“Really?” I’m surprised. “He’s only ever been sweet and kind to me.”
“He’s ruthless in the courtroom. People don’t fuck with him there.”
This is a new side to Ty that I don’t yet know. He’s always so gentle, loving even, with me. But at some moments he’s been pretty controlling and take-charge, so it shouldn’t surprise me that he’s a hard-ass in his job.
“I’ll have to check it out sometime.”
“I think you’d enjoy it,” Jill agrees.
“You two look a lot alike.” I blush when I realize I’ve said it aloud. But it’s true: they both have black hair, blue-gray eyes, and olive skin. Their biggest difference is their height. Ty is tall and broad, while Jill is petite.
“We look like our mom,” she responds softly.
“Does she enjoy Florida?”
“I think so. We don’t talk often.”
“Ty told me about your dad. I’m sorry, Jill. I had no idea.”
Jill’s wide eyes meet mine. “He did?”
I nod yes.
“Why are you surprised?” I ask, tilting my head.
“Ty just doesn’t talk about him.” Her tone is soft, but matter-of-fact.
She shakes her head, her eyes narrowed as though she’s deep in thought. “He trusts you.”
I blink rapidly. “I trust him too.”
A slow smile spreads across Jill’s pretty face. A smug, happy smile. “I hope so, because I have a feeling you’re gonna be stuck with him for a long time.” She checks her watch and then jumps up. “I have to go. I’ll see you tonight!”
With that, she’s off, waving at the barista behind the counter on her way out.
He trusts me.
* * *
The drive home is quick. I wrote two chapters today, putting me back on track for my deadline. I’m excited to see Ty and the others in a few hours and spend some time at the pumpkin patch.
The vans and trucks that littered my driveway earlier have gone. I park and insert the key to unlock the door, but it’s already unlocked.
The door opens easily.
The alarm is also not set, but that doesn’t surprise me because I left it off for the workers.
But I know that I locked this door, and Dave nor any of his crew had no need to walk through the house.
The hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Something is just . . . off.
I set my purse and keys on the table by the door and walk inside the quiet house. From what I can see, nothing has been moved or touched, everything is as it was when I left this morning.
Then I walk back toward the office, and the door is ajar.
I always shut that door.
Without taking another step forward, I turn toward the front door, grab my purse and keys, and pull my phone out of my pocket as I lock myself inside my car.
My hands are shaking, my breath is coming in petrified pants as I dial Brad’s number first.
“Hull,” he answers.
“It’s Lo. Are you working?” I hate how unsteady my voice sounds.
“Yes, what’s wrong, Lo?”
“Someone has been in my house.”
“Where are you?”
“I’m sitting in the car in my driveway.”
“Stay there, I’m on my way.” He hangs up, and I immediately call Ty.
“Turner and Sullivan,” the receptionist answers. Ty’s cell phone must be forwarded to the office.
“This is Lauren. Is Ty in court today?”
“Yes, he is, but he should be here in about ten minutes. Do you want me to have him call you?”
“Is everything okay?”
“I don’t know. I just need him. Please tell him as soon as you see him.”
I hang up and throw my phone in the passenger seat, waiting for Brad to arrive. I swear, time has never moved slower than it is right now.
Where is he?
Finally, Brad’s car pulls into my driveway, but I stay where I am, even when he climbs from his car and walks to mine.
“You can get out now, Lo.”
“How do you know? You haven’t looked inside the house yet.”
Just then, Ty’s Jeep comes screaming into my driveway. He comes to an abrupt stop and throws it out of gear, then jogs to my side, opens the car door, and pulls me out of the car and into his arms.
“What’s wrong?” He’s breathing hard and his heart is beating a staccato against my cheek.
“Someone has been in the house.”
“What?” Ty pulls me away from him and shoots a look at Brad. “Have you checked it out?”
“I just got here. I haven’t gone inside yet. I want to hear the story first.”
“What happened, baby?”
Brad’s eyebrow rises at Ty’s term of endearment, but we both ignore him as I begin the story of going to the café to write, my impromptu coffee date with Jill, and coming home.
“So, nothing has been touched inside?” Brad asks when I’m finished.
“Not that I can see, but I swear I locked that door, and my office door was ajar.”
“You said yourself that you were preoccupied with work before you left, right? And that the crew was distracting you?”
“Yes, but I always, always close the door to my office, Brad. I never forget.”
“Okay, I’ll go inside and take a look around.” Brad leaves us, his hand on his firearm as he enters the house.
“I’m not crazy, Ty.”
“No one is calling you crazy, beautiful.”
“Someone who shouldn’t be has been inside my house.”
After five long minutes, Brad returns, shaking his head. “There’s no one in there now. The crew locked the back mudroom door. Maybe one of them came through the house on his way out?”
I’m shaking my head no before he even gets through the first sentence.
“If Lo says someone has been here, someone was here, Brad. She’s never cried wolf before.”
Brad sighs and pushes his hand through his hair. “I know. I believe that you feel that something is off here, Lo. But there’s no sign of forced entry, and you had a work crew here all day who had access to the house.”
I sigh in frustration and glance back at the house. “Did you go in my office?”
“You didn’t?” Ty asks me, surprised.
“No. When I saw the door ajar, it scared me and I came outside and called you guys.”