madman stalked his family, and he tried to be as nonchalant about checking up on Forest as he could. If saying out loud what he thought made his heart clench, he couldn’t even imagine what he could say to the drummer about why he’d been avoiding him.
If confronted, Connor would have made up some bullshit story about a man named Parker targeting his family’s loved ones, but that would leave so much of Con open to be picked at, and he couldn’t risk those wounds being opened at a time he needed to focus.
It would have also meant he would have had to acknowledge what he was about to share with his father—Parker had been going after anyone connected to Damien. His assault on Miki proved that, and attacking Sionn’s pub manager proved it didn’t matter how nebulous a connection was, Parker would exploit it, and Connor couldn’t risk putting Forest in that sick bastard’s line of sight.
Because Con would have had to admit there was a connection between them, and he hadn’t been ready to even think about it out loud.
Until right now, and not to the man who’d drawn him in with a fierce vulnerability and brown eyes. No, the first time Connor spoke about his growing attraction to a blond drummer, it would be to the man who made him and could potentially break him as well. And he would do it in the womb of his family’s home—in the safety of a room he’d come to so many times before to work out his anger or confusion.
“His name is Forest, Da. Forest Ackerman.” The his stung. It was out. A pretty demon with unknown powers to scald him and flog his soul clear off his body. Stumbling over his tongue, Connor continued, working his fingers together into a knot. “I met him on a case and, well….”
Donal Morgan was many things, but dumb ranked nowhere on that list.
“But… he? You said he.”
Connor couldn’t look at his father, but when Donal’s hand touched his thigh, he looked up to stare into his da’s perplexed face.
“But, Con, yer not gay.”
“Yeah, I know, Da.” He picked up the fine Irish whiskey he’d set on the table near the couch and took a hefty mouthful. It burned the edges of his gums, and his tongue tingled and sparked under the fiery liquid. Swallowing was difficult because he had harder things to do besides get drunk—one of which was break his father’s heart. “I know. Fucking hell, don’t I know that, but here I am. In this.”
The silence nearly killed him, and Connor wondered how long it would take to die from alcohol poisoning before Donal finally exhaled. After taking the bottle from Con’s hands, he set it down and then yanked Con into a suffocating bear hug.
“Well then, I guess we’ll work through this,” he murmured. “Ye and I… we’ll find a way to make it work. Because yer my son, and I’ll be damned if ye shouldn’t be happy in love.”
Wings under my skin,
Fighting to break free.
I need a razor to cut them out,
So I can live as I’m meant to be.
A drop of music, A sip of wine.
Watch the sky when I fall
I’m sure I’ll be fine.
H E WOULDN ’ T cry. Connor’d promised himself that, but it was hard going, especially when his father pulled back and gripped his shoulders tightly. Shaking, Con let go of the dank, foul fear he’d held in his lungs, and Donal reached a hand up to cup his face, his broad fingers tapping Con’s cheek.
“Yer trembling, son. Why?” If Connor thought his father’s disappointment was his greatest fear, it was nothing compared to the pain in Donal’s eyes when he whispered, “Did ye think I’d stop lovin’ ye for this? Did ye really think so low of me, Connor boy, that I’d walk away from ye because of who ye are? Have I done such a bad time of it being yer da?”
The tears came then, hot and silent, as Connor pressed his mouth together and grabbed his father back into a hug. He couldn’t speak. It was too much effort to get around the emotions clotting his throat