“You aren’t touching his hair.” Lisa grinned like she genuinely loved the shenanigans. Sometimes she was sure Lisa viewed the entire town as one big soap opera.
Sera stood up and faced her older brother. Remy had always watched out for her when they’d been growing up. He’d left for a long time, but when he’d finally come home to take over the family restaurant, he’d slid right back into the role of looking out for her. Remy and Lisa were the only people in the world besides her mother and Angela Beaumont who knew the truth of Luc’s birth. She took her baby boy into her arms. “I can’t take this, Remy. It’s not fair.”
“Oh, I think it’s entirely fair.” Her brother stared down at her with soft eyes. “You were the one who went to Aunt Irene’s place three times a week to check in on her despite the fact that you had a job, were going to school, and were also taking care of a baby. You were the one who ran Irene’s errands and picked her up for holidays to make sure she actually got out of that place every once in a while. She wants you to have her home. You always loved it. I’m not saying you should go out there and make it your home, but it’s special and shouldn’t be torn down and made into a fast-food place or some rich Texan’s second-best fishing getaway.”
“But how would I even find the time to work on it? I don’t have the skills.”
“That’s why she left you money,” her mother said. “You do have the skills and the smarts to hire someone. And you can do some of it yourself. You helped Lisa and Remy pull up the carpet at their place and put in hardwoods. You know how to do small things. Sure, you can’t fix that shower of hers that looks like it’s raining blood down on a person, but that’s what you pay for.”
She was overwhelmed and Luc seemed to get that. He put his hands on either side of her face. It was something he’d done since he’d been able to hold his head up. He would put his hands on her cheeks, prompting her to look into his eyes, and he would stare with such love that she would know they could handle whatever came their way.
She hugged her baby tight. She’d done one good thing. She could do another.
“Okay then, baby boy, looks like we’ve got a big project ahead.”
And maybe, just maybe, she could give him the life he deserved.* * ****
Harry sat down at the overly large dining room table he was sure impressed guests with its sheer length. He was impressed with the craftsmanship that had gone into the Colonial-period antique, even though it was a bit overwhelming as a breakfast table. But then he wasn’t used to having servants set up a buffet every Sunday morning.
He grabbed a muffin and some coffee and slid into the chair opposite his cousin Angela, who was already up and ready to face the day. He wasn’t sure how they managed it, but in the days he’d been at Beaumont House, he hadn’t caught either Angela or his aunt Celeste looking anything less than perfect. It was like they didn’t ever leave the confines of their bedrooms without the full Chanel treatment.
He would bet that pretty blonde he’d met the day before would look awfully cute all tousled from sleep, with hair flying everywhere.
He’d thought about her all night long. It had been a while since a woman had occupied his thoughts.
“I can’t believe Mother let you bring Shep in the house.” Angela reached a hand out as his big German shepherd lumbered over to greet her. “Growing up, we never had dogs.”
“That wasn’t my fault.” Celeste strode in the room dressed in a chic sheath and sky-high heels he had no idea how anyone walked in. She was dressed for church, a thing that seemed to happen a lot around here. She settled into her chair and the maid brought over an elegant carafe and filled her cup. “Your grandmother believed animals belonged outdoors.” A smile curled up his aunt’s normally placid face. “I’ve missed having dogs. We had several growing up in Texas.”
Shep always seemed to know when someone was willing to give him a pet. He walked over to his aunt and offered up the top of his head. Celeste stroked him. “You’re a pretty boy.” She glanced Harry’s way. “Your mom and I had a big old mutt we called Sparkles. He was the ugliest, meanest-looking thing in the world, but he was so sweet. Scared off anyone who didn’t know him, but that dog was the kindest soul.”
“Mom talked about him a lot. She kept a dog most of the time,” Harry explained. “Sometimes more than one. She would go volunteer at the shelter and come home with some sad-sack mutt she knew no one would want.”