Upon the death of her grandmother, Ashley returns to sell the family home. There she discovers Matt comfortably ensconced in the guest house, taking care of the family estate.
His love for the architecture and past grandeur of the old mansion tempers Ashley’s memories of neglect and abuse at the hands of the matriarch, and the town. As she and Matt work together, they begin to get the place, and their lives, back in shape.
Matt opened the door to the guest house. It had certainly been an interesting day. Ashley Winsted was not what he had expected. He’d been surprised to learn she planned to clean out the house on her own. She hadn’t been home since she left for school according to Aunt Clara. His aunt hadn’t found any of it odd. Maybe after his short time with Mrs. Winsted, he shouldn’t either. The woman had the maternal instincts of a lamp and about as much warmth, with the bulb off.
Ashley had jumped right in. He really had been impressed with the amount of trash the woman had thrown out of one room. He’d itched to do it himself, but he had no right.
The small guest house he inhabited was neat and uncluttered. But only because he had scooped everything up and hidden it in a cabinet. That, or knock something over every time he moved. Mrs. Winsted had never come out here—he wasn’t a guest, merely a part of the “help.” Her attitude had reflected such on a daily basis.
He was a little curious himself as to why he had stayed after Aunt Clara’s sudden death. Yes, it seemed wrong to leave the old woman alone, but it felt like he’d been waiting for something.
Matt had fallen in love with the house at first sight, and the town as he’d become familiar with the place. He’d grown up in a modern suburb of Cincinnati with little character. Everyone had left each morning to go to work, returning after dark. On Saturdays, the people waved as they did yard work, but no small town feeling existed. People didn’t live there long. After school he’d moved to New York with a job offer and he had to admit, done very well financially. But it hadn’t been home.
This was the kind of place he’d always wanted to live. People sat on their porches and waved as people walked by. Doors were still left unlocked at night. Maybe a fantasy and places like this didn’t really exist. Maybe he’d been waiting for Ashley to come home, clean out the place, and put it up for sale.
His eyes fell on the easy chair he claimed as his own. It did feel like home here. He shrugged it off and headed for the shower.