Ramsey had given up on family and love a long time ago, and the sooner she cut all ties with them, the better off she’d be. She was good with a camera, and as long as no one knew who she was, the daughter of the powerful Ram Stockholm, she could keep her cover intact.
Graham had just finished the construction of his house and was looking for any excuse he could find to stay away from people—that included his large family. But everyone had to eat so a trip to the grocery store was necessary. He didn’t, however, have a mate on his shopping list, but there she stood—injured and panicking.
Graham was about as happy as he could be, until three cops came to his property to arrest him and charged him with murder—now the whole family was in an uproar. Graham’s world was crashing around him, he wanted to marry Ramsey, but not like this…. Can they ban together to prove his innocence before it’s too late? Find out in the final chapter of the Emerson Wolves—Graham.
Do you know what you are to me? She shook her head as he whispered to her. His mouth was doing incredible things to her and she wanted more. Mate? Youre my mate. Do you know what that means?
Her body seemed to come alive at his words. She struggled to pull from him and he let her go, but he didn’t back off. She moved back from him as far as the wall and tried to get her mind to function again. She was not going to be his mate, not any man’s.
You have to go. I won’t bother you anymore if you do the same for me. He moved to within a foot of her and she put up her hands. I don’t want you here. Please, you can’t want me as a mate. I don’tI’m not even sure that this isn’t some ploy to get what you want. Or money. Is that it?’ She looked up at him as he started cursing.
Hunter Emerson and his brothers answered the request of a pack looking for a new Alpha and moved to Sommersville. Since they were all Alphas, Hunter didn
t have a clue that he was the new Alpha until he arrived. It didn’t sit well with him at all that a woman on pack land held herself in recluse and wouldn’t answer and pledge herself to the new Alpha. What she could be doing there on that big estate with no one around to witness, His mind reeled with the possibilities?none of them good.
Slone Morris had an understanding with the local pack?leave her alone and she’d let the pack stay on her land free of charge. It was as simple as that. She didn’t deal well with people. But the new Alpha in town wouldn’t take Fuck off for an answer.
Slone’s past threatened to rear its ugly head at every turn. There was one?someone she thought she trusted?who didn’t want the past dredged back up. He was determined to stop her at all cost?
Luke Emerson has big shoes to fill. He doesn’t know how to be a Mayor of their small town, but with the help of his assistant, Allen, he is damn sure going to give it a good try. From what little he’s seen of the town government it’s corrupt and he’s bound and determined to do something about it.
When they receive a call that Allen’s sister Jack has been critically injured in a fire, Allen falls apart. His sister is all he has left.
Luke goes with him to the hospital and as soon as Luke catches her scent, he knows she’s his mate, but the doctor is giving her less than a three percent chance to survive .
Can you save her? Luke looked over at Allen, who was staring at his sister. I know what you are. I mean, I think I know what you are. You can’t live in our town and not hear things. Are you?
Am I what? Allen looked at him, and Luke felt as if he were staring at his very soul. Neither of them blinked, and when Allen finally looked away, Luke felt as if he’d been released from a tight hug. You want to know an answer to something, then ask me. I’m not going to assume anything right now.
Luke has two choices: convert her to a wolf, or watch her die. He doesn’t even know her, but he can’t lose his mate he’s just found her. But to convert her without her permission, there could be consequences.
Addison Parker is on the run. No matter how fast she runs, or how far she travels she can’t hide from herself, or the gift she’s been cursed with. She can read people’s minds and with a touch can see into their future. That is a secret that she has learned to keep well?everyone always wanted something from her when they learned what she could do. It’s easier to avoid people all together.
Jarrett Emerson is just helping his dad and brother protect an innocent from a perverted wretch. But when a falling brick knocks Addie unconscious, she falls right into Jarrett’s arms. To his surprise he realizes that she is his mate and human…
Addie felt stupid standing there like she was and moved to the sink. Jarrett watched her before he reached for a second glass. Addie had no idea why, but she thought he was nervous. “I’m not going to pounce on you.”
As soon as the words left her mouth, she knew that she’d made a major mistake. He turned so quickly that she backed up and hit her ass on the counter behind her. He didn’t stop there but took the two more steps to have her leaning back to look up at him.
“I’d like nothing more than to have you pounce on me.” His voice was a soft growl that had her thinking all sorts of things that had nothing to do with food. “You’re very beautiful.”
“No, I’m not.” He nodded and halved the distance between them. “You’re too close. I can’t think when you’re this close.”
Jarrett doesn’t want her to leave. If she goes, he goes with her. That’s the way it is with mates. But when a corrupt attorney has other ideas, the Emersons have to regroup to protect what they now consider their own….
Dawn Whitfield is on the run, and if her uncle catches her this time she knows he won’t just beat her…he’ll kill her. Her best bet is to keep moving, and at all cost keep hidden.
Addie Parker finds the shackled young woman and sets her up in an old house hidden from everything. And that’s where Dawn stays for eight lonely years.
Ellis Emerson is in a rut. He can’t seem to do anything right. He thinks he’s found his mate, but can’t get close enough to her to be sure… And that’s a huge distraction that’s turned their construction job from a week ahead of schedule with a huge bonus, to barely three days ahead. And when Addie asks him to assemble a small crew to fix one of her houses, his foreman, Dan, is all for Ellis getting away for a while.
Ellis finds his skittish mate hiding away in Addie’s home, but will she let her guard down long enough for him to convince her that their destiny is each other? Or will her Uncle Basil step in and finally take her prisoner again? Find out in the next installment of Emerson Wolves?Ellis.
No matter how hard she tried, Kimber Gray always seemed to manage to get knocked back down a peg or two. She was a top rate chef and graduated at the top of her class, but no matter how hard she tried no one would acknowledge it. Now, blackballed in the only profession she knew, she was a failure to the one that mattered most–her daughter, Hannah. With no recourse left to her, she’d have to grovel and beg her aunt for help.
Lee Emerson was glad to be back home for a while. He loved what he did, being a food critic and helping failing restaurants was a dream job come true. But he was tired of the traveling and just wanted to take care of things around the house and relax for a change.
Slone, Hunter’s mate, wanted to open a fancy restaurant and have Lee run it. He wasn’t so sure about that, but he’d love nothing better than to hire that chef that had prepared the last meal he’d had in France before he left. It was the best meal he’d ever eaten, and he had been disappointed when he found out the man had left before he could tell him so. The slush claiming to cook the meal, wasn’t the cook and he’d bet his last dollar on it.
Kimber had had it. Her aunt had gone too far this time, and there was no way she’d expose her little girl to such meanness again. They’d live on the street first, and she was trying to tell Slone that she wasn’t a charity case. That she could provide for her daughter somehow, when the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen cornered her, snarling that he’d protect her with his life.
Ah, hell no. Who in the hell did he think he was?
EMERSON WOLF SERIES –
Mystery Signed PaperBacks
So Far are July 2016
Aug’s Winners 2016
Shane’s Release News Letter winners are
Mystery Package Winner
More Mystery PaperBack winners are
Oranment & Card Winner
For the new winners if you have not gotten your signed mystery paperback please
contact my PA for info she will have the tracking numbers
Now offering personalized book please fill out the form and please allow 2 weeks for delivery if the book is not in stock Thank You
Happy Reading ,
Hello! My name is Kathi Barton and I’m a award winning, best selling author of dark fantasy erotic paranormal romance . I have been married to my very best friend Paul, a potter, for at times seems several lifetimes – in a good way, honey. And together we have three wonderful children and then the ones we brought into the world – Paul and Dale Barton, Jason and Wendy Barton and Danielle and Ben Conklin. They have given us eight of the greatest treasures on Earth. They don’t live at home seven days a week! No, seriously, eight grandchildren – Gavin, Spring, Ben, Trinity, Sarah, Kelly, Kian and Bailee
“I tell you, Ram, that daughter of yours is a hoot. I just asked her what she thought of all this, and she said that the money from what was going to be tossed out when this was over could have fed an entire village for a week.” Ram Stockholm looked around the room for his daughter. “When did you speak to her? I thought her and Chad had left for their honeymoon already.” There was no way his daughter would say that about her own wedding. At least he hoped not. But she was a little stressed out right now. Christ, they’d spent a fortune on this thing, and to have her upset wasn’t going to happen. Not that his baby girl didn’t deserve it, but to say something like this to William Frank was terrible. “No, no. I meant Ramsey. To tell you the truth, Ram, I had no idea you had another child, much less one as beautiful as she is. But she’s the spitting image of you now that I think on it.” Ram wondered about Ramsey, his youngest child, as William continued. “Like I said, a beautiful little thing, but a mite outspoken. I’d wondered why you didn’t have her up there with her sister, but I’m assuming that the two of them don’t get along.” “They don’t. Where did you see her go? I’d like to speak to her.” William laughed and pointed to the large open doors at the back of the large room. “Excuse me.” If William answered him, he didn’t hear him. Ramsey wasn’t going to ruin her sisters’ day by complaining about something that was none of her business. But as soon as he stepped out on the deck to talk to her, he stilled. When the hell had she grown up? The dark blue dress she had on made the paleness of her porcelain skin almost glow. With her hair done up in one of those complicated twists, it gave her neck a gracefulness that would make most men he knew drool. She was tall too, Ram just realized, and rail thin. He cleared his throat before going out all the way. When Ramsey turned his way, Ram thought that he’d made a mistake…this could not be his child. “Hello, Dad.” Ram moved out to stand beside her. He was speechless. Not only was this his child, but she’d grown up before…well, she had. “I just talked to William. He said you were a hoot.” Ramsey looked at him, confused. “William Frank. His son is going to Yale right now. I guess you told him we spent too much on this wedding. Why would you say something like that?” “I didn’t. Well, I did, but not like that. He asked me if I was going to have an extravagant wedding like this in a few years, and I told him no. If I ever get married, I want it simple, and the money spent on all this could go to some charity to feed the hungry. There are quite a few of them right here in our own town.” She looked at him as she continued. “Deidra is pissed at me again.” “Don’t talk like that. You’re not old enough to use that kind of language.” She laughed, a harsh sound that seemed to him like she too was upset. “What did you do to her this time, Ramsey?”
As soon as the words left his mouth, he knew that he’d made a mistake. But the two of them, along with Gregory, their brother, had been fighting since the day that Ramsey was brought home from the hospital, or so it seemed. He just wanted peace and quiet. He never got it when they were all together. And now that he thought about it, he’d not seen them all together in a good long time. Ramsey had been…well, he had no idea where she’d been of late. “First of all, I’m nineteen. Secondly, I didn’t do anything other than to show up here. She seems to think that I’m going to embarrass her because I’m not in the wedding party. And people—her kind, she called them—would ask questions.” Ram started to ask her why she wasn’t in the party, but Ramsey spoke again. “She didn’t ask me to be in it, if you were going to ask me. And when I asked her about it, she told me that I would never fit in. Deidra said that she wanted people in her party that were nice and beautiful, something that I’m certainly not.” “I’ll talk to her.” He would too. He thought this feuding had gone on long enough. “To be honest with you, Ramsey, I almost didn’t know who you were when I came out here. And where have you been hiding yourself? You look lovely.” “Thanks.” He nodded, then followed her when she moved to sit in one of the chairs that had been brought for people to use. The country club where Deidra’s wedding reception was being held was very accommodating. But he supposed that had to do with his money rather than who he might be. They sat there for several moments before Ramsey spoke again. “I’m leaving, Dad.” He offered to get her a car to take her home. He asked her to tell the butler that they’d be along shortly. When she looked at him with the oddest look on her face, he wondered what he’d said wrong now. He was still trying to get over the fact that she was really nineteen. “I don’t live at home, and I wasn’t planning on going there anyway. I haven’t lived there for some time now. Dad, do you know anything about me? What I do for a living? Where I live?” He was embarrassed that he didn’t know the answer to any of those things. And the worst part of it was, William wasn’t the first person to ask him about Ramsey, saying that they had no idea he had a third child. What have I done? he asked himself. And where the hell had all the time gone? Gregory was the oldest, and had gotten into college on a sports scholarship. He’d been struggling in high school, so it had come as a surprise to know that a college was willing to take him. Gregory had always been more of a player than a scholar. Now he was living at home again, with nothing to show for his six years at a very expensive and prestigious university. Deidra had been, like her mother before her, the prom queen every year since she’d gotten to junior high. Before that she’d been in countless pageants, and had won most of those as well. She was pretty, and vain enough to make them work for her. Now at twenty five she was newly married to a man that Ram didn’t like, and hated to have around for any reason. But his baby had wanted him, and he’d done everything in his power to make sure she had what she wanted…or, he supposed, what his wife had wanted for her. He’d
been involved in their lives. From the time they were old enough to enter things, sometimes even before that, he and his wife Krista had been there for them. But not Ramsey. He couldn’t remember a single moment, sports event, or even a play that he’d gone to for his youngest child. “I’ve never…I’m sorry to say, I don’t know any of those things.” He looked away from her knowing face and continued. “I can’t remember one single play that we attended that you were in. Not a game of any sort that you might have been in. Nor do I remember having any sort of graduation party when you got out of school last year.” He looked at her then. “I’m drawing a blank as to what I got you for your sixteenth birthday. What I got you for your eighteenth or any in-between, and I haven’t the slightest idea what you’ve been up to since you got out of school.” “I graduated from high school six years ago. So no, you didn’t have a party for me. I think that Deidra said it would mess up her summer plans with her friends or something like that. I just finished up my last year of college last month, and I’m nearly done with my master’s degree as well. I moved out when Mom told me to because I was bothering Deidra too much and it was getting on her nerves. That would have been right after I turned seventeen and was nearly finished with college. I work for….” She stood up and he did as well. “It doesn’t matter now. But I’m going away. And…I have a job opportunity and I’m going to take it.” “Going away to where? And what are you going to do for this company?” Her laugh hurt him. “Ramsey, I’m so sorry. I wish I could tell you that I do remember all of this, but I don’t want to lie to you. I feel like this is all my fault. Don’t leave. Please. I’d like for you to move back home and for us to get to know one another. It’s not too late, is it?” “You mean because Deidra is gone now, you wouldn’t mind me being there?” Ram felt as if she’d stabbed him in the heart. But if she thought that she’d hurt him, he couldn’t see it on her face. And it was nothing less than he deserved. “No thanks. I think…I think that after all this time, it would just be an embarrassment for all of us.” “Ramsey, let me make this up to you. Please don’t go like this. I’ve messed up badly, but this is…we’re family, after all.” She only stood there with her back to him. Ram wanted to take her into his arms and hold her, but he didn’t know how. In all honesty, he didn’t remember a single time when he’d hugged his baby. “Will you at least call me sometimes? Weekly?” “I don’t know. I’ll try.” She turned then and looked at him. “My plane leaves at six in the morning. I’ve taken care of my house and all my bills, so there is no reason for you to be bothered by that. And I’ve sold off all the things that I no longer need. So…well, I guess this is goodbye for a while.” As she walked away and out of his life, all Ram could think about was that he’d wasted a lot of his life and hers not getting to know her. It both saddened him and made him hate himself that he’d done this to her. Not just him, but all of them had. Sitting down on the chair again, he thought of all the times he and his wife would talk about Deidra and Gregory. What they were doing. How they were doing in school. Conversations about Ramsey were few and far between. And worse yet, when they did speak of her, mostly his wife, it was about how she was nothing like them and how she’d never fit in
properly with them. That if she were more like her brother and sister, perhaps they’d take her to more places. Ram would never forgive himself. ~~~ Ramsey drove home wondering if she’d done the right thing. Her original plan had been to simply leave without telling them, but then her dad had come out to talk to her and she’d told him. It wouldn’t be like them to miss her or anything. In fact, she was pretty sure that not one of them would have given her a second thought. But her dad had hurt her, and she thought that she wanted to hurt him back for a change. Well, she was sure she had, and herself as well. Going into her little house, she thought of the cases that she’d packed over the last week. She had no idea if she’d be back here again, but really couldn’t see any reason to return. So what she didn’t put into storage—and she’d stored very little—had been given away, sold, or just donated to whoever had wanted it. Which again, wasn’t all that much. She’d sold her house the week before, and had thirty days to leave before the new owners would be taking it. Ramsey had already sold most of her furniture, and all she had left was the bed that she’d been sleeping in and a single dresser. There were no mementos in the house that she was taking. No pictures of her family because she didn’t have any, and there were no pets in her life. Ramsey had made such a tiny footprint in her life so far, and she was looking forward to making more. Putting all her cameras away except the one that she’d taken to Deidra’s wedding, she made her way to the darkroom. Her plane didn’t leave until late tomorrow night, but she’d told her dad differently because she didn’t want him to think they could get together beforehand. Ramsey had meant nothing to them before this, and she saw no reason to try and cram a lifetime of conversations and hugs into her last day. Neither of them would be very comfortable with that, and she was pretty sure it would piss off her mother. The woman had never really liked her, not even as a child. Ramsey had long since given up on trying to do something that would get her noticed, and had gone on with her life as if they’d never been a part of it. The pictures that she’d taken at her sister’s wedding were all on a clip, and she ran them through the computer to see which ones she wanted to print. While it downloaded them onto the hard-drive, she went to change into more comfy clothes. Ramsey had no idea if her sister would ever see the pictures that she’d taken, or even if she’d want them. Sending them to her father, she decided suddenly, was the best way to get them to her, and she hoped that he’d at least look. The camera, or what she could do with it, was her passion. Just as she was hanging the last of the prints up to dry, Ramsey heard her phone ringing. Turning on the lights overhead, she made her way to it as she dried her hands. She knew who it was before she picked it up, and decided that as soon as possible she was going to change her number. This guy was a pain in the ass. And if he’d known who she was and who he worked for, he’d back the fuck off. “I just heard that you’re leaving. When did this take place? I’d very much like to have you come in before you leave, Miss Holms. The job that I have for you is still open.” Ramsey looked through the mail as he continued talking, wondering if the change of her
name when she worked was enough to distance her from her family. “I have a noon opening, and also one at two. Which one can I put you down for?” “Neither.” He laughed a little on the other end. Ramsey put the mail, mostly credit card applications, in the trash and pulled a paper bowl from the sleeve to have some cereal. “I really have to go, Mr. Carter. I have things to do.” “Wait. This is the job of a lifetime, Miss…can I call you Ramsey? This is the job of a lifetime. This is a large paper and very prestigious. Think of what doors it could open for you in the long-term.” She didn’t answer him but yawned. “Ramsey, tell me what I need to do to have you come here and work for us.” “There is nothing you can do. I do not want to work for you. I have a job, one that I wanted and worked hard for. I’m sorry, but you’ll have to find someone else.” She hung up as he was speaking. Then when she was sure that he wasn’t going to be on the other end, she put a block on his number and sent it directly to her voicemail. He’d more than likely still call and fill up the message box, but for now she was happy. The stupid man worked for her father, as he owned the paper that Mr. Carter thought she should come to work for. And not only that, but the job that he wanted her to take? She’d been doing it all the way through college to make ends meet. It had always surprised her that not once in all that time had she ever run across her family. After making sure that everything was turned off in the darkroom, she made her way to her room after eating the last of her cereal. The bed wasn’t made, of course, but she didn’t care. Taking the last of her suitcases off it, Ramsey stripped down and laid out on the messy bed. She was asleep almost immediately. Two hours later she was awake and refreshed. Taking a long hot shower, Ramsey thought of where she might be going. And when she got there, what she was going to do first. Ramsey didn’t have a job to go to like everyone thought. She’d said that to her dad to make sure he didn’t worry. Moot point, she supposed, since he’d not cared before. But she was going somewhere. Ramsey didn’t even have a destination in mind, not really, but she was going to South Africa. And she was going to take pictures of everything. And a lot of them. By six that night she had everything printed and the pictures—which she’d made extras of for her dad—in a box. Affixing a label to the box, she put it near her luggage so she’d remember to mail it. Sitting down on the floor in the kitchen, she tried to remember if she had everything she was going to need. At seven she picked up the last of her things and was headed out the door and locking it up when someone came up behind her. Lucky for him, or maybe herself, she was able to stop herself from knocking her dad on his ass. Ramsey asked him what he was doing there. “I’m a very resourceful man when I need to be, Ramsey. And I realized that if you left today, without me even talking to you once more, I wouldn’t get to see you again. I think…well, you have no reason to want me in your life, but I would very much like for you to try and have me in it.” He took the biggest suitcase from her and put it in his car. “I paid the driver that was here. I’ll make sure you get to the airport on time.”
“Why are you doing this? I thought we cleared things up last night.” She was still standing on her stoop when he came back for the other piece of luggage. “Dad? What are you really doing here?” “How about if we have dinner before you go? I know you have time. We can even eat in the airport if you want. I just…I’d like to have dinner with you before you go. I don’t deserve this chance, and Lord knows that you have every reason to tell me to go to hell, but I need this, Ramsey.” She asked him why again. “Because I need to connect with you, and will take whatever…. No, that’s not quite right. I do want to be with you tonight, but I also wanted to make sure you knew how serious I was about you calling me. I thought…I hoped that I could convince you that I love you.” “I love you too, but this is unnecessary. Besides, I was just going to grab a burger at the airport, then wait for my flight. Dad, what does Mom think about you being here?” When he looked away, she knew. “She told you not to come here, didn’t she? It’s all right, Dad. Whatever she said, I’m sure she was right.” “She said you were trying for attention. You weren’t going anywhere, but acting out because you weren’t the center of attention at the wedding. I told her she couldn’t have been more wrong. You’ve never wanted to be there before. That’s more Deidra’s style, not yours.” He took the box from her and noticed that it had his name on it. “What’s this?” “I took some pictures at the wedding and thought she’d want them. Or you might. I don’t care. I don’t even know why I took them other than I wanted to do it. It was just…I don’t understand any of this.” He laughed, and it sounded so sad that she had to brace herself when the pain tore at her heart. “You should go back home before Mom gets upset.” “She already is. And it’s doubtful that she’s going to be in any better mood from now on.” He shut the trunk of his car and turned to her. “Where are you going, Ramsey? Please let me know that much. Not that I deserve it, but I’d like to know.” “My first stop is in South Africa. The next…I don’t know. I don’t have a plan or a job. I just know that I can’t be here and not be in your lives anymore.” He nodded as if he already knew that. “Dad, it’s all right. I’ve told myself that you had the other two, and Mom has often told me that I wasn’t planned. It’s fine.” “But it’s not. It’s not fine at all. Not for me. I screwed up. Now I want to…I don’t know what I want, but I know that I want to get to know you. Start over, I guess.” Ramsey looked at the big moving van coming down the street. Going to her dad’s car, she wasn’t surprised that he opened the door for her. He was old world all the way to his little bow tie he always wore. When he got in on the driver’s side, she told him she was ready and they drove off. Ramsey tried her best not to see the van pulling up in front of her little house so they could strip out the rest of her things. The darkroom would be picked up later that day by someone from the high school as a donation to their art department. And that would be it. Everything that she’d been would be gone in a matter of hours. It would be as if Ramsey Stockholm had never been. The trip to the airport didn’t take long. Her dad asked her questions and she answered them. Not anything too personal, she realized, but he was trying. When he
parked, he took most of her luggage and she her carry-on things. He had the box of pictures under his arm, and when she asked him about that, he laughed. “I want to see them while you’re here so that I can tell you what a great job you did.” He laughed again when she told him they might be crap. “Nah, I don’t think so. I found out you’re pretty famous with your camera. I mean, you are R. S. Holms, aren’t you? I had no idea.” “No one does. And I’d like to keep it that way.” He nodded as they made their way through the line to have her luggage checked. “Those pictures aren’t your normal wedding kind of thing. Most of them are candid shots that I had fun taking. You really might think they’re crap when you see them.” “I highly doubt that. You’re quite famous as a photographer, aren’t you? The article I read about you, they don’t know who you are, do they? No one even knows that you’re a female.” She shook her head. “I’m glad I looked. I almost skipped over the article because it said you weren’t who I was looking for. Why did you change it?” “My personal life is just that. Personal. And if I put out there that I was who I am, I think any doors that would have opened for me when I started taking pictures would have been because of your last name. This is all mine, not the family’s.” She wondered if she might have hurt him again, but he smiled at her. “I wanted to do this on my own, and I did it.” “You certainly did, and I understand that.” She wasn’t sure he did but said nothing. “While our name means a great deal around the world, you just wanted to make it without my help. I’m proud of you for that.” “Thank you.” After her luggage was tagged and taken away, they decided to have dinner at one of the nicer restaurants in the place. Ramsey had about three hours before her plane took off, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to sit with her dad while waiting. He seemed to genuinely want to be with her, but she was sure that he’d get bored after a while and want to cut it short. When he ordered his dinner then she hers, he pulled out the box and opened it. The very first picture was of Deidra standing in her room with her sweat pants and tee shirt on, with her wedding gown hanging from the hook on the wall. He pulled it from the box and studied it. “That dress alone could have fed an entire village.” She laughed when he did. “I guess I’m odd when I think that the money could have been better spent. Like on a house or something. But I guess they have their own ideas of what is going to work in their own lives. What that is, I have no idea, but that’s what she said to me. I don’t care for Chad all that much anyway.” “To be honest with you, neither do I. And we did buy them a house, but…well, Chad, I found out, has a bit of a gambling problem, and I made him a deal. I’ll use what I paid for the house to pay the debt off, and he’ll be on his own.” He shook his head. “I have a feeling that this is never going to be the end of it for them. And Gregory is…well, I don’t want to talk about them right now.”
He had made his way through about half the pictures when their dinner came. Ramsey had the grilled salmon with grilled scallops on the side, plus a huge baked potato. Her dad, a steak and potatoes man, had ordered a beautiful porterhouse with the same potato with butter and sour cream. No salads for either of them. When he looked at the last picture in the box, she felt herself getting uncomfortable. He stared at the last one for so long that she wanted to ask him what was wrong with it. Her dad looked at her with tears in his eyes and she felt her heart twist. “The only family picture in the world that is half assed. You should have been in this with us. Obviously you were there. Why didn’t you join us?” She just shook her head and he nodded as if he might know. “Was it your mom or Deidra that told you to step out of the picture? I have no doubt, after this, that it could have been both of them.” “I understand why she didn’t want me there. It was Deidra’s day, not mine.” That wasn’t really what was said to her, but it was less painfully said her way. “But the picture turned out nicely, didn’t it?” “It did. I believe that these pictures are going to be much nicer than the ones we paid that man too much money to take. But I want to know. What did your mother say to you, Ramsey? I need to know.” She didn’t want to tell him. But then she thought what the hell, I’m leaving and more than likely won’t be back. “Ramsey?” “She told me it was for the family and not for upstarts like me. I started to point out that I was her daughter too when she…she slapped me. Told me that she wished I’d not been born. I unbalanced her life. Unbalanced? How did I…? I had no say in being born. Why does she say things like that to me?” She turned away from him to finish. “To be honest with you, it was the deciding factor in my leaving without saying a word to any of you. I don’t know why I even told…yes I do. I wanted to hurt you like you all have hurt me my entire life. That’s the only reason that I even told you I was going.” “I don’t know why she’d say those things to you. I really don’t. But I am glad that you told me. It afforded me this, this opportunity to see if I could patch things up—even if it is nearly too late—between us.” He pushed his plate away too. Her appetite was gone, as it appeared his was. “She said that I was a fool to try and mend the fences with you, even if that was what I was going to do. She blamed you for this and so many things that I don’t even know how she thought you were a part of. I never realized the extent of her hatred for you. Saying that all you wanted was for…well, you know what she said. All the attention. Then when I told her I was going to talk to you, she had a fit and ended up in bed with one of her headaches. I didn’t stay to listen to her anymore. Gregory said he’d keep an eye on her for me.” “She hates me, Dad.” He didn’t say anything, and for that she was grateful. The rest of the meal was spent not mentioning the family. Ramsey thought that was about as depressing as it could get. When her flight was called, he walked her to the barriers and pulled her into his arms. “I’m sorry. So very sorry, honey.” She told him not to worry about it. “I will, and I still am. But I want you to take this. It’s a credit card with just your name on it. You can…if you want to come home sometime or anything, just use it. And I have a number there
that I want you to use. It’s…well, it’s mine and mine alone. If you can’t get me that way, then use the house phone. But I want you to call me. Weekly if you can.” “I don’t need this, Dad.” He pushed it back at her when she tried to give it back. “Dad, you don’t have to do this for me to call you. I will.” “It’s not why I’m doing it. I want you to have a backup plan. A way to come home to me if you need me.” She wanted to tell him she needed him years ago, but said nothing. “I wasn’t there for you for nineteen years, Ramsey, but I want to be now.” Nodding, she was moving to the gates when he called her back. This hug she returned, and felt better when they parted ways. Ramsey cried all the way to her first stop, and got off the plane with a heavy and saddened heart.