Roman:A Cold Fury Hockey Novel(9)

By: Sawyer Bennett

“Dad?” I hear Gray’s voice as she walks into the living room, wiping her hands on a dish towel. “This is a surprise.”

“Not intruding, am I?” I ask.

“Not at all.” She smiles and then spins back toward the kitchen. “I’m just cleaning up after dinner. Have you eaten? I can make you a plate.”

“I’m good,” I say as I follow her into the kitchen, Ruby and Violet falling in right behind me.

Truth is, I haven’t eaten dinner yet, but I’m too wired over this news I’m about to deliver to think about eating.

When we enter the kitchen, I see Ryker closing the dishwasher. He turns with a smile and holds his hand out. “What’s up, Pop-Pop?”

“Smart ass,” I say affectionately as I reach out and give him a quick shake.

“Pop-Pop,” Ruby says as she tugs at the bottom of my suit jacket. “Want to come upstairs and see my spider collection? I just added a pirate spider. They eat other spiders and it’s really cool.”

I don’t miss the visible shudder that runs through Ryker’s body. He has a spider phobia, a fact I learned early on in his relationship with Gray. While he saved her from a psychopathic ex–Cold Fury player and thus earned my devotion for life, he once admitted to me that if it was a spider attacking her, he’s not sure he could have done it.

“I’ll come up in a bit to look,” I tell as I ruffle her curly hair. “But I actually need to talk to Gray and your dad about something important.”

I glance at Gray and see concern in her eyes, as I never show up at her house unannounced with “something important” to discuss.

“Why don’t you girls go upstairs and play, then Pop-Pop will come up in a bit,” Ryker says as he walks over to both girls, and with a firm hand to each of their backs starts pushing them toward the staircase that goes from the kitchen to the second floor.

There’s no grumbling from Violet and Ruby because they’re good girls. They both shoot me parting grins and then run up the stairs.

“Want some coffee?” Gray asks, and I shake my head. I had too much damn coffee today with Lexi at The Grind and probably won’t be able to sleep a wink tonight.

“Mind if we sit at the table?” I ask, but I don’t wait for a response, moving around the kitchen island to the breakfast nook.

Gray and Ryker take chairs around the square table, both of them looking at me curiously with no alarm or misgiving.

I’m getting ready to change that.

I take a chair opposite them, scooting it in so I can rest my forearms on the table. I glance at Ryker briefly, then at Gray. “I’ve got something to tell you and there’s no real way to prepare you for the shock of what I’m going to say—”

“Are you sick?” Gray interjects bluntly, her eyes now swimming with fear.

“God, no,” I quickly exclaim, and give her a reassuring but sheepish smile. “Sorry…it’s not bad news.”

My daughter quickly exhales, her entire posture relaxing once again. “You scared the crap out of me with your whole ‘I have something to talk to you about.’ ”

I nod in understanding as I take in the fact her guard is completely down now. That makes me feel utterly terrible for pushing forward and ripping off the Band-Aid, because my job is to protect my daughter, not cause her distress.

Still, it can’t be helped.

I cough slightly to clear my throat. “A woman came to see me today at the office. Her name’s Lexi Robertson. I’d never met her before. Didn’t know she existed. But she claims she’s my daughter, and I believe her.”

Gray draws in a sharp gasp of disbelief, her eyes rounding with stunned surprise. Ryker sits up straight and his hand immediately comes to the middle of Gray’s back, where it slides up over her shoulder for support.

“What?” Gray rasps. “How can that be?”

“About a year after your mother died, I dated a woman named Sybil Robertson,” I say softly. “It was a blind date set up by some mutual friends. We only saw each other for a few months, and we were intimate, but eventually I ended things with her. She apparently found out she was pregnant after I ended things and never told me.”

Gray gives a stubborn shake to her head. “And you just believe this woman that shows up, claiming to be your daughter, what, twenty-something years later?”

“She’s twenty-six,” I say. “And she didn’t know I was her father until about ten months ago. Her mother told her the truth just before she died.”

A quick flash of sympathy crosses Gray’s face for Lexi’s mother, but then just as quickly settles into a mask of stony silence, sparks of anger brewing in her eyes.

Hot Read

Last Updated