The SEAL's Secret Heirs(8)

By: Kat Cantrell

“There were...circumstances. I didn’t get any of Liam’s messages or I would have come as soon as I could.” His mouth firmed into an inflexible line. “That’s not important now. Come in and visit. Tell me what I have to do.”


She followed him into the formal parlor that had been restored to what she imagined was Wade House’s former glory. The Victorian furniture was beautiful and luxurious, and a man like Kyle looked ridiculous sitting on the elegantly appointed chair. Good grief, the spindly legs didn’t seem strong enough to support such a solid body. Kyle had gained weight, and the way he moved indicated it was 100 percent finely honed muscle under his clothes. He’d adopted a lazy, slow walk that seemed at odds with all that, but certainly fit a laid-back cowboy at home on his ranch.

Not that she’d noticed or anything.

She took her own seat and perched on the edge, too keyed up to relax. “We’ll need to fill out some paperwork. What do you plan to do for employment now that you’re home?”

Kyle quirked an eyebrow. “Being a Wade isn’t enough?”

Frowning, she held her manila folder in front of her like a shield, though what she thought it was going to protect her from, she had no idea. Kyle’s diamond-bit green eyes drilled through her very flesh and bone, deep into the soft places she’d thought were well protected against men. Especially this one.

“No, it’s not enough. Inheriting money isn’t an indicator of your worth as a parent. I need to see a demonstration of commitment. A permanency that will show you can provide a stable environment for Maddie and Maggie.”

“So being able to buy them whatever they want and being able to put food on the table no matter what isn’t good enough.”

It was not a question but a challenge. She tried not to roll her eyes, she really did. But if you looked up “clueless” in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of Kyle Wade. “That’s right. Liam and Hadley can do those things and have been for over two months. Are you prepared for all the special treatments and doctor’s visits Maddie will require? I have to know.”

Kyle went stiff all at once, freezing so quickly that she got a little concerned. She should really stop caring so much but it was impossible to shut off her desire to help people. This whole conversation was difficult. She and Kyle used to be comfortable with each other. She missed that easiness between them, but there was no room for anything other than a professional and necessary distance.

“Doctor’s visits?” Kyle repeated softly. “Is there something wrong with Maddie?”

“Maddie suffers from twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. She has some heart problems that are pretty serious.”

“I...didn’t know.”

The bleakness in his expression reached out and twisted her heart. She wanted to lash out at him. Blame him. Those girls had been fighting for their lives after Margaret died, and where was Kyle? “Just out of curiosity, why did you come home now? Why not two months ago when Margaret first came looking for you? Or for that matter, why not when she first found out she was pregnant?”

She cut off the tirade there. Oh, there was plenty more she wanted to say, but it would veer into personal barbs that wouldn’t help anything. She had a job to do and the information-gathering stage should—and would—stay on a professional level.

Besides, she knew he’d been stationed overseas. He probably hadn’t had the luxury of jetting off whenever he felt like it. But he could have at least called.

Crossing his arms, he leaned back against the gold velvet cushions of the too-small chair, biceps bulging. He’d grown some interesting additions to what had already been a nicely built body. Automatically, her gaze wandered south, taking in all the parts that made up that great physique. Wow, had it gotten hot in here, or what? She fanned her face with the manila folder.

But then he eyed her, his face a careful mask that dared her to break through it. Which totally unnerved her. This darker, harder, fiercer Kyle Wade was dangerous. Because she wanted to understand why he was dark, hard and fierce. Why he’d broken her heart and then left.

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