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The Wife Assignment: Epilogue

Kelly

Three days later …

“Levi …”

“Sh … quiet, beautiful, or I’m stopping.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

The licking between my legs stopped, and so did the build-up of pleasure that left me hanging on the precipice. I glanced where Levi was busy giving me the goods. Or where he had been. He raised his head and narrowed his eyes, the warning glint in them only making me wetter, more aroused. My juices glistening around his mouth only made him sexier and more primal.

“Are you going to keep it down, ‘coz our girls are in the next room?”

It was our last day at the safe house. My parents flew in with my brother, Ronan, the afternoon we arrived from Vegas. It was time to move out and face the damage at my grandparents’ house.

“I wasn’t that noisy.”

“Yes, you were.” He flashed a panty-melting smile before giving my thighs a squeeze.

“Fine. I’ll keep it down.”

He lowered his head and pushed my knees wider, scooped me under my ass and fed my pussy into his mouth again.

My husband was voracious. I tried to muffle my cries while grabbing the sheets. My toes curled at the exquisite pleasure that shot like a live wire through my nerve endings. I was pulsing, thrumming with anticipation and wetter than I’d ever been. The past three days had been a whirlwind of activity and monumental emotions, I was simply too drained. I needed this release. I writhed and clutched the pillow to smother my moan as my climax hit me.

Then, before I fully came down, Levi crawled up my body and slowly pushed inside me.

Inch by exquisite inch.

“I’m going to make love to you,” he whispered. “I’m going to go slow, babe. I want to savor you this time.”

“I love a hard pounding,” I said. “But I’m not opposed to sweet lovin’.”

His eyes smoldered, belying the way he gently rocked into me. Even when it was slow, I felt the dominance of his cock. Angling and rotating his hips, he watched my face closely. His fingers gripped my own and slowly placed our clasped hands on either side of my head.

As he continued making love to me, he watched me intently. “There’s nothing more satisfying than watching you come apart with me inside you.” As if to stress that point, his cock hit my magic spot. I arched and gasped, and his mouth came down to devour my own. His fierce kiss opposed the gentle way he owned my body and … my soul.


Levi

Branna and Cillian’s house was buzzing with activity. After the LAPD released the property, I hired a crime scene mop-up crew to deep clean the house and remove every trace of blood and any reminders of the night the McGraths were attacked.

Alana was in Kelly’s house keeping her and the kids company while we repaired the drywall that Branna’s shotgun destroyed.

Ronan, the eldest of Kelly’s brothers, took the lead on the job. Not that hanging drywall was rocket science, but he used to build the shoot houses for Ranger’s training, so anything construction fell to him. I was the muscle, content to take his orders while Robert and Cillian became the backseat carpenters, although Cillian was more helpful than Kelly’s dad. Mostly, they just sat on the stairs and watched us work. Ruger slept at their feet. The German Shepherd was healing by the day.

Keeping occupied with this task prevented Branna and Mads from asking me questions about their daughters. Apparently, both Alana and Kelly’s understanding of keeping secrets was to avoid the rest of the family.

“Hold it steady,” Ronan said. “I’m going to jack it into position.”

“Got it.” I was in a crouch, keeping the sheetrock in place.

“Man, it sure is useful having you around.”

“Hey, we could have helped,” Robert protested.

Ronan glanced back at his father. “We’ve got this. Really.” Then he winked at me before returning his attention to the task at hand. “So you and my sister are back together, huh?”

I stiffened. Ronan was not the type for small talk. He was more introspective than his younger brother. Callum was built like a linebacker, while Ronan was an inch or two taller and leaner.

“Yeah.”

“You got your shit straight?”

The burn of his stare was hot down the side of my face, but I didn’t look at him. The problems in my marriage were related to Ronan’s downward spiral. Neither of us handled Callum’s death well. He of all people knew what I’d gone through. I wasn’t sure if he’d dealt with his own shit properly. He didn’t have the incentive I had of winning my family back.

“We’re working on things, but it’s looking good.”

“Good.”

Then he went back to work.

A few minutes later, Branna called us to the kitchen for lunch. She and Mads went to the supermarket that morning to restock the kitchen. We’d been spoiled at the safe house, although the prepared frozen food was nothing compared to what Branna and Cillian could whip out.

“Kelly’s not answering her phone, and neither is Alana,” Mads said.

I dug out my phone and tried to call her, but she put me straight to voicemail. There were no known threats so I quelled my rising panic. “I’ll go get them.”

“Wait a minute,” Branna and Mads cornered me.

Shit.

I tried to keep a neutral smile. The two women looked at each other before Mads spoke up. “My daughters are avoiding us.” A heavy breath passed her lips. “We’re fine if they’re not ready to talk about it. But if something terrible happened to Alana during captivity, we want to know and help her through it.”

When the three men joined them, I glanced longingly at the exit.

“Alana is fine,” I clipped.

Branna’s eyes narrowed. Madeline raised a brow. “You’re hiding something.”

“What? No.” My words caught in my throat.

Ronan crossed his arms, his eyes narrowing as well. “You’re good. But not that good. So why don’t you tell us what my sisters are hiding.”

“Why do you think they’re hiding something?” I asked.

“Because they seem fine around you, but around us they’re …” Branna snapped her fingers repeatedly, trying to look for the right word. “Skittish.”

“Yes. Like they’re hiding something.” Mads agreed.

“Exactly like they’re hiding something,” Ronan added.

They were scrutinizing every change of my expression. Even without looking in a mirror, I knew my face gave away what they suspected. I tried to smile, but I failed colossally. I was sure my smile was a caricature version of a Disney villain telling children he was the hero. Hell, I could face interrogations and grin with sarcasm and make up shit, but the McGrath women made me feel about an inch tall.

“I assure you they’re …”

The front door opened, and Alana walked in.

My relief at her appearance was cut short as I took in her ravaged face. She’d been crying.

Fuck. What now?

“Where’s Kelly?” I barked.

“She’s outside with the kids … and …” she inhaled raggedly. “Mom—” her lips trembled.

“I knew it,” Mads glared at me. Actually I could feel everyone’s condemnation.

Ronan walked over to my side and slung an arm around my shoulder, drawing me close. “You’re in deep shit, man and …Holy mother of God.” He looked past me.

I turned. Fuck.

Callum darkened the doorway. Kelly lagged behind him with the two girls.

His eyes met mine. “I didn’t think Alana would be able to explain it.”

He was right.

Ronan brushed past me and approached his brother, wariness in his step.

Alana was trying to explain but the rest of the McGraths ignored her, seemingly transfixed on the ghost at the entrance.

“Cal?” Ronan choked. “Is it really you?”

“Yeah, man.” He gave that crooked grin he was known for. “C’mere” Like he did with Alana, he didn’t give Ronan a choice. He ripped off the Band-Aid and hugged him tight.

Mixed emotions expanded my lungs, and there was no room for oxygen. Joy, a bit of sadness, but mostly joy. Kelly appeared at my side holding Ash’s hand. Whit flanked me on my right and linked her fingers through mine.

I put my left arm around my wife. Our family was finally complete.

At that moment, the McGraths simply accepted their son was home. As each of them took turns embracing Callum, there was crying, cursing, back thumps, and more crying.

But the questions would come, and it didn’t take long.

Finally, it was Robert who asked, “Why’d you stay gone so long, son?”


Kelly

Dad stood at the edge of the living room, looking out the bay window. He was having a hard time processing what Callum had told the family. Until that moment, the subject of Walter Ford had been kept from the rest of the McGraths. Only Alana and I knew.

“I saw his obituary,” Dad whispered as though talking to himself. Walter Ford had been born in New York and had been a U.S. Senator for the state. It didn’t surprise me that his death would be announced in The New York Times. “I actually felt sorry for that bastard.”

He turned to look at my brother, anguish in his eyes. “I cost you five years of your life.”

Callum stalked toward his dad, and put a hand on his shoulder, and brought their faces close. “What did I say?”

Dad had his head hung, and he was sobbing. Callum spoke to him in a low voice. Dad punctuated his words with occasional nods.

It was like watching a movie or reading a book where you knew it had a happy ending, but you had to live through the heart wrenching scenes, because those parts made the ending sweeter.

I was sitting beside mom, holding her hand, giving it a squeeze whenever she dissolved into sobs. The emotions going around the room ran the whole gamut. First, anger at Callum for putting us through the grief, and the repercussions stemming from his “death.” Then dealing with the breakup of my marriage and Levi’s guilt. Ronan quitting the NYPD and becoming directionless for a while because of his anger. He and Levi shared the same trajectory except my husband had finally stepped off that cycle when he lost us. But, in the end, every single one of us was happy Callum was alive.

Mom nodded to where Levi stood beside Ronan at the entrance to the living room. Both had identical postures, leaning against the arched opening with arms and ankles crossed, observing. “Is Levi okay?”

I cocked my head. “What do you mean?”

“The guilt. He’d been so angry like Ronan,” Mom said. “You lost five years.”

“But what’s important is the here and the now, right?”

“Yes.” Her gaze meandered back to her husband and son. The grief-stricken mother I remembered flashed across her face. “I would go through those five years again,” she said softly. “If we’d always end up here.”

I couldn’t agree more. And as my eyes returned to my husband, I noticed he was staring intently at me.

He smiled. I was more than ready for our future.


Christmas morning

Levi

“Ciara won’t stop crying.”

Blurry-eyed, I tried to shake the remnants of sleep and checked the time. Three a.m. The other night it was two.

“Is that John?” Kelly groaned beside me.

“Yeah. I got this, babe.” Somehow my friend thought that having two kids of my own made me the expert when it came to babies. But I’d be damned before we interrupted Kelly’s sleep. Our family was descending on us for Christmas lunch, and my wife needed her Zs.

I walked into the hallway, padded down the stairs, and straight into the kitchen of our new house.

“Is she hungry?” I pressed a glass to the water dispenser.

“She just finished a bottle.”

“What did the doc say when you took her in the other day.”

“She’s fine.”

“She’s not running a temperature right now?” I took a sip of water.

“If she were, I’d’ve called the doctor, not you.” The irritated exhaustion in his voice made me smirk.

“True. Do you pick her up every time she cries?”

We’d gone over this so many times, but it bore repeating. Every. Single. Fucking. Time.

Silence.

I responded with a sigh.

“She screams the whole world down.”

“I can hear that. What does Mrs. Mason say?”

“You already know what Ma told me.”

“That they are manipulative little demons at that age?”

“We’re not talking about me.”

I chuckled. “You know what to do, Daddy. You just want some company in the misery, and that’s why you call me”

He responded with a sigh and I heard him say, “Come on, poppet.” And then the jangle of car keys joined the shrieking baby. John was right, Ciara had some lungs on her. “Hang on.”

I wasn’t sure if he meant me or his baby daughter.

But I hung on. Because apparently this is what badasses do, show support of first time fathers. Damn, how many times had I gotten calls from Migs too? Declan called me once, but their daughter, Madison, born two weeks before, was still in the angelic stage.

I heard car doors open and slam as well as Garrison talking to Ciara. He never did the baby talk with her and spoke to her like an adult.

“You there?” He started the engine.

“I’m here.”

“You never told me what the McGraths thought about the arrests.”

Hmm. I wondered if he really needed moral support for fatherhood, or it was his way of sneaking out of the house to talk business. A week before Christmas, the Southern District of New York federal prosecutor’s office, as well as the JAG made a joint GPS takedown of a current United States senator, the CEO of a defense company, as well as several officers of the Navy, one of them an admiral. Too bad Walter Ford was dead, but his vendetta against the McGraths was only the tip of the iceberg, a speck in the morally corrupt scheme of greedy businessmen and people in power. The reach of the arms dealers ran deep. The officials arrested were charged with conspiracy to derail a SEAL op and looking the other way while letting the Russians do illegal businesses in foreign countries that would fuel war in those nations. The JAG would handle their own court martial of their officers, while the federal courts would deal with the civilians.

“They’re thankful it’s over. The recordings Stepanov turned over couldn’t be entered as evidence, but it certainly identified most of the players.”

“Dmitry has been helpful too … huh,” he broke off. “Well, I’ll be damned.”

“Let me guess … she’s asleep.”

“Yep.”

“Told you she’s got you wrapped around her tiny fingers.”

“Yeah, well, I’ll try to resist next time.”

“Maybe she just likes to hear her dad talk special ops.”

“Don’t make me laugh and wake her.”

“Seriously, Dad,” I said. “Babies want to hear your voice. It’s better for them to get used to that noise and shit.”

“So you said.”

“Trust me.”

“Two kids make you an expert?”

“Well, you called me.”

“True.”

“You’re already back at the house, aren’t you? You just wanted to keep on talking so she’ll stay asleep.”

“Nah, I’m good. Thanks, James.”

With that, he ended the call.

I was used to John’s abruptness, and I was glad he didn’t change much despite becoming a father. I returned to the bedroom and crawled into bed.

Kelly snuggled into me. “You got Garrison squared away?”

“Yup.”

“What time is it?”

“You’ve got three more hours before Branna shows up.”

Kelly didn’t answer. Her breathing had already evened out. I wasn’t sure she was fully awake when she asked the time.

I kissed the top of her head and savored this moment. Last Christmas, I was alone. I didn’t have my family around me. I was a miserable motherfucker who thought there was no hope of Kelly and I getting back together. This last New Year’s Eve, I was certain we were on the brink of divorce. What a difference a year made.

Not a day went by that I wasn’t grateful for a second chance.

I wasn’t failing them this time.


Kelly

“Damn, if I could eat all the Irish Stew,” Callum patted his belly. “You make it as good as Nana, sis.” He glanced at our grandmother. “No offense.”

“Bah …” Nana waved her hand in a “don’t care” gesture.

“I can’t quite get Aunt Ava’s version,” I said. I know it seemed like I was fishing for compliments, but I wasn’t.

We had moved into the West Indies style home in early November. It was the house my grandmother had pointed out that could accommodate our family with room to grow. I fell in love with the airy kitchen, and the beautiful dining room lined with a row of French doors that opened into the back yard and pool area. I might have been too eager to offer to host Christmas this year, but with Nana living up the street, it became a no-brainer given what had happened over the year.

Our mahogany dining table accommodated ten. Levi and I sat on opposite ends following tradition as the hosts. On my right was Ash, Nana, Mom, and Dad. On my left was Callum, Gramps, Ronan and Whitney, who—ever the daddy’s girl—wanted to be close to her dad. Scout laid beside Ruger in one corner of the dining room, both dogs waiting their turn to have their Christmas treats. Ruger had fully recovered from his gunshot injury.

Uncle Sean and Aunt Ava had their own celebrations with their families and Charles had to take care of Eamonn’s which was busy at this time of the year, but on Thanksgiving, the whole clan got together at one of Uncle Cesar’s resort hotels.

That turned out well because Levi and I wanted this gathering to be more intimate given how we hadn’t spent Christmas together last year.

“Well.” My grandmother stood to clear the plates. “Ava altered the recipe for her family, made it more Italian,” she sniffed. “I prefer ours.” Every now and then, she’d bring up the old Irish versus Italians competition. She moved to pick up Ash’s plate.

“Nana, I’m not done.” Ash winked at me. My youngest daughter was becoming a smartass. The whole table laughed, partly in relief. If we held lunch at my grandmother’s house, everyone would’ve had to get up and clear the plates. That wasn’t happening in my dining room. I wanted to savor the moment and leave the dirty dishes for later.

“Nana, sit down,” I ordered. “Let everyone relax.”

.“It’ll be nice to sit down later and not worry about the dishes,” she grumbled but did as she was told.

“That’s because you’ll be too tired from cleaning up,” Gramps said. “The guys will clean up.”

Levi, Callum, and Ronan protested.

Alana partially rose to lean over and give me a high-five.

At the end of the table, I caught Dad and Mom’s eyes, and even from a distance, I could see them glistening with tears. Their faces said it all. Joy.

It was Christmas, and our family was whole again.

Amidst the ensuing chatter, Levi stood and clinked his beer bottle to get everyone’s attention. When we all quieted down, he said, “I wanted to do this before dinner, but knowing McG here was grumbling about starving, I decided to wait until after.”

Levi was doing a speech? It wasn’t his style, and I could see his apprehension. But when his eyes met mine across the table, I gave him an encouraging smile, and his face lit up.

I remembered our conversation about old couples not giving each other butterflies anymore. That wasn’t true.

Their fluttering wings were rioting inside me right now.

“At the beginning of this year, I thought for sure I’d lost my chance with Kelly,” Levi started. “The McGraths have gone through unusual situations. Some of us forgot how to live on after the loss—”

“Guilty.” Mom raised her hand. “And no offense to you, Cal, if I eventually did move on.”

“I should feel hurt about that,” Callum murmured and snickering went around the table. My brother gave the speech at Thanksgiving dinner leading with how hurt he was that we’d all moved on from him. Not true, of course. But we could find humor in it. It was a relief that even Mom could joke about it. Callum said he experienced a weirdness about coming back from the dead, and the transition into normal life had been tough.

“As I was saying,” Levi continued. “Some of us forgot how to keep on living. It took the breakdown of my marriage to hit me in the face and make me realize that the people who could help me move on were my own family. Kelly”— his gaze met mine before wandering to our girls. “Ash and Whitney. I’m insanely honored you all gave me this second chance.”

“We love you, Dad.” Whit gave his hand a quick tug.

Levi smiled at his daughter before returning his attention to the table. “To the McGraths, I avoided you because I couldn’t stand the guilt of coming home without Callum.”

It was the first time my husband admitted that to my family.

“F-, fudge, bro.” My brother’s face turned red.

“But you’re here now,” Levi’s voice cracked with so much emotion, I could feel my own bubbling up.

“We never blamed you and we knew you had this guilt,” Dad said. “And I am so sorry that I didn’t talk to you about it, son. Maybe it would have made a difference in your problems—”

“Stop,” Levi said. “I’m not saying this now for recriminations but to start a clean slate for all of us.” His gaze landed briefly on Ronan before roaming the table again. “I’m not good with words, but I’m just so”—he exhaled a heavy sigh that seemed to make him lighter—”so, fu-freakishly happy to see everyone here today in our new home.” He spread his arms. “Last Christmas, I had nothing. Today, I have everything I could ever ask for. All I can say is thank you to my beautiful wife and children for giving me a second chance.” He looked around the table again. “And to my family.” He raised his beer. “To our future.”

We raised our glasses and toasted to new beginnings.


Levi

Much later that evening, after everyone had gone home and the kids were tucked away in their rooms with Scout and their new toys and gadgets, we retired to our bedroom.

Our room was massive with a little sitting room in front of a fireplace that would most likely never find any use in Los Angeles even in the winter months. French doors opened to a second-floor balcony overlooking a backyard screened by mature trees.

I’d done many filthy things to my wife on that balcony.

But the most crucial detail in our room—given our broken-bed record that sparked our house-hunting mission—was the sturdiest bed frame we could find, one that could support our sexual acrobatics when my wife was feeling frisky and demanded a hard pounding from her husband.

A duty I had no problem fulfilling.

That didn’t solve all our sound problems. The bed didn’t creak, but my wife was loud.

“Oh, my God, oh my God.”

“Don’t you move those hands, babe,” I warned as I continued thrusting between her thighs. Under my mercy, Kelly was a beautiful sight to see.

Pliant.

Responsive.

Perfect.

Arms stretched above her with hands gripping the bed rails—we tested the strength of their construction. Kelly’s head was thrown back, her eyes at half-mast, her mouth, which earlier was just wrapped around my cock was open. As much as I wanted to shoot my load into her mouth and have her lips dripping with my cum, I wanted to fuck another baby inside her more.

I reached between us and rubbed her clit.

“God, you’re good.” Her reedy cry could have pierced ordinary walls and might’ve made our kids worry with what I was doing to their mother, but I’d tested the acoustics of the room.

“It’s Levi, babe,” I tried to smirk, but my climax was tingling at the base of my spine. Gritting my teeth, I asked, “You good?”

“Yes, yes,” she continued to moan, shaking her head from side to side. “If I come one more time, I’ll die.”

She was dramatic, but I was immensely gratified that I’d made my greedy wife come enough times, she’d call uncle.

I reared back one more time and plunged deep, stilling for a beat, and sent my cum shooting inside her. But moving inside her was too good, so I resumed rocking into her gently until I was spent. I plucked her hands from the railings and rolled off her, gathering Kelly into my arms.

“Wow, I’m glad you convinced me I needed to get laid.”

“You were bouncing with exhausted energy.” I kissed the top of her head. “Dinner was fantastic.”

“The first Christmas dinner since Callum’s return.”

“The first since we got back together.” I tipped up her chin. “There will be more firsts in this house.”A grin curved my mouth. “Ash and Whit’s first baby brother?”

She raised a brow. “First? How many kids are we planning?”

“Oh, I don’t know, I’m feeling left out with so many of my friends becoming dads for the first time.”

“You’re ahead of them.”

I rolled over Kelly again and propped up on my elbows. “And I love you.”

“I love you too.” A puzzled look crossed her face. “So …?”

“I want to give you the family you deserve.”

Her lips quirked up. “You already have.”

“I want to give you more. A family to call our own.”

She grasped my jaw. “All mine.”

“Forever yours, beautiful.”

“I’m all for more.”

Nine months later, Liam Patrick James was born.


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