“Are you the Kate Garcia who volunteers at Mission of Hope?”
“I am. What’s this about?”
“I’m Conrad Winters of Winters and Delgado in Houston. We’re the attorneys of record for the estate of Horatio and Paulina Santiago.”
Kate scrunched her eyebrows, wondering why a lawyer was calling her at the office. Was someone suing her? And who were Horatio and Paulina Santiago?
Before she could ask, the man continued, “We’ve received word that their daughter Emily was killed in El Paso last week.” He paused as if allowing the news to sink in before continuing. “A couple of years ago Horatio and Paulina diedin a tragic plane crash, and with the exception of an endowment to Houston Memorial to build a new cancer wing, Emily inherited everything, including Santiago Oil Refineries.”
“What does this have to do with me?”
“Please, allow me to finish. The private investigator hired by the estate found her living on the streets in Vineyard not long after. Although we were able to complete probate and transfer everything to her, she chose not to use any of the funds at her disposal until six months ago.”
"I have to interrupt you again, Mr. Winters, because I think you’re wasting your time. I’ve never heard of Emily Santiago."
“You probably knew her as Emily Ruiz. She sometimes used her mother’s maiden name instead of her legal one because she and her father had an antagonistic relationship at best. According to the will I drew up for Emily, you and Benjamin Yates inherit everything."
Kate gasped. “There must be some mistake, Mr. Winters. Emily died three months ago. An overdose, I believe.”Not sure what was more shocking, that Emily had left everything to her and Benny, or that she may have died twice.
“Your information must be incorrect.”
“Sir, I identified the body at the morgue myself.” Kate closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead as if to push away a migraine. The police had found her phone number in Emily’s tattered jacket when the woman’s body was discovered in the woods behind the square, and she’d been called in to make the positive ID. The image of sweet Emily lying on that flat metal slab in the county morgue still haunted her. Emily, who had been so hopelessly addicted to meth and anything else that would take her out of the world she lived in, at least until the next fix—an heiress?
“There is no mistake, Dr. Garcia,” the lawyer continued. “I’m looking at the police report right now. Emily must have chosen to get her life back together in another city. Unfortunately, she was in line at the El Paso National Bank when a robbery went wrong. She and the security guard were both shot and killed.Since you and Mr. Yates are the only beneficiaries of her estate, I’d like to set up a time to sit down with the two of you and go over the technicalities.”
The lawyer continued to talk, and the sound of a cough from inside her office distracted her.Opening her eyes, she stared directly at her dead sister, who was now sitting in one of the chairs across from her desk with an I-told-you-so look on her face.