“Five, four, three, two—”
It’s show time. Time to tape another episode of my cable cooking program Howlin’ Good. I’ve been hosting the show for years and there’s never a dull moment—especially when my cousins and college friends join me on the set. Since Manny, Magnum, Percy, and Jagger forget that Howlin’ Good is supposed to be family-friendly, their guest appearances always require a seven-second tape delay—and even that’s not always enough.
As much as I enjoy clowning around with the fellas, my favorite co-host is my beautiful wife Reese. From the moment we met, I knew she was special. When she auditioned to become my apprentice, having her beside me felt so damn right it scared me. Looking back now, it’s hard to believe we got off to such a rocky start. Reese makes me happier than I ever thought I could be. She and our daughter, Savannah, mean everything to me. They’ve made me a better husband, a better father, a better man.
Yesterday Marcus, Samara, and the kids came over for dinner. Since we live so close to them, we see them practically every day and often get together for double dates and family outings. You haven’t been to an amusement park until you’ve gone with the entire Wolf Pack. We roll deep.
Anyway, after dinner, Marcus and I were sitting on the deck overlooking the backyard. Sipping cold beers, we watched as Matthew and Malcolm chased each other across the lawn while Reese and Samara leisurely strolled along with Savannah and Milan strapped to their chests.
Chilling beside Marcus, I was reminded of the way Dad and Uncle Stan used to sit on Mama Wolf’s porch and watch us play football during those fun summer trips to Savannah.
As if he’d read my mind, Marcus suddenly looked at me and laughed. “Guess we’ve become old fogies, too.”
I laughed. “Guess so.”
Marcus grinned. After observing our wives and children another moment, he sighed contentedly. “Life’s good, isn’t it, Mike?”
I smiled at my brother. “Damn good.”
And it is.
Don’t get me wrong. Nobody’s life is perfect. But after everything Marcus and I went through growing up, we know how truly blessed we are to have Reese and Samara in our lives.
We’re also grateful that Dad has someone special to share his life with. We were shocked when he and Asha first hooked up, and we had our doubts that she could make Dad happy. But we had no reason to worry because they clearly belong together.
Mom and Grant, on the other hand…Let me just stop right there. Because I honestly don’t want to contemplate the state of Mom and Grant’s relationship. I don’t want to believe that Mom regrets leaving us to marry a man she no longer loves. I don’t want to be dragged back into the past.
Dad, Marcus and I have finally found peace and closure. Nothing else matters. Period.
After taping the newest episode of Howlin’ Good, I head over to my restaurant. There’s a good lunch crowd, which always pleases me.
Later that evening, I’m alone in the kitchen cleaning up. I sent everyone home because it was a long ass day and they were exhausted. Normally I go home well before closing time, but today we hosted some VIP guests, so I stuck around to make sure everything went smoothly.
I’ve just finished sweeping the floor when Reese sneaks up behind me and slides her arms around my chest.
I smile, my body instantly heating. “Mmm,” I murmur teasingly. “Who’s this?”
“Who do you think?” Reese sputters with mock indignation. “And you’d better not say one of your waitresses, or it’s gonna be a misunderstanding!”
Laughing, I drop the broom, then turn around and kiss Reese. Sighing with pleasure, she wraps her arms around my neck and slips her warm tongue into my mouth, making me groan. I can never get enough of kissing my wife.
“How was your day?” she asks during our tongue foreplay.
“Good.” My hands slide under her blouse to caress her soft skin. “How was yours?”
“Long. Tiring.” As much as Reese enjoys practicing medicine, she often feels torn between the conflicting demands of her career and motherhood. Like me, she wants to be there for every step our daughter takes, every word she speaks, every discovery she makes. She’s so amazing with Savvy. I couldn’t have asked for a more loving, nurturing mother for our child.
As Reese gently sucks my bottom lip, I lift her onto the table—the very same table where we made love for the first time.
“Mmm,” Reese purrs with a smile. “Lord Jesus, it’s a fire!”
We both laugh at the little joke.
As I trail kisses along her throat, she shivers and closes her eyes, letting her head fall back. I smile wickedly.
“Sweetheart,” I whisper.
“Yes?” she whispers back.
“I think Savannah needs a baby brother.”
Reese is already unbuckling my belt. “I couldn’t agree more…”