This book is the first in my Family Tree series.
Spirits, ghosts, love and mayhem…
a ride through the past to find a future
“I guess I should call the contractor to see how much all this is going to cost, then we can choose which rooms we want to redecorate first.” Mattie considered the difficult task of calling Quincy.
I guess it’s time I face my past.
Tightening her resolve, she pushed away from plate. “Why don’t I call Quincy, the contractor, and find out when he can come over? I also have some other work I need to do. If you don’t mind spending a few hours by yourself, I could get a few things done and then meet up with you later.”
“No worries, I can start selecting the furniture to be moved into storage, or I can work on color schemes.” Amber glanced out the window. “I might even walk around outside. Come to think of it, I haven’t been out of the house all day.”
“Okay, then, if you need me, I’ll be in the study.” Mattie edged away from the table, reluctant to leave.
Giving the girl one last look, Mattie turned and walked through the house to her study. Pictures of Quincy filled her mind. She remembered his sad, puppy-dog, brown eyes, his broad shoulders, and…how he’d paused with regret as he stepped behind the barn.
She sank into her desk chair, recalling the scene, the sounds, the pain of that day so long ago.
“Mattie…” His voice rang through her head, the sad tone revealing his distress.
She’d silenced him by placing her fingers over his lips. “Don’t Quincy. I know what’s on your mind and it’s…okay.”
His eyes softened, yet he still appeared troubled. With tender care, his rough hand circled her slender wrist. He kissed each one of her fingertips and her heart melted again at his caring manner.
She loved him, would always love him, but she couldn’t hurt him. That price, she wouldn’t pay.
“I don’t want to hurt you, Mattie. But I can’t compete. Your aunt needs you more. And well, you’d hate me if I asked you to choose me over her.” Quincy held her hand against his chest, his eyes begging for her understanding. Yet a spark in their depths spoke of another reason.
“It’s not only my aunt, is it?”
His gaze shifted to a space over her left shoulder. “Mattie, I can’t handle the…”
She slid her hand from his grip and placed it on the side of his face. “Don’t worry, Quincy. We each have different paths to follow. Mine is to care for my aunt and Winston Manor. Yours…well—yours is to enjoy your senior year of high school.”
She stroked his smooth shaven cheek one last time, and then with regret, dropped her hand. “We can still be friends.”
He examined her with a long searching look. “I’d like that Mattie.”
Soon after, he’d left with the excuse he had to help his father at a construction site. Mattie remembered accepting the lie, knowing it for what it was. His father didn’t work on Sunday. Quincy just wanted to escape.
Over the years, Mattie hoped she’d been a friend. When he’d gotten married, had a child, and even after his wife died, she’d sent a card or note, sending best wishes or condolences, whichever applied.
However, that beautiful spring day was the last time she’d actually spoken to him. If the house needed any work, she’d let Martin contact Quincy with the request for repairs. When he arrived, she was always gone so he wouldn’t have to deal with her.
With the receiver heavy in her hand, she dialed his number for his father’s company from memory.
After two rings, his voice rang through the phone. “Miller and Sons Construction, this is Quincy.”
The deep masculine voice sent long forgotten desire tingling down her spine. “Yes…ah…Quincy, Mattie Winston here.”
“Yes, Mattie. How are you?”
Gripping the receiver firmly, she fought the image of him whispering in her ear, his lips kissing her hair.
“I’m fine. I was wondering if you could find some time to come by the house.” She rushed on quickly to state her request. “A friend of mine is helping me remodel and we want an estimate on how much the project will cost.”
“What are you thinking about doing?” He sounded distracted, his voice vague.
She covered the mouthpiece, drew in a deep breath, and slowed her impatient words. “We’re thinking about a number of changes; perhaps new windows, new carpet, painting some rooms, and even remodeling the kitchen.” She brushed a piece of imaginary lint from her pants. “But right now we’re only hoping to learn about the cost.”
“Wow, you have big plans.”
Mattie heard paper shuffling in the background and waited for him to finish.
“I should be able to come by tomorrow around two, if that works for you?”
Glad to end the conversation, she quickly agreed. “We’ll be here.”
“Then I’ll see you tomorrow.” He ended with a quiet good-bye.
Mattie didn’t answer, but slowly forced her hand to set down the receiver. Unsteady and shaking, she reminded herself Amber would handle the project and deal with Quincy.