Protecting His Own Part 26

It didnt, Connor stated decisively.

No. Because he loves playing soccer, not coloring. But he didnt know that, at first.

Nolan got where she was going. Beth and I thought wed like having a baby girl, but we didnt actually know. However, we do know we love you two and want you for our own.

You love us? Grant whispered.

Beths tears spilled down her face as she touched his cheek gently. Yes, baby. We love you very, very much.

Snuggling down in Beths lap like a well-fed puppy, Connor gave them a happy smile. Okay, you can keep us.

Chapter Twenty.

CARRYING A TRAY of finger-foods, Beth walked out onto the patio filled with their friends and was struck by a surge of happiness. Could life get any sweeter?

Once Grant and Connor had fully accepted they were loved and wanted, the last couple of weeks had been wonderful. Even starting a new school hadnt bothered the boys, and each day, theyd returned with hilarious adventures to relate.

Shed never heard Nolan laugh so often.

Today, as a way of celebrating their new family, Nolan had invited everyone whod helped with the Brun investigation.

Beth shook her head, seeing how the gathering had split along gender lines. Nolan was at the grill"and with him were Master Z, Dan, Vance and Galen, Marcus, and Ben.

Seated in the more kid-friendly area were her girlfriends.

Have you got your business receipts ready for me? Jessica called. Its time to pay estimated taxes, you know.

Yes, maam, Madam Accountant. Beth rolled her eyes. Didnt Z teach you not to nag people?

He taught me not to nag him. Jessica grinned. If you ever gain Zs expertise with"she glanced at Grant who was sitting beside her"um, with implements, you will escape being badgered.

Beth sighed. The nagging would continue. But she couldnt grumble at her friend, not when Jessica had given Grant such a lovely treat"letting the boy hold five-month-old Sophia in his lap. His grin couldnt get any wider.

Next to Grants chair, Connor and Karis son, Zane, were playing with a ball. Behind the boys sprawled Karis big German shepherd, Prince.

Uzuri, Gabi, and Sally had commandeered their own table and had their heads together. The three brats of the club were undoubtedly hatching some mischief.

Good luck with that, girls. Really, they should pay more attention to their surroundings. Anne was seated close enough to overhear them, and her expression was filled with amusement. The good Mistress might be female, but when it came to BDSM, her loyalties were firmly on the Dominant side of the equation. The brats were doomed.

Beth crossed to the grill and set the tray down on a nearby table.

Curling his arm around her waist, Nolan kissed the top of her head. Thanks, sugar.

Youre welcome, Sir.

After nodding to the rest of the guys, she started to head toward her girl gang, when Master Z blocked her way. Elizabeth.


Effortlessly, he held her gaze for a long moment before smiling slightly. Motherhood agrees with you, little one. Im pleased for all of you.

She smiled back, feeling tears prickle behind her eyes. You know, three years ago, you gave me an amazing gift, Master Z. Taking a step back, she leaned against Nolans side. When you gave me my Master, you changed my life. Saved her life. Thank you.

Hold on, sugar. Nolan gave her hair a mild yank. Seems like you were a gift for me, not the other way around.

Did you just compliment Z on his matchmaking? Galen tilted his beer at her. Dont encourage him, pet. Every unattached Dom in the club lives in fear of falling victim to his schemes.

Z simply gave the ex-Fed an amused look. Everyone knew Galen and Vance were blissfully happy with their little brat, Sally.

I do believe were running short on single Masters anyway, Marcus pointed out.

Holt could be a good target. Ben popped a deviled egg in his mouth and hummed in pleasure before taking another. And Anne says Saxon will probably make Master.

When the doorbell rang, Nolan said, That should be Alastair and Max. He smiled slowly. Why dont you pick on them, Z? Itd be a treat to see Alastair lose his composure.

Master Zs expression turned thoughtful. It would indeed.

Uh-oh. The Drago cousins were done for. Beth headed into the house. Should she warn them? Tell them they might as well start picking out engagement rings and wedding colors?


As she led the two Doms out onto the patio, Connor spotted them and let out a squeal. Max! Doctor. He ran up and skidded to a stop. You came to the pawty.

Connor, its good to see you. When Alastair held out his hand, Connor shook it, beaming at being greeted like a man.

Hey, buddy. I brought you something for your collection. Max went down on one knee, reached into his pocket, and pulled out a long-necked dinosaur. This one is called brachiosaurus.

For me? Connor examined it with awe and started at a run to show Grant. But when Beth cleared her throat, he remembered and spun around, dancing on his tiptoes. Thank you, Max. And sped right off again.

Max grinned. Youve got great boys.

We think so. Welcome to the party. Beth waved her hand at the small assemblage of guests. Is there anyone you two havent met?

Alastair shook his head. I believe Ive made everyones acquaintance. Max?

Max glanced at the men. Ive met the Doms and Ben. His gaze turned to the women. Jessica, Kari, Anne, yes. Not the three at the separate table.

Ah, they are the submissives who bear the title of the brats, Alastair murmured.

Maxs eyes lit. Them I need to meet. Let me grab a beer, and you can introduce me.

As the two men greeted the other Doms and were handed drinks, Beth wandered over to the brats. What evil are you three planning now?

Sally shook her head ruefully. Nothing, Im afraid. Gabi was telling us about their visit to Grandmas neighborhood.

Grandma? Beth stilled. Like my boys grandma?

Exactly like. Gabis lips tilted up. Since the cookie dough came in, Uzuri and I gathered the troops and delivered the orders.

I didnt think Mrs. Brun ordered anything, Beth said.

Oh, she didnt. She was far too stingy. Uzuri wrinkled her nose in dislike. But almost all of her neighbors ordered. So, as we dropped off the cookie dough, we took our time and had a nice gossip with each one.

We felt it was our civic duty to warn them to keep their children out of her reach, Gabi said virtuously. She glanced over at her husband. Of course, with a fussy lawyer for a Dom, I was careful about what we said.

Shes such a disgusting person. Would you believe she told everyone that the boys were nasty and rude? Uzuri turned a tender gaze to Connor and Grant. I wanted to march over to her house and slap her.

We did, essentially. The neighbors had seen the commotion when the boys ran away. When we told them why, people were simply appalled. Gabi smirked. Since some of them belong to her church, I doubt shell be teaching any childrens Sunday school ever again.

Thank you so much. Beth beamed at them. We didnt want to put the guys through the trauma of pressing charges, and I didnt feel right about beating up someone my mothers age. Its nice to know she didnt get away free and clear.

Sally frowned. Brun is handled. But what about nasty ol Price?

Mrs. Molina was so angry, his career probably came to a screeching halt, Beth said. But, Alastair wanted to ensure Price wouldnt be dealing with children again.

What did Alastair do? Uzuri asked.

Beth glanced over at the Doms and smiled at the big pediatricians resonant, full-throated laugh. As their doctor, he interviewed the boys. Playing with stuffed animals, they made pretend families and talked about adoption and fostering. And, on camera, the kids told Alastair all about the the Price man, as Grant calls him.

Whoa, two adorable little boys saying the social worker made them feel unlovable? Gabi smiled slowly. Price will be buried.

For the sake of children everywhere, Im glad, Beth said. And thank you so, so much for doing the same to Mrs. Brun.

It was a pleasure, Gabi said. Besides, as Sally said, lifes been boring. I havent insulted Marcus inoh, at least a week.

Sally snickered. Poor Marcus. Im sure hes missing beating on you.

And I havent sabotaged any of the Masters toy bags inforever, Uzuri said.

AS MAX STOPPED behind the little black submissive, he couldnt believe his ears. You got into a Doms toy bag?

She turned, saw him, and actually cringed back in her chair.

Fuck. Okay, yeah, he was big, and maybe she hadnt expected to see a man looming over her, but Jesus, he didnt have a bloodstained ax or chainsaw in his hands. Her reaction seemed over-the-top. Nonetheless, he took a step back and circled around to stand beside Beth.

A pretty redhead with tats on her upper arms scooted closer to the terrified one. Easy, girl.

Hey, Max, welcome to the female side of the patio. Beth put a hand on his arm. Gabi"she pointed to the redhead"Sally"a motion to the brunette"and Uzuri"the timid little mouse. Ladies, this is Alastairs cousin, Max Drago, who recently moved here. You might have seen him at the club.

Welcome to Tampa, Mr. Drago. Voice reserved, Sally studied him.

Gabi took the mouses hand. Good to meet you, Mr. Drago.

Lotta formal misters there. They were pretty protective of their buddy, werent they? His gaze returned to Uzuri who hadnt smiled at all. Yeah, hed scared the shit out of herwithout doing a thing. Dammit.

Moving slowly, Max squatted on his haunches in front of her and held out his hand. Im sorry I startled you.

Pity swept through him as he saw shed retreated as far as she could get. But she wasnt sweating, whimpering, cowering. Not a new fear, an old one"and shed overreacted. She needed to get herself back up on the horse. Been there; done that. Beat the fear back, pet, or itll eat you alive. He didnt withdraw his hand, just waited.

Eventually, Uzuri realized he wasnt jumping on herand was waiting for her to get control. Flushing darkly, she edged forward far enough to give him her cold little hand. The way her fingers trembled in his was pretty fucking heartbreaking.

Its nice to meet you, darlin. He tilted his head. What do I have to do to keep you out of my toy bag?

She pulled her hand back without answering.

Id suggest you dont get her upset. The brunette"Sally"dimpled. That one looked as if shed be quite the handful. And he loved challenges. Seriously.

Gabi smirked at him, eyes lit with mischief. Yeah, shed be a hell of a lot of fun, as well. Too late. Youre doomed.

I see. He also saw both submissives wore wedding rings. The only single one was Uzuri. He ran his gaze over her. Although, as a man, he could appreciate the wealth of hair, the perfectly done makeup, the impeccable manicure and pedicure, and the stylish clothing, he also recognized the signs of a high maintenance female.

On top of that, she hadnt spoken, and her posture still showed fear. She carried some heavy baggage there.

A wise man hopefully learned from his past experiences of being burned. Dont be a dumbass, Drago.

Regretfully"she really was a beauty"he shook his head and issued his own warning, Best you leave my bag alone, pet. I dont think were in the same weight class. He rather doubted shed do anything, anyway. She might talk about sabotaging a Doms toy bag, but this little mouse would never have the nerve.

She blinked, as startled as if hed swatted her. A shame he hadnt. Hed bet she had a very spankable ass.

It was nice to meet you all. He nodded at the others, rose, and went back to the calmer waters of the mens huddle.

IN HIS CHAIR with a baby in his lap, Grant couldnt stop smiling. Jessica was letting him hold Sophia who was the prettiest baby hed ever seen. Shed even said Sophia liked him and didnt like just everybody.

This was the greatest party"even better than last week when Connor had turned five and had a birthday cake and presents and everything.

Parties were fun. He knew most of the grownups, and even the strangers had known him and Connor. Like the dark-haired man named Galen whod called Nolan when Grant and Connor ran away from Grandmothers house, so Nolanman could come n find them.

And Nolan had.

Right now, Nolan was cooking on the huge grill"and Grant kind of wanted to help, but holding Sophia was more fun.

Ga-ba-da. Sophia kicked her little feet and said it again. Ga-ba-da.

Grant grinned, kept one arm wrapped around her, and held up the fat ring with red and yellow keys. She snatched the toy, making him laugh. What are those? he prompted.


Keys, he said carefully. Keys.

Agreeing, Sophia waved the keys in the air, almost smacking him in the face.

Chapter end

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