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.“You haven’t changed out of your running clothes and into jeans and a pair of your expensive shoes.That’s not like you.” Phoebe tipped her head and gave her a sideways, worried glance.“You didn’t actually go running, did you?”“A walk.I’m healing nicely, but not that good yet.” Better on the outside than the inside.“And?”She stretched her arms out from her sides, gingerly testing the still bandaged arm then clasped the smooth oak of the railing.She took a deep breath.“The shooting, mine and I guess even of Myles, has haunted me since I’ve been home.The whole scene.”“Oh, Lace, I’m so sorry.”“I know that’s not all of it.” Her chest tightened with the admission of the emotions she’d been ignoring for the last few days.“The whole horrific scene, the moments after I felt the pain, well, that’s a visual I’ll learn to live with.When I think about my mother who must have been a vibrant, creative person, I.I would’ve loved to have met her.” She glanced at the photo of her mother on the table.“Makes me feel so melancholy.And Hartmut.She loved him so much.” Could she have loved Chance that much, if given the opportunity? The melancholy deepened.Her friend jumped up and strode over.A half-dozen silver bracelets tinkled around each wrist as she tightly hugged her.“I wish I could do more for you.”“You’ve been here every morning.Just your presence has been helpful.” She hugged her back.“Here you go, gals.” Hazel reached the top step with their hot drinks.She handed the mug of chai to Lacy, set the scone she juggled on top of the cups on the table for Phoebe and set down a caramel latte next to it.“Got a girlfriend love fest going on?”“Something like that,” Lacy said.“Your scone.” She turned Phoebe toward the table.“Sit.”“Maybe you should call the handsome lawyer and have him come back to the café to help.He made such an early morning visit, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind returning.” Hazel winked in Phoebe’s direction at the remark made to her boss.“Oh, Hazel.” Lacy smiled.“I would if I was ten years younger and looked like you,” her round, elderly barista offered with a grin.“Lacy has no idea how beautiful she is.” Phoebe waved a hand through the air, dismissing the woman’s comment.“Well, that man knows.They were standing toe to toe, eye to eye.Mark ran his hand up and down her arm, and if it’d been me, I’d have felt the heat right through my blouse.”“They’re just friends.” Phoebe took a healthy bite of the scone.“Not her type.”“A good looking man like that? Wears a suit better than most, graying temples, dazzling smile.How’s any woman with warm blood and a bed not going to find him her type?”Lacy stood away from the railing, hands on hips and said in her most exasperated tone, “Excuse me, you two.If you’re done talking about my love life.”“Hmph.” Hazel turned toward the stairs.“Or lack thereof.”The two friends smiled at each other as she disappeared down the steps.Phoebe’s grin faded, and she motioned for Lacy to join her at the table.“Are you okay?”She unzipped her hoodie as if to release the lingering tightness in her chest and swallowed the emotion bubbling up.The flap of the shades being raised on windows downstairs caught her attention.She looked through the slats below the railing to the burgundy walls and lace topped windows below.The doors of the Lacy Latte opened on a sunny Sunday morning.A normal conversation with friends hadn’t dispelled the sense of loss.“I’ll be okay.” She shuffled to the table and sat across from her friend.“Why was Mark here so early?”“I hadn’t returned his calls.He wanted to discuss the land and estate in Austria, but I can’t think about that yet.”She scanned the photographs of Scottsdale on the wall behind her friend, photos her parents helped her hang, photos of Conrad’s favorite city sites.They reminded her of her once upon a time present and future.Now, the past.More had been added to her past.“Do you want to talk about him?”“Which him?”“Which?”“Hartmut, Myles or Chance?”“You choose.”She picked the photo of Hartmut from the table.“What a handsome man,” Phoebe blurted.“Judas Priest, Lacy.Those are your eyes.”“Maybe.”“Go on.”“Professor Myles Sheffield had green eyes, too.” She flicked her hair from her face and met her friend’s questioning gaze.For the first time since she’d uttered her suspicion to Chance, she spoke of her fear.She didn’t want the professor to be her father, but the timing and his damnable green eyes cast a heavy doubt.“I may never know.I should’ve told Mark to stop pursuing the Austrian connections.”“Is that why you’re so sad?”“No.You’d think it would be, huh? But I feel the same as I felt when I woke up in the hospital.It doesn’t matter.”“Then?”She sipped her tea, and the tightness in her chest came back.She recognized the sense of loss had everything to do with Chance and what might have been, not with her elusive heritage.“What happened with the sheriff?” Her voice spoke gently, not Phoebe’s usual method of inquisitiveness.Lacy shrugged and took a deep breath.Maybe it would be better to get it out.“You know, I’d almost like to rail on the unreliability of the male species.Would you mind if I used a few four-letter words?”Phoebe’s eyes lit up, the old mischievous grin spreading across her face.She swallowed a bite of scone.“Rail on, I’m all ears.Judas, Lacy, this is the part of the tale I’ve been waiting to hear.” She waved the scone in the air.“It’s my own fault.” The admission deflated any idea of verbally abusing the male gender.“I knew about his other woman, even though he more or less said she didn’t mean anything to him.”“It did appear differently at the hospital.”“Yes.” She sniffed.“At least I had one gloriously sexy night.”Phoebe’s eyes grew round.“I thought it meant more, meant as much to him as it did to me.” Regardless of her saddened state, she felt a ripple of remembered pleasure.“Now, that’s an age old story.”“He did try to warn me off.I thought I could be all casual—like you.”“Fat chance.”“Hmm.Right.I tried, it didn’t work.He disappointed me.Pretty much end of story.”“Are you sure you shouldn’t speak to him again?”“Yes.” Tears came to her eyes [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]