picked up Martine and situated her in her lap. She’d put her down when it came time to drink the cocoa, but for the moment, she sucked up all the baby goodness.
“And what are you up to today? Still working on the crawling thing? It’s important to keep up with Alexander, I know.”
Martine clapped hands and bounced a bit, swinging out her chubby little sock-covered feet.
Ben came in and Alexander hooted to get his attention, as if it was ever very far from the baby. From everything Gillian had witnessed, Ben and Todd doted on their son as much as Erin did.
Ben Copeland was unbelievably handsome. And utterly in love with Erin and their son. They made the kind of family few others could manage, and yet they made it look easy, which Gillian knew it couldn’t be.
“Ben, I’m supposed to tell you that Todd beat your time record and you are expected to bow down and give your obeisance.”
Ben snorted. “Yeah right. When we get our turn this afternoon we’ll see who will be bowing down.”
She hadn’t breathed a word to anyone, but she’d seen Ben and Todd making out just the day before. Outside, both men in big coats as they moved wood for the fireplaces. She’d been in the bedroom and heard the sound, moving to the windows to see what was out there and she’d seen them.
And she’d never forget it.
Hot. Hot. Hot. Mouth to mouth. She’d stood there, stunned and breathless, as Todd had grabbed Ben by the hair and shoved him back against a tree, never breaking the kiss once.
Erin was a fortunate woman to be able to see that every day. Of that Gillian was sure.
“Did you hear that? Daddy and Pop are going to have a contest of manliness. Aren’t they silly?” Erin got nose to nose with Alexander, who laughed.
“Pop? Pop?” He looked around, looking for Todd.
“He’s snowboarding, monkey. He’ll be back in a bit with Uncle Brody and Uncle Adrian too.”
Gillian laughed. “Yes, Miles too.”
“Yes, baby. Rennie, her mommy and daddy. Adrian and Miles and Pop too.”
He looked at Erin, wearing a serious face she’d seen on Brody a few dozen times.
Shortly after that, the rest of them came through the door, laughing and bustling with all that Brown energy. Miles’s cheeks were rosy with cold and excitement and Gillian shooed him off to go change out of his wet clothes. Rennie was full of news of the new run she’d conquered as Brody filled in the story with details of his own.
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