Home > After the Storm (KGI #8)(15)

After the Storm (KGI #8)(15)
Author: Maya Banks

Joe seemed unaffected by the love and intimacy that was so evident between all their brothers and the women they loved. But Donovan was envious. He wanted that for himself. Joe was younger than Donovan and his older brothers. Though Nathan, his twin, had settled down with Shea, Joe had shown no signs of wanting to do the same. He was in his early thirties now. Nathan had been thirty when he and Shea had met in a very unconventional fashion.

Donovan shook his head. It was still hard to believe that Shea had such extraordinary abilities. That she’d saved his brother. More than that, she’d taken his torture and his pain. Absorbed it and made it her own. Donovan couldn’t fathom a woman who would be that selfless for someone she didn’t even know. Just a stranger that she’d reached out to over thousands of miles that separated them.

That bond between them had been strong and lasting. It had lasted until Nathan had found her. And it was still present. Unbreakable.

And yet the family treated her just as they did every other daughter– and sister-in-law. Normal. Seemingly oblivious to the fact that she had telepathy and shared a mental pathway with both Nathan and Joe. That they could speak through their minds in a much more intimate fashion.

Donovan envied that too. Wished he shared that kind of bond with a woman he loved and who loved him.

“You seem preoccupied today, man,” Ethan murmured at his side.

Ethan and Rachel sat to Donovan’s right, while Rusty had taken the spot on Donovan’s left. Perhaps because she wanted his support once she announced what she’d done to the family. And there would be a hell of a lot of questions.

The twins were sleeping in their bassinets just a few feet away so that if they awakened, someone would be instantly there. And any one of the family members would swoop in, bottle ready to assist in the feeding. That was what his family was all about. Always there. Unwavering, unconditional love and support.

Donovan shook his head. “We’ll get into it later. Ma has something up her sleeve. She’s about to come out of her chair. I figure soon she won’t be able to stand it another minute, and we’ll figure out what she’s called everyone together for today.”

Ethan grinned. “You noticed too, huh.”

“Kind of hard not to,” Donovan said dryly. “She’s fidgeting with impatience. Lord only knows what she’s cooked up now. I figure we should all brace for impact.”

Ethan smiled even as he slid his arm around Rachel and pulled her close to his side. Rachel sent a smile in Donovan’s direction, and Donovan marveled at the joy in her eyes. Eyes that had once been darkened by permanent shadows. Knowledge of the past. All she’d endured. Finally. Finally, she’d stepped into the light. She was happy. Loved. But most of all whole again.

Donovan smiled back at her, allowing all the love he felt for her fill his heart. Ethan was a lucky son of a bitch to get the second chance he’d gotten. He’d damn near lost Rachel, something that would haunt Ethan—and the entire family—forever.

“You’re looking good, sweetheart,” he said affectionately. “Hard to believe you gave birth not so long ago.”

A blush rose in her cheeks, but she looked back at him with answering love and affection.

“It’s been nearly a year! Can you believe it? I swear the twins are growing by leaps and bounds. I can’t even keep up with them these days. Mason is doing his best to catch up to Ian in the walking department, and God help me when they both cut loose.”

An ache settled into Donovan’s chest. Yes, time was flying by. Children getting older. It was hard to savor these moments when they went by so quickly.

“Are you okay today?” Rachel asked in a low voice so she wouldn’t be overheard. But then the rest of the conversation was loud and raucous. At least three different conversations were ongoing at the table as everyone bantered, laughed and joked, so it was doubtful anything Rachel said would be heard.

Donovan smiled. “Yeah, sweetheart. I’m good. Just thinking about something. I’ll tell you about it later. I may need your help with something.”

Concern immediately darkened both Rachel’s and Ethan’s eyes.

“You know all you have to do is ask,” Rachel said.

Ethan nodded his agreement as they both stared intently at Donovan.

“I know. And I appreciate it. It’s not me, so don’t worry. I’ll explain everything after Ma tells us what’s on her mind.”

On cue, the table quieted and Donovan turned his attention to where his father had held up his hand. He marveled at the fact that his father commanded absolute respect in their family.

His brothers were grown men. Had families of their own. And yet Frank Kelly was still the patriarch. When he had something to say, his children listened. He commanded their absolute respect, and every single Kelly toed the line when it came to their father or their mother.

“Your mother has something she wants to share with you all,” he said in his gravelly voice. “It’s why she wanted all of you here today. All of you,” he said pointedly, looking down the table to where Sean Cameron and Swanny sat. Both adopted by his wife into the Kelly fold. Just as Rusty had been.

All eyes went in their mother’s direction, waiting. Some worried, some just curious. It was evident by her expression and the smile bursting at her lips that whatever she was going to share wasn’t bad. So there was no need to worry.

Marlene Kelly glanced at her husband and then reached above the table to grasp his hand where it rested by his plate. She squeezed and sent him a loving smile that made Donovan’s chest ache. So many years gone by. So many trials endured. And yet their love was solid. Unbending. It was a constant in all their lives and had shaped the lives of every single person Marlene and Frank had ever come in contact with.

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