A PIECE OF MY HEART
Irish Pride series, book two
Cover design by Kim Killion at Hot Damn Designs -- http://www.hotdamndesigns.com.
Mick and Kate thought they were falling in love. Kate hadn't been just the girl next door. She'd been Mick's life, and he hers. When an unforeseen force draws them apart they're left with wounds that refuse to heal. Now, ten years on, Mick's father's will should have been straightforward, except his addendum was like ice water in Mick's face.
It's essential that Mick and Kate work together to save his family's farm. Mick doesn't count on his new manager being accused of murder, and Kate doesn't expect a dangerously seductive woman from Dublin to claim Mick is the father of her child.
Kate thought she was falling in love with Mick all over again; however this newest revelation is too much for her. She is determined to finally say goodbye to her childhood sweetheart forever, but Mick has other plans for Kate's future. And none of them involve goodbye.
“What are you doing here?”
“Nice to see you too, Mick.” She opened one eye to look at him.
He stood just inside the solicitor’s office door. He’d expected Kate at the funeral service yesterday, but he couldn’t see any reason for her to be here today.
He scowled in her direction, then strode to reception. The clerk behind the desk turned a harried glance his way, continuing to sort folders beside her computer. “Can I help you?” she asked, not bothering to stop what she was doing.
“Michael Spillane to see Tighe Lynch,” he grumbled.
Finally looking up, the clerk said, “He’s expecting you. I’ll let him know you’re here.”
As the clerk reached for the intercom, he turned back to Kate. If this hadn’t been his father’s solicitor’s office and if today hadn’t been the reading of his father’s will, he would have appreciated the sight of her in her smart dark blue suit, white blouse with the Irish lace trim, and matching blue pumps. She sat calmly, her head against the wall behind her, eyes closed. She bent her shapely legs under her and crossed them at the ankle, her hands folded in her lap.
Her emerald eyes hid beneath lids edged with thick dark lashes. He knew the exact shade of them since he’d looked into them so often in the past. They were eyes no man could forget.
Her normally unruly black hair was pulled back in a twist and away from her heart shaped face.
When they were kids he used to love it when she left her hair down. The tight curls of it bounced over her shoulders like springs when she ran. He’d seen her like that once last year when he’d been home for a couple days during Christmas.
They’d been invited to join the Conneelys, but he’d convinced his father not to go. He couldn’t bear being in the same room with her for so long, but she’d delivered food and he’d suffered anyway.
He recalled how he’d stiffened just watching her walk across the farmyard. As he did now. He mentally shook himself. This wasn’t the time or place to get an erection. The business at hand was the will and what she was doing here now. Not the fact that just looking at her could make him stiff.
Clearing his throat, he repeated, “You didn’t answer my question. What are you doing here?”
Her eyes fluttered open. The look she gave him made his heart skip a beat. His groin tightened again watching her tongue smooth its way over her lips. She had no idea just how erotic that simple act was. She was about to speak when a door opened behind him. Both of them spun to face Tighe Lynch.
“Mickleen,” Tighe exclaimed, using the common endearment and thrusting his hand into his. “Welcome home, lad. I just wish it were under different circumstances. I can’t tell you how much Donal will be missed.”
Mick could only tip his head at the man’s kindness. Words were still too hard to come by.
Tighe grasped Kate by her shoulders as she stood to greet him and kissed her on both cheeks. “Kate. Lovely as ever. Won’t you both step into my office?”
Not one to stand on ceremony, Mick strode through the door ahead of Kate and Tighe and went right into the solicitor’s office. He knew where it was. Was it really only a little more than two years ago he’d been here to discuss his mother’s will?
His scowl deepened when Kate walked through the office door ahead of Tighe. He got the perfect look at her shapely bum as she was forced to step between him and the desk to the seat beside him. He shifted in his seat, crossing his legs and pulling his coat around him to hide his erection. He kept his mind on wondering why she was at the reading of his father’s will to keep his libido under control.
Surely, she’d earned a regular wage for the time she spent cleaning his father’s house and cooking his meals. She was hired help and would have been paid accordingly. So there should be no reason why she should be here today. Unless there was something the solicitor knew and wasn’t telling them. Yet.
“I thought this was just a formality, Tighe. Why is she here?” He couldn’t even use her name. Just the feel of it in his mouth would leave him tongue-tied.
Tighe stopped him with an upheld hand. “If you’ll both bear with me, I will explain.” The solicitor turned to a folder on his desk and opened it, extracting two documents. Holding one before him, he said, “This is your father’s will, Michael. It’s all very straight forward. In it, the farm, the stock, the land—almost everything is left to you.”
“We’ll get to that, lad,” Tighe said.
Tighe looked at Kate and held up the second document.
“This is the addendum to the will.”
“Addendum?” she asked.
“An addendum means that instead of making up a whole new will, Dad just changed it.” Mick, not looking at her, directed his statement to the solicitor and waited for the shoe to drop.
Leave it to his father to make this more difficult on him than it already was. Wasn’t it bad enough he couldn’t get rid of the tremendous feeling of guilt for not spending more time with him? He never wanted to believe—or admit—his father was that sick. Sure, Kate called him regularly with updates. He heard everything she’d said, but why the hell hadn’t he listened to her!
“Changed the will?” she asked. “Is that right, Mr. Lynch?”
“In a manner of speaking,” Tighe replied. “It means he added something into the original will.”
“When was this?” Mick asked.
“If you’ll allow me, I’ll read what Donal has bequeathed. If you have any questions we can go from there. Right?”
Both Mick and Kate nodded agreement. Tighe read the will as it stood and then the addendum. Mick couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “That bastard!” he muttered. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the wide glares both Kate and Tighe gave him at the curse.
“Mr. Lynch.” Kate’s voice came on a whisper. “What does this mean? I don’t understand it.” Her eyes were big as she clutched the arms of her chair now, knuckles as white as her face. Gone was the cool Kate he’d seen in the waiting room. In a matter of minutes she’d gone from radiant to ashen. He was sure he wasn’t looking too good right about now either.
“Yes, can you explain it in plain English?” he asked. Why do will readings always have to be so damn dramatic?
“In plain English, your father left everything to you, Michael. However, the addendum states if you try to sell the farm, I have instructions to give everything to Kate.”
Book One, Rhythm of My Heart
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