Whisper Of Love (Whisper Lake #1)

By: Melanie Shawn

From where Kade stood, his view of the visitor was blocked, so he leaned back and peeked between the blinds of the front window. A cute blonde girl stood on the porch.

Ali exchanged pleasantries with Presley for a minute before shutting the door and returning to the living room and pointing her finger directly at KJ. “That’s the last time I’m covering for you. She’s a nice girl.”

“She’s annoying,” KJ dismissed rudely.

Her eyes shut for a brief second before she continued, “She’s a nice girl and if you don’t want to see her when she comes over, then you need to tell her. Your brother and I are done lying for you.”

“Whatever. I didn’t ask you to lie for me,” KJ shot back in a tone that would’ve gotten Kade knocked out if he’d dared speak to his father like that.

He didn’t agree with his dad’s parenting style, but he did believe in speaking to people with respect. His instinct was to tell the kid not to speak to his aunt like that, but it wasn’t his place. He hadn’t earned that right. Yet. But he planned to.

For now, he figured it was best to try and alleviate the tension.

“Listen, I’m sorry I missed your guys’ birthday.” Kade bent down and unzipped his bag. “I’ve got something for you.”

He straightened and handed the twins the newest Xbox and Playstation, neither of which had been released yet. He’d called in a favor from an actor who had shadowed him to prepare for a role on a feature film who also voiced several video game characters.

The boys’ eyes grew almost as big as their heads as each one took a console.

“And here’s some games.” He hadn’t gift wrapped the consoles but he had wrapped the games. He was pulling them out of his bag when Ali moved close to him, her body pressed against his arm. The soft swell of her breast was unmistakable and his dick stirred beneath the zipper of his jeans.

“Kitchen. Now,” she hissed next to his ear before announcing loudly. “I’m going to finish making dinner.”

She walked into the kitchen and he handed the games to the twins. “Do you guys know how to set these up?”

They both shot him a pitiful glance.

Of course they did.

The boys grabbed their gifts and headed down to the basement.

“You coming?” KJ asked as he glanced over his shoulder and held the door open.

“I’ll be down in a few minutes.” He had to go face the music first.

KJ nodded and then disappeared down the stairs with his brother. A pang strummed in his chest. Seeing the boys going down there, each holding a box in their arms, made him feel like he was Ebenezer Scrooge on the journey of Christmas past.

The twins reminded him so much of himself and Patrick. Fuck. He missed his best friend. It had taken him a long time to accept a world without Patrick in it. He’d thought he had, but seeing the boys was testing his resolve.

Grief was such a tame word to describe what he felt. It seemed so benign when the experience was agonizing. Torture. Devastation.

A clatter of something hitting the floor snapped him out of his depressing reverie and back to the present.

He walked around the corner and through the dining room and stopped at the entryway to the kitchen.

Ali was picking up several pans as she cursed beneath her breath. She looked so small and vulnerable in the center of the large, out-of-date kitchen. Her hands were shaking and she dropped a lid as she tried to balance everything and stand.

His first instinct was to pick her up and hold her in his arms, but since he’d like to have children someday, he figured that wasn’t a good idea. If he tried to touch Ali right now he was fairly certain she would knee him in his baby maker.

Since that was off the table he did the next best thing. He started to bend down and help but she swatted his hand away.

“Don’t,” she snapped as she scooped up the fallen dishware and tossed them in the sink.

She turned back toward him and the look on her face nearly killed him. Holding up both hands in front of her with her palms facing him, she spoke with heartbreaking conviction. “You can’t do this.”

“Do what?” He figured she didn’t mean help her pick up dishes.

“This.” Her arms flailed in the air. “Show up unannounced and hand out expensive gifts like fucking Santa Claus. It’s not fair. You can’t just waltz back into our lives like nothing happened.”

“I know.” He’d debated for several days on what the best way would be to do this. Finally, he’d landed on the rip the Band-Aid off method. He was hoping for fast and painless but that didn’t seem to be how it was working out.

“If you know, then what the hell are you doing here?”

“I meant that I know it’s not fair.”

Her brow furrowed and it seemed possible he’d just pissed her off more. She lowered her arms and he saw her hands fist at her sides as she took a deep breath. “Where the hell have you been?”

Kade’s heart was beating so fast and so hard that he was half expecting it to crash out of his chest like the Kool-Aid Man as he stared at the one person that meant more to him than any other. He’d known this moment was coming and he thought he’d been ready for it. He’d rehearsed what he’d say so many times that he’d actually been concerned that he wouldn’t sound sincere. But now that the moment was here the words weren’t coming to his brain. “I was—”