âI want it back,â she said.
âI told you. Iâll do whatever it takes to get the painting for you.â
She stared at him with such intense focus, he nearly looked away. âThatâs not what I meant. I want what you took from my heart. Think you can find that, too?â
T HE MINUTE THEY LANDED , Abby wrapped herself up in the minutiae of getting them from the airport to her apartment without more than minimal conversation. Though sheâd tried to dig a little deeper into what had transpired five years ago between her and Daniel, heâd skillfully spun the topics away from anything personal. For the duration of their two-hour flight, theyâd exchanged little more than small talk.
But that, in itself, was revealing.
Time had not made him cavalier about what had happened between them. He had regrets, which was only fair, since she had them, too.
Outside the casino, Danielâs touch had blown apart the emotional containment built by Marshallâs unconditional forgiveness. Questions sheâd set aside in order to concentrate on her marriage now exploded in her brain. What vulnerabilities had Daniel noticed about her first? How had he breached her understanding of right and wrong so easily? Why had he learned about her secret fantasies when sheâd never confessed them to anyone else?
Had he ever really loved her?
For so long, she hadnât cared about what Daniel felt. Sheâd concentrated only on Marshallâs love, which sheâd cherished. But now she needed answers. Moving on would require them, and more than anything, she wanted to put her past to rest so she could live againâand hopefully, someday, love again. And since the collector who had her painting would show the work to the public in a little over a week, she only had until then to close this chapter of her life for good.
But instead of deconstructing the foundation of their affair, she and Daniel had spent the rest of the flight sipping wine and talking about his newly discovered brothers.
Or rather, his newly acknowledged brothers. Heâd actually known about them both long before either Alejandro, the Spanish auction-house owner, and Michael, the FBI agent, learned about himâa fact that pretty much summed up the man she was counting on to save her family from humiliation. To keep the upper hand, Daniel made it his business to know everything he could about any nemesis, even when his ânemesisâ was a blood relativeâ¦or a woman heâd once claimed to love.
Luckily, she had honed her own information-gathering skills since theyâd last met. From her private investigators, sheâd learned about his arrest and subsequent release from jail. But from Daniel, sheâd found out that he no longer thought Alejandro was a stuck-up prick, and that heâd gone to New Orleans to steal the ring he was now wearing, but instead had helped Michael rescue two women from a psychotic rapist.
âSo are you going to tell your brothers where you are?â she asked, hunting in her clutch bag for the keys as her driver pulled up to the covered awning in front of her apartment. Though sheâd downsized from the brownstone Marshallâs parents had leased to them during her marriage, she was eternally grateful that sheâd picked a place with more than one bedroom. Inviting Daniel into Marshallâs house would not have been right. Putting Daniel up in a hotel would make planning his theft too difficult. She needed to keep him closeâbut not too close.
âNo,â he replied, folding his arms against the blast of Chicago cold.
She hurried to the front entrance so they could get out of the frigid wind. âDonât you think you should?â
Abby keyed in the code to her building, then waited while Daniel swung open the door. At nearly three in the morning, the doorman had left his post and the chilled October