Rocking Kin (Lucy & Harris, #3) - Terri Anne Browning

Chapter 1


Why did I feel so numb?

I wasn’t supposed to be numb today. I mean, how can you feel nothing on the day that your mother was slowly lowered into the ground, taking the life you had lived the last eleven years with her? There were no tears—those had long since gone dry over the last week. There was no feeling in my body—my fingers, hands, arms, toes, feet, legs wouldn’t cooperate with my brain when it was time to do something as mundane as pick up a single red rose, move two steps forward and drop it onto the coffin that was now in its final resting place.

My brain for the most part had completely shut down on me as well. That particular organ was encased in a fog as thick as what was in the wet Virginia air. If it weren’t for the two men standing behind me, and the girl to my left, I might have actually fallen as I stepped up to be the first and only person to toss the rose onto my mom’s beautiful mahogany casket. Part of me wanted them to let me fall, and to stay down there with her. It would be so much better than what I was going to have to face when this day was over.

But they didn’t. I knew they wouldn’t. For those three people, the people who loved me just as much as I loved them, I was all that was left of Abigail Jacobson.

Around us, friends and family members murmured soft words to my stepfather and stepsiblings. Offering condolences and other kind words at the loss of a woman who had been taken from the world far too young. Abby had only been forty-five years old. But cancer? That monster didn’t care how old a person was, or how much they were loved, or how kind they happened to be. If anything, cancer went for those types of people quicker than anyone else. I hated that damn disease, hated it for everything it had taken from me.

For everything it was going to force on me now.

My hands started to shake so badly that Angie and Caleb both turned from talking to their great-aunt Cindy to wrap their arms tightly around me. But not even being in a step-sandwich, something that we had always called our group hugs, could offer me comfort right then. I just wanted to go home and lock my bedroom door, pull the covers over my head, and hope that I woke up in the morning to this being all just a really terrible dream.

With her blond head on my left shoulder, Angie squeezed me tighter. “It’s going to be okay, Kin.”

I closed my eyes tighter but remained silent. Caleb lifted his head from my right shoulder and kissed my cheek. “We love you, sugar bug.”

Unable to speak around the lump in my desert-dry throat, I merely nodded. I knew they loved me, but there was no way they would be able to know if everything was going to be okay. It wasn’t going to be. Because in the morning I would be on a plane to California. Tomorrow I was going to have to tell Angie, Caleb, and Carter goodbye.

It wasn’t fair. I wanted to scream the words at the top of my lungs to the sky. To the casket in the ground. To the man standing mutely on the other side of my mother’s grave. It just wasn’t fair.

As if feeling my eyes on him, my father lifted his eyes from my mother’s casket and met my gaze head on. I hadn’t seen my father in almost thirteen years. Not since he married my step-monster and decided he wanted to raise her kids instead of co-parent me. He was a stranger to me, since I had only been four years old at the time. But he hadn’t changed much from what little I remembered of him. Or maybe it was because I’d seen him on a hundred magazine covers and a few big screens since then.

Scott Montez was an actor/director so he had been in plenty of trash magazines and a few not so trashy ones. He was still handsome for a man in his early fifties, with his bright blue eyes he had gotten from his English supermodel mother and that dark Latin skin tone he had gotten from his Spanish aristocratic father. My father was fit, well groomed, and screamed narcissistic a-hole.

I hated him.

But as of tomorrow he would