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Worth the Risk(108)

By´╝ÜClaudia Connor

Lily wiggled out of Sarah’s arms and she put her down. Arms shot out to keep the newly walking girl from toppling into the edge of a chair, on top of a dog, or down the steps. So busy, she thought with a smile. She couldn’t wait.

The infant in Matt’s arms wailed and Abby moved to trade with him. “She’s hungry.”

“Well, I can do a lot, but I can’t do that,” Matt said.

Stephen held out his hands to Abby to assist with the switch. “Come here, big boy.” But instead of passing Cole to his brother, he took the baby against his chest. They’d both done a fair amount of baby holding since the twins were born.

He relaxed back against the railing, long legs stretched out in front of him. She knew every inch of that body. Intimately. The man was spectacular on his own, but holding a baby? He was devastating.

Stephen’s big hand rubbed circles around the baby’s back. “We’ll be catching up to you soon, brother.”

The comment might have passed without anyone making much of it, but she’d been so lost in sexy thoughts, she didn’t think. Her mouth dropped and her eyes bugged. “Stephen!”

He shrugged, smiled. “Oops.”

The shock passed and she rolled her eyes, shook her head. “You just couldn’t stand it, could you?”

He pulled her close with his free arm. “Nope.”

She let him plant a quick kiss on her lips, then turned. Luke had left months ago for who knows where and Zach hours ago for his shift. Her eyes went immediately to Nick’s and she smiled sweetly at her brother. “Surprise.”

The McKinneys erupted in congratulations, hugs, and kisses. Especially Stephen’s mother, who’d quickly filled in for her own.

Nick slowly unfolded himself from his chair at the base of the stairs and made his way up. “So I guess I have to shake your hand and say congratulations again, McKinney.”

“I guess you do, Walker.” Stephen took Nick’s offered hand. Both men smiled, though the look that passed between them was serious.

A look also passed between Mia and Nick from where her friend stood on the other end of the porch. Just a flash and then it was gone.

Stephen’s mom took Cole, and with his arms free he hugged her back against his chest. The men toasted him with a beer, even Nick, and the ladies got the due date details. There were more hugs and questions until Gracie flipped out of her swing and Matt bounded down the steps to console her. A dog barked, the boys ran from the woods claiming they’d seen Bigfoot, which made the girls on the swing set scream. General chaos ensued.

Another perfect moment.