Gray Pierce pulled into the driveway with a coughing growl of the 1960 Thunderbird’s V-8 engine.
He felt like growling himself.
“I thought the plan was to sell this place?” Kenny asked.
Gray’s younger brother sat in the passenger seat, his head half out the window, staring up at the craftsman bungalow with the wraparound wooden porch and overhanging gable. It was their family home.
“Not any longer,” Gray answered. “And don’t mention any of that to Dad. His dementia makes him paranoid enough.”
“How is that different from any other day . . . ?” Kenny mumbled sourly under his breath.
Gray glowered at his brother. He’d picked Kenny up at Dulles after a cross-country flight from Northern California. His brother’s eyes were red-rimmed from jet lag—or maybe from too many small bottles of gin in first class. At this moment, Kenny reminded Gray of their father, especially with the pall of alcohol on his breath.
He caught his own reflection in the rearview mirror as he pulled the vintage Thunderbird into the family garage. While the two brothers both shared the same ruddy Welsh complexion and dark hair as their father, Gray kept his hair cropped short; Kenny had his tied in a short ponytail that looked too young even for someone still in his late twenties. To make matters worse, he also wore cargo shorts and a loose T-shirt with the logo of a surfing company. Kenny was a software engineer for a company in Palo Alto, and apparently this was his version of business attire.
Gray climbed out of the car, trying his best to push back his irritation with his brother. On the ride here, Kenny had spent the entire time on his cell phone, dealing with business on the other coast. He’d barely shared a word, relegating Gray to the role of chauffeur.
It’s not like I don’t have my own business to attend, too.
For the past month, Gray had put his life on hold, dealing with the aftermath of the death of their mother and the continuing mental decline of their father. Kenny had come out for the funeral, promising to spend a week helping to get their affairs in order, but after two days, a business emergency drew him back across the country, and everything got dumped back on Gray’s shoulders. In some ways, it would have been easier if Kenny had not bothered coming out at all. In his wake, he’d left a disheveled mess of insurance forms and probate paperwork for Gray to clean up.
That changed today.
After a long, heated call, Kenny had agreed to come out at this critical juncture. With their father suffering from advancing Alzheimer’s, the sudden death of his wife sent him into a downward spiral. He’d spent the past three weeks in a memory-care unit, but he’d come home last night. And during this transition, Gray needed an extra pair of hands. Kenny had accumulated enough vacation time to be able to come out for a full two weeks. Gray intended to hold him to it this time.
Gray had taken a month off from work himself and was due back at Sigma headquarters in a week. Before that, he needed a few days of downtime to get his own house in order. That’s where Kenny came in.
From the book BLOODLINE: A Sigma Force Novel by James Rollins. Copyright C 2012 by James Czajkowski. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
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