Samantha shrugged, tossing her hair, copper highlights glinting in the sun pouring in the morning room windows. “Bryan was beginning to be a bore,” she replied. “I thought it was better to get out of the city. The city was beginning to be a bore.”

She stared out at the trees, now almost completely golden. “Besides, I saw those pix of your party, and I found the talent pool out here more exciting than what I was experiencing in Wilmington.” Her brown eyes glinted avariciously.

“You mean you’d worked your way through all the reasonably attractive unmarried men in Wilmington,” said Laura.

Sam sighed. “Married men, too,” she said. “Who was the guy with dark hair you were sitting with? If I can’t pry that skinny shrimp’s fingers from Mark Wright, he might be fun.”

Laura laughed, “You’d make a habit of taking her cast-offs? That’s the guy she broke up with a year or so ago. He’s an artist. Painted the landscape beside the kitchen door, it’s our back meadow.”

“You’re kidding!” said Sam, finally moving her gaze from the trees and desolated garden outside to her sister. “Maybe she should move to Wilmington.” Her sister snorted. “She used to have six dogs, or so Pete told me. I pumped him about her, when I found that she was the woman Mark Wright was seeing.”

A smug smile passed quickly over Samantha’s lips. “Yes, but for how long is going to see her?” She sipped her coffee, the glint back in her brown eyes, a look that Laura knew all too well. Samantha wanted something, she was planning to get it, and Laura had a suspicion that something was Mark Wright. She sighed. As much as she liked Mark, she would never go further than a foot on his leg at parties, and she knew Sam was prepared to go much, much further.

“Has he ever been married?” asked Sam. Her silk wrapper fell open, exposing her cleavage in the fuchsia nightgown. “Domesticity?” she pondered. “Thrills? I wonder…”

“I don’t know,” said Laura, “he dodges every personal question I’ve thrown at him. You should start with Pete Werkhiser. Rebound him.”

Sam tapped her beautifully manicured finger on the table. “What time do you think Mark will be here?” she asked. “I want to be ready.” She rose from her chair, moving to the wall of windows, turning to look at Laura. “Let me know when he gets here, I’ll be up in my room, writing.” Sam watched trucks with a yellow diamond logo pull around the back of house, meeting her brother-in-law briefly, then move down the gravel to the gatehouse, a black Jeep Wrangler bringing up the rear. She smiled, mentally choosing the outfit that Mark might find most appealing. But he’s going to be involved there for hours, she thought, and I want him up here, in this house, much better setting.

“Where’s a good place to run into Pete Werkhiser?” asked Samantha. “Unless you can arrange an introduction.”

Laura didn’t answer immediately. “Well?” asked Sam. “Should I just wander around West Chester, and check out the locals, hoping to meet him?

“I’m thinking!” said Laura. “You want the meet-cute or the introduction? I can arrange both.”

“Introduction,” replied Sam, “those accidentally on purpose things have a way of biting me in the ass.” She thought of Mark Wright doing exactly that, and smiled, thinking ‘I’ll have to wait for that pleasure.’


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