Cheyenne Wilkins perched on the edge of the red leather chair in the law office of Mr. Barton Griggs, her heart beating an erratic tempo as she listened to the lawyer read her grandmother's will. Since Grandmother Ingersoll's death seven months ago, she had been hoping she would inherit some money, but she didn't expect this.
Mr. Griggs laid his reading glasses on the mahogany desk. "So that's it." He raised bushy white eyebrows as his gray eyes glanced from Cheyenne to her dad, Jim Wilkins.
She lifted her hands, palms up. "I have to be married? And have a child?" She exchanged a glance with her dad. He looked just as stunned as she felt.
The lawyer nodded. "I tried to talk your grandmother into putting the money in a trust fund for you, but she had her own stubborn ideas." Mr. Griggs gave her a sad smile. "She wrote this will shortly after your grandfather died and long after your mother had died. You were a teenager, Cheyenne."
Dad gave a grudging nod. "I'm sure she thought you'd be married and have two or three kids by the age of thirty."
"Yes." Mr. Griggs steepled his fingers. "And even though Florence turned eccentric toward the end, she was in her right mind when she made the will. I can't find any loopholes to change it."
Cheyenne's shoulders drooped. "I'll never inherit that money. My birthday is next week, and I'll be twenty-eight."
The lawyer leaned back in his chair. "You have two years, Cheyenne. Surely you'll find someone to marry before then."
"What happens to the money if Cheyenne doesn't meet the conditions of the will?" Dad folded his arms.
Mr. Griggs straightened the papers on his desk. "All the recipients in Florence Ingersoll's will are dead, except for Cheyenne and George Sommers."
Cheyenne willed her pulse to slow down. "Who is this George Sommers?"
Dad's blue eyes met hers. "A distant relative of your grandfather's. I believe he was in the restaurant business." He waved a beefy hand toward the lawyer. "Florence must have liked him to include him in the will. Either she really liked someone and couldn't do enough for them, or she didn't like them at all." He grimaced.
Lowering her eyes, Cheyenne felt a stab of pain for her dad. Bitterness laced his words, and her mind went back to a conversation she once had with her grandmother. Cheyenne had only been seventeen, but she remembered every word.
"Jim Wilkins was not good enough to marry my daughter, and he's still not good enough." Grandmother's blue eyes flashed, and her white hair quivered as she ranted. "If it hadn't been for your grandfather intervening, Lynn would have married William Thorndyke. He would have taken care of her."
Cheyenne still recalled the shock she felt. Grandmother had always been kind to her, maybe because she was her only grandchild, but evidently her kindness didn't extend to Jim Wilkins.
Mr. Griggs donned his glasses. "Sommers is the only other relative of Mrs. Ingersoll's who is still living." He shuffled some papers. "Ah! Here's the information. The man lives in Reno, Nevada, and has expanded his restaurant to include a hotel and a casino."
"A casino?" Dad frowned as he glanced at Cheyenne. "So if my daughter doesn't fulfill the requirements of her grandmother's will, Sommers will get the four million dollars?"
Mr. Griggs nodded. "That is correct."
"Without any stipulations on his part?"
I can't believe this! Cheyenne sighed. "So if I'm not married in two years, with a child, all Grandmother's money will go to this casino owner?"
Mr. Griggs shrugged. "I'm sorry, Cheyenne."
"Don't give up yet." Dad's eyes met hers. "A lot can happen in two years."
She looked down. But will it?