Don't Hesitate Don't Hesitate (The Reluctant Heart Book 3) - Jeannette Winters

Chapter One


“I don’t understand. Why me and not you?” I asked my father. I hadn’t wanted Uncle Carl to leave me his business. I had been extremely close with him, but so were my parents. It sure as heck wasn’t my career choice. I had a job offer in Boston as a paralegal in a major law firm. How was I supposed to follow my dreams while keeping his alive?

“Carl did what he wanted, Anne,” my father responded grimly, turning the pages of his newspaper noisily from his easy chair in the living room.

I knew he was still struggling with the loss of his brother, and the meeting with the attorney for the reading of the will earlier today hadn’t helped matters. It was obvious from my parents’ reaction that no one had expected me to be left responsible for anything of Carl’s. But there it had been, in black and white. Sorry, Dad. I wish I could change things.

“Paul, you know darn well why he didn’t leave The Treasured Chest to you,” my mom called from the kitchen. “We’d end up in divorce court just like Carl and Trixi did.”

I could understand that. Who would want their husband running a strip club?

At the reading of Carl’s will, the attorney explained I’d need to run the place and keep it in the black for a year, or no one would see a cent of their inheritance. My parents aren’t rich, and the money Uncle Carl set up in a trust for them could ensure they’d have a more comfortable retirement. And Aunt Trixi probably needed her money, too. I was the one person who didn’t need it, so of course it fell to me to make sure everyone else could get it. This new development would change all my plans, and worst, it would just tie me down here. The price of freedom is one year of hell.

Dad rustled his newspaper in agitation, and his snappy tone as he replied to my mother was only proof, as always, that Mom was right.

“Just because Carl married one of his employees doesn’t mean I would’ve,” he snarled. “He didn’t leave it to me because he knew you couldn’t handle my running it.”

Wait? What did Dad just say? I had to be hearing wrong. This was the first time anyone had ever mentioned that Aunt Trixi worked for Uncle Carl. I clutched my coffee mug with both hands, fighting off the chill of this unwelcome information. “You mean she helped him run The Treasured Chest, right?” I was hopeful, but as I heard the words leave my mouth, I knew I was wrong. I loved my aunt, and she was amazing with people, but she definitely didn’t have a head for running a business on her own. Uncle Carl used to joke that she couldn’t balance on one foot, never mind balance a checkbook. If she’d been a dancer at the club, I guess Uncle Carl had just been teasing Aunt Trixi. But he must’ve known she couldn’t do it alone. Or maybe they just never talked about it. Hell, he never gave me the heads up of the responsibility he was dumping on me either. But I knew Aunt Trixi was a lot smarter than people gave her credit for. She just didn’t give a damn what anyone thought about her. She lived her life the way she wanted. I loved and admired her for that.

But she still never felt like she could tell me she had been a stripper. Why? I had to assume it had something to do with my parents. They were always trying to protect me, but never understood, they weren’t doing themselves any favors. I learned about sex and the real world long before either of them ever told me. And what I didn’t learn on my own, I just had to ask Aunt Trixi.

“Are you going to tell her, or am I?” Mom asked, arms crossed and lips in a tight, thin line. She was angry, and I still couldn’t understand why.

I could see Dad glaring at her from his La-Z-Boy throne, and with a huff he said, “You might as well, because I know you’re only going to correct whatever I say.”

“That’s because you leave out certain…details. Anne isn’t a child any longer. I think she can handle the truth,” Mom said sternly.

I hated seeing my parents fight over something so trivial, and I especially hated the way their words breezed across me in both directions Copyright 2016 - 2024