GREGORY HANSEN let himself into his sister’s house, closed the door behind him, and headed right up the wide, imposing stairs. The brand-new house more closely resembled a hotel lobby than a home, but he kept that to himself because Annalise would take his head off if he said anything. Under normal circumstances, she could be trying when she wanted to be. But lately, as she wound toward the end of her third pregnancy… well, Gregory wanted to get out of the house with his balls intact, thank you very much.
“Is that you, Greggy?” she called from her room. No one else ever called him that, and he corrected the rest of the planet when they heard her use that nickname. He let her get away with it out of simple love and gratitude. After their parents had died in a plane crash when he was fifteen, she had raised him and seen to it that he had the best life she could give him. Annalise sent him to college, using the last of their parents’ life insurance to pay the tuition, all four years of it. There was no grumbling that he was getting her share. She did it because, while she might be gruff, she had the biggest heart of anyone Gregory knew. It was just that few people outside the family ever got to see it.
“I’m here,” Gregory said when he reached the top of the stairs, not wanting to yell. “I came over as soon as I got out of work.” He reached the bedroom door and gasped.