"My parents want to meet you."
I dropped the thick ceramic mug in the sink. It bounced once before landing in the inch-deep soapy water. The clanging sound bounced around my skull, settling behind my left eye and throbbing.
"Your parents are dead." I turned and leaned against the counter. "Are we attending a séance?"
Bran bit his lower lip. He hadn't bothered to put a shirt on, choosing to pad around my house barefoot in a pair of jeans that fit perfectly in all the right places. We'd finally dragged ourselves out of bed for lunch, ordering in pizza because we had run out of groceries.
His dark eyes met mine, apologetic and pleading.
"They're not, ah, dead. They're sort of alive."
I picked up the mug and contemplated how much strength it would take to smash it. "Your parents are zombies?"
"My parents are alive and well and very much human."
I weighed the mug in my palm, letting him watch my fingers curl around the cool clay. "You lied to me. Four months ago you lied to my face."
"Maybe." Bran put out his hand, pointing at the mug. "Please put that down."
I glared at him.
"Okay, I lied. A bit." His hand didn't move, still outstretched toward the mug. "I told you my parents were dead but that was right after we'd met and we were on opposite sides of the case." Bran smiled. "And I didn't know how good we could be together."
I didn't blink.
"Cut me a break, Reb. You've got your own family secrets." He shifted to one side with a grin, showing off his newest scratches on one shoulder. "And I can make you purr."
Damned redhead had a point. We'd both kept things from each other back then. I hadn't exactly been forthcoming about the fact that I wasn't human, but when Bran had come face-to-face with my Felis heritage I hadn't lied and denied.
I still didn't have to like it. "Who are they and why did you lie?"
He didn't move. My gaze traveled over his bare chest, resting on the fresh scars across his midsection courtesy of our latest work trip to
The least I could do was hear him out before throwing the mother of all temper tantrums.
"My father is Michael Hanover." Bran paused. "Of
I nearly dropped the mug.
"Yeah. Them." He sounded almost apologetic. "It's a family business. Three generations."
"You're related to those
"Michael and Bernadette Hanover are my parents." He reached out and took the mug from my numb fingers. "The reason I lied was because it'd become an instinctive reaction to explain away my wealth. Easier to say trust fund than explain my dysfunctional relationship with my parents." He shook his head, a sad smile on his lips. "You'd be surprised how many gold diggers are out there looking to snag a rich man. Or his son."
I tried to get my breathing under control. "Those
"We'd just met," Bran repeated. He placed the mug out of my reach and returned to stand in front of me, both hands up. "And I used the same line I use with everyone to explain my wealth. It was automatic."