Author Katie Mettner

Chapter One ~ Inherited Love ~ Katie Mettner


Inherited Love on Amazon

Cinnamon Mabel Dalton always struggled to fit in. A musical savant at an early age, Cinn’s life was anything but easy. After a failed marriage and broken heart, she worried she would never find someone who understood her devotion to her craft, and her family. Then her Grandma Mable passed away, she inherited a two-hundred-pound Saint Bernard, and her whole life changed.

Dr. Foster Kern, the director of the Little Ivywood Humane Society, spent hours with Mable Dalton being regaled with stories about her granddaughter, Cinn. Suddenly face-to-face with the woman he had heard so much about, he realized Mabel didn’t do her justice. Cinn’s exotic looks and giant heart were exactly what he’d been searching for, but he truly believed a woman like Cinn would never be interested in a guy like him.

Cinn and Foster team up to protect her grandmother’s legacy, but neither of them could predict how quickly they would discover a mutual happiness they’d both been searching for. When fate unwittingly reveals Cinn’s hidden truth, she has two choices; trust her heart to Foster or run away from a lifetime of love.

Chapter One 

I bowed my head and pretended to pray, which was ridiculous considering where I sat. I had my butt planted in the third pew of a funeral home in the small town of Little Ivywood, California. Emphasis on little. It would be romantic to say we’re cool like Little Italy, but we’re not. We’re a small town near the border of Oregon and have nothing especially wonderful to claim about our fair city, unless you count our annual chicken throwing contest. Yes, you read it right, but back to why I’m pretending to pray while sitting in a pew at a funeral. My grandmother, Mabel “Trigger Finger” Dalton, passed away a few days ago, much to the pleasure of almost everyone who knew her.

To say Mabel died with lots of friends and her loving family by her side would be an outright lie. She was a cantankerous old woman who gained her nickname from her first line of work, being an assassin for the US Government. I’m not even kidding. She had at least two hundred assassinations under her belt by the time she left the military. She claims the number could be higher, because she was notorious for killing two people with one bullet. Gruesome, right? Believe me, you’re not telling me anything I don’t already know.

She didn’t put a lot of stock in religion and spent a good amount of time postulating about the pointlessness of our existence on Earth. I’m telling you, Mabel was about as loved as a tarantula in your slipper. Why she had my father, I will never know. She had no time for children, their antics, or the messes they made. My dad swears my grandfather was an honest to goodness saint, but then again, he died when my dad turned eighteen. Now, his wife finally joins him. Though it’s possible, for those who believe in a higher power when you leave this plane of existence, she may have gone to a different place than he did.

I tried not to snort as I listened to the minister tell us she was in a better place now. She suffered a heart attack while doing the horizontal mambo with a gentleman we had never met. He wasn’t a robber, or any other nefarious character, just a guy she picked up at the bowling alley to do her a few ‘favors’. Don’t worry I almost threw up in my mouth thinking about it, too. No, he did the world a favor, and spared us any further negativity and discord from Mabel. Even my father felt it was time for her to disappear to a village with no electricity, internet, or telephones. It doesn’t say much about the woman who raised him, does it?

I can report Mabel chilled a little over the last few years. When I was thirteen, she decided maybe she should get to know her grandchildren. I was the only one of the three who put any effort into the relationship at all. I think I was the only one born with the guilt gene, or it’s possible I felt compelled to do it because I’m the middle child. But whatever the reason, I spent more time with Mabel than anyone I know, ever. During those dozen years, I discovered there was a lot more to Mabel Dalton than meets the eye. She carried negativity like a candle, lighting up the room with it wherever she went. The more time I spent with her the more I decided she used negativity as a shield, so she didn’t have to deal with her past. As we both got older, she opened up more to me about her fears concerning her afterlife. She knew she had broken the sixth commandment hundreds of times, and the older she got, the more her actions tortured her. At first, I tried to convince her she had killed bad people who wanted nothing more than to kill her, but my logic didn’t seem to help. Eventually, all I could do was tell her to ask for forgiveness and accept He has forgiven her for her transgressions.

I checked my watch, anxiously waiting for the ‘service’ to be over, so we could leave. The best part was there would be no burial. She donated her body to science. I figure they would probably search for the mean bone, kind of like the funny bone, but it has been elusive thus far. We planned a short service for the five of us, and then they were reading the will at the lawyer’s office. I think the rest of the family would have been happy to skip the service and cut straight to the reading of the will, but she was my father’s mother, and I had to say my final goodbye.

Mabel was mean, but she was also rich. I suspect we will all end up with nothing and her assets and money will go to a charity. Then again, she didn’t like those either. The only charity she had any time for was the humane society, so chances are it would all go to them and we’d be on our way. I think the reason we were all anxious to be there was curiosity lined our hearts when it came to this woman who few could love. Mabel had dug me out of some deep holes over the years, not because I asked, however. The woman could surprise you sometimes. She paid the remaining balance at the hospital after they admitted me and my dad’s insurance didn’t cover it all. It was during those times, the hard times, when you got to see the real Mabel Dalton. You had only a second to glimpse it though, because she was fast at shoving all her emotions back inside herself and wielding her sharp tongue again.

I’m sure you’re thinking she would at least leave something to her son, but I doubt it. Our family is small, one smaller now with Mabel gone. When my dad married Marguerite Sanchez, Mabel threw words around like disappointed and disowning at my father for marrying outside his race. My dad told her he wasn’t marrying outside his race. They were both humans. Mabel didn’t appreciate his smart aleckness, either. Did I forget to mention she was also a bigot? She boycotted the wedding and when they introduced the new couple as Mr. and Mrs. Bennie Dalton, Mabel was not there to see it. Such a shame, the Hispanic culture knows how to put on a wedding.

From the union three children were born, my oldest sister Tabitha, who is a bit of a drama queen, currently sniffling as though Mabel was her favorite person on earth and her heart was broken in two. My brother, Lorenzo, the baby of the family, was almost twenty-two, but everyone still treated him as if he was two. Then there’s me, Cinnamon Mabel Dalton, the middle child of the family. In my childhood, I spent a lot of time rolling my eyes at my name, my siblings, and my grandmother. If there were such a thing as eye rolling contests, I would win. I suppose you noticed my name is a bit…unusual. Apparently, my parents couldn’t decide if I should be a stripper or a cat lady when I grew up. They gave me both names, so I could choose.

All joking aside, my parents hoped naming me after Mabel would soften her prejudices and bring her around to see the grandchildren. I would have to say to a degree it did; at least she started talking to my father again and asked him to bring the children for Sunday dinner once a month.

My mother came with us, but our standing dinner arrangement only lasted for a short two-hour span on a Sunday in July, when I was four months old. Once I was old enough to figure Mabel out, I insisted she and I begin those Sunday dinners again, just the two of us, once a month. Begrudgingly she allowed it, and I think she even started to enjoy our time together. When I was thirteen she even came around to deciding maybe my mother wasn’t so bad, if she was raising a girl like me. To say she mended fences might be going too far, but she stopped ignoring my mother, and started inviting the rest of the family to Sunday dinner.

I glanced up at my father who stood over me. “Cinn, the service is over.”

I stood, somewhat surprised I had been lost in thought for so long, and smoothed my dress. “I know,” I said, nodding as though I hadn’t been staring off into space for at least ten minutes.

“Do you want to ride with us to the lawyer’s office?” he asked, slinging his arm around my shoulder. Maḿa had hers slung around Tabitha’s shoulder to comfort her, but her sniffles were a beacon of fakeness in the room. Most likely she was hoping Mabel had left her fistfuls of cash and she would never have to work again. At almost twenty-nine Tabby was still single, likely due to her penchant for drama and unwillingness to work.

I needed a little drama free time before the reading of the will, so I declined. “I’ll drive over, since I have my car. I need to stop and pick something up.”

He checked his watch. “Okay, but don’t be late. We won’t wait for you because the line was too long at Dunkin’ Donuts.”

I stuck my tongue out and then laughed, waving as I pushed through the door of the tiny funeral home and jogged to my car. There was a cup of tea waiting somewhere with my name on it.

***

I glanced around the small office and squirmed in my chair a little bit, suddenly wishing I hadn’t come. Being here made me feel like I was nothing but a greedy granddaughter who thought she would get something out of spending all those hours with a crabby old woman who didn’t give one iota about her. I thought about leaving, but the lawyer strode into the room as I stood up. I lowered my butt to the chair again and folded my hands on the table, the same way everyone else had.

“Is everyone here then?” asked the lawyer.

“We are,” my dad answered.

“Let’s get started,” he said, opening the flap on a manila envelope and pulling out a pack of papers, which was surprisingly thick considering Mabel’s lack of friends.

“As you all know, Mabel made me the executor of her will. While you’re each entitled to your own copy of the will, and I have one here for each of you, she left specific instructions about how the reading should be accomplished.”

My brother cleared his throat. “I guess we know where Tabitha got her flair for the dramatics.”

My father slapped him on the shoulder and I bit the inside of my lip to keep from laughing while my sister huffed. Families, they’re so much fun.

The lawyer shuffled through some of the papers and then glanced up again. “Is it all right if I skip the formalities and get right to the nitty-gritty?”

“By all means,” my father said and motioned at the paperwork. “We don’t need to take up any more of your time than necessary.”

The lawyer nodded and put his glasses on to read the paperwork. “Mabel has left her son the remainder of her stocks and savings bonds. I believe the amount was near one hundred thousand dollars nearly a year ago. I’ll give you her financial planner’s information and you will need to contact him to decide if you want to cash in the stocks and bonds etc.”

My father nodded slowly. “I will, thank you. Wow, I’m shocked she left me anything.” I could tell he and my mother were genuinely surprised.

“Next, Mabel has left her car to her grandson, Lorenzo Bennie Dalton.” The lawyer dug in a second envelope and pulled out a fob, sliding it across the table to my brother. “Here’s the spare key. She indicates the other sets are on her keyboard in her laundry room.”

Lorenzo clutched the key in his hand and nodded, excitement written all over his face. “Yes, sir, I know where they are.” Did I forget to mention Mabel drove a BMW coupe? My sister was frowning dramatically now, her hopes dashed.

“Next, Mabel left the family diamond and ruby ensemble to Tabitha, the eldest granddaughter.”

Suddenly, my sister didn’t seem so forlorn. Those jewels were worth as much as the car, but it left little hope for me to get anything of value. Oh well, it’s the way the cookie crumbles when you’re a middle child.

“Mabel has also left a large sum to the Humane Society of Little Ivywood, and deeded the land, known as Trigger’s Dog Park, to the humane society as well.”

My father raised a finger. “Speaking of the humane society, did she say anywhere in her will what to do with Brutus?”

Brutus was Mabel’s Saint Bernard. He was almost two hundred pounds of joy, and twelve pounds of poop a day. He currently resided with my father, who was not a dog person. I would take him, but Saint Bernard’s are frowned upon in my apartment complex.

The lawyer smiled. “I was about to cover her wishes for Brutus, actually. To her namesake, Mabel leaves her house, Brutus, and one hundred thousand dollars.” He swiveled toward me as I sat in shock at what he said. “Her accountant will provide you with a monthly stipend for Brutus’s food and vet care, as well as upkeep on the house and taxes. When Brutus passes on, whatever money remains will be given to you in one sum.”

Tabitha pounded a fist on the table. “That’s not fair!”

My father tried to hush her, but the lawyer was chuckling at my sister’s outburst. “Your grandmother said you wouldn’t be happy. I’ll read the last paragraph of the will. ‘I, Mabel Dalton, have left to each of you what I feel you invested in my life. The only one of the five of you who ever loved Brutus is the only one I will trust with his care. Therefore, I must also provide the monetary means to care for him, so as not to strain the budget of a young woman just getting started in life. And Tabitha, life’s not fair. Get over yourself and quit acting like a prima-donna. Life owes you nothing. Take the many things you’ve been blessed with and do some good for the community. When I was your age, I was in the jungle picking off those out to try and do the same to me. If I had pitched a hissy fit when my father told me I had to learn how to hunt, none of you would exist. Take what I’ve given you and build on it. Make a life for yourselves and remember in my own strange way, I did love you.”

The room was silent as the lawyer stacked the paper and tapped the bottoms into line, sliding them back into the envelope. He stood, taking several envelopes off the desk behind him and passing them out.

“These are your copies of the will. Those of you with two envelopes, one is the will and one is the information you need for your inheritance with directions on how to go about claiming it. Please, call me if you have any questions or if concerns arise. Thank you for coming and I’m sorry for your loss.”

In the short span of ten minutes, I became a homeowner and a mother to a two-hundred-pound dog. You know, just a typical Saturday afternoon in Little Ivywood.



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