“Nothing’s going on . . . I’m fine. I just thought I’d come over and hang out for a bit.”

“Hang out?” Mike Richmond choked back a laugh. “With me? I’m sure you have friends closer to your own age to hang out with.”

“Well, I thought Bobbi would be around,” he lied. “If you don’t want to watch a movie, why don’t we play a game of billiards?”

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“Gabriel, I’m a boring old fogie and I’m headed to bed. Stick around and watch another movie if you really feel inclined to—help yourself to anything in the kitchen. Faye’s staying with her daughter tonight, so you’ll have the place to yourself.”

“But . . .”

“But nothing. Set the alarm on your way out,” The older man pushed himself to his feet and ambled to the door. “Good night.”

“’Night.”

Gabe sighed as the door swung shut behind the man and got up to flip absently through the selection of disks beside the Blu-Ray player. Deciding to stick to another modern “classic,” he inserted Con Air into the machine and halfheartedly sat back to watch. Ten minutes into the movie he picked up his phone.

Bobbi glanced down at her vibrating phone and did a double take when she saw who was calling. She ignored the call before refocusing her attention on Bronwyn, who was sitting in the center of their circle, and then blushing furiously when she caught sight of the object in the woman’s hands.

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“Oh my God, that thing’s a monster!” Alice squealed.

“It’s got nothing on Bryce.” Bronwyn waved the thing in her hand dismissively.

“Or Sandro,” Theresa added loyally.

“Please, Rick could give that thing a serious run for its money.” Lisa giggled.

“Hmmm . . . now that I look at it from this angle it’s defintely smaller than Pierre,” Alice said with a barely suppressed smile. “Why are we doing this again? None of us really need these things.”

“Does anybody ever really need one that big?” Bobbi asked, appalled. Bronwyn was hosting a sex-toy party, and all the goodies were samples from a well-known adult shop in the area. The other four women all swiveled their heads in Bobbi’s direction, varying degrees of pity on their faces.

“And that answers your question, Alice. God, Bobbi, we need to find you a boyfriend!” Lisa groaned.

“We-ell, I kind of met a guy today,” she informed them smugly, and they all squealed, the gargantuan vibrator instantly forgotten. Bobbi really enjoyed these girly sessions with her friends. She had never really had much feminine influence in her life before meeting Theresa a couple of years before. All of her friends growing up had been male, and while Gabe’s mother and Faye had done their utmost to steer her in a more feminine direction, Bobbi had been so determined to fit in with her all-male family that the two women had given up halfway through Bobbi’s teens. It was only after meeting Theresa and the rest of the women that Bobbi had realized how very much she had missed out on in foregoing female friends for so many years.

“And you’re only telling us this now?” Bronwyn groused.

“It didn’t come up before now,” she shrugged, deliberately casual. She winced when her words caused even more squealing. One of the things she would never get used to was how high-pitched other women could be. She really couldn’t fathom why they screamed so much.

“Tell us everything,” Lisa demanded, and everybody else nodded encouragingly.

“There’s nothing much to tell . . . I was . . .” Her phone buzzed again and she glanced at the display. Gabe, again . . . what was his problem?

“Is that him now?” Theresa asked, her voice—like her personality—gentler and less demanding than the other women.

“No. It’s Gabe,” she said with grimace, ignoring the call again.

“Is that wise?” Theresa asked again. “What if it’s an emergency or something?”

Bobbi sighed, conceding Theresa’s point.

“Well if he calls back she’ll answer it, just in case,” Alice said reasonably. “So tell us about this guy in the meantime?”

“There’s nothing much to tell.” Bobbi smiled. “Jason introduced us and he asked me out.”

“What’s his name?” Alice wanted to know.

“Is he good looking?” Lisa interjected.

“What does he do?” That was from Bronwyn.

“Is he nice?” Trust Theresa to ask that question.

“His name’s Kyle, he’s good-looking; tall and blond . . . wonderful gray eyes.”

“Just my type,” Bron sighed. Her husband, Bryce, was tall and blond.

“Mine too,” Lisa agreed; she was married to Bryce’s equally blond brother.

“Let her finish,” Alice prompted.

“He’s a landscape architect.” They all swooned at that.

“Outdoorsy,” Alice sighed blissfully. “I love them outdoorsy.”

“He does rock climbing to relax,” Bobbi continued, ignoring the interruption.

“Well, Rick would probably love him,” Lisa grumbled. Her husband was an adrenaline junkie who enjoyed any and all kinds of extreme sports. He had toned it a down a bit since the birth of their son the year before though.

“He’s very nice,” Bobbi concluded.

“But . . . ?” the ever-observant Theresa prompted. She might be quiet and sweet but she rarely missed anything.

“No buts . . . he’s nice, interesting, handsome, intelligent. I like him.” Now the rest of them were eying her skeptically as well.

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