Brighter Than the Sun

Page 51

“What do you plan to do if you don’t confront him? Make him talk to you and make him acknowledge you?” Zoe asked sympathetically.

“Grow old, become a cat lady, paper the entire property with ‘no trespassing’ signs and run everyone off my property with a shotgun,” Rusty mumbled.

Zoe snorted. “You’re way too young and far too smart, talented and gorgeous for that. No man’s worth that kind of life.”

Rusty sighed. “You’re right. I know you’re right. As much as it pains me to admit that, since I’m the one who’s supposed to be on your ass about shit like this.”

“Then maybe we both ought to put it all on the line, and if we both get shot down then we can become old cat ladies together, but I’ll leave the handling of trespassers and the shotgun to you.”

Rusty burst out laughing even as she wiped a stray tear from her cheek. “God, I love you, Zoe. You honestly are the sister I never had but always wanted. And I have a gazillion sisters-in-law, not to mention all of Mama Kelly’s adoptees, and I love them all dearly, but I could never share with them everything I’ve shared with you.”

“Same goes for me,” Zoe said quietly. “I love you, Rusty, and no matter what happens with Joe, you’ll always be my sister in my heart. I hope you know that.”

Rusty leaned up and the two women hugged again, just holding tightly to each other.

“So . . . about Sean?” Zoe ventured.

Rusty sighed. “I’ll make you a deal. You go to dinner with Joe as planned tomorrow night and tell him everything. Sean works tomorrow night; however, I happen to know how to get into his house. His security system is total shit considering he’s a cop. And maybe I’ll just be waiting on him when he gets home after work.”

Zoe’s eyes widened. “Seriously?”

Rusty nodded. “I can’t let you one-up me. We sisters have to go for the gusto. Go get our man. Or some other schmaltzy saying like that. If I sit around and wait on Sean’s stubborn ass, I will end up growing old with only dozens of cats to keep me company.”

“No matter where I am, what I’m doing or who I’m with, you have to swear to call me the minute it’s done with Sean,” Zoe said adamantly.

“Same goes for you after you spill to Joe. Deal?”

Zoe smiled and then hugged Rusty one last time. “It’s a deal, sister. I love you, you know.”

Rusty smiled. “Back atcha, Zoe. If we’re lucky, Joe and Sean will never know what hit them.”

But doubt—and fear—were both reflected in their eyes as they drew away.


“SHE’S here!” Shea Kelly squealed as she dashed for the door.

Nathan shook his head, smiling as he followed his wife to greet her sister Grace; Grace’s husband, Rio; and their adopted teenage daughter, Elizabeth. Though the two sisters could speak telepathically at will, on a daily basis, they didn’t see each other in person all that often because Rio lived in Belize in a fortified compound, away from the prying eyes of the public. More importantly, off the government’s radar, since Grace had been declared dead a few years earlier.

When he got to the door, he saw Shea and Grace in a mad hugging marathon while Rio stood to the side with an amused look on his face. Rio exchanged glances with Elizabeth and then they both rolled their eyes.

“Hey, man,” Nathan called out as he ambled down the steps of the porch. “Hey, Elizabeth. God, girl, look at you! I swear, every time I see you it’s like looking at a stranger. Rio, are you sure you don’t need a team assigned to you just for her protection? You probably have a boy problem around the clock.”

Elizabeth blushed, but she looked pleased with Nathan’s teasing compliment.

Rio put his arm around his daughter’s neck and hauled her into his side in a headlock. “I’ve had to kill two just this week,” he growled. “Pretty soon I’m going to need a new dumping sight if she keeps attracting them like flies.”

“Da-ad!” she complained, drawing the word out into two whiny syllables.

Rio grinned at her but Nathan didn’t miss the warmth that entered his eyes at her manner of address. Elizabeth had been left an orphan at twelve after her father, the ruthless head of a worldwide criminal empire, had been killed by the same man who’d kidnapped Grace so she could heal Elizabeth, who at the time was dying from a pervasive form of cancer.

It had taken time and Rio and Grace’s constant, unwavering love for Elizabeth to adjust and come to terms with what her father was, her own guilt and the worry that Rio and Grace couldn’t possibly love her after her father had nearly caused both of their deaths. For a few years after they had taken her in, she had always called them by their first names. And then one year earlier while eating dinner, she had quietly asked Rio if he minded if she called him Dad.

Grace had sent Elizabeth a tearful, knowing look, as the two had discussed Rio’s probable reaction earlier in the day when she had first approached Grace about calling her Mom. Rio had later confided in his KGI teammates that next to the day Grace had become his, it was the single best day of his life.

Finally, the sisters pulled away, both wiping tears from their faces. Nathan winced, because even though it was obvious the tears were of joy, he hated to see Shea cry. It was a well-known fact he was useless if she shed so much as one tear. A lot of women would take advantage of that, but Shea didn’t. But then she didn’t have to resort to manipulation to get what she wanted. Nathan would give her the moon if she asked.

Copyright © novelfull All Rights Reserved.