Unedited Refrain Excerpt
©2019 Anne Mercier
I’m hopeful for a
world with more
love, acceptance, and
compassion for others.
Linc?” Kadi prompts.
remember the day I wanted to ask you a question, but you had to go training
with Jabber Jaws?”
I laugh out
loud. Best nickname ever. Jabs is gonna never live this one down.
“Can I ask them
you want to go in another room?”
her head, considering. “No. I think here is okay.”
She takes a
seat across from me at the breakfast table. The table is no more than a very
long picnic table with long moveable benches.
at that. The kid’s barely seven and she dances like a pro.
day, I saw you and Uncle Ethan kissing.” She quickly turns to her dad, Jace,
and says, “I swear I wasn’t spying.”
an okay and, holy fuck, just what has that girl seen? More than a few of us
Summer says you’re only supposed kiss like that if you love someone a whole
love Uncle Ethan a whole lot?”
me sideways. Except for Ethan choking on a bite of waffle, not a sound can be
heard. We haven’t even had much of a discussion. I pat him on the back, so he
doesn’t choke. We just got used to saying, “I love you”. It’s not awkward or
weird. Why would it be? We’ve been in love with each other for years, though we
didn’t say it much until I moved here. I don’t know why.
in case we’d never be together.
I run a
hand over my face and chuckle. “Nothing like putting your Uncle Linc on the
stares at me. Waiting for an answer.
I love Ethan a whole lot.”
like you love Jesse or love-love like Daddy loves Summer?”
I give Jace
a glance and he’s over there grinning like the tool he is. I point at him. He’s
just been put on notice.
love-love,” I tell her, looking at Ethan and giving him a wink. He’s next to me
nervous as fuck, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. I hope the wink set him
at ease. He hates being in the spotlight.
does that work? Can two boys get married?” she asks.
mercy on my soul, this kid,” I mumble as I drop my forehead to the table and
roll it back and forth.
my head up with her tiny hands, pulling my skin and hair back. Jace laughs out
loud and Summer coughs to cover hers. The rest of the family, well, they’re
trying not to be loud, but I can hear them laughing.
I sit up
and look down the table at them. “At least Summer had the decency to try to
hide her laugh. Fuckers.”
at me with dollar signs in her eyes, and I point at her.
kid. That’s a freebie. You’re asking me some pretty hard questions here. I get
some freebies,” I tell her.
“But you didn’t answer.”
men can get married. They just adjusted the law a few years ago,” I tell her.
She climbs up onto the table top and sits cross-legged in front of me. Just
staring. I don’t want to know what’s coming next. This kid kinda scares me.
love Ethan a whole lot and he loves you a whole lot, why aren’t you married?”
Kadi asks with a smile.
his juice out and it hits Jace in the face. Serves the fucker right for letting
his girl keep on like she is.
just full of questions today,” Lucy asks with a snicker.
but it wasn’t even a question. She’s the one who has all the questions.
“Kadi, we just haven’t talked about getting married yet.”
not if you’re in love? Weddings are romantic. I could be your Best Girl—you
know, instead of a best man.”
help but laugh. She’s relentless. “When the time comes, Tiny Dancer, you’ll be
my Best Girl. I promise.”
still choking on the juice he swallowed wrong at the word “married” so I pat
him on the back.
blame him? I’ve been keeping things to myself, keeping him at a distance, and
he really has no clue how I feel about things, about the future. For that
matter, neither do I. Looks like we’ll have to have a talk later.
at me with a twinkle in her eye.
I’m outta here,” I mutter, getting up and leaving the kitchen. I hear everyone
laughing behind me. I turn and meet Ethan’s gaze. He’s smirking in that sexy
way he does, and I smile back.
freebie, Kadi,” he tells her, and I send him a wink before I head to the gym.
fucking hell. Everyone’s worried about Kiki aka the She-Devil. Not me. Hell no.
I’m more worried about Kadi the Inquisitor. That kid. She’s going to be the
death of me. I know it.