Lost and Found Sisters Read online

  really sustain two new motels, and it wasn’t a good time to build a community center when so many businesses were in trouble. It was an unnecessary expense in uncertain times. “This isn’t good.”

  “Not for the city manager, no,” Colin said. “You going to stir up the hornet’s nest?”

  Mick had already done so, intentionally or not, first by buying up the properties and leasing them back to the current businesses, and then at the city hall meeting when all that had become public knowledge.

  “You still going to buy the Wild West B and B you’re staying at, the one that’s going under?” Colin asked. “I mean, that is the reason you’re staying there and not somewhere nicer down the highway, right?”

  Mick blew out a breath. The building itself was a historical monument, which meant that hopefully it couldn’t be destroyed, but Mick didn’t want to take a chance on that if the B & B went under. “Probably,” he said.

  “I figured.” Colin sounded amused. “Sucker.”

  Mick disconnected and shook his head. Colin didn’t know the half of it. Because if Quinn had trouble managing the café or the house and ran into financial problems, he’d do what he could there as well.

  The definition of sucker.

  Shit. He had it bad. He looked at his phone and realized he had a missed call and a message that he played back.

  “Mick Hennessey,” came a voice he knew all too well. It was rougher than his son Boomer’s, but Tom had the same sarcastic, wry tone. “You’ve been busy, butting into my business. Too bad you didn’t stick around to see it through. You always did run away like a little girl.”

  Mick hit redial before he thought it through and when Tom answered with a knowing low laugh, Mick knew he’d made a mistake.

  He’d shown his hand. After all these years of learning the hard way how to hide his emotions and feelings, one voice mail had turned him back into an idiot teenager who put it all out there for the world to see.

  But if Mick had shown his hand—and his weakness—then so had Tom. “Don’t mistake my absence for running,” he said. “Because I’m not gone.”

  “You hate this town,” Tom said. “Stay out of it or you’ll regret it.”

  “Was that a threat?”

  “A promise,” Tom said, and disconnected.

  Chapter 34

  I miss when my mom would come into my room and ask why everything was on the floor and I’d say gravity.

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

  To celebrate Tilly surviving the first day of finals, Quinn bought them pizza for dinner and then . . . gave Tilly her mom’s journal.

  They were sitting on the couch in the living room and Tilly stared down at the bound book in her hands. “I forgot all about this.”

  Quinn blinked. “You knew about it?”

  “I used to watch Mom write in it all the time. She’d sit at the kitchen table with some hot tea and write down all her secrets.” Tilly ran her fingers over the cover, not opening it. “She used to say that when she died, I should sell it to Hollywood and insist on the starring role because I’d win an Oscar.” She lifted her gaze to Quinn’s and her eyes were damp. “She didn’t want me to read it, not until . . .” She shrugged and then shook her head and swiped an arm under her nose. “It’s what made me start my own journal.”

  Quinn’s gut squeezed and she scooted closer, wrapping her arms around her sister. “I didn’t know you had a journal.”

  “Yeah.” Tilly held herself still, hugging the journal as Quinn hugged her. And then slowly, she let her head drop to Quinn’s shoulder.

  Just like Tink, and it broke Quinn’s heart. “You don’t have to read it now,” she said quietly. “You can hold on to it until you’re ready.”

  Face still pressed into Quinn’s throat, Tilly nodded. And then let go of her two-handed grip on the journal to wrap an arm around Quinn to keep her close.

  AN HOUR LATER, Quinn lay in her bed staring at the ceiling. She needed to talk to Tilly about their plans, but things kept derailing that conversation. Tilly wanted to play summer league softball. Greta and Trinee wanted a vacation, and Quinn would need to fill in. They needed more staff and she’d have to do the hiring. And then there was the fact that she hadn’t yet sold her car, so none of the house updates had been done.

  Lots of loose ends.

  “Liar. You’re still afraid to admit that you want to stay.”

  This from Beth, who was sitting on the top of a stack of craft supplies in a bathrobe, eating a bowl of cereal.

  Quinn sat up. “I’m not afraid.” She was petrified. “Tilly’s going to turn eighteen in less than three years. Maybe she’ll take off. You ever think of that?”

  “And you’re worried about where that would leave you?”


  Beth snapped her fingers and her bowl of cereal vanished. “You know where it’d leave you.”

  Yes, here in Wildstone . . .

  “You’re happy here, Q.”

  She was. She loved working at the café. Maybe not in the same way that she loved the restaurant, but in a different way. A better way, actually. It wasn’t as creative as the restaurant, but there was no tension. Any criticism was given with a dose of laughter. It was . . . freeing.

  As was Wildstone in general. “I am happy here,” she said softly. Feeling in control and proud of herself, she looked up.

  Beth was smiling from ear to ear and . . . fading away.

  “No!” Quinn said. “Don’t go!”

  “You should go to L.A. and break the news to Mom and Dad in person,” Beth said, her smile so beautiful. “I’d say do the same to Chef Wade but he already replaced you.”


  “Yeah, he just hasn’t found the nerve to break it to you yet.” She blew Quinn a kiss. “Love you. Stay happy. It suits you . . .”

  “No!” Quinn said, panicking because Beth’s voice was somehow different. This was good-bye. For real. Well, as real as a ghost got anyway. She jumped up. “Don’t you leave me again!”

  But Beth was gone.

  TILLY WAS LYING in bed using Snapchat to take a selfie with horns coming out of her head when Quinn knocked and came in.

  Quinn looked at the pic with the horns and snorted. “There’s a stretch.”

  “Ha-ha,” Tilly said, embarrassed to be caught doing the selfie thing. Not that she was about to admit to that.

  Quinn leaned against the dresser, trying to look casual, but the expression on her face was anything but.

  “What’s wrong?” Tilly asked.

  “Do you ever . . .” She grimaced. “See your mom?”

  Tilly blinked. “You mean my dead mom?”

  Quinn shifted uncomfortably. “I’m talking about her . . . spirit. Do you ever see her . . . spirit?”

  Tilly took a beat. “Like . . . a ghost?”

  “Never mind.” Quinn ran a hand over her face.

  “Do you see my mom?” Tilly asked her carefully, feeling a little bit absurd but oddly hopeful at the same time.

  Quinn dropped her hands and sighed. “I see my sister.”

  Tilly’s gut tightened. Beth. Of course. Because Quinn didn’t really think of Tilly as her sister. “You see Beth’s ghost.”

  “I said never mind!”

  “Dude.” Tilly paused. “Maybe you need a vacation.”

  “I can’t afford one,” Quinn said and shook her head. “Forget all that. I need to talk to you about something else.”

  At this, everything inside Tilly went still. Never let ’em see you sweat . . . She forced her muscles to relax and met Quinn’s gaze. “You do realize nothing good has ever come from that sentence, right?”

  “It’s nothing bad,” Quinn said. “I need to go see my parents. How do you feel about this weekend? We could make a shopping trip out of it, get some new clothes or something.”

  “I thought you were broke,” Tilly said.

  Quinn blew out a breath. “Well, there’s broke and