Roman:A Cold Fury Hockey Novel(7)

By: Sawyer Bennett

Brian’s head turns and his eyes come to rest on me. “I’m at a loss.”

“I understand,” I say quietly. “It was a shock when she told me too. I’d grown up thinking my father abandoned me. She’d never tell me anything about you, only that you left when she was pregnant.”

“I swear I didn’t know,” Brian says as he sits up and leans toward me. “I swear to God I didn’t know.”

With a nod of understanding, I tell him, “I know. She admitted she never told you.”

“I have to tell Gray,” Brian says with a heavy sigh, and I can’t tell if that’s because I’ve just thrown him for a loop or because I’ve just complicated his life in a very bad way.

“I don’t want to impose,” I interject, all of a sudden more intimidated by the prospect of Gray knowing than Brian. I’ve read up on my half sister as much as I have on my father, and Gray Brannon is a powerhouse. Genius-level IQ, gorgeous, and driven. Frankly, she scares the crap out of me.

“You’re not imposing,” he says firmly. “It’s just…this is going to be hard for her to take. She’s pregnant, overworked, and I daresay, a bit emotional.”

“We can take a paternity test,” I blurt out, because even though he hasn’t uttered a single word of doubt, he surely can’t be taking everything I’m saying at face value. “In fact…I bought one at the drugstore and it’s in my purse. I’ve already done my swab. You can do one too and we can send it off. It takes a few weeks for the results to come in.”

Brian smiles at me and chuckles. “That’s probably a good idea, but I can see you have my chin and nose. I also have no reason to doubt your mother. She was a good woman. I’m pretty sure I know what the results are going to be.”

“I am really sorry for dropping this on you,” I tell him again. “I thought about writing you, but I couldn’t be sure you’d ever see it. So I thought face-to-face was the best.”

He nods at me thoughtfully and then stands from the chair again. “What are your plans for the rest of the day?”

A moment of panic surges within me; I’m afraid he’s going to take me right down to Gray’s office and introduce us. Still, I squeak out, “Nothing for a few hours. I have to be into work at 4 P.M.”

“Good,” he says as he leans across his desk and picks up his phone. He stabs a button, pauses, and then says, “Mary, cancel the rest of my appointments today.”

When he hangs up the phone, he turns back to me and smiles warmly. “Come on…let’s go take a drive and talk. I want to hear more about you.”

“You do?” I ask, stunned he just canceled his appointments to spend time with me.

“Well, assuming that chin and nose you’re sporting aren’t coincidence and you’re roughly twenty-six years of age, and given the fact you look just like your mother, outside of the chin and nose, I’m going to accept the fact you’re my daughter. So yes, I’d like to learn more about you.”

He then winks, and it drives away all of the nervousness and fear I’d been feeling.

I give him a tentative smile as I stand. The next chapter in my life is starting. “Okay. I can do that.”

Chapter 3


I sit in Ryker and Gray’s driveway, drumming my fingers on the wheel…trying to work up some courage to tell them about Lexi. And it pisses me off that this is remarkably hard to do. It shouldn’t have to be hard.

On the one hand, my life changed drastically the minute Lexi walked into my office. Nothing is going to be the same again. Not for me, and not for Gray. But on the other hand, I’m filled with this amazing euphoria that I’ve got another daughter. I barely know her, and yet my soul recognizes her as part of me, as corny as that sounds.

We spent a few hours together, and while sometimes the conversation was awkward, most times it wasn’t. I found Lexi to be bright, free-spirited, and funny. While she’s independent to a certain extent, you can tell she clearly craves deep connections with people. No doubt she’s been incredibly lonely since her mother died, and it’s clear that she’s hoping to develop a bond with her newfound family. I don’t think she considers me a replacement, but I do think she might see me as a potential comfort to her existence.

The one thing that I believe to the depths of my soul is that Lexi isn’t looking for any financial gain. To the contrary, she seems happy with her simple and modest life.

I was able to get a brief glimpse into it when she took me to The Grind, the coffeehouse where she works. I’d actually driven past it on a few occasions and had thought about going in a time or two, but I never seemed to have the time to stop.

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