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  • power drilled bonus chapter

    PENNY

    “Hey there, Flip Trip fans! It’s your girl, Penny, and I’m coming to you from the halfway point of our latest Ten-Day Turnaround. Want to see how the triplets are doing? It looks rough, I know, but they always make it work. So, let’s see what they’re up to!”

    I reversed the camera so that the audience could no longer see me. Holding it in front of me, I walked through the living room, panning around to show as much of the renovation work as possible. I still didn’t feel completely at ease making a video like this, but Lila, who was far more used to being on camera, had given me a lot of tips and support.

    A loud buzzing noise filled my ears as I approached the den, so I resumed my commentary. “Sounds like a triplet with a power tool… I wonder who it is?”

    Reid had his back to me, which wasn’t a problem for me or for the audience, because he had a mighty fine ass. It was covered by black jeans, and he had on a red flannel shirt above it. For our viewer’s sake, I pretended I wasn’t certain which one he was. “Reid?”

    He shut off the drill. Though he’d only been screwing things into the wall, I could detect a faint smell of sawdust, and it made me feel a little queasy. But that feeling disappeared when Reid turned and gave me a thumbs up and the camera a smile. I lowered my voice, now that it was quieter, and spoke confidentially to the audience. “Reid is usually the one with his shirt on—I know, I’m disappointed, too.”

    Reid grinned, probably remembering how he’d had his shirt off when he took me in the shower this morning. That had been a lot of fun. It was too bad we couldn’t fit all four of us in the shower, though. That would’ve been even better.

    “Can you tell our viewers what you’re working on?”

    “Sure. This room can be a den, an office, or even a multipurpose room for some lucky family. We decided on built-in bookcases that cover the entire wall, so I’m installing the shelves.”

    “Doesn’t he look good holding a power drill?” I asked, feeling fairly certain our female viewers agreed with me. “Anyway, let’s go see what Jackson and Hunter are up to.”

    Reid winked at me once the camera was aimed away from him, and I continued my commentary as I moved down the hallway. This was the fourth house the triplets had renovated since I’d moved in with them, but it was only the second time I’d recorded myself like this. The goal, as we’d agreed upon, was to point out the best features of the house while also showcasing how hot my men were. That was always good for our business.

    “Ah, look at that,” I said as I pointed the camera toward the kitchen. “That’s something you don’t see every day.”

    A shirtless Jackson looked up from his spot over by the stove. “What’s that?”

    “A hot, half-naked man cooking.”

    He grinned. “Just heating up some leftovers.”

    “Is there enough for me?”

    “If you’re good.” Wow… the look he gave me was scorching. But we’d found that kind of thing increased views. The audience ate it up as much as I did.

    “Besides heating things up, why don’t you tell me what else you’re doing in here?”

    Jackson strode toward the camera, stopping when he reached the counter between us. “Mostly working on this island. Hunter installed the marble countertop yesterday, and the sink was just added this morning. Because what good is it to have extra space in the kitchen if you’re not near running water?”

    I edged forward, keeping the camera on both Jackson and the island. Then I rapped my knuckles against the marble. “Is it sturdy?”

    Jackson grinned, probably because he and I had, ahem, tested its sturdiness last night before we headed back to our house. A sturdy countertop and a man with extra stamina—that was a very good combination, in my opinion. “It’ll get the job done.” Then he showed all the storage space underneath even though some of the cabinets didn’t have doors yet.

    I pretended not to know where Hunter was as I walked around the house, showing off some of its best features. Once I’d been through the master bedroom, the two smaller bedrooms, and the laundry room, I told the audience that I didn’t know where Hunter was. “But wait… I hear some hammering. I think it’s coming from the backyard.”

    I made my way out there—Jackson had conveniently opened the sliding glass door for me when he was off camera—and followed the banging sound to the large oak tree. “Hunter, are you up there?”

    A handsome face peered down at me from at least ten feet up. “Yep.”

    “These guys hire landscapers to spruce up the yard, but Hunter took one look at this huge tree and decided that he wanted to build a treehouse.”

    “Yep. Come on up and show them, Penny,” Hunter called. And I rolled my eyes. He knew damn well I wasn’t going to climb a ladder while filming. It wasn’t in our hastily made script that he was supposed to come down here. He just liked throwing me off track sometimes.

    “Why don’t you come down here?” Even if I hadn’t had the camera, I didn’t feel all that steady on my feet today.

    “All right,” he grumbled, but I could hear amusement in his voice. To get back at him, I made sure to film his cute butt as he climbed down the ladder. Once he reached the ground, he turned so fast that he caught me. I smirked as I raised the camera to his face. “This house is in a great school district, and there’s a park just down the road.”

    “And those bedrooms inside are perfect for kids,” I added.

    “Yeah, but what kid wants to play inside all the time? So that’s why I wanted to make a treehouse. It’s about six by eight feet, so it can be a little clubhouse for them. There are windows, and a sky light, and… well, by the time it’s done, it might be fancier than the main house.”

    “Sounds amazing.” I switched the camera around, so it was filming me. “You may not realize this, because the triplets are so H-O-T, but they’re really good with children.” Hunter grinned at the way I’d whispered as if he couldn’t hear me. “So next time you come to an open house, bring your kids. Jackson, Hunter, and Reid will keep them entertained.”

    Hunter appeared at my side and pushed his way into the shot. “Just don’t let them do any of the unsafe things we do.” I laughed, and he put his arm around me, and we smiled into the camera for another few seconds. Then I turned it off.

    “Whew.” I still wasn’t all that comfortable filming myself. I could edit out any part that didn’t go well, but it just didn’t feel natural to me. But I was part of this business now, too. The triplets’ success was my success, and vice versa.

    “Will that last part work? I forgot the wording you told me to use,” Hunter said.

    “You were close. And yeah, it’ll be fine. I’ll put together a little montage of all the dangerous stuff you guys do and slap a ‘Don’t try this at home’ label at the bottom. Your viewers will love it.”

    “Our viewers.” Hunter squeezed my shoulders. “And they’ll love you, too. At least judging by the comments on that last video you made.”

    I blushed. It was quite normal for our fans to talk about the triplets’ bodies and how gorgeous they were, but I wasn’t used to them discussing mine. It happened to Lila all the time, but it was new territory for me.

    Later, I went back to our house to edit while the guys stayed to work on the current renovation project. The video came together nicely, even if I did say so myself. For the part at the end, the ‘Don’t try this at home’ part, I used a shot of Jackson walking on his hands down the steps to the basement, Jackson and Hunter wrestling, Reid hitting a tennis ball over and over at drywall that was so old, it flaked off with every shot. And, of course, lots of footage of the guys with their shirts off. That never got old.

    I posted the video in the early evening and then went to my art class. We’d advanced to painting landscapes, but Jackson was still my very favorite subject to draw.

    The guys didn’t get home until quite late. Since we’d moved into this house in the suburbs, they didn’t always sleep in the house they were renovating unless they got really behind. That was fine with me. I loved spending time with them in all circumstances, but all things being equal, it was more fun to sleep with them in a king-size bed rather than sleeping bags.

    Much more fun.

    We ate the Italian takeout they’d picked up along the way and then retired to the living room. Reid asked if they could see my video, so we sat on the couch. It was a large couch built for four people, but for some reason, I always seemed to end up sitting on one of the men’s laps. Hunter snaked his arm around my waist like a seatbelt, and I happily snuggled back against him as I cued up the video.

    Reid pulled my feet onto his lap and started rubbing them as we watched. Possibly feeling left out, Jackson moved to my end of the couch, leaned against the arm of the sofa, and stroked my hair as we watched.

    “Damn, Penny, you look good. You should be on camera more often,” Jackson said, and his brothers agreed.

    “You guys are supposed to look hot, not me,” I protested.

    Reid chuckled. “If you were trying not to look hot in that video, then you failed. Big time.”

    The guys seemed to enjoy the part at the end where I showed some of their antics. “Want to watch it again?” Reid asked.

    “Let’s look at the comments,” I suggested instead. That was always a mixed bag. Most of them would be about the house or the guys, but there was always some mean stuff on there, too. That was how the internet worked.

    “Hey, that woman says that I’m the cutest triplet,” Hunter said smugly.

    “She needs her glasses checked,” Jackson said. “Oh, but look, someone said they’d buy the house just for the kitchen if they could afford it.”

    “Hopefully someone who can afford it thinks the same thing.” Reid said.

    “I’d buy it just for the built-in bookcases,” I said.

    Jackson squeezed my hair. “Do you need more bookcases here?”

    I grinned. “In theory, yes, but you guys keep me too busy to read.”

    Hunter squeezed my ass, and I squealed. “Seems like you don’t mind too much.”

    “I definitely don’t.”

    I scrolled down and stopped when I saw a comment that made me smile. “That one says that the talk about you guys being good with kids made her ovaries ache.”

    Reid frowned. “Is that a good thing?”

    “Yes,” Jackson and I said at the same time. Then he spoke again. “Wait, go back a bit… yeah, that one.”

    Reid read it aloud. “‘You said the triplets are good with kids, but what about you, Penny?’”

    Hunter nuzzled his nose against my hair. “You’d be a great mom.”

    “That goes without saying,” Reid said.

    I kept scrolling until Reid stopped me. “Wait, what does that one say?”

    Jackson squinted at the screen. “It says, ‘did you tell them yet, Penny’?”

    Hunter snorted. “That’s probably from some fan who’s delusional and thinks she’s your best friend.”

    I bit back a laugh. “Or it’s actually from my best friend.”

    “Hey, she’s right, it’s from Lila,” Reid said, his head swiveling to look at me. “Tell us what?”

    I reached into the front pocket of my pants and pulled out a small white object. I held it out so that all of them could see it.

    Silence filled the room, and I held my breath as I waited for someone to say something. Finally, Jackson did. “It’s positive?”

    “Yes.”

    “So that means…” he trailed off.

    Reid found his voice. “That means… you’re pregnant?”

    “I am.”

    “Holy shit,” Hunter said.

    “We’re going to have a baby?” Jackson asked.

    “We are.”

    Reid was speechless, but he leaned over and pulled me onto his lap, hugging me tightly. Hunter let me go, but as soon as he could, he took my face in his hands and kissed me long and hard. That left one man whose reaction I wanted to see.

    Jackson crouched down in front of me as if in a daze—except for the single tear that rolled slowly down his cheeks. “We’re really having a baby?”

    “We are.”

    He pulled me to him and held me tight. Reid’s arm was still around my shoulder, and Hunter’s was around my waist. I was always happiest when I was touching all of them at once. But now I was even happier… because I was going to have a baby—something I’d always wanted ever since I could remember. I’d never dreamed my child would have three incredible fathers in his or her life. I felt like the luckiest woman in the world as they embraced me, and I knew the child growing inside of me had hit the jackpot, too.

    And then the planning started. They spoke so quickly that I could barely keep up with who said what.

    “We need to make the small bedroom into a nursery, obviously.”

    “Yeah, when the baby is older, they can move into the loft, but not now.”

    “We definitely need to paint it.”

    “And maybe add a skylight. Shouldn’t a baby get lots of natural light?”

    “We can build a swing set in the backyard. And maybe a treehouse like the one Hunter’s making.”

    I held up my hands. “Guys, you’re forgetting the most important thing.”

    They all looked at me. “What’s that?” Reid said.

    “I need rest. Lots of it.”

    “Of course,” Jackson said. “Whatever you need, just let us know.”

    “I was hoping you’d say that.” I gave each one a big smile. “Because what I really need is for one of you to carry me to the bedroom, and then for another of you to take off all my clothes, and then for you all to take off your clothes. And I need that right now.”

    “And it won’t hurt the baby?” Jackson asked anxiously.

    “Of course not. But it’ll definitely help me.”

    Hunter stood up, lifting me as well. “Then that’s what we’ll do.”

    He carried me down the hallway, and I heard someone say, “I love you, Penny.”

    I couldn’t tell which one of them it was, but then it didn’t matter, because the other two said it as well.

    “I love you all, too. So damn much.”

    Hunter grinned, as he always did when I used a four-letter word. But love was a four-letter word, too, and I used that all the time.

    We all did.

    And would continue to for the rest of our lives.

    (c) Stephanie Brother 2023