Rose let Eden’s words sink in. The missing Mark was a DeFoliate. “That means the fourth quarter of the map is…”
“In DeFoliate hands,” Mason finished for her.
Meaning Darryl, who’d just threatened her, or his brother. “Then we’ll never see it.”
“Martha might have inherited it,” Eden said hopefully. “She is a sweet girl. Or her mother might know where it’s located.”
Mason shook his head, his expression taut.
Rose looked from one to the other. “What aren’t you telling me? Do you know where it is?”
Eden glanced at Mason. “It’s time.”
“Time for what?” Rose had a bad feeling about this.
Mason’s eyes were dark, his mood far too pensive for the carefree boy she’d met all those years ago. “Rose, I’ve been trying to tell you something since you arrived.”
Her skin prickled. When a man began a speech with those words, it always meant trouble. Hadn’t her ex-fiance said nearly the same thing? Only he’d ended by telling her that he was in love with another woman.
Mason motioned to a chair. “Let’s sit down.”
“I thought we were going to talk to Sadie Lewis.”
“There’s no need now.”
“You mean now that we know who the missing Mark is.” Rose was not about to sit while Mason delivered bad news.
The six diaries still spilled over the table, just as their words had spilled out secrets from the past. But old secrets couldn’t help her now. Darryl DeFoliate not only planned to take the town from her, he was sure he could do it.
“What if Darryl has the fourth part of the map?” Rose asked.
“Then he has nothing.” Mason gripped the back of a chair. “Until now, the four sections have been completely separate. On their own, they mean nothing. Until today, we didn’t realize the pieces we have fit together. Or what they were.”
“But we can’t figure out what the map and directions mean without the fourth piece. That leaves us at a standstill and no closer to saving Lovelace than when we began.” Everything seemed to be falling apart. Maybe that’s the way Mason wanted it. She pushed up her black-rimmed glasses and focused on him. “Unless there’s something you’re not telling me, such as where that fourth part of the map is located. You do have DeFoliate blood in your veins.”
Mason hated that a wall had gone up between Rose and him. His college sweetheart had done the same thing. The moment he began to propose, she’d backed away and cut him short with the announcement that she could never live in such a backward place.
Now Rose had that same look. She didn’t trust him. She actually thought he was withholding the missing piece of the map.
He swallowed, hoping he could get the facts straight when all he really wanted to do was hold her and tell her that somehow everything would come out all right. “According to my mother’s research, Andrew DeFoliate was a cousin to the Mark that we think is one of The Four. Mark would have had the missing section, not Andrew.”
She relaxed a little.
“What I need to tell you is much more recent.” Again he motioned to a chair. “Please sit.”
She didn’t. “Then you and Darryl are not in on this together?”
The thought made him sick. “I would never will be in on anything with Darryl DeFoliate. He cheated my family out of our land.”
An awkward pause followed before Eden confirmed his words. “He’s telling the truth, honey.”
“What land?” Rose nibbled on her lip, apparently trying to take it all in. But instead of accepting it, she frowned. “Where was it? It couldn’t be in Lovelace, not if my grandfather owned the town. Or isn’t that true?”
“It’s true. Your grandfather owned the land that includes Lovelace and stretches up to the hills. My father leases the property where the bank is located, like every other business and resident. But until ten years ago, the Masons owned property just north of Redmond land. And east of the hill parcel owned by the DeFoliates.”
Rose was a smart woman. She figured it out in seconds. “Darryl squeezed you out, and now he wants my grandfather’s property.” The final calculation took even less time. She turned to Eden. “Where is the Damask property located, or did the DeFoliates take that too?”