Kane:Steele Brothers #5

By: Cheryl Douglas

I polished off my pancakes, trying to ignore the glint of amusement in Macy’s eye as she clearly tried to read my mind.

“We were asking whether you intended to stay on in Vegas a few more days,” Riley said. “Maybe try your luck at the tables.”

“No, I don’t think so.” I wiped my mouth with my napkin before tossing it over my plate. Leaning back in my chair, I casually hooked an arm over the back of Macy’s chair. “In fact, I was thinking about heading to Nashville for a few days.”

Macy sputtered, choking on her coffee as her eyes watered.

“Nashville?” Brody asked, narrowing his eyes. “Why would you want to go there? You hate country music.”

While rock may have been my genre of choice, I had a feeling I’d be wise to keep my aversion to Macy’s music to myself. “Hate is a pretty strong word,” I said, trying to hide my smile as Macy glared at me. “Anyway, I assume there are other things to do in Nashville besides visit the Grand Ole Opry.”

“Like?” Brody asked, crossing his arms.

Damn guy was like a dog with a bone. He just didn’t know when to leave well enough alone. “Like—”

“He’s going to check out a couple of my shows and help me get settled in my new apartment,” Macy piped up, obviously trying to rescue me. “Isn’t that sweet?” To her sister, she said, “You know how busy I’ve been lately. I’m ashamed to admit I’m still living out of boxes.”

“And Kane’s going to help you get organized?” Brody asked skeptically. “He does well to remember where the hamper is. How the hell is he going to help you?”

“Why is this any of your business?” I asked Brody. “I have a few days off. I’m going to Nashville to hang out with Macy. End of discussion.”

I knew Macy would let me have it later for telling everyone about my travel plans, but I wasn’t big on lying and sneaking around, and our new arrangement was already testing me. I didn’t want to withhold the truth from my family any more than I had to.

When Brody would have argued with me, Riley touched his arm. “Well, I’m sure you’ll have fun. Nashville is a great city, and you’ll have the perfect tour guide to show you around.”

That was what I loved about Riley. Even though she’d expressed her concerns about Macy and me getting involved, she was too classy to express those concerns over a family breakfast.

“I’m thinking about visiting the old man later,” I said, trying to steer the topic in a different direction. “Anyone want to join me?”

“We already did,” Ryker said. “First day we got here.”

The others had been in Vegas for four days while I’d only been there three. I’d had to catch a later flight because of work.

“Why didn’t you say anything to me about going to see him?” I asked, my gaze traveling around the table until each of my brothers, except Ryker, was squirming.

“We didn’t think you were ready,” Ryker explained. “Whenever anyone mentions Jack, you shut them down.”

“This isn’t about him,” I argued. “It’s about our brothers.”

“I don’t know if we can have a relationship with them without including him,” Seb said. “They’re kind of a package deal, especially since they live with him.”

“Did you know Tanner’s applying to schools in Florida?” Brody asked Ryker. “Both in Miami and Tampa?”

“Yeah, he mentioned that. If he ends up in Tampa, Mac and I were talking about letting him stay with us.”

“You don’t even know him,” I said, shocked my brother would even consider letting a stranger into his home.

“He’s family,” Ryker said, leveling me with a look that told me to back off. “He didn’t ask to be born Jack’s son, but he was, just like we all were. I’d say that’s reason enough to help him out if we can.”

“And it seems Beck’s really into old cars,” Seb said, a slight smile tipping his lips. “He was asking about the possibility of apprenticing with me if his brother ends up in Tampa.”

“I don’t believe this,” I said, rubbing a hand over my face. Maybe it was the cop in me, but I’d always been suspicious. I assumed everyone had an ulterior motive until they proved otherwise and my youngest brothers were no exception, especially since they’d been raised by the man who was the reason for my deep-rooted trust issues.

“What?” Seb asked, eyeing me. “That we’re willing to give them a chance? That we’ve accepted that they’re family? Because they are, Kane, whether you like it or not.”

“This is all happening way too fast,” I argued, trying to make them see reason. “You don’t even know them. How do you know Jack didn’t put them up to this? You know he’s always been an opportunist. He’d sell his own mother for—”

“Eventually you’re going to have to let go of this anger,” Brody said. He held his hand up before I could interject. “Look, I get where you’re coming from, man. No one hated that guy more than I did. But it was destroying my life. It affected every decision I made.” Reaching for Riley’s hand, he said, “And it almost cost me the best thing that ever happened to me.”

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