Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and with it the completion of the renovations to their home. None could be happier about this then Zack who can’t wait to get away from Maryanne and all her fussing.
Plans are being finalised for all four couples for the happy day. However, sleezy tradies, an over protective mother-in-law and unexpected complications throw spanners in the works.
I truly enjoyed this short. I loved catching up with the Holland Brothers and seeing how they’re doing. If you haven’t read any of the Holland Brothers books, you won’t enjoy this story since you’ll be lost. But you should definitely start with the first book in the series and read all of them. They’re worth reading through. I liked that the bonus scenes were included in case anyone hasn’t read them yet. The brothers are all happy with their family. Seeing each of the couple as they get ready for their Valentine’s celebrations was fun, and they each did something that was different. I’ll always want more from these characters but they’re all in a place where it’s not needed. It would just be a nice surprise, like this story is.
Four and a half
Zack sighed. He loved his mother-in-law, really he did. However, living with her for the last few months was starting to wear a little thin.
Since their house was currently undergoing major reconstruction, Zack, along with his mate and their daughter, and Brian, Marcus and their boys had all moved in with Maryanne and Joe.
Zack couldn’t believe how lucky that had turned out to be. There was no way he would have been able to stay home and hide himself away from all the construction workers while pregnant. He shuddered to think of what would happen if one of them should see him.
“Are you sure I can’t get you anything?” Maryanne asked him for what seemed like the thousandth time that morning.
Zack reached down and placed a hand on his swollen belly. “I’m sure. We’re just fine,” he replied.
Simon and Zack had been completely surprised by this little bundle of joy. They’d been trying for nearly six months when Hayley had sat them down and asked for a brother or sister.
After the first couple of new moons with Zack not falling pregnant, he had started to get a little worried that there might be something wrong. He and Simon had decided to keep their attempts to themselves so they could surprise the family when and if he fell pregnant, and if it didn’t happen, then he wouldn’t have to share their disappointment with everyone.
The realisation that Zack was indeed expecting came as a complete shock. Zack hadn’t been like Jason, Brian and Rick. He hadn’t had an ounce of morning sickness. He’d woken up one morning, in the room he and Simon were sharing at Maryanne and Joe’s. It was the last week of school for the year, less than two weeks till Christmas, and Zack was looking forward to the holidays. He’d started to get dressed, only to find out his favourite pair of jeans were extremely tight. Zack turned to Simon, who was also getting dressed for his day at the office.
“Do I look fat to you?” he asked.
Simon stared at him, wide-eyed. “Is that supposed to be some sort of trick question?” Simon asked him, looking Zack over warily.
Zack giggled at how careful his mate was being. “No, you smarty, my pants aren’t fitting. Do I look like I’ve put on some weight?”
Zack lifted his shirt so Simon could take in his body and twisted this way and that. Simon sucked in a breath, walked up to him and dropped to his knees. Holding Zack still, Simon leaned forward and placed a kiss against his belly. “Yes, love. It looks like you’ve put on some weight.”
Zack stared at his mate for a second before his actions clicked. “You mean…” He stared down, his hands holding his shirt rucked up under his chin, at the small protuberance he could see in his belly. “But… how? I haven’t…”
Simon kissed his stomach again and whispered, “Love you, thank you for making me the happiest man on earth. Love you too, little one. Can’t wait to meet you.”
Zack wiped at the tears gathering in his eyes, then placed one hand on the small bump and threaded the other through his mate’s silky locks.
That had been seven weeks ago, his principal, Donald Murphy, hadn’t been happy about the late notice of their supposed surrogate giving birth and Zack needing time off. Hopefully he’d given enough notice in December for his boss to find a substitute; he didn’t think it would be a problem with the six-week school holiday period. Classes were just starting back up now in the last week of January, and Zack missed his students.
Thinking about his students also made him think about something else he missed. Home. Thankfully the construction work should be finished soon, and they would all be able to go home. He loved Maryanne and Joe to bits. But the woman fussed like there was no tomorrow. He knew she did it out of love, but sometimes Zack hid in his room just to get a moment of peace and quiet.
Of course he couldn’t tell his mate that his mother was smothering him. All the Holland boys thought sun shone out of their parent’s butts, and most of the time, Zack agreed.
However, even though this was the fourth pregnancy in the family, none of the other three had had to live with Maryanne. Yes, she had visited, but she always had to leave as well. There was no leaving for either Zack or Maryanne at this time. He really couldn’t wait to get home.
“You hungry, Zack? I can make you something to eat if you’d like,” Maryanne asked as she walked back into the living room not even five minutes after she’d asked him the last time.
“I’m fine, thanks.” Just then, his stomach grumbled. Okay, maybe he was a little hungry. “A sandwich might be nice if it’s not too much trouble,” he conceded.
“No trouble at all. I’ll be back in a minute.”
It had been all right at the start of the school holidays, but as soon as he started to show more than he could reasonably cover up, Zack was confined behind closed doors.
Hayley was also missing during the day now. She had gone from a half day at kindy last year to a full school day at prep. Zack hated that he wasn’t there for his girl on her first full day at school. Simon was dropping her off in the mornings on his way to work and Maryanne picked her up in the early afternoons when school finished and brought her back. Another hour or so and Zack could see his little girl again. He missed having her around during the day. He’d gotten so used to having her right there during the school holidays.
She was growing up so damn fast. Some days he felt like he blinked and she’d changed on him. Zack knew it was all a part of growing up, but that didn’t mean he had to like it.
“Here you go, honey. You let me know if there’s anything else you need. Are you cool enough? It’s supposed to be a scorcher out there today. I can get you a fan if you like.” Maryanne handed Zack his sandwich and then immediately turned and to start looking around, for the fan, Zack assumed.
He sighed quietly. “I’m fine for the moment. Thanks for the food.” He smiled at her before taking a bite. Maryanne studied him for a second before she reluctantly nodded.
“Do you want me to turn the television on? Are you comfortable? How’re your feet today? Any swelling?”
Zack really was hard-pressed not to roll his eyes. Seriously, the woman needed to calm the hell down.
He finished chewing and swallowed his mouthful. “I’m fine, thank you. I happy here with my book.” Zack held up the iPad he was reading a book on and then placed it back on the arm of the couch. “My feet feel fine as well. Nothing Simon can’t take care of tonight when he gets back from work.”
Zack grinned mischievously and winked at Maryanne.
She chuckled, then fussed a little with her clothes. “If you’re sure.”
“I’m fine, Maryanne, truly. If I need anything, you’ll be the first person I call.”
“Good.” She smiled at him, nodded, and then thankfully left him alone.
Zack sighed in relief, turned his iPad back on and ate his sandwich. A hard kick to his stomach had him rubbing at the offending area. “I know, little one. Not long now and you too get to deal with the awesomeness that is your grandma.”
Toni Griffin lives in Darwin, the smallest of Australia’s capital cities. Born and raised in the state she’s a Territorian through and through. Growing up Toni hated english with a passion (as her editors can probably attest to) and found her strength lies with numbers.
Now, though, she loves escaping to the worlds she creates and hopes to continue to do so for many years to come. She’s a single mother of one and works full time. When she’s not writing you can just about guarantee that she will be reading one of the many MM authors she loves.
Where To Buy:
Barnes and Noble: http://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-very-holland-valentine-toni-griffin/1121221088?ean=2940150099609
Mischief Corner Books: http://mischiefcornerbooks.weebly.com/store/p75/A_Very_Holland_Valentine%3A_Holland_Brothers_6.html
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(Publishing on February 17) Multitasking Mommas
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