Home > After the Storm (KGI #8)(7)

After the Storm (KGI #8)(7)
Author: Maya Banks

Donovan gave her a rueful smile. “You’ve got a quick mind, kiddo. I swear you could take over the running of KGI and probably rule the world one day.”

She grinned cheekily. “I wouldn’t turn down a tech geek job with you guys. Then I could play on Hoss.”

Donovan scowled. “Hoss is mine. No one touches him but me. Besides, I’m not letting you anywhere near our computers. You’d hack into them in thirty seconds.”

“I can’t help it if my tech skills are superior to yours,” she said loftily.

“Oh, good Lord,” he muttered. “That’s one hell of an ego you’ve got. I’m the geek in the Kelly family, thank you very much. The really hot, intelligent geek women are powerless to resist.”

Rusty burst into laughter. “And you talk about my ego?”

He grinned and then pushed her toward the hardware store. “Go take care of the kid. I’ll park a block down and watch when he comes out. If you’ll hightail it down to my truck, we can follow him and see what happens.”

“Thanks, Van. You’re the best!”

“I expect you to remember that,” he said dryly.

She hurried off with a wave, and Donovan walked back to his truck to move it farther down the street. He couldn’t believe he’d just been roped into this craziness, but he also knew that he couldn’t just look the other way and pretend ignorance. If this kid truly was in trouble and needed help, he couldn’t ignore that. He hated to think of any child bearing so much responsibility at such a young age and worse, going hungry.

His pet charities were all about helping disadvantaged children, homeless and hungry children, and the majority of his financial support went to shelters for abused women. He’d cofounded a foundation to give support and financial help to women getting out of abusive relationships. His family didn’t even know about it. Not that they would object in any way. The Kellys as a whole gave back a lot financially and by taking on missions that aided women and children without receiving a cent in compensation.

He just hadn’t wanted to make a big deal of his foundation, so he’d funded and set it up with two women who oversaw day-to-day operations and gave him a heads-up when they ran up against a woman who needed more than just financial help. In those cases, KGI took on the mission whether it was to rescue a kidnapped child or to get a woman out of an unhealthy situation. They funded her new life and gave her the opportunity to start over in a place they felt was safe.

His brothers knew of his weakness when it came to taking missions involving children or women, and they were more than happy to lend assistance in any way they could. They gave him shit about his soft spot, but they were every bit as determined as Donovan was to right wrongs against victims.

Hell, the Kelly wives were survivors in their own right and kick-ass women to boot. His brothers were lucky sons of bitches, as were the team leaders, Rio and Steele. They’d all met their women in less-than-ideal situations, but they’d fallen hard and fast, and Donovan envied their connection to their wives. He wanted that. One day. He wasn’t in a hurry. It would happen when it happened. But he wanted a family of his own. A wife. Children. To be a bigger part in a family that was his alone.

For now, he played the doting uncle to Charlotte, his oldest brother’s daughter, and to his younger brother Ethan’s twin boys. And now Rio had a thirteen-year-old daughter and Steele was the proud new father of a daughter. The world was changing around him, and yet he was seemingly standing still. Same routine. Same job. Every day.

He couldn’t complain about his love life. He had sex. But he wasn’t into cheap thrills or getting laid just to get a piece of ass. He respected women far too much to indulge in meaningless one-night stands. As a result, his relationships were few and far between, and he hadn’t f**ked his way through countless women. And he was okay with that. When the day came that he met the one, he wanted to be able to tell her that he hadn’t been some man whore. He wanted her to know that she was special. For that matter, he wanted it to be special for him as well.

Maybe that made him old-fashioned or a prude. He didn’t really give a damn. His parents had brought him up to be respectful not only of others but most of all himself. If he couldn’t respect himself, how could he expect respect from others?

Fifteen minutes after he’d relocated down the street, he saw the kid Rusty had hired walk out of the hardware store. She was not wrong. This kid checked his surroundings. In fact, he brought more attention to himself because he was being so cautious. He walked slowly, his head turning side-to-side and then over his shoulder in a regular rotation.

He was a big kid. Tall and muscular, but thin. He had a look to him that told Donovan he was very likely malnourished. His face was thin and his expression was somber. He picked up speed at the end of the block as he crossed the street.

Damn it. If Rusty didn’t hurry her ass up, they were going to lose him.

Just when he’d decided to take off after the kid on his own, Rusty hurried out and ran toward his truck. She slid into the passenger seat and Donovan backed out.

“You’re right about him being wary,” Donovan muttered as he slowed to a discreet distance behind the kid. “He’s too obvious about it, though. If a cop sees him they’re going to pick up on the fact that it looks like he has something to hide.”

Rusty nodded and frowned. “Yeah, I know. But I can hardly tell him to act more casual, you know?”

“Yeah. I hear you.”

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