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A Piece of My Heart

Author(s): Kemberlee Shortland

Kate hadn't been just the girl next door. She'd been

Mick's life, and he hers. When an unforeseen force drives 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 Mick and
Kate work together to save his family's farm. He doesn't count on his
new manager being accused of murder, and she doesn't expect a
dangerously seductive woman from Dublin claiming Mick is the father of
her child. Kate thought she was falling in love with Mick all over
again, but this newest revelation is too much for her. She is
determined to say goodbye to her childhood sweetheart forever, but
Mick has other plans for her future. And none of them involve goodbye.

Exerpt:
 
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.”
 
“Everything?” whispered Kate, shaking her head.
 
“That’s insane,” muttered Mick.
 
Tighe sat back in his tucked leather chair and clasped his fingers
together on the desk. “Your father was quite sane at the time, lad. He
knew exactly what he was doing.”
 
“Knew what he was doing? He’s giving the farm to her. That’s sane?” He
flung his arm toward Kate as he bellowed. She flinched. Good. Her
weakness meant she wouldn’t fight him when he contested the will. And
he meant to.
 
“He was well within his rights, Michael. But Kate gets everything only
if you try to sell.”
 
“What am I going to do with a bloody farm?” It was a rhetorical
question. He raked his trembling fingers through his hair.
 
Silence settled around the office. It was a moment before he realized
Tighe was staring at him. “Ah no, Tighe. There’s more, isn’t there?”
 
“Your father gave Kate full custody of Molly. It was his opinion that
since she raised the dog because he couldn’t, she should have the
dog.”
 
“Bollocks!” he spat, ignoring Kate’s sharp intake of breath. “I gave
him that dog. She’s part of the farm. By rights, she’s mine.”
 
“You two will have to work out where the dog will live, but Molly is
Kate’s dog now.”
 
He threw himself back in the chair. “And what if I contest the whole thing?”
 
“Try, lad. It won’t get you anywhere. Your father was determined to
give Kate something for everything she’s done for your family.”
 
“But, Mr. Lynch, I haven’t done anything,” Kate finally spoke. “I only
kept his house and made a meal or two. That was nothing less than I’d
have done for my own family.”
 
Tighe looked at her with seriousness and understanding. “Kate, you
were an important part of Donal’s last years and he was grateful to
you. He told me everything you did for him, and for Mary when she was
dying from the cancer. And without so much as a euro in payment. Don’t
be so modest, girleen. The world needs more lasses such as yourself.”
 
“Yeah, right.” Mick couldn’t imagine Kate putting her life on hold for
so long without a cent in payment.
 
Tighe turned to Mick, exasperation written all over his face.
“Everything's completely documented, Michael. Kate hasn’t accepted a
cent for everything she’s done the past few years. She took complete
care of both of your parents in their final years.” The glare Tighe
shot him was clearly meant to cut him down to size—and it worked.
Suitably berated, he slunk back in his seat. “You should be thanking
her, not doubting her.”
 
He glanced at Kate, her face pink from Tighe’s comments, but she
didn’t say anything. The only telling sign of her emotion was the tear
rolling down her cheek and the quiver of her chin. He had a sudden
desire to kiss that tear away and still her trembling. Instead, he
mentally slapped himself to remind him what was happening. He was
going to lose the farm. He’d already lost the dog.
 
“I know this must be very hard for you, lass,” the lawyer continued.
“Donal told me often enough how he and Mary loved you like a
daughter.”
Kate sniffled heavily. Her voice was a mere whisper and she spoke
through trembling lips, the same lips Mick still longed to kiss. “He
always told me that, but I thought it was just because he missed Mick
so much. I never realized he meant it. And now it’s too late to tell
him I loved him, too.”
 
She buried her face in her palms, bringing Tighe from behind his desk.
He withdrew a hankie from his breast pocket and handed it to her,
patting her on the shoulder. “He knew, dear. Actions often speak
louder than words.”
 
She dabbed at the corners of her eyes. “I—I’m sorry. He was such a
lovely man and I miss him so.”
 
Mick was caught between anger at what his father had done and the urge
to push Tighe aside and comfort Kate himself.
 
What was he to do about his father’s wishes? He could contest, but
Tighe said he didn’t stand a chance. Supposedly his father had been
sane when he wrote the will, and the addendum.
 
What was he going to do with the farm? Farm life wasn’t for him. His
life was in Dublin. He had a great job there in the museum. It was the
ideal situation to use his history degree. He had friends and a new
flat. He couldn’t just up and leave it all behind. He wouldn’t. There
had to be another way. If there were any way out of this, he’d find
it.

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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-0984249961
Genre: Contemporary
Date Published: 01/08/2010
Publisher: Highland Press

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