Going from a constant workload as a fallen Earned back to the normal family and pack tempo is not as easy as Kaleb would like it to be. Changes to the packs everyday life, and Alex stumbling across new things to be given attention, puts more on Kaleb’s table than he had expected. Hectic time with assisting in thwarting a brewing magical war sucks him back in even as he is still rekindling his love for Mickey and his relationship with his family. Plus he has a secret to keep.
There’s no time for family drama of brothers hating him for his powers. But sometimes it’s the little things that deserve the most attention. A day for Kaleb to catch up with his dad and brothers sets off a chain of events. With the assistance of the mystical Order, to which Alex, Pritchard, and Mr. Henry belong, they unveil a century old secret and discover new magic.
Having come home tipsy from an engagement-party and in a good mood had quickly turned to an irritating buzz that didn’t let Edward think straight. Kaleb’s reaction to learning that the pack had called upon the House of Enki was so far from what he’d expected. Now he didn’t know what to do or think. Why would his son be angry with them for trying to save him from this unreasonable punishment? What would make him react as if they’d betrayed him?
Realizing he had no idea what his son had been up to the past two months didn’t help the situation. The haze in his mind made him focus on everything but the conversation around him. He noticed Dominic arrive with Allen, and noticed when they walked out of hearing range to talk. Edward sat at the table with a lukewarm cup of coffee and wallowed in self-pity, anger, and fear. Somehow they’d pushed Kaleb away again now that he was finally coming to the house once in a while.
“Kaleb?” Bill asked. Edward looked up to follow the conversation regarding his son. But Bill was looking past Edward with a shocked expression on his face. Edward turned and saw his youngest son standing a few yards away. The sight of him shivering and looking disoriented broke Edward’s heart, and the fact that he looked human finally registered.
Edward jumped to his feet and rushed to hug him tightly. Feeling Kaleb’s now normal size and hair broke down the carefully built mental walls to all Edward had pushed back and refused to deal with. Edward cried out in relief, clutching at his son, trying to make him stop shaking by soothing him.
“It’s okay, it’s okay, you’re home,” Edward said, stroking his back and arms.
A surge of energy almost punched the breath from Edward’s body. He gasped and let go of Kaleb to kneel as two mighty beings appeared next to his son. He recognized their energy and the tall woman as a Nintu of Abzu. She smiled at Edward and waved him to his feet. He stood and quickly placed his arms around his son again.
“Pack leader Allen.” Nintu looked around.
Allen stormed into the kitchen and bowed regally. “E-unir.”
“We need to talk,” she said.
Allen finally noticed Kaleb and he looked like he was ready to collapse from relief. “Please.” Allen held out his arm, leading the House of Enki to the den. The tall gods had to bend at the waist to walk through the door. “May I offer anything?”
“You honor us with your hospitality. Please have the eight you brought join us.”
“Dominic!” Allen called out. Dominic joined them, smiling at Edward and Kaleb as he passed them to enter the den and close the door behind him.
“I’m cold,” Kaleb said in a tiny voice.
“We’ll get you a blanket. And tea. Come sit,” Edward urged and followed his son to the table.
Kaleb grabbed the back of the chair and turned it to sit backward. Edward draped himself over his back to shield him against the cold. Kaleb held onto the backrest, rocking gently. Bill appeared next to Edward and nudged him to move. They helped each other drape the blanket over Kaleb.
Everyone at the table reached for Kaleb, stroked his arms, squeezed his hands, and expressed happiness about him being home. Kaleb looked too tired to respond, and Edward just held on, finally letting his feelings go.
A surge of energy came from the den, and a few minutes later Allen and Dominic joined them.
Allen hurried to the table to kneel next to Kaleb. “Welcome home, Kaleb.” Allen snuggled in, putting an arm around him. Edward gave him room to reconnect with his pack member.
Edward looked up, seeing Gabor and three other sons standing in the doorway.
“He’s home. They let him come home!” Edward sobbed, holding Kaleb closer again. Allen made room for Gabor to kneel next to Kaleb, but Kaleb turned his head as if he wasn’t interested in talking to him. “Give him time, give him some room. Can I do your hair, Kaleb?”
“Yeah,” Kaleb mumbled. Gabor got up and went to stand next to his brothers again.
“I’ll get a brush.” Matheo ran off.
Bill poured a mug of coffee and handed it to Kaleb. “Drink this,” he urged, taking Kaleb’s hands to wrap around the mug. “Allen, on a doctor’s orders, would you pour our young friend here a Bourbon?”
“A what?” Allen asked.
“A Bourbon. We need his blood running a bit faster here.”
“I don’t want it,” Kaleb said.
“Too bad, ‘cause you’re gonna swig it,” Bill said, grinning.
Matheo bounced into the dining hall with a brush and a hair band.
Edward smiled at the energy and took the brush. He hadn’t had a chance to study the messy hair until now, and it looked to be quite the task to untangle—just as it had been after freeing Kaleb from the anchor stone. “I’m gonna need help doing this.”
“I’ll help.” Allen placed the Bourbon in front of Kaleb and left. Edward waited for Kaleb to down the Bourbon before he began pulling at his hair.
“Come on, down with it and rinse with coffee,” Bill urged. Kaleb reached for the glass with a trembling hand, grabbed it, and downed the drink in one swig, shivering even more violently. He groaned in disgust, grabbed the nearest coffee mug, and drank from it.
“That was not good.”
“You’ll thank me in a few minutes,” Bill said, reaching over to stroke his hand.
Allen returned and looked at the glass. “Was it good?”
“No,” Kaleb groused.