“What do you think of all of this?”

Lindsey White looked over to her sister, Stella, as they sat at a table in the front of the wedding reception. Her stepsister, Adriana, had just gotten married to Wyatt Fierce. Not that she was that close to Adriana even though her mother and Adriana’s father had been married for half a dozen years.

“I think it’s about as crazy as I thought it’d be,” Lindsey said.

“Yeah,” Stella said, laughing. “I mean we’ve known Carolyn and her family forever, but we’ve never been to anything like this.”

“Nope,” Lindsey said, looking out onto the dance floor. Everyone had eaten, the drinks were flowing and the laughter was contagious. But she and her sister were keeping their distance, just not used to this type of family gathering.

Their father had left them when they were younger, going with another woman and starting a new family. He’d paid their mom money each month and they visited every other weekend and a few holidays until they went to college, but the connection had never been there. Their father had a new family and that was all he was focusing on. Lindsey and Stella were just his obligation.

“How come you’re so quiet?” Stella asked her. “You look a little worn out.”

“Thanks for that,” she said.

“Only stating the obvious. Is work okay?”

She looked away from the dance floor. Lindsey wasn’t longing to join like maybe Stella was. Stella was more outgoing and liked to be part of the action, but it took her time to take that step. Lindsey liked to sit in the shadows.

“It’s work,” she said. “More bad than good, but what do you expect with my field?”

“I don’t know how you do it,” Stella said.

“Sometimes I don’t either.” Working in Child Protective Services wasn’t for the faint of heart.

“Let’s not talk about that. Who’s the hottie over there with Wyatt?”

“Your guess is as good as mine,” she said. They knew Carolyn and Garrett’s four kids. And they also knew Diane and Grant’s three boys since Diane Fierce was a teacher too. Not middle school like her mother and Carolyn, but her mother did like to get together with other teachers often and Diane was always in that group.

“How come you girls aren’t on the dance floor?”

Lindsey turned her head and looked at Carolyn Fierce as she came over and put her arm around her and her sister. “We’re good over here watching,” Lindsey said, smiling.

“Stella, I know you like to dance. Go out there and join them,” Carolyn said.

Lindsey looked at her sister and grinned. It was exactly the opening her sister, younger by two years, needed to join the fun. “Go,” she said. “You know you want to.”

Stella stood up. “I don’t want to leave you here by yourself.”

“If that’s what has been stopping you, then go. I’m a big girl. I’ve got two left feet. You don’t.”

Stella laughed and walked out onto the dance floor, Adriana smiling and beckoning her younger stepsister out to join the rest of them. Adriana got herself an instant family right there with three sisters-in-law and multiple cousins. She fit right in being as outgoing as she was too.

Not that Adriana didn’t get along with her and Stella. It was just they all lived in different areas and only saw each other a handful of times.

“I’ll keep you company if you don’t mind,” Carolyn said, taking Stella’s seat.

“I’m sure you’ve got better things to do than talk to me,” Lindsey said politely. She’d always loved Carolyn. She was friendly and sweet and treated her mother well. She might be a little jealous that Adriana was joining that family, but she’d never tell a soul.

“Nonsense,” Carolyn said. “How have you been?”

“Good,” she said. “Keeping busy.”

“And work is good?” Carolyn asked.

“It has its moments. It can be very rewarding,” she said. Which wasn’t a lie, unfortunately those moments were few and far between.

Carolyn nodded her head, then followed Lindsey’s gaze to the dance floor and the tall man in a black suit, except he was minus his jacket and tie now. “Wyatt is thrilled Mick could make it to the wedding.”

“Mick?” she asked.

“Mick McNamara. He was Wyatt’s old roommate in college and then med school. Mick did his residency in Virginia.”

Figures the guy was a doctor. Good looking. Almost smooth in a way. Dark hair that was styled with more product than she used by the looks of it. He was Wyatt’s height, but she couldn’t tell much about his build other than it was close to Wyatt’s.

“That’s nice,” she said.

“Would you like an introduction?” Carolyn asked her.

“No, I’m good,” Lindsey said. Men like that scared her. They had no part in her life. He probably went from woman to woman and she’d never been intimate with a man. Not that anyone was aware of that, not even her mother or sister.

Thirty and a virgin. Yep, not too many men wanted to get involved with that.

Fierce- Mick

The Fierce women are at it again! Jolene, Carolyn, and Diane have gotten their children settled and it’s time to move on to their nieces, nephews, and friends of their kids. Secretly…of course.

Dr. Mick McNamara never knew what it meant to be part of a family until he met Wyatt Fierce in college. Mama Fierce took him under her wing and made him feel like he always belonged when so many times in his life he never felt he did. He’s back in Durham with the family he always wanted and hoping that one day he can find his own family like the Fierces.

Lindsey White has carried around feelings of inadequacy since her father cheated on her mother and started another family. Lack of trust in men and a stressful job finds her a virgin at thirty and no hope of changing that. Until she meets her stepsister Adriana husband’s best friend. A sexy doctor who says she is everything he always wanted…too bad she doesn’t believe it.

Fierce-Devin…Chapter One

Chapter One

Not Falling For It

Devin was in his office checking off production schedules when there was a knock at the door. “Hey, Mason,” he said to his cousin, one of the five owners of Fierce-The Brewery. He looked at the clock and saw it was seven. “You’re in early.”

“Couldn’t sleep,” he said. “I’ve got an idea for a new beer and wanted to talk with Ben about it before he got knee deep in other things.”

Ben was one of the brewmasters that worked the closest to Mason. There were plenty of them with the size of the brewery, but Mason seemed to go to Ben the most.

“Checking in on inventory control?” Mason asked. Devin oversaw production and distribution. Not a desk job completely, but a hands-on one too. He liked splitting his time. He worked four twelve-hours shifts and rotated his nights as he saw fit with Mason’s approval to assure everything was working properly on the night shift when the big guys weren’t around.

One could say he was the big guy at night, though he never felt that way. He might be a first cousin to the Fierce Five, but his last name was Andrews.

“How did it turn out?” Mason asked.

“Good. No issues or shortages. I’ll sit down with you at some point about storage and maybe rearranging things, but for now we are good.”

“Glad to know,” Mason said. “It’s one less headache I’ve got knowing everything is under control. I still can’t thank you enough for wanting to work here.”

“I should be thanking you for offering me the job,” he said.

A year ago Devin was living in Georgia working as a distribution manager for a large manufacturing company. He was the middleman getting shit on by those above and below him and he’d had enough. When Mason called and offered him a position he was creating, he’d jumped on it knowing he needed the out. Things were heating up and he was already in the crossfire. Not a good place to be in his position. Union workers weren’t happy and he wasn’t one of them even though they reported to him.

“It’s working out for both of us, and it takes the pressure off of me. Sometimes I look around here and can’t believe how big it’s gotten and I know it’s going to continue to expand. Which we need to talk about.”

Devin started to laugh. “You’re getting more requests from out of state?”

“I am. I’m ready to move into a few more, but we need to work out drivers and shipments and get vendors, figure the trucks out and the list goes on and on.”

“You get me the vendors, I’ll figure out shipping and the drivers, those schedules, you know that.”

“Good. Hope has been getting a lot of calls and putting things together. Maybe I’ll have you meet with her soon and it will give you an idea.”

“Sounds good,” he said. Hope Hall took care of all the orders for the brewery. She was a one-woman show taking calls, tracking down shipments, and dealing with any customer or vendor complaints. He suspected Mason might have to add some more staff on soon, but since that was her only job from a created position not that long ago, he’d already seen the writing on the wall for more expansion.

He went back to work when Mason walked out, would finish up his paperwork, then go down and talk to the guys on first shift once they were settled.

Coming in at ten at night and working until ten in the morning allowed him to communicate with staff on all three shifts. But since Mason and many others were here during the day, he wasn’t needed as much as someone to watch out at night.

When ten rolled around, he’d already had his office locked up and was heading up to remind Mason he’d be off tonight. His four-night weeks were normally Sunday through Wednesday, but he was closing on the house he was buying tomorrow morning and would need the night off to sleep and deal with his move.

“Heading out?” Mason asked him when he popped his head in. Talk about the prime office location. Mason got to look out over the floor of the brewery on a daily basis.

“I am. Just remember, I won’t be in until Wednesday night, so I’ll see you Thursday morning.”

“Oh yeah. Your house closing. Congrats again on that.”

“Thanks. Apartment living was getting to me, though I’m not sure I’m ready to be a homeowner and handle all the work that comes with it.”

“It’s not so bad and well worth the privacy.”

“Living in a development isn’t as private as I would have liked, but since it’s gated and they take care of the lawn maintenance, that was a major selling point.”

Mason laughed. “I enjoy riding the lawnmower on the weekend. It’s my quiet time.”


Devin turned to see Jacob and Jeremy come running into the office, followed by Jessica, Mason’s wife. “Mason doesn’t let me mow the lawn,” Jessica said. “I’ve begged him, but he says it’s his first baby and no one touches the tractor.”

“You just want to leave me with these two monkeys,” Mason said, as his twins were climbing in his lap with one reaching for the mouse on the computer, the other pulling at papers. They were a few months shy of three and quite the handful.

“I should have brought some bananas in with me,” Devin said.

“I don’t like bananas,” Jeremy said, jumping down and running toward him for a high five. Not to be outdone, Jacob did the same.

“Are they going to be here all day with you or are you getting stuff to work from home?” Mason asked his wife.

“Your mom is on her way to get them here. She had something to do this morning. I would have come in earlier, but they are wound for sound and I’m not sure I could handle them. She’d said ten.”

“Run,” Mason said to his cousin.

He was ready to turn and leave, but his Aunt Jolene was one foot in the doorway. “Devin,” she said. “How is my favorite nephew? My sister tells me every day how happy she is you are back in town.”

“I’m doing good, Aunt Jolene. Just telling Mason I’d see him Thursday.”

“Your house closing is tomorrow, right?” Aunt Jolene asked.

“It is. I need to sleep tonight and make sure I’m not half awake and signing the wrong papers.”

She laughed at him and then started to dance around in a circle with her grandsons. His aunt never sat still and was always moving fast. Which was why he needed to get out of here before she started to bring up another topic he hadn’t been able to outrun.

“We wouldn’t want that. Maybe once you’re settled, you wouldn’t mind me introducing you to a friend’s daughter. Kaylee is a sweetheart. I know you two would hit it right off.”

He looked at Mason and caught the smirk. “I’m good, Aunt Jolene. I can find my own woman.”

“All my boys said the same thing,” she said, “but we know how that turned out.”

“I’m thankful for Jolene’s interference every day,” Jessica said. “But I’m more thankful when she takes my wild children off my hands so I can get some work done.”

Mason moved toward Jessica and pulled her into his arms, then gave her a kiss. “Work? I was hoping we could play hooky for an hour or so.”

“See how well I did?” his aunt said.

“Yep, you did,” Devin said. “But I’m a big boy.”

“I told you to run,” Mason said. “You’re not fast enough.”

“No one is as fast as me,” Aunt Jolene said. “Just remember that.”

“I don’t need to be fast,” he said. “I need to be aware. And I am. Sorry, but I’m not falling for it.”

She pursed her lips and shook her head. “Ella said that too.”

“And we all know Uncle Gavin was responsible for her.”

“Oh, you better start moving,” Mason said. “Mom hates to be reminded that she didn’t have a hand in Ella’s. That’s why she set Jade up first because she couldn’t not have her finger on the pulse of a girl setup.”

Jade Fierce was Jolene’s niece on the Fierce side of the family. The daughter of one of Gavin’s brothers.

Devin and his brother Ivan and his cousins Liam and Faith O’Malley were Jolene’s kin. And they were all fully aware their parents were now trying to seek the help of Jolene in getting them to settle down.

Not happening.

When his time came, it was going to be of his own choosing. If he wanted it. Because he still wasn’t sure he was hardwired for love. If he was, then why was he almost thirty-five and had never fallen once?

He’d told his mother plenty of times he could find his own woman. He’d told his Aunt Jolene the same.

What he didn’t understand was why no one believed him or would leave him alone.

He decided it was time to escape while he still had some skin on his back after that burn for his aunt. He started to walk down the stairs and toward the offices in the back when he heard his name called.

“Hi, Hope.”

“Sorry to bother you,” she said. “I know you’re on your way out. Mason mentioned that he’d like the two of us to meet at some point to go over expansion into other states.”

“No bother. He talked to me about it this morning. I’m off tonight and will be back Wednesday night, so maybe we can talk Thursday morning? Send me an email of who and where he’s looking to ship to if you can.”

“I will. Thanks. See you in a few days. And congrats on your house closing.”

“Thanks,” he said, not aware she knew. As much as he liked to stop in and talk to her, she always kept it short and sweet no matter how much he lingered.

She turned and he watched her walk away. Her petite frame that barely came up to his shoulders with her brown hair resting against the middle of her back. He figured her to be about five foot two. He was six foot even and fine with it. He wasn’t as tall as his four male Fierce cousins, but being a few inches shorter wasn’t a big deal. Nor was he as big as Brody or Mason. He was built more like Cade, even though he didn’t sit behind a desk full time like Cade did. And he wasn’t as pretty or high fashion as Cade and that was fine with him too.

He was a regular old blue collar worker that put a lot of time in to get where he was.

He’d never be able to compete with his cousins and didn’t want to. Not like so many thought.

He wouldn’t begrudge them all their wealth and success. He wasn’t a jealous person.

He was happy with what he had in life and reminded himself daily.

If he was wishing he wasn’t going home alone at times, he wasn’t admitting it to anyone, least of all his Aunt Jolene.

He said he could get his own woman and he planned on it when he was ready.

Too bad the woman he wanted to get to know better just walked away from him and didn’t seem to be interested in anything other than a work meeting.