Joey (The Whitfield Rancher #7) - Kathi S. Barton Page 0,1

of rocks.

Once out in the sunshine—the rain had stopped for now—she pulled on her sunglasses and made her way to her car. Crying without anyone seeing was an easy way to avoid the strange looks that she got.

Getting inside her car, she drove to her home. There had been a plan to pick up a few things at the grocery store, but Autumn didn’t feel like that now. As she pulled into the driveway, she saw a car there that she recognized and decided she wasn’t in the mood for her sister either. Moving up to the porch, she saw April sitting there with an angry look on her face.

“You locked the door. And my key doesn’t work anymore.” Pulling out her keys, Autumn unlocked the door and slipped them in her pocket rather than her purse. “Why would you change the locks? I’ve been coming and going out of this house since before you were born.”

“Only because someone carried you in and out. You’re only eighteen months older than me. I changed the locks because it’s my house now, and not everyone’s drop in whenever you’re in town place. What do you want, April? I’ve had a shitty day, and you’re not going to make it any better.”

“Well, aren’t you in a shitty mood?” She didn’t point out that she’d just told her that. When April opened the refrigerator door, Autumn pushed her own body against it and shut the door. “I want some juice. You always have the best kind.”

“I have the best kind because I like the best kind. I don’t care for sharing it today. What. Do. You. Want?” April sat down. Flopped would have been a better word for it, she supposed. “This is getting you no closer to leaving me alone. I want to think.”

“Grant is kicking me out of the house.” Autumn asked her why she thought she’d care. “I know you never liked him, but he was my husband. We have a child together.”

“First of all, I like Grant. It’s you I don’t care for. And it’s debatable if the child is his or not. I told you he wasn’t as stupid as you seemed to hope he was. For Christ’s sake, April, the man is a doctor. It’s doubtful to me that they allow you to practice medicine when you’re stupid.” April asked her why she was taking his side in this. “Because, and this should be no surprise to you, you’re a bitch. You cheated on him several times in his own bed. The kid you shove aside for some other rabble isn’t his, and he’s a nice man. I said, I like him.”

“Uncle Ross should never have left you this house. There are seven of us girls from his sister, and it should have been divided between all of us and not just you.” Autumn explained to her, yet again, that he didn’t like her either. “You’re very obtuse today. What’s up with you?”

“I have cancer from the poison Mom and Dad gave me, and it’s spread throughout my body.” April just stared at her for a moment, then asked her who she was leaving the house to. “Get out, April. Now, before I hurt you. You’re wondering why Grant kicked you to the curb? Perhaps you should record yourself having a conversation with someone and listen to it. Maybe that will give you a clue. You certainly don’t have any compassion anywhere in you. And the word you meant to use isn’t obtuse. It’s fucking rude. Get your insults correct. Get out and don’t come back. Ever.”

Shoving her sister out the door, she locked it after checking to make sure she had the keys. Then she bolted the door, going to the back and side doors to do the same. If anyone came around now and thought to get in, she was going to blow them away with her uncle’s shotgun in the cupboard.

“He left me the house because I stayed with him for four years while the rest of you acted like he was nothing more than a bank account for yourself.” She was glad he’d pulled his money from the bank after having a wall safe put in the house. There were no credit cards for them to steal. No checks to write out for cash. And everything he owned had been changed to her as the owner with him so no one could take whatever they wished from a dying old man.

The house wasn’t much—two