Has anyone been missing the Landry Family? 😍
I wrote a short, stuck-in-the-home story about them for an anthology recently. Did you grab it? If not, here it is:
Love and Landry
A Landry Family Short Story
By USA Today Bestselling author Adriana Locke
The Landry Family Series is a feel-good, heartwarming series featuring strong alpha males and smart, capable heroines. Sweet and steamy, the Landry family enjoys favorite tropes such as second-chance romance, surprise babies, office lovers, blue-collar vs. silver spoon, sports romance, and more.
Harris and Vivian Landry have twin daughters, Camilla and Sienna, as well as four sons. Each of the boys, Lincoln, Graham, Ford, and Barrett provide a point-of-view of their time at home in this short story.
Should you want to leap into this world, start with book one, Sway. It’s free in Kindle Unlimited and available on audio. All books can be read as standalone novels, so feel free to jump in anywhere.
Barrett: Sway, Lincoln: Swing, Graham: Switch, Ford: Swear, Camilla: Swink, Sienna: Crank
“I’m not getting any younger!” I shout.
“You getting younger isn’t what I’m worried about.”
I roll my eyes at my wife even though she can’t see me. “You should be worried that I’ll fall asleep. You’ve been in there for fifty minutes already.”
“Try fifteen. Maybe,” Dani says from the bathroom.
“I don’t wanna wait anymore.”
Her head pokes around the corner. Just her head. Not a glimpse of the curve of her shoulder or the tops of her breasts.
It’s like she enjoys torturing me.
“Dani …” I whine. “Come on.”
I fall back against the pillows and sigh. Loudly.
It’s her turn to roll her eyes as she disappears once again into the depths of the bathroom.
It’s funny how life works. Being stuck inside a house with my gorgeous wife has been a dream of mine since the day I spotted her outside that elevator. I envisioned a lot of nakedness and sweat. Late nights and even later mornings. Movies that only got half-watched because we couldn’t keep our hands to each other.
That’s not what I got.
Instead, I got a national quarantine that’s making things hard—and not in a good way.
Still, I’m not really mad about it. Why? Because I still have her.
Even if she is being a little shit right now.
“Dani …” I whine again.
“I swear, Lincoln. If you don’t give me a few minutes …”
“You’ll want more than a few minutes in a little bit,” I point out.
Her head pokes around the corner again. Pieces of her hair have been curled into big, sexy waves that makes me even harder.
“I’m going to tell you what I tell Ryan when he’s begging for cake after dinner. The more you bother Mommy, the longer it’s going to take to get dessert,” she says.
“You get five minutes, and I’m coming in there to get you.”
I settle back in the pillows and try to think of something besides Dani. But with no sports, a sleeping baby, and a host of movie platforms that I’ve already depleted, I don’t have anything. I’m ready to go to the kitchen to get a drink when my phone buzzes on the nightstand.
An incoming text from my mom lights up the chat she started for me and my siblings like we’re still little kids. It’s kind of cute, though, in a very Mom kind of way.
Mom: How is everyone?
I peek at the doorway. Still no Dani. Her shadow drifts across the threshold as she moves about.
My fingers slide against the phone.
Me: I’m as handsome as ever.
Mom: I bet you are, and I miss that handsome face.
Ford: Just got done doing a hundred push-ups. How many have you done today, Linc? Love you, Mom.
I roll my eyes at my brother. Out of all my siblings, Ford irritates me the most. It used to be Graham with his stick-in-the-mud persona, but he loosened up over the years. Barrett’s gotten funnier as he’s gotten older. Ford, though—still a chump.
A chump who would give me a run for my money, but I’ll never tell him that.
Me: Did a hundred before breakfast.
Mom: Love you, Ford.
Barrett: Linc and Ford? Here we go …
I look up again at the bathroom but still no Dani. Instead of harassing her—and delaying dessert—I go back to my phone.
Mom: You are going nowhere, Barrett Landry!
Ford: Want to Zoom a push-up contest, Linc?
I bite my lip and get situated against the pillows.
Barrett: I’m not, Mom. Don’t do this, Ford. Please.
Me: You’re on, Ford. Are we counting who does the most in a certain timeframe or just who can go the longest?
Barrett: I’m not taking part, but I bet I’d win that last challenge.
Ford: Don’t humiliate yourself, Linc.
Me: I was a professional athlete. Pretty sure I can take out a retired solider.
Ford: You’re retired too, genius.
I start to respond when my attention is redirected. Dani walks into the room dressed in one of my old Tennessee Arrows shirts that hangs just above her knees. Her hair is poufy and wild—like she’s already been fucked.
I toss my phone onto the floor.
“Get over here, woman,” I growl as I reach for my wife.
I stare at the phone. And wait.
One. Two. Three seconds pass and still no comeback from Lincoln. Nothing. No upping the ante on my challenge, no self-aggrandizing behavior.
I type out a text to the family.
Me: Someone should check on Lincoln.
Barrett: I was just thinking that.
My wife, Ellie, distracts me from my brother’s behavior. A plate of whipped cream looking cookies is set down in front of me. I keep my eyes glued to them. And not her.
I’ve never been afraid to look at my wife before.
Lifting my eyes warily, I take her in. She’s standing on the other side of the island with a warning written all over her pretty face. It’s a caution shot, a deterrent—a message not to say anything negative about another baking project.
Every day, Ellie bakes. It was awesome at first. The house smelled like cinnamon and vanilla from the stacks of cookies piled onto plates every night. There were muffins for breakfast, homemade bread for sandwiches for lunch, and a variety of carb-loaded items for dinner.
Then we hit another level. It became an obsession so deep that even I know now that a Brookie is part chocolate chip cookie and part brownie. That’s a fact I’ll never admit to anyone just as I’ll never admit to her that I’m so sick of baked goods.
“That looks delicious,” I say, infusing the words with as much sincerity as I can.
“They’re meringues.” She shoves the plate toward me. It scrapes against the counter. “Try one.”
The little fluffs look like spun sugar. I wonder vaguely whether ingesting that much sugar at one time could put you into a diabetic coma. But it’s as if Ellie knows I’m waffling because she narrows her eyes.
I take a deep breath and ignore my stomach’s complaint. I also ignore the fact that a woman I outweigh by at least a hundred pounds is bossing me around as I lift a meringue to my lips.
The meringue breaks in half as my teeth break the sugar barrier. It literally dissolves on my tongue.
“Wow,” I say as I pop the rest of it into my mouth. “This is amazing, Ellie.”
She looks relieved. “I was worried it was too humid outside, and they wouldn’t be right. The recipe said that humidity can screw it up.”
She grins happily and heads toward the refrigerator. I consider eating another meringue when my phone chirps.
Mom: Guess what your father is doing.
Me: First guess—golf.
Barrett: Did someone say golf?
Me: Be glad Linc is missing in action, or you’d never hear the end of it.
Barrett: Why does he think that all I do is golf?
I type out a reply. As soon as I hit send, Mom’s text pops up just beneath mine.
Me: Because it’s true?
Mom: Well, Honey, you do golf a lot with your father.
Graham: Because the file I emailed you four days ago has never been opened. Suffice to say, Lincoln might be right this time.
Me: No one texts “sufficing to say”, G.
I laugh at Graham. I imagine he’s irritated that none of us are working at the moment and complaining under his breath that he’s the only one keeping things afloat. He’s probably sitting in his office, wearing a button-up shirt, and surrounded by files and calculators.
I almost feel guilty.
Ellie clears her throat. I look up before I can think twice about it. This time, she’s holding a plate with a four-tiered cake in front of her. Each tier hosts a different color of icing and what I think are flowers piped on the top.
She worries her bottom lip between her teeth as she studies me.
“I’m ready to admit it. I might have a problem,” she says as she sets the cake on the counter. “I can’t stop, Ford. I can’t freaking stop baking. It’s … I don’t know what it is, but I need help. And I just keep doing it almost out of defiance.”
She slumps against the cabinets. “Don’t laugh. Help me. Stage an intervention.”
“Do they make those for bakers?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, there’s only one thing I can think of to do for you right now.”
I get to my feet. The barstool squeaks on the tile as I scoot it back. I keep my eyes on her as I walk around the corner of the island.
“What you need,” I say, standing directly in front of her, “in my expert opinion, is to keep your hands occupied.”
She lifts her chin as I lean down and plant a kiss against her lips.
“And your mouth,” I say. “And your mind.”
“Ooh. I like the sound of this.”
She stares into my eyes as I rub my nose against hers.
“Every time you want to bake,” I whisper, “I want you to come find me.”
I place my palms against her hips. She shimmies against my touch.
“And I’ll occupy you until the urge is fulfilled,” I say, my lips brushing against hers.
“Well, just so you know—I was planning on baking a red velvet cake today.”
The tone says she’s teasing, but I’m not. In one quick motion, I sweep her off her feet and head toward the bedroom. Her squeal drowns out the sound of my phone buzzing again. Thank God I left it on the counter.
I look at my phone again. My last text sits at the bottom of the screen with no response.
Me: Intelligent people do, thank you.
They’re all probably off shopping online or watching movies. It’s like they don’t know that stocks are down. It’s as if they don’t care that our family business still needs to operate, to expand because none of them have been responding to my emails or taking my calls seriously.
Not even Barrett.
Such a disappointment.
My brain starts to formulate a game plan on how to close the deal we have hanging out there with Holt Mason when my attention is redirected to the doorway. Mallory is standing there in the same sweatpants and tee shirt she’s worn for the past three days. She’s not changed, except to sleep, and that’s only because I peel them off her every single night.
“Kids are asleep,” she says with a grin. “I was going to do some yoga, if you wanna join me.”
I stare blankly at her. “I think you should give your employees at the yoga center a raise right now. It’s the right thing to do.”
She rolls her eyes as she walks toward me. Her hands find my shoulders. As much as I want to stay rigid, I can’t. I’m putty in her hands.
“We did that last week,” she says.
I bend my head to the side as she works her magic. “I knew we talked about it. I didn’t know you did it.”
“Don’t I always do what you say?” She bursts out laughing. “Never mind. Don’t answer that.”
She finds the knot in the base of my skull, the one that seemed to form in the middle of the night. It became so uncomfortable about two hours after I was sure Mallory was asleep that I got up and went to my desk downstairs.
Over and over, she works the area like she knows how bad I need it. Like she knows the exact area that’s irritated and tight.
She probably does. Not much gets by her.
I bend my neck again but this time to see her.
Her face is free of makeup, her hair a wild mess that’s been piled on the top of her head. She’s beautiful … and mine.
My chest tightens as I let that fact wash over me. It’s the same feeling I get every day when I look at her and want her so badly and then realize I already have her.
This thing between us is something I never thought I’d find. It’s not even something I realized I wanted. What I thought would be a burden—to take care of someone—has turned out to be the most important and best thing of my entire life.
Even if she has made working at home difficult.
She peers down at me with a pensive look. I know it well. She’s wondering how to give me the space she knows I need to run our businesses but to ask for what she needs at the same time. It’s painted on her face.
And that’s all it takes. Because workload or no workload, the answer is the same.
Mallory comes first.
“Why don’t you pour us a glass of wine and run us a bath?” I ask.
Her eyes light up. “Are you sure?”
“Do I ever say something before I think it through?”
She runs her hands through my hair. Her fingers lace through the strands as she gently tugs on them so I have to tilt my chin toward her. The humor in her eyes pales as she searches mine.
“Aren’t you in the middle of something?” she asks.
“About fourteen somethings.”
“Then we can do it later.”
I grip the backs of her thighs and pull her to me. She presses my face against her abdomen as I rest my cheek against the soft cotton shirt.
“Go run us a bath,” I say again.
“But you’re busy.”
“True. But you come first.”
She grins the one I love most—the playful one. The one she gave me the day she ended up in my arms on her first day of work.
“Promise?” she teases.
“Don’t you always?”
She laughs and kisses the top of my head. “So, no yoga?”
I run my hands under the hem of her shirt. She leans ever so slightly into my touch.
“You want to yoga over bath?” I ask.
“I like you hot and sweaty.”
I grin. “I like you wet and wild.”
She laughs again before pressing a kiss to the top of my head and then heading toward the door. “I probably need to do a quick workout first. I’ve been eating all the stuff Ellie has been leaving on the porch …”
She pauses in the doorway and looks at me over her shoulder. There’s something buried in her eyes. It sends a fire through my body as I try to decipher what it is.
If there is an ounce of uncertainty in this woman, I’ll spend all night replacing it with fact about just how gorgeous she is. And it really has very little to do with what she actually looks like.
I narrow my gaze. “Bath. Clothes off. I’ll be there in ten or less.”
“Make it twenty.”
“You want to play this game with me?” I ask.
“Maybe.” She sends me a flirty grin. “But I won’t. If you’re not there in ten, though, I’ll start without you.” She tosses me a wink before disappearing around the corner.
My cock now hard, I shuffle the papers I’ve been poring over into a pile. Before I get to my feet, I see my screen full of texts.
Mom: The delivery guy just dropped off golfing clubs. For me. Your father bought me golf clubs. What is happening here?
Barrett: It’ll get you some fresh air and quality time with Dad. Think about it.
Mom: Maybe he’ll meet me halfway and spend some quality time with me doing dishes.
Barrett: Likely not.
Lincoln: He might repay you in other ways, though. *winks*
I pick up my phone and type out a response.
Me: That’s our mother, Lincoln.
Mom: Well, I have been wanting that new bag in Ellie’s shop.
I shake my head at Mom’s naivete.
Barrett: That’s exactly what he meant, Mother.
I turn off my phone and leave Barrett to deal with Lincoln. Flipping off the light, I head toward the bathroom and my hopefully naked, or soon-to-be naked, wife.
Mom: I might buy Alison one of those bags too for her birthday. Do you think she’d like blue or green?
I kick back in my chair and type my answer.
Me: Whatever you think.
Mom: She’s your wife. You should choose.
Me: Blue then.
Mom: Is that because you like blue or because she does?
Me: Green then.
Mom: Your dad is calling. I’ll be right back or BRB as Huxley would say.
I grin at her attempt at being cool. Huxley, my son, has been trying to teach her new lingo. I have no idea why Mom is so interested in learning the language of the kids these days, but she is. It’s kind of adorable. Huxley thinks it’s hilarious. My youngest siblings, Camilla and Sienna, find it ridiculous.
I take a drink of my beer and wait to see if one of my brothers or sisters pops on again. By the time the bottle is empty, I’m still alone.
It’s been three weeks since I saw any of them. Graham and I had a meeting over a land deal with Holt and Oliver Mason. Lincoln came in to talk to them about making a charitable donation to Dani’s organization. And that was it. I haven’t seen any of them since.
I miss them. A lot. Despite the fact that they make me half-crazy most days and that I lived for a few years in Atlanta when I was governor, I’ve gotten used to seeing them on an almost daily basis.
I didn’t realize how much I liked or maybe even needed that.
The older I get, the more I value our relationship. They’re built-in best friends and partners in crime because they don’t have a choice but do have loyalty. We have dinners almost every week at the Farm with Mom and Dad. My brothers and Camilla’s boyfriend head to a bar at least once a month for some drinks. It’s a part of who I am. It balances the roles of husband and dad. It makes me a better man. Period.
Stretching my arms overhead, I gaze across the lawn. The sun is setting and painting the sky vivid purples and bright pinks. A gentle breeze kicks over the treetops, whistling through the branches and leaves, and I take in the moment and savor it.
After being in politics and the hassle of getting back into a normal life again, moments like this mean everything to me. They’re slow. Deliberate. They’re what life is all about.
Moments like this give me time to think. To feel. To listen. And while I have a full, loud, robust life, I’ve also discovered some holes that I’d like to fill.
I’d like to be more involved in our family’s charities going forward. I’d like to take time away from Graham’s spreadsheets and golf more with Dad. I’d also like to fill this six-bedroom house with lots of babies with Alison.
Just the thought makes my balls ache.
It’s not just a sexual thing either—although Alison is fucking hot. It comes from a different, deeper place. It’s about creating something that Huxley can fall back on. It’s become so important to me that Huxley has siblings to fight with, to lean on, to share inside jokes.
I want that. And I want to give that to Alison, if she wants it.
As if on cue, she shows up in the doorway.
“What are you doing out here?” she asks.
She smiles slowly. It’s only now that I see her hands are behind her back.
“What are you up to?” I ask.
I stand in front of her. Sweeping my gaze down her body, I forbid myself to reach out. Yet. I make myself wait until I hear what she’s thinking because if I touch her, I’ll lose all thought processes.
“What are you thinking about?” I ask.
She bites her lip as a bowl full of grapes comes from behind her back and is pressed into my abdomen. The bowl is cold and damp and the grapes bright purple.
My entire body fires. My core pulses with anticipation because this means one thing: game time.
“Hungry?” she asks with a twinkle in her eye.
She pulls on the hem of my shirt. “Come on, then.”
“Lead the way.”
We round the corner into the house when my phone buzzes in my hand. I look down.
Mom: Your dad is hungry. Guess I’m making dinner. Again.
Me: I’m about to go eat too. Alison just delivered a big bowl of grapes to me.
I chuckle at the reactions my brothers will undoubtedly have to that message and shove my phone in my pocket.
I pause at the kitchen counter and read my oldest son’s text. My face parts into a smile as I sit my phone next to the cutting board.
“That’s my boy,” I say aloud. “He always did love fruit.”