Thought you might enjoy a sneak peek at a short novella coming May 29th! It’s the sequel to A FOUR-GONE CONCLUSION and tells what happens next to the Logan boys! Enjoy!
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Sam Logan couldn’t sleep. He had one last chore to take care of. One he’d been putting off. No time like now to get ’er done.
He walked softly on bare feet down the long hallway, past the master bedroom he’d given up when Johnny married Ellie and moved both his new wife and his brother Killian into the large room to share it. He shook his head, a glimmer of a smile tugging at his mouth. Sounds that hadn’t been heard in this old house in over three long years echoed up and down the hallway.
Sexy sounds—happy sighs and laughter, slick slaps, an occasional yelp from Ellie. He could only imagine what his two oldest boys were doing to the girl. But they all seemed happy with the arrangement and both men were gaga for Mean Ellie Harker. Who would have thought one simple pronouncement would produce such lightning-fast results?
It’s time you boys found yerselves a wife.
That’s all it had taken. Sam had disappeared for a long weekend to attend a cattle auction and give them time to think about what he’d said, what was missing from all their lives, only to return and find all four men looking as though they’d been wrung through a wringer and put up wet.
His sons hadn’t told him everything, but he’d heard the rumors—from Ole Win at the diner who’d witnessed how the oldest two had swarmed Ellie like bees around a hive, and then from Wade Luckadoo whose daughter had witnessed Ellie’s kidnapping by the twins, but for some inexplicable reason hadn’t called the sheriff.
So they hadn’t wooed Ellie in a traditional way. Didn’t much matter to Sam. A pretty woman stood in the kitchen every morning, a happy smile on her face, and all the boys had perked up, falling over themselves to please her.
These days, meals were an event. Ellie had been running the town’s only diner and knew how to cook a mean chili, sear steaks to perfection and bake glorious pies.
The pies had become a bit of a joke in the house over the last month.
Ellie had figured out right off that Johnny loved apple pie. However, Killian wouldn’t commit, sampling the varieties she lined up on the counter every Sunday and sighing, but never telling her which one was his favorite.
Sam thought he knew why.
Killian wasn’t sure about his place in Ellie’s heart. She’d melted first for Johnny, but had accepted Killian in her bed too, and even told him often that she loved him. Killian only half believed her, and given his upbringing, living in a house with two people who’d hated each other’s guts and whose anger had spilled over onto him, Sam understood why Killian had doubts anyone could love him.
Ellie’s unending search for the perfect pie to please Killian was her way of proving she loved him. From the way his second adopted son beamed each time Ellie introduced a new set to sample, Sam didn’t think Killian would ever tell her which pie he loved most.
Pie was taking on mystical properties, a true elixir of love in every bite. And pie was what the twins, the youngest of his brood, huddled over now.
A single light shining from the stove was all that lit the kitchen. The boys sat, bleary-eyed, blond heads in need of a good haircut and a comb, with elbows propping up their chins while they shoveled sweet pie into their mouths.
Sam crept in silently, opened a cabinet door and gave it a good slam.
Both boys jumped, startled stares swinging his way.
Mace gave Sam a tired grin. “Hey, Pa.”
Sam never tired of hearing that. The two older boys still called him Sam. The twins had been eager to accept him and Gracie as their parents when they’d first arrived for fostering. Something Gracie had loved as well. She’d always wanted to be someone’s mama. He felt a pinch in his chest at how happy she’d been—all the way to the end—surrounded by her boys. “Why aren’t you two in bed?” he snapped, his voice gruff. “You’ll be fallin’ off your horses tomorrow.”
“Couldn’t sleep,” Mace grumbled, rolling his eyes.
“Why’s that?” Sam asked, although he had a pretty good idea why.
Mace grunted. “Too much damn noise. People gettin’ happy. Wish’t I was that damn happy.” He lifted his fork and turned to take another bite.
Sam came closer and peered over Mace’s shoulder. “That the cherry pie?”
“Mmm-hmm,” the younger twin groaned. “S’good.”
Sam arched a brow. “Think we should tell Ellie that Killian’s not a pie man?”
Both boys’ heads jerked up, eyes rounding.
“Hell no!” Jason said around a mouthful of peach pie. “She might stop bakin’.”
“We’d still get lots of apple,” Sam said with a dry chuckle. “Girl wears herself out tryin’ to please y’all.”
“That ain’t what has her all wore out,” Jason muttered, then grimaced from the audible whack his brother gave his leg.
“You know,” Sam said, “there’s a simple solution to your problem…”
“Earplugs?” Mace quipped.
Sam shook his head. “Seems all y’all need is a little somethin’ to keep your minds off what you’ve got no business hearin’.”
Jason’s eyes narrowed. “I know what you’re gonna say. We need to find ourselves a wife.”
“A wife?” Mace quipped, his mouth stretching into a wide grin.
Both boys shared a glance then dipped their heads to continue milling into their pie. In that one glance, they seemed to share the same thought. And maybe they did. No two boys could be closer.
Men, Sam amended in his mind. They weren’t scrawny teenagers anymore. A woman, a good woman, would have herself a fine husband—if they could ever decide which would marry her.
“Strange times we live in,” Sam murmured, thinking about how the town was changing. Multiple men taking up with a single woman. He’d never have imagined it, but then, for him, there had only been Gracie. And she’d had eyes only for him.
On that melancholy note, he turned. Pie wasn’t going to satisfy his yearning. Sleep, a chance to dream about a golden-haired girl with freckles on her nose—that’s what he needed. “I’ll say good night. My job’s done. ’Night, boys.”