The July Guy (Men of Lakeside)(6)

By: Natasha Moore


“I can’t guarantee what shape it’s in. Aggie fell and broke her hip, then was in a nursing home for a while before she passed. Before that, she was pretty spry.” He toyed with the pen on his desk. “You don’t plan to keep it? Fix it up? It was a gorgeous house in its day.”

“I live and work in Philadelphia.”

“It would make a great vacation home.”

She never went to the same place twice for her summer vacations. “No. And I don’t have any attachment to the house.”

“If you’re interested in selling, I’ve been approached by another attorney who has an interested buyer ready to make an offer.”

Could it be that quick and easy? “Yeah, I’d like to hear the offer.”

“I’ll get you the information then. Do you have any questions about the property?”

Anita shifted in the leather chair. She shouldn’t feel uncomfortable explaining the situation to the attorney. “I don’t understand why my grandmother left it to me. Did she leave anything else? A…a letter or something?” Something to give her some answers.

“I’m sorry. No. ‘The property and everything therein.’ That’s all it says.” Carter glanced back down to the paper on the desk in front of him. “It does say ‘to my beloved granddaughter.’”

“Beloved? Really?” Anita held back a burst of anger, but her face still heated. “Did she say anything to you when she made the will? Anything about me?”

God, I sound needy.

“I took over the practice when the previous attorney retired. He’s the one who talked to your grandmother.” Carter glanced at her hands clasped in her lap. “You didn’t get along?”

“I never met her,” Anita snapped, then immediately regretted taking that tone. It wasn’t his fault her family was so dysfunctional. She took a deep breath. “I thought she was dead. My mother told me she died before I was born.”

If she could believe her mother, her grandfather had died in the war—which war, she’d never specified. But obviously, her mother had been a bald-faced liar. Was it true her grandmother lived here by herself for over sixty years? Or had her grandfather lived here some of that time also? What could she believe? Was there truth to anything her mother had told her?

Carter frowned as if he heard her thoughts. “She lived alone in that house for as long as I can remember. I heard she had a daughter, but she must have moved out before I was old enough to remember her. I’ll bet my parents knew her. I mean, they knew Aggie, too, but they would be more your mother’s age. I can ask them.”

Carter held out the keys, but she couldn’t seem to bring herself to reach out and take them. “There’s nothing I want to ask about my mother. I know everything I need to know.”

“She’s still alive?”

“Yes.”

“Sorry, I assumed if your grandmother left you everything, it was because your mother was deceased.”

“There was bad blood between them.” That was an understatement.

“Families can be complicated,” Carter said smoothly.

“Didn’t my grandmother still have money in the bank?” If she did, she probably left it to a charity, not her daughter.

“I’m afraid there were no other assets. No safety deposit box. No stocks. Nothing in the bank. Evidently, she’d withdrawn it all over the past few years. She didn’t have any money left.”

So her grandmother had outlived her assets. That didn’t bode well for the condition of the house. Anita accepted the keys. “It was nice to meet you, Carter Colburn. Thank you for taking care of this.”

“If I can be of any other help, please let me know.”

“That’s what your brother said, too.”

“Noah loves to work on old houses. I’m sure he’d be happy to help with whatever you might need.”

“I’ll think about it.” Anita shooed away the racy thoughts of what she might need from Noah. Now wasn’t the time. But would asking for Noah’s help on the house be the gateway to spending the month together?

The Colburn and Sons Salvage truck was still parked next door when she returned from the lawyer’s. She was tempted to walk over and see what Noah was up to. She might be able to catch a glimpse of him flexing his muscles and working with his talented hands. And she could drop a hint about that fling.