â€śYou're a wealthy woman now, Darci Cunningham. You've got to
watch your back.â€ť
The words hit her like a sudden gust of wind, causing her to
stumble. She fumbled with the cup in her hand, catching it
before it crashed to the floor.
Exasperated with the bluntness of his words, she
straightened and pierced her longtime family friend and
financial consultant, with a narrow look. â€śPeter, I didn't
realize that you could put a dollar amount on heartache.â€ť
The sigh that followed was much the same as sheâ€™d heard from
him in the last few months as they worked together to manage
her dead husbands last will and
testament. They'd only recently begun to dabble in the
investments he'd left behind. This was the one area that
she'd left to her husband, her attention somehow always on
rearing their children and volunteer community efforts.
â€śLook, I have to be able to see above the emotion.â€ť Peter
stated and then emitted another sigh. He stood then,
loosening his tie as he walked toward her and
removed the coffee cup from her hand, setting it on the
His hands settled all too comfortably on her shoulders.
Darci wanted to slip from beneath his captivity, but an
awkward sense of gratitude held her gaze to his.
â€śI'm just looking out for you the way I feel Matt would have
wanted me to,â€ť he said softly. His thumbs massaged her skin
in concentric circles, his gaze held firmly to hers.
â€śAnd I appreciate that, I do. But what I need now is a
financial advisor, Peter.â€ť Darci pinned him with a look. â€śI
doubt Matt would have meant for you to look out for me on
any other level.â€ť
He shrugged, dropping both hands to his sides. â€śI've known
the two of you a long time. Since college and you know that
I would never cross any lines where I wasn't welcome.â€ť
â€śGlad we're clear on that.â€ť Darci picked up her cup and
walked into the kitchen, a queasy sensation forming in her
Peter followed, sauntering up to the kitchen sink beside her.
â€śYou know,â€ť he chuckled quietly as he stood shoulder to
shoulder with her as they looked out the kitchen window. â€śI
used to have a mad crush on youâ€“I mean, before Matt beat me
to the punch.â€ť
â€śI don't want to talk about this now, please.â€ť Darci gripped
the edge of the cabinet, her insides swirling like a tidal
pool with decisions that sheâ€™d never planned on making at
this stage in her life. Fighting off a would-be suitorâ€“in
particular, one who was her husband's best friendâ€“was the
last thing she needed or wanted.
â€śOkay, calm down. I understand, but I want you to know you
can count on me forâ€“anything.â€ť He leaned forward, placing a
kiss on her temple, the true implication of his offer in the
way he lingered.
She turned away, trying to be polite as possible. Peter was
sweet, always had been, and he was the only Uncle her
children had ever known. That meant a lot to both her and
Matt, but with Matt gone now, she wasn't comfortable with
this changing of the tide.
Peter hesitated then sighed. He picked up his briefcase as
he headed for the front door. â€śRemember what I told you,
Darci.â€ť The door clicked softly behind him.
Road to Romance Reviewers Choice award -April 2003
2002 Best New Romance-Online Chapter RWA From the Heart
2003 Golden Quill Finalist
2003 Eppie Finalist-Best First Book