I Love How You Love Me (The Sullivans #13)(9)

by Bella Andre

“It’s a real skill to ask questions that get straight to the heart of things,” Dylan said as they headed for the kitchen. “Where did you learn to do that?”

She was amazed yet again by how easily Dylan gave compliments. Her ex had rarely complimented her on anything but her figure. In fact, now that she thought more about it, she and Richard hadn’t had many conversations about anything that really mattered. The truth was that they’d never had a true connection.

“My parents said that even when I was a little girl, I had a million questions about everything. Journalism was always a perfect fit for me, just like sailing is for you. But I have to say that for a guy who doesn’t like doing interviews, you made it really easy for me today.”

He held the door open for her and she saw a stunning woman down on the floor stacking blocks alongside Mason.

“Hi, I’m Mia. And your son is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.”

“I agree,” Grace said with a smile. “I’m Grace, and it’s nice to meet you. Thanks for keeping him so entertained.”

She looked up just then to see Ford Vincent walking toward her with his hand outstretched. Despite knowing the rock star might be here tonight with Mia, given that she was his fiancée, Grace still came this close to freezing up with shock.

“Hi.” Somehow she managed to get her hand into his without shaking or sweating or doing any number of other embarrassing things. Not, however, that she was rewarded for that with a reprieve, because literally a moment later, Tatiana Landon came into the room.

“Tatiana,” Dylan said, “this is Grace and her son, Mason.”

The movie star looked pleasantly surprised—delighted would be a better word for it, actually—by their presence. “It’s lovely to meet you. I can’t wait to hear all about how you and Dylan met. He never brings anyone to dinner.”

Oh no, they all assumed she was dating him. “Actually, we’re just—”

Before she could finish her sentence, Mason tossed a block across the room, nailing a man in a suit right in the knee.

She dashed over to pick it up, but the blindingly good-looking man beat her to it. He was smiling as he handed the block to her. “Your son has a great arm.”

“No kidding,” Dylan agreed, the grin in his voice clear without her needing to see it. “You should have seen Mason toss his toy in front of my boathouse earlier this week.”

The man raised his eyebrows at this tidbit before turning back to Grace and saying, “I’m Dylan’s brother Ian.”

She had never been comfortable as the center of attention and could feel her composure, which had been shaky at best a few minutes ago, rapidly shredding to pieces as they all stared at her, especially this brother whose gaze was just a bit more intense than that of the others.

“I’m so glad you and your son were able to come to dinner with all of us tonight.” Right on cue, Mason chucked another block at Ian, upon which he bent down to gently lob it back at Mason’s feet.

When Mason giggled with glee at having another new friend to play with, Claudia said, “Isn’t Mason great? I had the privilege of watching him for the past couple of hours while Grace and Dylan did their interview.”

Another couple walked into the kitchen. “Dylan actually agreed to do an interview?” asked the dark-haired man who looked so much like Dylan. “Has the apocalypse come?”

“Meet Rafe and Brooke,” Dylan said as Mason crawled over to his feet and lifted his arms. Without pause, Dylan picked him up. “I’d like you guys to meet Grace and Mason.”

When Brooke waved at the baby, he gleefully waved right back. “Isn’t he sweet?” Mia said as Ford helped her up to stand in what looked to Grace like impossibly high heels.

“So sweet,” Brooke and Tatiana both agreed.

The way everyone immediately fell in love with her son helped Grace regain a little of her composure. Of course, that was right when one more brother walked in, saw Mason with his sleepy little head resting on Dylan’s shoulder, and asked, “Whoa, did you adopt a kid on your last sailing expedition?”

“Grace, this is Adam. I’m sure you’re going to be really surprised to hear that he’s still single.”

That was when Adam turned and saw her. “The baby’s yours?” When she nodded, he gave her a really flirtatious grin. “No wonder the kid is so cute.”

By then, what else could she do but laugh? Dylan had talked during their interview about learning to walk on the deck of a sailboat during a storm without being tossed off. Now she thought she knew exactly what that felt like simply from having met his entire family in the past five minutes.

Or nearly the entire Sullivan clan, because when a handsome man with gray hair came in and every person in the room beamed at him, she now knew exactly how handsome Dylan would be in thirty years—and also how much the children he’d have would adore him. And when Dylan’s father took Claudia into his arms and kissed her, Grace couldn’t hold back her sigh at how sweet it was to see two people so much in love after so many years.

No wonder there was so much love in the house.

Normally, Mason would be tired and cranky by now, but he was completely in his element with all the women cooing over him and all the men saying he was probably going to be a pro ball player with an arm like his.

Of the two of them, she was the one overwhelmed, not only with her feelings for the subject of her magazine story, but also by his magnificent family. So when Claudia asked if Grace could help her put together the salad, she was thrilled to be able to step out of the big group. Their mother, Grace had already figured out, was the calm eye at the center of the storm.

“Thank you, again, for watching Mason while I interviewed Dylan.”

“Anytime you need someone to watch your son, you know who to call. He’s all changed and clean, by the way. Did your interview go well?”

“Listening to Dylan talk, I felt almost as if I were out there in a sailboat with him. Your son is a fascinating man.”

Grace looked up from the cucumber she was slicing to sneak a glance at him. Only to find that he was already looking at her. Flustered again, she had to steady her hands before she resumed work with the knife.

“Mason reminds me of the way Dylan was as a child,” Claudia told her. “Sweet. Always ready to laugh.” He was laughing right then in Brooke’s arms as she bounced him. “Happy to spend hours building things. In fact, he was so easygoing that we realized it would be really easy to leave him be, especially when his brothers and Mia all seemed to need us more. So when Max saw that he was fascinated by sailboats, we both decided we would learn how to sail with him. It was, truly, one of the best things we’ve ever done, because that’s when we really got to know our son…and he got to know us, too.”