The Carriage House

The Carriage House by Carla Neggers Read Free Book Online

Book: The Carriage House by Carla Neggers Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carla Neggers
He’d been very proud. “It’s a great place, Tess. I know I can trust you with it.”
    She passed the pictures across the bar to her father.
    He put on his reading glasses and took a look. “Tess. Jesus. It is a barn.”
    â€œI’m telling you,” Davey said, “it’s got snakes.”
    Davey was getting on Tess’s nerves. She almost told him the place was haunted by a convicted murderer whose descendants lived next door, never mind that one of them was a six-year-old who thought she was a princess. But she said nothing, because arguing with Davey Ahearn only encouraged him.
    â€œIt’s in Beacon-by-the-Sea, Pop. Remember when we used to go up there for picnics on the beach?”
    â€œYeah. I remember.” He took off his glasses and pushed the pictures back to her. “Long commute.”
    â€œIt’d be a while before I could move in, and I’m not sure I would. If business keeps up, I could keep it as a weekend place.”
    â€œOld as it is,” Davey went on, as if he’d never stopped, “it’s probably got asbestos, lead pipes. Lead paint.”
    â€œSo? I could buy a duplex up the street with lead paint and asbestos.”
    Davey eased off the bar stool. “Now, why would you want to buy a place in a neighborhood with people who’ve known you your whole life? That wouldn’t make any sense when you can fix up some goddamn barn some goddamn rich nut gave you in a quaint little town up on the North Shore where not only no one knows you, no one wants to know you.”
    â€œThat’s pure prejudice, Davey, and I earned the carriage house. It wasn’t ‘given’ to me.” Except she’d thought she’d have to do more work to really earn it, although Ike had never put that on paper. Technically, the carriage house was hers, free and clear of everything but taxes.
    â€œYou know I’m telling the truth.” Davey walked heavily over to her, this big man she’d known since she was in a crib. Her godfather. “You’ve lost sight of who you are, where you come from.”
    â€œDavey, I’m sitting here eating clam chowder in my father’s pub. I haven’t lost sight of anything.”
    He snorted, but kissed her on the cheek, his mustache tickling her. “You need a plumber for that barn of yours, kid, give me a call. I’ll see what I can do. If it’s hopeless, I’ll bring a book of matches. You can collect the insurance.”
    Tess fought back a smile. “Davey, you’re impossible.”
    â€œHa. Like you’re not.”
    The guys at the tables ragged him about the bald spot on the back of his head, and he gave them the finger and left.
    â€œYou’re thirty-four years old, Tess.” Her father exhaled a long, slow breath, as if his own words had taken him by surprise. “I can’t be telling you what to do.”
    â€œThat’s not what I was worried about. I was worried you’d talk me out of doing something before I could figure out for myself if it was something I really wanted to do.”
    â€œAnd since when have I done that?”
    â€œIt could have happened today.”
    â€œYou want to keep this place?”
    â€œI’m thinking seriously about it, Pop.”
    â€œWell, so be it. How ‘bout a piece of pie?”
    â€œWhat do you have?”
    â€œLemon meringue.”
    She smiled. “Perfect.”
    Davey Ahearn was smoking a cigarette on his front stoop across the street from the pub when Tess headed out into the cool evening. He walked over to her. “You take the subway?” He tossed his cigarette onto the street. “I’ll walk you to the station.”
    There was no point in telling him she could see herself to the subway station. He’d walk with her, anyway. “Thanks.”
    He glanced at her as they headed to the corner. “You didn’t tell him about the ghost, did

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