What happens after happily ever after?
It’s the event of the year. The wedding of Leo and Wolf to their beautiful sub, Shelley McNamara, has all of Bliss up in arms—and makes everyone think about love and marriage and family.
Wolf and Leo have to deal with the sudden reappearance of their father. Rafe Kincaid is handed an opportunity that might take him and his family away from Bliss. Aidan, Lexi, and Lucas O’Malley find themselves at a crossroads in their marriage. And Stefan Talbot must face his biggest fear—possibly losing his wife in childbirth.
So come to the Feed Store Church, pick a seat, and enjoy the chaos as all your favorite characters from Texas Sirens and Nights in Bliss, Colorado, come together for one eventful weekend.
And some of them may never be the same again.
Release date: November 12, 2019
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment, LLC
Print pages: 275
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Sirens in Bliss
Stef and Jen
Stef Talbot looked at his longtime housekeeper, shaking his head and wondering exactly where he’d gone wrong. It was only eight thirty in the morning. How had the day gone to shit already? “What do you mean there’s a child in my chandelier? I seem to recall that Jennifer ordered that chandelier to be completely child-free. Was she a gift with purchase?”
“Everything looks really cool from up here, Momma! It’s like a ride!”
Stef could hear the small ball of complete chaos screaming from two rooms away.
“Olivia Barnes-Fleetwood, you get down from there right now, and you better pray that I only ground you this time.” Abigail Barnes did not sound amused with her daughter.
Olivia’s reply was still at a screeching decibel, though a bit more tentative this time. “I think I’ll live up here now. Momma’s scaring me. I think I want Daddy.”
His carefully run house had turned into a circus. Over the course of a mere two days, his whole life had become all about watching and waiting for the roof to fall in. He was sure it would happen any moment and that one of the Barnes-Fleetwood children would be responsible for it.
Mrs. Truss nodded her perfect helmet of gray hair and a small smile curled her lips up. “Miss Olivia is a vibrant child. It’s been a pleasure to have her around after so many years of quiet.”
His housekeeper was insane. Olivia was a wrecking ball. God, he was glad they were having a boy.
The thought made him stop. Even though he’d had many months to get used to the idea, he still found himself poleaxed at the revelation. A baby. He was having a baby. Jennifer was pregnant—very pregnant. So very pregnant.
He hadn’t touched his wife in weeks. He barely slept beside her, terrified that he would disrupt her sleep. He missed his wife. He missed the way their life had been. Peaceful. Quiet.
And this wedding was a pain in his ass. Why he’d thought he could handle a wedding right before Jennifer’s due date, he had no idea. When he’d been asked to house some friends over the week of the wedding, she hadn’t even looked pregnant. He’d thought the whole thing would be a breeze. He’d been wrong about a lot of things. “Is someone going to get her off the chandelier before it falls and kills her?”
“Aww, she’s way more resilient than that.” Sam Fleetwood didn’t seem to be in a hurry. The blond cowboy sauntered down the hallway as though his daughter getting stuck in a chandelier was an everyday occurrence. “She fell off the roof a couple of months back. She managed to fall on top of Jack. Jack slipped a couple of discs, but Livie was perfectly fine. That girl is blessed, I tell you. Someone up there is watching out for her.”
The eternally calm cowboy walked into the dining room and the door closed behind him again.
“And when are our guests departing?” Stef asked quietly. The house would be peaceful again and he could go back to only worrying about Jennifer. All day. Every day. Until his stomach was in knots. But at least he could do it in silence.
Mrs. Truss shook her head and sighed. “I believe they depart the day after tomorrow.”
“What’s up, babe? You’re not enjoying the company?” His wife walked out of the hallway that led from their bedroom. She was gorgeous in the early morning light, her skin practically glowing. He’d thought about painting her like that, with nothing at all on her body, just the sunlight and her skin, but it was selfish to ask her to sit for a portrait when her lower back hurt most of the time.
What the hell was he going to do if he lost her? She looked beautiful, but he knew the truth. She was fragile. Life was fragile.
“I want to get back to normal.” He said the words but he wasn’t exactly sure what they meant anymore. He wasn’t sure what normal was now.
A brilliant smile crossed her face. “I would love that, too. Normal would be awesome. Maybe we should go to the guesthouse and talk about that.”
His dick twitched at the thought, hardening in an instant. It had been a month since he’d been inside his wife’s pussy. One month, two days, and ten hours since she’d passed out and Caleb had hooked her up to a sonogram to prove that the baby was all right.
But all Stef had seen was his wife laid out on a hospital bed, her skin pale and her hands shaking.
He’d done that to her. He should have waited, should have simply been happy to have a wife. He didn’t need kids. He only needed her. God, she would hate him if she knew how much he resented the fact that the baby growing inside her could kill her. She was excited about the entire event and Stef wanted to get it over with.
He shook his head. “I don’t think we need to do that. It’s breakfast time. You need to eat.”
She was wearing a long, flowing dress that accentuated the curve of her belly. She was close to giving birth, her belly big and round, and he wondered how on earth she could ever have a child so large. Caleb had assured him that the baby was a normal size, but he couldn’t imagine it. In his head, the baby was at least ten pounds.
She frowned his way. “I can think of some things you haven’t eaten enough of lately. But it kind of feels like you’re never hungry anymore. Maybe I should stop asking.”
She turned and started down the hallway.
“You should wait, sweetheart. They’re trying to get Olivia off the chandelier.” Someone was going to have to get a ladder, and it could be dangerous. Jennifer could get hit by a flying destruction ball. “Maybe you should go back to bed and I’ll bring you a tray.”
He would prefer she stay in bed and let him take care of her.
Her gorgeous eyes lit up, but that joy wasn’t for him. “No way. I’m going to go cheer on baby girl. I have to see this. How the hell did she get up there?”
“I’m pretty sure she pole-vaulted.” Jack Barnes jogged through, carrying the ladder. “I shouldn’t have let her watch the Olympics. Damn. I’m real sorry about this, Stefan. Maybe we should try going to that motel at the edge of town. There’s so much here they can destroy. I’m afraid we put off buying a lot of nice things because of the kids. They’re kind of chaotic.”
Kind of? In the two days the Barnes-Fleetwood clan had been here, Olivia had tried to ride a snowmobile in the middle of summer, jumped into the Rio Grande because she liked to swim, and little Josh had found his way into Stef’s studio and painted a mustache on his latest portrait.
What the hell had he and Jen been thinking?
“You’re not going anywhere. We love having you and the kids here. They’re awesome,” Jen said with a laugh. “I mean it. I love your kids, Jack. I haven’t laughed this much in years. And Josh is going to be an artist.”
Sometimes she made him feel like a grumpy old man, but he couldn’t help but pointing out a few truths. “Jennifer, it took me hours to fix that portrait.”
Her gorgeous green eyes rolled. “I don’t think you should have fixed it. That dude looks way better with a purple ’stache. Josh was totally right.”
“I am sorry,” Barnes said with a sad sigh. “Any damage they do we will absolutely pay for.”
Jen shook her head. “They’re adorable and the senator will survive not having a Talbot original for a couple of days. Stefan is doing this as a favor. Don’t worry about it. Come on. Let’s get your baby girl down and feed her some waffles. I can smell them from here.” She patted her belly. “My boy is hungry. I have to enjoy this while I can. After baby Logan’s here, I’ll have to worry about my figure.”
“I am really sorry,” Barnes was saying as they walked through the double doors that led to the dining hall. Having children seemed to have put Jack Barnes into a perpetual state of apology. Stef could remember a time when every sub in The Club had feared and wanted Jack Barnes. So why couldn’t he handle one small female child?
“It’s perfectly fine,” Jennifer said with a sassy nod. “The senator has a stick up his ass, and I’m starting to think his portraitist does, too.”
Stef stared after her. She was asking for a spanking. Little brat. She was practically begging for him to turn her over his knee and slap that gorgeous ass until she couldn’t sit down for a week and he had to carry her around everywhere.
“I’ll go make sure the guesthouse is cleaned and ready for use.” Mrs. Truss sighed as though something had fallen blissfully into place.
“Why would you do that?” he asked, staring after his wife.
“Well, Master Stefan, that is the look you have on your face before you carry the mistress off for a session.”
Yeah, he used to do that. He was being a bastard for even thinking about it now. “No. I’m not going to punish her. She’s cranky. I would be too if I was carrying around another human being twenty-four hours a day.”
Mrs. Truss crossed her arms over her chest, staring him down. “I think the mistress wouldn’t mind visiting the guesthouse. It’s been a long time.”
Stef shook his head. He couldn’t go there. She was close to her due date and he couldn’t help but remember how she’d bled in those early months. Caleb had called it light spotting, but Jennifer had been afraid she would lose their boy. She’d cried and clung to him and there had been absolutely nothing he could do, no one he could intimidate into giving him what he wanted.
Caleb had given her a clean bill of health, but she seemed fragile to Stef. Women still died in childbirth. Was it worth risking the love of his life for someone he’d never met?
The closer they got to her due date, the more panic seemed to lodge in his belly, a constant companion. There were so many things that could go wrong. “I think we’re through with the guesthouse for a while.”
Even if everything was all right, Jennifer would need time to recover. They would need time to figure out how they would work as a family. So many things were about to change.
He missed his wife. He missed being her Master, but he had to take care of her.
There was a loud crash and then the maniacal laughter of the evil genius, Olivia Barnes-Fleetwood.
“That was fun, Daddy! Let’s do it again!”
Stef felt a tug on his shirt. When he looked down, Joshua Barnes-Fleetwood was looking up, a paintbrush in his hand. “Mr. Stef, I was looking at some of your paintings and they’re just colors and stuff. I wanted to help you out so I painted some dogs on there. Now they’re real paintings.”
Stef felt himself flush. “Oh, god, not the Lichtenstein.”
He ran down the hallway.
* * * *
Jen watched Stef go, her heart aching. She smoothed down the front of her dress. She’d tried this morning. She’d thought she looked pretty in the sunny yellow dress. It showed off her boobs, but kind of hid her belly as much as her belly could be hidden. Was she so large that he couldn’t stand to look at her?
Rachel talked about how crazy Max and Rye got when she was pregnant. They were all over her. They were like that when she wasn’t, but Rach talked about how good pregnancy sex was. Even Callie said that Zane and Nate loved touching her and holding her while she’d been big with their twins.
She could barely get Stef to look at her.
“Jennifer, I can’t say how sorry I am.” Jack Barnes had folded the ladder back up. He hadn’t actually needed it. Olivia had decided that the best way to get out of a chandelier was to jump into Sam Fleetwood’s arms. Jen hadn’t been able to stop her laughter. Sam had been relaxed, opening his arms as Olivia jumped. Jack had nearly had a heart attack and ended up on the floor before his wife and partner got him back up.
She gave him a smile. “It’s all right. I never liked that chandelier anyway. If it had all come down in a heap, I would have been okay with it. I’m just glad Olivia is fine.”
She was more of a contemporary lighting girl, but Stef seemed to like it so she never said anything. It was hard to watch him walking away from her. Or, in this case, running as fast as he could.
Jack Barnes’s eyes followed her own. “Don’t feel too bad. He’s scared out of his mind.”
“Hey, Daddy!” Josh Barnes-Fleetwood ran up to the man who was obviously his biological father. He was the spitting image of Jack, but Josh was lucky enough to have two dads. “I’m hungry.”
Sam Fleetwood walked up, an easy smile on his face. “Come on, buddy. Your sister has already started in on the waffles. Let’s go.”
Sam gave Jack a wink and there was no way to miss the easy intimacy between the two men. Jack reached out to his partner, touching his shoulder as though he needed the contact. It was the same way he touched Abby. As though he lived and breathed for his partners.
Jen was damn jealous of those three.
She shook her head. She would pay a lot to watch those two cowboys going at it. Day-um, as they used to say in her hometown. But it wasn’t polite to ask one’s superhot bisexual guests if she could maybe sit in on their probably fierce lovemaking sessions. She focused on his words. “What did you mean by he’s scared?”
“Stefan. He’s scared. I’ve known Stef for a lot of years now and I’ve never seen him like this. He looks like he’s in control, but I know differently.” Jack placed a hand on her shoulder. “How close are you to delivering?”
Not close enough. She felt like a whale. Now she knew why Callie had complained all those months, and she’d been pregnant with twins. Jen felt like she would pop any minute and there was only one inside her. “I’m due next week, but Caleb said first babies can be late.”
And she couldn’t wait to meet her little Logan. Logan Mitchell Talbot. He was named after the man who had saved her life and her beloved grandfather. She was excited to meet their son, but she was starting to think Stef dreaded it. He hadn’t touched her in weeks, couldn’t seem to stand to look at her.
Had he decided he didn’t want a baby? She could still remember the moment he’d first heard she was pregnant. He’d gotten to his knees and placed his hand on her belly and they had been connected. There had been such joy in that moment, but it had faded over the long months. Somewhere along the way they’d lost that deep sense of oneness.
“Men are different, you know,” Barnes said.
She was utterly fascinated with the Barnes-Fleetwood family. They had come into the estate like a hurricane a few days back and she hadn’t stopped laughing since. Between the Barnes-Fleetwood clan and Julian Lodge’s family, the estate was suddenly filled with laughter and baby coos and the craziness that came with kids and family. She’d always longed for a big, insane family. She had been raised as an only child. So had Stef. She wanted to change that for the next generation. She wanted her baby to have a couple of siblings they could rely on. “I don’t think we’re different. You love your kids. I’m going to love this baby.”
She didn’t say the words she was truly worried about. She didn’t say that she was scared that maybe Stef didn’t want their son. She tried not to even think the words.
Jack Barnes was a handsome man, but he was truly beautiful as his face softened and he leaned the ladder against the wall. “Oh, you don’t understand what I mean. We don’t truly understand what it means to be a dad until the baby is here. Men are simple creatures. We start out wanting sex and somewhere along the way we get caught and we find ourselves loving a woman. That one woman who can make us turn away from all the others, well, she becomes our whole damn world. We don’t understand that things can change and yet still remain the same.”
Stef had been her world from almost the moment she’d seen him. She could still remember the minute she’d walked into Stella’s Diner and seen him sitting at the counter. He’d been beautiful. He’d taken her breath away because he was so much more handsome than his pictures. She’d loved his artwork. He was a master, and she’d come to learn from him. And then he’d been a Master and oh, she’d learned more than she could have imagined. She’d learned about love and sex and she’d become something more than she had been before. Her sweet Master who brought her such pleasure, who made her feel precious and beloved, like she was the only woman in the whole world.
Had she lost him? Had he lost interest? Her heart ached at the thought.
“I don’t know about that,” Jen replied. “I think some men like the hunt. Maybe they’re not interested once the hunt is over.”
“Stef? I don’t think that he was much of a hunter.” Barnes shook his head. “The way I remember it, Stef always let the subs come to him. I’ve been to some clubs with the man. Now, I was a helluva lot younger back then, but he never aggressively looked for anyone. He waited until he found someone deeply submissive and then negotiated a single encounter with her. He would negotiate longer contracts, but only rarely and only when the sub seemed to really need a Dom. At first I thought he was in love with Callie, but time proved me wrong.”
Callie Hollister-Wright was Stef’s best friend. There had never even been a hint of romance between them, merely a loving friendship. “No. He views her as a sister.”
“Yeah, I got that after a while. Stef reminds me of myself. I was more about the D/s portion of the relationship than any one woman. I didn’t take any woman seriously until I met that redhead who wears my ring and my collar. I knew she was the one. I knew I wanted to marry her a couple of weeks after I met her.”
A bit of bitterness surged. It had taken her a long time to wear Stef down. “Stef didn’t feel that way about me. He pushed me away at first.”
The big cowboy grinned, a mischievous look. “Stef was a lot younger than I was. There’s a certain wisdom that comes with age. Hell, Stef still isn’t the age I was when I met Abby. It takes some of us longer.”
“Well, I think maybe Stef is wondering if he shouldn’t have taken a bit longer to get married.” He’d pulled away. There were nights when he didn’t go to sleep until almost dawn, as though he tried to stay away from their bed for as long as possible. He would still kiss her, but they were fleeting pecks that did nothing to assuage her desires.
She missed her Dom. She missed her husband.
“He’s not.” Jack glanced back at the long dining room table where his family was enjoying a breakfast. A lovely blonde entered from the opposite door. Dani Lodge-Taylor was escorted by her husbands. Julian Lodge held her hand, looking coolly elegant in a suit. She got the definite impression that Julian only wore suits and leathers. He was that kind of a man. Finn Taylor walked behind him, carrying a baby in his arms. Chloe. She was so sweet. Finn didn’t seem to have a problem with being a dad. Neither did Julian. He was scary, but it was obvious he loved his daughter.
Jack caught Julian’s attention with a wave of his hand. The Dom nodded, helped his wife sit down, kissed his daughter’s head, and then walked toward them.
“Did you have to do that?” She was a little intimidated by the big bad Dom. Julian Lodge had a way of looking at a person that made her wonder if he was sizing her up for a tasty meal.
“He’s nothing but a big old teddy bear,” Barnes assured her.
A grimace marred Julian’s perfect face for a moment. “I am not a teddy bear, Jackson. I still have plenty of teeth. Old age might have dulled your sharper edges, but mine are firmly in place.” He turned to Jennifer and proved how charming he could be. She allowed him to take her hand in greeting. “Hello, dear. Have I thanked you for hosting us? I know it’s an imposition, but we’re enjoying our time here.”
“Not a problem. It’s been nice to have someone to talk to.” She’d definitely enjoyed spending time with their wives and children.
Julian sent Jack a surprised look. “Stefan is screwing it up, then?”
“Looks like it,” Jack agreed. “Julian, tell her how you felt when you first found out Dani was pregnant. Tell her all about how excited you were about the baby and how you knew that the baby was going to change your life for the better.”
Julian shuddered. “I wish I could. The truth is quite different. I was completely terrified. I had no idea how I was going to handle it, but Danielle was quite insistent. Even several spankings couldn’t dissuade her from trying to get pregnant.”
“You didn’t want your daughter?” She couldn’t imagine it. Julian had been tender with the baby. Little Chloe was always held by one of them. She wondered if the baby ever touched a bed by herself.
Julian laughed. “Oh, I wanted her, but I didn’t know I did. When Danielle told me I was going to be a father, all I could feel was a complete panic. My father died when I was very young. I didn’t exactly know how to go about being a father, and then there was the fear of losing her.” His expression turned distinctly serious. “I love my wife. She and Finn were my whole world at the time. I guess I couldn’t imagine things changing.”
“I felt the same way.” Barnes leaned against the doorjamb. “I found out Abigail was pregnant and all I could think about was how it would change everything. We’d only been married for a year or so. I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the thought of children, but like Julian, I didn’t grow up with a father. I was afraid I wouldn’t be a good one. I was afraid something could happen to my wife. Men are different. We don’t get to feel that baby kicking around inside us.”
“Thank god,” Julian said with a grimace.
Jack ignored him. “We don’t understand the parenthood thing until the baby is here and we can hold him in our arms. That’s the moment we truly understand this baby is a whole human being we made with the person we loved. I think it’s worse for us Doms.”
“We feel out of control,” Julian concurred. “Finn handled it far better than I did. I think I got through those nine months because Finn practically held my hand.”
“Sam accepted it. He didn’t fight it at all. He immediately started rubbing Abby’s belly and talking to the baby. He brought me in.” Jack sent a look toward his family. “God, I would have been lost without Sam. Stef doesn’t have a Sam. He doesn’t have a Finn. I’m betting that he’s merely scared of losing his precious wife. He doesn’t have any brothers, does he?”
“He has Max and Rye, but Stef doesn’t talk about a lot of things. He’s a private man.” She’d kept her fears inside her for so long. “I think he doesn’t want me anymore. I’m much bigger than I used to be.”
Julian shook his head. “She’s going to get a spanking.”
“Damn, girl. I wouldn’t tell your husband that if I were you.” A slow smile crossed his face. “Or maybe you should.”
“Yes, that would very likely bring him around,” Julian agreed. “Though we certainly shouldn’t be telling a submissive to poke her Dom.”
“Sometimes we need a little poke. You know it.” Jack gave her an encouraging nod. “Tell him how you feel. You know communication is the key to a healthy relationship. Sometimes Doms forget and we need our subs to remind us.”
“But then we spank our subs for poking us,” Julian pointed out.
Jack smiled smoothly. “And then we give them many, many orgasms.”
“Oh, that would be nice.” She kind of wished she hadn’t said it out loud, but it was true. It had been forever. She needed her man.
But if she simply went to Stef and told him her fears, he would probably give her a pat on the belly and tell her she was still pretty and he still wanted her and things would go on the way they had been. He would be gentle and not at all like the husband she was crazy about, the one she’d fought for.
Of course, she hadn’t always fought fair. Sometimes an indirect approach was the best plan of action.
“That is a look I know well.” Jack shook his head and sighed. “That’s the look my Abby gets when she’s going to top from the bottom and do it well. Be prepared. Sometimes when you wake the sleeping Dom, your ass gets real tender.”
“But I’ve been told that can be fun. Sometimes a sub has to fight. At the end of the day we can call ourselves submissives and Doms, but we’re just men and women and husbands and wives. It’s no different. Love, I’ve found, requires maintenance. If I could give Leo some advice it would be that. This wedding is only the first step. A marriage, well, that is something entirely different.” Julian frowned as he turned toward the table where everyone was eating breakfast. “Jackson, your son is attempting to feed my daughter. He has got to stop that. I am told that Chase has been talking to Joshua about certain historical handfasting rituals and how he can secure himself a bride in this fashion.”
Barnes’s eyes rolled. “He’s five. Give me a fucking break. He’s not trying to get married.”
“Yes, because the men of his line aren’t known for their singular stubborn will. She can’t eat bacon, Joshua!”
Both men took off for the children, but Jen stayed where she was, an idea forming in her brain.
Sometimes a girl needed to talk to her friends. Who else could she tell her problems to? Who else could come up with a brilliantly evil plan to solve her problems?
Yes, that should do it.
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