A Kiss for a Kiss (All In #4) by Helena Hunting

“I just saw her. Hanna, have you seen Queenie?” Stevie calls out.

Hanna pauses in her mission to pin a boutonniere to the best man, Bishop’s, lapel. “She was here a second ago.” Hanna glances around the room. “Where in the world did she go?”

“I think she’s with Lavender and Kody? Do you want me to check?” Lainey, another one of the bridesmaids and wife to my team captain, Rook Bowman, asks.

“That’s okay. Stevie, can you make sure this is straight on your husband?” Hanna pats Bishop’s chest, then crosses the room and threads her arm through mine. “Let’s find the bride and make sure she hasn’t started an arts and crafts project.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if that was actually the case.” Stevie grins and then points at the guys. “Hey, you two need to cool it or you’re both going to be shitfaced before the ceremony is even over.”

I glance over to see Gerald, Kingston and Hanna’s brother, and Bishop with their flasks halfway to their mouths.

“Mine is full of grape juice,” Bishop says in an effort to lie.

Stevie strides across the room and holds out her hand. “If you’re lying, you’re sleeping on the couch.”

Hanna shakes her head. “I really hope Gerald makes it through dinner without passing out.” She guides me around the corner and puts her finger to her lips before pointing to the living room. “Look,” she whispers.

And there she is, my baby girl. All grown up and looking more beautiful than I have words for. As is her way, she’s not focused on herself, or the fact she’s about to marry the man of her dreams. Instead, she’s crouched in front of the flower girl and ring bearer—Lavender and Kody.

They’re not family, but they might as well be with how close Queenie has become with them. Lavender is the team coach’s daughter, and Kody is Rook and Lainey’s son. She’s been working with both kids in art therapy.

“What is she doing?” I murmur, trying to eavesdrop on their conversation.

“Being her amazing, selfless self.” Hanna hugs my arm. “God. Just look at her. She really is extraordinary.”

I nod, unable to tear my eyes away from my daughter. Her dress pools around her slight frame, the skirt an oasis of gauzy layers sparkling with intricate beading in the form of tiny purple flowers. I can feel myself choking up. All the time she and I have spent together, the good and the bad, we’ve been through it all and here she is, on her special day, making sure that everyone, even these two, feel included.

Lavender’s vibrant blue eyes are wide and she has two fingers in her mouth.

“Are you nervous?” Queenie asks.

Lavender ducks her head.

“Want me to tell you a secret?”

Lavender peeks up from under her lashes and nods.

“I’m nervous, too. But you know what’s awesome?”

She shakes her head.

“Your mom and dad are going to be waiting for you at the front, and Kody is going to be right beside you, all the way down the aisle. And if it helps, you can focus on Kingston, because he’s going to be waiting at the end of the aisle, too.”

“I can hold your hand if you get scared, Lavender.” Kody holds out his hand, and Lavender wipes hers on her dress before taking it.

“You two are the best flower girl and ring bearer in the entire universe.” Queenie claps her hands. “And I have something super special for both of you as a thank you for being part of mine and King’s special day. It’s sitting at your table, and you can go get it right after the ceremony is over. Does that sound good?”

The kids smile and murmur something I don’t catch, and Queenie gives them both a hug. “We should get ready. We’ll be walking down the aisle soon.”

“I’ll give you two a minute together.” Hanna steps up and takes the kids back to the kitchen.

“My baby girl.” I take Queenie’s hands in mine. “Let me look at you.” I shake my head. “When did this happen?”

“When did what happen?” She smiles up at me, looking absolutely radiant.

“When did you grow up and become this beautiful young woman? I swear it was just last week when you were drawing murals on your bedroom walls in Sharpie.”

She throws her head back and laughs. “I hope the people who bought that house never took the wallpaper off.”

“I hope they did. That was your first of many masterpieces.” I squeeze her hands. “How are you feeling? You ready for this?”