Page 49 of Claiming Cinderella

“See if you can trace the deed back to Layla Ford or her bank, and do not tell Nola Blue that I’m the buyer. Don’t tell her anything.”

Patricia nodded. “You think she stole it, don’t you? From Ella?”

“Either her or her dying mother.”

“Wait, you think she stole this place from Layla Ford on her deathbed?” My mother’s eyes hardened, and she bared her teeth. “If you’re right, then she’s in a whole lot of trouble, and I’m not sure we need to be mixed up in it. Don’t you go making any accusations unless you’re absolutely sure? We don’t want a lawsuit on our hands, but I promise, son, I’ll do all I can to find out how she secured the property, even if I have to ask her.”

“She’ll lie.”

“No offense, son, but let’s hope it’s not Ella who is lying about this house. Maybe she grew up here, but this place could have been in her father’s name. Scott could have taken care of her until her death, and if that’s the case, then Nola has every right to sell this place.”

“And if that’s the case, I’m fine with it, but I’m still buying it. It’s Ella’s home, and she should have it. She learned all of her mother’s talents right here in this room. She has a bright future, and she’s been given a rough deal in life. I’m going to make sure she’s got a second chance, and that things will go better for her from here on out. She’s a hard worker, a good person, and she deserves the best.”

“You really care about her.” My mother wasn’t asking. She pulled me in for a tight hug and then tousled my hair. “I’ll let you know as soon as I find out.”

“Thanks, mom.”

She smiled and pinched my cheek. “I like the sound of that.”

Chapter 25

Ella

Aiden had to be the most patient man in the world to put up with me and my busy schedule with the twins. We hadn’t gotten to spend much time together, but we cherished every moment we got together, especially the times we had alone.

I’d spent the past week running to meetings and even taking two trips out of town to different locations, and so when the girls had finally gone out on their own and insisted they didn’t want me along, I was relieved instead of offended. We’d spent enough time together, and I’d tried not to make myself sick knowing I was related to the whiny brats.

Halle had talked to Zep every day and even had him ride out to meet her at one of the locations and he’d apparently been briefed on being her new love interest. If he was going to hang around, they were going to put him to work. It was their way.

I called Aiden to tell him the good news. “I’m free. Please tell me you’re not busy.” Aiden often times had to go check property with his mother and stand in for his father’s role in various charities. Although I’d often wished my mother had left me with a fortune, I knew I wasn’t capable of handling things the way Aiden had. He was a proper heir and knew how to take care of business.

“I’m free too. I’ll be over in ten.”

“Ten? You live much farther away than that.” I knew my tone was suspicious, but he laughed.

“I’m down the road. I was on my way to kidnap you. I hoped I’d get a chance to make a real valiant scene. I was going to swoop in and whisk you away.”

“No need. There’s no one here but me and Millie, and she already thinks you’re my hero.” Millie loved Aiden, and I was quite sure that if she was a bit younger and not my grandmother, I’d have to fight her off of him. She was always carrying on about how handsome he was and how he reminded her of one of her favorite classic movie stars.

“Millie’s a good lady.”

“No doubt. I’ll tell her you’re on the way.”

“Hey, instead of telling her that, tell her you’ll be stepping out for a bit. I have a surprise for you.”

“Another surprise? Is this like the last one? You have someone you want me to meet?” Aiden had arranged for me to meet Delaney Graham and that had turned into a wonderful opportunity. I could only imagine how he was planning to top that.

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