“People should pay you for this advice,” I say dryly. “Speaking of sex, are you seeing anyone?”
“I’m seeing a few someones,” he replies with a smile in his voice. “I don’t have sex hang-ups.”
“You’re gross. Tell me you’re being careful.”
“I buy condoms by the case.”
“You asked, sweetheart.”
“Good morning, Mr. Salvatore.”
I glance up from my computer as Celeste walks briskly into my office. “Good morning.”
“I just saw Alecia,” she begins, and opens her iPad to go over notes with me, as is our usual morning routine. “She was just leaving.”
My heart stills. “Leaving?”
“She said she has some business that requires her attention, so she asked me to pass the message on to you.”
“Fine.” I nod, as the rest of me sighs in relief. Business. Yes, it’s just like my Alecia to run off at a moment’s notice if her business needs her. I love her work ethic, her passion for her job.
Yet, it’s interesting that while she loves the planning, she’s as cynical as they come when it comes to love.
I wonder if I can change her mind in that area.
I begin rattling off duties for Celeste to see to during the day. “Mick, the head of security, will be here tomorrow morning, and every day thereafter until the wedding.”
“Yes, I have that on the schedule,” Celeste replies with a nod. “Do you want me to have lunch brought in for your brothers today?”
“My brothers?” I ask with a raised brow.
“Yes, all of them are here.”
I blink at Celeste in confusion. “All of them?”
“Whether related by blood or marriage, they’re here. The backyard is a huge mass of testosterone. Can you bring them by more often?”
I laugh as I stand and shake my head at my assistant. “They’re all completely in love with their women, you know.”
“I don’t have to touch them to appreciate them. I’m sure their women would understand.”
“Would Clay understand?” I ask, referring to her husband of more than a dozen years.
“Clay doesn’t have to know.” She smiles and follows me out of my office. “So, lunch?”
“Yes, have sandwiches brought in from that café I like in Olympia. I’ll be in the backyard.”
“Lucky bastard,” I hear her mutter, and can’t help the smile that comes to my lips. I’m secure enough in my masculinity to admit that the Montgomery side of my family is a handsome one. I don’t see any of them as my eyes scan the reception area, but I can hear raised voices coming from the ceremony site in the vines.
“Why do you smell like me?” Isaac asks Matt, the second eldest brother, with a scowl.
“I had to use your body wash when I caught a shower at the office before we came here,” Matt replies calmly, with more than a little mirth in his trademark Montgomery blue eyes.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Isaac yells, as the rest of the brothers laugh. “You can’t use my body wash!”
“It’s soap, dude,” Caleb says with a shake of the head. Caleb is only a year older than me.
“I have to burn the fucking body wash now,” Isaac mutters.
I stand back and take them all in. Not only are all four of my brothers here, both Luke and Mark Williams are here, along with Leo Nash and Nate McKenna as well.
The whole fucking family.
Mark is measuring boards and Isaac is manning a saw. I frown as I realize they’re all in jeans, holding tools, hammering boards.
“Are we having a party that I wasn’t aware of?” I ask as I approach.
“Oh, good, you’re here.” Will grins and shakes my hand, then claps my shoulder. “We’re making the arbor.”
“We are?” I glance toward Isaac. “Don’t you have a crew for this?”
“We decided this would be more meaningful,” Luke replies with a smile. “We’re making the arbor, and Will is going to take it home after the wedding and put it in their garden.”
“It’s something from the brothers,” Leo adds with a grimace. “I tried to talk them into just letting me write a song, but Will has his pansy ass set on something pretty for the garden.”
“Fuck you, man, Meg loves the garden,” Will replies, and then grabs Leo into a headlock and rubs his head with his knuckles. “You telling me that if Sam said she wanted pretty in the garden, you wouldn’t give it to her?”
“I’d give her anything she asked for,” Leo replies as he wrestles out of Will’s hold. “And did just this morning.”
“Watch it,” Luke advises. “She may be your wife now, but she’s my sister, and I can still kick your ass if need be.”
Matt shakes his head and rolls his eyes. “Anyway,” he says, and grins at me. “We were waiting for you. You have to hammer some nails for your soon-to-be sister-in-law too.”
I roll my sleeves and take an offered hammer from Mark.
“How’s the baby?” Caleb asks Nate, and we all crack up when the tall, tough former fighter breaks out in a goofy grin.
“Stella’s awesome.” Nate wipes his sweaty forehead on his black T-shirt and takes a long drink of water. “She’s fucking beautiful.”
“Well, look at her mother,” Mark says off-handedly as he measures out more boards, earning a raised brow from Nate.
“Have you been looking at her mother?” Nate asks, and we all glance at each other, trying to hold our laughter in.
“Sure, I mean—” Mark suddenly stops and frowns and then looks at Nate. “Dude, not like that. It’s Jules, for fuck sake.”
“I’m well aware of who Stella’s mother is,” Nate replies with a chuckle. “And you’re right. She’s gorgeous, so it makes sense that I’ll have my hands full with Stella.”
“This family is good at producing beautiful babies,” Isaac agrees.
“I find it a bit disturbing that there are no women around and we’re talking about babies,” Will says. “Shouldn’t we be talking about sex and cars and football?”
“If you talk about sex,” Leo begins, “you’ll be talking about my sister, and that’s not okay.”
“How are things with Meredith?” I ask Mark, steering the conversation away from sex and babies.