The Playboy's Proposal (Sorensen Family)(7)

By: Ashlee Mallory

It was like an epidemic, the way both of her brothers, single for so long, suddenly found the women of their dreams and married them in quick fashion. She wasn’t jealous. Not really. How could she be when the women they married were so freaking fantastic and her brothers were so happy? She didn’t want to throw herself off a bridge at all, even if it was going on six months since her last relationship tanked.

“I heard from Payton yesterday,” Kate volunteered. Payton, coincidentally, was Kate’s best friend and had been her maid of honor when she married Benny’s other brother, Dominic, last spring in Puerto Vallarta. The maid of honor and best man had ended up traveling by car across Mexico and had somehow managed to fall in love and get married—not necessarily in that order. “They’re heading to Guadalajara tomorrow and are expecting to be gone another week.”

The sliding door to the deck opened, and Benny’s dad, a tall, blond figure despite his approaching seventieth birthday stepped inside. Dominic, who had their mom’s dark hair and complexion and their father’s height and eye color, followed, carrying an oval platter filled with a large, seasoned flank steak that already had her mouth watering.

Her dad’s usually stoic face broke into a smile when he saw her. “Happy birthday,” he said, before lifting her off the floor in a warm hug.

“I’d say let’s have a game after dinner,” Dominic said, “but I’m afraid that now that you’ve hit the big three-oh, you could break a hip or something. They say it’s all downhill from here.”

“You would know, dear brother. Isn’t that gray? Right there?” she asked, touching just above her ears, hinting that his own dark hair had already started turning, which it hadn’t.

“Aunt Benny!” two high-pitched voices called out at once, storming up the stairs from the basement. Her two nieces, recently turned ten Jenna and eight-year-old Natalie, reached her first, hugging her tightly.

Their younger brother, Paul, came last, his enthusiasm barely readable. “Hey, Aunt Benny.”

“What’s wrong with you, bud?” she asked, tousling his hair.

“Please don’t start, Paul,” Daisy interrupted. “I have gone over this a dozen times already. We are not getting a dog. I have a hard enough time keeping track of you three—I’m not throwing a pup into the mix.”

Her older sister was finally getting back on her feet after her divorce, with a new promotion as assistant manager at a trendy neighborhood café and bakery as well as moving into Kate’s old house with the kids. Benny couldn’t blame her for not wanting any more chaos thrown into the mix.

“Why don’t you come and take the tortillas to the table, Paul,” their grandma said. “And girls, maybe you can set the table for us, please.”

Jenna walked around the table setting plates down in front of each chair. “Since Uncle Cruz and Aunt Payton aren’t here, can we sit with you guys tonight? Please?”

“It’s a celebration, isn’t it?” Benny asked, grabbing a tortilla from the stack and biting into it. “Of course.”

At the news, they shouted their approval. The kids usually got stuck at the bar due to lack of seating around the table during family dinners, something they were good at voicing their opinion about.

Natalie finished counting silverware and went around the table, leaving them at each setting. “Aunt Benny?” the younger girl asked. “Are you ever going to get married?”

The once tasty soft flour tortilla turned to paste in her mouth. Benny took a glimpse at the other adults. They were all looking at her with amused faces. Dominic’s eyebrow shot up, waiting for her answer.

“Maybe. One day,” she said, trying to keep her voice upbeat.

“Don’t you need a boyfriend first?” Paul asked. “You don’t ever seem to have one of those.”

Now Dominic was trying to choke back his laughter. She glared at him.

“Your aunt Benny is a busy doctor lady,” her mom said, finally coming to the rescue. “She’ll find the right guy when it’s the right time.”

“Well, she should probably hurry. I mean, thirty is pretty old,” Paul added helpfully.

“That’s enough, Paul,” Daisy said. “Aunt Benny is younger than me, and she has plenty of time.

He looked dubious. “Yeah, but you’ve already been married and have three kids. She has…no one.”


“Why don’t we all sit down and eat,” her dad said. “I’m starving. Your mom tells me that you three are starting soccer next week?”

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