Jessie and Joan headed to the kitchen to get supper ready and Rory followed them.
“Rory, dear, you don’t have to help.”
“I know my way around the kitchen better than I can sort through talk about cows, ranching and other McKay family members.”
“I appreciate the help.” Jessie handed her a stack of plates and a basket of silverware from the dishwasher. “Here you go. The placemats are on the sideboard.”
Rory had just put the last fork in place when a little person wearing a helmet smacked into the back of her legs. “Ouch.”
“Jackson McKay,” a female voice said sharply. “You apologize to Rory right now.”
A muffled, “Sorry,” came from inside the helmet. Then he ran off.
“Sorry about that,” Georgia said. “Terrible twos are not a myth.”
“Are you feeling better?” Rory asked.
“Some. I get woozy at night for some reason instead of in the morning.”
Rory’s gaze briefly dropped to Georgia’s belly. “When are you due?”
“About four months, so I’ve got a ways to go. How are you? I was surprised to hear you were back here, working for…?”
“The Wyoming Natural Resources Coalition.”
“How’s that going?”
Sucks ass most days wasn’t a proper dinner party response. “It’s okay.”
“Your mom’s gotta be happy you’re back.”
“She is. Although she’s not around as much as she used to be. She’s traveling with Gavin, which I’m happy to see.”
“I imagine you hear from Sierra a lot more than we do.”
“Not as much as I did before she turned twenty-one,” Rory said dryly. “But we keep in touch.”
“She was such a great cheerleader. I wish she would’ve cheered on the college level.”
“Yeah, well, Sierra is out to make her mark in the business world. Like father like daughter.”
“No doubt. Do you remember her BFF Marin?”
Rory nodded. “I always liked Marin. What’s she up to?”
“After high school Marin got her CNA and kept working at the nursing home in Hulett. She saw the residents having problems with sore spots from their wheelchair armrests so she started making covers for them. Her demand got so high, from other nursing homes that she couldn’t keep up with the orders. Sierra told Marin to quit her job and turn her sideline into a business.” Georgia looked over her shoulder then back at Rory. “This isn’t common knowledge, but Sierra became Marin’s business partner. She fronted the money for more sewing machines, material, supplies and another fulltime employee. Within a year Marin had four employees and office space in Hulett. Now’s she’s got a catalog and gets orders from all over the world.”
Seemed like her little sister had been keeping some pretty big secrets from her. “Sierra told you about it?”
“Only because I did some marketing for their company. I’m so proud of both those girls.”
“Me too. Although I’ll admit I didn’t have a clue.”
“I suspected you didn’t. Sierra’s got a lot going on, most of it on the down low. But she did mention to me at the last McKay gathering that she’d just bought a few rental properties here and there. Probably to prove something to her dad, the real estate mogul, but I don’t know why she’d need to. She’s definitely a chip off the old block.”
It bothered her that Sierra had kept her in the dark about so many things in her life. Then again, Rory had been moping for the past few months and wasn’t much fun to talk to anyway. She smiled at Georgia. “Is it possible to have step-sibling rivalry at my age? That girl is making me feel like a slacker.”
Georgia laughed. “You’re Rielle’s kid. I’m pretty sure you’ve never been a slacker a day in your life.”
“Supper’s on,” Joan trilled.
The guys wandered in from the living room.
Dalton’s hands landed on her shoulders. He whispered, “Doin’ all right?”
“Doing great.” She turned and kissed his cheek, but the sneaky man turned it into a real kiss.
Landon said, “Eww, gross Uncle Dalton. We’re just about to eat!”
He smiled at Rory before he looked at his mother. “Where do you want us to sit?”
“You? At the kids’ table in the kitchen,” Brandt said and ducked when Dalton tried to swat him on the back of the head.
“I oughta make you sit at the kids’ table, Brandt, since half of the kids are yours,” his mother pointed out.
Brandt put his hand on Jessie’s stomach and kissed her cheek. “Soon to be more than half.”
Holy crap. Jessie was pregnant too? Rory had considered ditching the condoms with Dalton since she was on the pill, but seeing these virile McKay males? Now she had half a mind to demand that Dalton double bag his dick—just to be safe.
“We’re on the end,” Dalton said, leading her to the chairs and pulling one out for her.
Jessie and Georgia exchanged an amused look.
Settled in, Rory tried to catch all the byplays between Dalton and his brothers, but she kept getting distracted. Dalton’s hand on her thigh might’ve been part of it.
“So what did you guys do today?” Joan asked. “Anything fun?”
Well, it was fun when your son fucked me senseless first thing this morning. Then it was really fun after we finished painting and he fucked me in the shower.
Rory was saved from answering when Dalton launched into a lengthy explanation of how much prep work each room entailed.
When she looked up, Jessie’s lips quirked in a knowing smile.
After supper Dalton asked, “Jess, is it okay if I give Rory a quick tour of the house?”
“Beware of opening the door to the laundry room. The pile of dirty clothes might cause an avalanche and bury you alive.”
Dalton held her hand and towed her behind him. “After Casper gave Brandt and Jessie this place, they gutted part of it and added on. They took Mom’s suggestions since she’d spent years in a small kitchen with a large family.” They cut down a short hallway. “The back half of the kitchen, the laundry room, another main floor bathroom, the master bedroom and bath is all new.”
She poked her head into the bedroom. “Nice. It’s cool they have their own adult space. I loved that about my mom’s house too. The little pockets of privacy.”
He brought her back through the living room where Joan, Jessie and Georgia were in a hushed discussion that ended the instant they saw Dalton and Rory.
Another weird thing that Dalton didn’t notice, or if he did, he didn’t comment on.
They paused in the doorway that bisected the hallway.
Rory looked at the doors. “Which room was yours growing up?”
“Does it matter? It doesn’t look the same.”
“It’s probably a lot cleaner,” she teased.
“Doubtful. The place where I used to lay my head is now Brandt’s office. He used to be such a slob.” Dalton opened the door in the middle of the hallway. “This is it.”
Rory shouldered past him and entered the room. “This is twice as big as my tiny bedroom growing up in the cabin.”
“Tell and I shared this room.”
“Did you have bunk beds?”
“For a while.”
“What was it like, sharing a room?”
Dalton walked past her, toward the window. “I didn’t know different. I was the kid who never wanted to be by himself. I hated it when Tell got his own place. Probably why I moved out as soon as I could.”
Rory slid her hands up his back as he stared out the window, lost in a memory.
“I’m glad this room isn’t the same,” he said after a bit. “It’s like that part of my life never existed.”
“You sure you never snuck girls in here?”
“Never. Fantasized about it.” He laughed softly. “Went through a whole bunch of tissues during those wet-dream type of fantasies.”
She kissed the base of his neck. “Would you’ve told me to get lost if I’d knocked on your window when I was sixteen?”
“Fuck no. I would’ve tempted Casper’s wrath and let you in.”
“So then we would’ve…what? Rolled around on top of the covers?”
Then Dalton spun around and pushed her against the door. “Oh yeah. I would’ve dry humped you at least twice.”
Rory rested her wrists on his shoulders. “Then what?”
“Given my lack of sex ed at age eighteen? I would’ve wowed you with some sloppy kisses, groped your tits and tried to shove my hand down your pants.” He paused. “Oh right. That sounds exactly like what happened between us in the truck. So sugarplum, you’ve already had the underwhelming teenage Dalton McKay experience—why would you ever wanna repeat it?”
“I have to admit I much prefer the recent Dalton McKay experience.”
“That right?” He bent his head to kiss her neck. “Which one in particular?”
“Hard to choose because there are so many. But looking back to last night and how you teased me when you still had your jeans on, there was something very sexy about getting off—or almost getting off—when you’re clothed.”
“That’s what I wanted,” he murmured against her throat. “To get you off with hardly putting my hands on you. But someone—” he bit her earlobe, “—was impatient.”
Her body tingled from that quick love bite. “So do it now,” she said. “Pretend I climbed through your bedroom window and you’re trying to convince me to roll around in the sheets with you.”
“Where’s your sense of adventure, McKay? Someone could bust in on us at any time, just like in your misspent youth when you were constantly spanking the monkey all by your lonesome.”