One Night with a SEAL(9)

By: Tawny Weber & Beth Andrews


“You forgot head of the reunion   committee,” Mike said, dimples flashing as he grinned. “Dude, you really should think about stepping it up and doing something for your community.”

“You really should think about kissing his butt,” injected Kyle Daley as he joined them. “Like a SEAL needs your advice on anything besides how to pick out a tie?”

“The only advice you have is how to look pretty,” Mike shot back as Zane greeted Kyle with the same back-thumping hello.

“Yo, Zane,” Joe Beck called out as he wove his way through the thickening crowd. “About time you came back to entertain us.”

“Where’s Xander?” Kyle asked, grabbing a chair with one hand, gesturing for a beer with the other.

“He’ll be here. What about Lenny?” Zane wondered, looking around for the last member of the group of guys he and Xander had run with since grade school. “I thought he was joining us.”

“He’ll be here. He got stuck working the afternoon shift at the gas station.”

“What happened to his job at the power plant?”

“Lost it.” Joe grimaced as he pulled up his own chair. “His old lady kicked him out, too. He’s renting that apartment over the bakery, trying to get back on his feet.”

“Over the bakery? I thought your sister lived up there.” Zane shot a look at Mike, whose parents owned the bakery.

“She does, but there are two apartments up there.” Mike shrugged. “This way Lenny’s got a place he can afford and Viv isn’t on her own.”

“Still playing overprotective big brother? Aren’t you worried about letting a dog like Len loose around your baby sister?”

The three men laughed, Mike’s sounding a little forced.

“Lenny’s scared of Vivian,” Kyle explained. Before he could elaborate, Zane’s brother sauntered into the pub. As the others called out greetings, Zane eyed his twin.

Yeah, he could see why Dianne claimed Xander was a gentleman. Nobody would mistake them for brothers, but while Xander looked just as capable of kicking serious ass, he was approachable. And approach they did, especially the women.

Relaxing now that his back was covered, Zane started on his second beer and prepared to have a good time. Life was always good when Xander was around.

An hour and two pitchers of beer later, the six of them had commandeered the pool table. Par for the course, the insults were flying right along with the laughter.

“Whew, I’d like to take her out,” Lenny said, watching a stacked blonde saunter past them toward the ladies’ room. “She’s turned me down four times, though. But she’s giving you the do-me look, Xander. You gonna go for it?”

Xander glanced over, noted the hot inspection the blonde was giving him and the invitation in her eyes, then turned back to the pool table.

“Nope. Zane went out with her a few years ago.”

“So?”

“Bennett brothers don’t share,” Joe reminded the others. “Remember? Any chick one of them does—dates, I mean,” he corrected at Xander’s arch look, “is on the other’s do-not-touch list.”

“Is that why the two of you live on opposite coasts? To keep the field clear for the other?”

“No. It’s so we can spread the joy of the Bennett brothers around. Our little favor to womankind,” Zane joked.

“Methinks it’s challenge time,” Kyle said, draining his fourth beer and reaching for the pitcher.

“Haven’t you grown up yet?” Xander asked, his attention on the table as he executed a wicked bank shot.

“C’mon, it’s tradition.”

“He’s got a point,” Kyle remarked from his position at the table, feet propped on an empty chair as he waited to play the winner. “We’ve been issuing challenges since second grade when Joe dared the two of you to jump off the dugout to see who could land closest to the pitcher’s mound.”

“Or Mike’s cookie challenge. The one where Xander beat you by eating four-dozen snickerdoodles.”

“Four dozen and two,” Xander corrected from the pool table. “Zane upchucked at forty-nine.”

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