Lost and Found Sisters Read online

  “Wait, honey. There’s no need to make a hasty decision,” one of her new friends said. “What if he’s suitably employed, with no baggage?”

  “Impossible,” Dry Vagina said. “That’d be like finding a unicorn.”

  “Are you a unicorn?” the first woman asked him.

  Harry Potter looked at Quinn with more than a little desperation. “Can I please talk to you . . . alone?”

  “Not alone,” the first woman said. “That sounds like stranger danger. You can do your pickup-line magic right here, or better yet, do it online like the rest of the world.”

  The guy never took his gaze off Quinn. “You’re Quinn Weller, right?”

  Wait a minute. How did he know her name? “Okay,” she said. “You’re going to need to go first.”

  “I’m Cliff Porter,” he said. “I’m an attorney and I really need a word with you. Privately.”

  She stared at him, trying to come up with a reason why an attorney would be looking for her.

  “Porter or Potter?” Dry Vagina asked. “Because Potter would make more sense.”

  He looked pained. “I get that a lot, but it’s Porter.”

  “How do you know my name?” Quinn asked.

  “Look, can we just . . .” He gestured to a small table off to the side of the line.

  Torn between curiosity and a healthy sense of survival, Quinn hesitated. “I’ll be late for work.”

  “This will only take a minute.”

  Reluctantly, she stepped out of line and moved to the table. “You’ve got one minute.”

  He took a deep breath. “As I said, I’m an attorney. I located you through a mutual acquaintance.”

  “Who’s that?”

  “I’ll get to her in a minute. She let me know I could find you here in the mornings rather than scare you by tracking you down at your place of residence. I’m from Wildstone, a small town about two hundred miles north. I’m here to give you news of an inheritance. It’s important we talk about it because—”

  “I’ve never even heard of Wildstone,” Quinn said. “I certainly don’t know anyone from there.”

  He nodded like he knew this. “We’re a small coastal ranching town that sits in a bowl between the Pacific Coast and wine country. Maybe you should sit,” he said quietly, and also very kindly she had to admit. “Because the rest of this is going to be a surprise.”

  “I don’t like surprises,” she said, “and you have thirty seconds left.”

  It was clear from his expression that he wasn’t happy about having to go into the details in public, but as he was a stranger and maybe also a crackpot, too damn bad. He drew in a deep breath. “The person who left you this inheritance was your birth mother.”

  She stared at him and then slowly sank into the before-offered chair without looking, grateful it was right behind her. “You’re mistaken,” she finally managed, shaking her head. “I wasn’t adopted.”

  He gave her a wan smile. “I’m really sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but you were.”

  “I have parents,” she said. “Lucinda and James Weller.”

  “They adopted you when you were two days old.”

  The shock of that reverberated through her body. “No,” she whispered. Heart suddenly racing, palms clammy, she shook her head. “They would’ve told me. There’s absolutely no way . . .”

  “Again, I’m very sorry,” Cliff said quietly. “But it’s true. They adopted you from Carolyn Adams.” He pulled a picture from his briefcase and pushed it across the table toward her.

  And Quinn’s heart stopped. Because Carolyn was the woman she’d met here in this very coffee shop.

  Chapter 2

  My mom always said that right before she died she wanted to swallow a bunch of popcorn kernels to make her cremation more interesting. She totally would’ve done it too, if she’d gotten the heads-up that her number had been picked.

  —from “The Mixed-Up Files of Tilly Adams’s Journal”

  Quinn found herself sitting on the curb outside the coffee shop, staring blindly at her Lexus, the car her parents had given her last year even though she’d wanted something less expensive.

  Her parents. Who might not really be her parents . . .

  “Here,” Cliff said, pushing a cup of cold water into her hands as he sat next to her. “Drink this.”

  She took the cup in two shaking hands and gulped down the water, wishing a little bit that it was vodka. “You’re mistaken,” she said again. “Carolyn was just a woman I met here. We spoke only a few times.”

  “Three.” Cliff gazed at her sympathetically. “She told me about the visits. She always came here instead of your condo or work because it was a social setting and she felt she could approach you here. She’d come to get a peek at you whenever she could, born from the desperate curiosity of a woman who had haunting regrets.”

  Quinn shook her head, unable to descramble her brain. “I don’t understand.”

  “She knew she was terminal,” he said. “She had every intention of telling you all of this herself, but she ran out of time. And what she left behind is important because—”

  “Wait.” Quinn closed her eyes, just now realizing what he was telling her.

  Carolyn was dead.

  Cliff took the cup of water from her before she could drop it. “The funeral was a few days ago,” he said quietly. “We really need to talk, Quinn. In Wildstone. There are things you don’t know that you need to.”

  Quinn let out a sound that might have been a mirthless laugh or a half sob, she wasn’t sure. She shook her head for what felt like the hundredth time in the past few minutes, but the cobwebby feeling didn’t clear.

  It couldn’t be true, any of it. Harry Potter here was just a stalker, a good one. Or maybe a scammer. She hated to think that the nice woman she’d known could be a part of some kind of con, but she simply couldn’t accept that her parents wouldn’t have told her she’d been adopted. “I don’t want any part of this.” She stood up and a wave of dizziness hit her.

  Cliff rose to his feet too and put his hand on her arm to steady her, looking at her with nothing but kindness and concern in his gaze. “Take my wand.”

  She focused in on him, expecting to see a lightning-bolt scar on his forehead. “What?”

  “My card,” he said, the furrow between his brows deepening with concern. “Take my card. Think about it and give me a call tomorrow so we can talk about the inheritance. We really need to talk about the inheritance, Quinn.” He paused. “Are you going to be all right?”

  “Yeah. Sure,” she said and drove to work on autopilot, where she proceeded to spill things, plate the wrong entrées, make silly mistakes like using shallots instead of onions—

  “What the hell’s wrong with you?” Marcel demanded. “Get out of my kitchen until your head’s screwed on straight!”

  For once he was right. Her head was most definitely not screwed on straight.

  They adopted you when you were two days old . . .

  “Are you even listening to me?” Marcel yelled up at her. Up, because he was five feet two to her five feet seven, something that normally gave her great pleasure. “Du flittchen,” he muttered in disgust beneath his breath and the entire staff froze in the kitchen like deer in the headlights.


  Quinn set down her knife so she wasn’t tempted to run him through as she turned to him. “Schiebe ex,” she said, which meant “shove it.” It was the best she could do, at least in German. Pushing past him, she walked out of the kitchen.

  “Where are you going?” he screamed after her. “You can’t just leave!”

  But leaving was exactly what she was doing.

  Skye followed her outside. “Quinn? You okay? What’s going on?”

  “You’ve got to go back in there before he gets mad at you too,” Quinn said.

  Skye shrugged. “He was born mad. Talk to me.”

  So Quinn told her what had happened at the coffee shop, and Skye ju