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with the largest sapphire ring she’d ever seen. It was clearly an antique, and
the blue stone was the exact color of her eyes. Her hand trembled as she opened
her palm and Mr. Wayfair plunked the
piece of jewelry into it. Mesmerized, she slid the ring onto her finger. It fit
perfectly, almost as if it were custom-made for her.
her hair. She nibbled nervously on the skin around her fingernails, which was a
nasty habit she’d developed as a young girl and had never outgrown. She
shivered as she felt the brush of a fingertip on her cheek and the sound of a
no one but Mr. Wayfair, who appeared unruffled by the sound. He clearly hadn’t
heard the woman crying, or felt the brush of someone’s fingertip.
her arms, and the hairs on the back of her neck prickled. Her eye twitched, and
she shivered. It wasn’t particularly cold outside, but Aubrey was chilled to
feeling or occurrence was a phenomenon she’d lived with her entire life. Aubrey
couldn’t explain it, but she had felt something.
Oblivious, Mr. Wayfair reached into the inside pocket of his trench coat and
pulled out another envelope, this one much thicker than the one he’d given her
the previous night. When he placed it into her hands, it was heavy.
my homework. I knew you wouldn’t have the means to travel, Ms. Ross, so I came
before I left Ohio. It should be more than enough to cover your travel
expenses,” he clarified.
were several stacks of cash, bundled into little piles. She flipped through
them, noticing each stack was made up of hundred-dollar bills. She gasped and
searched Mr. Wayfair’s face for an explanation. She’d never seen that much
money in her life.
be enough to cover whatever you might need until you arrive in Ohio.” He
answered nonchalantly, as if he’d handed
her a twenty-dollar bill.
ten thousand dollars in this envelope?” Aubrey knew her eyes were probably the
size of dinner plates, but she couldn’t help it.
trying to explain. You are the sole owner of Desolate Ridge and the beneficiary
of the entire Ross family fortune. The money you’re holding right now is a mere
drop in the bucket. You are a very, very rich woman.” He smiled.
She had lived her entire life below the poverty line, and this strange-looking
man was telling her she was rich? Something didn’t add up. There had to be a
catch, some sort of caveat Mr. Wayfair wasn’t disclosing.
Heidi Renee Mason is an Ohio girl transplanted into the Pacific Northwest. She is a homeschooling mom of three daughters, wife of one mailman, and a people-watching introvert who can be found hiding in the nearest corner.