"You're so predictable," observed the young woman who was still tucked into the covers of Thomas Cameron's bed. "I thought you were going to have a heart attack last night when I held that gun to your neck."
Thomas Cameron looked at the luscious young blonde who had nearly scared the hell out of him, and grinned. "Okay, Angie. Game time is over. How did you know that I was going to be there? I thought I told you that I had a dinner meeting."
"I was following you," Angie confessed with a sensual gleam in her eyes. "I figured that sooner or later, you'd go back to Matthews' and I could meet you there."
"Meet me? You're lucky that I didn't keel over with a heart attack when you jammed that stupid cap gun into the back of my neck."
The blonde smiled, and told him, "I've always found danger to be an aphrodisiac-and it seems that you did, too."
"Well, don't do it again. I don't like people following me. It makes me nervous."
"How could it? You didn't even know that I was there."
"Either promise me that you'll never do that again, or there won't be a next time."
Angie rose from the bed, smiling, alluring, but for some reason, she looked different this morning. Must be something with the light. Thomas blinked and looked again, noting a decidedly feral gleam in her eyes. Insatiable, he decided, and wondered why him? He was hardly a young stud-admittedly brilliant in his field, but there had to be at least thirty years separating the two of them. What did she see in him? As her lips met his, he found that for now, at least, it didn't matter.
"You will be here tonight?" It was, at once, a question and an order, and Gilbert Andrews recognized the undertone in his wife's voice. But, this time there was something different. Something harder. Something new. He was vaguely intrigued. But only vaguely.
"Yes, Rosemary, I'll be there. Is my tux pressed?"
There was an annoyed pause. "I have no idea. You might try coming home to check."
"Gil, this party was your idea-a welcome home for Jared, your only brother. He's been working himself half to death since he's been back. The least you could do is show up now and then. He has had questions that I can't answer, and half the time you don't even answer the phone."
Gil sighed in resignation. "Rosemary, we've been through this before."
"And we'll go through it again. What is it, Gil? Why have you locked me out of your life? What is it? What's wrong?"
Again, the uneasy pause between the couple threatened the relationship and the gap between them broadened a bit more. "Rosemary, I asked you to come with me. It was your choice to stay behind."
"Gil, I have a life here-friends. I didn't want to spend heaven only knows how much time in the mountains virtually alone."
"I repeat-virtually alone. You sit down at the computer and suddenly, I'm alone. You don't hear me, you don't see me-it's like I'm not there at all. So, why come at all?"
"I'm sorry, Rosemary, but..."
Rosemary Andrews hung up the telephone in the cheery white country kitchen in the family's private quarters at the Andrew's Vineyard. Once more, her eyes darted to the card she'd been clutching all during her conversation with Gil, her husband. With a deep sigh, she recalled the conversation that she'd had with her friend, Elizabeth Gardner, only yesterday. Closing her eyes, the words replay themselves in her mind.
"Here, Rosie," Liz had said, taking the card out of her Italian leather bag. "Take this card and think about it. You don't have to do anything, but isn't it time that you knew for sure?"
"I don't know if I want to know."
"Honey, I'd want to know if my husband was cheating on me. Nowadays, a woman can't be too careful. I caught my first husband with his secretary. All those nights he told me he was working late-but not on what, that is on whom, he was working. And my second-that miserable wretch never gave up his mistress in the first place. I'm not telling you what to do, Rosie, but I know what I'd do."
Again, Rosemary looked at the business card. Douglas Burns, Attorney at Law. The word divorce had come up yesterday at lunch, and had been reverberating in her mind ever since. Could she bring herself to say the word in the same sentence with her husband's name? Was that even what she wanted? Her mind spinning with the possibilities, she wandered down the hallway and into the room she'd shared with Gil up until a few months ago. Well, maybe it had been longer than that. Several months ago he'd started working late in the vineyard's office. There were times he seemed totally preoccupied, times that he'd obviously been elsewhere even though he'd physically been in the same room with her. "What happened to us?" she wondered aloud. "I know that you were always disappointed that we never had children. Maybe things would have been different if we had, but we didn't."
Rosemary stood in front of the mirror and studied her reflection critically. She was still tall and slender, dark-haired that had very little gray and that was carefully hidden by regular visits to the salon. In fact, she looked remarkably like she had when she was twenty-except for the eyes. Her expression was more experienced, more knowing-and less trusting. Time had taught her that few men could be trusted-but she'd always thought that Gil was different. He'd picked up the pieces all those years ago, and she'd seen something in him that reminded her of Jared. A smile flickered at the corners of her mouth as she thought of him, but she quickly banished him from her thoughts. Jared was here, but very far away, emotionally. And, she told herself, off limits. "I made a promise to Gil," she told her reflection. "I said that I'd be faithful, and I have been." But, her mind nagged, has he?
Grasping the business card, she sat down on the bed and reached for the telephone. Then, she stopped, until Liz's words echoed in her mind again. "You said that you don't know for sure. Isn't it time you did? My attorney also has a PI on retainer. Rosie, you owe it to yourself to find out for sure. Whether or not you do anything about it, explore the possibilities. You're not getting any younger, honey. How are you going to feel if Gil shows up with a sexy young woman on his arm one of these days?? Don't you think it's time you faced this thing?"
"It's time." Rosemary picked up the phone and rather distractedly punched in the number.
"Burns, Blackwell, Carter and Craig. May I help you?"
Suzanna Castle had just finished brushing her long, lustrous dark hair while her husband, Peter Castle, looked on, vaguely bemused. Fastening his gold cufflinks, he noted that she didn't look a day over thirty, though their 18-year-old son, PJ, carefully reminded her that she'd just passed the big 40 only a few months ago. The black satin evening gown molded lovingly to her shape, and Peter definitely appreciated the care that had gone into Suzanna's figure. Fit and trim, she was everything he'd ever wanted in a woman, and more. He watched as she held up two necklaces-one of gold from which a pear-shaped diamond dangled, and a strand of pearls. "Diamonds," Peter told her, "but not that necklace." Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a box. "For you, darling. We closed a deal and I wanted to celebrate." He opened the box, and said, "I thought that this would go with the bracelet I gave you last Valentine's Day."
"My god," Suzanne gasped as Peter held out the necklace that matched the diamond tennis bracelet she loved. "Peter!"
"Don't worry, darling. It's insured."
"But-this must be more than 15 carats of diamonds..."
"Sixteen and one half," Peter chuckled. "All carefully matched quarter carats."
"But this has to be..."
"We can afford it," Peter told her, handing her another box. "And the earrings to match." She opened it to find a pair of earrings that were matched to the necklace. "Seven diamonds each," he told her.
He grinned as Suzi carefully donned the earrings, and then, as she lifted her hair, he fastened the glittering necklace around her throat. Kissing the back of her neck, he breathed in her fragrance, and it became obvious to both of them that they'd be late to the Andrews' party.
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