The Blakes are a pretty close-knit family so it’s no surprise that they occasionally vacation together! With so many reasons to celebrate all the life changes going on, John Jacob and Teri-Lyn volunteered to babysit the kids (and pets!) while they hit the ski slopes. In the coming weeks we will catch up with each couple in the series as they enjoy their snow-capped group vacation.
First up, J.J. and Sam!
J.J. glanced over at a sleeping Sam and smiled. When she suggested they go to the ski resort a day ahead of time to make sure the correct security measures were in place, he jumped at the chance to spend some alone time with his wife.
“We’re almost there babe.” J.J. gently nudged his wife knowing, as a security protocol, she liked to see the surrounding areas of all of the places they visited.
Sam shifted in her seat and yawned. “It was so nice of your parents to watch all of the kids while we took this trip.”
“They had an agenda. After they made the declaration that they wanted more grandbabies, they made the travel arrangements for this romantic getaway. They practically kicked us off the ranch.” He laughed.
“Well I’m not complaining. We have been blessed to have a plethora of loving people around who are willing to babysit that monstrous brood.”
“I think Daddy wanted to spend some time and prepare them for the new babies. He did that when we were kids. He’d make sure everyone understood the love in the family would only grow and no one would be left out.”
“That’s sweet.” Sam sniffed. “Do we have any snacks in the car?”
J.J. reached behind her seat and handed her a sack. “Sure do. The chocolate chip cookies are on top.”
“I can’t believe how sleepy and emotional I’ve been getting with this one.” She ran a hand over the small baby bump.
“I think it’s nice to see my tough as nails wife getting mushy about the slightest things. I especially love how she likes to stay home from work and cuddle. She’s even learned how to delegate her responsibilities.”
“I’m no fool. Kendrick is second in command for a good reason. I trust him with my family’s life.”
“A lesser man would be insecure that his wife’s best friend is a man.” He raised an eyebrow.
“I’m so glad I’m married to an extraordinary man.” She flashed him a big smile and nibbled on a cookie.
“Do you think he and Gretchen are over for good?”
“I’m afraid so. Now he’s funneling all his energy into work to keep his mind off the breakup. I wish he’d find someone nice that was understanding about the dangers of his job.”
“Babe, that’s a difficult thing to do. I struggle with it every day, even though you’re an instructor now. I worry you’re going to switch into super hero mode somewhere, like you did that time you saw that pick pocket in that restaurant and it scares me.”
“I curbed that kind of behavior a long time ago. I know I have to be cautious because I have a family and it’s hard explaining things like rendering someone unconscious to the kids.”
“Yeah, you talked your way out of shooting down Bo’s remote control plane pretty good.” He chuckled.
“And that’s why I’m extra careful now. I already have a reputation for being some kind of gunslinger in the family.” She munched on another cookie. “Although, I don’t mind the hero-worship.”
“The boys do get a kick out of telling people their Aunt Sam will take them down and their Aunt Cassidy will sue their pants off.”
They pulled up to the chalet and parked. The Regency staff was already on the premises. J.J. took Sam’s hand and helped her up the stairs. Luther, the bodyguard that had accompanied them on their Vegas excursion, was waiting at the top of the landing with a folder in his hand. Luther reported to Kendrick on a walkie-talkie that they had arrived and nodded for another specialist to unload the luggage from their car.
“Luther,” J.J. shook his hand, “you look good in that parka.”
“They had to special order it.” Luther laughed and handed the folder to Sam. “We cleared the interior and set up the exterior cameras. All you need to do is sign off on the surveillance rotation schedule. Kendrick is on the roof.”
“Of course he is.” Sam perused the report. “I know it seems like I requested more men than usual, but I don’t want you guys getting sick because you were outside in the cold too long.”
“I know if you did it, you had a very good reason. We have it covered.” Luther nodded.
They continued into the three-story chalet, removed their coats and decided to take a tour. The place boasted a huge yet cozy living room. A huge plasma screen television covered the wall opposite the massive fireplace. The kitchen was a spacious state of the art chef’s dream and a large Jacuzzi sat on the back deck. J.J. took Sam’s hand and climbed the stairs. Each bedroom had its own fireplace, private bath and veranda. The view of the mountains was breath-taking. He skied often when he lived in Colorado and was hoping to hit the slopes again. Hopefully one of the guys would be up for it because it was out of the question for Sam. When they were back on the main floor, J.J. hustled her over to the couch to get comfortable before she found a reason to go help her team.
“I’m going to call Jack. He should be winding down for his afternoon nap.” She pulled out her cell phone.
“Mama sent me this text an hour ago while you were sleeping.” He held up his phone. It was a photo of John Jacob with all of the grandkids at the kitchen table. They were laughing and eating ice cream. “He’s fine and he probably won’t want to go to sleep with all that activity going on.”
“I think he left his favorite pillow at the house.”
“Mama and Daddy have the keys.” He knew she worried about their son, just like he did, but he knew there was something else bothering her. It was time for Jack to start school. “What’s really on your mind?”
“Time is flying by. I swear I was changing his diaper just the other day now he’s going out into the world and that’s when the mommy panic will really ramp up. I can’t protect him from everything out there. I know we all got a good laugh when your mom suggested starting a school on the ranch but it sounds like a great idea to me.”
“How about we give the kids some time to acclimate to their new surroundings before we go creating our own school system? We’re really close to becoming a cult.”
“You think I’m nuts, don’t you?”
“The thought never crossed my mind.” He caressed her cheek. “I know you’re worried about him starting school but he’s going to be fine.”
“I just want him to be safe, make friends and have a good time.”
“He will. Jack is a pretty social kid. And it’s not like he’s headed into uncharted territory on his own. Nobody’s going to mess with Jake Blake’s cousin or they will incur the wrath of his twin enforcer brothers, Connor and Colby.”
Sam laughed. “Where do you come up with these things?”
“From Kendrick.” He smiled. “He said there’s a lot of lore circulating around the school about the rough and tumble Blake boys. Jack’s lucky, when we were coming up I had to lay the ground work all by myself.”
“I read the reports from the specialists assigned there. I think Connor and Colby may be running a gambling ring but I can’t be sure.”
They both laughed.
“See, life isn’t so bad.” He gave her a squeeze.
“Life is great actually. I am so happy to be bringing another baby into the world with you. Jack is an awesome kid and he’s going to be a great big brother, like you are to your brothers. But I guess the responsibilities are never ending. You still boss them around and treat them like they’re teenagers.”
“Daddy told me a long time ago that someday, when he and Mama weren’t around anymore, I would be the head of the family. When his father passed away he said he felt like he was set adrift because his anchor was gone and he never wanted us to feel that way. He also said there’s nothing worse than a man with no compass. They’re liable to get themselves into all kinds of dilemmas because they lack guidance and a loving hand. Whenever it’s time, I’ll be there for the family.”
“So he’s been grooming you. And here I thought you were a natural born authoritarian.” She smiled.
“No, it takes some practice and you’re one to talk. If it weren’t for me you’d be on the roof right now investigating what Kendrick is doing.”
“You got that right.” She giggled. “We are two peas in a pod. I love you.”
“I love you too.” He kissed her. “So what would you like to do with the one night we have alone before the rest of the gang arrives?”
“I say we sit here, enjoy the fire and think up baby names.”
“I already have one in mind.”
“Well unless it’s a unisex name, we need a boy and a girl’s name.” She glared at him.
“I got it covered.” He nuzzled her neck. “What else do you want to do?”
“I can make us something to eat. I was thinking soup and a sandwich for lunch.”
“OK, we do need to feed the next Blake heir something other than sugary treats.”
J.J. silenced her with another kiss. He knew he was a lucky man. It was going to be a great vacation.
Hope you enjoyed the first excerpt! Next couple’s story coming soon!
Copyright © 2016 Rhonda Laurel. All Rights Reserved.