Donovan has showed up in just about every one of the Flames stories, at least briefly, I think. He’s never been a major character, though.
Donovan married Chrissa Rian, and they had 6 children: Rian, Adrian, Callum, Darcie, Connor, & Doreen. He came from a fairly large family himself, with 4 brothers and sisters. His youngest died in a fire when she was four years old. And her loss nearly destroyed Donovan. He basically checked out for the next year. He still went to work, but as soon as he was off duty, he drank and crashed at one of his sibling’s houses. he couldn’t face his own family, feeling like he’d failed them in letting Doreen die. Until his father basically held an intervention. None of them would enable him anymore. he had to face what had happened.
He was able to repair relationships, but it took work. And he was sure he’d lost his son, Callum, to a life of drugs and alcohol. And he felt he was to blame for that as well. He actually has a conversation about this with Callum near the end of Flames of Recompense:
She nodded and ran off, then he approached his father. “Dad.”
Donovan Riley looked up at him. Then, he was up on his feet, throwing his arms around Callum. “God, you had me worried, Cal.”
Callum was stunned for a moment then he slipped his arms around his dad. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean-”
But, Donovan was stepping back. “I want to speak with you, Callum. Can we walk?”
“Sure. Okay,” he said then followed his Dad out into the hallway.
“What you said to me this morning,” his dad said when they’d turned down the next hallway, “it’s not true. Not any of it.”
Callum saw his dad swallow “I’m sorry, Dad. But, I do know I’ve disappointed you.”
“I’ve disappointed myself,” his dad countered. “I know…well, I know I didn’t handle things well. Not anything. We tried to get you help when you were a teenager, but maybe it wasn’t enough.”
“I don’t think anything would have been. I was hellbent on destroying myself.”
“I know the feeling,” his dad said quietly.
“What do you mean?”
His dad let out a long sigh. “When…when your sister died, I left. You stayed at my parents’, but I was never there.”
“You and Mom separated. We know that.”
But, his father shook his head. “You only know the simple explanation. We never legally separated. I couldn’t live with you guys, I couldn’t live with myself. I went back to work after the funeral. But, I barely even functioned there. And as soon as my shift was over, I’d find myself at the bar. Drinking until Dougal or Brannon, or Devlin came and dragged me out. Then, I’d crash on their couch.” He looked back over at Callum. “Every single night. When I was off duty, I was either sleeping or drinking. And I missed out on a year of your lives. I missed so much. I wasn’t around when you started drinking. Maybe I could have nipped it in the bud if I had been.”
Donovan shook his head, though. “My own dad finally sat me down and told me I was destroying myself, my family, my future. Him and my brothers weren’t going to enable me any longer. If I was going to keep drinking, I’d have to find somewhere else to sleep. Then, he told me your mom was crying herself to sleep every night. I’d stopped thinking about her grief, about yours. I only thought about myself. That stopped after that talk, though. I got sober, and I went back to beg your mom for forgiveness.”
“She granted it.”
His dad’s lips twitched then. “After much groveling and proving myself worthy. When you were arrested, Cal…” He trailed off and ran his hands through his thinning hair. “God, I’m sorry. I know you think I hated you or some such nonsense. But, I looked at you, and I saw myself. I saw all the ways I’d screwed things up. If I’d been there after Dory,-”
“Dad, stop,” Callum said, putting his hand on his father’s arm. “The things I did to myself were because of me, not you. Even if you’d been there, I don’t know that it would have stopped anything. For a long time, I did blame you. I blamed Mom, Adrian, everyone except me. But, I’m the only one who should have been blamed. And if I lose this thing with Megan, I’ll be the one at fault, too.”