The SEAL's Secret Heirs(10)

By: Kat Cantrell

“I haven’t forgotten one day of our relationship.” Why did her voice sound so breathless?

“Even the last one?” he murmured, and his voice skittered down her spine with teeth she wasn’t expecting.

“I’m not sure what you mean.” Confused as to why warning sirens were going off in her head, she stared at the spot where the inverted tray ceiling seams came together. “We broke up. You didn’t notice. Then you joined the military and eventually came home. Here we are.”

“Oh, I noticed, Grace.” The honeyed quality of his tone drew her gaze to his and the green fire there blazed with heat she didn’t know what to do with. “I think we can both agree that what happened between us ten years ago was a mistake. Never to be repeated. We’ll let bygones be bygones and you’ll figure out a way to make this pesky custody issue go away. Deal?”

A mistake. Bygones. Her heart stung as it absorbed the words that confirmed she hadn’t meant that much to him. Breaking up with him hadn’t fazed him the way she’d hoped. The daring ploy she’d staged to get his attention—by letting him catch her with Liam, a notorious womanizer—hadn’t worked, either, because he hadn’t really cared whether she messed around with his brother. The whole ruse had been for naught.

Stricken, she stared at him, unable to look away, unable to quell the turmoil inside at Kyle being close enough to touch and yet so very far away. They’d broken up ten years ago because he’d never seemed all that into their relationship. Hadn’t enough time passed for her to get over it already?

“Sure. Bygones,” she repeated, because that was all she could get out.

She escaped with the hasty promise that she’d send him a set schedule of home visits and drove away from Wade Ranch as fast as she dared. But she feared it would never be fast enough to catch up with her impartiality—it had scampered down the road far too quickly and she had a feeling she wasn’t going to recover it. Her emotions were fully engaged in this case and she’d have to work extra hard to shut them down. So she could do the best thing for everyone. Including herself.

* * *

Kyle watched Grace drive away through the window and uncurled his fists before he punched a wall. Maybe he’d punch Liam instead.

He owed his brother one, after all, and it sure looked as though Liam was determined to be yet another roadblock in a series of roadblocks standing between Kyle and fatherhood. Most of the problems couldn’t be resolved easily. But Liam wanting Kyle’s kids? That was one thing that Kyle could do something about.

So he went looking for him.

Wade land surrounded the main house to the tune of about ten thousand acres. There was a time when a scouting mission like this one would have been no sweat, but with a messed-up leg, the trek winded Kyle about fifteen minutes in. Which sucked. It was tough to be sidelined, tough to reconcile no longer being in top physical condition. Tough to keep it all inside.

Kyle found Liam in the horse barn, which was situated a good half mile away from the main house. Barn was too simplistic a term to describe the grandiose building with a flagstone pathway to the entrance, fussy landscaping and a show arena on the far end. The ranch offices and a fancy lounge were tucked inside, but he didn’t bother to gawk. His leg hurt and the walk wasn’t far enough to burn off the mad Kyle had generated while talking to Grace.

Who was somehow even more beautiful than he recalled. How was that possible when he’d already put her on a pedestal in his mind as the ideal? How would any other woman ever compare? None could. And the lady herself still got him way too hot and bothered with a coy glance. It was enough to drive a man insane. She’d screwed him up so bad, he couldn’t do anything other than weekend flings, like the one he’d had with Margaret. Look where that had gotten him.

Grace was a great big problem in a whole heap of problems. But not one he could deal with this minute. Liam? That was something he could handle.

He watched Liam back out of a stall housing one of the quarter horses Wade Ranch bred commercially, waiting until his brother was clear of the door to speak. He had enough respect for the damage a spooked eleven-hundred-pound animal could do to a man to stay clear.

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