So I’m lying in bed watching Everybody Loves Raymond when I suddenly realize I’m surrounded by males. Normally, it’s just me and the husband, but tonight there are three extra bodies and the room is filled with testosterone and jungle fatigues.

Good thing the husband has a holiday party tonight, because I’m thinking he’d definitely notice this. The three year old is long asleep and once again, I’ve been caught not writing. And in bed with three men. Hopefully the mother is not reading this. Mothers tend not to understand this type of thing.

My mother is already slightly upset that I write ‘those’ kinds of books.

I should’ve known that where Jake goes, the other two are sure to follow. I’m actually surprised it took this long. I mute the TV and look to each of them expectantly, waiting for their supposed words of wisdom. But it’s like I’m in the middle of some grand SEAL covert plotting meeting and yet they’re talking about me like I’m not even here.

“You’re putting a lot of pressure on her,” Chris drawls, His six foot six frame is taking up half the bed and he’s got his feet up on me. I wonder where his wife is, since I’ve taken the trouble to marry him off, and feel that by rights his feet should be on her. “After I’ll, I’m a hard act to follow.”

“I haven’t exactly seen your book sell yet,” Jake reminds him.

“Minor detail.” Chris manages to hide his annoyance and I’m just about to defend myself when Nick jumps in.

“Look, she’s halfway through my book but Jake keeps butting in.” Nick’s voice is rough. “I’m complex and she needs full concentration to figure me out.”

At least he’s defending me, although why is he so irritatingly silent when I need him to speak? I make a mental note to ask him that later, when we’re alone.

“Complex my ass,” Jake scoffs. “You’re being difficult on purpose and you’re ruining my sex life.”

“Last I looked you had plenty of women keeping you busy,” Chris drawled. “Cece, Sasha, Teresa, even Sylvia, although her husband’s not supposed to know…”

“Look, just give it up and fall in love,” Jake tells Nick, deftly changing the subject. “Deal with your past life crap or not. Either way, it doesn’t matter, because she’s started to write my book. I’ve already got three chapters and a fight scene, plus half a sex scene.”

“Big deal. I’ve got lots of sex scenes in my book. Hot ones too.” Nick glares at me and then at the ceiling and I’m smack in the middle of their pissing contest.

“I’ve got more than either of you,” Chris pipes up again, a wide, satisfied smile stretching across his face and I hope he doesn’t start describing it in detail. Remember the mother who reads the blog thing.

“Yeah, but you’re married now, so that’ll stop.” Nick smirks. I throw a pillow at him but he ducks and I make more mental notes to make him suffer. That’s what they always teach authors, right? Don’t be so nice to your characters. I wonder what they’d say if they knew I let my characters hang out in my bed?

And then I’m distracted by crumbs, because Jake’s eating cookies next to me, and I don’t know if I’m more annoyed by the mess or the fact that he’s not sharing.

“The point is, I’m making her happy. She likes writing my stuff.” Jake looks at Nick and I grab a cookie while he’s not looking. “You’re driving her nuts.”

“How, exactly, am I driving you nuts?” Nick asks me.

“It would be better if you were a little more optimistic. A little more of a, the glass is half full, kind of guy,” I mumble with cookie in my mouth.

“But my glass is half empty, and where the hell is the rest of the bottle anyway?” He shakes his head as Jake and Chris dissolve in laughter. Yeah, optimism’s going to be way too big a stretch for him.

“Still, that’s a great line,” I mutter, scrounging around past Chris’s feet to my night stand for a paper and pen to write it down. Why can’t he say things like that during normal business hours?

“And what’s with all the blog quizzes?” Nick continues and I notice he’s got the pen and paper ready for me. He knows exactly what he’s doing. “You could be using that time to write, to finish my scenes.”

‘Everybody’s a critic,” I mutter. “I told you – blog quizzes relax me.”

“These two, they’re not easy,” Chris sympathizes, pointing to his brothers, and suddenly it’s okay that his feet are on me. And then he ruins it. “No one’s ever going to be as easy to write as me.”

Jake rolls his eye and Nick grumbles. Chris just grins and I notice how cool it is that his eyes are two different colors. I hope his wife appreciates him because right now I want to strangle him and his non-selling, easily written, can still make me laugh if I read it, story.

I wonder if it’s a bad sign if you laugh out loud when you read your own stuff and decide not to ask any of these guys. Especially since I notice that Jake still has a voodoo doll that looks suspiciously like me stuffed in his pocket. He notices me noticing and just laughs and shakes his head.

“Is that supposed to scare me?” I ask him.

“It’s supposed to make you write,” he says, pulls it out of his pocket. “I got it on our last mission, the one where you have me losing half the blood in my body and still saving the world or some stupid shit like that. See, no pins, but she’s holding a pen and writing. No IM-ing Katie and bitching for hours about things.”

“Katie and I do not…” I realize I’m about to lie and do it anyway. “Bitch. So bite me.” I must say it all convincingly, because I get smiles and nods of approval.

“She’s getting good at that,” Nick says proudly. “I taught her that.”

“I taught her that,” Jake argues.

“I think it’s apparent that I taught her that, because she found me first. Remember guys, no matter what happens, my story will always be first,” Chris says.

“No matter what happens, my story will always be the best,” Jake counters.

“No matter what happens, you’re story is still going to be last, little brother,” Nick tells him.

“But my excerpt is bigger than either of yours,” Jake says smugly, crossing his arms. “A lot bigger.”

I grab my pillow and head for the guest room before the real pissing contest begins and hope Larissa sends that eggnog soon.

Steph T.