Wanting a Family Man

BOOK 3 in the Raven's Cove Trilogy

He prefers his own company. She longs for family…

Cloe Vance had one goal when she learned she’d lost her sister: reach her infant niece. Though unable to assume custody—Cloe is broke, homeless and unemployed—she’s determined to ensure Storm is loved and cared for, even if that means working with her celebrity crush, Trystan Fraser, who doesn’t trust her.

The isolation of Raven’s Cove inspired the wilderness survival series that made Trystan famous. He refused to return until the unexpected death of his father forces him to help his estranged half-brothers refurbish the resort, hoping to secure a future for their infant half-sister. When Storm’s aunt arrives, for once the brothers are aligned…and scared. Does she want Storm or money?

Trystan’s tasked with discovering her motives by hiring Cloe to help with the week-long whale watching excursions. Their chemistry sizzles, yet Trystan resists behaving like his philandering father. In the fall, he’s returning to his globetrotting career. Cloe is a temptation he doesn’t need, but can she teach him that home is where the heart is?

Wanting a Family Man

BOOK 3 in the Raven's Cove Trilogy
Heartfelt Small Town Romance

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Wanting a Family Man

is BOOK 3 in the Raven's Cove Trilogy
The full series reading order is as follows:
If this is an excuse to get me out of the house, and I’m not allowed to go back, just tell me.
— Cloe, Wanting a Family Man

I don’t know what to say about this book except that I loved writing it. I loved having the broader canvas of the whale-watching tours to explore more of this beautiful part of the world and I am absolutely heartbroken to let go of Raven’s Cove.

When I conceived of this series, I knew that Storm’s aunt would become the love interest for the third brother. I didn’t expect Cloe would twist my heart up so much. She’s trying so hard and life is determined to not go her way, right up to the point that Trystan lets her down when she least expects it. (But she rallies! And so does he.)

I adore Trystan, mostly because he’s so good at appearing to have his act together and, it turns out, he doesn’t. He is human like the rest of us. I especially love that he has to admit his failings to his brothers. He messed up, he’s a little bit lost, and these tough, stubborn, arrogant men (finally!) say out loud that they have each other’s back.

I did everything I could to wrap up any dangling threads with this book. As much as I would love, love, love to continue going back to Raven’s Cove, I think it works best to close it with Trystan and Cloe and the knowledge that all of them are living very happily ever after.

If you do need a small Raven’s Cove after-dinner mint, you can get the bonus epilogue Marrying the Nanny here.

Thanks for visiting!

Wanting a Family Man


Chapter One

Of the many mistakes Cloe Vance had made in her twenty-three years, showing up in Raven’s Cove unannounced was arguably one of the worst.

She’d been scared, though. Scared someone would tell her she wasn’t allowed to come. Scared no one would tell her where her niece was. Scared that her phone would be tapped and tracked. Heck, she was even scared that she was becoming paranoid, which said everything about the state of her life these days.

She was a mess, which was exactly what she’d been trying to avoid when she’d aged out of foster care and started adulting. She had been determined to make smart, practical choices. She hadn’t wanted to end up like her mother, yet here she was—broke, homeless, and fleeing a dangerous relationship with a Very Bad Man. She wasn’t doing drugs to numb the pain, but she saw how alluring that type of escape could become.

She saw clearly how all the rotten stuff happened. When you felt like you were utterly alone in this world, it took only a little misplaced trust and allowing hope to override your gut. The next thing you knew, you had no job, no home, no friends. She had even lost her sister, which wasn’t directly connected to her actions, but it felt as though it was.

This new perspective humbled her. It made her hate herself for judging her mother all those years ago. Being frightened and lonely wasn’t a crime.

Being an accessory to money laundering was, though.

Somehow, Cloe had avoided being charged with that. She had cooperated and was still in a daze that she had walked out of the courthouse with her freedom.

Within days, she had liquidated her few remaining possessions and bought a bus ticket north. It was strange to be so untethered. As she had sat on the ferry from Port Angeles, Washington, into Victoria, Canada, she had felt like a castaway bobbing on an open sea.

She still felt adrift, even though she’d since left that ferry for a second bus that had taken her to the top of Vancouver Island where she had climbed aboard a second ferry that took her even farther up the coast and into the night.

She didn’t stop for a proper sleep anywhere, just dozed in her seat, waking disoriented from confusing dreams.

When she walked off that last ferry, she found herself two miles from town. At midnight. The landing crew must have thought she was waiting for someone because they got in their car and disappeared, leaving her alone on the slip.

If she’d had a phone, maybe she could have hired a rideshare or found a room. Instead, she studied the brochure she’d picked up off the ferry, waiting until there was enough light to see the road since there were no streetlights, then walked into Bella Bella.

It was terrifying and exhausting, yet peaceful. It felt good to be moving instead of sitting, breathing fresh air instead of stale AC. It was midsummer so the breeze wasn’t too cold. She could hear the steady hiss of waves and concentrated on that, trying to ignore the creaks and snaps in the brush that stopped her heart every few steps.

The town was barely coming awake. It was only a couple of streets in each direction, increasing her sense of having arrived at the edge of the earth. She was the coffee shop’s first customer. She took her paper cup to the wharf where she sipped while waiting for the water taxi that would take her into Raven’s Cove.

Her brain was numb, forming no thoughts beyond, Get to Raven’s Cove. That had been the only imperative in her head for months. Even before April, when she’d been told her sister had passed unexpectedly in a small plane crash.

After that terrible news, Cloe’s urgency had intensified, fueled by urgent questions. What will happen to Tiffany’s baby? Who will look after Storm?

The baby is with family, had been the message relayed through her lawyers. What family? Tiffany’s almost-husband, Wilf, had three grown sons. Had one of them taken guardianship? Which one?

The need for answers, and to see for herself that Storm was safe and well-cared for, had kept Cloe alive through the twists and delays in the court case. If she hadn’t been driven to survive for Storm, she might have given up entirely by now.

The water taxi growled into place against the wharf, releasing a handful of children wearing backpacks and babbling with excitement for whatever their day promised.

Cloe boarded and would have fallen asleep as the taxi rocked its way to Raven’s Cove, but the coffee and the rush of finally arriving had her sitting up with anticipation as she came into—

Is this it?

She wasn’t sure what she had expected, but definitely something grander. All she could see was a marina with a T-shaped wharf holding a variety of boats in their slips, some fishing boats, others for leisure.

On shore, there were a dozen houses peeking from the forest on the hills above the collection of commercial buildings. A pub on the left was dwarfed by a huge industrial building behind it that wore a sign declaring it Raven’s Cove Marina and Shipyard. Between that and the two lodges on the right stood what looked like the shortest strip mall in history. It held maybe three shops and what might be a couple of apartments above it.

As the taxi closed in on the wharf, the land rose too high to reveal anything except the pub’s patio, which jutted out to overlook the cove.

“Is this…it?” she asked the water taxi captain as she disembarked. Perhaps she’d been dropped off on the outskirts again. Please don’t make me walk another two miles.

“Sure is,” he said with a nod, as though he heard that a lot.

As she stepped onto the wharf, she hung back, letting the handful of fellow passengers go ahead while she shrugged into her backpack and brushed back her hoodie, trying to get her bearings.

Her ears were immediately accosted by the chill of her new pixie haircut. Along with so many other parts of her old life, she had also left behind the chemical blonde she had saturated into her dark-brown curls all these years. She wore no makeup, jewelry, or even a bra.

Slowly, she started toward the ramp, passing a man who was casting off a speedboat of some kind. She didn’t know boats. This one looked like a convertible sportscar with a low, angled, wraparound windshield and white seats in the bow.

The man straightened as she came even with him and she halted, stepping out of his way so they wouldn’t risk knocking each other into the water.

Oh shit. He was Trystan Fraser.

A year and a half ago, Tiffany had sent her a link to a trailer for Never Alone with the text, I’m dating this guy’s dad!

The Never Alone series chronicled Trystan’s adventures and outdoor survival tips as he trekked into remote locations around the globe. He took only what he could carry, then documented how he was never really alone. There was always wildlife and insects and a thriving ecosystem around him.

Cloe had watched way too many hours of him talking intimately into the camera while she’d been in protective custody. That’s what really made her falter into speechlessness—awe at facing her celebrity crush.

He was taller than she had expected, familiar yet infinitely more handsome with his neatly trimmed dark hair and straight brows and strong bone structure beneath a naturally tanned complexion. He also radiated a dynamic self-confidence that was even more powerful in person than on screen. He was sexier, which was saying something because she lived for the handful of episodes where he took his shirt off.

While she stood there agog, mute and practically drooling, his gaze swept over her in a way that felt like male interest—which gave her a lurching yes-no response that swung wildly between invitation and rejection. He had a girlfriend, didn’t he?

He gave her a friendly nod and a self-deprecating smile that said, Yeah, I’m that guy from that show.

Oh God. She winced inwardly. He must get this fangirl reaction a lot. How mortifying.

“Are we leaving today or what?” another man asked, making her realize there were two men already in the boat.

Did they see how obvious she was behaving?

“Yeah.” Trystan moved around her and stepped aboard, using his foot to push the boat away from the wharf as he did. The engine was already rumbling. The boat motored into an arc away from the wharf.

Wait. Was that them? All of Wilf Fraser’s sons? Which one had custody of Storm?

Cloe had glanced at their socials many times, hoping to spot her niece in one of their photos, so she recognized the man who remained on his feet at the helm. That was the eldest, Reid. The one who’d spoken was settling into the shotgun seat. He was Logan, the middle brother. Trystan settled behind the driver’s seat, facing backward.

He held her gaze another moment, until they were too far away for her to even call out to stop them.

She wanted to kick herself. Had she really just let them get away like that? She could have wept. What an idiot.

No crying, she scolded herself. She’d done enough of that, and it didn’t fix anything. She was tired and hungry. That was the problem.

She decided to treat herself to breakfast in the pub restaurant while she figured out her next move and took a table on the patio so she could watch for the men to return.

Over eggs and toast, she learned that yes, those had been the Fraser men heading to Bella Bella, where she’d just come from. Which figured. They hadn’t had a baby with them, though. Did that mean Storm was still here with someone? Her nanny maybe?

“I was hoping to speak to one of them,” Cloe told the server when she brought her bill. “I don’t have a phone. Do you know where I could leave a message?”

“Go into the office. Take the stairs beside the hardware store or…” She pointed to a house on the bluff that overlooked the marina. “That’s where Reid and his wife live. Emma’s probably home with the baby. You could talk to her.”

Emma. That was the name of Tiff’s nanny, wasn’t it? Cloe scraped the recesses of her mind for what Tiffany had said about her. She was from Australia, wasn’t she? No. New Zealand?

That didn’t matter. Cloe’s heart clutched with nervous excitement at how close she was to seeing Storm.

“Thank you.” She tipped as well as her dwindling cash would allow and left, shouldering her small backpack and making her way across the grassy verge where a couple of picnic tables overlooked the marina.

She was getting a better look at this place now that she was on foot. It was cute, but for someone who’d grown up in LA, it was mind-bogglingly small.

All the essentials seemed to be here, though. A licensed eatery, a hardware store, a grocery store that also served as post office and liquor store, a laundromat, and an espresso bar that also sold gifts, housewares, and ice cream.

She paused outside the grocery store to read the flyers on the corkboard, hoping to see a cheap room to rent. There was only an offer of free kittens and someone selling used tires.

As she reached the far side of what might be called a town square, she arrived at the two hotel lodges. One was utilitarian, but looked newly refurbished. The other was likely the one that Tiffany had regarded as the jewel that would draw a wealthier clientele to the cove. It was built of massive logs and tons of glass. Each room had a wide balcony that overlooked the water.

That building was the first thing that struck Cloe as pure Tiff. Her sister had longed to be someone who “did something.” She had wanted to be a boss—not the metaphorical kind. The kind who owned a company and hired people and was taken seriously. She had always been drawn to home décor and house flipping and everything high end so all of this seemed right up her alley.

Cloe stepped inside long enough to learn from reception that even the rooms in the “old” lodge were priced sky-high. Also, they were booked out through October and, no, they didn’t need help in housekeeping at this time.

She tried not to let despondency get its claws into her. Dusk was hours away. Right now, her priority was to see Storm.

Her palms were sweating. Nerves chased her as she carried on to where the graveled forefront of the village forked into a lane on the left and a driveway on her right. The lane meandered toward sparsely placed farmhouses along the shoreline. The driveway rose to the top of a bluff where a tall split-level house overlooked the marina.

For a moment, she stood and took in how impossibly beautiful this place was.

She had lived in cities for so long, she had started to think that wilderness like this only existed on television. There were no honks and air brakes, no skyscrapers, no crowds. There was only the calls of birds and the distant drone of a boat engine and the steady wash of the tide pushing against the shore. The air smelled of salt and pine and earth and sunshine.

She removed her backpack so she could take off her hoodie and tie the sleeves around her waist. Then she warmed in the morning sun as she hooked her backpack on one shoulder and finished her climb up the drive.

Her feet began to feel as though they were encased in concrete, though, slowing her step. Reality was sinking in. Losing her sister was something she’d compartmentalized while she’d been living in the isolation of a shitty hotel room, but her lateness in getting here—four months after her sister had died—curdled the eggs she’d eaten.

Tiffany wasn’t here.

But her daughter was.

Swallowing the jagged lump from her throat only to have it lodge like broken glass in her chest, Cloe fisted her clammy hand and knocked.

“It’s open.” A woman’s voice carried through the screened window beside the door.

Hesitantly, Cloe turned the knob and poked her head in, keeping her feet on the stoop. “Hello?”

“Hello?” The speaker was drying her hands on a tea towel as she came to the wide archway between the living room and kitchen. She was a little older than Cloe, close to thirty maybe. Her brown hair was bundled into a clip atop her head. She wore a green T-shirt and cutoff jeans. Her feet were bare.

“Sorry. I thought you would be—” The other woman shrugged off providing a name and gave Cloe a confused smile. “G’day. Can I help you?”

“I hope so. I’m, um…” Cloe wished she had found a way to shower and dress in fresh clothes, not that she possessed such a thing. Should she ask for Mrs. Fraser? “Are you the nanny, Emma?”

“Yes. Can I help you?” Wariness edged into her tone. She came to the door and took hold of it, subtly forcing Cloe to retreat on the stoop.

“Hi. I’m Tiffany’s sister, Cloe.” She tried to find a friendly smile, but too many emotions were accosting her, making her mouth feel numb and quivery. “Is Storm here? I was hoping to see her.”

Emma’s shock was unmistakable. Her jaw went slack, and her eyes bugged out. Her hand twitched as though she wanted to slam the door in Cloe’s face.

“She’s down for her nap right now.” Emma’s voice turned thin and high. “Why don’t you come in and sit down. Would you like something to drink?”

“Water would be great.” Her throat had become a desert. “Thank you.”

Cloe toed off her cheap, rubber-soled flats and left her bag by the door, then gratefully followed Emma into a beautiful kitchen with a granite island, modern cupboards, and stainless steel appliances. A breakfast table sat in a nook that overlooked the sun-dappled water. A pair of French doors stood open to the wide deck, allowing the fresh air to fill the house with the intoxicating smell of summer and beach.

“Wow.” Cloe couldn’t help stepping outside to appreciate the breathtaking view. “This is beautiful.”

“It is.” Emma came out and searched the water as she set the glass on a small table beside a lounger. “I’ll check on the baby. Have a seat.”

“Thanks.” Cloe didn’t get a chance to ask where Mrs. Fraser was. She sank onto the lounger, relaxing because she hadn’t known how she would be received, but Emma was being really nice to her.

Finally, for the first time in way too long, something was going her way.

Chapter Two

As they wrapped up their meeting with the Heiltsuk Tribal Council in Wágḷísḷa, Trystan felt as though he flashed out of one long, dark tunnel only to enter another.

Reaching the end of this first one was good, though. Really good. The Heiltsuk Nation had agreed to buy Raven’s Cove, the fishing resort Trystan and his brothers had abruptly inherited from their father four months ago. The resort already leased the land from the Heiltsuk Nation, but they wanted to buy the buildings and the various businesses so they could have full control and ownership of what was an important enterprise sitting in the middle of their traditional territory.

The deal hinged on using funds that had been promised to the Heiltsuk Nation from the government as part of the Truth and Reconciliation process—a long overdue redress for the harms delivered to Indigenous people by colonialism and, particularly, the residential school system. That meant there would be infinite bureaucratic hoops to jump through, but so be it. Trystan had relatives and friends in all the tribes that made up the Heiltsuk Nation. This purchase was long-overdue justice for all their families and ancestors.

Trystan was also an environmentalist at heart. He knew the council, together with the hereditary leaders and other members, would bring an attitude of stewardship to the land and water even as they took over the very necessary industrial service that Raven’s Cove provided to marine traffic moving up and down the coast.

This sale agreement was a huge achievement. It was good and right, and he didn’t care what it cost him personally.

But there would be a cost. That was the second tunnel that closed around him even as he was shaking hands and grinning with accomplishment.

The complexity and government layers on this deal meant that the capital Trystan and his brothers had invested in the resort would be tied up a lot longer than they’d anticipated.

Trystan had promised Reid and Emma that he would stay until Raven’s Cove was ready to sell, thinking he would at least have the promise of reclaiming his investment by the end of the year. They’d come a long way since April, when Raven’s Cove had been hovering on bankruptcy.

They’d thrown their own money—and backs—into completing the remodel at the house and the upgrades across the resort. Reid had operations running like a clock and Logan had the marina back to turning a profit.

Trystan had worked out the initial bugs in the whale-watching tours and already had one local captaining a boat. It shouldn’t take long to find his replacement for the other.

As for their baby sister, Storm was thriving in Reid and Emma’s care. Trystan would always be an involved uncle, but he was comfortable signing off on Reid and Emma taking full custody of her while they applied to formally adopt her.

Theoretically, he ought to be able to leave and go back to filming.

Except, he couldn’t afford to.

Into their small celebration, Logan turned on his phone and bit back a curse.

Trystan shot him a sharp look only to have Logan thrust the phone under his nose. Trystan read the text from Sophie.

Tiffany’s sister is here. Em’s freaking out.

“What?” Trystan’s blood turned to ice.

This was exactly what they’d been fearing could happen.

Back in April, when they had learned their father had died in a small plane crash on his way to eloping with Tiffany, Trystan and his brothers would have welcomed any interest that Tiffany’s sister might have shown in taking custody. Not one of them had been prepared to become a father.

Tiffany’s sister had been AWOL, though. When they did learn her name, Cloe, they also learned she was in trouble with the law.

Since then, they had been caring for Storm themselves—with Emma’s help. She was the only mother Storm knew now. There was no way they would let anyone take their sister from them, especially a stranger with a questionable past.

Was that why Cloe was here? Trystan and his brothers had been striving to bring Raven’s Cove back from the brink of bankruptcy to give them the capital they might need if a custody suit manifested, but mostly to provide Storm an inheritance.

Did Cloe think she was entitled to Tiffany’s share in the resort? . They had just agreed to sell it! In a way that could take years to finalize.

Trystan stood by this decision, but damn it, timing was everything and this timing was the absolute worst.

“No one is hurt, but we have to get back to Raven’s Cove,” Trystan told the council members before he and his brothers hurried back to the borrowed bowrider tied at the wharf.

Logan took the helm for the short trip across the passage. Reid was still talking to Emma, reassuring her that, “Everything will be fine. I’ll make it fine.”

Reid must have lost service because he swore and pocketed his phone.

“Emma left Cloe at the house and took Storm to my office. Sophie has gone up to make sure Cloe isn’t looting the place,” Reid said.

Sophie had grown up with the three of them here in Raven’s Cove. She was basically family. Maybe more. Trystan eyed Logan. Yesterday, Trystan had gone to Sophie’s where Logan was supposed to be renting a room. The pair had emerged from her bedroom looking very sheepish. He was trying not to think about that, mostly because if Logan broke Sophie’s heart again, Trystan would actually have to kill him.

“Did she threaten Em?” Trystan asked Reid.

“No. But Em’s been worrying about this for a long time. It hit her pretty hard, having Cloe show up on the doorstep without warning.” Emma had been quiet-spoken when they’d first taken custody, but she was not afraid to kick their collective asses if she thought Storm’s well-being was on the line. In all the ways that counted, Emma was Storm’s mother.

Except legally, Trystan acknowledged dourly. That would happen once her permanent residency was sorted.

Also provided Tiffany’s sister didn’t interfere.

As the wind rippled his shirt and tousled his hair, Trystan couldn’t help wondering if Cloe was the woman he’d seen while he was casting off this morning.

He clocked any new face in Raven’s Cove. He’d grown up here and, even though he’d been away several years and had only been back a few months, he still had a sharp radar for who belonged versus those who were passing through.

He was also a healthy, single, heterosexual man. When a face was feminine and wide-eyed and attached to a figure with undeniably female curves, he gave her an extra moment of his attention.

The woman who had stepped back when he’d straightened from releasing the line this morning had immediately captured his attention. He had mentally tagged her as a visitor, but what kind? Tourists carried a lot of luggage and an air of excitement. Contract workers were focused on reporting for duty. Hikers wore better boots. People visiting friends or family were already connecting with the people waiting for them. They didn’t look apprehensive and tired and lost.


He tried to remember if her features had carried any resemblance to his baby sister, but he’d been far more interested in cataloging the things that made her a woman. Her hair had been cut short, emphasizing her slender neck and accentuating her features, like the shape of her full lips and the way her cheekbones sat high over a strong, but delicate jaw. He’d noted the way her faded jeans and dark-blue hoodie only hinted at the curves they covered. She hadn’t worn any makeup and her skin tone suggested mixed heritage.

As he’d been admiring all of that, she had lifted her gaze to meet his and her face had blanked with recognition.

Trystan was a midlist celebrity. That startled reaction happened fairly often, but now it occurred to him that she might have recognized him for another reason. Maybe she had known he was Storm’s brother. Maybe that’s why she had held his gaze even as he’d taken his seat in the bowrider while Reid had piloted it away from the wharf.

That prolonged stare had sharpened Trystan’s intrigue to a fine point. He hadn’t felt chemistry like that in a longtime. Maybe ever. He didn’t mind chatting politely to fans and taking a photo, but he never had an impulse to ask if they wanted to get a coffee. Or dinner. Or stay until breakfast.

All those urges had sifted through his thoughts in those brief moments. He winced now, realizing how far he’d let his mind travel in the space of a few seconds of eye contact. If he hadn’t had that meeting to get to, he might have shot his shot. Why? He had learned his lessons with both playing the field and getting serious. The first caused a lot of tangled feelings around expectations and the future. The other risked getting caught in the net of a power-hungry fame chaser.

He pivoted his thoughts from that particular humiliation, glad his brothers had never heard about it, but he couldn’t ignore the hot embers of male interest still burning holes in his gut. Misguided interest.

Maybe he was wrong. Maybe she hadn’t been Tiffany’s sister.

He knew that she was, though. He just knew it.

“What do you think she wants?” Logan asked as they docked.

“It doesn’t matter what she wants,” Reid said through his teeth. “What she gets is three minutes to explain why the hell she didn’t call before showing up like this.”

Trystan was wondering the same thing. It felt like an ambush. They were all amped into protective mode as they secured the bowrider and made their way to the house.

“We’re out here,” Sophie called from the deck. She had her red-gold curls up in a frizzy ponytail and had left her coveralls at the marina, revealing her Raven’s Cove T- shirt over cycling shorts. She sounded way too relaxed. Sophie was a mother herself and Em’s best friend. She knew the stakes. Why was she being so cheerful and nice?

Trystan’s heart swerved as he stepped out of the kitchen behind his brothers because, even though he had expected it to be the same woman, he had hoped it wouldn’t be. It was, though. Damn it. And she was still cute as hell.

She’d taken off her hoodie to reveal a striped T-shirt that scooped low over her modest breasts and hugged her torso. Her super short hair made her features look too big for her face, but maybe that was her reaction to seeing them file out like this. Her eyes were wide and winter gray, filled with apprehension as she looked from man to man to him.

The way her mouth couldn’t seem to hang on to her smile made Trystan want to steady it with his finger. Or his lips.

Get a grip, man.

“Hi.” She cleared the rasp from her throat. “I’m Cloe, Tiffany’s sister.” She swiped her hand on her hip before she offered it to each of them.



“Trystan.” As he closed his fingers over her narrow palm, that same kick of sexual interest tightened his gut.

“What are you doing here?” Reid asked gruffly.

Trystan had the strongest urge to step between his brother and Cloe and press Reid back a step.

“To see Storm.” Cloe kept her chin up, trying to act confident, but her voice wasn’t steady, and she rolled her lips inward before adding in a wavering voice, “If that’s okay.”

“Why?” Reid folded his arms.

Trystan had never felt so torn. He couldn’t help aligning with his brothers, crossing his arms in a reflexive pose of no-fucking-chance. It was instinctive. Storm was a baby. Innocent and vulnerable and helpless. His job was to protect her.

He was also a student of animal behavior. He knew the signs of stress in any creature. Cloe’s eyes were bruised, her body quivering with subtle, sustained tension. She darted her gaze to each of them, almost as though she felt trapped. Ganged up on.

“She’s her aunt,” Sophie blurted in her very give-no-fucks way. “You guys are coming on really strong.”

They were, but Trystan was in one of those moments where his mind told him one thing and his senses were bombarding him with other signals. He was trying to work out whether Cloe was a real threat or simply felt threatening to him because he was reacting so strongly to her.

“Do you remember telling me never to get between you and Biyen?” Logan warned Sophie. “This is like that.”

Trystan bristled, but most of his attention was still on Cloe, watching her bounce her uncertain glance from Logan and Sophie, to Reid, then into his. When their eyes met, Trystan felt the zing travel through his entire nervous system and tried to pretend he hadn’t.

“I’m not telling you what to do with Storm,” Sophie insisted. “I’m saying you’re being really scary when Cloe is a perfectly normal person. Everything is fine. It’s going to be okay, Logan.”

“No, it’s not!”

Okay, now Trystan had to look at them because Sophie was one of his best friends. Trystan would back her in any fight, including against his brother, but she wasn’t taking issue with Logan’s tone. And Logan was holding on to her as though she was about to fall off a cliff.

“Art is gone, you and Biyen are leaving, we’re selling this place, and now Storm?” Logan burst out with so much emotion, Trystan flinched. “No.”

We’re not losing Storm, he was about to say—loudly—but Em’s voice called from inside the house.

“Reid? I saw you all come back.”

Cloe’s attention swept back to Reid, filled with such pleading and desperation, it was a gut punch.

“I’d really like to see her,” she implored him. “She’s all the family I have left.”

They were all the family Storm had. That was the assumption the Fraser brothers had been operating on all this time, but the full scope of Cloe’s relationship to Storm expanded like a supernova in Trystan’s consciousness. Cloe was his little sister’s only connection to the woman who had given birth to her. They couldn’t make Cloe leave without at least seeing her niece.

When Reid glanced at him, Trystan nodded.

Wanting a Family Man

is available for pre-order in the following formats:
Wanting a Family Man
Tule Publishing
Oct 1, 2024
ISBN-10: 196441895X
ISBN-13: 9781964418957

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