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Her brothers’ reactions were a bit different. As soon as she managed to make it into work, two hours late, they hunted her down in her office and blocked off her exit, demanding to know if she was out of her f**king mind. Johnny went as far as to demand that she take a drug test. After a lot of arguing, a few threats to have her locked away and a few shin kicks, her brothers agreed to let it go for now and get back to work. As they walked out, a few limping, they all glared at her and she’d been fully prepared to keep Connor company in the emergency room that night, but they didn’t touch him. They only glared at him. Okay, there was that one time that Craig had to wrestle a hammer out of Brian’s hand when he went to throw it at Connor, but other than that they hadn’t beaten the shit out of him or harmed him in any way.

The fact that they hadn’t sent Connor to Intensive Care actually scared the hell out of her. Every guy that spent time with her got the warning. It used to piss her off, but now she was wondering why the guy that she’d agreed to spend the rest of her life with, if he met her conditions, hadn’t received the same warning. Actually, one would think that the man that she planned on marrying would receive a more thorough warning, but so far, nothing. That could only mean that they were trying to handle this a different way and she knew exactly how they thought they were going to do that.

By having their cousins drive her and Connor out their goddamn minds.

Well, that probably was the plan, but it was failing miserably. The first week Trevor and Jason stayed with Connor. The next week they were replaced by two of her other cousins and every week after, two fresh Bradfords showed up at Connor’s door. This week the twins were staying with him. Well, they stayed in Connor’s house, but not with him since Connor ended up sleeping in her bed, holding her all night. The first night he tried to get her to sleep in his bed with him, but having two Bradfords getting into a shouting match at two in the morning over the last jar of pickles quickly changed his mind. He hadn’t brought up who was selling their house and neither had she. She was too happy to ruin it and God, was she happy.

Never in her wildest dreams would she have imagined a man treating her the way that Connor did. He was sweet, funny, attentive, and he went out of his way to make her feel special. The other night they came home after putting in a fourteen hour day, looking forward to a quick meal, a hot shower and bed. Instead of the relaxing night that they’d hoped for they’d been greeted with a nightmare, a Bradford nightmare to be more exact. They pulled into her driveway only to find a terrified pizza delivery kid stuck up in a tree where he’d been forced to run for his life.

Not that she could really blame the kid for being scared. He had forgotten her cousins’ double order of chicken tenders and honey mustard sauce back at the restaurant. It probably wouldn’t have turned out so bad if the kid hadn’t got lazy and offered a credit for the chicken tenders instead of going back and getting them. At that point, her cousins had been seeing red and the delivery boy was lucky that all he got was the hell scared out of him. She’d actually been pretty scared that their little secret was going to get out and that they were not only going to end up in jail, but lose the extra help that they desperately needed.

Just as the kid in the tree finally managed to pull his phone out and started to call the police, Connor climbed up the tree and snatched the phone out of the kid’s hand and somehow managed to talk the kid down. Then of course her cousin Devin just had to go and make the kid cry, again, which sent him right back up the tree. It took Connor an exhausting half hour and a hundred bucks to get the kid to come back down and get him to promise not to call the cops. When Connor was done with that, he sent her cousins off to yet another buffet since Jason and Trevor had unintentionally shut down the last one.

After that she’d been more than ready to settle for a peanut butter sandwich and bed, but they quickly discovered that her cousins had cleaned out both kitchens to hold themselves over while they waited for their delivery. She’d been tired, hungry and was starting to get pretty pissed that she had to run out and hit the grocery store for the second night in a row when Connor, who she knew was just as tired as she was, gave her one of those sweet kisses and told her to go take a shower and relax.

By the time she was done with her shower, dressed, and ready to go get the trip to the grocery store over with, Connor surprised her with a large hot chocolate from Brennigan’s and a sandwich with all the fixings from her favorite sandwich shop. As she took her first sip of that lifesaving elixir, Connor kissed the top of her head and told her that he’d be right back, which turned out to be a bit of a lie.

She tried to wait up for him, but she’d been too tired by that point to do much of anything but lie down and once she did, she was out for the night. The next morning she was woken up by Connor kissing her and the scent of hot chocolate. The kiss was sweet, but the way he took her that morning had been fast and hard and had her toes curling for the rest of the day.

It wasn’t until she went downstairs to feed Bunny that she discovered that he’d made two runs to Sam’s Club the night before and stocked both their kitchen’s with food. He’d also had a word with her cousins and told them to stay out of her kitchen and to get their own damn food from now on. Her cousins hadn’t been happy about having to get their own snacks, but they weren’t dumb enough to bitch, not with Connor providing them with the names and locations of the buffets and restaurants offering “All You Can Eat” deals.

“Oh my f**king word, you’re thinking about him again? Really?” Bryce said, dragging her attention away from the man she decided that she should have a meeting with in about an hour, a very secret and private meeting that would most likely involve her being bent over her desk with her pants around her ankles, again.

She really loved their lunchtime meetings.

“Rory? Rory!” Bryce snapped, wrecking her little fantasy. So, with a glare and a kick to the shin, she yanked the clipboard out of his hand and signed her name.

“You bitch!” Bryce gasped in pain, but she knew that he didn’t mean it. He’d beaten the crap out of enough guys who called her that for her to know that he didn’t stand for anyone disrespecting her. She also knew that he’d feel bad once the throbbing in his foot subsided. He would apologize with a large cup of hot cocoa. Connor on the other hand…….

“Mother f**ker!” Bryce shouted as he stumbled back, cupping his nose as blood poured down his chin.

“Don’t you ever call her that again,” Connor said evenly as he stepped in front of her and faced off with her much larger brother.

Was it wrong that this turned her on?

Probably, but damn, it was really nice to have a man love and adore her and treat her like a woman, like she needed protection. She didn’t, but it was still nice all the same. She never thought the day would come when Connor’s chivalrous behavior would stop annoying her and start making her smile, but here it was, she mused as she shoved him aside and went to help her brother.

“She kicked me!” Bryce said accusingly, his eyes narrowing to slits on her and if she was still a kid, that look would have her hiding her tooth brush for a month so that he couldn’t give it a “special” cleaning.

“I don’t care what she did, don’t f**king call her that again!” Connor snapped, grabbing a roll of paper towels off the counter and tossing it to the big baby.

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