Home > Bound to the Bachelor (Montana Born Bachelor Auction #1)(4)

Bound to the Bachelor (Montana Born Bachelor Auction #1)(4)
Sarah Mayberry

Damn, but she hoped so. She wanted Josh to have everything he needed and more. She wanted Molly to stop fretting, to be able to breathe and not have to worry every time an envelope with a telltale address window came in the mail. She wanted –

Lily’s eyes widened as she caught sight of the time. Where had the last hour gone? She needed to get home, shower, change, and then get back here in time to make sure everyone was ready to go when people arrived.

Spinning on her heel, she grabbed her bag from where she’d dumped it on the bar and called out to let Reese Kendrick, Grey’s head bartender, know she was leaving. He’d been great, answering her questions all afternoon, helping her move things around. She’d have to come up with some way to repay him when all of this was over.

His voice echoed out from the kitchen, letting her know he’d see her later, and she rushed out the door, shrugging into her coat as she went. It had snowed last night, but the streets had been cleared early and she had no trouble getting home. She tapped her foot impatiently as the elevator took her from the underground garage to her level, bolting out the doors the moment they opened. She’d laid out her dress and shoes this morning, and she was wearing her hair up, so she figured she could be in and out of the shower and out the door again in twenty minutes. Give or take.

She spared a glance for the door across the hallway from her own as she pulled her keys out, feeling a stab of nostalgia for the time when Andie had been just a few steps away. If Andie hadn’t married Heath and moved out last year, they would be getting ready tonight, maybe having a calming glass of wine before the inevitable chaos of the auction.

Lily shook off the thought. Andie and Heath were deliriously, impossibly in love, and Lily couldn’t be happier for them. Missing her good friend was small potatoes compared to the radiant light in Andie’s eyes every time she looked at her husband.

Sometimes, life just worked out the way it was supposed to.

Lily kicked the door shut as she strode into her apartment, tossing her bag on the couch before motoring into the bedroom. She toed off her shoes at the same time that she shed her coat, kicking the former into the corner and throwing the latter on the bed. She was stripping her sweater over her head when a knock sounded on the front door.

Muttering under her breath at the interruption, she padded out of her bedroom to answer the door.

“Hey. I meant to bring this over last night – your mail got mixed up with mine somehow.” Her new neighbor, Sally, handed over a stack of envelopes.

“Oh. Thanks.”

Sally was already heading back across the hallway to her own apartment. “Good luck with the auction – it’s tonight, right?”

“You’re not coming? Don’t you want to buy yourself a man?” Lily teased.

“I’m living in a post-man world,” Sally said lightly, on the verge of shutting the door to her apartment. “So much simpler, just me and the cat.”

Lily laughed before shutting her door and racing back into the bedroom. Tossing the mail onto the bed, she practically ripped the rest of her clothes off before having the shortest shower in the history of the world. It wasn’t until she was toweling herself off afterward that she caught sight of the uppermost letter in the stack she’d thrown on the bed.

Printed across the top left corner of the thick white envelope were the words Jackson Warnock Law Associates, with a return address in Seattle. Dread thudded in the pit of her belly. She dropped the towel and reached for the letter. Her brain came up with a dozen different excuses for why she’d be receiving anything from anyone in Seattle as she tore the end off of the envelope and slid a folded sheet of paper free.

She sank onto the end of the bed as she scanned the brief letter. Stunned.

Her stepfather, Luther Pascoe, was dead. The lawyer said he’d suffered a short illness before passing nearly three months ago. They’d spent some time trying to find her, to let her know she had been left a ten thousand dollar legacy in his will.

The first emotion to hit her was relief, followed by a flash of searing anger. Then what he’d done started to sink in and her lip curled with disgust.

Because this was his way of having the last word, inserting himself into her life whether she wanted him there or not. Her stomach turned as a dozen horrible memories flashed across her mind.

Luther bellowing at her mother in the kitchen until Belinda hung her head and hunched her shoulders in defeated submission. His explosive, unpredictable temper when crossed or defied. The dark, intent look in his eyes as he entered Lily’s bedroom and pushed the door closed. The letter was shaking in her hand and she pressed it to her knees, willing away the ugly memories, pushing them back where they belonged – the past, a place she never had to visit again.

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