Read an Excerpt
Never Too Late
By RaeAnne Thayne
SilhouetteCopyright © 2005 RaeAnne Thayne
All right reserved.
What was wrong with her? Kate Spencer wondered as she watched her brother twirl her best friend -- his new wife -- around the room. The small train of Taylor's elegantly simple ivory gown brushed the floor and her face glowed with joy at being in the arms of the man she loved.
They looked perfect together, the lanky cowboy author and his lovely, serene bride. But instead of sighing over the romance of the moment, Kate only felt restless, edgy, uncomfortable inside her skin.
She sipped at her champagne as an odd combination of emotions floated through her veins along with the bubbles.
She was thrilled for Wyatt and Taylor. How could anyone look at the two of them together and not be thrilled for them? She loved Taylor and wanted her friend to be happy and though she couldn't say she'd really had the chance to get to know her brother in the nearly six weeks since he had found her, her gut told her Wyatt was a good man who would rather cut off his arm than hurt his new bride.
And there was the cause of her restlessness -- that she didn't really know Wyatt at all. She shifted and set the flute on the table. Wyatt was her flesh and blood yet she barely knew him. Or her other brother Gage or their parents, Lynn and Sam.
She was suddenly overflowing with family. A mother, a father, two strong, handsome brothers. And now two sisters-in-law and even two step-nieces from Gage's marriage to Allie DeBarillas.
For a woman who had grown up believing she was nothing -- less than nothing, just the throwaway kid of a homeless junkie -- this sudden surplus of relations was daunting.
Intellectually she knew she belonged here with them. DNA tests proved without a doubt that she was the child of Sam and Lynn McKinnon, sister to Gage and Wyatt. But emotionally, they were still all strangers to her, all but Taylor.
If circumstances had been different, she would have known that her father wasn't very graceful on the dance floor and that Gage and Wyatt both looked strong and masculine and gorgeous in their tuxedos.
She would have known her mother didn't drink anything stronger than white wine and that Gage had broken both his legs earlier in the summer and that Sam had the incredible skills to carve the delicate wood angel that graced the soaring twenty-foot-high Christmas tree.
She was only now just learning all of those things because her entire life with these people had been stolen from her one hot summer afternoon twenty-three years ago.
She needed to move, to channel some of this restless energy into something constructive.
As Taylor's maid of honor, shouldn't she be doing something? Mingling or labeling gifts or helping out in the kitchen? She jumped up, intent on finding something to occupy her mind beyond her own problems. Before she could escape, though, Lynn whirled past her in the arms of her oldest son Gage.
Blond and petite, Lynn looked radiant and far too young to have two sons in their thirties, one a decorated FBI agent and one a bestselling true-crime author.
And a daughter, Kate had to remind herself, a daughter who barely knew her.
Bitterness welled up inside her and threatened to spill out but she staunchly suppressed it just as Lynn disengaged from her son's arms and wrapped Kate in a sweet-scented embrace. Her mother was a toucher, she was discovering. Lynn rarely let a conversation go by without holding her arm or squeezing her hand or patting her knee.
Kate had wondered more than once if perhaps Lynn needed somehow to make up for the twenty-three years they'd been apart, for all the hugs and kisses they had missed. Or maybe she was afraid if she didn't touch her to make sure she was real, Kate would once more disappear.
"Hasn't this been the most wonderful day?" Lynn beamed. "I'm so happy I just want to dance all night."
Kate managed a smile and hugged her back. "It's lovely. Everything is perfect. I don't know how you and Taylor threw this together on such short notice."
Lynn laughed. "We didn't have any choice. Wyatt refused to wait once he found his Taylor. Gage was the same way."
Gage smiled at both of them and Kate thought again how ruggedly handsome the FBI agent was. "We McKinnon men are impatient creatures," he said. "Once we find what we want, we move fast."
She watched his gaze scan the room until it rested on his wife, Allie, who was laughing as she tried to show her daughter Gabriella the steps of a waltz. Allie didn't seem to mind Gaby's shiny black Mary Janes planted on top of her own evening shoes as she moved through the dance.
Gage smiled at them both and the love in his eyes blazed brighter than all the stacks of candles gleaming around the room.
Kate knew Gage and Allie had been married for three months but they still acted as if they couldn't bear to be out of each other's sight. She hadn't been there, of course. She hadn't even known she had a pair of brothers three months earlier.
"I'm sorry I missed your wedding," she said on impulse, then regretted it when Lynn hugged her again, her eyes sorrowful.
"Oh my darling. We're just so glad you're here now. It seems like a dream, the most wonderful of miracles, that we've found you again after all these years. And just in time for the holidays!"
Kate blew out a breath. She had barely given Christmas a thought between helping Taylor with her wedding, finishing up her E.R. rotation in her second year of residency and dealing with this wild tangle of emotions at learning her true identity.
Finding out she had been kidnapped at the age of three from the arms of a loving family and thrust into the hell she'd lived as a child tended to make everything else on her to-do list fade into the background. How was she supposed to adjust to the fact that the person she thought she was all her life didn't exist?
She supposed she needed somehow to summon the energy and get busy about the holidays. It was unlike her to procrastinate so long -- her friends always teased that she usually had her shopping done by Halloween.
Though she typically only bought a few gifts -- some-thing for Taylor and a few other friends, and for Tom and Maryanne Spencer, her foster parents in St. Petersburg -- she was stunned by the sudden realization that her list had now grown by leaps and bounds.
She already had something for Taylor, a stained-glass wall hanging she had purchased at the arts festival in Park City last August, but now she would have to find something for Lynn and Sam, for Wyatt, for Gage, and for Allie and her children.
Excerpted from Never Too Late by RaeAnne Thayne Copyright © 2005 by RaeAnne Thayne. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.