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He gives a nod of appreciation. “She’s saved my life a total of three times, and she’s become one of my closest friends in the process. I trust her. My men trust her.”

Grady then adds, “they see her as a little sister. They protect her as one of our own.” He turns to Keira. “Always. Even here. If you ever need us, we are a call away.”

Keira smiles brightly. “Thank you Grady.” And then to Killan, “thank you.”

“You saved me first.” Replies Killian.

“So how did your protection turn into an engagement, was that a stipulation to the protection?” Asks Luca.

Fuck. I forgot about the engagement between them. The reminder makes me squeeze her tighter to me.

“No.” Says Keira.

“Absolutely not. Keira has been under my protection for the last six years. The engagement was more of a mutual arrangement we came up with about a year ago.” Killian takes a breath and closes his eyes for a moment. “Succession in my family follows blood. Same as it does yours. My father is not a strong leader. He recognized this years ago and allowed the wrong men into positions of influence. One being my Uncle. He undermines my father wherever he can. He’s made an underhanded deal with the Cartel. Only those closest to my Uncle and Cousin are meant to know about it. I suspected their treachery and have been working to remove them. They have a loyal following, and are technically blood.

“A little over a year ago, my father found out he is sick. Cancer. He doesn’t have long left. It was never meant to be announced, but word has gotten around, and my cousin has been making a bid to supersede me as my father’s successor. Without out right killing me, there isn’t much he can do other than to spread lies. There is one secret, that if it got out, could turn the tables. Only three people currently know. Myself, Grady, and Keira.”

Killian looks to each of us. Measuring us. Seeing if we are fit to know the secret.

“I’m sterile. I cannot have biological children. So I cannot continue a bloodline. With Keira knowing my secret, she agreed to marry me, to undergo secret in-vitro-fertilization so that my secret would never be found out, and the family had the heir they would need.”

“Wow.” Says Elena. Then turns to Keira. “You were willing to give up on finding someone just to help him.”

Her answer shocks the room. Not me. Because its how I’ve felt. “I had already found and lost the love of my life. I knew I would never find anything close to it again. So I agreed to Killian’s proposal. Knowing he would keep me safe and do what he could to make me happy. He would never pressure me for more than I could give, and he was willing to accept that I would never love him. But would love any child we had.”

“What about your brother? Couldn’t he take the throne?” Elena asks.

Killian’s face goes white. “He’s dead.”

“You had a brother?” Asks Luca.

“A twin. And as I said, he’s dead.”

“Strange. I didn’t know Kansas was where you went when you died.” Replies Elena with a smile. She loves to be a shit stirrer. I wish she would read the room. Now is not the time.

“Leave him out of this.” Snarls Killian. He’s on his feet. Looking ready to leap over the table and strangle her.

Elena gives a shrug. “I do not wish him harm. I only mentioned him, because he is of blood. Your blood. So a child of his would be included in the line of succession.”

Killian sits back down. “That is inconsequential. He has no children.”

“He has one, and another on the way.” She responds.

“How do you know?” Asks Grady.

Elena pulls out her phone. She types for a minute before placing it on the table and sliding it towards Killian. I am able to sneak a glance at it before Killian picks it up. A man identical to Killian has his arm wrapped around a woman holding a child. His other hand cradles the small bump of her stomach.

“Where did you get this? Why do you have it?” Killian asks suspiciously.

Elena holds her hands up. Trying to show she isn’t a threat. “I’m a hacker. I was the one to discover Santo’s secrets. I found his connection to the Cartel, and through it, I found your cousin. Not knowing who we could trust, I dug further. It’s why I trust you. I found no reason not to. Same with Keira. It’s why I allowed her to be here before Val woke up and could vouch for her. While digging I found your brother. If you are wanting him to stay hidden, we need to do some work. I’m good, but not the best. If your Cousin gets someone better on his payroll, he could find him too.”

“Can you do it? Can you hide him?” Killian asks. He looks to be sitting on the edge of his seat. Like his life hangs in the balance of her answer.

“Yes.” She says.

Killian gives a nod.

Luca being the Don, pipes in. “Elena and Val will work to hide and protect your brother. As for our relationship going forward. What are you willing to offer in exchange for an alliance?”

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