gold-digging career. No
matter what she’s got going on in Boston, she’ll go up to The
Cedars to lay claim, if nothing more.”
“And you’ll be there, too,” Alec concluded.
“Yes,” he said implacably.
The lawyer shook his head, a faint smile playing at
his lips. “Heaven help the management staff. They’re about to
Mitchell sat down at the head of the conference
table, scanning The Cedars’ executive staff with satisfaction. He’d
been right to schedule this meeting at eight o’clock in the
Lanie Carlyle wouldn’t get up this early. He knew
from checking with the desk clerk, that she’d arrived late the
Not a week after the reading of the will, just as
“Good morning to you all,” he said to the people
seated at the conference table, before glancing down at the notes
“Good morning,” the six chorused as if they were
nervous first graders who faced a new teacher.
“As you know, we’re here to discuss the status of
the resort in the transition after my grandfather’s death.
He paused, the scattered rain at the window
underscoring the wave of sadness that rose in him. “I thank you for
your notes and cards. Donovan would have enjoyed knowing how much
you all appreciated him.”
Several staff members loosened up enough to smile
sympathetically and Martha, Donovan’s secretary, an older woman at
the end of the table, wiped at her cheek and reached for a
Mitchell paused, scanning over the agenda.
“As you know, we’re nearing the end of the summer
season and we need to talk about—“
He broke off as the conference room door opened.
Every head in the room swiveled to see the newcomer.
Delanie Carlyle came in a flurry of gleaming red
hair and white teeth, her slender body graceful as she eased the
door shut behind her.
“Good morning!” she said with a smiling hint of
breathlessness. “I apologize for being late.”
Dressed this morning in another suit, this one of
some sort of cream-colored material, she seemed to light up the
room. Watching as she affectionately greeted Donovan’s secretary,
Mitchell dismissed his unusually fanciful observation as a trick of
the light on her red-gold hair.
Yes, she was beautiful. Women who traded on their
sex appeal usually were.
“Since Ms. Carlyle has joined us,” he said with a
carefully neutral voice, “perhaps I should introduce her—“
“Don’t bother,” she said breezily, leaving Martha’s
hug to take the hand Ben Norton, The Cedars’ manager, held out to
her. “I know everyone, I think. It’s so good to see you all again.
I’ve missed you!”
Delanie’s affectionate smile seemed to encompass
everyone at the table.
Mitchell wanted to throttle her for that happy,
sweeping glance. For the life of him he couldn’t think what she
expected to gain by pretending she didn’t know him.
“How have you all been? Has business been good since
we reopened?” she asked gaily.
To Mitchell’s surprise, several voices rose in
response. He glanced at the others at the table, startled to see
smiles replacing the guarded anxiety that had met him when he came
in the room this morning.
Irritated to see his staff beaming at the
interloper, Mitchell cut off their eager comments.
“We were just getting to the progress reports, Ms.
Carlyle. If you’ll take a seat, we’ll continue.”
“Of course,” she said, sliding into an empty spot
next to Ben Norton without seeming to notice Mitchell’s tone of
Delanie’s casual inclusion of herself in The Cedars
management team hadn’t escaped him and it grated.
He considered her for a moment, deeply annoyed by
her friendly nonchalance, but determined not to show it. What the
hell was she up to? He had no doubt she had an angle.
No matter how many lovers a woman took, it wasn’t
likely she’d forget the kind of night they’d shared. From the
instant they’d laid eyes on each other a
Pierre V. Comtois, Charlie Krank, Nick Nacario