Fire amp brimstone, p.31
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       Fire & Brimstone, p.31
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         Part #8 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson

  “Probably,” Lucifer murmured in agreement as he gazed down at her.

  “Are you mad?” she asked, hooking her fingers in his belt loops so that she could pull him closer.

  “Furious,” he said with a smile as he picked her up and set her down on her feet.

  “You seem it,” she said, going up on her toes so that she could give him a quick kiss on the cheek.

  “I am,” he promised her, taking her hand into his and gave it a gentle tug that had her following him as he led her to the dance floor.

  “Where are you taking me, sir?” she asked, loving that sexy grin of his as he continued to walk backwards, taking her with him.

  “Are you scared?” he asked in a teasing tone as he pulled her into his arms.

  “Petrified,” she returned with a laugh as she moved in close to her husband so that she could wrap her arms around his shoulders and lose herself in his arms.

  “You do seem to scare easily,” he noted as he wrapped his arms around her and began moving them around in their own little space on the crowded dance floor.

  “What can I say,” she said with a forlorn sigh as she moved in closer to him, “you are a frightening man.”

  “I know,” he said, chuckling as he leaned down and kissed her.

  “So,” she said against his lips, “where have you been all day?”

  “Did you miss me?” he asked, pulling back far enough so that he could look at her while they talked.

  “A little,” she said with a heartfelt sigh.

  “Only a little?” he asked, maneuvering them around a few of his cousins who were dancing with their wives.

  “Mmmhmm,” she murmured, leaning up to kiss him again. “So, where were you?”

  “Talking to a realtor with my Uncle Jared about buying the back lot so that we can expand the bar and dinning area,” he said, taking her by surprise.

  “We’re expanding?” she asked, more than a little surprised.

  “Mmmhmm, we’re going to need a bigger kitchen and then of course since you keep filling the place to capacity with a long line waiting around the block we figured that it would probably be for the best if we expanded,” he said, looking pleased as he rewarded her with another kiss.

  “Is this what you want?” she asked, worried that she might have rushed him into something that he wasn’t ready for.

  He nodded, leaning in to kiss her just as the first few chords of her favorite song began to play. But, instead of kissing her he leaned in close so that his lips were next to her ear as he began singing along with Sam Hunt. His voice was deeper, but God, could he sing.

  She closed her eyes and held onto him as he continued to sing along with “Take Your Time,” loving this man more than she ever thought possible. He continued to sing for her ears only as he moved them around to the music as she lost herself in his arms, deciding that after this song they were going to have to go have a “Meeting,” about this renovation and maybe if he was lucky, she’d pull out her clipboard.

  *-*-*-*

  “How far along are you?” the middle-aged woman currently wrestling with a toddler, asked with a warm smile that helped calm her down a bit.

  Well, it really didn’t, but she was willing to pretend that it did if it helped her get through this. Forcing a smile on her face, she said, “Six months,” still wondering why she’d taken so long to tell him.

  Granted, the fact that she really couldn’t stand him probably had something to do with it, but there was also the fact that she was in way over her head on this one. Maybe she should have let Rebecca come with her. At least if Rebecca was here she wouldn’t have to worry about Aidan’s reaction, because her best friend would be there for her, ready to slap the crap out of him if he made her cry.

  Oh, God…

  What if she cried?

  She couldn’t do this. No, definitely not today. Maybe tomorrow would be better, she thought as she grabbed her bag and decided that an email should suffice. She’d use a friendly font, double spaces and a casual tone and let him know that in three months he was going to be the proud daddy of a bouncing baby boy that was causing her to eat everything in sight.

  Worrying her bottom lip, she shot a glance at the door and wondered if she had time to grab a burger before she met Rebecca for lunch. She could always ask Lucifer to whip her up one while she waited for Rebecca to finish her paper, she decided as she threw her bag over her shoulder and started to make her way to the door, wondering if he’d be willing to whip up a fried egg and bacon to go along with her burger.

  If he was willing to do that and had the eggs out anyway, maybe he’d be willing to make her pancakes as well. God, she could really go for some pancakes right about-

  “Melanie?” a very friendly looking nurse said as she stepped into the waiting room, “Dr. Bradford is ready to see you now.”

  The Arrival of Darrin and Marybeth’s Babies

  An R.L. Mathewson Chronicle

  “Oh my God!” Zoe gasped in pain as she slapped her hand down hard on the kitchen island, leaned over and groaned as the contraction that she was pretending wasn’t happening nearly knocked her on her beautiful ass.

  “Everything okay, sweetheart?” Trevor asked casually as he leaned back in his chair, glad the kids were at their Uncle Jared’s so that they wouldn’t have to witness this sad display of bullshit.

  Slapping a smile on her face, Zoe said, “Yes, yes of course it is.”

  “Uh huh,” he said with a heavy sigh as he watched the stubborn woman take a deep breath, try to stand up only to lean back down, all while throwing him that tightlipped smile that really said it all.

  “Do you want to eat now or wait until the barbeque?” she asked, clearly hoping to distract him with the promise of food.

  “We can grab something at the hospital,” he said, deciding that this little charade of hers had gone on long enough.

  “Why…” she started to say only to let her words trail off with a gasp as she grabbed onto the edge of the counter and tried to breathe through the next contraction.

  “Fucking unbelievable,” he muttered as he stood up and pulled his phone out of his back pocket so that he could send Darrin a text message, letting him know that it was time.

  “I’m fine!” the adorable little liar that was practically falling over thanks to that large belly that he swore was bigger than her, snapped, apparently dead set on pissing him off today.

  “Let’s go,” he said, wrapping his arm around her body so that he could hold onto her as he helped her to the car.

  “No, I’m fine,” she argued even as she settled against him and allowed him to guide her towards the garage door.

  Thank God Marybeth had insisted on taking care of Zoe’s bag. It was normally something that he handled when Zoe was pregnant and usually ended up screwing up when it came time to go to the hospital. This time she was carrying his cousin’s children and the only thing he had to focus on was his wife.

  It was a relief, but it was also pure hell, because for the past few months he’d been struggling not to grow attached to the babies that she was carrying. They weren’t his and he knew that, but it was difficult to feel that way when he held her at night and could feel the babies move against his arm or when he simply looked at her. He loved being a father and would give anything to fall asleep with a baby curled up in his arms one more time.

  Then again, with three babies that would mean three times the feedings, changing more diapers, chasing after them as well as three times as many nervous breakdowns. He didn’t miss sleepless nights, going into work in the morning only to realize that he was covered in spit-up, or realizing that he’d accidentally grabbed a bottle of breast milk instead of his thermos.

  He sighed as he helped her through the garage door and into his SUV. This time, he was going to be able to enjoy all the fun stuff with the babies and none of the soul crushing duties that came with being the parents of triplets. This really might not be so bad after all, he realized as he
carefully closed her door.

  “I’m fine. Really,” the little fibber said as he climbed in the car.

  “And the contractions?” he asked, cocking a brow as he waited for her latest line of bullshit that she was going to use to try getting out to of going to the hospital, because she was determined to put off pushing three babies from her body until it was absolutely necessary.

  Not that he could blame her, because he really couldn’t, but it had to be done and they both knew it.

  “They’re just stomach cramps from working out,” she bit out.

  “Working out?” he asked, wondering if she was referring to the times when she had to wiggle, shimmy and roll to her side to get off the couch.

  “Yes! Working out!” she snapped a bit angrily as she glared at him, getting that look in her eye that she always got just before she gave birth.

  She wanted to go for his balls.

  Great, he thought dryly as he started the car and pulled out of the garage. This was just what he needed today, he thought just as the screaming began…

  *-*-*-*

  “Would you stop screaming so I can focus?” Duncan snapped, when the selfish bastard let out another bloodcurdling scream.

  “My hand’s broken, you insensitive bastard!” Trevor bitched as Zoe, who was trying to breathe through the next contraction, tightened her grip around Trevor’s disturbingly swollen and bruised hand and tried to bite back a scream.

  A few seconds later, still panting heavily, Zoe said, “I’m fine. Really,” making them both roll their eyes, because this was just getting really fucking old.

  “You’re not fine, Zoe. You’re in labor,” he explained, deciding that it was time to put the backseat down and help her get comfortable, because there was no way that they were going to make it to the hospital in time.

  “Where the hell are you going?” Trevor asked with hint of desperation in his voice.

  Not that Duncan could blame him, not when Zoe kept glaring at him in that terrifying way. As he made his way to the back and popped the hatch, he couldn’t help but wonder if Necie was going to try to kill him when they had their first child. He couldn’t really see his sweet, somewhat accident-prone wife trying to go for his balls, but then again, things could change when you had to push a nine pound Bradford out.

  “What the hell’s taking so long?” Trevor snapped, and he knew that Trevor was more worried about his wife than his hand.

  Bradfords cherished their wives no matter how much they wanted to throttle them. He’d do anything for his wife, absolutely anything and Trevor was no different. He’d take the pain that Zoe was dishing out and then some as long as she safe.

  “Dad’s waiting for her at the hospital,” Reese announced as he strolled past him to check on Zoe.

  “She’s not going to make it to the hospital,” Duncan said, damn near sighing in relief that his brother had shown up.

  Not that he would tell the bastard that, but they were looking at a triple delivery here and he was going to need someone with training to help him. Reese’s training wasn’t as extensive as his, but it would be enough to help him bring these three babies safely into the world.

  “What the hell’s going on?” Jason, the cousin that took great pride in fucking with everyone’s head, asked as he joined him at the back of the SUV. Without being asked, Jason started unloading the back and put everything out of the way.

  “She’s in labor,” Duncan explained as they put the backseat down.

  “What do you need?” Jason asked, reminding him why he liked the annoying bastard so much.

  “Towels, sheets, water, anything that you can find to clean these babies and keep them warm,” he said, joining Reese, who was trying to distract Zoe with cheesy jokes.

  “Ready?” Duncan asked as he reached for Zoe.

  Nodding, Reese took Zoe’s other hand in his and together they helped her out of the front seat. Before her feet had to get a chance to touch the ground they were carrying her. For a second, he thought about bringing her back into the house, but the scream that she released told him exactly how much time they had.

  “Should we put her on the ground?” Reese asked as Trevor jumped into the backseat and positioned himself to hold his wife.

  “No, there’s no time,” he said, having absolutely no doubt that they were minutes from welcoming the next generation of Bradfords.

  God help them all.

  “We need more help,” Jason said as he came outside. “I’ve got everything set up inside, but there’s no way that I’m going to be able to handle three babies on my own.”

  “Helps already here,” Darrin said with Marybeth by his side, looking happier than he’d ever seen his brother.

  “Oh my God,” Marybeth said, who was incidentally looking more terrified than he’d ever seen her and that was saying a lot since she’d grown up around them.

  “Hey, beautiful,” Darrin said with a warm smile as he carefully joined Zoe and Trevor in the back. While Trevor sat behind Zoe, Darrin took the side position and took Zoe’s hand into his. “How are you holding up?” he asked, raising their hands so that he could kiss the back of hers.

  “I-I’m sorry, Darrin, but I don’t think that I can do this after all,” Zoe said, sounding frantic as she shook her head, obviously having second thoughts.

  “I’m afraid that it’s a little late to change your mind,” Trevor whispered, kissing his wife’s cheek.

  “No, it’s not!” Zoe screamed while another contraction took over as Duncan carefully positioned her legs.

  “I will never forget this,” Darrin swore against the back of her hand. “Never.”

  Zoe licked her dry lips as she sat there, trying to breathe through the pain. “Can we possibly renegotiate the terms of our deal?”

  Darrin chuckled softly as he pressed another kiss against the back of her hand. “Anything you want.”

  “O-okay,” she said, gasping through the pain.

  “What do you want, sweetheart?” Darrin asked as Duncan glanced over his shoulder and spotted Marybeth, standing there, pale as a ghost and looking seconds away from becoming his next patient.

  He looked for Jason and when he found him, he nodded towards the woman now swaying in the driveway. With a nod, Jason walked over and swept Marybeth up into his arms.

  “She’s fine,” he promised Darrin, who looked torn between helping his wife and staying where he was to witness the birth of his children.

  “We’re having babies,” Marybeth mumbled in a daze, making him chuckle, because he’d honestly thought that Darrin would have been the one to lose it.

  “Yes, yes you are,” Jason said, nodding in agreement as he carried the pale mother-to-be inside.

  “I-I call godmother,” Zoe said, groaning in pain as she shifted to get more comfortable.

  Darrin chuckled. “It’s already yours.”

  “A-and I wanna be there for all the big stuff,” she said, licking her lips again as she struggled through another contraction. “If that’s okay,” she added, obviously worried about crossing the line, but they were Bradfords and she should know better by now.

  “That was an automatic,” Darrin said with a smile as he reached over and swept away a few wet strands of hair out of her face.

  “And we get first dibs on babysitting,” Trevor threw in with an expression that told Duncan just how hard this was going to be for him to step aside and let these babies go.

  Smiling, Darrin nodded. “Done.”

  “Oh, no,” Zoe whispered just as the first baby decided to make an appearance.

  “Time to bring these babies into the world,” Duncan said as Reese stepped up next to him, holding a large white towel, ready for the first baby.

  Zoe screamed as Trevor held her, struggling not scream with her as a she squeezed his badly damaged hand. Darrin did surprising better than Trevor, but that was probably because he was distracted by his first child being born and all.

  “Oh my God,” he whispered, smi
ling hugely when the first baby was born.

  “Baby girl,” Duncan said, making sure the baby was breathing before clipping the umbilical cord and carefully handing the baby over to Reese.

  One down, two to go…

  “The boys will be next,” Darrin said, mostly to himself as he
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