“I can’t wait to tell everyone and show off my ring,” Morgan said, spinning around like a ballerina. “They’ll be so surprised, especially Mama.”
“I can’t wait to wake up with you each and every morning,” Luke whispered.
“Me too. Oh Luke, we really are so incredibly favored. I feel as if I might burst with happiness.”
Morgan reached up and drew Luke’s head down so she could plant a celebratory kiss on his lips. From this point forward there would be no looking back at the past. Their future stretched out before them like a colorful banner—joyful, vibrant, hopeful. No doubt there would be ups and downs, challenges and triumphs, joys and sorrows—but they would face their obstacles head-on and always remember to love and honor one another.
Falling in Love – August 2016
Charlotte and Marc
“Isn’t life funny? When you least expect it, that’s when trouble rears its ugly head.” Miss Hattie Alexander
Charlotte sat down at the long table in the parlor, her eyes sweeping around the table to get a glimpse of the five other women gathered nearby. All of the owners of Savannah House were assembled at the summons of Mr. Mayhew, the executor of Miss Hattie Alexander’s will.
Her cousin, Callie Holden. Her dearest friends—Olivia Rawlings, Hope Matthews, Fancy Tolliver and Morgan Lucas.
“Ladies, thank you for granting my request for this emergency meeting.” Mr. Mayhew looked perturbed. He was a serious man who wasn’t prone to laughter or frivolity. That being said, he looked even more severe than usual.
What was going on to bring him to Savannah House at the crack of dawn?
“The frantic tone of your voice when you called earlier was a red flag.” Callie’s voice bristled. She leaned forward in her seat, her nerves clearly on edge. “What’s going on?”
Mr. Mayhew swung his gaze around the table. “There’s no simple way to say this, but an individual has come forward to challenge Miss Hattie’s will. He’s claiming to be the sole heir to Savannah House.”
“What do you mean someone is challenging our ownership of Savannah House?” Charlotte asked in a raised voice. “The resort belongs to us.”
“Is this some sort of sick joke?” Fancy slapped her hand down on the mahogany table.
/> “Ladies, please calm yourselves.” Mayhew studied them from beneath the glasses perched on the end of his nose. “I assure you this is no laughing matter.”
“What exactly is the claim?” Olivia asked.
Mr. Mayhew shuffled through his papers. “A man, approximately 30 years old, is claiming that he’s Miss Hattie’s grandson.”
“Ha!” Hope cried out. “Miss Hattie never had any children.”
Mr. Mayhew nodded. “Not that we know of.”
“Do you actually think this claim has any legitimacy?” Charlotte bit her fingernail, a bad habit she resorted to whenever she felt nervous. Savannah House was their inheritance from Miss Hattie, their beloved benefactor. They had renovated the historic bed and breakfast and spend a great deal of money to modernize it. Savannah House had opened a few weeks ago to sold out rooms. So far, the resort was a smashing success. It would be horrific if someone came along and spoiled their exciting enterprise.
“I have no way of knowing,” Mr. Mayhew said. “My first piece of advice is to retain the services of an attorney. One who specializes in probate matters.” He adjusted his glasses. “If I were in your shoes I would also retain the services of a private investigator. This man, Grayson Holloway, needs to be investigated. Vetted. You’ll save yourselves a lot of attorney’s fees and time and stress by cutting to the chase. A P.I. might be able to discover some red flags that would undermine his claim right from the get-go.”
“I think that’s a great idea,” Olivia said with a fierce nod of her head. She looked around at the other ladies. “What do you guys think?”
“I’m in agreement. I’m going to call Mac and ask for his cousin Parker’s number. Even though he’s in Pelican Bay, Florida, he travels for jobs. He’s the P.I. who helped Mac track me down, so I’m a big believer in his work.”
Mr. Mayhew closed his briefcase and stood up from the table. “I’ll let you ladies discuss this amongst yourselves. My work here is done.”
“Any other words of advice?” Hope asked. Although Mayhew could be a stick in the mud, they all respected his work ethic and wise counsel.
“One word. Pray. I’d hate to see all of this taken away from you gals, especially since I know how hard you’ve all worked and how much Hattie wanted you ladies to own her beloved Savannah House.”
Charlotte, moved by Mr. Mayhew’s words, stood up and wrapped her arms around him as he walked by. He stiffened his posture and untangled himself from her enthusiastic hug. He raised his eyebrow at her. “Good day, Miss Duvall.”