Wolf's Head Inn [MultiFormat]
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eBook by John Simpson
eBook Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
eBook Description: Dale and Terry are very happy in their relationship, but both men hate their jobs. When the death of a distant relation drops a six-million-dollar windfall into Dale's lap, they decide to buy a lovely bed and breakfast on secluded Wolf's Head Island, Maine, and make a go of being innkeepers. For the New Year holiday season, Terry comes up with the idea of offering a "Murder Mystery Weekend" package. The venerable inn has a full house when an unexpected blizzard roars in, isolating the island from the rest of the world. But plans go ahead as scheduled... until they discover that the murder mystery may be more real than Dale and Terry had planned.
eBook Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspinner Press, Published: 2010, 2010
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2010
* * * *
10 Reader Ratings:
Having just inherited a tidy sum from an aged aunt named Ruth, Dale Stewart sat at his dining room table trying to decide what to do with so much money. His lover of five years was due home at any moment, and Dale was trying to come up with just the right way to break the providential news to him.
The big question was whether to just invest all six million dollars or to buy something that would add enjoyment to their lives. Both avenues held risks and benefits. His lover, Terry Cooper, tended to be more practical and was likely to advise caution when buying something that didn't lend security to their lives. He was probably going to tell Dale to invest it in something like savings bonds.
As Dale thought about it, Terry pulled into the driveway, finally home from work. Dale had cooked dinner and decided to slip the letter from the attorney under Terry's napkin.
"Hey, thank God today's over with; what a pain in the ass!" Terry said as he closed the front door.
"Hi, honey, glad you're home. Food is waiting. Hope you're hungry."
"Smells good, what didya make?" Terry asked.
"Just beef stew and hot biscuits."
"Great! Oh, today sucked, sometimes I hate my job!" Terry complained.
"Why?" Dale asked as he gave his partner a kiss.
"I've gone over the books seven times for one demanding client who refuses to believe what the figures are telling him! He thinks if I keep running the same numbers over again, they'll somehow come out differently!"
"That's rather illogical, isn't it? In fact, I think that's the accepted definition of insanity in some quarters," Dale said.
"Well, I just wanna eat, have a drink, and settle down for some television tonight. True Blood is on HBO, and I can't miss it!" Terry said with a smile.
"Fine with me. Go ahead and sit down, and I'll serve dinner. My day was pretty good, actually. In some respects, it was surprising and monumental."
"Oh? Did you get a promotion? Did that old bastard you work for finally realize that you are capable of more than just supervising one shift at the front desk? Did he finally make you front desk manager like he should have a year ago?"
"No, nothing like that. In fact, it's slipped my mind for the moment exactly what did happen. Oh well, maybe something will happen to remind me," Dale said coyly.
"You're acting awfully strange. Did you open a bottle of wine while you were cooking tonight?"
"No, I just had a good day and am happy to be home cooking for my intelligent and handsome twenty-six-year-old lover."
"Uh huh. Well, let's eat. It looks great!" Terry said with enthusiasm.
Dale sat down and waited for Terry to take his napkin so that he would find the letter. Instead, Terry filled his plate, poured some iced tea, added Sweet and Low, reached for the pepper, added pepper to the stew without first tasting it to see if it needed it, and then took his napkin and put it in his lap.
Dale watched as Terry grabbed his fork and began to chow down on his beef stew. Sometimes the pretty ones just weren't the brightest bulbs in the marquee lights, Dale thought to himself, and he smiled. Terry was enjoying Dale's culinary talents to the exclusion of all else as they ate in relative silence.
Finally, in total frustration, Dale dropped his fork onto the plate, making a racket so loud that Terry jumped out of his seat.
"Damn, you scared me! Be more careful, hon!"
"Dear, did you happen to notice anything funny about your place setting?"
"Place setting?" Terry looked over his plate and silverware and glass and looked back at Dale. "No, should there be?"
"Oh for shit's sake, Terry! There's a letter lying to the left of your plate that was under your napkin!" Dale said.
"Oh, I'm sorry, the smell of the stew just made me wild with hunger, and I guess I'm not as observant as I normally am. Here you go, dear," Terry said as he picked up the letter and attempted to pass it across the table.
"Oh dear lord! Aren't you curious as to what's in the letter?"
"I'm sure it came for you, since it's open, so it's none of my business," replied Terry.
That did it. Dale walked over to Terry and removed his plate of stew and put it on the kitchen counter. He turned around, leaned back against the counter, and looked at Terry. Folding his arms, he said, "Dear, would you read the fucking letter!"
"Oh! Why didn't you just say so! Gimme back my stew!"
"Not 'til you read the damned letter!" a totally exasperated Dale said.
"Okay! Good lord, you'd think we won a million dollars or something, the way you're acting over this piece of paper," Terry said as he unfolded the letter. "Oh, it's from a lawyer. Don't tell me we're being sued for something." Terry looked up at Dale.
"If you don't read that letter in the next five seconds, you're gonna be sleeping on the back porch tonight, and I'll feed the stew to the dog!"
"Damn, okay, you're so testy tonight!"
"I wasn't testy until it became a major issue to get you to notice, and then read, a simple letter!"
Terry sat there reading the letter from the lawyer informing Dale that he was now a millionaire. The further Terry read, the lower his jaw dropped. When he finished, he went right back to the top of the page and began to read again. Upon finishing the second time, he looked over at Dale and asked, "Is this for real? Have you called this law firm to see if they're legitimate? Is someone spoofing you?"
"You know, I didn't think to call them, actually. As you saw, it has a date and time for me to come in to sign papers and observe other formalities."
"Well, before you get too excited along with me, I suggest you verify this news. Do you even have an Aunt Ruth?"
"Yes I do, or did. I haven't seen her in about ten years, however. I'm kinda surprised that she left me this fortune, as a matter of fact. I can't believe she didn't have closer relatives than me," Dale responded.
"Would any of your friends know that you had an Aunt Ruth?"
"Hmm, I don't think so. I mean I might have mentioned her when telling a story to a friend about when I was growing up, but I can't remember any particular incident," Dale said.
Terry got up from the table, went over to Dale, and put his arms around him. "Honey...."
"Yes?" Dale asked with a raised eyebrow.
"If this is for real, and we're rich, can I quit my job and find one that I wanna do regardless of how much or how little it pays? Please? I really hate my fucking job and my fucking boss!"
"If we're rich? Do you have a mouse in your pocket? Because if you don't, then who the hell is this we?"
"Very funny. No, I don't have a mouse in my pocket, but I do have a rocket," Terry said with a gleam in his eye.
Dale laughed. "Hmm, and I do like that pocket rocket, honey. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. You were right to question the authenticity of the letter. Let me find out tomorrow if this is legitimate or not before we get all goofy and shit, okay?"
"Okay. But if we are rich, can I?"
"I don't see why not. Why should either of us work at jobs that we don't fully enjoy if we don't have to? Obviously, big changes will come to our lives if this is true. Don't tell anyone yet, though. We'll have every con man within a thousand miles coming at us, not to mention friends we haven't seen in years."
"Fair enough, sweetie." Terry kissed Dale, quickly grabbed his stew, and headed back to the table with his prize. Dale watched his lover's jaws work at chewing his food, and his eyes ran over Terry's entire face. God, but he loved this man. Who would have thought that at age twenty-nine, he would have a home, a life mate whom he truly loved, and now maybe a fortune on top of it all?
* * * *
The next morning, Terry was due at work at nine a.m. as usual, but on this morning, Terry was sitting with Dale, waiting for the clock to chime at the top of the hour.
"You know, if this is fake, you might get fired for not being on time at work."
"Yeah, and even if it is fake, I might just use this opportunity to quit and find something that makes me happy as well as providing an income."
As the mantel clock began its routine chime, Dale picked up the phone and dialed the number on the letterhead. It rang about seven times, and Dale was about to hang up when the phone was answered.
"Egan, Doolittle, and Farquark," someone answered.
"Yes, hello, this is Dale Stewart. I'm calling to verify that your law firm sent me a letter informing me of the death of a relative and my inheritance of her estate?"
"Ah, yes, Mr. Stewart. I typed that letter myself, and yes, it's legitimate. Will you be able to see Mr. Farquark at the appointed date and time?" the woman asked.
"It says tomorrow at three o'clock, right?"
"That's right, Mr. Stewart."
"Yes, I'll be there, and I'll be bringing a friend. I trust that's not a problem?"
"No, sir, that'll be fine."
"Okay, see you tomorrow," Dale said, hanging up.
"Oh my God, it's real. I've inherited six million bucks! How the hell did I get so lucky? God bless Aunt Ruth!"
Terry sprang out of his seat and began to bounce around the room like a jack in the box. "We're rich. We're rich. Oh my God, we're rich!" Terry said as he jumped into Dale's arms and gave him a large, sloppy kiss.
The phone rang, and Terry scooped it up. "Hello?"
"Is this Terry?"
"Yes, it is; who's calling?"
"Mr. Cooper, this is your employer. Why aren't you in the office? You have audit reports due today without fail," Randall Beaumont said.
"Mr. Beaumont, I had a bad day yesterday, and I felt I should take today off and reduce my stress level."
"Your stress level! If you're not in this office in thirty minutes, you're going to be unemployed! How's that for stress level?"
"Ah, come to think about it, you, Beaumont, are the main reason my stress level is so high. Tell you what... I'll reduce my stress, and you take your job and shove it up your ass. How does that work out for you?"
"What did you just say to me?" Beaumont asked in a low voice.
"Let me rephrase it: I quit. Goodbye.
"Oh my God, that felt so good! I already feel better just knowing I don't have to sit in that closet of an office and jump every time that ogre barges in. Are you going to stay at the hotel?" Terry asked.
"For now, yes. But after the law firm meeting tomorrow and everything is confirmed in person, then I'll give notice," Dale responded.
"You're always so practical. Why bother to give notice? It's not like they treated you right for all your hard work and dedication to that dump."
"I'll give notice because it's the proper thing to do. They may not have given me the promotion I earned, but I've been treated pretty nicely otherwise. Now, we need to think about what we're going to do with all that money."
"Well, we need to be careful with it and not blow it on crap. No Rolls Royces and stuff, okay?"
Dale looked at Terry and then said, "I'm not the type who would even want a Rolls. We need to buy property of some type. You almost never lose money in real estate long term, and I wanna make sure we're careful. In fact, I'm gonna consult a financial affairs manager about this."
"Well, why don't you call Bill Erickson? He's one of my clients, and I trust his judgment. He always felt that a different set of eyes should do his taxes so that common mistakes weren't made with the IRS."
"You mean he was a client, don't ya?"
"Well, yeah, I guess I do. But we always got along well, so why don't I call him and set something up for after the meeting with the lawyer?"
"Okay, hon, just tell him that I've inherited a large amount of money, but don't give him any figures. I'm not comfortable saying anything about amounts until after we leave the law office tomorrow."
"Okay, you're the boss, as always," Terry said as he retrieved his personal phone book from his brief case. He found Bill's number and called.
After getting Bill on the phone and being congratulated on the good fortune, Terry got him to agree to see them at four thirty the next day. He also told Bill that he had just quit his job and that Bill would be getting a new accountant assigned to him. Bill was both surprised and unhappy about that.
That night, both men lay in bed, unable to sleep. They talked past midnight about what path they wanted their lives to take. The world was full of opportunities, and many of them were now available to them.
* * * *
Dale called in sick the next day, and the couple had lunch together while researching various topics on the computer, most of which had to do with investing. Even though Dale wasn't positive which way they were going to go, he knew that most of the money needed to be invested in order to guarantee him and Terry a worry free life without money issues.
Just before two thirty, the guys got into their car and drove over to the law firm. After finding a parking space, they walked into the firm and met the woman that Dale had talked to on the phone the day before.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Stewart. It's very nice to meet you," the perky secretary said.
Looking at her name plate on the desk, Dale responded, "Thank you, and nice to meet you as well. This is my friend, Mr. Cooper, who will be sitting in on the meeting."
"Nice to meet you as well, Mr. Cooper. Would either of you like some coffee?"
Both men declined and took a seat while waiting for the attorney to get off the phone. Terry began rocking his knees together, a nervous habit that he had acquired at his former place of employment.
"Terry, stop. Relax and take a deep breath."
"I can't help it! It's not every day that we get told we have a few million dollars in our bank account, now is it?"
Before Dale could respond, the secretary spoke up. "Mr. Stewart, he can see you now."
"Thank you," Dale said as they both got up and walked to the door that the smiling secretary was holding open.
As they entered the office, a middle-aged man got up and came around his desk holding his hand out. "Hello, I'm Andrew Farquark. Mr....?"
"Hello, I'm Dale Stewart, and this is Mr. Cooper."
"Ah, nice. Won't you please sit down?" he asked after shaking hands.
Once they all got settled, the attorney opened a file that had been sitting on the side of his desk. "First, Mr. Stewart, let me extend my condolences on the death of your aunt. I'm sure she was a lovely woman."
"Thank you, but I hadn't seen her for something like ten years, so I'm surprised to have been remembered at all in her will."
"I see. Well, often it's a matter of a fond memory, or something you did for her that has always remained with her. Do you have a large family, Mr. Stewart?"
"Actually, now that she's gone, I think I'm basically alone, with the exception of my partner here."
"Your partner? You're in business together?" the lawyer asked.
"Ah, no, wrong kind of partner. Terry's my domestic partner."
"Oh, I see. How long have you been together, may I ask?"
"Just over five years now," Dale replied.
"Well, that's good. Shall we get to the will?"
"By all means."
Terry sat up straighter in his chair, which made Dale smile.
"As I said in my letter to you, your aunt left you her entire estate. After taxes and legal fees, that comes to six point two million dollars, plus an old house that really isn't worth more than a hundred thousand or so, according to a local real estate appraiser. Seems she put all her money in the bank, or invested it, and lived very frugally."
Dale was shocked that the figure was after taxes. "Do we know how she managed to acquire so much money?" Dale asked.
"Believe it or not, your aunt invented little things that appear to have done quite well. For instance, she came up with a silver-plated back scratcher that she sold to the wealthy of New York and Rhode Island decades ago. Each little invention made just so much money, but she accumulated that money in the bank. The bank in turn invested the money in various assets, resulting in the sizeable estate that you now own."
Terry looked at Dale, and they both looked back at the attorney. "Back scratchers? You can end up with millions of dollars from back scratchers?" asked Terry in amazement.
"Yes, sir, as seen by this estate. But as I said, this money grew substantially through investment. I would imagine that less than a million dollars total was actually earned from her little inventions. The rest came from earnings over the years."
"What makes up the bulk of the millions? I mean, I'm sure it's not all laying in a bank account somewhere," Dale asked.
"According to the inventory of the estate, most of it is in liquid form. This means it's in bonds, stocks, bank accounts and such things."
"When can I gain access to the money?"
"Anytime after I file these forms with the court tomorrow. Speaking of which, will you kindly sign these documents where the yellow tag indicates signature?"
Dale sat there with his head spinning as he signed the various estate documents. What was he going to do with all the money that his Aunt Ruth had worked so hard to amass in her lifetime? Hopefully his next appointment would provide some answers.
When all the papers were completed, Mr. Farquark shook hands with Dale and Terry and offered to provide any legal services that they might need in the future. One of the items given to Dale by Farquark was a checkbook to the balance of his aunt's own personal account. The funds had been transferred from the now-closed account to one opened by the firm to hold the funds for Dale. Dale was free to do with the money and account as he wished. He checked once more to make sure that he had placed the checkbook firmly into his inside pocket so that he wouldn't lose it.
"How much is in that account again?" Terry asked eyeing Dale.
"Apparently, just over seventy thousand dollars."
Terry whistled in response. "Unbelievable."
They got into the car and drove over to Bill Erickson's office for some seriously needed financial management. They had to wait a few minutes because Bill's last appointment ran over, but it only gave the two men more time to think about their circumstances.
"Ah, Dale, you're not going to do something crazy now, are you?"
"Oh, I don't know. Throw me out and get an eighteen-year-old?"
Dale laughed so loud that he got a disapproving look from the secretary. "I have enough trouble handling you. Why the hell would I want an eighteen-year-old with whom I'd have to start all over again when I have you trained so well?"
"Okay, just thought I'd check." Terry giggled.
The door opened and Bill came out with his client. He smiled at Dale and Terry and gestured them toward the door. "Come on in, guys; you're my last appointment for the day," he said.
When they all got comfortable and the small talk ended, Dale spoke first. "Look, I just inherited a very large sum of money, and I need help in managing it. The last thing I wanna do is blow it."
"Okay, how much are we talking about?" Bill asked.
"Six point two million, give or take a few thousand," Dale replied as Terry smiled.
Bill's eyes got big, and he replied, "No kidding you need help managing those kind of assets. Was the person who died close to you?"
"Not really. It was an aunt I haven't seen in ten years."
"And as I told you, I quit my job. I just couldn't take that madhouse any longer," Terry said.
"So I understand from your call yesterday. Let me ask you both this: what do you want to do for the rest of your lives? You no longer have to work, either of you. So what would you like to do?"
"Well, I'm not sure," Dale said. "We really didn't want to start talking about it until we met with the lawyer and knew all this was for real. We just left his office before we came here. It's real, and I guess Terry and I have a lot to talk about."
"Okay, here's what I'll need to help you. I need a complete list of where your liquid assets are at the present moment. I'll need to look at what the money is doing for you and what it could be doing. I caution you not to even think about going out and buying a six-million-dollar mansion somewhere. That would be a very bad move."
"Okay, I might be able to get the list to you tomorrow, and we'll begin talking about all this tonight. When we have an idea, I'll give you a call and see what you think," Dale said.
"Okay, good way to go for now. I look forward to doing what I can for you both. There will be a fee associated with this advice, because I can't just work for free when I have to answer to the boss for time and space."
"No problem, I understand," replied Dale.
"You're charging us?" Terry asked with a note of indignity in his voice.
"Sorry, Terry, I have to, just like you had to charge me when I came to your office."
"Okay, I guess you're right," Terry said as he stood up.
Dale got up, too, and they all shook hands before Dale and Terry left.
The short ride home was quiet as both men thought about the future and what they wanted to do. As they passed a pizza shop, Dale stopped and ran in to get supper. He came back out with an extra large pizza and a dozen wings.
"I figured we weren't in the mood to cook tonight, so this will do," Dale said.
"Fine by me," Terry said with a smile.