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Chapter Twelve


What the fuck!I can’t believe what Sugar told me about the will was true. Now I understood Anne’s frustration with my interest in the property. She really was stuck here for a year.

I spent hours lying on my bed, poring over the will in search of some loophole. It was clear. She couldn’t sell, and she had to keep it running in the black for one year. Everyone assumed that meant she was free after one year, but they were wrong. The Treasured Chest needed to be in the black for an entire year. Without someone with experience running it, that might prove to be difficult. She could end up tied to that place for years.

At some point, someone needed to break this news to Anne. I could do it when she wakes, but it sure as hell wasn’t the best way to start someone’s day. Maybe it shouldn’t even come from me. No matter what I said, it would sound as though I’m only trying to encourage her to walk away now, no matter the cost. That would be beneficial to me, but Anne wouldn’t forgive me. And her family, well, I’m sure it would have a ripple effect on them as well.

If telling her myself wasn’t the answer, and purchasing wasn’t on the table either, there had to be something else. I was only supposed to be here a few more days. Not sure what I can come up with in that amount of time. I hate to admit it, but I might need to pick Phillip’s brain. With his brilliance and his law degree, he could tell me if any of the terms could be disputed or broken.

It was still early, so I might as well give my brother a call. He answered on the first ring.

“Deal go through early?” he asked.

“Not quite. I need you to look at something for me.”

“A business contract?” Phillip asked.

“A will.”

I could tell Phillip wasn’t expecting that question. “Yours?”

“No. It has to do with the acquisition I’m working on. The property is unable to be sold. Actually, it’s hard to explain. Maybe I should just email it to you, and you dissect it.”

“What is your goal, so I know what I’m looking for?” Phillip inquired. “A basic idea of what you need out of this will be beneficial.”

If Anne heard me, she’d probably never speak to me again, but the answer was the same as always. “I need that land.”

“At any cost?”

Part of me regretted involving Phillip, because he was asking questions I didn’t have answers for. How far was I willing to go? Normally I’d say until I obtained what I wanted. But the price of The Treasured Chest might be too high. The money was not the obstacle, but even in a few days, I had come to…care about Anne. She was unique. I didn’t want my choice to adversely affect her. Sometimes the scars of life are ones that never heal and mold us into something we didn’t mean to be.

“Give me the options and I’ll determine then which I’m going to take.”

“I take it this is time-sensitive,” Phillip stated. “May I ask what I get out of this?”

“The knowledge you helped your kid brother. Besides, I promised you in if I was successful.”

“I believe the word you used was when. I don’t recall ever hearing you use the word if. If I didn’t know you better, I’d say there’s another factor you have yet to mention. May I assume it is a woman?”

I growled, “Have I ever let a woman come between me and what I want?”

“Never before have you ever been so evasive on answering. I haven’t even taken a look at this will, but my gut says that no matter what I suggest, you’re not going to listen to me.”

“Nor would you, me. Can you please just do as I asked?”

“I’ll have you an answer by the end of the day tomorrow, if that works for you?” Phillip asked.

I wish I had answers now, but Anne wasn’t ready to hear them anyway. What’s another twenty-four or forty-eight hours at this point? “That’s fine. Text me when you’re ready to talk.”

“Text first? Afraid I might be…interrupting something?” Phillip teased.

“Yes. Work,” I snarled and ended the call.

My aggravation wasn’t with him. It was the entire situation. The fact that Anne had kissed me twice wasn’t helping my disposition, either. Did she have any clue how fucking hard it was for me to keep my hands off her? If she did, she was hiding it damn well. If that patrolman hadn’t knocked just then, I would’ve spent the night showing her exactly what she does to me.

Just thinking of her was enough to make my cock ache. It looked like I’d be starting my day the same way I ended it. With a cold shower.

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