But I couldn’t see him as anything but…Jett. Since I’d known his character before I’d known about his wealth, it really didn’t matter that he had more money than God.
After I’d started the dishwasher, I turned around and met Jett’s beautiful green-eyed gaze, and realized that what he’d just told me didn’t make a difference at all in how I felt about him. He was just as gorgeous as a billionaire as he had been as a small business owner.
He was still the same Jett who had done everything he could to help me. The same nice guy I was starting to trust more and more every day.
And he was still the man who had kissed me like he really wanted me.
I’m going to have to set him straight about what happened when he kissed me.
I knew that I was going to have to tell him what had really caused me to freak out.
And it would be one of the hardest things I’d ever had to do.
The next morning, I hung up the phone with a sinking feeling in my chest.
I had news that I had to tell Ruby, but I wondered what kind of price she’d pay for hearing it.
I shoved my cell back into my pocket, and left my bedroom where my bags were being loaded for our departure to Seattle.
I stopped in the hallway as I saw Ruby tugging her suitcase out of her room, which would have amused me on any other day since I’d told her to let the valet pick it up.
But today wasn’t any other day.
“Leave it,” I told Ruby as I took her hand. “We have to talk.”
She gave me a questioning gaze, but left the suitcase in the hall to follow me.
The connection that Ruby and I had was strange to me, but not unwelcome. She always seemed to sense my mood, and had an uncanny way to judging when to say something and when not to argue based on my expression.
“What’s wrong?” she said as we rode the elevator to the ground floor.
“Nothing is exactly wrong,” I hedged.
Jesus! The last thing I wanted was to talk about her past again, but it was unavoidable.
“We need to stop in Ohio, Ruby. Or we will if you want to recover your inheritance.” I hoped to hell she’d say she trusted me to take care of her so she didn’t have to deal with this right now, but it wasn’t fair for her to be cheated out of anything she deserved.
“I didn’t inherit anything,” she said as we arrived in the kitchen.
“Your uncle is dead, Ruby. He died of a heart attack a couple of months ago. Apparently, your mom and dad did have life insurance and you were the sole beneficiary. When your parents died, your uncle had to put it in a trust for you. The only things that were ever claimed from the account were some small costs from your high school. He couldn’t touch it for anything else, and it was yours when you turned twenty-one.” I tried to explain as briefly as possible so she didn’t have to digest very much at one time.
I watched as her expression changed from confusion to recognition, and then finally went completely blank. “He lied,” she said stoically. “He told me I was a burden to him, and that I was lucky to have a roof over my head. He said my parents hadn’t cared what happened to me, and that they wanted me to fend for myself because I was a burden to them, too, and I made them even poorer. He actually said he’d had to pay their debts.”
“He lied,” I replied.
My gut ached with the desire to get vengeance for her, but I couldn’t. The only thing I could do was help her pick up the pieces after her uncle had destroyed her even before she’d been old enough to walk away.
I’d been searching for the bastard since I’d first met Ruby. When his niece had run away, he’d moved to the other side of Ohio, but some of my personal team had finally dug up the information that he’d died and had been brought back to his home town to be buried in the same cemetery as Ruby’s parents.
His estate was up in the air since there were no immediate relatives, but Ruby’s uncle hadn’t really had very much to settle after he’d been buried. Mostly just the money that had been left in trust for Ruby.
“How much?” she asked.
“Two hundred and fifty thousand was paid out,” I told her. “He managed to claim some for your food and living expenses. But most of it is still in trust.”