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Finding her birth family was Kathy Dunstad’s dream. When they found her it became more or a nightmare. Not only have they left her a wealthy woman, but also she must contend with skeletons in the closet as well as ghosts in the living room.
Once she comes to grips with the dead, she must then deal with the living. There’s more to consider than just her birth mother’s family that offers financial stability. There is also her birth father that wants to give her emotional stability as well.
“Hello?” The woman who answered the phone pronounced the word with a Northern accent, but the undertone was one that could almost be called sultry.
Tommy Lee took a deep breath. If he didn’t know better, he would have called her Miss Charlotte. The only thing missing from her voice was a Southern drawl.
“Is this Kathy Dunstad? Kathryn Bennett Dunstad?”
“Yes it is, but I don’t recognize your voice.”
“I’m sorry. I had to be certain I contacted the right person. My name is Tommy Lee Harris. I’m a private investigator with the law firm of Goodson, Reynolds, Seaton and Clay of Raleigh, North Carolina. We represent the estate of your birth family.”
“Estate?” Kathy asked.
“Yes, estate. Perhaps we could arrange for a meeting this afternoon at my hotel?”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Harris, I’m not in the habit of meeting strange men in hotel rooms. You could be anyone.”
“I assure you this is no hoax. I do understand your reluctance to meet with me. Is it possible to arrange to meet this evening for dinner? Of course, you can bring your husband with you.”
When she finally agreed to the meeting, he hung up the phone. He cursed at the way he had handled the call. He’d sounded like a fool. For the first time, he wished he’d never taken this job. Even with his wife and children excited about Kathy, he knew he couldn’t reveal his true identity to her.
“Damn you, Miss Charlotte. Why did you want to find her? Why did you want me to find her?” he asked, aloud.
He received no answers. He knew Miss Charlotte had no idea who’d fathered her granddaughter. If she knew, she would never have agreed to hire him. He hadn’t been good enough to date Connie Montgomery then. He certainly would never be good enough to be Kathy’s father today.
Tommy Lee stared at the phone, wondering what tonight’s meeting would bring. The tension of finding Kathy suddenly became almost too much to take. This whole trip seemed jinxed. Driving to the Raleigh airport yesterday had proven stressful as well. A three-car pile-up just ahead of him delayed his arrival for the flight. Thank heavens the plane had been late in taking off.
The flight itself even turned into a disaster. Turbulence made flying conditions less than desirable. The ‘fasten seat belt’ sign never went off. The woman beside him never shut up and to make matters worse, some baby on board cried through the entire trip.
The announcement of the flight being diverted to O’Hare from Milwaukee due to bad weather came as no surprise. He’d expected to get in around five and be to his hotel by seven or eight at the latest. Instead, they circled at Milwaukee then landed at Detroit to await permission to land in Chicago.
O’Hare was a zoo. Airline personnel apologized for the delay and offered disgruntled passengers hotel accommodations for the night plus flights to Milwaukee in the morning, once the weather cleared.
Tommy Lee didn’t wait. He declined the voucher for the hotel. Once he claimed his luggage, he made his way to the car rental desk. The girl he handed his confirmation to, looked at him like he’d just landed from Mars rather than Raleigh.
“This reservation is for Milwaukee, Mr. Harris,” she observed. “You’re in Chicago.”
“I know damn good and well where I am. I want a car tonight. I’ll be dropping it in Milwaukee on Sunday.”
“I don’t know if we can accommodate you,” she continued, her voice sounding more like a whiny child than a professional woman.
“Look lady, this has been one hell of a day. I’ve been on the road since ten this morning. If you can’t accommodate me, I’m certain your competitors will.”
“Is there a problem here, Janice?” an older man wearing a blazer identical to the one the girl wore asked.
“I’ll say there’s a problem,” Tommy Lee retorted without giving the girl a chance to answer. “I’ve been delayed by an accident, diverted from Milwaukee due to weather and now I’m told you can’t accommodate me.”
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 322
Paper Weight (lb): 13.6
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