Lost and Found Sisters Read online



  feat and there were more than a few squabbles.

  “Get off me!” Big Hank said to Not-Big-Hank.

  “Why is your hand on my ass?” Greta asked Lou.

  “That’s not my hand . . .”

  Which caused a tussle until Trinee put her fingers to her mouth and let out an ear-piercing whistle that had everyone shutting up.

  “Better,” she said.

  Fifteen minutes later, there was still no sign of Lena, so Quinn went to the kitchen and called her. “Where are you?” she demanded.

  “At home,” Lena said. “In my pj’s having a Real Housewives marathon with a pizza. Happy birthday to me.”

  Quinn pressed her fingers to her eye sockets. “You were supposed to come here at seven. To have dinner with me.”

  “Yeah,” she said. “I’m tired. And coming down with a cold. So I’m not coming.”

  Dammit. “Listen to me,” Quinn said. “I put together a party for you. It’s supposed to be a surprise—”

  “Oh, I know all about it.”

  Quinn pulled the phone from her ear and stared at it before bringing it back up. “If you knew, then why aren’t you here?”

  “I already told you,” Lena said casually. “I don’t want to. I’m not coming to a pity party.”

  “It’s not a pity party!”

  “Swear it,” Lena said. “Swear that your plan wasn’t to be nice to me because you felt sorry for me.”

  Quinn closed her eyes and counted to five. “How about I swear not to be nice to you?”

  Lena paused. “That might work.”

  Quinn ground her back teeth into powder. “Okay, then I swear not to be nice to you. Now get your skinny ass dressed and down here right now or—”

  “I’m going through a tunnel,” Lena said. “About to lose reception—”

  “Lena, I swear to God—”

  Disconnect.

  Quinn growled and texted her.

  QUINN:

  You’ll never guess who just pulled into town for gas on his way home to Hollywood and needs a haircut from Wildstone’s best hairdresser. I’m holding him hostage here. If you don’t show up, I’ll do his hair myself and tell him you trained me.

  LENA:

  You’re such a bitch.

  QUINN:

  I come by it naturally. You’ve got ten minutes.

  Quinn shoved her phone away and drew a deep breath for calm. It didn’t work. She walked outside to draw in some better air. Still no calm to be had. She played a few games of Words With Friends—Skye was kicking her ass.

  When she could breathe without chest pain, she moved around to the front of the café and found more people had arrived, including Mick if his dad’s truck was any indication. All of which ensured that she was no better composed when she walked in the front door.

  Everyone jumped up and yelled, “Surprise!” and “Happy birthday!” . . . until they saw it was her.

  Quinn sighed. “Good news,” she said. “We can eat the cake now.”

  Mick broke from the crowd and came to her, reaching for her hand and pulling her into him.

  Her body went, like it was made to be pressed up against his.

  “There’s bad news and good news,” he said.

  Eyes closed, she snuggled in. She didn’t care what it was, as long as he didn’t let go. “Tell me.”

  When he didn’t speak, she pulled back enough to meet his gaze. “Bad news first.”

  His mouth twitched, so she knew it couldn’t be worse than being stood up by Lena.

  “We already ate the cake,” he said.

  “And the good news?”

  “I hid away a piece for you.”

  She stared up at him and it just popped out, utterly without conscious thought or guile. “God, I love you.”

  There was a beat of stunned disbelief on his part—and okay, on her part too because she had no idea where the words had come from. Horrified, she tried to pull free but Mick tightened his grip on her. “Quinn.” His voice was low and gruff with some emotion she wasn’t capable of translating at the moment.

  “Hey, you two,” Greta said, coming up to their side with Trinee. “We can always turn this party into my surprise party.”

  “Your birthday’s not for two more months,” Trinee said.

  “So?”

  “No one’s stealing my party,” Lena said from behind them as she walked into the café.

  Not in pj’s.

  Not looking sick or tired.

  In fact, she wore a killer dress and looked perfectly made up, not a hair out of place.

  Quinn couldn’t decide whether to strangle her or hug her. Scratch that. She didn’t have the brain power for that, or anything beyond what she’d just said to Mick.

  “So where is he?” Lena asked, looking around. “The Hollywood star who needs his hair done?”

  “I lied,” Quinn said.

  Lena stared at her, the very slightest bit of admiration in her gaze. “I must say, as the queen of bullshitting, I respect what you’ve done. But also, I hate you.”

  “Right back at you,” Quinn said.

  Lena turned to the crowd. “What’s a birthday girl got to do to get a piece of cake around here?”

  They gave her the last piece of cake and poured drinks—apple cider in deference to Boomer’s attendance—and when everyone had a glass, they lifted it in a toast but no one spoke. They all looked around at each other awkwardly.

  No one had anything nice to say to the birthday girl.

  Quinn hadn’t seen this coming but she should have, so she drew in a deep breath to speak and . . . met Lena’s dark and getting darker gaze, daring her to go back on her word.

  I swear not to be nice to you.

  Okay, then. Here went nothing. She cleared her throat. “When I came to Wildstone, Lena was one of the first people I met. She was . . .”

  Lena’s eyes narrowed dangerously.

  “. . . possibly the scariest woman I’d ever talked to,” Quinn said, and everyone looked nervously at Lena to see how she’d take this.

  Lena smiled.

  Quinn lifted her glass a little bit higher. “She told me that the best things in life either make you fat, drunk, or pregnant . . .”

  Everyone burst out laughing, including Lena.

  “And,” Quinn went on, “not to stroke her ego, but she’s probably right.”

  “Always am,” Lena said and toasted Quinn back, nodding her head in acceptance of the un-friend toast.

  And thus cemented one of the oddest friendships Quinn had ever had. The oddest and yet the most real since Beth had been alive.

  Chapter 33

  No matter how much you eat, there’s always room for dessert. Dessert doesn’t go to the stomach, dessert goes to the heart. Learned that from my mom and it’s true.

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

  That night Tilly was in bed, lights off, on her phone playing a game when she suddenly remembered the box she’d hidden under her bed. The one filled with the baby things her mom had made for Quinn before she’d given her up for adoption.

  Guilt swamped her for keeping the box a secret, but her mom had made them, painstakingly, meticulously, and they’d clearly meant a lot to her. It was the one last little piece of her that Tilly had all to herself. God, she wanted her back, but more than that, she felt the clock ticking.

  She was afraid.

  She had no idea when her and Quinn’s “trial” period was up and she refused to ask, but knew the end had to be barreling down on her and she had no idea how to stop it from coming. She was locked in anxiety over that when she heard a soft knock at the front door. She paused her game and cocked her head, hearing a low murmur of voices.

  Quinn’s.

  And . . . Mick’s.

  Tilly tiptoed to her bedroom door and put her ear to it. Nothing. She couldn’t hear a thing. Very quietly she cracked it open and . . .

  The cat pushed her way in.