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Legacy – Steel Brothers Saga
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He’ll keep his commitments no matter what.
Brad Steel is in love. Daphne Wade is more than just his wife-to-be and the mother of his unborn child. She’s his destiny. Fate brought them together, and he vows to protect her. His determination doesn’t waver when he learns a secret about his bride—a secret she herself doesn’t know.
For the first time in a while, everything seems to be in sync for Daphne. She has loving parents, good friends, a man who adores her, a beautiful child growing inside her, and freedom from her anxiety and depression.
But is it an illusion?
When Brad is thrown into his family business sooner than he anticipates, he must divide his time among growing his legacy, keeping secrets, and solving unforeseen crimes. He’ll do anything to ensure Daphne’s safety and sanity.
Anything…no matter the cost.
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Other than Talon, my children don’t visit me in prison.
Not that I blame them. I’ve betrayed them. I’ve betrayed their mother. I’ve betrayed the legacy I wanted more than anything for them.
Ryan and Ruby had their child—a little girl they named Ava Lee Steel. One of the guards got wind of it and told me.
My sixth grandchild, including Marjorie’s stepson, and I’m certain more will come.
If only I could be the doting grandfather they deserve.
But even if I weren’t incarcerated, their parents wouldn’t let me near them.
How can I blame their thinking?
I wouldn’t let me near them either.
Do they take the children to see their grandmother? Daphne won’t know them, but somewhere inside her, she’ll remember how much she loves her children, and by extension, her grandchildren.
How well I remember the first year of Jonah’s life. Daphne chose his name because it meant “dove.” She’d taken to calling him “little dove” as he grew inside her, and when he was born and we saw he was a boy—as she’d always suspected—she told me his name.
She insisted his middle name be after me. Who was I to say no? At that time, I thought I’d be his hero.
For a while, perhaps I was.
I’m no one’s hero.
Not my wife’s.
Not my children’s.
Not my grandchildren’s.
Most certainly not my own.
No one’s hero.
I stood and followed Jonathan back into the house.
“About that nightcap,” he said.
“No, thank you.”
“You don’t have to have one, but I do, and we’re not having it here.”
“You want to go somewhere?”
“A little Irish pub about a mile away from here. I want to talk to you in private.”
Jonathan ordered an Irish whiskey, and I decided to join him. One drink wouldn’t hurt, and I could use a little relaxation. Jonathan seemed so serious.
I took a drink of the liquor and let it burn a trail down my throat. Then I turned to him. “I really do love her, Mr. Wade.”
“All right. Jonathan.”
“I know you love her, son. She’s a very special girl.”
“It’s soon, but I see it in your eyes. You want to take care of her.”
“I do. And I will.”
“I believe you want to. I truly do. You certainly have the means, and I believe that you used protection.”
“I did. A condom, like I said.”
“Things happen,” he said.
“Yes,” I agreed, not sure where he was going.
“So you love her, but you haven’t known her long, and you’re both so young. Is this really what you want?”
“It is, sir. I’ve thought of nothing but Daphne since I first laid eyes on her. Would I have liked to go a little slower? Of course. But what’s done is done. It can’t be undone.”
“Well, it could be.”
“Neither of us wants an abortion.”
“I understand. And adoption?”
“We talked about it. But I love Daphne, and I want her to be my wife. I’d hate knowing we had a child out there who wasn’t in our home.”
He nodded, took a long drink of his whiskey, and set the glass down on the wooden bar. He turned to me and met my gaze. His blue eyes were stern. “I think you’re a good man, from what I can tell by only talking to you for a couple hours. I do think you mean well.”
“I do. I love her, and I already love this baby.”
“I want you to succeed. I want Daphne to be happy.”
“That’s what I want as well.”
“Then there’s something about Daphne that you need to know.”
My mother didn’t speak as I helped her clear away the dinner dishes and load the dishwasher.
She didn’t speak as she wiped down the kitchen and then removed the tablecloth from the dining room table, took it outside, and shook off the crumbs.
She didn’t speak as she laid the cloth back on the table and straightened the chairs.
She didn’t speak as she returned to the kitchen, opened the cupboard above the refrigerator—my mother was as tall as I was—and withdrew a bottle of liquor.
Vodka. My mother wasn’t a drinker, but she’d turned to it more and more lately, it seemed. I didn’t remember her ever drinking before my junior year of high school.
“Mom?” I finally said.
She poured the clear liquid into a glass, sniffed it, and then took a drink, wincing. “How could you let this happen?”
“I didn’t. He used protection.”
“I saw him take the condom off when we were done.” I winced this time. Describing that to my mother felt all kinds of wrong.
“You wouldn’t lie to me.” More a statement.
“That’s right, I wouldn’t, especially not about something this important.”
She sighed and took another drink, grimacing once more. “I’ll never get used to the taste of this stuff.”
“Then why drink it?”
She sighed again. “It takes the edge off, Daphne.”
The edge. I didn’t have to ask. I was the edge. Me. She’d sent me off to college with Dr. Payne’s blessing, and I came home pregnant after three weeks.