How about a scene from NEVER ENOUGH? It’s Alexander’s first birthday and the first Brown/Copeland football game Miles and Gillian have ever been to.
NEVER ENOUGH by LAUREN DANE
Copyright, 2011, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
Adrian sailed past his lunkhead of a brother and toward the end zone. He still had to avoid Todd, who lurked just ahead, wearing a smirk.
Ben then approached from Todd’s left and tackled him.
Rennie cheered him on from the sidelines, Erin calling out jeers for Ben and laughing at Todd.
Gillian and Miles were there too. That part was the best of all.
Gillian had shown up on his doorstep with Miles, as she’d promised, just a few hours before. Had given up her Thanksgiving plans with her friends to be with him and his family, and to give that to Miles too.
And in doing so, she’d only made him want her more.
She sat at a nearby table looking feminine and beautiful in a knit cap and gloves, her coat buttoned up smartly.
Elise sat on one side and Ella to the other. Both women—well, hell, all of them—had gone out of their way to befriend Gillian. Erin was relentless anyway; Gillian couldn’t resist any more than the rest of them could.
Miles had declined to take part in the game. Adrian had tried to convince him how much fun it would be and his son had raised one brow, indicated the size of the men playing, and had reiterated his no-thank-you.
Given that the game had broken out into two outrageously vicious fouls between Adrian and Brody once and Ben and Cope another time along with the tackle that had Todd limping, Miles did appear to have a point.
Though Adrian had noticed the more-than-friendly lingering pat on the ass Ben had given Todd when he helped him up.
‘Course, he noticed this from the end zone. Ha!
“Are they like this every year?” Gillian asked, sipping some hot apple cider. This game of theirs was something Adrian had described as a fun thing he and his friends did every year. Fun. Hm. “Adrian assured Miles that it was just about pulling the flag things off the belt. This looks a lot more like full contact to me.”
“I believe that there is called showing off.” Ella sighed, but the affection was clear in her voice. “You’re here and Adrian wants to look tough.”
“And Brody wants to school him for being a show-off and in doing so, is also showing off,” Elise added.
“Oh, those two have that relationship anyway.” Erin moved back to the table to sit.
Which Gillian had noticed.
Alexander sat in Ella’s lap, clapping in between shoving handfuls of Goldfish crackers into his mouth. Erin grinned at her son across the table.
“Yo!” he called out gaily, handing out a cracker to his mother.
She took the cracker. “Thanks, monkey. How’s your birthday so far?”
He nodded. “Yes.” He grinned before snuggling back into Ella, who kissed the top of his head.
“Yes? I’m not sure it answers the question,” Erin teased.
“At least your favorites don’t include no all the time. I’ll take the grin and fistful of crackers as you perch on Auntie Ella’s lap to be a thumbs up.”
“Yes.” He had her devilish grin and it made Gillian laugh.
“Frankly, Blue,” Erin called out to Miles, “you’re the smart one for resisting. Certainly the only one not walking with a limp later.” She winked and Miles blushed.
Miles was, as everyone else seemed to be, totally caught by Erin Brown’s personal magic. The woman barreled into Gillian and Miles’s life like she’d always been there. She loved Miles in her fierce, beautiful way and Miles loved her right back.
They all had gone out of their way to open their world to Miles and Gillian both. Browns and Copelands, all their noise and color, all their affection and the downright protective way they were with each other had taken up space in her life, and she was richer for it without a doubt.
“I was thinking next year we should do track racing or something everyone can do.” Erin watched them all. “This was fun for the first twenty years.”
“I’m not complaining. I mean, look at them.” Gillian tipped her chin toward a field full of fine-looking American stock. Big and braw. Masculine. Sweat and muscles, hair all over the place. “Still, they’d be far less use if they got too banged up.”
Erin nodded. “Yeah, that’s a very good point.”
“I think we need to eat now. It’s time for birthday cake, turkey and pie!” Elise called out from her place on the sidelines. She looked back toward Gillian and winked. “You can’t let them go much longer or everyone will be limping later. Dumbasses.”
“Hey!” Adrian jogged over, pausing to reach out and tousle Miles’s hair. “No one even needed an ice pack this year. I think that’s a record.”
Of course that was the moment Brody took to barrel into Adrian, sending Adrian into the grass, which he’d probably have to pick from his teeth. If Brody broke Adrian, he couldn’t continue to provide those excellent sexual services of his. Plus, well, she hated to see him get hurt.
“Oy!” Gillian stomped over, yanked Brody up by his collar. “That’s enough of that, you two. Someone is going to really get hurt.”
“Damn, you’re very stern.” Adrian blinked up at Gillian, smiling and totally unrepentant as his brother jabbed him one last time in the ribs before getting up.
“Yes. Well. It seems to me, Mister Brown, that you need some stern talking-to from time to time to keep you from trouble.”
He sprang up and hugged her, swooping down to kiss her firmly on the mouth. Not so long that she’d have been embarrassed. Oh no, the man was fiendish in the way he simply knew exactly how far to push. Miles knew they were dating and stuff, as he’d put it a few days prior when she’d asked him what he thought of it. He’d grinned in that Brown way, as she’d come to think of it, and had said he liked it and that was that.
“You’d be my keeper then?” He grinned.
She cleared her throat. “Rogue.”
They caught up with Miles and all headed over to Adrian’s house where the turkeys had been roasting all day.