The house on Cranberry Lane breathed and had a soul. Black shutters glared ominously down at Anna, watching her like fresh prey as she regarded it from the front yard with a mixture of fear and fascination.
It was a white two-story monstrosity with plantation-style columns and rocking chairs that beckoned from the expansive front porch. She imagined the porch had hosted many a lemonade drinker as they’d fanned themselves, praying for relief from the sweltering Georgia sun. The generous lawn was shaded by peach trees that lined the drive like sentinels.
A realtor stood before Anna, her hand outstretched, a vision of professionalism in a powder blue suit and gray pumps. She smiled broadly as if she hadn’t kept Anna waiting for the past twenty minutes.
“Ms. Worthington. Hi, I’m Cathy Lindley.”
“Please, call me Anna,” she said, her eyes never leaving the house.
She hadn’t been back to Golatha Falls in years. Her father had been so cold when she’d left. He’s much colder now. She shook that morbid cobweb from her mind.
Her mother had passed when she was still very young, and Quinton Worthington had left her everything. His business, his money, and a house she couldn’t live in and equally couldn’t bear to part with. The plan had been to leave immediately after the funeral. She’d been almost free of the cloying southern town until she made the mistake of detouring down Cranberry Lane.
The For Sale sign had teased her from the edge of the lawn. And although she would happily ignore her father’s house; this house she couldn’t ignore. It had been as if an unseen force had guided her hands to turn the wheel and pull into the driveway.
Anna took a deep breath and followed Cathy inside. She’d expected a hollowed-out cavern, but the place was filled with priceless antiques as if it were still inhabited.
Her black heels click-clacked over the hardwood floors as she shadowed the realtor. The hair on her arms rose with each echoing step. They were alone in the house. Of course they were, but she still had to turn around to make sure.