Authors: Amanda Heartley
Book 2 of Southern Belles
(Erotic Romance Series)
Kindle Edition. Copyright © 2013 - Amanda Heartley
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This is a work of fiction, for entertainment. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. All the characters in this book are 18+ and practice safe sex. This book is for 18+. Please keep away from children.
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Annie tapped her foot nervously as the attorney read Grandpa’s last Will and Testament. She couldn't believe the old man was gone. Poor Grandpa. When she found out he was sick, she rushed home as fast as she could, and now… he was gone and it was too late.
She sighed, fidgeting, as the attorney read "I, Graham Ulysses Gibbons, bequeath my entire estate to my one and only true love, my granddaughter, Annabelle Michelle Gibbons, which includes Gibbons Ranch at 17 RR2, Mountain View, Georgia, 600 acres of peach groves, and two million six hundred, seventy two thousand, four hundred and sixty four dollars and seventy two cents held in a trust at Georgia Bank and Trust to be transferred immediately after my passing".
Annie gasped. She felt faint and held on to the side of the desk. “Excuse me, Mr. Steinman did you say m-m-million?” She stuttered. Her head pounded and her throat felt like it was on fire.
Where did Gramps get all this money? Why did he live like a pauper? Working himself to death on the ranch?
The sound of her heartbeat drowned out the man’s voice as he read the rest of her Grandpa’s will....."Annabelle…..... true love..... peach groves....." She was sad. She missed her Grandpa so much and that was
hell of a lot of money
Annie sat down at the large oak table, trying not to think of all the memories that being home brought up. It didn’t matter that her grandfather had been old - it still hurt for her to know that she was alone in the world now. Losing her parents in an accident when she was a little girl was bad enough and her grandpa was all she had. Now he was gone, too.
Damn! Why didn’t he tell her?
She looked up and smiled as she saw her best friend Marti walk into the room carrying two oversized glasses of sweet tea. Marti had barely changed at all in the 8 years that Annie had been away in L.A. Her long red hair was still piled on top of her head in the Georgia heat. Big green eyes were as bright as ever, even through the tears. And of course, her perpetual grin. Marti always had a smile on her face. Time had been kind to Marti, her large breasts and rounded hips drew the attention of everyone who saw her.
She set the glasses down on the table, smiling up at Annie. “I’m gonna miss that old coot.” She slid one glass over to Annie, who took a long drink, gratefully. The humidity was beginning to get to her already, and she’d only been back in Georgia for a week. Marti looked sideways at her, a sly smile on her face. “Remember when he used to fuss at us for sneaking out? He was hilarious!” She lowered her voice “‘Damn you girls, I’m fixin’ to whoop your asses!’. They laughed. “Oh! Grandpa, we miss you already!”
Annie giggled, despite herself. Her grandfather hadn’t exactly had an easy time raising her all by himself. “Or when we tried to explain to him who the Barenaked Ladies were.”
Marti laughed. “He simply couldn’t wrap his mind around it. ‘Bare Naked what?’ he’d say, fussin’ that we’d be better off listening to his old fogey bands.”
They both laughed, but it didn’t take long for Annie to come back to reality. She really was going to miss him.
And the money? Where did that come from?
She hadn’t told anyone, she was still a bit leery about it all. They sat in silence for a moment. Annie’s face puffy and her eyes welling up with tears. Marti seemed to take the cue, and looked around, changing the subject.
“So, what are you going to do with the old place?”
Annie followed her gaze around the large room. The big ranch house was nice enough, but it had definitely seen better days. There were places where the paint was cracking and the wallpaper constantly peeled in the summer. Despite all of that, she found that she felt good when she was here. All the old creaks of the house felt like home. It was the ranch and the orchards outside that really worried her.
She shrugged. “I don’t know. I really don’t even want to think about it right now. Grandpa left me a little bit of money so I don’t need to decide right away. Maybe I’ll go back to L.A., stay here, I don’t know.” She blushed, thinking about Vic Rossen and Daveed back in Hollywood. “It’s not like I have anything going on back in L.A.”
Marti reached over to give Annie a hug. “Hey girl, you did your best. You’re young, you’re beautiful, and not to sound selfish, but, I’m really glad you came home where you belong.”
Annie smiled gratefully at her friend. She was glad to be home and she didn’t
to return to L.A. and her shattered dreams of being a movie star. That was a big joke. Hollywood was a big joke.
She looked around the big old house, smiling to herself a little. “Anyways, it’s nice to be home. I swear, this itty bitty town hasn’t changed at all.”
Marti grinned,”Oh yes it has! They finally built us a Mickey D’s. Woo-flippin hoo! No more driving into the city for a heart attack!” She shook her head, pretending to be excited.
Annie rolled her eyes, leaning back “Oh wow. Mickey D’s.”
Although the situation that brought her home was sad, it was good to be home. Marti continued to ramble on about all of the drama and gossip that had taken place while Annie was away, keeping everything light. As the night grew dark, the two girls quieted, switching their iced teas to a few glasses of wine.
Annie felt a bit nervous about spending the night alone in the big old house. At first, the sounds of the crickets had been soothing, compared to the busy rush of traffic and the hustle and bustle that she was used to in L.A. There were strange sounds and yips in the darkness that were pretty scary to her.
Even with the warmth of the wine and Marti’s company, she was still nervous. Annie knew that Marti had work the next day and she was getting ready to go home. Marti worked at the high school as a guidance counselor - a job she was perfect for. Marti made the best cheerleader in the world, and could convince anyone they could do anything. Unfortunately, it meant that Marti worked very early in the morning and couldn’t stay up so late on the weeknights anymore.
Marti stifled a yawn just as a loud howl echoed in the darkness around the house. Annie jumped, her hands gripping the table. Marti laughed. “Hey scaredy cat, It’s just the coyotes, relax! You do live in the country!”
Annie nodded, but she was still on edge. She forced herself to let go of the table, and wiped her sweaty hands on the legs of her pants. “I know, I just -” She shrugged. “I guess it’s been a long time since I’ve been home. I’m just not used to all these animal sounds”
Marti nodded. “You want to come over to my house tonight? It’s not as big and rambly, you might feel a bit safer?”
“No.” Annie shook her head. “I need to get used to this old house if I’m going to stay here.” She looked at Marti. “How about you stay the night over here? I know you have to leave early, but -”
Marti smiled. “Of course, hon.” She grinned, “It’ll be just like the good ol’ days, when we had slumber parties.”
Annie sighed. She didn’t feel like talking. It had been a long, emotional day. The two girls made their way up the rickety old stairs to Annie’s old room.
“You sure you’re alright, hon?” Marti asked for the third time on the phone. Annie nodded, even though Marti couldn’t see.
“Of course I’m alright; I’m going to be fine. I just had the heebie jeebies the other night. I grew up in this house, I’m a big girl, shouldn’t be scared of it at all.”
“Alrighty then,” Marti said, though she didn’t sound so sure. “Just holler if you need anything, okay?”
“Okay. Relax, I’ll call ya if I need to.” Annie said, hanging up the phone. She was glad that Marti cared about her, but she started to sound like an old lady, worrying like that. Annie needed to do this. It was her home and if she was going to stay here, she had better get used to it.
She returned to her daily task of cleaning the house. God, how she hated to clean. She should’ve hired someone but thankfully, the chore was almost complete.
Her Granddaddy had been awfully sick in the end, so a lot of simple things hadn’t gotten done. Georgia wasn’t like L.A. – In Georgia, if you didn’t clean the house, it started to fall apart. So she’d spent the last few days battling the eternal onslaught of mold and dirt. She only had a few more rooms before she was finished, and she was pretty proud of herself.
Of course, once she was done inside there would be the matter of the outside. Porch needed fixing, screens needed replacing and God only knows what else. It wasn’t like Granddaddy had done a lot of farming or fixing things in the last year of his life, but he’d tended his peach groves like they were his baby, and she hated to see them go to waste. She was sure that someone in town would be able to help her figure out what needed to be done.
When the job was finally done, Annie brought her cleaning buckets and supplies back into the kitchen and mud-room. She emptied the buckets and threw the last of the cloths into the washing machine, then into the huge kitchen to grab a late night snack and something to drink. The same as the night before, animal sounds were beginning to echo out in the darkness, and Annie was glad to have the warm lamplight all around her.
She turned on the TV, to catch a late night movie when she heard the back door rattle a little. She jumped; her heart felt like it was going to beat out of her chest. The door was locked and bolted, but it shook, and the latch sounded like it clicked up and down a few times.
Annie took a deep breath, telling herself that it was just Marti, or the wind. But she didn’t hear the wind; and Marti said she was going to stay at home that night. Hesitantly, she called out. “Marti? Marti is that you?”
For a moment the door quieted, but she didn’t hear Marti’s cheerful voice either. She tried to call out louder, but it just made her voice wobble more. “Marti? Hello? Girl, is that you?”
Nothing. After a long pause where Annie barely dared breathe, the door rattled in its frame. Annie screamed and ran. She suddenly felt trapped in the big house, with its big picture windows and old creaky doors. She stopped dead in her tracks, listening to the door rattling, looking for somewhere to hide.
She jumped into the coat closet just inside the front door and pulled the thick oak door closed behind her. She couldn’t hear anything, so she quietly pulled her phone out of her pocket, and dialed 911.
“911, what’s the emergency?”
“There’s someone trying to get into my house.” Annie breathed heavily. “I live at Gibbon’s Ranch, my Grandpa’s old house. I don’t know where to go, what to do. I’m in the boonies. Someone is here, outside, trying to get in. Send someone, please” Her heart was racing so fast, she could barely speak.
At last, the 911 operator spoke. “I know where you are. I’ve contacted dispatch and they are on their way.” Annie spoke in rushed, quick words, trying to listen through the stillness for any crashes or bangs. Or Heaven forbid…footsteps.
“Tell them to hurry.” Annie said, her breath coming in quick bursts and gasps. The operator replied, talking to her, trying to keep her on the line. Annie wished that she would be quiet so that she could hear what was going on outside the door.
After what seemed like an eternity, there was the sound of a police siren, and she heard a car pull up. Relief washed through her, and she dropped her phone as she burst out of the closet to the front door. “Dear Lord God Almighty! Thank you!” She cried and burst out through the front door just as the police officer stepped up onto the big wraparound porch.
“Howdy ma’am. Are you -”
She jerked to a stop, too scared to even get a good look at him, instead, pointing around the back of the house. “Someone was trying to get in my house; they were at the back door!”
He peered around the side of the house, nodding. “Alright, ma’am. Calm down. I’m here now. Please stay here and I’ll check around the back.”
The idea of returning to the house nearly paralyzed her. She grabbed his arm, her hand barely able to hold it. “Can’t I come with you?”
He put his hand on hers and held it for a second. It was warm and comforting. “No, ma’am,” looking at her with the biggest brown eyes she’d ever seen, as he shook his head. “That wouldn’t be safe. You stay here, I’ll check out back. It’ll just take me a minute. I promise, you’ll be safe. Don’t worry and holler if you hear anything.”