Bed & Breakfast Next to the Pink Roses Hotel (Chapter 8, page 1 of 3)


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Chapter 8

MAC WAS THE FIRST TO WAKE UP, WHICH MEANT KATHY HAD FINALLY managed to get to sleep.

When she opened her eyes, he was gazing at her - his nose no more than four inches away. It was a long time since she'd had a dog, so she was startled. Once the inevitable mutual fright was over, she realized what the fixing her with his eyes meant.

"You need to go out, don't you? I think we'd better find Jesse."

Mac seemed to understand, for he instantly went to the door and scratched.

"Just a minute," said Kathy, putting on a dressing-gown as fast as her still half-numb body allowed.

He scratched again, impatiently.

"All right, all right."

She opened the door and it took Mac less than a second to follow the scent of his owner to her old room.

Kathy smiled. She'd always loved dogs - their intelligence and faithfulness - and Mac was reminding her why.

When she knocked, she looked at the watch. Seven thirty. Jesse might still be asleep. He was. His disheveled hair denoted as much. But his eyes were warm, so the grave, scrutinizing Jesse of their first encounter was most probably not to reappear today.

At breakfast, he remained in a good mood - relaxed -, which was somehow unsettling regarding Kathy's increasing anxiety.

Mrs. Sloan's siblings must have come back late and left early again, for they were nowhere to be seen. Neither was Geneva, for that matter.

"Are you okay?" asked Jesse while he savoured his XL chocolate muffin. "You look pale."

Kathy's stomach was getting really upset - nervous anticipation having that effect on her. She wondered if she'd ever have the chance to enjoy a morning meal with this man.

Then his cell phone rang.

Jesse's countenance changed during the short conversation.

"It's Mrs. Steel, Mrs. Sloan's lawyer," he explained when he hung up. "She recommends an earlier attendance on our part."

"Why? What's the matter?"

"She didn't say. I sensed she couldn't speak freely on the phone."

Kathy's stomach seemed to freeze, unsure whether to let matters ride or collapse entirely. Finally, still undecided and positively empty - her medium-size cream muffin was left almost untouched on the plate -, it rose from the chair with the rest of her body and disheartened spirit.

In no more than fifty minutes everything was settled at the notary's office.

Mrs. Sloan's family, Angus, Frances and Geneva, looked serious, and Kathy wondered why then all the welcoming fuss. Nothing new was said today. Every detail they seemed this morning to so deeply dislike was already known by them. Last night's conversation with Geneva had made that clear.

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