Read an Excerpt
Always In Her Heart
By Marta Perry
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
Copyright © 2003
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
"Marry you?" Annie Gideon stared, incredulous, at Link Morgan's determined face. "Why would I marry you? I don't even
The annoyed expression Link so often wore when he looked at her intensified. "Maybe you'd better figure out a way,
Annie. Because if you don't, we're both going to lose what we value most."
The headache that had been throbbing since the double funeral the day before clutched at her temples. "Why on earth are
you saying something so preposterous now? And why here?"
Link gave a quick glance around the living room of her sister's house, as if reminding himself that the delicate French
Provincial furniture was as charming as Becca had been. Then he zeroed in on Annie.
Her heart gave a rebellious thump. Everything about Link, from his piercing dark eyes to his square jaw to his
confident stride, proclaimed that here was a man who knew what he wanted and would do whatever it took to get it. She,
of all people, knew just how accurate that impression was.
He'd exchanged the dark suit he'd worn at the funeral for gray pants and a black sweater that still gave an aura of
mourning. But mourning or not, he was clearly back to business.
"Sorry. I know this is a bad time." His deep voice softened slightly. "But time is just what we don't have. The fact
that Davis and Becca died without making a will has put both of us between a rock and a hard place."
The pastel room swam before her eyes, and the scent of the lilies she'd brought from the funeral cloyed. She forced
back a wave of sorrow. If she didn't control it, grief for her sister would submerge every other instinct. She'd be no
good to anyone, especially Marcy.
The thought of her twenty-month-old niece, napping unaware in the upstairs nursery, strengthened her. She frowned at
the man who'd been Davis's partner and best friend.
"I don't see what's so complicated about it. Doesn't Marcy automatically inherit everything?"
"Exactly." Link's straight, even features might have been chiseled from stone. "That's the problem. The baby inherits
this house, whatever property Davis owned and Davis's thirty percent of the firm."
Light dawned. He was worried about the construction company he and Davis had shared.
"I can't imagine that will make any difference to the way you run the company. Marcy's certainly not going to
Contempt probably sounded in her voice. Link's best friend and her sister were dead, victims of a wet road and a
missing guardrail, and apparently all Link could think about was his business.
"You don't get it, do you?" A strand of dark hair fell on his forehead, accentuating his lowered brows.
"What do you imagine is going to happen now to all this?" His gesture seemed to take in the gracious house that had
been in the Conrad family for generations, the construction company, even the sleeping child upstairs.
She turned away from that intimidating stare, trying to get her bearings in a world that was suddenly alien. The wide
front windows of Becca's home overlooked the town square with its flower beds and gazebo, surrounded by
early-twentieth-century shops. She caught a glimpse of blue lake through the trees. Lakeview was a delightful Finger
Lakes village, but it had been her sister's place. She didn't belong here.
"I don't know about the property," she said finally. "I guess Davis's lawyer will have to figure that out. If I have to
stay until things are settled, I will. Then I'll take Marcy back to Boston with me."
"They won't let you."
For an instant her mind refused to process the words. Then she spun to face him, the room seeming to spin with her.
"What are you talking about? Who won't let me?"
"Little Marcy inherits everything." He spaced the words out as if he spoke to someone who didn't have a grasp of the
English language. "Whoever controls her controls her inheritance. If you think Davis's cousins will let you walk away
with Conrad property, you'd better think again. Frank and Julia are the only Conrad relatives left, except for an
She told herself he was crazy, because she couldn't face the possibility that he was right. "Frank and Julia Lester
don't want to be bothered with a baby. Even though they live nearby, the Lesters have never shown any interest in
Marcy." In fact, Becca had said the Lesters bluntly proclaimed they wouldn't have a family because children might
interfere with their social life.
"Maybe not." A bitter smile touched Link's mouth and then vanished. "But now that Marcy's inherited, I suspect the
Lesters are going to discover that they've always adored her and want her to live with them."
She pressed her hand hard against the oval marble-topped table. "They can't have her. They don't love her. I'm Marcy's
closest living relative. With Davis's parents deceased and my mother's illness, there isn't anyone else. Naturally I'll
take responsibility for her."
"Naturally." Something that might have been amusement threaded Link's deep voice. "Annie is the responsible one. You
always took care of Becca, didn't you?"
"I always tried." Memory pricked her. "Just as you always tried to protect Davis, even when he didn't need protecting."
A grimace marred Link's features. "I wondered how long it would take you to bring that up. It's been eight years,
Annie. Can't you forget?"
"No." She shot the word back before she considered, but it was true. She could never forget the summer she and Becca
had met Davis and Link, because that was when she'd tumbled head-over-heels into first love.
He seemed to consider that abrupt negative for a moment. "Why? Davis and Becca forgave me. Why can't you?"
Excerpted from Always In Her Heart
by Marta Perry
Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd..
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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