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Crimson Hill Series (Book 10-12)

Crimson Hill Series (Book 10-12)

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This is a box set of books 10-12 from the Crimson Hill Series.  Books are delivered by Bookfunnel for reading on any device. 

No Surrender

Enid Rafferty had a strange clause in her will. Gersham Silver and Patti Sue Rafferty, her niece, were supposed to solve the mystery of where Gersham's mother was buried before they could inherit the bulk of her estate. It was an impossible task; Gersham's mother died twenty-one years ago.
Suddenly, the two exes were in each other's space again. Forced to confront their shared past, they embarked on an unexpected journey to uncover the truth about Gersham's mother's final resting place. As they delve into Enid Rafferty's cryptic clues and navigate the complexities of their tangled history, they must also confront their own unresolved feelings and unanswered questions.
In this tale of mystery, love, and rediscovery, Gersham and Patti will not only uncover long-buried secrets but also learn that sometimes the path to solving life's mysteries leads straight to the heart. Will they find closure and rekindle a lost connection along the way, or will the past remain a riddle they can never solve?

No Time to Love

Garwin Silver did not do romance. He had never been in a romantic relationship in his life, and frankly, he had no time for any of that sort of thing. He was a busy chef with a full life. So why was he so obsessed with Silver Spoon’s newest hire, the beautiful and captivating Erin McMillan?

And better yet, why didn’t she like him? Everyone liked him, but Erin was determined to keep him at arm’s length. Which was too bad because he was thinking of making an exception for her in his stance on romance.

Erin was running from her ex-fiancé, Rafi Chan, and Crimson Hills seemed like the perfect place to hide out until she was sure that Rafi had moved on. Her only problem while she laid low was that Garwin Silver, her childhood crush, was not good for her peace of mind either.

No Promises

Music producer Chex Hastings is steadfast in his commitment to a code of detachment: no promises, shallow relationships, and a firm decision to forgo parenthood because of what he experienced in his childhood with his father. But when an unexpected encounter reunites him with Garnet Silver, the one woman he made an exception for in the past, his carefully constructed world begins to unravel.

Garnet reenters Chex's life with a surprise – a son. Suddenly faced with the prospect of fatherhood, Chex grapples with conflicting emotions. Can he stick to his vow of non-commitment in the face of newfound responsibility? Or will the bonds of love and family challenge his resolve?

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No Surrender

Chapter One

Gersham's suit itched. He wasn't used to formal clothing and had outgrown the last suit he had worn to a funeral. This monstrous, boxy thing was made from the scratchiest fabric imaginable. The stiff material seemed to conspire against his every move, provoking a constant battle between his skin and the constricting garment.
He tugged at the collar, desperately seeking some relief from the torment. Sweat trickled down his forehead as he questioned his decision to accept the suit from his well-meaning granduncle.
He should have found the time to go shopping for something that didn’t look like it had appeared on the cover of Gentleman’s Quarterly 1876. At least then, he wouldn't have stood out among the modern, elegantly dressed individuals at the funeral. Even now, with the smaller group in the library at the reading of the will, he was more conspicuous than ever.
Enid Rafferty's lawyer, who looked like he was pushing the edges of ninety, was dressed better than him and was probably feeling better, too.
Gersham’s discomfort only intensified as he noticed the scrutinizing gaze of Patti Sue. He knew she was laughing at him. He couldn't blame her; he would laugh at himself, too. And to think this wretched suit he wore was all because he wanted to impress her. His granduncle had said he had an Armani suit for him that would make him look debonair at the funeral. Gersham had taken the outfit without looking at it.
He had been too busy leading up to the event. He had been the main caretaker for Enid Rafferty’s yard and house, an unpaid volunteer role that had evolved over time because of his fondness for the old lady.
He spent most of his evenings caring for Enid's one-acre property when he finished work at the Silver Spoon restaurant, he co-owned with his brother. He had considered it a labor of love and he liked keeping Enid’s company.
Since she died, her family, who didn't know much about how she operated, leaned on him for everything leading up to the funeral. Additionally, the Rafferty family had asked him to cater for the repast. He had done most of the cooking, as well as picking up her various family members from the airport, supervising the cleaning of the house, and getting it ready for guests.
He had not taken any time out to consider the suit. He had stared at the thing appalled when he had finally unwrapped it from the garment bag, but what could he have done then?
He had to go to the funeral. He was one of the pallbearers. He had been closer to Enid Rafferty than anyone there; it would have looked odd if he didn't attend.
She had been like family to him. She was kind of like the grandmother figure he had never had. His relationship with her had even outlasted his relationship with Patti Sue, her niece. Enid used to have a good laugh at that.
Her fondest desire was for him and Patti Sue to get back together.
Come to think of it, that was his fondest desire, too.
“Enid Rafferty considered all of you in this room to be near and dear to her.” The lawyer cleared his throat.
Gersham looked around; there were seven of them in the library; it was Enid's favorite room in the house. Her brother, Gus, and his wife, Anne; her cousin, Marlene, and her husband, Fred, and Patti Sue.
It was a shrinking family. Enid’s other brother Andy and his wife had died in a car crash when Patti Sue was a little girl. Enid had never married; her fiancé had died in a boating accident a month before the wedding.
“I will love him forever,” she had told him simply. “No other man will ever measure up; why should I put myself through the misery.”
It was kind of how he felt toward Patti Sue.
He glanced at her. Patti Sue had a heart-shaped face with soft, delicate features that seemed to embody innocence and vulnerability. Her eyes sparkled with warmth and kindness. Silky black curls cascaded down her shoulders, framing her face in a way that accentuated her beauty.
But it wasn't just her physical appearance that captivated him. Patti Sue possessed a genuine and compassionate soul that radiated from within. She loved to laugh and found joy in every situation. When they were together, she made him feel cherished, understood, and accepted for who he truly was. With her, he didn't have to pretend or put on a mask; he could be his authentic self.
He missed that. Good Lord, he missed it. He couldn’t recreate it with anyone else.
Their breakup had literally sent him reeling. Everyone had said he would get over her. Even Patti Sue herself, but so far, four years and a couple months, he hadn't managed to.
He knew he would love her forever; he would probably die single and lonely like Enid Rafferty. Even now, being in the same room with her brought its own set of itchiness somewhere in the region of his heart.
“Without further ado, let’s go into the last will and testimony of Miss Enid Rafferty,” the lawyer broke into his thoughts.
Gersham straightened up in his chair and fixed his collar, which felt as if it were choking him. He wondered what Enid had left for him, maybe her big wheelbarrow or temperamental grass cutter.
“To my brother Gus and his lovely wife Anne,” the lawyer read, “I bequeath two million dollars to do with as you wish.”
Everybody gasped.
He was sure it wasn’t just him. There was stillness in the air, a puzzlement on each face. Where did Enid get that much money? His eyes met Patti Sue in mutual shock.
Gersham knew she was not poor; she lived on the rich side of Crimson Hill with its big houses and big yards. And the house was well-maintained.
Last year, she changed the roof and windows to a more modern style. It had never occurred to him that Enid had used her money for it; he hadn't given it much thought.
“To my cousin Marlene and her husband Fred, I thank you for checking in on me through all these years and keeping the family link alive; I bequeath you two million dollars to do with as you wish.”
Marlene and Fred were grinning from ear to ear.
Gersham almost choked when the lawyer looked straight at him and then at Patti Sue, “Now for the bulk of her estate.”
Bulk? He almost swallowed his tongue. Estate?
“To Gersham, you are the son I never had. Thank you for the endless days of conversations, keeping me company without prompting, your selfless nature, and your willingness to help an old lady who was often alone and rambling about the past; you did it without compensation or force. You, sir, are a one-in-a-million type of man.
“And to Patti Sue, my sweet niece. I understood what being a mother would have been like when you came to live with me. I know at times we didn't see eye to eye, and I could be a little challenging to live with but know this: I love you and always will.
“I bequeath to both Gersham Silver and Patti Sue Rafferty my entire estate portfolio, which includes this house in Crimson Hills and my apartment complex in Kingston. I also want Gersham and Patti to share equally my stock portfolio, currently valued at ten million US dollars. All the cash in my current savings and checking accounts, at the time of this writing, valued at over sixty million Jamaican dollars.”
Gersham didn't move a muscle; he was probably in a dream, but his suit reminded him that this was no dream.
Patti Sue had jumped up from her seat like ants were in her pants. “Read that again!”
“I am not finished, Miss Rafferty,” the lawyer looked at her disapprovingly. “There are conditions.”
“Conditions?” Patti Sue echoed the question on the tip of his tongue.
“This is something I will have to privately discuss with you both,” the lawyer smiled at the other people in the room. “Arrangements will be made shortly for you, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, my condolences.” He ushered them out politely.
Gersham watched as Lawyer Dennison walked them to the door.
“Now, where were we?” He sat back around the desk and put on his glasses. “The will states that both you,” he looked at Patti, “and Mr. Gersham Silver have to work together to find one Miss Tina Boyd.”
“That’s my mother,” Gersham said, confused. “She is dead. My father killed her twenty years ago. He went to jail for ten years for the crime.”
“Miss Enid Rafferty has been fascinated with this case for years,” Lawyer Dennison cleared his throat. “She wanted to give her a proper burial, and she couldn't accomplish that since her body was never found. She had a soft spot for your mother.”
“I know,” Gersham said. “My mom used to clean for her back in the day. We discuss her all the time.”
“I am lost,” Patti shook her head. “What does that have to do with us and getting the inheritance? My magazine is downsizing. This week is my last week at work. Pretty soon, I won’t be able to afford my apartment. No offense, Mr. Dennison, but that inheritance will come in very handy.”
“I am sorry, Miss Rafferty,” Lawyer Dennison replied. “Per your aunt's wishes, neither of you will get that inheritance until you work together to find Miss Boyd. You may receive the house and a cash injection of a million Jamaican dollars each, but the rest of the money and proceeds of the property stay in trust until you both fulfill that clause.”
“I can't believe this,” Patti muttered. “What are we supposed to do? Dig up all of Crimson Hills to find a woman long dead?”
“It was Miss Enid's greatest wish that you do this together,” Lawyer Dennison said. “The folder with her findings is in the library. It will give you a head start.”
Gersham chuckled softly to himself. Miss Enid was cunning. She had found a way to put him and Patti Sue in the same vicinity for a while. Hadn't he always said that was all he needed? But couldn't she have found some other way to do it?
His childhood was not the best. His memories were painful, and he would have to dredge up all that to pursue this wild goose chase. If the police hadn't found his mother's body all those years ago, how would they do it now?
Patti was glaring at him. “Did you put Aunt Enid up to this?”
“No,” Gersham shook his head. “I didn't. I had no idea...”
The itch climbed up his collar. He needed to get out of these clothes and inspect them. Surely the material wasn’t crawling and had tentacles.
He stood up quickly. “Can I be excused? I have to get out of these clothes!”
The lawyer nodded. “You have my contact numbers. Feel free to get in touch.”
Gersham nodded and left the room.
“Are you coming back?” Patti asked. “We need to craft a strategy, and I don't want to stay in the house alone. Everybody is leaving tonight.”
He contemplated telling her no. What was the name of that song? ‘I love you too much to ever start liking you, so don't expect me to be your friend.’ That was him right now.
“Gersham?” She asked. “Please don't say no. I will not bring up our past. I will be on my best behavior. We obviously need to talk. I am going to Kingston tomorrow.”
Gersham sighed. She was right. They needed to talk, but he was bone-tired. “I am going home to shower, and then I have to be at the restaurant tomorrow morning by five. If you want to talk, you'll have to come with me.”
“Okay,” Patti nodded. “I'll drive behind you. Is Garnet's room empty?”
“Yes,” he nodded reluctantly.
“Then that's where I am sleeping tonight,” Patti Sue said.
He practically ran to the car. He took off the jacket and the pants as soon as he opened the door of his rust bucket. He hoped the vehicle would carry him down to the house. He had never wanted a shower so bad.
Only when he was halfway down the hill did he realize that he had okayed Patti Sue to stay with him tonight. What was he thinking? He couldn't handle Patti Sue, even in small doses. His defenses against her weren't built like that.