A Father's Promise

A Father's Promise by Carolyne Aarsen Read Free Book Online

Book: A Father's Promise by Carolyne Aarsen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carolyne Aarsen
his wooden chair back, then held out his hand for Emma. “I guess our next step is to get a safe-deposit box like you suggested.”
    “Probably a better idea than shoving the will in a box under the bed,” Emma said. She turned her dark brown eyes back to Zach, a dimple flashing as she gave him a quick smile. “On behalf of Adam and our daughter, I want to thank you for making this so painless.”
    “Wills are difficult to think about, but it’s important if you have dependents,” Zach said, getting to his feet, as well. “If you need anything more, just call me.”
    Carter was about to leave, then turned. “I heard you have horses at Evangeline’s place,” he said. “If you and your daughter ever want to do some riding, we’ve got some great trails at the ranch.”
    Zach grinned, surprised again at the wonderful community that was Hartley Creek. “I think I’ll take you up on that. Tricia and I haven’t had much chance to take the horses out, and I know they’re ready for some exercise.”
    “Just call,” Carter said again. “We’ll set something up.” Then he turned to Emma. “Mug Shots?”
    She laughed, then took his hand as together they walked out of the office.
    Zach couldn’t help but feel a pang of jealousy at Carter and Emma’s easy relationship. From the moment they stepped into the office, it wasn’t hard to see how much they cared for each other. The way their eyes sought each other whenever Zach had a question. How Carter’s hand rested on Emma’s shoulder. The little smiles they exchanged.
    His parents had the same type of relationship, and he’d hoped for the same when he’d married Molly.
    The intercom on his phone buzzed, and he pushed the button. “Yes, Debbie, what’s up?”
    “Are you busy right now? Can you take a quick appointment before lunch?”
    Zach glanced at the calendar on his computer. He was free for the next half hour, but he had counted on getting more work done for a local client whose business he was hoping to get. The work would be the nice steady work that was the bread and butter of his previous firm.
    But a client was a client, so he said yes.
    “I’ll send her in,” Debbie said.
    Zach took his copy of Carter and Emma’s will and slipped it into one of the large side drawers of his desk. It would go into the vault this afternoon.
    However, the her Debbie referred to didn’t come in right away. He heard the muted murmur of Carter’s and Emma’s voices from the anteroom, then realized his next client and Carter and Emma probably knew each other.
    Small towns, he thought with a smile, remembering how the same thing would happen in Whitehorse.
    Finally the door opened, and when Zach saw who came in, his stomach dropped.
    Renee Albertson. Why was she here?
    He steeled himself, trying not to let his concern and frustration from yesterday rise to the surface. Too easily he remembered the disappointment on Tricia’s face when Renee cut short their afternoon and then canceled their next visit. Obviously she couldn’t have been that busy today if she had time to see him now.
    Zach smoothed his tie as he stood, politely smiling as Renee entered his office, a hint of her flowery perfume preceding her. “Good afternoon, Ms. Albertson. What can I do for you today?” he said.
    In spite of his frustration, he still felt that momentary spark of attraction at the sight of her, which he tried to dismiss as simple loneliness. Renee seemed a complicated woman, and he didn’t need any more of that in his life.
    Renee twisted her hands together, shot a glance over her shoulder as Zach came around and closed the door behind her. He pulled out a chair for her to sit down, then he went behind his large wooden desk, putting some distance between them.
    Renee cleared her throat, then glanced past him at the picture he had on his bookshelf of Molly and Tricia. Her eyes rested there, and he caught a surprising wistful look, then she shook her head, as if dismissing it from

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