Home > The Will (Magdalene #1)(9)

The Will (Magdalene #1)(9)
Author: Kristen Ashley

In order to see to these things without delay, I secured my handbag on my shoulder, reached out and took the manila folder, saying, “If that’s in order, I’ll thank you for your time and be on my way.” I looked up to Mr. Spear. “Although Gran didn’t mention you, it’s clear she held a high regard for you and your children.”

He didn’t let me finish. He butted in to say (still grinning, I might add, and the way he said it sounded almost teasing), “Yeah, Josie. She held us in high regard.”

“Well then, that being so, it was a pleasure to meet you.” I took my eyes from him, sliced them through Ms. Baginski and finished, “Now, I’ll leave you both to your business. Good day.”

After delivering that, carefully putting one foot in front of the other but doing it quickly, I exited the room.

I did this with Mr. Spear calling, “Hang on, Josie.”

I most certainly didn’t “hang on.” I kept going. Swiftly.

His voice was much closer to my back when I was in the hall and he said, “Whoa, woman. Hang on a second.”

I kept going but spoke to the reception area I’d just entered. “I don’t mean to be rude but I have business to see to and quickly as it’s important I get to Rome.”

“Rome?” he asked when I had my hand on the front door.

I tipped my eyes up to him. “Rome,” I stated, pushed open the door and exited it, moving speedily toward my rental car.

He did not call to me again but I knew I hadn’t lost him and this became glaringly apparent when he caught me by my upper arm right when I’d made it to my car.

He pulled me around to face him.

“Josie, give me a second,” he said quietly.

I looked up to him again. “Of course, Mr. Spear, but not to be rude, I have only a second.”

“Jake,” he replied.

“Pardon?” I asked.

“Name’s Jake,” he said.

“Fine,” I returned then prompted, “You wanted a second?”

He didn’t take his hand off me as his eyes moved over my face in a way that it felt like he was studying me.

And that was when I saw what was unusual about those eyes.

Because in the office, they were a clear light gray.

Out in the sun, they were a clear ice blue.

Extraordinary, intriguing and striking.


“Mr. Spear…” I prompted yet again and felt his fingers curl deeper into my arm even as he pulled me a half an inch closer.

“Jake,” he murmured.

“Are you detaining me because you want me to address you by your Christian name?” I queried.

His extraordinary, intriguing and striking eyes focused on mine. “Do you talk like that all the time?” he queried in return.

“Like what?”

“Nothin’,” he muttered, his lips quirking again. Then he jerked his head toward the building we just left and reminded me, “Somethin’ big happened in there.”

“Indeed,” I agreed then went on and did so being purposefully obtuse. “And if you’re concerned I’ll take issue with the gifts my grandmother bestowed on your children, please don’t be. I know Gran was of very sound mind to the end of her days so if she wished your children to have that money, then that wish will be done.”

“That was a beautiful thing Lydie did,” he replied. “But I’m not talkin’ about that. I’m talkin’ about the other gift she bestowed on me.”

“And that would be?” I asked, still being obtuse.

“Josie.” My name shook with his amusement and it was annoying because the way it did sounded lovely. “She gave me you.”

I ignored that and the way it made my stomach twist and my breath come uneven and informed him, “No one calls me Josie.”

“Lydie did,” he contradicted.

Oh yes.

Gran definitely talked to him about me.

I did not like that.

“All right, then no one calls me Josie but Gran,” I shared.

“And now me.”

I drew in a breath, this reminded me his hand was on me so I requested, “Will you unhand me?”

His lips twisted in an unsuccessful endeavor at hiding his humor before he replied, “I will unhand you, but only if you promise not to take off.”

“I can promise that,” I told him.

“Right,” he murmured and let me go but he didn’t step away.

I decided not to do so either as it might communicate the wrong things and I felt it imperative to communicate quite clearly with James Markham Spear in the very short time I would be communicating anything to him.

“Tonight, we need to go to dinner,” he declared.

I looked to my handbag, maneuvering it open to find my sunglasses, because any woman knew, she shouldn’t be out in the sun without two things. One, a very good SPF moisturizer under her makeup. And two, an excellent pair of sunglasses so she didn’t get lines from squinting her eyes.

I secured my glasses while talking. “I’m afraid dinner is out of the question.”


I slid my sunglasses on my nose and looked again to him. “Why?”

“Josie, I see you’re tryin’ to pretend that shit in there didn’t happen but, just sayin’, that shit in there happened.”

I sighed and agreed, “Yes, it did.”

“Right, then tonight, we’re goin’ out to dinner.”

“No, we aren’t.”

His head cocked to the side and he opened his mouth to speak but I got there before him.

“Listen, Mr. Spear—”

“Jake,” he cut in, his deep voice lowering with impatience.

“Of course,” I hurried on. “As I explained in Ms. Baginski’s office, Gran was very protective of me. We were also very close. I loved her deeply and she felt the same about me. But with relationships like ours, the person in Gran’s place can often get stuck in a time when they’re needed and they might not realize they’re not needed in that way any longer. From what she wrote in that letter, it’s clear that’s what occurred with Gran.”

His face had returned to hard, with the addition of cold, when he stated, “So you’re sayin’ you didn’t need Lydie.”

“No,” I whispered, at his words a different kind of twist happening in my stomach, one that felt far worse. This feeling was reflected in my voice and the cold left his face at my tone. Alert warmth replaced it. It was no less arresting than everything else about him, but I kept talking. “I needed my grandmother. I still need my grandmother. Just not that way.”

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