Molly leaned her head back and laughed, understanding Lilly’s question completely. She shut the top of the washing machine and moved into the kitchen, easing into a chair. “Here’s the thing. If you lived here, I think we could be friends. But I don’t have an emotional connection to you. So I can talk things through and we can disagree and I don’t feel betrayed or hurt. And I can’t expect you to take my side and be disappointed when you don’t.”

Which seemed to happen more and more with Hunter when it came to Marc Dumont.

“Am I making sense or talking nonsense?” Molly asked.

“Making sense.” Lacey chuckled. “I just wish things were different for both you and Hunter.”

Molly smiled. “Thank you for that. So now that we’ve covered my problems, what can I do for you?”

Lacey paused for so long, Molly knew what the subject would be and braced herself.

“Well it’s awkward,” Lacey said at last, confirming Molly’s hunch. “But as you said, we seem to be able to talk to each other. So here goes. I have a couple of questions on the subject of my uncle and the trust fund. I’d like answers if you’re comfortable giving them.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” Molly said despite the tension building inside her.

“You know I stand to inherit the trust fund when I turn twenty-seven, right?”

“Actually, I haven’t seen the agreement. I’d only gotten as far as meeting with Marc about the possibility of him claiming the trust. You came back alive before I could look into it.”

“Well, the gist of it is, I inherit on my next birthday which just happens to be in a few weeks.

That’s why whoever wants me dead needs to make it happen before my birthday arrives and I claim the trust. After that, it’s a moot point.”

Lacey had diplomatically said whoever wanted her dead and didn’t outright name Marc. Molly appreciated her attempt at being impartial. “What can I do to help?” Molly asked.

“I’d just like to know what Uncle Marc and Paul Dunne’s current relationship is. My understanding is that the two met yesterday not long after we met with Paul at his office. I need to know why. Coincidence? Or are they in cahoots somehow?”

“Hunter asked me the same thing last night and I shut him out.” Molly closed her eyes tight. “I’ll find out,” she promised Lacey.

Because she couldn’t go on hiding from the truth forever.

“You don’t know how much I appreciate it,” Lacey said, gratitude evident in her tone.

Molly swallowed hard. “One more thing?”

“Of course.”

“Tell Hunter that Anna Marie and I had coffee this morning and I asked her about Fred Mercer’s current case and she filled me in completely. I have no connection whatsoever to Fred and no reason for asking but Anna Marie gave up all the details I wanted.”

Based on Hunter’s request, Molly had pumped the older woman for info rmation about a stranger just for the hell of it.

“Tell him if Anna Marie gave up that kind of info rmation to me, she’d have no problem revealing Hunter’s info rmation to her brother.” Molly gripped the receiver hard, knowing that each step she took brought her closer to some kind of revelation that would either clear the man who’d given her the beginning of a family—or destroy her hopes of ever having one.

“Molly?” Lacey asked.

“Yes?”

“You’re the best,” the other woman said. “And I know Hunter feels the same way.”

Molly didn’t know what to say, so she merely said a soft goodbye and hung up the phone.

Her throat hurt from holding back the tears. From knowing that in promising Lacey she’d get the info rmation she needed, Molly had given her more than she’d ever given Hunter. At this point, Molly wouldn’t blame him if he gave up on her. The thought stung. She knew she wasn’t helping her own cause, but right now she didn’t feel as though she could.

TY LET HIS NEWEST CLIENT, an older woman who wanted to find the daughter she’d given up for adoption years ago, out the door. He promised her he’d begin at least a preliminary search now and he’d be in touch as soon as he had any leads. Ty knew he’d have to turn part of the workload over to Frank Mosca until he had time to resume his normal schedule. His life, Lilly’s life, were both on hold until she claimed her trust fund. After that, who knew what would happen next.

Ironically while they were in limbo, they were getting reacquainted. A part of him was overjoyed, another part cautious and wary. Because while they remained here in Hawken’s Cove, they were living Ty’s life. He didn’t know how she felt about the future and with all the turmoil in her life at the moment, it would be unfair of him to ask.

If and when they ever had that kind of conversation, there had to be nothing pulling them together except mutual desire. No trust fund, no death threats, no Alex, he thought, wondering if the other man was really a nonissue or if Lilly’s feelings for the guy would return when she did.

He refused to think about that while he had her here with him.

He walked into the bedroom she was using at his mother’s and found her deep in thought, papers spread out around the bed. Digger lifted her lazy head up off the mattress, eyed Ty with a bored stare and laid her head back down again. The dog no longer fawned over Ty as if he was a new and exciting treat. Apparently his newness had worn off. Ty hoped Lilly didn’t get tired of him as quickly.

She wore a white robe she’d bought during their quick trip to Target for basics. In the time she’d been here, he’d learned she loved to lounge in a terry bathrobe, giving him a good view of her long legs. The tie cinched her waist and the deep V in her cle**age drove him mad. Just because he’d grown used to the sight didn’t mean it had stopped affecting him.

Each time he viewed her in that fluffy robe looking soft and ready, he grew hard immediately.

His desire for her never ceased to amaze him, along with the deep feelings she dredged up from places inside him he thought long shut off from the rest of the world.

“Hey there,” he said, letting her know he was there.

She glanced up at him and she smiled wide, her pleasure at seeing him obvious. “Hi, yourself.

Good meeting?” she asked.

He stepped inside and shut the door behind him. “Actually yes. I’ve got myself a new client.”

She nodded. “Excellent!” Her eyes glittered with excitement, then suddenly dulled without warning. “Wait. You can’t devote yourself to a new case if you’re worried about me all the time.

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