Kicker's Legacy<br/>

Author: Sandy Loyd
Publisher: Sandy Loyd
Published: 2014-01-16
ISBN(s) 978-1-941267-03-5
Editor: Pam Berehulke
Illustrator: Kelli Ann Morgan
Language(s): english
Category: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Genre(s): Romantic Suspense, Mystery, Romance Read Excerpt >

Lauren had halted in the middle of reaching for a shirt in the laundry basket to say good-bye, but the screen door had slammed before she’d uttered the first syllable. After folding a few T-shirts, she’d then set the basket aside and had stood, advancing to the window. Thirty minutes later, she was still staring out at the street, suddenly filled with questions about this “new job.”

DJ’s parting words, “I finished my homework and I’m riding to the airfield, Mom,” danced through her brain. Something in the evasive way he’d rushed out the door bothered her.

Three days without incident had flown by since her attack, and life had reverted to normal, or as normal as it could after almost dying. Still, she’d tried to relax her guard a bit so as not to appear totally paranoid to DJ, but in the last half hour her protective instincts had returned full force.

Usually her son was talkative about his activities, but last night he’d seemed closed and uncommunicative, as if he had something to hide. She shifted her gaze in the direction of the airstrip, and unable to ignore nagging questions, more apprehension rolled over her.

What did she know about this pilot? What if DJ had spun the truth?

He wouldn’t lie. Would he?

Why hadn’t she asked him for more clarification before agreeing to allow him to go off in the afternoons?

Lauren rubbed her temple, easing her rising fears as reality hit her like a slap in the face over her biggest question. Why had she agreed to let him work at the airfield in the first place?

In a heartbeat, she grabbed her keys, almost running on her way to the garage.

After backing into the street, she hit the button to bring the garage door down, shifted into first, and sped off toward the airfield, slowing only for lights and when she had to turn.

The moment she pulled into the terminal parking lot, she spotted DJ’s bike near the chain-link fence. Her gaze swept the field, but he was nowhere around.

Now out of the car, she rushed through the terminal door and up to the counter where a kid not much older than DJ sat.

“Can I help you?” he asked, glancing at her as if she was a little nuts, which judging from the utter panic swamping her senses, she could easily be. Slowing, she pressed her hands over her pleated pants to work out the wrinkles, using the act as a balm while searching for the right words. She couldn’t understand why this weird sensation filled her, but it was there nonetheless.

Once she could talk calmly, she said, “I’m looking for my son. Tall, slender, dark-haired kid.”

“Oh, yeah. DJ, right?” he asked, suddenly all smiles. “You must be his mom?”

At her nod, his head indicated the wall of windows behind him where a few parked planes were in view. “They just landed, so they’re probably filling out the paperwork. Should be in the pilot’s lounge. Through that hallway, beyond the door. Third door on your left.” He then pointed to the glass door revealing a hallway in between the window and the counter.

“Landed?” The sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach wrapped itself into a tiny little ball. “As in airplanes?”

“Well, yeah.” His incredulous expression was back. The kid shook his head and rolled his eyes, whether due to impatience or disgust or because he found her just plain stupid, she wasn’t sure. “What else would you use a landing strip for?”

Save the sarcasm, sweetie, Lauren thought, subduing an urge to wipe that smirk off his face. Her own impatience and disgust filled her when she realized that her instincts were spot-on. DJ had lied to her. Her baby had gone up in a damned airplane.

“DJ’s lucky,” the kid offered. When she glanced at him, he added, “Mr. Kane’s a really cool guy. I’d give anything to go up with a pilot like him.”

“Go up with a pilot like him?” she repeated, not sure she heard him correctly. Mr. Kane? Heat flushed her face, warming it. “Just how long has this been going on?”

“I dunno.” The kid shrugged and scratched his head. “A month or so. Before that, I’m not sure.”

She offered her best attempt at a smile. “Thank you.” Holding on tightly to her frozen smile, she turned and marched in the direction of the hallway. Considering her state of mind, if she stayed in the office another second, she’d likely hit the kid.

Lauren flung the door wide enough to hit the stopper and stormed toward the pilot’s lounge, fuming the entire time. How could he? DJ knew what this meant. How could he go behind her back? And what about the pilot who gave him the job? The kid had called him Mr. Kane.

Oh Lord, she prayed, please don’t let it be Dillon.

Her prayers went unanswered because the minute she peered through the glass partition on the door marked Pilot’s Lounge, she spotted him standing next to her son in front of a computer screen. Both were too engrossed in something on the monitor to notice her in the doorway.

She gripped the doorknob and took a deep breath, working to subdue a sudden surge of panic. Her hands clenched into fists and her resolve stiffened, along with her spine. She would not be cowed. The man had blatantly disregarded their agreement. Not once, but twice. Anger rose, replacing some of the doubt, and grabbing on to that anger with gusto, she let it build. With every step her temper simmered, just waiting for something to set it off.

Watching for her son’s reaction, and his, she noted the exact moment recognition hit both.

“Go get your bike and wait in the car,” Lauren ground out the moment DJ’s gaze connected with hers. Though fury consumed her, she controlled her temper so that none of her anger showed. But there was no mistaking the seriousness of her tone.

DJ complied without comment, something she didn’t expect. She waited until he was clear of the lounge and out of earshot before she whirled on Dillon, her finger stabbing at his chest.

“I expected something like this from Kicker, but never you.” Though she continued to modulate her voice, heat sparked in the words. Still, she couldn’t excise the surge of disappointment rising from her midsection when their stares connected. “How could you?” Not wanting him to know exactly how much his actions had hurt, she quickly added, “I should’ve known better than to think you were different. You Kanes are all alike. Always messing with other people’s lives, thinking you know best. None of you seem to understand promises or simple directives.”

“I understand plenty.”

“Oh?” Lauren crossed her arms, her hot gaze searching his. “Then why are you here? I remember quite clearly our last conversation just days ago when I told you to stay away from us. I meant it then as much as I meant it fifteen years ago.”

“DJ needs me. He wants his uncles in his life again.” He nodded to the door that was opening. “Both Rory and me. He was as eager to meet us as we were to meet him.”

That’s when she noticed another person coming into the room. Of course, Rory Kane, the younger half brother. She snorted. She should have recognized the name when DJ had tried to cover up his mistake. “What? You mean after you baited him.” Her arm made a sweeping motion indicating the huge window behind the desk showing the airfield and three small planes that were secured to the ground. “With all this. Then lured him in with the promise of flying, all in the most underhanded, sneaky way possible?”

“It’s not what you think.”

“Then what is it?” Lauren angled her head, her glare accusing. “Why not be up front about it when you came knocking on my door?”

Dillon blew out an expletive as he wiped his face, impatience stamped on his rugged features, features that she’d never forgotten. Features that sometimes invaded her dreams. “For the same damned reason you’re yelling at me now. It wouldn’t have done a bit of good. You’d have told me to go to hell.”

“You got that right.” Her spine stiffened. “Go to hell!” she yelled. “And leave my son alone. All of you.” Ignoring whatever reply Dillon was about to make, she presented her straight back and strode with purpose out of the lounge, through the hallway, past the kid at the counter, all the way across the parking lot to the car without looking back. After hurriedly climbing inside, she slammed the door, stabbed the key into the ignition, and started the engine. That’s when she turned and caught Dillon’s gaze as he stood at the entrance staring after her.

Anger flared in her eyes and Lauren flashed him a silent message. If he thought that his appearance, both last week and today, would sway her resolve, he had another think coming. She hadn’t forgotten the past or her threat of so long ago. He’d better stay away from her and her son, or she’d disappear so fast and go so deep no one would be able to find her.

Then she glanced at her son and her anger flared up all over again. “I can’t believe you lied to me and disregarded my orders, DJ.”

“Yeah? Well, we’re even because I can’t believe you lied to me about my family. If you ask me, that’s a hell of a lot worse.”

“I didn’t lie.”

“A lie of omission’s lying. Dillon said so.”

Lauren sighed and her stance softened somewhat. Swallowing regret over his condemning stare, she sent up a silent prayer, begging for the strength to get through this. If she hadn’t been prepared to see Dillon Kane again last week, she certainly hadn’t been prepared to catch him with her son just moments ago. “I know you don’t understand my actions but trust me, I have my reasons for keeping you away from them.”

“You’re right. I don’t understand.” DJ crossed his arms and looked out the window. “They’re family.” When he met her gaze again, the accusation deepened to hurt. “Why keep me from them?”

“I can’t talk about it.” Lord, how could she explain her fears when sometimes she didn’t even comprehend them?

“Oh, like that’s an excuse?” He turned back to her, still glaring. “If I don’t get to use it, then neither do you.”

She jerked the gearshift into reverse in an angry motion. Just like her son to go on the offense with past arguments. She’d always prodded him to talk and had never let him off the hook without at least stating what was wrong. “It’s different with adults,” she said, backing out of the space before shifting into drive. “I’m the mom and you’re the kid.” Okay, it was a stupid-ass thing to say, she thought, borrowing one of DJ’s phrases, but her mind was still trying to twist around Dillon’s arrival. “When you have kids of your own, maybe you’ll understand,” she added, not caring that that excuse sounded just as inane.

Lauren stomped on the gas and burned rubber, peeling out of the parking lot.


Kicker's Legacy   by   Sandy Loyd   |   See Bio >
Dillon is guilty of silently watching his brother live a lie with the one woman he could never forget. Her attraction to Dillon during her marriage still haunts her long after her husband￿s tragic death.

Tangled relationships that were forged out of lies and betrayal are resurrected when Kicker Kane decides to make amends for tearing his family apart with his cruelty and neglect years earlier. All he wants is to see his grandson before it's too late. Lauren Kane’s main goal is to protect her child. She wants no part of Kicker’s legacy until mayhem and murder force her to face Dillon Kane after a 15 year separation. At that point, staying alive is a struggle and she has no option but to deal with why she ran in the first place, because obviously the past and the present are connected somehow.


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