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There had been a time when Kelsey Swain thought a man would come along and would take away
her trouble and make her complete. Now she knew better. The struggling single mom
could only count on herself- no matter what dashing WillDempsey made her want to believe.
There were a million reasons why Will shouldn't fall for his late friend's widow. But somehow
he found himself wanting to show Kelsey he could be the man she once dreamed
of. the man she was now convinced didn't exist.
Will plunged his hands through his hair, staring at Kelsey as if to verify what she said.
"You didn't get any money?" he repeated.
Will felt a cold shiver trickle down his spine as the implications of what she said settled in. "I can't believe he did it," he said softly.
"Did what? What are you talking about?"
A picture on the wall behind Kelsey, caught his eyes. The Carter Swain family. Kelsey and her beloved husband. And what would she have to say about him now?
"Will, what insurance money are you talking about?" she prompted softly.
Will took a slow breath and sat back in the chair, hoping, praying he could explain without shattering her illusions. She would neither thank him, nor appreciate him for it. It shouldn't matter, but the more time he spent with her, the more it did.
"Will. Please tell me," she urged.
Will leaned forward, his elbows on his knees, his hands dangling between them as he tried to find the right words.
"When we started the business," he said quietly, "We both took out insurance policies, to cover each other. We increased the coverage after you married Carter." He looked up at her then, holding her troubled gaze. "The amount would easily have been enough to pay off the house and give you something extra besides."
Kelsey was shaking her head slowly, a frown creasing her forehead. "So why didn't I get it?"
Will bit his lip, considering what to tell her. "It was a whole life policy, an investment as well as a life insurance policy," he said. "By that time we'd had it long enough that he could get some of the money back again. Just before he died he had been talking about cashing it in."
Kelsey lowered her eyes, her hands still fiddling with her son's hair. "I see." She was silent a moment, then dropped a quick kiss on Chris's head. "Well, I don't have it and I guess I won't find out."
He didn't want her to let Carter off so easy. Something made him go on.
"You might find out if you go looking, Kelsey." He tried to keep the challenge out of his voice. Carter didn't deserve this kind of devotion and for some reason he didn't want to explore right now, he wanted her to at least ask a few questions.
Kelsey didn't look up at him and Will sensed that the subject of Carter was closed.
"I should go." He stood. "I'm sure my dinner is on the table by now."
Kelsey just nodded absently in acknowledgment, holding Chris close to her as if for protection.
Will glanced at her, then back at the pictures of Carter.
For a moment he envied Carter Kelsey's unswerving devotion, blind as it may be.
"Take care, Kelsey," he said quietly. Then he turned and left.
You should have told her everything, he thought, as he walked back to the table. And how should he have told her, with Carter's picture on the wall, with her holding Carter's son on her lap? What difference would it have made? Carter was dead.
He wasn't sure why he wanted her to see Carter for who he was. Wasn't sure why it should matter.
He just knew that he was jealous of a dead man.