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Too Sweet: Chapter 21


“SO…” Toby starts when I stumble into the kitchen early Sunday morning after the restaurant manager woke me up.

It’s for the best. Theo, Logan, and Shawn decided we should start golfing again now that we own the Country Club and Logan’s no longer tending to his pregnant, bedridden wife-to-be.

“You and Mia, huh? Just so you know, I called it when she was getting her tattoo done.”

“Based on what?”

He shrugs, grinning behind a cup of coffee. “You didn’t take your eyes off her for a second, man. And you acted out of character, cautious… like you were afraid she’d disappear if you made one false move.”

I was. Mia makes a baby-deer first impression. Tiny little thing that needs tiptoeing around. It’s not really the case, though. Now that I got to know her, I realized that, despite her unapologetic femininity, she doesn’t need to be handled like a China doll.

Not that it’ll stop me.

Mia’s delicacy is what draws me in most. She’s not a princess waiting for the prince to rescue her from the tower. She wants him to lock her in there and never let anyone touch her.

“My mother used to say people who are meant to be together are like two halves of the same apple, but…” Toby muses, blowing steam off his cup. “Mia’s half a ripe raspberry, and you’re—”

“I’m a blackberry.”

A derisive snort flies past his lips. “If it’s rotting, then sure, you’re a blackberry.”

I’d flip him off if I weren’t holding two coffees and walking toward Mia’s bedroom. She’s not in bed anymore. The comforter is kicked aside, and the en suite opens seconds later.

“Morning,” she says, crossing the room barefoot and smelling like peppermint. “When did you get up?”

She hasn’t changed out of her night dress or brushed her hair, and I fucking love she feels comfortable enough around me to let me see her like this. She’s effortlessly gorgeous, and the I-woke-up-like-this look doesn’t diminish it in any way.

“About ten minutes ago.” I grip her waist, lay her on the bed, and sink into her minty mouth for a kiss. “I hope you weren’t about to come looking for me wearing this.” I tug the frilly hem, covering her ass as much as the short fabric allows. “Tell me you don’t parade the house dressed like this when Toby’s here.”

“Um… I do, but I also wear my swimsuit when he’s here. I’d say this covers more.”

I rest my forehead against hers, taking a few deep breaths to rein in my flaring temper. Just thinking about anyone seeing her in this has my psyche sputtering like a defective neon.

It’s toxic. I know it is. I’ve been trying to suffocate that flaw for years with little success.

“It upsets you to think he sees me like this…” she whispers, speaking her mind out loud, then wiggles out from under me, getting to her feet to tie a matching sky-blue silk robe around her middle. “Better?” She twirls around.

“Much better,” I agree, pulling her back on the bed. “Don’t let me get away with things like that, Mia. I’ll get it under control.”

“It’s okay, I don’t mind. Now, kiss me, and go. I believe you’re golfing with your brothers today.”

“Yeah, but I’ll pick you up later. Pack a bag. You’ll stay in my bed tonight.”


My brothers wait by the first hole when I arrive. I don’t mind golfing, but I can think of ten better ways to spend my Sunday morning. I do, however, enjoy catching up with my brothers. Before I caught Kaya cheating, we golfed every week.

Now that Logan and Shawn have kids and Theo’s about to become a dad, we decided twice a month is a safer option, but with their busy lives, we’ll drop it down to once a month soon.

“I’m telling you it’s serious!” Theo’s outraged voice cuts through the morning air. Narrowed eyes, gnashing teeth, and arms crossed over his chest: he’s pissed off. Cornered by the other two about something. “You want me to prove it?” he snaps, pointing between them. “Fine. You’ll fucking see.”

“No way it’s serious, Theo, don’t embarrass yourself,” Shawn says, startling when I drop my bag to the ground behind his back. “Hey, bro,” he drawls, his expression morphing into a cheeky grin. “Someone’s unusually cheerful this morning. Could a certain awfully young blonde you couldn’t keep your hands off last night have anything to do with it?”

“Are you still drunk?” I’m far from cheerful. In fact, a deep eleven marks my forehead because I don’t want to be here. I also know what’s coming, which isn’t helping the situation. “Go on,” I encourage them. “Get the digs out of your system. She doesn’t fit me, right?”

Theo scoffs. “Who cares? It’s not like you’re marrying her, right? Have fun, bro. She’s young, pretty, tight, and—”

A split-second rage consumes me in a blast comparable to an H-bomb. My fist whooshes back, then forth, connecting with Theo’s jaw so fast he can’t see it coming.

Even I didn’t see it coming.

He clutches his face, but I’m not done. I’m a fucking bull at a Spanish corrida, pawing the dirt, getting ready to charge, but I don’t get in his face like I want. Logan and Shawn grab my arms to hold me in place.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Shawn yells, yanking me back a step. “What was that for?”

“He knows exactly what it was for.”

Theo lifts his hand, cringing when he touches his split lip, annoyed, amused, and apologetic as he looks me over. He was the one putting me back together after Kaya cheated. The one getting drunk with me until I stopped feeling betrayed and realized I should be thankful she was gone from my life.

By the look of him, he might have some sort of understanding of my paranoia.

He wipes the trickle of blood, glancing between Logan and Shawn with a smile. “Told you he’s fucking serious about her.”

Fuck. He’s absolutely mental. “You were trying to prove a point?” I ask, my jaw tight. “I could’ve knocked your teeth out!”

“You’d pay for new ones. You know I didn’t mean it, right? I just wanted to see if you’d snap.”

I shouldn’t snap. It’s not normal that I lose my temper faster than I can form a coherent thought.

Theo comes over, patting my back. “We good?”

“Yeah, we’re good. Next time you want to know something, ask the question.” I trail off, calming down slowly. There’s nothing new or extraordinary in my reaction. I was far worse when I was with Kaya, but… “Fuck, I need to get myself sorted. I can’t lose my temper like that around Mia.”

“True that.” Theo hands me a driver. “I don’t think she’ll handle your outbursts. We need to get to the root of this and fix the problem ASAP.”

“You want to psychoanalyze me?” I ask, looking over my shoulder at the sound of an approaching cart. “I’ll make it work, Theo. I’m fine.”

“Fucking peachy. My face proves that.” He points to his swollen lip. “You still got a decent shot. It hurts like a motherfucker.”

“Don’t say shit about my girl, and you won’t be in pain.”


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