217 pages
English

The Forever Kind: Sully

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Description

She prefers to keep her secrets, her dreams, and fantasies buried.


Sully McKenna reached superstardom more easily than most. Part of it was talent, part of it was luck – and fate. He’s surrounded by a loving family, adoring fans, and has a fabulous career, yet something is missing. It’s tough to complain when he has far more than he has a right to claim. He’s put himself in a holding pattern because he has to fulfill a promise: he has three months to finish the classes he needs for his degree. Then maybe he’ll put a little more effort into figuring out that niggling part of him that keeps reminding him that fame and fortune haven’t made him complete. He wakes every morning feeling lost. He’s yearning for something elusive. He really needs to take the time to find out what…


All Karina Farinelli wants is to raise her daughter and get her life back on track, although she’s not sure she was ever really on track. It’s been a couple of rough and confusing years for her. She adores her daughter, life has finally settled, and is working in her favor. Her only problem is she can’t get past the fear that haunts her. She can’t make eye contact with most men. Everyone claims she’s shy, but she knows better. She shrugs off all interest and attempts by the opposite sex. She prefers to keep her secrets, her dreams, and fantasies buried. She may be a little withdrawn, but watching her movie clips gives her enough thrills to keep going. She’s made some bad choices before, and she’s afraid of tempting fate again. Two people caught in a storm of chance. What does destiny have in mind for them?


This is book one in The McKenna Brothers series and can be enjoyed independently.


Publisher’s Note: This full-length, steamy contemporary romance contains elements of power exchange.


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Publié par
Date de parution 10 février 2020
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781645632054
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0012€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Look Inside
“Taking me to bed will be romantic enough,” Karina insisted. Sully took her hand, but he
let her lead him to her bedroom.
Karina’s mouth went dry when Sully pulled her shirt over her head, quickly followed
by her bra. She reached for the button on her jeans, but he stopped her, doing it
himself. With a hand on each side of her hips, Sully peeled off Karina’s tight jeans and
gave them a careless toss. He returned to her, slowly sliding her panties down.
“So, beautiful. So mine.”
“I…” Karina’s words dried in her mouth before she could voice them.
Sully froze.
“Don’t stop. I want you to make love to me,” she said softly. “I might get a little bit
spooked, but I don’t want you to stop. I’m not afraid of you, Sullivan. A few stray bad
memories may surface, but I’ll deal with them. I want you. I’ve been dreaming of
making love with you. Make it a reality, please.”
“We’ll take it slow and easy,” he promised, and he kept his word.
He touched her everywhere, stroking, kissing, and fondling. Karina closed her eyes,
opening herself to new feelings. When she reopened her eyes, Sully was naked beside
her.
She turned and took her time taking in his masculine beauty, the fuzzy blond curls
of hair on his chest, and darker line of hair from his bellybutton to his sex. His penis
was erect and larger than she might have suspected, considering his slim physique.
“Okay?” Sully whispered, kissing Karina again.
“Yes, shouldn’t I?”
“Shhh. This time is for you. It will be gentle and easy, and I’ll try not to frighten you,”
Sully breathed. “Let me show you how wonderful it can be. We are going to take all the
time you need. We’re not in a hurry. Are you on birth control?”
Karina nodded.
Sully used Karina’s body like a Popsicle, kissing, licking, and sucking, as he teased
her with his tongue and his fingers.
Karina found herself rising and gasping, shuddering as she experienced her first
male-induced orgasm. She felt his hardness against her, and she spread her legs, but
Sully teased her clitoris until she came again, her whole body writhing with the
exquisite pleasure.
“Sullivan!” All Karina’s fantasies of making love disappeared as she experienced the
real thing. She pulled him closer, wanting him inside her. Suddenly he was, filling her
as he began a delicious rhythm of moving deeper into her. She moved with him atevery thrust, wrapping her legs around his hips, climbing higher on his back to feel
every bit of him deeper inside her.
“Easy,” he crooned.
She wasn’t listening. Karina was desperate with need. She rose to meet his every
thrust, and he gripped her bottom, pounding into her until he gasped and withdrew, only
to thrust and shudder with his release.THE FOREVER KIND: SULLY
The McKenna Brothers - Book One
MARIELLA STARRPublished by Blushing Books
An Imprint of
ABCD Graphics and Design, Inc.
A Virginia Corporation
977 Seminole Trail #233
Charlottesville, VA 22901
©2020
All rights reserved.
No part of the book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and
retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The trademark Blushing
Books is pending in the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Mariella Starr
The Forever Kind: Sully
EBook ISBN: 978-1-64563-205-4
v1
Cover Art by ABCD Graphics & Design
This book contains fantasy themes appropriate for mature readers only. Nothing in this book
should be interpreted as Blushing Books' or the author's advocating any non-consensual
sexual activity.C o n t e n t s
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Mariella Starr
Blushing Books
Blushing Books NewsletterChapter 1
exas spring had turned hot and dry in early April and was showing no signs of
relief. After two and a half months of rainless skies and rising temperatures, the
grasses on the campus lawns were already yellow and brittle. The student bodyT
and graduating class of the previous year had departed the week before, and the
dorms were empty. Workmen were already busy, cleaning, painting, and doing
whatever it took to get the campus buildings ready for the upcoming fall classes.
Summer classes were scheduled to begin on Monday. These were accelerated
classes to be completed in ten weeks of rigorous study.
One of the summer students was Karina Farinelli. She was only one of many
scurrying across the campus. She was concentrating on the campus map in her hand
as she charted a route through the maze of buildings. She’d taken evening classes, but
she didn’t know the layout of the campus buildings. She was trying to decide on the
most efficient routes to get from one classroom to another. As usual, her mind was on
more than one thing. Managing her life over the next few months was Karina’s highest
priority. She still had no idea how she was going to run a restaurant, take classes, and
do everything she was responsible for doing. She did know she would somehow do it.
One way or another, she’d get the job done. It was what she did. She’d put on her
capable hat, and she’d get on with it. People who knew her would never guess that
sometimes, all she wanted was a shoulder to lean on, and someone who would take
care of her.
Karina tucked herself into the booth closest to the kitchen door and began organizing
her life on her phone calendar. It would help get her where she was supposed to be at
any given time all summer. The booth she was using was too loud and busy for most
customers to enjoy a meal, so it was reserved for restaurant staff. Karina sometimes
used the booth as a makeshift office. She turned from her work when a sudden hush
settled over the restaurant. Then low whispered voices broke the silence.
Karina saw the hostess leading several members of the McKenna family into the
seating area. The famous family of musicians and singers were local celebrities in San
Antonio. Carole and Daniel McKenna had been a successful country music duo long
before Karina had been born. After several years of success, the couple had quietlymarried and refocused their interests to having a family and building a music
production company. Their previous success was mostly forgotten except when their
music was played on retro radio stations.
Two decades later, the McKenna name had reappeared in the music arena. The
couple’s three sons had formed a band named I-35. The band had burst onto the music
scene with a rock and blues album that took the music world by storm. Micah, Sullivan,
and Coyote McKenna; nineteen, seventeen, and ten at the time had written, produced,
and marketed an album with their parents’ backing. Three of their single releases had
rocketed the young group from obscurity to number one positions on the sales charts.
They had gone on to conquer the rest of the listening world, breaching rock, country
and blues stations. I-35’s first album had sold millions worldwide. The independently
produced CD had been nominated for four Grammys. That year the band had walked
away with three of the trophies, and they were launched.
Since their debut, I-35, locally known as the McKenna brothers, had traveled
extensively. They had toured the world and produced four additional albums. Enlarging
the local family-owned production company. Tri-Texas Productions was a
multi-milliondollar music company, employing, and representing many musicians in the San
Antonio area.
Karina recognized Sullivan and Coyote McKenna, as did most of the restaurant
patrons. The two were without their older brother, the leader of the band. Over the
years, San Antonio residents had become used to seeing the brothers in and around
town.
During their first couple of years of success, frenzied teenage fans, mostly young
females, had flocked to San Antonio to visit the home place of their musical idols. San
Antonio had, in turn, enjoyed a swell in tourism.
The brothers, who had caused the phenomenon, had been noticeably absent since
they had launched a yearlong world tour. When the family had returned, it was to a
home broken into, picked apart and angry neighbors who were fed up with their lives
being aggravated by fans of the boy wonders. The family had promptly moved to a
secluded, gated community behind the safety of high-fencing and security systems.
Now, after producing commercially successful and critically acclaimed albums
successfully for years, most of the hysteria had settled. As young adults, the brothers
came and went as they pleased with little fanfare unless they were deliberately hyping
the media coverage for a new album release or if Sullivan McKenna was promoting a
movie release. In the middle of all the mania, Sully had tried acting, and had been
wildly successful in that venue too.
Two younger children accompanied the McKenna brothers. Karina assumed they
were two of the four children adopted by the McKenna parents. A fatal car accident
involving a family member had left the children, orphans. Karina vaguely remembered
the news release because she’d identified with the children’s loss.
She ducked her head and tried to refocus on work. She felt guilty over knowing so
much about strangers, but she supposed it was typical for celebrities.
The hostess led the McKenna party to the adjoining booth, and Karina couldn’t help
a small jolt of excitement as Sullivan slid into the seat directly behind her. Karina was a
fan, although she had very little time to listen to music and no time for concerts and the
fan obsession of her early teenage years. Somewhere, packed away in a box, was acollection of posters, magazines and favorite photographs. Somewhere, packed away
in a box, there were many of her lost dreams and hopes for happy-ever-afters.
“Okay, guys, are you hungry?” Sully asked his younger siblings.
“I want ice cream,” the little girl said in a pleading voice.
“That’s stupid. I want pizza!” the smaller boy exclaimed.
“Noah, Lily, stop it,” warned Coyote. “This will be our last outing together for a while,
so no fighting.”
“Can I have ice cream?” Lily asked.
“If you eat a decent dinner,” Coyote answered, in a time-old repetition of his
mother’s words, as their server handed them menus.
“Mom says Lily doesn’t eat enough to keep a bird alive,” Noah repeated, the sole
intent of the nine-year old’s remark being to torment his five-year-old sister.
Lily leaned against Sully and batted her big blue eyes at him.
Sully’s look was one of resigned defeat as he surrendered all hope of getting his
youngest sister to eat a full meal. “Why don’t we order a pizza first? Then we might
have ice cream. It depends on how you two behave.”
“Yes,” Noah exclaimed, pumping his fist in the air and causing both of his brothers
to smile.
“I wish Allison had come,” Coyote remarked.
“Allison doesn’t want to spend time with her dumb brothers. It’s bad enough she’s
being dragged off on some dumb vacation,” Noah quoted spitefully. “That’s what she
said on the phone. All Allison does is complain since Macy left. She goes to her room,
talks with her friends, puts on make-up, and paints her toenails.”
“Back off, Noah. Allison is having a hard time with Macy going off to study dance,”
Sully interceded mildly. “She’s probably lonely. The twins have never been separated
before. It’s good that she can spend time with her friends. Girlfriends are important at
her age.”
Sully was listening to his youngest brother with concern. The three older brothers
had accepted the four younger children as their siblings, but only Coyote had spent
much time with the youngsters. Sully and Micah, were busy with separate careers and
adult lives beyond I-35. When Coyote joined Sully and Micah on various projects and
tours, Noah felt outnumbered by his sisters, as he was one to three. He was going
through an I hate girls stage. It was a stage Sully had never experienced.
“Girlfriends are important at any age,” Coyote casually remarked with a little
tonguein-cheek smirk.
“Girls are stupid!” Noah snarled, and Coyote popped the boy lightly on the back of
his head with the palm of his hand.
“Behave!” the seventeen-year-old admonished. Coyote flashed a wry grin across the
table to his brother. Noah’s behavior could have been a clone of himself at the same
age.
“The next time you guys get to eat pizza, you will be in Italy,” Sully commented.“They probably don’t even have real pizza there!” Noah grumbled. “I don’t know why
I have to go. Why can’t I stay at home with you guys?”
“The folks are not going to let you stay with us,” Sully explained wearily. “Family
vacation means the family goes.”
“You don’t have to go!”
“We’re not kids,” Sully responded.
“Coyote is still a kid! I don’t want to see stupid statues and museums. I’ll be stuck
with Allison and Lily the whole time. This whole deal is bogus! Can I go play video
games?” the youngster demanded.
“Yeah,” Coyote agreed as he stood to let the boy slide out of the booth. He gestured
and mouthed to his brother, “I’ll talk to him.”
When Noah and Coyote left the booth to go to the game room, Lily snuggled against
her older brother.
“Why doesn’t Noah like me?”
Sullivan tightened his hug on the child. “Lollipop, Noah is a typical little boy who
thinks little girls are yucky right now. He’ll get over it.”
Lily gave an exaggerated dramatic sigh.
“I think Noah and Allison should go with Mommy and Daddy. I should stay here with
you and Coyote. I’ll be really, really good!”
“Not a chance, sweetie,” Sully said patiently. “Mom and Dad would miss you like
crazy, and Coyote and I won’t have time to take care of you. We’ll be busy taking
college classes this summer.”
“I’m not going to have any fun,” Lily complained. “Allison and Noah pick on me all
the time. I’m going to ask Micah to let me stay with him. He loves me.”
Sullivan smiled at Lily’s dramatics. There was likely to be another actor in the
family. “We all love you, but not so much when you behave like a spoiled little girl.
Micah will be here tomorrow morning to see everyone off at the airport. He’s busy too.
He has a lot of work to do in a short time, but he hasn’t forgotten you’re leaving. You’ll
get to see Macy when you go to Paris. This ballet program means the world to her. She
was brave to go to Paris by herself. I know she misses you like crazy, and she will be
excited to see you!”
“Sully, please, please, please. I want to stay with you!” Lily pleaded.
Sully shook his head and wagged a pointed finger toward his little sister. “Don’t do
that,” he reprimanded sternly. “There is no chance of it happening. I have my hands
full.”
“Allison bet Mr. Rutherford ten dollars that Coyote would get into trouble before the
summer was over,” Lily tattled.
“Well, I’m going to try to prevent him from getting into trouble,” Sully promised,
wondering if he could lay a bet with their booking agent. He too, had his doubts about
containing his younger brother’s high spirits for the duration of the summer.
The pizza arrived, and Sully left Lily sitting at the table while he went to retrieve his
brothers. He kept his eyes on the child and at the doorway of the game room, motioned
for his brothers to come out.
Karina was shamelessly eavesdropping while she half-heartedly completed the
paperwork in front of her. She had lived in San Antonio, this time for eight years, but
this was her first sighting of the I-35 band members in person. She was watching themin one of the mirrors strategically placed around the restaurant for the wait staff to
quickly glance at and avoid collisions while going around corners.
She didn’t need the mirror as she watched Sully coming across the room. She
shielded her eyes with her hand, pretending to read the paperwork spread out on the
table. Her teen idol had grown into a gorgeous man. He was much more mature looking
than he’d been in his teens when her crush on him had been one among millions. He
was over six-feet tall and lean-hipped. His blond hair was thick and curly, always
looking a bit messy and like he needed a haircut. Being blond and blue-eyed had made
him stand out onstage against both of his brothers, as they were brown-eyed with
brown hair. The handsome young face that had made him a pop icon among millions of
teenage girls had smoothed out to manly features. His jawline had squared into a
strong profile, and she could see a light five o’clock shadow on his face.
Coyote was walking behind his brothers, and he towered over them. The youngest
member of the I-35 band was a good five or six inches taller than Sully. He was larger
and more muscular than both of his older brothers. His frame was extra large, and he
resembled a football player more than a musician. His long hair was pulled into a neat
ponytail, trailing nearly to his waist. He was famous for letting his hair loose during
performances when it flew around his head in a frenzy as he beat out wild rhythms on
various instruments, usually behind a guitar.
The McKennas slid in the booth behind Karina, and began eating their pizza. The
family members companionably argued over this and that, and occasionally one of
them would plead with the youngest to eat.
Karina knew the brothers were students at Trevecca College. As a part-time
student, taking evening courses, she’d never seen them on campus. They only
appeared during the summer sessions. Micah had been known for taking evening
classes, but she’d never crossed paths with him. She was trying to work her way back
to student status. She had been forced to leave college at the end of her second year
because of her father’s illness, subsequent death and other circumstances.
It was common knowledge on campus that McKenna Music, Inc. had donated a
great deal of money to Trevecca College to develop its online presence. There were
lots of cameras and sound equipment in the classrooms, for live classes. The family
had the kind of money it took to influence college administrators that having online
classes was necessary to compete with other colleges. For the last five years, a major
entertainment industry magazine had ranked all three brothers of I-35 in the top
twentyfive highest industry earners under the age of thirty.
A light argument broke out in the booth behind Karina when Noah complained again
about having to travel with his parents on vacation. Sully and Coyote were trying to
convince the boy he would enjoy the vacation, but he wasn’t buying it.
Meanwhile, the small child lying on the booth seat beside Karina started kicking and
waving her arms. It was an indication she was finished with her bottle and ready for
attention. Karina lifted her nine-month-old daughter and propped her on her shoulder.
She unconsciously bounced and patted the child on the back with one hand while
gathering her books and papers into a stack, and stuffing them into an oversized
messenger bag.
Suddenly Karina heard a yelp of, “Hey!” behind her. She pulled Alexa away from the
back of the booth seat, eliciting another yelp, “Hey! Hold Up!” It was only then sherealized her daughter was attached to something.
Sully McKenna knew precisely and painfully what the baby was attached to−his hair.
“Hey, quit pulling!” he griped, grabbing the little hands behind his head, unable to see
his assailant.
Lily jumped up from her seat in the booth and twisted around on her knees to see
what was happening. Karina was aware of Coyote towering over her as he lifted her
baby gently out of her grasp.
“She’s got herself tangled,” he explained as Sully twisted around, trying to dislodge
the tiny fists. Karina ducked under Coyote’s arm and unwound the tight, little fisted
fingers from his brother’s famous blond locks.
“I’m so sorry,” she exclaimed, her face flaming red from embarrassment.
Released from his nemesis, Sully turned to face his tiny tormentor. He found himself
face-to-face with a lovely young woman and a baby with identical dark curly brown hair,
with deep reddish tones and sapphire blue eyes.
“Well, hello there,” he greeted with a grin.
Coyote handed the baby to Sully and slid into his seat on the other side of the
booth.
“I am so sorry!” Karina repeated.
Sully flashed her another smile. “Don’t worry about it.” He shoved his plate out of the
way and sat the baby on the edge of the table, holding her firmly under her arms to
keep her in place as he took a good look at her. “Hey there, little dumpling. I haven’t
had anyone get tangled in my hair since Lily here was a baby.”
“Sully!” the five-year-old protested in embarrassment.
“Well, it’s true,” he laughed. “You pulled many a chunk of hair from all of us!”
The little girl rolled her eyes at her brother’s teasing as she patted the baby’s
chubby knees. “What’s her name?”
“Alexa,” Karina supplied somewhat surprised. Her daughter had unknowingly
attacked a superstar, and he wasn’t angry or upset. Sullivan was looking at her
daughter intently and smiling.
“Alexa, you are a beautiful baby,” Sully cooed. Coyote reached across the table and
ruffled his fingers lightly in her curls.
“She’s a pretty baby,” Lily offered shyly.
“Thank you. You are very pretty yourself,” Karina answered. She turned to the
brothers, “I’m sorry we disturbed your dinner.”
“No problem,” Coyote answered with a grin, introducing himself, and his brothers
and sister.
Karina introduced herself with a returning smile. She reached for her child, and
Sullivan released her. She excused herself, and with Alexa on her hip, grabbed her
bag, and left.
Sully watched the young woman walk away with her daughter until Coyote gave him
a nudge under the table.
“She has a kid. Husbands usually go with kids,” he commented softly.
Sully gave one last look at the retreating figure as she stopped at the cash register.
“All the pretty ones are taken,” he mumbled.
“Pity, poor Sully,” Coyote smirked. Then he grimaced as his brother landed a hard
stomp on his foot.The McKennas returned to their dinner, and a few minutes later, their server
appeared with a tray laden with ice cream sundaes.
“We haven’t ordered dessert yet,” Coyote said to keep the server from making a
mistake.
“They were sent over by a friend,” the server clarified. “If you want something else, I
can change the order.”
“Heck, no!” Noah protested.
The older brothers smiled at Noah’s response and accepted the ice cream. They
questioned their server to find out who had treated them, but she wouldn’t acknowledge
their benefactor.
“I think it was the pretty lady with the baby,” Lily remarked around a mouth full of ice
cream.
When Sully signaled their server for a bill, she returned to the table and handed him
a check with Paid in Full scribbled across the bottom.
I-35 was accustomed to perks. It came with being celebrities. When they were on
tour or performing, freebies were typical, although they usually came with a price tag of
an autographed photograph to be hung on the wall, or a write-up in a gossip magazine
as publicity for the eatery. When they were on tour or at high profile clubs in major
cities, meals were comped in exchange for free promotion.
Nevertheless, when the brothers were home in San Antonio, they were rarely
extended this kind of treatment. They didn’t expect or want it. They preferred to be
treated as ordinary as possible when they were on home ground and out of the
spotlights.
They argued with their server to reveal their sponsor, but she was as tightlipped with
information as she was friendly. They surrendered graciously but flipped the bill over,
wrote TIP on it, and left the equivalent of their dinner and desserts.
Sully looked around and poked his head into the other part of the restaurant. It
hadn’t skipped his notice that the girl with the baby had the same name as the eatery.Chapter 2
arina looked upwards toward the sky and wondered if she would make it to
her science lab before the ominous clouds opened with rain. San Antonio,
Bexar County and several adjoining counties were under tornado watches.K
The emergency speakers on campus had been blasting warnings, reminding and
preparing the students. Having lived a good portion of her life in a state with frequent
tornadoes, Karina was complacent about the almost routine warnings and alerts. She’d
never seen a tornado except on television weather reports, and several old movies, the
Wizard of Oz, came to mind, with its ancient special effects, although she’d always
liked the scene of the wicked witch peddling her bicycle furiously.
In the here and now, she was more concerned with getting soaked in a torrential
downpour. That would mean enduring a two-hour class she hated, in wet clothing. It
was bad enough she had to suffer through the class. A science credit was required. A
blast of cold air was pushed ahead of a massively strong wind front, and she was
shoved forward. One of her notebooks fell to the ground, and she chased after it as it
was snatched by the wind.
Karina was surprised at the sudden chill in the air. Before her first class, the
temperatures had been their usual sweltering 100-plus degrees.
Sully McKenna was turning the corner of the building when he was instantly buffeted
by strong winds. He shoved his hands in his pockets and looked to the threatening
skies. He couldn’t help the look of pure amazement on his face, as he witnessed a swirl
of clouds part and a tornado funnel snake to the ground. Shocked and awed, he stood
mesmerized, but only for seconds.
A scream of terror got his attention. He saw a girl standing in the middle of the
campus yard. The wind was suddenly ferocious and unbelievably loud. Realizing they
were both in danger. Sully swore as he ran toward her, looking around, but he and the
girl were the only two people in this part of the campus.
The tornado warning sirens started screaming, but they were almost background
noise compared to the roar of the actual tornado coming straight at them. Debris was
flying through the air, and Sully ducked something large and wooden flying toward him.
He grabbed the girl by the arm and gave her a yank to get her moving.
Unaware they were even holding hands; they ran for their lives in front of an
oncoming funnel of destruction. They were losing the race, and the noise was
deafening. The lowering atmospheric pressure was painful to their eardrums, and they
were screaming as they ran, although they couldn’t hear themselves. They instinctively
ran for the brick science building. Rain and hail pelted them, propelled by powerfulwinds and downdrafts. Hail and debris began to strike at them, striking and cutting as it
was hurtled by the forces of the high-powered winds. At the last second, Sully realized
to his horror there was literally nowhere to go. They were at the rear of the building
where there were no exits on the ground floor. There was a fire escape stairway leading
to the second floor, and a door.
Sully grabbed the iron banister and pulled the girl in front of him. They tried to lean
into the stairs, but they couldn’t move forward or upward against the strong winds. A
large piece of corrugated metal slammed into them, smashing into Sully’s hand and
shoulder before bouncing off and flying away. Both of them screamed, and Sully
yanked the girl after him, dragging her behind and under the iron staircase.
“Get under!” he yelled, but she either was unable to hear or comprehend what he
wanted her to do. Sully dragged her under the staircase and pushed her under the
lowest step they could fit under. He jammed himself under her until their two bodies
were pressed against the underside of the iron and concrete frames of the steps. He
wrapped his arms around the iron as they were pelted with golf-ball-size hail and
torrential sheets of rain and mud.
Sully didn’t know which was worse, the noise, the wind, or the pain. He was being
hit by flying missiles from all sides, and something slammed into the side of his head
again. He tried to lower his head, covering the girl jammed facedown against his chest.
Shards of ice hit him with such force that it felt like he was being pounded with a
baseball bat. Even worse, the winds were trying to suck them out from under the stairs.
Sully desperately hung onto the structure. When he felt his body being lifted, he
squeezed the girl further between him and the metal frame, and he wedged his foot and
leg into the stair-frame. He pulled against the steel frame with every ounce of his
strength, holding them tight against the under undercarriage. His teeth gritted as a
primal scream vibrated in his throat.
There were horrible sounds of metal being bent and torn. More sounds of crashing
glass, as the building was being pulled apart. Parts of the structure were sucked into
and tossed about effortlessly in the powerful vortex. Sully’s battle was to keep them
from being sucked into the funnel. Screams of desperation were coming from him, and
the girl, but all that mattered was they had to hang on!
It couldn’t have lasted long, but it seemed like an eternity. At some point, Sully
realized he was praying for survival. Suddenly, he was released from the sucking
winds, and his body weight fell on the ground. Rain and wind were still pelting them,
and then it abruptly stopped in an eerie silence. In the quiet calm, the only sounds were
of dull thuds as debris dropped from the sky around them. The warning sirens were
silent, having been ripped from their stations. He was vaguely aware of emergency
sirens in the distance, and the sound of a woman sobbing.
Sully raised his head, and he painfully unfurled his stiff arms and fingers from the
metal frame. He pulled his foot from where it had been jammed, and a lightning bolt of
pain shot through his leg. He dragged himself out from under the stairs, releasing the
girl from where he had imprisoned her. The concrete on the steps was gone, only the
frame was left behind. Sully rolled over into the wet mud.
“It’s over,” he gasped hoarsely, closing his eyes against the pain.
“Oh, my God!” the girl screamed, and Sully’s eyes flew open. He followed her gaze
upward into a twisted mass above them. The stairway had been ripped from thebuilding. It was freestanding and dangerously swaying above them.
“Move!” he ordered hoarsely.
The girl screamed again as a large tire hurtled to the ground, nearly hitting them.
Sully tried to get on his feet, but his leg collapsed under him as he screamed in pain
and fell to the ground. His leg wouldn’t hold his weight, so he scooted out, crawling on
his hands and dragging his leg. He grabbed hold of the girl’s arm to get her moving,
and she instinctively pulled him to his feet and helped him hobble to the corner of the
building where they both stood leaning against the brick walls.
They heard a loud screeching sound, and they watched the stairway that had
sheltered them from the tornado pummel to the ground as twisted rubble.
The girl screamed and began sobbing hysterically again, and Sully pulled her
further away. She began to flail at him, trying to get away from him, hitting him where
his body was already screaming in pain.
Sully’s hand snaked out, and he smacked her across the bottom with a hard wallop.
“Stop it! Pull yourself together! We’re alive!”
Now people came running, looking around in shock.
He looked upward when a large shard of glass dug itself into the ground nearby.
The second story windows were shattered, and he pushed her away from the building
into what had been a green area. The lawn was stripped of grass and resembled a
plowed field. There were sounds of more screeching metal as the staircase was
breaking at stress points. It snapped like broken twigs. Wide-eyed and silent, they
moved further away and into the littered path of what the tornado had left behind.
The girl followed him as they looked at the destruction around them. Sully finally
had a chance to see the girl with whom he had shared the most amazing few minutes.
She was covered in mud, her face was streaked from crying and there was blood on
her lip. There was a raw-looking scratch across her cheekbone.
“Hey, aren’t you the girl from the restaurant? The one with the cute baby?”
Karina Farinelli wiped her face with dirty hands, smearing more mud on her cheeks.
Tears were streaming from her eyes, and her chest was still heaving from sobs, but she
was beginning to control her hysteria. She started looking around wildly. “I have to call
home! We don’t know how far that monster has traveled!”
“Look for a green backpack,” Sully ordered as he realized the pack he’d been
carrying was gone. “My cell is in it!”
Karina left her companion standing on one leg, as she ran around visually scanning
the area for either his backpack or her messenger bag, or her purse, all of which were
missing. She ran toward what remained of the stairway and screamed when a part of it
snapped free with a loud snap. She pawed through debris-strewn over the ground. After
a few minutes, she shouted and waved a bag.
Sully was trying to stay on his feet, which was challenging when any movement
caused him excruciating pain. Every flicker of movement caused lightning bolts of pain
to shoot up his leg. Other body parts were beginning to make their injuries painfully
known.
Karina unzipped Sully’s bag as she ran to him. She was frantically rummaging
through it, and she was sobbing and shaking.
“Side zippered pocket,” he instructed.
After finding the phone, it took her several tries to key in the number, and sheprayed fervently during the few seconds it took for the call to connect. “Please, God, let
them be okay! Please!”
“Hello?”
“Aunt Lydia, are you okay? Is Alexa safe?” Karina demanded as soon as she heard
a response on the other end of the line. She listened for a second and nodded her head
as she looked around wildly. “Look outside! A tornado has hit the campus. If it looks
threatening, go to the basement! Tell Carl I want someone posted outside the building
until the warnings are lifted. The sirens didn’t go off here until it was already on the
ground!” She listened for a few seconds and answered more calmly as she appeared to
be trying to pull herself together.
“No, I’m fine. I’ll tell you about it when I get home. Make sure you don’t take any
chances.” She answered a few more questions, disconnected and handed the
cellphone to Sully. “My baby and my aunt are safe,” she said with great relief. “How are
you?”
“My leg is broken, or it could be my knee or ankle, I can’t tell. I can’t put any weight
on it,” Sully explained. “I’m glad your family is safe. Are you okay? Does anything hurt?”
“I’m fine, thanks to you,” Karina exclaimed. “You saved my life!”
“I think we saved each other’s lives,” Sully remarked. He started to make a call, and
then he shoved the phone in his pocket, angrily looking at a warning siren that was
blaring loudly again. “At least your call went through. Now we’ve lost service,” he
shouted.
Karina turned away from Sully to wipe the tears and mud from her face and hands
with the hem of her shirt. She was in control of herself again. “I think we should…”
Karina shouted when halfway through her sentence, the siren stopped again. She
lowered her voice. “I think we should stop one of these emergency people and see if
we can get an ambulance for you.” She was taking the time to really regard her hero
carefully. Sully McKenna was standing with his weight on one leg. He’d been battered
badly by the force of the tornado.
By covering and shielding her with his body, he’d taken the full brunt of everything
the tornado had thrown at them. Karina would have bruises from where he had pushed
and held her against the underside of the staircase, but she was alive. He was hurt,
with cuts on his face and arms. There was a large bruised and scraped area on the
side of his face, covering his cheek and eye. There was blood in his hair, indicating
he’d taken a blow to the head from something.
“I think the cavalry has arrived,” Sully exclaimed with a weak smile as he watched a
red convertible twisting and turning to avoid debris and pull to the curb. His brother
leaped from the open vehicle, looking around.
Sully started to raise his arm to wave, but the simple movement caused him to gasp
and grab his side.
“Coyote McKenna!” Karina screamed, waving her arms wildly over her head.
Coyote spotted the girl screaming his name, but more importantly, he saw his
brother.
“My God, Sully, did you see it!” he shouted, running to them.
“Are you okay?” Sully demanded.
“Yeah, I was nowhere near it. I was on the interstate, and man, I could see it as
clear as can be. Everyone pulled over and stopped! It was awesome! They’re alreadysaying on the radio it was an F2, maybe an F3. What happened? It looks like it hit full
force here.”
“It did!” Karina said jumping into the conversation to make sure Coyote understood
the enormity of the situation. “Sullivan is hurt, and we need to get him to a hospital!”
Coyote’s focus turned to his brother. He looked more sharply and squinted his eyes.
“Jesus, what happened?” he demanded.
“I think my leg is broken,” Sully explained. “Help me get over to the car, and you can
take me to the hospital.”
“Yeah, okay,” Coyote agreed. He tried to put his arm under his brother’s for support,
but Sully gasped and looked like he was going to pass out any second.
“I think he has broken ribs too,” Karina exclaimed. “Give me your car keys.”
Coyote handed her the keys without thinking, and Karina ran to the car. She drove
the vehicle slowly, watching the curbs until she saw a place where she could drive onto
the lawn. She drove the car as close as she dared to where the brothers stood.
“Get that car out of here!” a man yelled.
Karina gave the man a universally known Italian gesture, the equivalent of the
middle finger.
“I like a girl with spunk!” Coyote whispered to Sully. “Have you found out about the
husband, yet?”
“No, I was trying to outrun a tornado,” Sully replied blandly, grimacing in pain.
“Right! Okay, bro, I’ll get you to the hospital,” Coyote promised.
Coyote and Karina carefully maneuvered Sully into the front seat of the car,
although he seemed more concerned with their getting the interior muddied than his
injuries. Karina jumped into the backseat, letting Coyote do the driving. She acted as
his navigator since the younger McKenna had no idea where the nearest hospital was
located. She did, and he followed her instructions.
During the trip, Karina reintroduced herself to the brothers. She directed Coyote to
the hospital and to the emergency entrance. When they pulled to a stop, she jumped
out of the car, ran into the hospital and returned a few seconds later with a nurse and
orderly pushing a wheelchair. They got Sully into the chair, and Karina ran around to
the driver’s side of the car, as ambulances were incoming with sirens blaring.
“Go ahead with Sully, I’ll park the car,” she shouted. Coyote nodded in agreement,
as he followed his brother inside the hospital.
It took Karina a while to find a parking space. She didn’t know how to raise the
convertible top, so she grabbed a bag of what she assumed was Coyote’s books and
stored them in the trunk. At least they were out of sight. She jogged into the emergency
receiving area.
Coyote was answering questions from an admittance nurse. The nurse handed him
a clipboard with forms to fill out.
Coyote and Karina were asked to remain in the waiting room. Nearly a half-hour
later, a nurse took them into the emergency admittance area. She said they could stay
with Sully until a doctor began to treat his injuries. Sully was tilted into a sitting position
in a hospital bed. His muddy, wet clothing had been removed, and he was wearing a
blue hospital gown. His eyes were closed, and he looked pale.
“Hey, bro,” Coyote exclaimed. “What have they done to you so far?”
“All they have done so far was take my clothes, and clean off the worst of the mud,”Sully complained, but he tried to smile at Karina. “Hey, you decided to stick around!
Thanks!”
“I can’t think of anywhere else I’m supposed to be,” Karina said, taking a critical look
at his injuries.
They waited twenty more minutes before a doctor came into the cubicle. He asked
Coyote and Karina to step outside the cubicle. They could hear the questions being
asked of his patient, and if they positioned themselves a couple steps to the left, they
could see through the opening where the curtains didn’t provide complete privacy.
The physician asked questions about what Sully had been hit with, examining his
head and face injuries first. Then he looked at Sully’s immobile leg, pressed on his ribs
and checked his hands, forearms, torso, neck and back. The doctor said he was
ordering X-rays and an MRI, and then he moved on to his next patient.
They were allowed to return to Sully’s cubicle. There had been three tornado
touchdowns in the area in less than an hour, and new patients were being brought in
every few minutes. They waited another thirty minutes until two orderlies came to the
cubicle with a gurney. The hospital personnel instructed Coyote and Karina to return to
the emergency room waiting area. Now the room was full of anxious waiting families,
and more were arriving. The chairs were full, so they found places on the floor to sit.
Every few minutes, Coyote was on his feet pacing, and demanding answers from
the nurse at the admitting desk. Every time he asked, she gave the same answers.
Someone would be out as soon as the doctors had dealt with the patient.
A hospital volunteer approached Karina and asked if she was hurt. Karina denied
being hurt but jumped at the offer to clean herself and remove her mud-covered
clothing. She gratefully accepted a set of hospital scrubs, made out of a woven paper
to wear and a small bag containing a few toiletry essentials. The volunteer also brought
her a pair of hospital slippers, as one of her shoes was missing, and a plastic bag to
hold her wet and filthy clothing.
They waited for two hours, and Karina watched helplessly as Coyote became more
distraught. She tried to calm him as best she could; telling him everything was going to
be all right.
After the third hour, he was very near to breaking. “I don’t know what to do,” he kept
repeating. “I don’t know if I should call Mom and Dad or Micah or what?”
“Sullivan specifically said not to call anyone,” Karina reminded Coyote gently. “Why
don’t you wait until we find out exactly what is wrong with him?”
“I know what he said,” Coyote replied worriedly. “But if I don’t call and something
happens, they’ll never forgive me.”
“They aren’t here. They, who I assume are your parents, will have to accept your
brother is an adult and can make his own decisions. Sully will be all right. The doctors
haven’t mentioned any life-threatening injuries,” Karina reminded him. “He saved my
life, and he has already survived a tornado. By comparison, a few broken bones are
minor.”
A doctor walked into the emergency waiting area and looked around the room,
calling out, “Mr. McKenna?”
“Here, sir,” Coyote exclaimed.
“I’m Dr. White. Your brother gave me permission to speak to you. He is a lucky
young man. He has a broken leg, three cracked ribs, two fractured fingers and a minorconcussion. He has multiple contusions, the worst being his shoulder and the side of
his face. I know this sounds like a lot, but these are fixable injuries. We are admitting
him overnight for observation because of the concussion. It’s standard procedure. If all
goes well, he will be released tomorrow. He may not think so tomorrow when his
various aches and pains kick in, but I consider him lucky.”
“When can we see him?” Coyote demanded.
“He is being processed for a room. Ask the admittance nurse in about twenty
minutes, and she should be able to give you a room number,” the doctor advised. He
looked at Karina. “Has anyone looked after that scratch?”
“Yes,” Karina answered. “A nurse put some antibiotic cream on it.”
“Are you hurt anywhere else?”
“No, I wasn’t hurt because your patient saved my life,” she answered, and when the
doctor left, she slid down the wall to sit on the floor again.
Coyote settled on the floor beside Karina. “I’m going to have to call our older
brother, Micah. He’ll know what to do.”
“Wait until you talk to Sully,” Karina advised. “If you have waited this long, a few
more minutes won’t make a difference. He’s old enough to decide what he wants to do.”
“So am I, but you wouldn’t know it by the way everyone orders me around,” Coyote
complained.
An hour later, they made their way to room 517, to find Sully stretched out on a
hospital bed. His right leg was in a cast from his foot to his thigh, and his ring and little
finger of his left hand were wired together by a contraption of plastic, wire pins and
bandages. Someone had bathed him more thoroughly than before. His right eye was
swollen shut, and a large bruise covered most of the right side of his face.
“Sully, are you okay?” Coyote asked softly.
Sully opened his good eye and nodded his head slightly, wincing. “Yeah, I wish
they’d let me out of here.”
“I think you better do exactly what the doctor says,” Coyote declared. “They’re going
to keep you here overnight in case something else shows up, like you barfing blood or
something really gross.”
Karina gave Coyote a look filled with annoyance, but Sully tried to grin. He was used
to his younger brother’s blurt out anything, kind of honesty.
“Gimme a band,” Sully said in a hoarse whisper.
Coyote popped a rubber band off his wrist, handing it to his brother and watched as
Sully tried with great difficulty to lift his undamaged arm to pull his hair off his face.
Karina was watching too, and she took the rubber band from Sully’s hand. She
finger-combed his hair into a short ponytail.
“Thanks,” Sully said. He winked at Coyote, and then he leaned gently against the
pillows.
Coyote observed his brother, taking in the bruises, scrapes, and cuts on his face
and arms. His brother looked worse now than when they had brought him in. His
injuries were discolored and swollen. Coyote was looking into cloudy, pain-filled eyes.
He cleared his throat and cautiously broached the subject he knew was going to set off
fireworks.
“I think I should call the folks.”
“No!” Sully’s answer was hoarse but firm.“They’re going to kill us, especially me, if I don’t call them,” Coyote insisted. “I’m not
keen on being the bearer of bad news, but they should know. At least let me call Micah,
he can call them.”
“No,” Sully repeated. “Micah is busy. I’m not wrecking his schedule or Mom and
Dad’s vacation over a broken leg.”
“There’s more, and you know it. You were run over by a tornado and hospitalized.
They’re going to be really pissed that neither of us called them,” Coyote warned.
Sully turned his one good eye toward his brother. “This is the first time in well over a
decade that Mom and Dad have taken a vacation, which didn’t include a tour or a gig.
They deserve a break from us. Frankly, we have earned a break from them, too. If you
tell them I’m hurt, they’ll be on the next plane heading home. They’re not due to return
until mid-September. The leg cast will come off in five or six weeks. This thing will be
off in a week or so,” he motioned toward his hand. “By the time they come home, I’ll be
in top form again. I’ll take the heat for keeping them in the dark.”
“What about Micah?” Coyote questioned.
“I’ll explain to Micah when I see him. He’ll be cool after he puts on his big brother
hat and swears at me for a while.” Sully said confidently.
A nurse appeared in the room and asked the two visitors to leave for a few minutes
while she inserted a shunt into the patient’s arm for a fluid IV. Coyote took one look at
the tray of needles, gave his brother a look of horror and fled without argument. He
hated needles of any kind.
Karina hesitated for a moment to see if Sully needed any moral support, but when
he gave a slight nudge of his head in the direction of the door, she realized he wanted
her to go with his brother.
“Try to keep him from calling anyone,” Sully asked of her.
She nodded and turned her attention to the younger of the two brothers. He stood in
the hallway visitor area, staring out a window with a worried look on his face.
“Sully is going to be all right. If he’s fit enough to argue, he should be fine.”
“Thanks for sticking around,” Coyote said. “I really appreciate it.”
“I’ll be around for as long as you and your brother need me,” Karina promised.
“Why?” It was a simple question. Coyote had been amazed at the sight of a tornado
on the ground from a safe distance on the interstate. The traffic had come to a
standstill, as the drivers could only watch.
Then he’d found his brother, hurt, and in some strange way connected to the girl
they had met briefly in a restaurant the week before. She had taken charge and had
stuck by both of them, offering support.
Karina gave Coyote a hug. “I’m here because I need to be here. He saved my life.”

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