Chapter One: Getting to Know Your Friends
THIS BOOK IS NOT A STAND ALONE BOOK. BEFORE CONTINUING, PLEASE READ BOOKS ONE & TWO - Her Ghost Lover / Second Chances
Jacob stared at the space where Candace had just been. She’s gone now, forever.
“No.” He said with a shake of his head. Just for ten years. He reminded himself. “Jamie!” He hollered as he ran into the hall.
“What happened?” Jamie asked out of breath as she ran up to him.
“Edward attacked us.”
“Oh, no.” She gasped as she covered her mouth. “Is Candace all right?”
“She left.” He said as he headed down the stairs. “Dad!” He bellowed.
“Son, what is going on?”
“Edward attacked us.”
“Good, Lord.” Jake said as he fell in step beside his son. “Is Candace all right?”
“She’s gone.” Jacob said as he opened the front door.
“God, help us all.” Jamie hollered when she saw Edward’s body.
“We need to report this, but first, I need both of your help.”
“Anything, Son.” Jake said with a growl.
“We need to get the tape from the camera that points at my balcony. Then I need you to lie for me.” He said as he looked at Jamie.
“Me?” Jamie squealed.
“To protect Candace.” He told her.
She nodded. She would do anything for Candace. “I’ll get the tape.” She said as she ran back into the house.
Jacob picked up a large rock and tossed it lightly in his hand.
“What do you plan to do, Son?”
Jacob reared back and tossed the rock at the camera. “Bullseye.” He said when the rock struck the camera. “That camera was broke years ago.”
“I believe it was.” Jake said with a grin.
“Jamie!” Jacob hollered.
“I’ve got it.” Jamie said as she ran back outside.
“Good. We need to watch it, so we have our stories straight. You’ll be playing the part of Candace.” He said as he grabbed her and led her inside.
“Where is Candace?” She asked as they walked to the family room.
“She went home.”
Her eyes widened, then filled with tears. “It’s all over then. You’re safe.”
“I am safe.” He said with a nod. “But it’s far from over.”
Three hours later, the police had come and gone, and Edwards’s body was on its way to the morgue.
“What now?” Jamie asked with a sigh as she closed the front door.
“So, everything Candace had said was true.” Jake said as he watched them.
“Afraid so, Dad.” Jacob said as he patted the older man on the shoulder.
“I need a drink.” Jake grumbled.
“Meet us in the library.” Jacob said as he headed for the library.
“Jacob, what are your plans?” Jamie asked as she followed him.
Jacob didn’t answer as they entered the library. He sat on the couch he used to cuddle with Candace on. Jamie stayed standing as she paced the room.
“Okay, Son. What is in the plans to get on with your life?” Jake asked as he entered the room.
“I won’t be getting on with my life, as you had put it, Father.” Jacob said.
“But Candace is gone, Son.”
“She only returned to the future.” Jamie said. “He just needs to wait ten years, and she will come searching for him.”
Jacob shook his head. “I’m not waiting for her.”
Jamie looked at him. “What, are you going to see other women while your soulmate is lost to the stars, for ten years?”
Jacob laughed. “She asked a similar question. And the answer is. No.” Jamie opened her mouth to say something, and Jacob put up a hand to stop her. “A sweet girl is waiting for me. And she’s my soulmate, just as much as the Candace we all know, and love is.”
“What?” Jamie squealed.
“What are you talking about, Junior?” Jake asked as he studied his son.
Jacob smiled as he got to his feet. “Candace told the spirit me a lot about herself. And he…as in I…looked it up, so I know more about this Candace than she knows about herself.”
“Oh, please, Lord, help us.” Jamie said as she rolled her eyes.
Jacob went to the computer and turned it on, then looked up the Donaldsons.
Jake whistled from behind Jacob. “She really has enough money of her own.”
“You mean she’s related to those Donaldsons?” Jamie asked.
Jacob chuckled. “Not just related, she’s the baby of their five children.” He said as he pulled up a picture of the now fifteen-year-old Candace Marie Donaldson.
“A bit young, though, isn’t she, Son?” Jake asked as he looked at the photos.
“But so pretty.” Jamie said with a smile. “Nice to see she never lost that figure.”
Jacob grinned. “You’ll get no arguments from me.”
“Okay, Son, so what are your plans?”
“Well, when I was a spirit, Grady Donaldson, and I became friends. I think I would like that again. He’s a great guy, and that will get me that much closer to Candace so that I can make my moves.”
“I hope you plan to wait… at least until she’s legal.” Jamie said, whispering the last part.
Jacob laughed. “Yes, Jamie, dear. I plan to wait at least until she’s eighteen. But I still want to be a part of her life.”
“This is great.” Jake said with a smile. “Ah, young love.”
“This will mean we all get Candace back within two to five years, rather than ten.” Jamie said as she looked at them.
“Well, I’m in.” She said with a smile.
“Where do we start?” Jake asked.
Jacob grinned. “We start with her brother, Grady.”
Jacob watched as Grady Donaldson walked up the stairs to his father’s firm. Like Jacob, Grady had started college just after turning seventeen, and he already has his bachelor’s degree in law.
“Mr. Donaldson.” Jacob said as he stepped into Grady’s path.
Grady stopped and eyed the man in front of him. “Can I help you?” He asked.
Jacob smiled. “I was hoping you could help me with a few legal problems.”
The Postals have their own lawyers in retainer, but Jake had agreed that hiring Candace’s brother was a brilliant way to get his foot in the door, so to speak.
“What can I help you with, Mister?”
“Postal, Jacob Postal.” Jacob said as he held his hand out to the man.
Grady smiled. “As in the sole heir to the Postal holdings?” He asked as he shook Jacob’s hand.
Jacob smiled. “The one and the same.”
“Come on in.” Grady said as he motioned towards the building.
Jacob followed Grady into the building, and down a few halls to the man’s office.
“So, Mr. Postal. What can I do for you?”
“Please, call me Jacob.” Jacob said with a smile as he sat in the chair across from Grady’s desk. “I’m sure you’ve heard about everything that has happened to us in the past week.”
“I have.” Grady said with a nod. “I’m sorry about your stepbrother.”
Jacob snorted. “I’m not.”
Grady studied the man across from him. What could have happened to put that look on his face?
“Why are you here, Mr. Postal?”
Jacob took a deep breath, then told Grady everything that had happened, leaving out Candace’s involvement, and replacing Candace with Jamie for the balcony scene. When he finished, he sat there as he waited for Grady to speak.
“Are you sure you don’t want my father to handle this?”
Jacob laughed. “I’m sure, Mr. Donaldson. I want you.”
What was he going to say? ‘No, Mr. Donaldson, I can’t get close to your fifteen-year-old sister, if I use your father.’ Hell, he wanted to hit himself for that thought.
“I’m sure your father already has a lawyer or two…” Grady started to say.
Jacob put his hand up to stop him. “He does. But I realize that I need to stand on my own two feet. I need to stop relying on my father. I need my own lawyer.” He said with a smile.
“But still using daddy’s money.” Donaldson grumbled.
Jacob laughed; he knows how independent the Donaldson children are. He had learned that firsthand.
“If you check me out, Mr. Donaldson, I am independently wealthy from my own hard work. My father’s money, up until recently, had just been a convenience. Something to throw around a name that gets attention.”
Grady grinned at that. Jacob knew the man would understand that.
“But, I ask again.” Grady said as he watched Jacob. “Are you sure it’s not my father you want?”
Jacob studied the other man for a moment. “I have studied you for a while, Mr. Donaldson. I have found you straightforward, and you know how to get things done.” He wasn’t lying there. He had studied the man, in-depth when he was dead, and Grady helped him turn his holdings over to Candace. “I believe you are the man I am looking for.”
Grady smiled. “Okay, Jacob. Then, first thing first. Drop the Mr. Donaldson, that’s my father. Call me, Grady. And secondly, welcome to Donaldson and Sons. I will need to see the reports.” He said as he held his hand out to Jacob again.
Jacob smiled with a nod as he shook the man’s hand.
Step One: Complete
Step Two: Meet Candace Marie Donaldson.
During the next few weeks, Jacob spent most of his free time with Grady Donaldson. As his client, and as his friend. He learned that Grady likes his drink as much as he likes his women.
They were sitting in a booth at Grady’s favorite pub. Jacob was nursing his first beer if you could call it that. He hadn’t even taken a single sip from it. Grady was on his seventh beer and was all over a blond who saw dollar signs when she looked at Grady.
“Man, what is Ann Marie going to say to all of this?” Jacob said, without thinking.
“Ann Marie?” The blond asked as if Jacob had just kicked her in the stomach. “Is she your whore?”
Grady pushed the blond off his lap. “What a horrible thing to say about an innocent sixteen-year-old.”
“A bit young, don’t you think?” The blond snorted.
“She’s just my sister’s best friend. Now get out of here with your foul mouth.” Grady said as he stood and pointed towards the exit.
The blond snorted, but Jacob could see the disappointment in her eyes.
“And you.” Grady said as he sat down and looked at Jacob.
Jacob almost laughed when the other man swayed from his movements.
“How do you know about Ann Marie?”
Jacob swallowed. He has blown it now. “You mentioned her a couple of times when you talked about your sister.”
That seemed to appease him, and it brought up the subject Jacob wanted to talk about most. Grady’s little sister.
“Ah, my sweet Candace.” Grady said with a sigh. “Her sweet sixteen is coming up, you know.”
Yes, he knew. But he wasn’t going to tell Grady that. “You don’t say.” He said instead, as he watched the man.
Grady nodded. “Next week.” He said as he took a swig of his beer. “Hey, I have an idea.” Grady said as he slammed his mug on the table.
Jacob smiled. “What’s that?”
“Why don’t you come to her party with me, as my guest? You can meet my parents and brothers. Oh, and the birthday girl herself. Hell, I may even let you meet Ann Marie.” With that said, Grady passed out.
Jacob winced when Grady’s head hit the table. Yep, as he had figured, Grady has been in love with Ann Marie for most of their lives. And just like with Jacob, the girl is too young for him right now. Now, besides his own budding romance, he will have to help Grady along with his also.
Just as Jacob had known would happen, he and Grady have already become excellent friends. Jacob smiled as he waved for a bouncer to help him get Grady to his car.
“Have you had anything to drink tonight, son? Do I need to call a cab?” The older man asked as he helped Jacob get Grady to his feet.
“Not a drop, sir.” Jacob responded.
The man nodded as he helped Jacob drag Grady to the car.
“Have a good evening.” Jacob said as he got into the driver’s seat.
He drove to Grady’s condo, and the bellhop helped him get Grady up to his condo. Jacob slipped the bellhop a fifty, then closed the door and moved to situate Grady onto the couch.
Jacob looked for the aspirin and found it in the medicine cabinet, then filled a glass with water. He placed both on the coffee table, then found a notepad and pen, and wrote Grady a note. He put the note beside the aspirin, then turned and headed out the door, locking it before he closed it behind him.
With a wide grin, he parked Grady’s car in the parking garage, then took a cab to the pub where he retrieved his car and drove home.
Grady woke the next morning with a horrible headache. He knows a hangover when he felt one. What had he done last night? Grady sat up and looked around the room. He was home alone, that’s a first after a night of drinking.
He noticed the aspirin and water. Or was he alone? He picked up the bottle and downed two pills before he saw the note. He picked up the paper and read the note through blurry eyes.
I accept your invitation for tonight, to attend your little sister’s sweet sixteen party, as your guest.
Grady stared at the paper. What had happened last night?
Don’t haggle your way out of this one; I think it is time I met your family. I consider us excellent friends, don’t you?
Grady groaned. Yeah, he thought of Jacob as a friend. His college friends would have left him at the pub or called him a cab and not cared where it took him. The worse the place, the more funnier.
Your car is in the parking garage.
Man, he even gave him his car back on the same night.
I will see you in a couple of days to go over the court date for my trial. I hope the aspirin helps.
P.S. If you try to haggle out of this, I will tell Ann Marie about the blond bimbo all over you last night, and how she called poor, sweet, innocent Ann Marie, a whore.
“Ah, shit.” Grady grumbled. “What the hell did I get into last night?”