Home > The Will (Magdalene #1)(13)

The Will (Magdalene #1)(13)
Author: Kristen Ashley

It was girlie, but alluring, and not obvious, thus not vulgar, and this was the reason I bought it.

It was also quite comfortable.

A plus.

I walked to the overstuffed chintz chair in the corner and grabbed my cream satin robe. I didn’t bother cinching the belt. I was alone in the house so there was no need. However, even alone, it was unseemly to wander around wearing nothing but a thin, short nightie.

I grabbed a ponytail holder before I padded out of the room and secured my hair in a messy knot at the back of my head as I moved down the hall and two flights of stairs.

I did this not taking anything in.

Usually, when I was at Lavender House, I consumed every inch, recommitting every vision, every smell, even the feel to memory to hold close until I returned.

This time, I didn’t do that and it wasn’t because I was still half-asleep.

I made it to the kitchen and I especially didn’t take any of that in.

This was because, outside the light room, the kitchen was where Gran spent most of her time. It was a fabulous kitchen and she was a fabulous cook. I couldn’t count the number of mouth-watering smells I’d smelled in that kitchen or the number of delightful tastes I’d experienced with what Gran created in that room.

Gran had cooked for me in that kitchen.

She’d also taught me to cook in that kitchen.

And like every memory with her in it, those I knew even before she passed would be some of the ones I would hold most dear.

Therefore, I moved directly through to the coffeepot, which I’d prepared for brewing the night before and I did it still not taking anything in.

I lifted a finger to hit the on button and saw it already lit.

I stared at the pot.

It was programmable but I didn’t program it because I didn’t know how, and to learn, I’d have to find the instructions which meant looking around, something I wasn’t going to do. In fact, the little button with its little light that would light up if it was programmed was not lit.

Instead of hitting the on button, I moved my hand close to the stainless steel carafe.

It was warm.

“What on—?” I started to say but ended this in a stifled scream while whirling when a deep voice came at me from behind.

“Not a big fan of gettin’ stood up.”

After my whirl, I went completely still as I stared at James Spear sitting in the sun pouring in the multi-paned glass that surrounded the nook where Gran had her beaten wood kitchen table.

He had a cup of coffee on the table in front of him.

“Wha-wha-what are you doing here?” I stammered.

He didn’t move, except his mouth. But when he moved that mouth, he didn’t answer my question.

“Pain in my ass, gettin’ Amber to look after her brother. First, she charges a shitload, f**kin’ twenty dollars an hour. And since she had plans with some of her friends last night and I needed her to change them, she upped that shit. Drove a hard bargain. That bein’ her gettin’ an hour added to her curfew on Saturday night and f**k knows, Amber and an hour on a Saturday night could mean anything. A visit to a bondsman or a different kind of visit in a few months to Babies ‘R’ Us.”

It was clear he was there because he was angry I didn’t join him for dinner so I didn’t need to repeat my question, thus I asked another one.

“How did you get in here?”

He shoved his hand in his jeans pocket and lifted it. I saw a key dangling from a thin ring looped on his long forefinger before he dropped his hand, shoving it back in his pocket then he pulled it out to rest it again on the table.

“Looked after Lydie and sometimes Lydie looked after Ethan after school. Me and all the kids got keys.”

“I, uh…well, I’ll have to ask for all those to be returned,” I told him.

“Are you f**kin’ serious?” he asked, his dark brows rising.

“Well, yes,” I answered and I saw his dark brows snap together.

“Jesus Christ, Josie, you stood me up.”

“I can obviously see that you’d see it that way but since I didn’t actually wish to go to dinner with you in the first place, I don’t see it the same way.”

“Fuckin’ hell,” he murmured.

“And really,” I foolishly went on, “your language is quite—”

“Do not f**kin’ tell me what my language is,” he cut me off to bite out. “And do not stand across Lydie’s f**kin’ kitchen and give me your bullshit,” he ordered and I blinked.

Then my back snapped straight. “Pardon me?”

“You’re standin’ in Lydie’s kitchen knowin’ what she wanted for you, and what that was is me.”

He jerked his thumb to himself on his last word but he wasn’t done speaking.

“You jacked me around last night, made my daughter change her plans and she was lookin’ forward to that shit. Made me sit in a restaurant by my-fuckin’-self for forty-five f**kin’ minutes waitin’ on your ass, when not a lot of people have forty-five minutes of their lives to piss away and I’m one of them. You’re a no show and you give me this bullshit?”

Unfortunately, this made me uncomfortable. This was because he was right. His daughter changed her plans (though I couldn’t know that was needed, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t). And he’d had to bargain with her to do that. Not to mention, he’d settled on a bargain he wasn’t comfortable with and, by the sounds of it, it was indeed an uncomfortable bargain. And while I was enjoying lobster bisque (well, some time before, but still), he’d been sitting alone at a restaurant waiting for me to arrive and I didn’t.

If that had happened to me, I would have found it supremely annoying.

And I’d done it to him.

I stared across the kitchen into his angry eyes and I did what I had to do.

I apologized.

“That was rude,” I said quietly. “I have no excuse. I should have explained more firmly how I felt about the dinner without wasting your time or involving your family.”

“Damn straight,” he returned.

“Well, I apologize.”

“And you should,” he shot back.

I closed my mouth.

He didn’t.

“So, babe, where do we go from here?”


I’d never been called “babe” and the angry way he did it, I didn’t like very much.

I ignored that and stayed focused.

“Where we go from here, Mr. Spear, is—”

I stopped speaking because he’d been sitting and mostly not moving but when I called him Mr. Spear, he stood.

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