It’s vacation time for Keenan and his family, and like every year since they adopted her, he and Jonah are taking their daughter Kaila to Gillham to visit old friends. His vacation is interrupted by work, though, when he’s sent to retrieve a baby boy who’s been abandoned.
Keenan places Miles with Rabbit, Elton, and Samuel, while his colleague looks for a family, but Rabbit still insists he doesn’t like children. Will he change his mind, or will Keenan have to take Miles away, breaking Elton and Samuel’s heart in the process?
Keenan looked around the room to make sure he’d packed everything. Gone were the times when he could bring a few bathing suits and a T-shirt when he and Jonah traveled for the summer. They’d had so much fun over the years. Not that they didn’t have fun anymore, of course. It was just a different kind of fun, one that included one more suitcase just for Kaila. She was only four, and she owned more clothes than Keenan. Of course, she needed all of them even though they wouldn’t be away from the mansion for more than a few weeks and Gillham wasn’t so far away they couldn’t drive back—or ask someone to shimmer them home.
Keenan was looking forward to this family vacation. He loved his job in the council’s child welfare department, but having to deal with abandoned or orphaned kids day in and day out was mentally taxing. He was lucky he could come back home every night to a loving mate and their daughter, but that didn’t take away the pain that filled his days. He did his best to manage it, or at least to soothe it. But there were still plenty of shifter babies and children who were abandoned or who lost their parents, even though shifters and humans had been at peace for years.
Keenan’s job was to find a loving family for all those kids, and no matter how hard it was, he loved it. Of course, he sometimes missed being merely Dominic’s PA. He missed spending his days in the mansion with his friends and family. But that was a minor discomfort next to what he did at work.
“You packed everything?” Jonah asked as he peeked into Kaila’s bedroom.
“I think so, but you know Kaila. She’s going to remember something she absolutely needed as soon as we get there.”
Jonah pressed his front against Keenan’s back and wrapped his arms around his waist. “She’ll be too busy playing with the other kids.”
“That, or she’ll cry because she can’t see her friends and cousins for two weeks.”
Jonah kissed Keenen’s nape. “She’ll be fine. She’s like you—resilient and strong.”
“She’s not biologically mine, remember?”
Jonah shrugged. “She might as well be. She’s identical, at least when it comes to personality. The only thing she’s missing is a tiny Nysys that will get her into trouble, and we’d have your twin.”
Keenan grimaced. He loved Nysys like a brother, but he didn’t think he could deal with a tiny him. The people living in the mansion were lucky he and Morin hadn’t decided to have children yet. Keenan feared the day they would, especially if they decided to go with surrogacy. He’d support them, help them through the paperwork and everything, would even babysit, but he still didn’t think Nysys having kids just like him would be a good thing for anyone’s nerves.
“Ready to go, then?”
Keenan had been, but now Jonah was holding him close, pressing their bodies together. “Do we have five more minutes?”
Jonah chuckled. “Depends on what you’re thinking of doing with those five minutes.”
“Nothing that takes a lot of time or that you’ll be opposed to.”
Keenan turned around and kissed his mate. They’d been together for close to fifteen years, yet kissing Jonah still felt like something new and precious. Keenan enjoyed it every time, and today wasn’t any different.
Still, no matter how much they wished they had time, they didn’t, and he wanted to take advantage of those five minutes.
He leaned away, chuckling when Jonah, his eyes still closed, tried to follow him. Then he dropped to his knees, reaching for Jonah’s belt. Jonah opened his eyes and looked down at him, a soft smile on his lips that made Keenan want to tear their clothes off.
Instead, he opened Jonah’s belt and jeans, grinning at the sight of the hard length pressing against the cotton of Jonah’s underwear.
The front door of their suite banged open.
Keenan looked up at Jonah with wide eyes for a few seconds. Then he scrambled to get up while Jonah buttoned his jeans again. Kaila barreled into her bedroom, her black hair a halo around her face, her eyes shining with mirth. She made a beeline for Jonah, who was still working on his belt. He opened his arms and hauled her up, settling her onto his hip as she pressed her face against his neck.
“I knew it,” Nysys said from the bedroom door.
Keenan narrowed his eyes at him. He didn’t need to ask what Nysys was talking about. “You knew yet you didn’t try to stop her?”
Nysys waved at Kaila, who was talking a mile a minute, telling Jonah what she’d done with Nysys that morning. “I did. I clearly don’t have as much energy as her.”
Keenan rolled his eyes. “No one has as much energy as her. She’s four. Still, I would have thought that you of all people could keep up with her. Getting old, huh?”
If there was one thing Nysys hated, it was to be reminded that he was aging just like everyone else. He was lucky he wasn’t human and that his aging was slow. He didn’t look a day over twenty-five, even though he was thirty-seven. His hair was still hot pink, his tattoos were still abundant, and he still had so much metal in him that he always made the metal detectors beep.
Nysys put his hands on his hips. “I’m not getting old. I’ll be young forever.”
Keenan strode toward him and kissed his cheek. “Of course you will. Thanks for entertaining Kaila while Jonah and I were busy packing.”
Nysys arched a blond brow. “That’s what they call it these days?”
“Yes, Grandpa. That’s what we call it.”
“There won’t be much packing time on vacation.”
“Maybe not. I guess we can always ask you to babysit when we come back.”