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"You're working over Thanksgiving?"
Morgan heard the surpriseand disapprovalin Grant Kincaid's voice, and frowned in annoyance. It was the same reaction she'd gotten from A.J., who had made it clear that she thought her sister was a workaholic without a life. Morgan hadn't liked it then; she didn't like it now.
"I happen to be committed to my job," Morgan replied stiffly. "In my world, working on holidays is a way of life. That's how you get ahead."
She braced herself for another negative comment. But he surprised her.
"Well, just let me know when you plan to come up and I'll have the cottage ready," he said.
"I'll do that. In the meantime, I'd like to get an appraisal done on the property."
There was a note of caution in his voice when he responded. "May I ask why?"
Her patience waning, Morgan glanced at her watch. "It will be extremely difficult for me to meet the residency stipulation in my great-aunt's will, Mr. Kincaid. I have trouble taking off four days, let alone four weeks. So before I spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how to juggle my life to allow for several weeks in Maine, I want to make sure it's worth my while. Besides, we'll need to get an appraisal before we sell, anyway."
"You're planning to sell?" He made no attempt to disguise the shock in his voice.
"Of course. What would I do with a cottage in Maine?"
"Maybe the same thing your aunt did. Spend time here, relax, regain perspective. It's a beautiful spot."
Morgan gave a frustrated sigh. "I'm sure it's lovely, Mr. Kincaid. But as I explained, I have little time for that kind of thing."
"The cottage was very special to your aunt."
"I understand that. But holding on to a place I'll never use doesn't make good business sense. Of course you'd certainly be welcome to buy my share at the end of six months, assuming I even make it that far."
"That's kind of you. But the property is way out of my price range."
Was there a touch of sarcasm in his comment? Morgan couldn't be sure, but she didn't have time to waste wondering about it. She had a presentation to finalize for a meeting that would be starting in less than an hour. Further discussion of Aunt Jo's cottage would have to wait.
"Look, I need to run. We can talk about that at some point in the future. In the meantime, can you take care of the appraisal?"
"Fine. I'll try to get up to Maine soon. The cottage looks to be about a four-hour drive from Boston. Is that right?"
"More like five, if you're not familiar with the back roads."
"Okay. I'll try to make a weekend trip soon."
"I'll look forward to it."
This time there was no mistaking the sarcasm in his tone. Nor the fact that he didn't think much of her priorities. Just like her sister. Come to think of it, he and A.J. would have been ideal co-owners of the cottage, Morgan reflected. Too bad Aunt Jo hadn't paired them up.
Grant replaced the receiver and turned to find his father watching him.
"I take it that was Jo's great-niece?" Andrew Kin-caid said.
"Sounded like an interesting conversation from this end."
"Were you eavesdropping?" Grant asked with a smile.
"Of course. That's what family is for," he replied, his blue eyes twinkling.
Grant chuckled. He and his father didn't have many secrets. Nor did anyone in his extended family. He'd always been close to his sister, Kit, and her husband, Bill, the pastor at their church. And he doted on his fifteen-year-old twin nieces. He also had a deep love and affection for his uncle, who worked with him and his dad in the cabinet shop. They were a small but close-knit bunch.
Except for his mother, of course.
Which brought him back to Morgan Williams.
"Interesting is a good way to describe the conversation." He shook his head. "She's a piece of work."
"When I suggested she come up to take a look at the cottage over Thanksgiving, she told me she'd be working."
"My exact reaction. And she did not appreciate it."
"So when is she coming up?"
"Who knows? But in the meantime, she asked me to get an appraisal on the property, because she plans to sell."
The older man pondered that. "How do you feel about letting the place go?"
Grant shrugged, but his eyes were troubled. "There won't be much choice if she wants to sell, unless we can find someone who's willing to buy her half and take me on as co-owner."
"Maybe she'll change her mind when she sees it."