The Doctor's Choice(8)

By: J. D. Faver

“I see.” He spread his hands in a dismissive gesture. “Well, you’ll have to delay that—-if you expect to inherit Silky’s property.”

Cami felt as though the breath had been knocked out of her. “What happens if I just go back to Houston?”

He expelled a long breath as though he had been holding it. “You can, of course, walk away from everything but you would give up all claims to her property. Silky was adamant. She wanted you to live on the ranch.

“But…but, why?” she wailed.

“She loved you and she loved Moonshadows. She wanted you to love her ranch and live on it.”

Her airway seemed to close up. She gasped for air, refusing to give way to tears. “What happens if I don’t stay? Who gets the ranch?”

“I do.”

“What?” Cami rose to her feet, her purse sliding to the floor. “Why that’s, that’s---“

“Perfectly legal. Silky knew that I would never sell out to Eldon Kinkaid. He’s the head of the big mega-ranching corporation that’s been buying up the small ranches around here. Silky and I stood our ground. The combined size of our properties totals almost as much acreage as Kinkaid’s. We encouraged the other ranchers to hold on to their property. Silky wanted to make sure you didn’t sell out her friends and neighbors.”

“But she knew I was going into medicine. Why would she force me to make this kind of choice?” She sank back into the wing chair, covering her face with her hands.

He cleared his throat uncomfortably. “I’m certain she didn’t intend to cause you any distress. The fact is, she thought she had lots of time to talk you into it. She and Doc even thought you would take over his practice in time.”

“Here?” Cami looked up at him, feeling as though she had been ambushed. How could Aunt Silky have had such ridiculous expectations? She inhaled deeply and tried to think rationally.

“It’s not such a bad place.” His voice took on a defensive tone. “Look Miss…Doctor,” he amended. “I know this has been a shock. Why don’t you let me drive you home and you can think it over.”

She nodded, gathering her purse. She felt like a zombie as she plodded toward his truck, ignoring the hand he extended to assist her into the cab.

She stared out the window at the town as he drove back in the direction of the ranch. What a miserable place. There was nothing here. She could never live so far from the ballet, the theatre, the museums she loved.

They turned onto the road leading to the ranch. Frank raised his hand in greeting as he walked toward the stables. She waved back, wondering if he knew about the will.

“Don’t make any decisions in haste,” Breck said as he slowed at the front of the house. “The estate’s valued at thirteen million dollars. Do you have anyone to advise you?”

She swallowed. She couldn’t even conceive of such a huge number. “I’m going to call my fiancé.”

“Fiancé?” He looked at her sharply. “Silky didn’t tell me you were engaged.”

“It just happened. I didn’t have a chance to let Aunt Silky know before…before her accident.”

A muscle in his jaw twitched. “Well, I’m sure he can tell you what to do.” He got out of the truck, slamming his door.

A wave of anger swept over her. Before Breck could open her door, she had leapt out and slammed it for herself.

“For your information, I don’t need anyone to tell me what to do, or to open my damned doors.” She stomped up the steps and slammed the front door behind herself leaving Breck standing, open-mouthed, by his truck.

She threw her coat over a chair and paced across the room. Striding back to the front door, she peered through the lace curtain.

Breck was still standing outside staring up at the house. He shook his head, climbed into his vehicle and drove away.

Cami felt a strange sense of loss as she watched his departure. Turning, she drew a deep breath and leaned back against the door. “I don’t need any of this,” she said, “not a thing.”



Breck stood by his truck for a moment staring after the woman who’d just thrown a little temper tantrum.

Not that it wasn’t attractive. In fact the blaze of color on her pale cheeks had stirred something inside him that he hadn’t felt for a while prior to meeting this little vixen.

He got in his truck and slammed the door, heading back to his office in town. He’d experienced the same stirrings when he’d sat across the booth from her at Tiny’s Diner watching her eat a biscuit with obvious delight. The tangible pleasure displayed on her face over the taste and texture of the biscuit in her mouth caused him to adjust the napkin in his lap, and glance around to see if anyone noticed that his jeans were bulging at the breakfast table.