The Stone Family Heart - Taylor Hart

Chapter 1

It didn’t bother Kennedy Stone to do things herself. After all, since her mother had passed, and particularly in the past two years since her divorce with Jeff, she’d done most things by herself. She hardly noticed it, really, because most things she did revolved around her job in Boston. She’d just been made partner, and she was proud of that. It was no small feat to be made partner at a prestigious law firm in Boston. No small feat at all.

Lately, the accomplishment felt less amazing and more like the work it was.

She pushed those thoughts aside. At least she was in South Port. Home. Well, kind of home. She and her brothers had technically grown up in Boston, but they’d come to the beach house in South Port every summer.

As she drove through the streets, she remembered walking the beaches at night with her mother, talking about law. Ever since she was young, Kensi had wanted to change the world through law.

Now her mother was gone, and Kensi still hadn’t changed the world.

Cancer had taken her a little over a year ago now.

Kensi’s eyes fluttered, and she banged the steering wheel. She would not do this. No. Instead, she sucked in a long breath and refocused.

Her phone buzzed. It was Marshall, her younger brother. He was two years younger than she and Trey, and the most difficult brother to deal with. Part of her didn’t want to answer. All of her brothers were supposed to meet her at the inn this week to help her take care of things, but they’d ditched her.

She pressed accept. “You guys think you can ditch me to go fishing in Alaska and I’ll still talk to you?”

Marshall grunted. “There’s a hurricane headed that way. You okay?” The gruffness was a familiar characteristic of his.

“I’m fine. You can’t control the weather.” She withheld a direct assault. “You want to know what you can control?”


“If you go fishing or not.”

Marshall cursed.

She wasn’t proud of the guilt trip, but they’d all hurt her feelings. It wasn’t often they got to spend time together.

“Do you want us to head your way?” Marshall asked.

Kensi hesitated. “No, I’m fine.” She wouldn’t be the cause of her brothers missing their time together, even if it did sting a bit that they hadn’t cared about being with her. “Go. Fish. Be men.”

“Fine,” Marshall said. “Call if you need something.” With that, he hung up.

She let out a light laugh and shook her head. “Love you, too, Marshall.”

Her brother could be so annoying.

Focus. She would focus on relaxing this week, a prospect she’d been looking forward to. With a smile, she thought of her brother Trey and his new wife, Ava. The wedding two months ago had been small and quaint, taking place on the Fourth of July.

Now it was the middle of September, and Trey had asked if she could watch the inn for two weeks while he and Ava took an extended honeymoon to Europe. Ava’s son would be with his father in Colorado for his school fall break.

Traveling Europe didn’t sound like a vacation to her. She and her mother had taken a trip there when she’d graduated from NYU with her bachelor’s. She had dreamed about a European vacation for years, though she hadn’t imagined that while traveling she’d meet her ex-husband, Jeff.

Why was she thinking about Jeff again? She didn’t want to dwell on her ex, but he’d been on her mind recently. Jeff worked at her law firm and they’d been assigned a recent case together. It hadn’t been comfortable for her, but Jeff … well, he had tried to get back together with her. Again.

Her phone buzzed. Think of the devil, and he would call. “Hello.”

“Hey,” was all he said.

“What do you need, Jeff?” She tried to keep her tone professional, cool, unconcerned.

“I know you don’t want to hear from me, but I need to tell you that I’m worried.”

Kensi pursed her lips. Through the trial, he’d looked for every chance to remind her of the good times they’d had, but she’d kept him at a distance. “Why?”

“You mentioned going to South Port. Did you notice that a hurricane is supposed to be heading your way?”

“There’s hurricane warnings all the time.”

“Yeah.” Jeff sounded a bit breathless. “I’m watching the news right now, Kens, and this is going to be a doozy.”

She hated it when he called her Kens. Kens—or Kensi—was a nickname for friends and family only. Jeff was no longer either of those