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Chapter Eight


I had to wait to pull into the driveway, because it looked like Trixi was leaving. She was expecting me, but maybe there’d been a change of plans. My cell phone rang and I checked the caller ID.

Here comes my answer. “Hello, Ms. Worth.”

“Please, call me Trixi. Ms. Worth makes me sound ancient.”

I didn’t care what she wanted me to call her, as long as she helped me convince Anne to sell.

“Okay, Trixi. I believe I just saw you backing out of the driveway. Would you like me to come back later?” I asked.

“No. Anne is home. And she is expecting you. Lunch is in the oven, hope you like chicken parmigiana.”

“I do. You sound as though you won’t be eating with us,” I said.

“I’m not. Actually, I’m going out of town a week.”

“And you didn’t see fit to mention that when we last spoke?”

I heard her chuckle. “Well, about that. See, I know my niece better than she does sometimes. And as long as I’m there, she’ll let me play interference, so she doesn’t have to deal with it herself.”

Oh, that is a bad game to play with someone’s life. I’d fucking kill my brothers if they pulled this shit.

“I can still work with Anne while staying at the motel,” I stated firmly.

“I know that, but I’m telling you right now, her answer won’t change. See, there’s a lot you don’t know, and I could tell you, but I’d rather not. Just know that Anne is at the club because she feels as there is no other choice. I think if anyone can help her find a different resolution, it will be you,” she said.

That surprised me, but then again, everything about The Treasured Chest had thus far. Why should this be different?

“I take it you mean besides my purchasing the property,” I said. That was the only thing I wanted. Whatever else was going on between Anne and her attachment to the place meant nothing to me.

“I googled you. You have a reputation of getting what you want,” Trixi said.

“That is accurate,” I replied. And I want that land.

“Like Anne, I think this week might give you a chance to think about what you really want, too.”

“Unlike Anne, I know exactly what I want,” I stated firmly. “Or did Google not provide that detail?”

“One week, Andrew, and then you can tell me what you want. Oh, and I’m entrusting my niece to you. Don’t hurt her or you’ll answer to me,” Trixi warned.

That woman couldn’t scare anyone. “I’m here for one reason, and it’s strictly business. I have no intention of hurting her. Just acquiring the club.”

She ended the call and I pulled up the driveway, parked, and went up the steps. I couldn’t help but wonder how Anne felt about this. Was she a willing participant in Trixi’s manipulation, or was she as pissed off as I was? Only one way to find out. I knocked.

When she answered, her eyes were cold and filled with anger.

“Should I come in or head back to the motel?” I asked. It didn’t matter what Trixi wanted. I needed to hear it from Anne.

She opened the door wider and said, “You might as well come in. Aunt Trixi left clear instructions for me to play nice. I just don’t see the point. We both know why you’re here. A week or a month won’t change anything.” Once inside, she closed the door and added, “But it’s your time you’re wasting, not mine.”

I followed her into the kitchen, where I noticed the table was set for two. “Can I help you with anything?” I offered.

“Yes. You can do the dishes after.”

Does she think I’ve never done dishes before?“No problem. I mastered those a long time ago.” She turned and looked at me as though I was lying. “I’m serious. It was the standard punishment when we were growing up. Get in trouble at school and you had dishes for a week. I swear I went a year of doing them every day when I was a teenager.”

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