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New York Times bestselling author Barbara Delinsky enthralls millions of readers with emotionally powerful stories that vividly demonstrate the heart's, power to love. Here, first published in 1984, is an unforgettable story of a woman who must discover who she is before she can give herself to the man she loves.
Although he'd already heard a great deal about Rachel Busek, nothing prepared Jim Guthrie for the beautiful flutist's gentle grace. A rough-hewn private investigator, Jim is nearly overwhelmed with the urge to love and protect her. And Rachel is both amazed and delighted at the ease with which Jim slips into her life. Yet as quick passion gives way to leisurely love, Rachel finds herself holding back. Troubling pieces of her past remain a mystery even to her, and keep her from trusting her heart. Now, she must either discover the truth about her past or risk losing the first man in her life worth keeping.
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His small overnight duffel swung from his shoulder to graze his hip as he took the stone steps two at a time. He'd hoped to arrive earlier, to catch the entire concert, but the plane had been late leaving Raleigh, even later landing in Chicago. Not that he should complain, he told himself. He'd been lucky enough to have gotten a last-minute seat.
The wooden doors of the hall stood open in invitation to the warm May breeze. Looking for all the world as though he'd been invited himself, he strode through the empty lobby and followed the sounds of animated applause to the main entrance of the auditorium. The house was packed. As he prepared to join the standing-room-only crowd just inside the door, an usher materialized by his side.
He ignored the question. "How much have I missed?" His gaze passed over the throng of heads to the stage, there riveting on the one female member of Montage. Even if there had been other women in the ensemble, even if he had never seen her photograph, he would have been drawn to her. She was as breathtaking as he'd imagined, and Lord only knew he'd done his share of imagining since he'd first seen that picture atop Tom Busek's desk.
"We're about midway through the second half. Do you have a ticket?"
Never once looking at the usher, he launched a diversionary tactic. Diversionary tactics were his specialty. "Damn! I wanted to catch more of the show." Entranced, he broke into a smile that was broad in calculated pride. He jutted his chin forward. "That's my girl. Rachel Busek." In truth, the smile wasn't all for show. He couldn't take his eyes from her. "My plane just touched down from North Carolina. She doesn't know I'm here." His grin persisted, taking on a faintly mischievous slant.
The usher took a minute to look him over. He was certainly older than the average member of an audience filled to overflowing with students, late thirties, perhaps forty, clean, not bad looking. The voice was right, bearing just a hint of a twang. And the look of pleasure on his face could hardly be mistaken, any more than could the overnight bag he carried. The usher cast a glance toward the woman on stage, then refocused on the tall man beside him for a moment's speculation.
"Sorry I can't give you a seat. No one's budging. You'll have to stand back here with the rest. "
"That's fine. Fine."
The crowd stilled as a soft piano struck the opening chords of an instantly recognizable tune. There was a murmur of appreciation, a scattering of applause, then strains of violin, cello and guitar as Rachel Busek raised the flute to her lips.
James P. Guthrie had never been a concert goer; indeed, his background had held anything but culture. Yet he held his breath, feeling the anticipation of the audience, sharing it as she inhaled, and bowed into the song. "Greensleeves." Even he recognized it now, though the notes were more sweet and vibrant, the rendition more poignantly beautiful than any he'd heard before. He was mesmerized as much by the haunting sound of the silver flute as by the woman whose breath, whose lips, whose fingers orchestrated that soulful tone.
She was dressed in white, with gentle frills at her neck, wrists and ankles. Her long blond hair flowed gently over her shoulders, fanning as she moved with the feeling of the song, sorrowful, innocent and infinitely soft. Her skin was pale, her hands delicate. Though one of seven in the ensemble, she seemed apart, playing with them yet somehow rising above to the level of a true virtuoso.
His applause was as hearty as any around him when the song ended. Then she smiled, and his pulse quickened. His hands stopped midair, wavered, and dropped to his sides.
Variation on a ThemeBy: Barbara Delinsky