Ty nodded. “A buddy of mine knows how to hot-wire cars. He owes me a favor for not turning him in to the cops, so this was no biggie.” Ty had friends in different groups, different places. Pulling this off had been too easy.

“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” Lilly said.

She stared at him, wide-eyed and afraid. But behind the fear, Ty saw her determination. She was strong and gutsy and he was really proud of her.

“It’s not like we have a choice,” Hunter reminded her.

“I know.” She nodded, her dark hair falling over her face before she tucked it behind her ear. “You guys are the best, helping me like this.”

“One for all, all for one,” Hunter said.

Ty shook his head, trying not to laugh and embarrass his friend. Hunter always said the dumbest things, but Ty didn’t mind. Besides, he figured Hunter wasn’t thinking any clearer than he or Lilly was at the moment.

“We’re the three musketeers,” Lilly said, grinning. Just like always, she stepped in to agree with her friend and prevent him from being mortified.

Besides, she was right. So was Hunter. The three of them were alone in this and it would bind them forever. Ty stuffed his hands into his front jeans pockets.

“So tonight Lilly Dumont dies and Lacey Kinkaid is born.” Her voice quivered.

He didn’t blame her for being afraid. She was leaving Hawken’s Cove, their small upstate New York town. She’d take off for New York City alone with just the summer money Ty made working at the gas station and the petty cash Hunter picked up busing tables at the only restaurant in town.

“Nobody talks about what happened here tonight. Not ever,” Ty reminded them. They couldn’t afford for anyone to discover even a part of their plan and piece things together. “Right?” he asked, wanting to hear them say the words. His heart pounded so hard in his chest, he thought it would explode.

“Right,” Hunter agreed.

And Ty knew they’d both protect her secret forever.

“Lilly?” Ty prodded. She had the most to lose if her uncle found out she was alive.

She nodded. “I’ll never talk about it.” Her gaze remained locked on his, her fingers toying with the little heart around her neck.

For that split second, they were in their own world. He stared into her brown eyes and suddenly everything was okay. They’d go back to his mom’s house and he’d sneak into her bedroom so they could hang out and talk all night. They’d be together.

Instead she broke the spell. “I’ll never forget what you guys did for me,” she said to them both.

She hugged Hunter first and Ty waited, clenching and unclenching his fists.

Then she turned to him and pulled him tight. He held her for the last time, closing his eyes and fighting the fullness in his throat.

“Be careful,” he managed to tell her.

She nodded, her hair soft against his cheek. “I’ll never forget you, Ty. Cross my heart,” she whispered, the words for his ears alone.


The Hawken’s Cove courthouse was a fixture in town, the old stone building the landmark by which everyone gave directions. Make a left at the courthouse and The Tavern Grill was on the right, along with Night Owl’s Bar. Make a right at the courthouse and the gas station was on the corner. The ice-cream shop was across from the courthouse.

As a lawyer, Hunter spent his days haunting the courthouse when he was on trial and working in his small office located on the street behind the courthouse when he wasn’t. Some might find it odd that Hunter remained in Hawken’s Cove after the childhood he’d had, but the good memories outweighed the bad and his closest friend and the only family Hunter knew still lived there.

Hunter never considered moving anywhere else. But to keep his life interesting, he lived in Albany, twenty minutes from work and the closest thing to a real city he was likely to find in upstate New York.

He walked out of the courtroom at 4:00 p.m. and headed straight down the hallowed hallway toward the front doors. He’d won a hard-fought case today. An innocent man who couldn’t afford expensive legal counsel had turned to Hunter and he’d done his best. These were the cases Hunter enjoyed. He only represented the rich and obnoxious so that he could afford to take on the pro bono cases he preferred.

After working endless hours for months on end, all he wanted to do was have a stiff drink and not have to use his brain for at least twenty-four hours. But as he passed the clerk’s office, his gaze settled on a pair of long legs and vibrant pink high heels. Only one woman wore shoes that bright and in-your-face.

“Molly Gifford,” Hunter said, coming to a halt beside his old law school nemesis. They’d vied for top spot at Albany Law. It still galled him to admit she’d won.

After graduation, they’d parted ways, with Molly leaving for a job in another state. But recently she’d moved to town and for the last month, he’d had the pleasure of checking out those incredible legs on a near daily basis. But her move here had been a surprise because Molly wasn’t born or raised in Hawken’s Cove. When he’d asked, she’d said something about reconnecting with her mother and not much more.

Molly shifted her focus from the court clerk she’d been speaking to and settled her brown eyes on him. “Hunter,” she said, a welcoming smile on her lips. “I hear congratulations are in order.”

Hunter wasn’t surprised she’d already heard, but still, he was pleased. Hell, if she hadn’t congratulated him he’d have told her himself. He wasn’t much for modesty, not when it came to looking good in front of a woman.

“Word travels fast around here.”

“A win’s always a cause for gossip. I hope you’re going to celebrate,” she said.

The one thing he’d always admired about Molly had been her willingness to acknowledge another person’s success. “I could be persuaded.” Meeting her gaze, he leaned against the filing counter. “Join me for a drink?”

“Can’t.” She shook her head. Her blond hair fell in soft waves around her pretty face and the old familiar attraction kicked into gear inside him.

He wasn’t shocked at her answer. He’d ask, she’d decline. Even back in law school they played this old game. He knew his reasons for not pushing her harder. Molly was a nice girl and it had been a lot easier for Hunter to avoid anything serious with the not-so-nice ones. The ones who didn’t expect much more than sex and fun.

Still, he couldn’t resist the pull that caused him to keep asking Molly out anyway and now that fate had thrown them together again, he’d hoped she’d give him-give them-a chance. Because he’d finally figured out that he’d grown up enough to want to take one with her.

“What’s your excuse this time? You have to give your dog a bath?” he asked her.

She grinned. “Nothing nearly as exciting. My mother’s fiance has a legal issue he wants me to explore. Which reminds me.” She glanced at her watch. “I’m going to be late meeting him if I don’t hurry. Maybe another time?” she asked and rushed to the door, leaving a whiff of intoxicating perfume in her wake.

He groaned, knowing he’d be tossing and turning tonight and not just because of her sensual scent. Maybe another time?were words Molly had never used with him before. In the past, no had always been a definite no until he’d asked the next time. His heart pounded harder at the possibility she’d opened up to him.

He turned to the court clerk who sat behind her desk eagerly listening in on the exchange. “So, is Molly’s mother marrying someone local?” he asked, knowing Anna Marie was the woman with all the answers.

Anna Marie Costanza had been the clerk for longer than anyone who practiced law could remember. She came from a family who held important posts in town. One of her brothers was the mayor, another the town supervisor, yet a third a partner at the prestigious Albany law firm of Dunne and Dunne. They were connected and could provide assistance and answers to most questions anybody needed answered.

As for Anna Marie, she provided the main source of courthouse gossip but she also ran a tight ship. She and her

Вы читаете Cross My Heart
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату