Black Wings & Stolen Things: Epilogue 2

EMERIC

Seven Months Later

“No, I’m not dealing with that tonight,” I say into the phone I hold between my shoulder and chin. “The Turks have been itching for me to put my foot in one of their asses for months with how they’ve been shorting our shipments and talking to our competitors. If I go to the shipping yard to address this problem, I’m going to end up wearing someone’s guts and that is not how I want to return home to my sleep-deprived wife, Nova. As it is, it’s already two hours past when I told her I’d be home.”

The Viking has the fucking balls to laugh at me. “I never thought I’d see the day the great Emeric Banes allowed himself to be bossed around and by a lady, no less.”

Scowling, I take the key out of my pocket so I can open the door to my office here at Tartarus. There’s a file I need for my meeting tomorrow with the legal team at Banes Corporation that I left on my desk. I just need to grab it real quick, and then I’ll be able to head straight home to Rionach and Bellamy.

My wife gave me the greatest gift of my life when she fearlessly brought our daughter, Bellamy Aria Banes, into this word a couple weeks ago. Watching Rionach become a mother to our baby has only made my obsession and love for her grow fiercer, and my protective streak turn downright unbearable. Rionach thought I was overzealous with her safety before. That all looks like child’s play now that we have Bellamy. I’ve rarely met a line I wasn’t willing to across, but for my wife and child, I will joyfully skip over every moral line before I set it on fire if it means I keep my family safe. I understand even less now how Imogen was able to neglect her daughter like she did. Looking at my daughter is like looking at my beating heart outside of my chest. There’s only one other person alive who will protect my girls like I would, and that is why I hired Brayden the week after we found out she was pregnant. Brayden protects and loves them like I do because they’re his blood too.

Rionach’s relationship with her birth father was slow growing at first. It took her a while to wrap her head around the fact Niall was never her real dad. They met for coffee and took walks around the park, and as they did, she got to know him as more than just her bodyguard. They both got to know each other as father and daughter. There has always been a bond between the pair and over the months as they’ve grown into their new dynamic, that bond has only grown stronger. I would never tell another soul, but the first time Rionach called Brayden Dad, his green eyes shone with unshed tears. I’m happy he’s here because my wife deserves to have people who love her in her life.

“That lady just gave me a baby. She can ask for anything she damn well pleases,” I snap as I turn the key in the lock. “Rionach is more important. The Turks can wait until tomorrow.”

Nova releases a tired-sounding sigh in my ear. “That’s probably for the best. Soren has therapy early in the morning before his tutor comes.”

My assumption had been correct. Nova did end up taking Soren in after the events at the cabin. With a few strings pulled, the paperwork for Nova to officially adopt the boy were accepted a few months ago.

“He still hasn’t said a word?”

“No, not one,” Nova admits. “The therapists all say it’s from his PTSD. People react to trauma in different ways. I saw this kind of thing all the time when I was in the service. Soren will get there one day. Until then, we just have to be patient with him.”

“You’re good for him,” I say, pushing open the heavy wooden door. “Have a good night with your kid, Nova. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“You do the same. Night, boss.”

The line goes dead as I step into the dark office. My hand runs along the wall to flip the light switch, but my fingers never find it. A figure materializes from the shadows to my left near the bookcase there. I turn to face the threat head-on, but it’s already too late. Their powerful body collides with mine. My arm lifts to block their fist aimed at my head, but I’m a millisecond too slow to block the one at my ribs.

Air knocked out of my lungs, I have no choice but to bend over and wheeze. My attacker takes advantage of this. One moment I’m standing on my own two feet and the next, I’m on my back and there’s a gun pressed to my forehead.

His face is still concealed by the shadows and the dark hoodie he wears over his head. It’s not until he leans closer that I make out the features of his face.

His very fucking familiar face. He’s aged, but I would still recognize him anywhere. It doesn’t matter how many years have passed.

“Ledger?”

“Hello, baby brother.”

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