Hello! I’m Stephan’s younger cousin, Karla Storm Deverill Van Kirk. I was born in the middle of a surprise April snowstorm in the back of my father’s limo, but that’s not the actual reason my family calls me Storm or Stormi now. Had a temper when I was younger, which I’ve gotten control of since. Pretty much, anyway. There are many who still call me Karley, though. Unless of course, they’re pi–ticked off at me. Then I get the whole full name deal in That Tone! My new boss is one who uses my first name exclusively. Although I notice he freely uses the nicknames of others no problem.
I’m not quite 25, with dark smoke grey eyes, dark auburn hair. and the female version of my cousin’s rich liquid tones. Guys think I’m drop dead gorgeous, but it’s not always an asset in my opinion. Nor is being six foot one . . . except to reach the highest shelves for my more petite friends. Being able to defend oneself is definitely overrated too. I get extremely tired of hearing how I ought to be able to defend myself against Dean—or anyone else, for that matter. If I didn’t know better, I’d say they were watching too much Xena!
Since my last disastrous run in with my ex—who’d tracked me to West Virginia—my sister, my little daughter and I have come back to Rhode Island where our family lives. Not that there’s really anything to come home to. Our parents have always put their interests ahead of ours in any circumstance.
Stephan’s mother is a sweetheart, but no match for Uncle Greggory. I’m betting she feels Stephan deserves the chance to find a woman he can be truly happy with just as I do. But he won’t find that with any of those blonde Ice Queens his father digs up for him!
Yeah, Uncle Greggory wants to be sure Stephan meets those outrageous terms of Papa’s will. Papa Ascott rewrote it after my divorce. I’m afraid I’m the cause of Stephan’s present situation. But, there’s nothing I can do to fix it. Except go back to Dean. And I can’t/won’t do that.
Dean is unforgiving when he believes he’s been crossed. And he believes I’ve crossed his line this time past forgiveness. I doubt it’ll make a difference even if Stephan meets the deadline and all those asinine terms of the will.
Stephan ought to just tell his father to butt out of his life and then marry for love. I’ve made my mistakes—still paying for ’em as a matter of fact. Stephan doesn’t need to bury himself under my burdens, too. He oughta be more open with Thomi . . . she’s the one that could make him feel the fire no one else can—If she’ll only forget that Stephan is Charley’s cousin . . . . ! Although, I have to admit . . . I never thought Charley would do the things he has done. It seems unbelievable, yet I don’t doubt Thomi’s story. I just hope she doesn’t let it ruin her life completely.
Hey, how are y’? I’m Kourtnay Qwynn Deverill, and I’m a little more than two years younger than my sister. My eyes are the same color, my hair’s darker, more of a chocolate brown with red highlights. I’m tall, but not as tall as she is. She thinks she has to protect me from everything and everyone, but I’m not really that vulnerable. But it’s because of me and others that she cares about that she lets herself be bullied by Dean.
Course now, her whole life is dedicated to running from him. Well, I’m sick of standing by while he makes her life miserable. Only one man could almost persuade me to leave her side . . . but I haven’t, and I’d never desert her. She’s been more a mother to me than Mother has. I won’t forget that.
Nor can I forget that Stephan’s been more brother to us than cousin. The three of us exasperate the Hey out of our parents, I know! They wanted us to find more “socially acceptable” work and lifestyles.
Storm and I defied them utterly. Stephan—he can’t say no. And if he tries, they—or should I say—Uncle Greggory always make him feel guilty, and he gives in. I hope he doesn’t this time.
We three understand Charley’s frustration and resentment at being cut out of Papa’s will. Papa Ascott wasn’t fair to Uncle Charles’ mom, our Great Aunt Frederica, at all. He never acknowledged Uncle Charles as his. That’s Charley’s complaint.
We figure that’s why Papa treated Stormi like he did—banishing her from SeaCrest and rewriting his will. She reminded him of how Uncle Charles’ mother left him . . . that and she looks so much like Aunt Frederica back then, it’s crazy. Aunt Freddy’s hair is snow white now. But for her age, she looks amazingly young!
Stephan’s father, Uncle Greggory, thinks it’s disgraceful, disrespectful and disgusting that Stephan won’t go chasing after Aveleen now that she’s run off with Charley. But listen, he’d be the biggest jerk if he did that!
He’s got this audacious plan to charm Thomasyna Tollefson into marrying him within the month–or less. And it’s brilliant! I really hope he can do it. We’re working at her parents’ equestrian center, DreamWind now, so we’ve gotten to know the family. Stephan and Thomi are perfect for each other–if only either can ever see that! There’s someone here perfect for Storm too, but you can’t say it.
Of course, as I said at the start, I’ve found my Prince . . . . knew it the second he pulled up in the driveway of what was left of Stormi’s place—Ascott Meadows—three years ago! Kinda kept that secret, though, from everyone all this time, even from Stormi and Stephan. Definitely from my parents! They would never approve of him!
But I’m older than Stormi was when she met her first Prince. Our parents forced her into marrying Dean to keep her from disgracing herself—THEM—with a mere mechanic. And I will never be living under their roof again, so there’s nothing they can do to pry me away from Nicky!
My name is Kailey Deanne Van Kirk, and I am this many years old. See this many fingers . . . . . . 3, and I’m pretty like my Momma, and I got wedder hair like my cousin Stephan’s; and I want him and My Daddy Geoff to hurt That Man that hurts my Momma. And I want my Momma to wike my Daddy Geoff, and ma’wy him, and then he will weally be my daddy and Thom’syna and Wikki and Halleigh will be my aunts. And Wyndsay, too. I wuv Thom’syna and all the bodies at DweamWind—there’s a wot of ’em, and I wike ’em better than Gwamma Izette and Gwampa Ed. I wike Auntie Iwina, but I don’t wike Uncle Gwegg’y one bit! He hates my Thom’syna, and he don’t want her to ma’wy Stephan, and he don’t want my Momma to work for Papa Nick or Mama ‘Netra at DweamWind, and he don’t want her to ma’wy my Daddy Geoff eider! And–and my Auntie Kourtnay wikes Nicky so much, too, but I only want Geoff to ma ‘wy my Momma, not Adwien or Wissen or Bwett, and not Timmy, cause he hates my Thom’syna too! But I wuv Wyndsay, and Jacqi, and Daine and Stacia, and–and Wikki and Halleigh too! They wuv my Momma and my Thom’syna and my Daddy Geoff. And they don’t care if I call him my daddy even if he not yet, cause they want him to be too! So there!
Greggory Stephan Deverill- rules his family with a firm hand, expects exclusive devotion from them all, including his brother’s family. His first marriage to Delaney Gaylord, an actress who became popular during her marriage to him. Her selfishness and indifferent attitude after that began to erode their relationship. Finally Greggory let her go. Their messy divorce has left him bitter and intolerant of female performers and of his niece Storm for her refusal to reconcile with her ex-husband, Dean.
Irina Theadora Ascott Deverill–wants only the happiness of her children. Younger sister of Izette, and half sister to Charles III. Is Greggory’s second wife, and although she loves him, she’s never felt really loved by him. While Greggory makes no secret of his loathing for Delaney, Irina feels he’s really never gotten over the actress, and she’s not quite sure how to deal with that. It could be that he just has lost his trust in all women . . . but still . . .
Dyana Irene Deverill– her father’s daughter, cynical and selfish. Should’ve been Izette’s child.
Izette Maureen Ascott Deverill–Stormi’s and Kourtney’s mother. Dyana should have been her kid–they’re that much alike! Too full of herself and her status among the wealthier set. Always deplored her daughters’ easy ways with the lower class and about had heart failure when Stormi developed a serious interest in Lawron Merriweather–the mechanic working for her father, Charles II, at the time. Made sure in a rather ruthless manner that that relationship was torn apart almost the instant she learned of it.
Edward Allan Deverill–Stormi’s and Kourtney’s father, and the younger brother of Greggory Deverill. Has always deferred to his brother’s wishes and judgment. Never wanted kids, doesn’t miss not having a son, and often had wondered whose kids those were in his house. Didn’t mind at all that his father-in-law took charge of the girls almost from the time they were babies. Was happiest off on some trip with Izette or with his friends or business partners.
Charles Wolfram Ascott III–Stormi and Kourtnay’s favorite uncle. A whole different sort of person from his pompous brothers-in-law, and not a thing like his father, either! He’s always a safe haven for the girls.
Cynthea Suzann Bayley Ascott–Charles’ wife; not fond of her in-laws, but being the quiet sort, doesn’t say much. Cares deeply for her nieces, and while she loves her sons, unlike Dee-Anne Van Kirk, recognizes their failings.
Charles Wolfram “Charley” Ascott IV–the cousin who royally louses up his own life while he’s doing the same to everyone else’s. Although, he did do his best to protect Kourtnay from Dean Van Kirk at the time Stormi left him. Has a casual affection for his family, but cares mostly about himself. Does actually care for Thomi, but he blew it.
Robert Ryon Ascott–Charley’s older brother; goes by Ryon, hates being called Bob or Bobby. Might answer to Rob if he feels like it. Thankful his parents didn’t name him wholly for his great uncle. Not in the habit of lousing up other people’s lives. Has fallen for Lyndsay as hard as Nicky fell for Kourtnay the first time he saw her.
Frederica Rose Rybourne Ascott-Laibrooke–Charles III’s mom. After Freddy left Charles II, he later married Theadora Rybourne–Frederica’s younger sister, who was Izette’s and Irina’s mother. Although there’s a 60+ year age span, even the blind can see how closely Storm resembles her great aunt Frederica. . . . Happily married to Kelvin Laibrooke for the past 50 odd years. Frreddy has a daughter Chandra who’s also an actress who’s worked with Thomi. Freddy also has an older brother, Oliver, a younger brother, Paul, and an older sister, Harriette.
Charles Wolfram Ascott II—deceased, but still causing contentions among his relatives. Theadora predeceased him by 6 months.
Robert Wendell Ascott–Charles II’s younger brother, and executor of his estates. Nicer guy, too—or so we hope.