Sed squeezed to stand between Jessica’s chair and the dining table. He leaned against the table’s edge in front of her and crossed his arms over his chest. Her stack of books blocked, Jessica looked up at him, her jade green eyes wide in question.
“You’re taking the day off,” he told her.
She shook her head. “I can’t, Sed. I have paper to write. Finals in three weeks. The sexual harassment lawsuit I’m working on. And I need to study for the bar exam.”
“All work and no play makes me a bored guy. One day off won’t hurt. You’ve been studying nonstop since I got home last week.”
“You’re sitting on my book.” She tried yanking the book from beneath his butt, but he refused to budge. These books were getting far more attention than he was.
“It’s a library book.”
She lifted both brows at him and shook her head. “You’re naked.”
“I’m surprised you noticed.”
“Do you even know what today is?”
“Sunday,” she said.
“So, we’re going to my parents’ house. My mom planned this huge family get-together and she said she’s expecting us at one o’clock. I haven’t seen any of my family since Christmas.”
Jessica rubbed her forehead and scowled. “You know I love your family, baby, but I really need to stay here and study. Why don’t you go without me? I’ll be fine here by myself.”
“I’m not going without you,” he said.
“I can’t go. It’s not that I don’t want to—”
There was only one way to get this woman to agree to anything. Kiss her senseless. He leaned close and brushed his lips against hers.
“Sed, I have to—“
He kissed her again, brushing his tongue over her upper lip as he drew away.
He kissed her again and stifled a grin when her arms wrapped around his body. Her hands slid up his back and he shuddered. If she was trying to fend off his attempts at seduction, she knew better than to touch his back. Especially when he was already naked. He drew her from the chair and pressed her against the length of his body.
“Okay,” she gasped. “One quickie, but then I have to get back to studying.”
He nibbled her ear. “That’s not the correct answer,” he said.
“No, the correct answer is: I’ve been working too hard and ignoring my sexy fiancé. I know this family ordeal means a lot to him, so I’m going to take a break from studying for a few hours before I forget what the sky looks like.”
“Does it really mean that much to you?” she asked.
She smiled and cupped is face in both hands. “Fine, I’ll go, but no complaints out of you tonight. I’ll have to stay up late studying and that means…”
His nose crinkled with displeasure. “No sex.”
“Baby, you’re going to wear yourself out.” And he wasn’t just saying that because he wasn’t going to get any tonight. She had dark circles under her eyes and a hollowness to her lovely face that concerned him.
“I’m already worn out, but it’s just a few more weeks. As soon as I pass the bar exam, we’ll go on a vacation somewhere. Just the two of us. And tour all kinds of public places for naughty fun.”
He brushed strands of strawberry blonde hair from her face. “You mean that?”
She smiled up at him. “Yeah, I mean it. I can’t wait.”
“You know I love you, right?”
“Yeah, I know. I love you, too, or there is no way I’d give up a day of studying.”
“We’ll keep the visit short. I don’t want you to miss out on sleep.”
She chuckled and planted a kiss on one of his pecs. “Still no sex tonight, Sed.”
Sed stood in the shade of a tree at the far end of his parents’ perfectly tended lawn. Brightly colored eggs peppered the landscape. The younger members of his extended family—mostly cousins—were congregated on the patio near the sliding glass doors. The young gents were dressed in shorts or suits, with bowties or sweater vests. Most of them swung their Easter baskets around like weapons. A few of them pushed at the little girls (sweet angels in brightly colored sundresses), corralling them closer to the house, to gain some sort of advantage when they were set free on the unsuspecting eggs.
Sed was dressed in… well, he’d rather not think about it. He was sweating as if he’d just performed a six-hour-long concert. The guy Sed’s mother had hired to wear this stifling contraption had suffered from heatstroke for a reason. That guy was now resting comfortably in an air-conditioned hospital room. Sed was not so lucky.
“Are you ready?” Jessica asked.
He had to turn his head to look at her as his peripheral vision was blocked by the thing on his head.
She patted his butt, though he could scarcely feel it through all the padding—the thick, stifling, incredibly hot padding. Dear lord, how had she talked him into this?
“What do I have to get ready for? I just have to stand here and pretend like I laid a bunch of brightly colored eggs, right?”
“They’ll be excited to see you,” Jessica said.
“I’m sweating my ass off.”
“I love you,” she said and protruded her lower lip in a pout.
This was why he was the one wearing the damned rabbit suit instead of her. That and it was designed for a tall man, but not one quite so broad through the shoulders. He somehow managed to hold his giant Easter basket with one fluff-covered oven mitt, but he couldn’t lift his arms. The basket just sort of dangled down around his huge, fluffy feet. At least the guys of his band, Sinners, weren’t around. He’d never live this down in a million years.
The patio door slid open and Sed’s heart sank as his band’s drummer, Eric Sticks, stepped onto the patio. What was he doing here? Tall and lanky, Eric grabbed the nearest kid and proceeded to turn him into a human airplane, complete with all the appropriate flying noises.
Brightly colored eggs forgotten for the moment, the entire group of kids surrounded Eric’s long legs. They all chanted a chorus of, “Me, next. Me, next.”
Sed took a step back to stand behind Jessica, hoping that his fiancée’s beauty would distract Eric and he wouldn’t notice the six-and-a-half-feet tall rabbit (eight feet if you included the ears) near the fence. About halfway through the fourth airplane ride, Sinners’ bassist, Jace Seymour stepped on the patio. He rolled his eyes at Eric and shook his head. “Acting like a kid again?” Undeterred by Jace’s criticism, Eric laughed and deposited a five-year-old in Jace’s arms. Jace held the kid at arm’s length and stared at him as if he wasn’t quite sure what he was looking at or what he should do with it.
“You have an earring like a girl!” the kid declared.
Jace said and set the kid down without so much as a woosh or a shake for turbulence. “I thought Sed was out here,” he said to Eric.
“Do you kids know where your old cousin, Sed, is?” Eric asked, holding a kid perched belly-down on each shoulder as props in his biplane bit.
Sed hoped his white rabbit camouflage would allow him to blend in with the picket fence behind him. Not that it mattered. Twenty-some-odd, child-sized index fingers pointed in his general direction.
Hmm, so apparently his young cousins didn’t believe he was the real Easter bunny after all.
“I didn’t realize the guys were coming,” Jessica whispered apologetically. “Your mom must have invited them.”
Jace stared at Sed in abject horror.
Eric burst out laughing. “Priceless!” He dug his cell phone out of his pocket and started snapping pictures. “Oh yes, this is going on our Facebook page.”
“Eric, don’t you dare,” Sed growled in his most authoritative voice. It didn’t have quite the same affect when echoing around in a giant rabbit head. Sed waddled down the yard, attempting to avoid the eggs on the ground. Not really succeeding at that so well.
“What in the—“ Jace muttered.
“Okay, kids! Go get the eggs!” Eric shouted, using the chaos to distract Sed so he could take more pictures.
“Wait for your parents!” Sed yelled. Too late. A rush of young people darted in Sed’s direction. He was completely surrounded in seconds.
“You’re stepping on my egg!” one of his cousin’s said. Sed couldn’t see which cousin through the little eye holes in his huge, rabbit bubble head.
“Sorry,” Sed said and lifted one furry foot.
“The other foot!”
Something tugged hard on his butt. Or rather, on his adorable fluffy tail. A chorus of giggles drifted up from somewhere around hip level. Sed spun around.
“Get his tail!” Eric said from behind him.
Apparently, yanking on Sed’s tail was a lot more entertaining than hunting for eggs. As was taking a running leap and ricocheting off Sed’s big fluffy bunny arse. Someone grabbed his big fluffy bunny cheeks (the ones on his face) and spun the head of his costume ninety degrees. He couldn’t see a damned thing. He tried to right the costume’s head, but his arms remained trapped at chest level.
“He’s going for the end zone,” rhythm guitarist, Trey Mills’ voice came from his right. Something careened into Sed from the side. “Take down!”
Center of gravity completely off with his bunny legs holding his thighs together, Sed hit the ground hard. Lucky for him, the cushion on his big fluffy bunny hips absorbed the majority of the force.
“I’m gonna kill you guys when I get out of this thing,” Sed growled.
“Rabbit pile!” Brian, lead guitarist of Sinners, yelled.
Oh great, his entire band was witness to his humiliation.
“Omph!” Sed gasped as he was buried beneath a pile of bodies.
“Kill duh wabbit! Kill duh wabbit!” Eric sang in his best Elmer Fudd voice.
They were killing him all right. Sed struggled to rise, but to no avail. He tipped over, trapped on his back like a tortoise in the desert.
“Everyone off Sed,” Jessica said.
Someone grabbed his long, fluffy bunny ears and tugged the head of his costume off. Taking greedy gulps of fresh air, Sed blinked in the bright southern Californian sunshine. Jessica appeared upside down above him.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“Do I look okay?”
She bit her lip, her mouth twisting as she tried not to laugh at him. She snorted instead. She knelt at his head and touched his face with one hand. “You’re all sweaty.”
Several of the kids were climbing up his big bunny pop belly and sliding down the other side.
“I don’t know who gives me more grief: my band, my family, or my woman.”
“You have to admit that was pretty funny,” Eric said.
“You think bullying the Easter bunny on Easter is funny?” Sed asked.
“You’re right,” Eric said, somehow maintaining a straight face. “It’s not funny.”
“It’s hilarious,” Jessica said and burst out laughing.
It was pretty funny. Sed chuckled and shook his head. “I hope you know, this means war. We’ll be back on the road in ten days. The only one who might be safe from retaliation is Jace.”
“He joined in on the rabbit pile,” Brian said and gave Jace a hard shove in the shoulder.
Jace flushed and found what was left of a smashed dandelion-yellow egg in the grass incredibly interesting.
“No one is safe, then,” Sed said. “You guys are going down.”
Jessica leaned over and kissed him. “But not me, right? I saved you.”
“You can make it up to me in other ways,” he suggested.
She claimed his lips for a deeper kiss.
“Ewwww!” one of Sed’s young cousins complained. “Girl germs.”
“Tasty girl germs,” Sed murmured.
Jessica kissed her way along his jaw and whispered in his ear, “I don’t know if it’s the fluffy tail, the long ears, or the big feet, but when I get you home, you are so getting some. Forget studying. I’ll just have to take a B on that paper.”
Sed laughed. “Wow, you must be in the mood.”
“I think I have a previously undiscovered rabbit fetish.”
“Oh really,” Eric said. He retrieved the big bunny head with its freakishly large, violet eyes and put it on. He spread his arms wide and wiggled his hips. “Does this do anything for you, Jess?”
Jessica chuckled. “Sorry, Eric. Sed’s the only wascally wabbit I want.”
“Oh yeah. Sed’s a regular playboy bunny,” Trey said and laughed. “Are your sisters around, Sed? Last year they remembered to save me all their cherry jelly beans and I have a serious craving for some of that.”
“Touch my sisters and you die, Mills.”
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