Her Dominant SEAL (Midnight Delta Book 9)(7)

By: Caitlyn O Leary

“Evalyn Lavender Avery, we are fifteen minutes outside of Gatlinburg. Find us a reservation for something that has at least two bedrooms and a kitchen. If you can’t find two bedrooms, then at least a fold out couch. Can you manage that?”

“Yes,” she ground out. “But it’s going to cost you.”

“I’m good for it.” He grabbed the phone out of Piper’s hand and ended the call.

“Not even Trenda argues that much with Eva,” Piper said in an awed voice.

“Yeah, well, not many people argue with me that much,” Drake said wryly. He looked over at Piper and was happy to see that she had pushed off the blanket. She was wearing a thin denim jacket. No wonder she had needed the blanket.

“So, tell me what all I’ve missed since I’ve been gone.”

“In fifteen minutes?”

“What I’d really like to know about is you. Trenda’s sent me pictures, and we’ve talked on SKYPE, but tell me what you’ve been up to. What do you plan to be when you grow up?”

“Oh my God, I can’t believe you just asked me that question. How old do you think I am? Twelve? For God’s sake, I’m graduating this year!”

Way to go, Avery. Pissing off the teenage girl, nothing much has changed.

“What I meant was, what do you want to do after you graduate?”

“I plan to be a teacher,” she said it in such a prim little voice he could just imagine her in front of a classroom.

“What grade?”

“Kindergarten. I’m a teacher’s aide right now. I missed school yesterday, and the class I was supposed to help in.” Drake hated how sad she sounded. Meanwhile, he was just angry. What the fuck was going on? He knew that years ago, Piper had witnessed their dad kill a man, but he’d already been convicted of that and done his time. Why would he want to harm his daughter now? But then again, who the hell knew why Norville Avery did anything?

Then there was Wanda Avery. How could she let him in her house when he was intent on doing her daughter harm? It made his heart hurt and his head about ready to explode.

Piper reached over and placed her hand on his thigh.

“Don’t think about it, Drake. I try not to.”

“Think about what?” he pretended to misunderstand.

“About Mom. She just loves our dad so much that she can’t help herself.” He squinted against the sun, it was causing his eyes to water. He wasn’t going to admit to the fact that he was tearing up at the fact that he had a mother who was turning her back on her children.

“Drake, think about Granny.”

That stopped him short. He hadn’t thought about Granny Laughton for at least a year. But driving up and down the hills of the highway and looking at the evergreens sprinkled with snow, he thought back to the days in his grandmother’s kitchen. She had been his mother’s mother and a refuge for the Avery children for years. She’d died two years ago. When Trenda tried to call him and let him know, he had been on a mission and unreachable. He’d have given anything to have been stateside. For her funeral, he would have come back to Tennessee.

“I’m surprised you remember Granny Laughton,” Drake said.

“She gifted me her books. Mom kept them in a box for me in the attic, I took them over to Trenda’s last year and looked online. Some of them are really rare, one of them has been auctioned off for over a thousand dollars. Some of them aren’t. A couple I’ve read and used this year to study for class.”

Drake whistled. “I can’t believe Dad never got his hands on those.”

“They were frickin’ books,” Piper snorted. “It never occurred to either Mom or Dad that books could be valuable.”