Your Fierce Love (The Bennett Family)By: Layla Hagen
Blake & Clara ~ The Bennett Family, Book 7
“To another Bennett wedding,” I exclaim, clinking my glass against my baby sister’s. Summer sips champagne, her gaze scanning the packed venue. Our sister Alice got married today, and almost three hundred guests are in attendance. Weddings are big affairs in our family.
“Look at them. They’re so happy.” Watching Nate and Alice, Summer sighs, a dreamy expression on her face.
“You’re daydreaming about your own wedding, aren’t you? I bet you already know where you want to do it.”
“Don’t be silly. I know the theme and type of dress too.” She grins, tapping a finger to her right temple. “Have all the details in my mind. I just need a groom.”
Chuckling, I lace an arm around her shoulders, kissing her forehead. It’s so good to have her back. She’s been working at a museum in Rome for the past few years, and for a while, I feared she’d move there permanently. “I’m sure a certain member of our family will happily lend you a hand.”
Summer wiggles her eyebrows. By certain, I mean our oldest sister, Pippa. She’s quite the successful matchmaker. Proof: We’re nine siblings in total, and six are married. Single people are a disappearing species in my family. Summer, my twin brother Daniel, and I are the last remaining musketeers.
“Let’s go mingle with the guests,” I say. The party is still young, and I’ve yet to greet many members of our very extended family, and close friends. The dance floor is already full, but given the sheer number of guests, that still leaves plenty of candidates to rope into a conversation.
“You’re right. Divide and conquer?”
Summer heads straight to one of our cousins, but I stop by the kids’ playground corner first. The best part of having married siblings is that I’ve got a whole bunch of nieces and nephews to spoil. At the rate everyone’s shooting out babies, the group is going to reach double digits soon. As far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier. Not to toot my own horn, but I have reasonable evidence that I’m everyone’s favorite uncle.
Because of their different ages, things tend to get out of hand when we group them together. I’m expecting action tonight since the group is large—many guests brought their kids too. We’ve hired sitters for the event, but I want to get a feel for the situation, see if there’s a war brewing. So far, it seems not.
“Uncle Blake, I want more sweets,” says my four-year-old niece Mia.
Her identical twin, Elena, drops the doll she was holding at the word “sweets”. “Me too.”
They press their hands together as if in prayer, looking up at me with wide, pleading eyes. Now, I know for a fact that Pippa doesn’t allow her daughters to eat sweets this late in the evening, but... eh... I never can tell these angels no. This weakness is probably why I’m their favorite uncle.
“Right away, girls.”
I cross the enormous ballroom along the edge of the dance floor, which is getting more crowded by the minute. At the sweets cart, I run into one of my favorite people: Clara Abernathy. I met her more than two years ago, around the time Nate and Alice started dating. She’s not just a close friend of Pippa’s, but what we affectionately call an adopted Bennett in my family. Wearing a red wraparound dress, she hovers in front of the cart, inspecting the offerings.
“Fancy seeing you here, Clara.” I grab a plate, trying to guess what Mia and Elena would like.
“You know me. If there’s sugar in a room, there’s a good bet I’ll be gravitating to it. The hazelnut cake is to die for, by the way.”
“Wouldn’t be my first choice.”
“Excellent. More for me.” She grins, loading her plate with cake, then turns her attention to a plate in the center containing one lonely cupcake. “Please tell me you don’t want that, or I’ll have to fight you for it.”
I’m tempted to tease her, but growing up with three sisters taught me that you don’t get between a woman and her sweets unless you’re prepared to suffer the consequences.
“I don’t want it. Be my guest.”