Fallen Crest Campout by Tijan




“Idon’t like this.”

A hand went to the back of my chair, a head popped up between our two front seats, and that was announced. Mason was in the driver’s seat and I was in the passenger seat. Logan looked at each of us. He was wearing a distinct frown-smirk combo on his face as he said his piece.

Problem was, he’d been saying it since we left Boston, since we landed in California, and since we’d been in the rental and driving three hours past Fallen Crest.

It’d been said. It’d been heard.

We were now at the part where we wanted to murder my brother-in-law. Or, correction, where I wanted to murder my brother-in-law. Mason was stoic and driving. He was able to get in the zone and tune Logan out. Taylor was sitting in her chair, reading on her phone. She had the whole tuning-out thing too.

Not me. I was a mom, so somehow that meant I always had to be aware and alert, and now I was close to grinding my teeth and yelling for a Logan time-out.

Five minutes in the back, please.

Mason grunted. “Tough shit.”

Nice. Maybe he wasn’t so ‘tuned out.’

I looked at Taylor. “Can you keep him under control?”

She glanced up from her phone. “You know the answer to that question. You’ve known him longer.”


I’m not sleeping with him.”

Taylor just laughed. “Shouldn’t have said that. He’s probably refraining from twenty different inappropriate jokes as I’m talking.”

Ahem.” Logan gave us both a look. “It’s because I love both of you—in different ways—and respect both of you that I’m not touching that. But Sam…” Logan leveled me with an aggrieved look, his eyebrows raised. “Can you watch what you say? Old Logan would’ve been all over that one, and can you imagine the innuendos?” He gestured to himself, his face tight. “But I’m here. Being polite—”

“Sorry. I thought since you’re older and in law school, you’d be more mature.”

“It’s like you don’t know me at all.” But he was grinning.

“Logan.” Insert some assertive tone here. I had to make my point. “We got a babysitter for the weekend. I got permission for a full weekend off from my training. Your brother is on a much-needed vacation before football training starts, and I have been needing Heather time even though I saw her a few weeks ago.”

I had a point. What was it? “So shut it, okay?”

That was my point.

“All I’m saying is that we were supposed to do the yacht. Nate and Matteo were up for it. Now suddenly we’re doing a camping thing. I’m not clear on the why?”

Mason glanced into the rearview mirror. “It was Nate’s idea. He said something about family research. What’s your issue? You like camping.”

“That’s when we were young. We did stupid shit back then like. We’re old now. If we go camping, I prefer it to be on things like yachts. Or we stay in a mega-mansion and our camping is napping by the pool. I like that type of camping.”

Taylor frowned at him. “Babe.”

He shot her a look, frowning slightly, but his face softened. He reached out, touching her leg. “It’s nothing. I’ll get over it.”


That was settled.

Two minutes later, “But why is Channing’s sister coming? She and her friends are in high school. Why the fuck do they want to hang out with us?”

Mason arched an eyebrow. “Technically, they graduated.”

Logan rolled his eyes, but settled back in his chair. “All the more. They’re the ones who should be pranking the local cops.”

“Uh.” Mason and I shared a look.

I grinned. “I don’t think that’s the history with Bren and police.”

Logan sighed. “I know. I do, I just…”

“Say what’s really the issue.” Mason glared in the mirror at his brother. “There’s a reason we named our kid after you. You’re acting just like Maddie.”

That shut Logan up.

“I object.”

But not for long.

Taylor finally cracked. “Logan! Stop, okay?”

He turned her way. “There’s no privacy out there. We’ll be in tents. You can hear everything in tents—”

“That’s why you’re so pissed? I know you can be all sorts of quiet when you want to, like when Sam and Mas—”

His hand clamped over her mouth and he fought back a grin. “Um, honey? Let’s not tell them about the one time I was silent, maybe?”

He removed his hand, his head inching back.

Taylor smirked at him this time. “The one time? There wasn’t just one time.”

I shook my head. “Shut up, shut up, shut up. I don’t want to know.”

Logan scowled. “I wasn’t the one who was going to spill the details.”

“And I’m tired of your bitching,” I added. “We’re in tents for the weekend. Fucking deal with it.”

Mason laughed, slowing the SUV and easing into a gas station. “Sam’s spoken. You piss my wife off, that’s going to piss me off.” He parked and turned back to glare at his brother. “Don’t piss me off.”

He pulled the keys from the ignition, still glaring at Logan, and then was out of the SUV.

I grabbed my bag. “Taylor, you want something?”

She looked at the gas station, biting her lip. “I’ll come in. We have another hour’s drive, right?”

“More than that, and why aren’t y’all asking me what I want?”

I didn’t respond, but Taylor gave him a soft smile. She leaned over, tapping his chin before giving him a quick kiss. “Because you’ve annoyed everybody. Be smart and splurge on booze for the weekend. They’ll all love you.” She nodded to the liquor store next to the gas station.

“That’s my woman. It’s like you know me.”

I heard another kiss as I exited the car, but after a moment Taylor joined me.

We were halfway across the lot when Logan asked, “Mase, you want something?”

“Not candy-flavored condoms,” Mason replied, sounding distracted.

Logan laughed, and I grinned.

“I don’t want to know,” Taylor said.

The bell above the door rang when we went inside, and I was pleased to find it cleaner than I thought it would be. The outside was made of old brick, and the sign was missing a couple letters, but the inside had been maintained. That meant they’d probably have clean bathrooms, and once inside, I was thrilled to see I was right because that’s really all that mattered. Clean bathrooms.

Taylor took the stall next to me, and after we washed our hands, she hit the motion-detecting towel dispenser with her shoulder. It began unraveling. “Logan’s not really upset about the tents.”

I glanced over, taking one of the towels she ripped off and handed to me. “He’s pissed about having silent sex all weekend.”

She laughed, finishing with her towel and tossing it in the garbage. Tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear, she headed for the door and paused, waiting for me. We had similar body frames, though I was a bit more slender from my running. She had light brown hair while mine was black. “No. He’s upset about the weirdness going on with Matteo right now. He’s worried about having him around Mason, because you know.”


Well that made a lot more sense.

Matteo had recently been released from the Los Angeles football team. Mason was still going strong with his team. They asked for a contract extension after next year’s season. Matteo reached out, hoping Mason would do him a solid, but that wasn’t really how it worked and Matteo didn’t seem to understand that.

Yeah. There was weirdness.

“Logan thinks he’s going to have to choose a side?”

Taylor had started to leave the bathroom, but once in the hallway, she turned back to me. “That’s not it. Logan will always choose Mason, but I think he’s not used to these dynamics. Nate’s gotten close to Matteo recently and Logan and Nate are now living together. I think there’s just dynamics going that Logan’s not used to handling.”

That made sense too.

I was starting to feel bad about not being more patient.

* * *

We wentour separate ways in the store.

She was paying for some items a little later when I brought my own stash up to the counter.

“It’ll be fine.”

Taylor glanced at me after she paid, taking her bag. “I know. Logan’s just griping. He’ll settle down in a bit.”

She moved to leave the store as Mason was coming in.

He glanced back, watching her go. Oh yeah. That told me everything right there. My husband was notorious for not giving a shit about anyone he didn’t love, and while he was cordial with Taylor, and she was the girlfriend of Logan’s he liked the most, they didn’t really have a relationship.

Him looking at her as she left spoke volumes.

I sighed as he stepped up next to me, reaching to pay for what I’d put on the counter.

I said, “It’s the Matteo thing.”

Mason told the gas attendant which gas he was paying for. He said to me, “Logan told me.”

After paying for my items and the gas, he took my bag and ushered me to the side.

People were coming in and out, but so far, no one recognized him.

Which was a miracle considering he had an athlete’s build. Wide shoulders. Trim waist. Plus, his black hair and green eyes were always striking. Mason photographed well and there were more than a few fan accounts dedicated just to him on Instagram. But he was keeping his head down, trying to remain hidden among the people. That was part of why we were camping where we were. Heather said people up here were so busy with the tourists that they didn’t people-watch much. They preferred being plastic (Heather’s word) to the money customers and paying attention to their local loved ones. “It’ll be super easy for your man to be incognito up there,” she’d told me. “And trust me, Bren and her guys won’t give two shits either. They know you guys, but as you already know, they don’t give a fuck anyway.”

I turned toward Mason. “How are you feeling about Matteo coming? You haven’t mentioned it at all.”

He eased us to the side, away from people going in and out of the station and put his hand on my hip. He glanced down, observing me. “Matteo knows I have no say over what a GM decides, or a coach, or even agents and managers. If I would’ve gotten asked my opinion, of course I would’ve said something for him, but I wasn’t. I’m too new myself to throw my weight around. Plus, he’s going to get picked up. He’s too good not to. He just needs to wait it out a bit.”


Still, I felt the tension from him. I should’ve thought about this long ago. That was on me, not being a thoughtful wife. I gripped his shirt and bent to rest my forehead against his chest.

His hand smoothed down my back, and he drew me to him, hugging me closer.

“This is nice.”

I laughed, tipping my head up to look at my husband.

He grinned down at me, his eyes concerned. He trailed a finger down the side of my face, his thumb grazing over my mouth. “You’re tired. Don’t stress about this. Please. It’s not that big of a deal.”

Yes. I was tired.

I was exhausted.

And now, gazing up at my husband, I was starting to lament why we hadn’t gotten private campers for everyone. Silent sex wasn’t sounding too good.

I had a new understanding for Logan.

“When are they arriving?”

Mason’s hand slid up to the back of my shoulders. “Nate’s been in Fallen Crest because of his family, so he and Matteo are driving up with Channing’s sister and her crew.”

Now that had me laughing. “Nate and Matteo with those four.”

“Yeah.” Mason’s hand slid to the back of my neck, his lips lowering to mine. “I want you to have fun this weekend. Ignore Logan. Don’t worry about Matteo or me, and enjoy time with Heather when she gets here. Okay?”

He closed the distance and his lips felt so good against mine.

Pleasure and lust began to warm me, and I melted into him as he cupped the side of my face. His thumb caressed over my cheek. “That’s the whole point of this weekend—for you to have fun.”

I pressed up, my lips nipping his before I stepped back. “And for you to have time with your man too.”

He barked out a laugh. “I’ll tell Logan you said that. He’s going to gripe about Channing the rest of the way.”

I groaned and took the bag of food from him. “I’ll see you out there.”

He nodded before heading to the back.