Restless in Carolina

Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tamara Leigh
Tags: Christian fiction
it back and forth, as if to give his energy an outlet.
    Come on, I’m out of the bridge-burning business. All gussied up. Wearing heels, a skirt that seriously constricts my stride, and a jacket that has nothing on denim. Say yes
.
    Nothing. I look to his visitors. “I apologize for interruptin’ your importantmeeting, but I need to discuss something with Mr. Dirk that can’t wait. Do you mind?”
    “I’ll call security.” Ms. Wiley picks up the phone. And her employer doesn’t stop her.
    Fortunately, I already don’t like the man. Unfortunately, my chance of preserving something of my family’s estate is going bye-bye.
    I set the briefcase on the end of the table opposite J. C. Dirk. “You’re looking for a new challenge.” According to the article. “And I have just the one for you.” I press the briefcase’s latches, but they resist.
    “Security,” Ms. Wiley says, “would you send an officer to Dirk Developers? We have an intruder in our conference room.”
    I suppose I am an intruder, though she makes it sound as if I’m armed. What’s with these latches? I wiggle them. It’s as if they’re—
    They are. From the inside pocket of my jacket, I dig out the key. Piper told me to carry it in my wallet, but since she barred me from wearing a fanny pack and I saw no reason to tote a purse when there was plenty of room in the briefcase for my wallet, I kept it close.
    I hold it up for all to see—J.C., who raises a very visible eyebrow and rolls the pen faster, Ms. Wiley, who returns the handset to the cradle, and their visitors, who settle back with strained patience.
    I spring the lid and grab the portfolio Piper helped me put together. “The Pickwick Estate, over five hundred prime acres located in picturesque Pickwick, North Carolina.” I open the portfolio to a highlighted map and turn it face out. “Less than an hour’s drive east of the famed Biltmore Estate.” I trace the highway between Asheville and Pickwick with an acrylic-tipped fingernail, then glance at J.C. to see if he’s still with me. He is.
    “Easy in, easy out, by car or plane. An investment opportunity foran eco-friendly development, ideally along the lines of the Biltmore Estate, offering tours of the mansion and gardens. Perhaps an on-site hotel but modest so it doesn’t overshadow or
impinge
”—fancy word courtesy of vocabulary-conscious Maggie—“on the natural environment. For instance, your award-winning oceanside development, Mr. Dirk.”
    He stops twisting the pen. A good sign?
    “Correct me if I’m wrong”—the drawl of the South peeks above the surface of his voice—“but there’s good hunting in those parts.”
    I stiffen. “Yes, and plenty. No need to add to it.” I clear my throat. “Nature walks, bicycling, canoeing, and horseback riding are more the speed of the development I’m talkin’ about.”
    He leans back. And smiles lightly.
    Did he just push my buttons? It would seem so. Had I stamped
tree hugger
on my forehead, it would have been seriously redundant.
    “Your concern for the environment is admirable, Ms. Buchanan, but should I decide to be interested in the”—his gaze grazes the portfolio—“Pickwick estate, why would I go through you and not another real estate agent?”
    “Another …?” Is this the reason for the brush-off? Ms. Wiley’s assumption that a real estate agent was behind my calls? Although I didn’t say anything to that effect, it’s a valid assumption considering the business Dirk Developers is in.
    Relief flows through me like a cool-water dip on a Carolina summer day. “I’m not a real estate agent.”
    J. C. Dirk tilts his head to the side. “Then what are you, Ms. Buchanan?”
    “I’m Bridget
Pickwick
Buchanan.”
    He startles. Well, his eyes—a momentary widening I might havemissed were I not so intent on him. Then those eyes dip to my barren left hand, sweep back up, and shift left and right of my face.
    What? I gave myself a good ironing with the

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