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Always by Jude Deveraux - Fiction
Darci has never given up searching for her kidnapped husband, Adam Montgomery. But her quest has taken her deeper into the world of psychic phenomena than she ever dreamed -- or dared to go. When the FBI enlists her help in locating the missing father of undercover agent Jack Rose, Darci signs on for the covert operation, not knowing that her attraction to handsome, sexy Jack is about to lead her into deadly territory -- and into an era long past. For Jack has a protector, a mysterious nineteenth-century lady who pulls them into a time and place where Darci is stripped of her abilities. Can she find the key that links to the modern-day crimes she's set out to solve? And will a showdown with a wicked force from the past hold her hostage...for all eternity?
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Connie and Kayla were almost the same age and about the same size. Even their coloring was nearly the same. But as alike as they were, they couldn't have been more different. Kayla exuded golden blondeness, while Connie was pale and washed-out looking. Kayla's height was statuesque, whereas Connie seemed to tower over people and slumped to keep from doing so. Kayla was a woman no one could overlook, while Connie was easy to miss.
Connie had been working at Wrightsman's jewelry store for six years; Kayla had been there for three weeks. Connie knew everything there was to know about the cut and clarity of jewels. She could tell you the weight and the color number of a diamond at a glance. She knew the provenance of every jewel in the store, knew what was in the safe and who had owned what and why they'd had to sell it.
Kayla asked customers if they liked "the blue ones or the green ones" better.
But in three weeks Kayla had sold more jewelry than Connie had in the last six months. After the first week, Connie had complained to Mr. Wrightsman. "She models the jewelry. She wears low-cut dresses, hangs a million-dollar necklace around her throat, then leans over so men can look down her front." Connie had not been pleased by Mr. Wrightsman's answer. He'd told her to "join the real world."
It was late on Friday when the man entered the store. After having worked at Wrightsman's for so long, Connie was used to the rich and powerful stepping into the store. Besides the professionally lit showroom where the customers could show off their wealth by buying something Marie Antoinette had once owned, there was an elegant room in the back where they could sit in private and sell what they could no longer afford.
Connie had met many politicians, movie stars, and jet-setters, but she'd never seen this man before. He was handsome in a masculine way, with heavy black eyebrows, dark eyes, and an aquiline nose set above lips that had a slight, teasing smile, as though he knew something no one else did.
As Connie looked at the man, she felt her knees start to melt. The only other time she'd felt this way was when Sean Connery had walked into the store. This man was wearing a black leather jacket that she was sure had cost thousands; she could almost feel the softness of the leather under her fingertips. His tan trousers had to have been cut to fit him. As he walked toward the door, when she saw that he wore no jewelry, her heart dropped. He was buying for a woman, not himself.
She didn't really think that a man like him would be interested in her, but still, she relished the thought of searching through the vaults for just the right jewel. She prided herself on being a good judge of financial position and this man exuded money. Naked, dripping from a shower, she thought, this man would have an aura of wealth about him.
As he pushed the glass door open, Connie nearly giggled at her thought of this beautiful man being wet and naked. Catching herself, she looked across the cases filled with sparkling jewels on blue satin to Kayla -- and was horrified to see Kayla staring at the man with the same expression that Connie was probably wearing.
Connie wanted to scream, "Oh, no you don't. This one is mine!" Men like this one, men who possessed old world manners -- and old world money -- were her reward for putting up with tourists who wanted to see "where Brad Pitt shopped," and with rude rock stars and ego-tripping two-bit actors who wanted the world to know that they bought their jewels at Wrightsman's.
The man entered the store, removed his sunglasses, then stood for a moment as his eyes adjusted. When they did, he looked...
AlwaysBy: Jude Deveraux