“Hi.” I nodded to his hand because my own were full. Including Nova, I had four bags hanging from my arm and another on my back. “She’s starting to wake up, but I’m hoping she holds off on the tears until we get to the room.”
“Sounds good.” He was staring at Nova before he nodded to some of my bags. “May I?”
I nodded as his eyes went back to Nova.
As he took them all from me, except the one on my back, I asked, “You’re the greeting team?”
A soft laugh as he began to lead the way to the elevators. “I am. You can’t get to Nate’s suite without a special card.” He hit the call button and smiled again, so polite. “We’re all trying to be civil here. There’s a child involved.”
Because I guess I hadn’t been.
I got the message. “Yes. I can see that.”
We got the elevator to ourselves, and Logan swiped the card before hitting the button for the top floor. He eased back as the doors closed. “You’re not close to Graham?”
“Uh.” He was going deep already, asking about my half-brother. I was noting that, too. I frowned. “You’re the lawyer, aren’t you?”
His eyes were steady on mine. “I am.”
“I’m also like a brother to Nate, so take it as a good sign that they didn’t call me until after your meeting.”
“Yes.” I was realizing that, too.
“Nate’s loved by a lot of people.” He waited a beat. “A lot of people who have different connections and resources.”
My head whipped to his.
I was getting a blank wall from him.
He added, “Your father’s casino has mob connections, but other than that, you have your father and your father’s money. You don’t have a large circle of people. Our search found one or two casual friends. No lovers. You’re not close to your brother or that side of your family.”
I felt slapped by that one, but he was right. I gritted my teeth.
I didn’t have anyone close to me except one friend.
I hadn’t grown up that way.
My jaw firmed. “You’re mistaken about the mafia connection. My father’s never done business with the mob.”
We arrived, and the elevator dinged.
He asked, “You sure about that?”
I stiffened, but Nova began stirring. Her head started moving around, and she was going to wail in the next breath. I didn’t respond, but I truly had no idea what he was talking about. If my father was connected to the mob, that was firstly, chilling, and secondly, needing to end as soon as possible.
Logan held an arm out, indicating I should go first.
There was one room on this floor, and the door opened.
I faltered in my footing, a sudden burst of nerves hitting me hard, but it was the other brother. Mason Kade stepped out and jerked his chin up toward his brother. “You got a call.”
Logan frowned, but Mason handed off a phone. Logan let him take the bags and then turned back, pressing the phone to his ear. “Yeah?”
Mason was now watching me before his gaze fell to Nova. Some of the frostiness from his brother wasn’t with him, and I relaxed, just a little bit. I almost felt grateful, but I noted that it was the opposite of what Carl’s files said about them. Logan was supposed to be the more beta-type with a big personality. Mason was noted to be the alpha leader of the group and not known to be people-friendly. They both were supposed to have anti-authority tendencies.
I was getting the opposite reactions from them.
And I didn’t know whether to be grateful or scared out of my mind at that revelation.
He nodded to the bedroom. “He’s coming out. Logan and I will give you some privacy.”
My throat just doubled in size, with a full boulder choking me. I could only jerk a nod in response.
His eyes returned to Nova, and he softened. “Test or not, she looks like him.”
I looked down. “Interesting. I only see Valerie.”
Nova had a good mop of curly red hair already, bordering on strawberry blond. Then she opened her eyes, a yawn leaving her, and she started stretching her arms up. Her eyes were definitely Nate’s, though, bright and green. Valerie had dark eyes.
Mason called out, “We’re heading out, Nate.”
“Okay,” came from inside.
He slipped out the door, shutting it gently behind me.
I took a moment, my nerves on full blast, and I waited.
Nate didn’t show.
Still carrying Nova, I moved forward, going to the opened doorway.
My heart was beating so fast, so loud, that it was almost all I could hear.
He was on the edge of the bed with his head hanging down. His hands were clasped together, his elbows resting on his knees.
A wave of understanding hit me. Right behind it was an intense sensation of pity? Did I feel sad for him?
I frowned, but he lifted his head.
His eyes were blinking back unshed tears, and he blinked them rapidly as he rose. His gaze latched onto Nova.
When I looked down, her eyes were locked right back on him. She could see him approach.
She was taking him in, drinking in the sight.
He was doing the same.
It was just the two of them in the room now. I didn’t exist.
Love was a somewhat unfamiliar emotion in my family with how I grew up, but right now, I was watching a father fall in love with his daughter right before my eyes.
And it was rather glorious.
He was melting in front of me. His entire face softened, and his shoulders fell in a swoop.
The air in the room lessened, a charged feel to it, like something amazing and life-changing was in the process of happening.
It was a beautiful sight to witness.
“She’s just waking up.”
“Does she—I mean, Mason’s little girl doesn’t like waking up.” He glanced at me, a question in his eyes.
I shook my head. “Not Nova. She’ll wail at first, but she’s already past that. She’s fixated on you.”
I nodded. Of course.
That was all I was thinking.
Of course, you can hold your daughter.
Of course, you’ll love her.
Of course, this would only cement how much you need her.