Home > After the Storm (KGI #8)(11)

After the Storm (KGI #8)(11)
Author: Maya Banks

But it didn’t mean he didn’t know what he wanted. Someday. He’d always known. A wife. Children. A house full of children. Noisy, rambunctious. Much like his own upbringing in a house full of brothers, two older and three younger.

He wanted that life for himself. Wanted to carry his childhood into his adult life. Provide that warm, stable, loving home for his own children that Frank and Marlene Kelly had provided him and his brothers. He wanted nothing more than to come home to his own wife after being away on a mission. To be welcomed back with a sweet, loving smile. To be surrounded by his children. His kids. A part of himself. His blood.

But for now the house stood alone. A symbol of his hopes for his future. Apart from the other houses his brothers lived in at the Kelly compound surrounded by a tight security field. A reality of their lives and the career choices they’d made.

Empty except for the bare essentials. He’d always known that whenever he settled down, he wanted his wife to decorate. To put her feminine stamp on the furnishings, the wall decorations. He looked forward to girly, frilly knickknacks and fighting over the bathroom sink and arguing over leaving the toilet seat down.

All the things his brothers good-naturedly bitched about were the things that Donovan craved. Oh, not that any of his brothers truly bitched about their wives. They were completely over-the-moon, head-over-ass, stick-a-fork-in-them done. They’d met their other halves. The women who completed them. He envied them with every breath in his body, even as he shrugged off the teasing that he and Joe were the only ones not hooked and reeled in yet.

He’d perfected the laid-back, easygoing, laissez-faire attitude. To everyone else, he was content with his life. Not actively looking to change it. But his gut tightened every time he saw his brothers with their wives. Their children. His sisters-in-law and his niece and nephews.

One day . . . One day, he kept saying. It would all be his. Just what his brothers had. But that day hadn’t come, and years kept passing. Fading into yet another. Children getting older. More children on the way. His family was growing around him in leaps and bounds and he was standing still, the only one unchanged.

Christ, he was well into his thirties. Sam was forty! Donovan wasn’t that far behind!

He shook his head, forcing his thoughts back to the present. The utter gravity of the situation before him. Because he had to do something. There was no way in hell he’d stand by and allow this to go unaddressed.

Once again, Rusty saved the awkward silence that had fallen over the tiny room.

“Well, he’s welcome to work as long as he’d like. He’s good help, and that’s hard to find,” Rusty said enthusiastically.

But as she said the words, caution and reserve fixed Eve’s eyes into an impenetrable shield. She was already withdrawing, backing away like she wanted Rusty and Donovan both gone this very minute.

Rusty powered on relentlessly as if she took no notice of Eve’s silent refusal or the tightening of Travis’s lips.

“Just plan to come in tomorrow like usual. We’ll just play the rest by ear,” Rusty said. “And if there’s anything else we can do to help, please let us know. We’d be glad to do whatever you need.”

There was warmth in Rusty’s voice, and Donovan had to hand it to her. Her seeming oblivion to the tension in the room and the warmness in her voice relaxed Travis and even Eve. To an extent.

Donovan doubted the woman ever fully let her guard down. It was evident she’d had far too much practice perfecting that shield. Which only made him more determined to break through. He wanted to know her secrets. What made her afraid. And he also wanted to know . . . her. On a more intimate level.

That shocked the holy hell out of him. He nearly rocked back on his heels over that revelation.

Women in distress were nothing new to Donovan. There had never been one whose circumstances hadn’t enraged him. He felt empathy toward each and every victim KGI had rescued or helped in some fashion.

But he’d never felt . . . this. Whatever the hell this was. His emotions had always been involved. His brothers well knew that. They knew women and children were his Kryptonite. No secret there. But this? This was something else entirely that had nothing to do with Eve being a woman on the run. This was something deeper and he suddenly knew he was in some deep shit.

Because this was not a woman he could simply ask out on a date. Exchange good conversation, good food, maybe a goodnight kiss with the hope of a second date and maybe more in the kissing department. Not a woman to be slowly wooed and courted until the moment he took her to bed and made love to her all damn night and woke up to the next morning knowing that he held something special in his arms.


There wasn’t another word that more aptly described this entire situation. It was f**ked and so was he.

“I wouldn’t want to impose,” Eve said in a husky voice that sent a jolt down Donovan’s spine. “I appreciate your offer. You’ve been very kind to Travis—to all of us. But we have what we need.”

She hadn’t said all we need. There was a huge distinction between having what she needed and all she needed.

Rusty grimaced and Donovan saw the realization that they couldn’t push more. Not yet. But Donovan wasn’t giving up. He was on a mission now, and when he set his focus on a goal, he never backed down. Eve didn’t realize it yet, but whether she wanted it or not, he was going to help. He just had to decide how the hell to go about it.


EVE breathed a huge sigh of relief as she watched through the window as Rusty and Donovan pulled away. Then she turned back to Travis, who stood in front of the sofa where Cammie sat, her eyes muddled with confusion—and fear.

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