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Excerpt for Twins by
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After Danielle’s strenuous delivery of Nicolas, Kalkin has done everything he can to keep his pregnant mate, Keeley calm in the last weeks of her pregnancy. However, the twins have other plans.


Follow along as the Raferty twins make their debut.






Twins

Apache County Shifters, Book 1.5



by

TL Reeve & Michele Ryan





MF, ROMANCE, PARANORMAL




Twisted E Publishing, LLC

www.twistedepublishing.com




A TWISTED E-PUBLISHING BOOK



Twins

Apache County Shifters, Book 1.5

Copyright © 2018 by TL Reeve & Michele Ryan


Edited by Kat Lively


First E-book Publication: July 2018, SMASHWORDS EDITION


Cover design by Cover by K Designs

All cover art and logo copyright © 2018, Twisted E-Publishing, LLC.


ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission.


All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.


All characters depicted in sexual acts in this work of fiction are 18 years of age or older.


The day started like any other. Keeley had been up since four. The twins were moving like crazy and she couldn’t find a comfortable spot in bed to rest. Kalkin worried incessantly about her. After everything with Danielle, and now the early birth of Nicolas, he waited, expecting Keeley to go into labor at any moment.

He thought she would have the day Danielle’s doctor called them. Instead, she held her shit in check and didn’t break down until after they returned home. It’d been why he stormed into Caden’s hotel room and tore him a new ass. The asshole needed to get his head out of his ass and start paying attention to those around him.

However, Kalkin couldn’t fully blame his brother. He’d been fucked over time after time. In a way, he should have prepared for the reaction Caden’s reaction when Simon opened his mouth and let loose with vile accusations and lies heft upon lies, made to drive Danielle and Keeley into his clutches. Kalkin wasn’t, and that would always be on him. He too would have some atoning to do.

Kalkin slipped out of bed and padded over to where Keeley stood. Her hand rested on her round belly, the other on the small of her back. The soft hint of pain hit him in the chest. Off and on the last few days he’d scented it, but he figured it had more to do with the babies running out of space more than anything. He wrapped his arms around her from behind and nuzzled her neck.

“It’s all going to work out,” he said. “I know it.”

She turned her head to gaze up at him. “I’m glad you think so. My sister is in the hospital and her son has been in the Neonatal Pediatrics Unit. Both of them are clinging to life, and your brother is drowning his sorrows because of what? He believed Simon?” She snorted.

“I’m not defending him,” Kalkin whispered. “Getting angry with me won’t fix this.”

“No, but it feels good.” Keeley turned in his arms. “She did this for us. She almost died for us. To give us a chance. Why?”

He sighed. “I don’t think there is an answer to your question. Why does anyone ever do anything? I’m sure when she is ready she’ll tell you and if not, we both have to live with the idea Danielle was willing to sacrifice herself for us. So we could live and so you could be free.”

Tears sprang to his mate’s eyes. “Not possible. It’s supposed to be both of us against the world. She can’t die.”

Kalkin wiped her tears away. “She’s not.” He kissed her forehead. “We have time this morning, why don’t I go start a bath for you?”

Keeley nodded. “I’d like that.”

He kissed her again before stepping away. God, he hated this. Hated the idea his mate suffered along with her sister. Hated the idea Caden was to blame for all of their misery. He turned on the water in the tub to let it warm then grabbed the package of bubble bath. When he was sure he had it at the right temperature, he went back into the bedroom and helped Keeley undress.

“Let’s see if we can get you relaxed.” Kalkin laid his hand against her belly. Both babies were kicking, and he winced. “All right you two, settle down.”

“I don’t think they’re listening to either one of us anymore.” Keeley frowned, placing her hand on her lower stomach.

“If you don’t go into labor soon, we’ll have to think about changing up the plan.” Kalkin detested seeing her in pain and uncomfortable.

“I’m close to agreeing with you,” she said. “I’m at thirty-eight weeks, and you’d think they’d make their appearance since their space is rapidly shrinking.”

Kalkin chuckled while helping her into the water. “I’d have thought so too, but they have the stubborn Raferty gene.”

When Keeley was comfortable in the water, he stepped back and removed his pants then joined her. He eased in behind her, bracing her body to his. She nuzzled his chest, gave a soft sigh, and within seconds drifted off to sleep. He had to admit, the bath had been what both of them needed. His muscles had been too tight, his body tense with expectancy. Too much was happening to them at one time. Poor Keeley was paying the price for it.

He placed his hand on her belly, rubbing the mound in a relaxing manner. The kicks from the babies had lessened since their momma drifted off. However, he didn't miss the distinct tightening of her belly. He'd felt it before. Braxton-Hicks is what Keeley called it. Must have been why she'd gotten out of bed. He couldn't even begin to imagine how painful it was, yet he didn't scent any pain from her.

The more he caressed her belly the quicker the tightness released. Again, he promised himself if she didn't go into labor soon, he would tell the doctor to hurry the process. Because let's face it, nature sometimes didn't always go according to plan. Sure, every week spent in utero was best for the babies, but as her stomach tightened again, he had to wonder if it was or not.

Keeley shifted in her sleep and whimpered. This time the scent of her pain hit his nose. It punched him in the gut and he wondered, not for the first time, if she'd been blocking him from feeling her pain. She had the best barriers he'd come up against. She only let him in when she wanted him there and the rest of the time, her walls were up. He figured most of her issues came from how she'd been treated all her life. Today, he needed in.

A rush of warmth filled the tub and his heart hammered in his chest. “Keeley?”

She bolted upright. Her hands went to her belly as she groaned. “Oh no.”

“Oh no? What do you mean, oh no?”



Keeley couldn’t move.

She'd spent most of the night tossing and turning, not quite able to put two and two together. Between Caden being a drunk asshole, and spending the day with Danielle and Nicolas, she'd figured she overdid it, not that she'd been in labor. Par for the course with you, she chided herself.

Since she hadn’t any clue when the contractions started or how far dilated she’d been, she didn’t say a word to Kalkin. Secretly, she hoped it’d been a false alarm. She didn’t have the wherewithal to drive all the way out to the hospital just for them to tell her nope, not yet. Nonetheless, she wished she had now.

“Kal, I need you to call the midwife. Tell her what’s going on.” She tried to keep the fear out of her voice, but she failed.

His wide-eyed stunned gaze met hers, and she knew, like her, he was panicking. “Right, the midwife. Are you okay in the tub alone?”

She nodded as another contraction ripped through her body. Keeley whimpered. She forgot all about her breathing techniques and becoming one with the tide. Fuck the water and the moon, this shit hurt like a mother fucker. She cried out. “Yes! Call her.”

Kalkin sprung from the water. He didn’t even bother with a towel as he ran to their room. She could hear the conversation. Kalkin’s voice rose with every word he spoke, then he went silent. “What do you mean? Are you serious?”

Keeley’s heart pounded. Her mind conjured up every bad scenario of how things could go incredibly wrong in the next few hours. She went to her knees and rested her head on the edge of the tub. Kalkin hadn’t returned yet, but he was talking to someone different.

“Jase,” he said. “I need you to do me a favor and don’t be a dick.”

She snorted. Jase wasn’t necessarily a dick per se. He had his own demons to deal with. Keeley closed her eyes and breathed out a sigh of relief when the contraction abated. If she had to guess and really think about it, she’d been in labor about seven hours maybe, give or take a few. All of the material she read, along with the birthing classes she took with Kalkin, told her it could be anywhere from twelve to thirty-two hours before the twins were born. They still had plenty of time to make it to the—oh no.

Kal!” The intense pressure built, forcing her to bear down even though she didn’t want to. She was supposed to have time. Way more time. Her mind spun, her heart leaped in her chest. Sweat broke out on her brow as she let loose a cry of pain.

Kalkin was at her side in an instant. “What’s wrong?”

“I think we’re having a baby.” She gasped as another contraction ripped through her.

What! Right now?”

She nodded.

“Shit. The midwife said she was out of town and to get you to the hospital.” Kalkin started grabbing towels out of the cabinet behind him.

“Too late.” Keeley sank back into the water. “We’ll have to do this together.”

“Holy shit! The baby is crowning.”

“No duh, asshole, help me,” Keeley snarled.

A knock came at the door. “It’s Jase. I ransacked all of Danielle’s stuff and found some puppy kits.”

“This isn’t happening. It can’t be.” Keeley buried her face in her hands.

“We can do this.” Kalkin placed his hand on her knee. “We have to do this.”

They did. Her twins, for all their patience, were out of time, and she had to push them out. Kalkin set up the kits next to him then placed a few towels on his lap. “We went through classes for this moment, sweet cheeks. Now, push.”

She did. The rending of skin, coupled with the burning sensation of being ripped in two, caused her to panic momentarily, but there was nothing she could do to stop. Her body had a mind of its own. Keeley inhaled deep and bore down one more time. She made a pained sound as she tried to catch her breath before going back to work. Keeley squeezed her eyes shut, focusing on her center and using it to guide her through the birth.

“Hold on, sweetheart, don’t do anything else,” Kalkin murmured.

There’d been a splash of water, then Kalkin’s muffled encouragements while she tried to catch her breath. Keeley trembled. Why wasn’t the baby crying? Why wasn’t Kalkin talking to her? A squeal, then a hardy cry filled the bathroom. Keeley opened her eyes. There in Kalkin's arms lay a tiny newborn. Her bottom lip trembled. Her heart lodged in her throat. All the pain was gone momentarily. All the worry and anxiety. "Boy or girl?"

Kalkin turned his tear-filled gaze to her. “Boy. It’s a boy!” He handed the bundle over to her, so she could hold him.

The first thing she did was count his fingers and toes. Even with all the gunk in his hair, she could tell he had pitch black hair like his daddy, and curly to boot. He opened his mouth, and another pissed off wail emanated from the small boy in her arms. “Yep, Raferty through and through.” She smiled through her sniffles and she took the moment to bond with her son.

“I’ll get him cleaned up,” Kalkin said. “You take five. I have a feeling number two will be making their grand entrance soon.”

She handed the boy over to her mate then leaned back against the wall of the tub for a moment to gather herself. A boy. A healthy baby boy. Kalkin opened the door to their room a bit and murmured to Jase, who stuck close to them. When he returned, Kalkin squat down in front of her. “Jase is getting our son diapered and dressed. He’s already called paramedics, so they’re on standby. They won’t enter the house until we’re finished, then they’ll take you and the babies to the hospital.”

She nodded. “He needs to fix his shit with Bodhi. He’s going to make an awesome father.”

Kalkin frowned. “I know. I hope this helps some.”

“Fingers cro—” Another contraction hit her like a ton of bricks. She gasped. The pain radiated from the top of her belly to her vagina. The whole lower half of her body clamped down. “It’s time.”

"Sure is," Kalkin said. "Just like last time. You can do this, mate. You're the strongest female I know, besides your kick-ass sister."

Warmth bloomed within her as she bore down once more. Unlike with their son, it didn’t take as many pushes before their second child entered the world kicking and screaming. Keeley opened her eyes as the baby cried. She peered into Kalkin’s arms, trying to get a good look at the baby, but he was situated to where she couldn’t see.

“Oh my God, Keeley.”

Her heart sank. Something was wrong. Something happened. Damn it, she knew she should have gone to the hospital. Their baby was hurt or worse because she’d been stubborn or too stupid. “What’s wrong? What happened?”

“She looks exactly like you.”

The baby...a girl, latched onto Kalkin's little finger. The minute he held her close, she instantly quieted down. He eased over so she could see the baby. A tuft of snow-white curls graced her head. Kalkin had been right. She did look like Keeley and she was tiny—at least half the size of Colin.

Keeley’s vision blurred. A boy and a girl. She couldn’t properly express the emotions cascading through her. Love had been the biggest one. Happiness and something else. Something that settled every negative thought she’d ever had. It was as if time stood still and she and Kalkin and the twins were the only people in the world.

Kalkin handed the bundle over to Keeley and, like with the little girl’s brother, she counted all of her toes and fingers. They were both perfect little beings. The door opened slightly, and Jase handed their boy back to Kalkin. Together with their twins, Keeley and Kalkin sat there. She didn’t want the moment to end. It had been perfect. Exactly what they needed to tighten their bond.

“I love you, mate,” he whispered.

“And I love you.” She smiled. “I think I’m turning into a bloody prune though.” She gave a watery laugh. “This is so gross.”

Kalkin handed their son to Jase. “Let the paramedics up here in ten minutes. I need to help Keeley get cleaned up.”

“I will. Congratulations, bro. Congratulations, Keeley.”

“Thank you, Jase.”



* * * *



The paramedics wheeled her into the emergency room with both babies in her arms. Kalkin had helped her bathe and dress before he carried her to the waiting stretcher in their room. She should have felt embarrassed by it, instead she felt loved. Of course, if she read about their birth from someone else, she would have called it a fake story, yet as she sat there, sore and achy and a bit tired, she felt fine. Excited maybe, and wide awake. Had to be the adrenaline. She figured once it wore off, she'd be sound asleep.

The doctor had her and the twins moved to the maternity ward. While the doctor examined her, the twins were measured and weighed. Their son, whom Kalkin dubbed Colin, had been two pounds heavier than their daughter, whom she named Ella. They were both perfect in every way. The only downside to having the twins at home was the stitches she'd have to sport because she tore slightly. Kalkin promised her it would heal quickly, due to their mating, but she required proof.

“I have to hand it to you both,” the doctor said. “For these two being your first, you did fine on your own. Congratulations, get some rest while you can.”

The door closed behind him and Kalkin joined her in bed. “How do you feel?”

“Sore, but great.” She smiled, laying her head on his chest. “What a story we will have for them when they get older, huh?”

Kalkin's chuckle rumbled in her ear. "Definitely. Why didn't you tell me?"

She shrugged. “I don’t think I realized what was happening until it was happening. To be honest, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”

“Oh?”

She peered up at him. “You’ve seen so much loss, death...destruction, I think this was the perfect way to show you the purity of new life. To remind both of us what we’re fighting for every day.”

He kissed the crown of her head. “I saw it every day your stomach grew round with our pups. I heard it every time we listened to their heartbeats. Today happened to be the culmination of a lot of hard work and determination on both of our parts. You mostly though. You had to push both of them out. I’m so fucking proud of you, and just when I thought I couldn’t love you more, you gave me the most precious gift of all, a son and a daughter.”

Tears welled in her eyes once more. “I love you, Kalkin Raferty.”

“I love you too, sweet cheeks.”

The door opened and the nurse wheeled Colin and Ella into their room in one bassinet. “They are adorable. Congratulations. Both are healthy and have been bathed one more time to be sure we got all the gunk off of them.” The nurse smiled. “If you need anything, use the call button. The lunch cart will be around shortly, so you can eat as well.” With a wave she left Keeley’s room, closing the door behind her.

Kalkin reached into the bassinet and picked up Colin then placed the boy in her arms, while he took Ella. Both were sound asleep. A soft knock came at the door again before it opened, revealing Danielle in a wheelchair with a nurse pushing her. In her arms, Nicolas. Danielle smiled at Keeley but didn’t say a word until the nurse left them alone.

“You just had to have the better birth story, didn’t you?” Danielle teased.

“Well, when you’re pushing not one but two babies out, you better do it in style.” Keeley laughed. “How are you feeling?”

“It’s getting easier. Doc says I’ll be out of here in a couple days, with him.” Danielle pointed to Nicolas, who’d been asleep.

“I’ll bring you home,” Kalkin said. “Hopefully we can all leave at the same time.”

Keeley frowned. “I didn’t want to stay. I wanted to go home. I did all the hard work there.”

Danielle laughed. “Not so easy. You’re here now. They’ll make you stay.”

“This is not Hotel California,” Keeley muttered. “I can leave.”

“Yep, you’re fine,” Kalkin said. “I agree with Danielle. Stay, relax. Today was unexpected.”

She glanced up at the clock and shook her head. “You make it sound like it’s late afternoon, it’s only eleven.” She wouldn’t tell him the time surprised her too. From start to finish, it had taken her and Kalkin three hours to birth the babies and arrive at the hospital. It took longer for the doctor to see her and the nurses to care for the twins.

“It does feel like a whole day has passed, doesn’t it?” He switched babies with Danielle.

Kalkin had a natural touch with kids. When Danielle had Nicolas, he’d been the only person to hold him, due to his size and the complications with Danielle. Keeley couldn’t imagine what she would do without her sister now. Both of them had been through so much, and they made it to the other side, for the most part.

She didn’t think about Caden. She wouldn’t even consider Kalkin’s twin. If anything, Keeley and Kalkin would take Danielle and the boys in. It would be difficult in the beginning, but she’d do anything for her sister because she figured out, all their lives as much as she thought she protected them, in all reality it had been Danielle.

She took the bumps and licks along the way. She’d been used as the pawn. She’d been the one to take the bullet meant for Kalkin and almost lost her life. “You’ll stay with us for as long as you like.”

Danielle frowned. “I have to do this, Keeley. I need to stand up. If I don’t, everyone else wins.”

Keeley nodded. “Okay, but we’re here for you.”

Ella gave a whimpered cry.

“And someone needs you right now.”

A second later, Colin began to wail his hungered outrage to the world. Keeley, with the help of Kalkin, got them situated in bed and began to nurse her twins. She stared down at her children in wide-eyed wonder. Only a few hours ago they'd been inside of her, sitting against her bladder, killing her back. She caressed their cheeks as they continued to drink. Their soft grunts delighted her. They would grow up to be strong and healthy shifters.

“Where are my babies?” Mrs. Martin entered the room next. She ambled over to the bed while Keeley continued to nurse. “Oh, look at them.” She folded her hands together and sighed. “Three healthy, beautiful Raferty babies. I am so proud of you, Keeley and Danielle.”

A slight flush crept into her cheeks, and Keeley noticed her sister’s cheeks were pink as well. “Their names are Ella and Colin.”

Excitement permeated the air. Mrs. Martin's features grew bright with happiness. "Oh, my. Oh, my, oh my. A boy and a girl. This is indeed special. Congratulations, dears."

“Thank you, Mrs. Martin,” Keeley murmured, wiping a tear from her eye. “For everything.”

For the next few hours, a steady stream of pack members visited her and Danielle in Keeley's room. They brought gifts and food for everyone, including the staff who cared for Keeley and Danielle. While the babies slept, she ate. By the time everyone left, she was ready for a nap. Maybe staying in the hospital was the best decision made for her. Already the aches and pains were getting the best of her and the stitches were uncomfortable.

She snuggled into Kalkin’s arms and closed her eyes. “What a day this was.”

Kalkin kissed the top of her head. “I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

ALSO AVAILABLE

By TL Reeve and Michele Ryan


Kalkin

Apache County Shifters, Book 1







COMING SOON



Caden

Apache County Shifters, Book 2



Teacher

Apache County Shifters, Book 2.5




Unbreakable

Leaving the Past Behind, Book 1






ALSO AVAILABLE

By TL Reeve


Waylaid

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

TL Reeve, a multi-published author with Cobblestone Press, Decadent Publishing, Evernight Publishing, and Loose-Id, was born out of a love of family and a bond that became unbreakable. Living in Alabama, TL misses Los Angeles, and will one day return to the beaches of Southern California to ride the waves at Huntington Beach. When not writing something hot and sexy, TL can be found curled up with a good book, or working on homework with a cute little pixie.

You can sign up for her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/bv07fn

*

Michele Ryan is an author with Decadent Publishing, After Glows Publishing, and now Twisted Erotica Publishing. Michele embraced her creative passion and co-authored several books with fellow author and best friend TL Reeve. Michele has also published two solo novellas.


Michele is a lifelong resident of the state of New Jersey, along with her husband and three children, whom she refers to as her hobbits. When Michele is not plotting or writing, she can be found either volunteering at her children’s school or reading.




Twisted E Publishing, LLC

www.twistedepublishing.com



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