Lost and Found Sisters Read online

  Quinn finished up her shift by two in the afternoon. In hindsight, with Tilly gone she should’ve gone home to L.A. for an overnight visit. She wasn’t sure what it said about her that she hadn’t even thought about it.

  But then Skye blew her away by showing up to surprise her.

  With her parents.

  It was the very best kind of surprise.

  Her parents were so disappointed to miss seeing Tilly—and meeting Mick—but they were happy to see where Quinn was staying. “It’s beautiful here,” her mom said.

  “Not a bad place to build a life,” her dad said.

  Her mom took his hand, and looking both happy and a little bit sad, nodded. “I’m so proud of you, Quinn,” she said quietly. “So happy to see you being so strong and building yourself a life, one that wasn’t handed to you.”

  “Mom.” Quinn hugged her, realizing that no matter how overprotective they’d been at times, they really did love her. They loved her every bit as much as they had Beth.

  Which she also realized meant she could love Tilly every bit as much as she’d loved Beth too. “I want you to know that I’m grateful for everything you and Dad gave me. I should say that more.”

  Her mom nodded and squeezed her tight. Then she pulled free, swiped her tears from her face, and said, “I want to see the chickens.”

  So they visited the evil chickens.

  And no surprise, Tink loved her mom. The cat rubbed herself all over her mom’s black pants, leaving behind some brown fur clumps.

  “It’s okay,” her mom said, much to Quinn’s and her dad’s shock. The woman felt faint if she found so much as a stray thread on her clothes. “She’s a sweet thing.”

  Quinn watched her mom pet Tink. “Careful, Mom. You can pet her twice, but on the third time she’s going to bite you.”

  Her mom stroked Tink a third time and . . . Tink’s eyes drifted shut in bliss.

  Quinn just shook her head.

  The four of them went to the Whiskey River for dinner and the Bartender’s Special. They laughed, talked, laughed some more, and when it was time for Skye and Quinn’s parents to leave, they all hugged good-bye.

  “You should stay for a couple of days,” Quinn said, not wanting to let them go. “Or at least stay the night since it’s so late and it’s a long drive.”

  “Your dad has a golf game tomorrow.”

  “It’s a tournament,” her dad said. “I’m finally going to kick Ted’s ass.”

  Ted was the district attorney, and they’d been battling it out on the course for years.

  Her dad pointed at her. “Check your car fluids.”

  Quinn let out a low laugh and nodded as her heart tightened. “I will.”

  “I have to work tomorrow anyway,” Skye said. “I don’t want to come into Marcel’s crosshairs.” She paused and met Quinn’s gaze. “I didn’t want to ruin our day, but I don’t feel right not telling you. Word is Chef Wade’s looking for a new sous-chef.”

  It was a direct hit to the gut. But she didn’t blame him. Not in the least. “It’s okay,” she told Skye. “It’s going to be okay.” Somehow . . .

  Skye smiled and nodded, but she didn’t look like she was sure.

  Which was fair because Quinn wasn’t sure either.

  QUINN DIDN’T SLEEP well. Correction: at all. She was worried about her job. Worried about whether Tilly was okay while camping. Worried about how much time she spent thinking about Mick . . . She’d held back with him because they didn’t have a future.

  But was she doing the right thing?

  “No,” Beth said. “You’re not doing the right thing at all. But please, carry on as you will, like you always do.”

  Quinn nearly leaped out of her skin. She flipped on the light and found Beth sitting on the end of her bed. “Jesus.”

  Beth smiled. “The answer is still no. But don’t let that stop you. You’re the most stubborn woman I’ve ever met, and you’ll figure it out eventually. Hopefully.”

  “What?” Quinn demanded. “What will I figure out?”

  But of course, Beth was gone. “Dammit!” she yelled. “I really hate it when you do that!”


  Tink was perched on top of the extra pillow. The cat came and went, but mostly came, staying near Quinn as often as possible.

  Tink stood up, stretched, and made herself comfortable—on Quinn.

  They cuddled through the rest of the night. The next morning, Quinn woke up and called Chef Wade. Yes, he was thinking he needed to hire someone, and she absolutely 100 percent understood. She had mixed feelings about her job in the first place. But . . . she wasn’t ready to let go of it. She told him school would be out in two weeks and that if he hadn’t found someone to replace her by then, she’d love to come back. And stay.

  He was so hugely relieved by that, she utterly believed him when he told her he didn’t want anyone else and that they could make do until she returned.

  With that weight off her chest, she once again worked at the café and then went back to Carolyn’s house and tried to take simple pleasure in the small changes she’d made, removing some of the clutter to the attic, clearing out a little bit more from the craft room to make her feel more at home.

  She eyed the small desk and gave in to temptation, unlocking it and removing Carolyn’s journal.

  Tilly came home smiling today.


  She got a B in her history class, and after the struggle she’s had over grades for the past several years before we discovered she was dyslexic, this is a miracle.

  Of course we owe it all to Dylan, who tutors her as often as he can, which is less now since his parents’ messy divorce. Tilly took that hard.

  And then came my diagnosis, which she took even harder.

  She’s had so much to deal with, so very much, that I don’t have the heart to tell her just how bad it is.

  People leave her; her father, Dylan, and now, though she doesn’t yet know it, me.

  I’m so scared for her. Terrified, really. So much so that I’m willing to do something I promised I wouldn’t.

  I’m going to find Quinn.

  Quinn slowly shut the journal. So now she had the answer to the question of why Carolyn had come looking for her.

  She’d needed someone to look after Tilly.

  However Quinn felt about that, the fact remained that without her, Tilly was far too alone. She blew out a breath and put the journal back, shutting the drawer a little harder than necessary.

  She headed through the house to the living room, Tink on her heels.

  The sun beat in windows that were old and not dual paned, so the house was hot. The air conditioner had apparently gone on the fritz a long time ago. A fast, cheap fix would be some quality window shades to keep out the afternoon sun. Then there was the fact that of the two bathrooms, only one shower worked, and that one only trickled out tepid water.

  She missed hot water. A lot.

  The dishwasher was broken. And so was the lock on the back door. The list went on and on.

  Whether they kept this house and rented it out, or sold it and the café, either way there needed to be some serious upgrades. Before they left for L.A., which they still needed to talk about.

  The problem about fixing the house was money. Chef Wade paid her decently—when she was working there, that is. But the pay scale at the café wasn’t exactly comparable and she was wracking up her own personal bills, including the last of her school debt. Her parents had offered to pay her school loans off several times, but it had been a point of pride with her.

  She’d wanted to do something for herself.

  She wouldn’t ask them for help with this. She couldn’t.

  Which meant it was time for some tough decisions. She’d just lowered the price on her car in her ad when the front door slammed.

  Quinn turned and looked at Tilly as she stepped into the living room. She wondered when would be the right time to bring up the whole moving to L.A. thin