I had the great pleasure to be invited by the Thornes to their house for breakfast. As I arrived, a toe-curling whiff of cinnamon-y goodness shot straight up my nose and into the addiction center of my brain the second Summer Thorne opened the massive mahogany door Preston Thorne had found during his travels some years ago.
“Dear GAWD, woman! Is that smell what I think it is?” I blurted.
Her light laughter rang out, and she gave me the hug of an old friend. Perhaps she recognized I’m spastic and had an ingrained love of everything with fur.
Summer gestured for me to kick my shoes off in the foyer and follow her. Yep! Winnie made her cinnamon rolls for the occasion.”
“Can I live here? Pretty please with frosting on top? I promise I won’t take up much space.”
Again, she laughed. “Come meet the family.”
I’d pictured the Thornes a million times in my mind, but none of my imaginings could do justice to the group.
Summer was fresh, bright, and caring.
Winnie, the homebody of the family, moved around the kitchen with the grace a style of a ballroom dancer; light-footed, yet quick with her hands fluttering about.
Spring, who had already been sitting at the table, looked at me with a curious but shrewd gaze.
I glanced around the small kitchen to appease my own curiosity. While it had an element of old world charm with the rustic cabinets, the appliances were all top of the line. I eyed the double oven with envy. Oh, the croissants I could bake in those bad boys!
“In the attic, spying on Holly and Quentin. She views the scrying mirror as her own personal Hallmark channel.” Winnie’s dry tone wasn’t lost on me. I knew enough about Autumn to know her snarky, rough persona covered a die-hard romantic.
“Will they be joining us?” I was only human and wanted to catch a glimpse of the drool-worthy Quentin Buchanan.
Spring shot me a knowing smile and shook her head. “I’m afraid not today.”
“Knox?” I asked, hopefully.
Her musical laugher rang out. I took that as a no. Damn.
Less than a minute later, Winnie set a dinner-plate-sized cinnamon roll in front of me, and I forgot all about my obsession with their men. “Holy shitballs! Is this all for me?”
I may have had to wipe a little spittle from the side of my mouth when I saw the icing ooze over the golden sides.
“All yours,” Winnie confirmed with a soft smile.
Right before I made a glutton of myself, I had to ask, “Is there a chance Alastair will be dropping by?” I didn’t want to take the risk of him seeing me at my worst and shoving my face into this carb-loaded piece of heaven.
“I don’t think so.” Summer reached around me to rip off a section of the roll for herself. I curbed my desire to stab her with a fork and growl like a wolf over its fresh kill. “He’s meddling into Holly’s and Quentin’s relationship. That mess is going to require all his attention for the time being.”
I loved her honesty. I knew a little about their aborted romance and rocky relationship. “Should I ask my questions now or wait until after we’ve pigged out?”
“Go ahead and ask away.” Winnie joined us at the table and picked up her tea cup.
But I couldn’t, because the first taste of her baking hit my tongue and my eyes rolled so far back in my head, I’m sure I saw my own brain matter. “Fuck me, this is good!”
All three women laughed, and Summer reached forward again.
I arched a brow in her direction. “Uh, not to be ungrateful or split hairs, but didn’t she say this was all mine?”
“Hush, or I’ll set Saul and Rocco on your butt.”
At the threat of the squirrel mafia, my own wicked sense of humor kicked in. “Did Coop really overhear them planning to castrate Eddie?”
“You should’ve seen him. He was practically green when he saw Saul with that razor knife.”
Of course, I had to know, “Do things like that happen often in the animal barn?”
“With Saul and Eddie, anything is possible.” Summer snitched another piece of what had now become the community cinnamon roll. “When it isn’t them, it’s Morty.”
Because I’m in love with the idea of pet chimpanzee, I asked, “Do I get to meet the infamous Sir Mortimer in person?”
“Sure, if you don’t mind teleporting to my North Carolina residence.”
The idea of teleporting was both terrifying and cool at the same time. “As long as I’m home by dinner.”
Again, the three women laughed.
I glanced down at my notebook and skimmed through the questions I’d meant to ask. One caught my