Chapter Three

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"So then the bartender says, 'What do I need a broker for?'" Ken Turner laughed heartily, signaling for another drink. "Lemme guess..." He turned to the gentleman beside him. "You heard that one before, right?"

"Hmm?" The man responded.

"The joke."

"What joke?"

"Hello? Is this thing on?" He pretended to tap an invisible microphone. "You haven't heard one word I've said have you?"

"I'm sorry, Ken. I was distracted."

Jack Steele leaned confidently against the bar; his right hand wrapped firmly around a glass of Scotch. Though he'd tried for two hours, he couldn't take his eyes off her. He'd seen her early that morning, leaving the hotel in what appeared to be a rush. There was something about her that he couldn't quite put his finger on...and she'd rested in a quiet spot in the back of his mind all day.

"Which one?" Ken scanned the ballroom.

"The one at the table in the corner."

"The blonde?"

"The redhead. In the red dress." Jack answered.

Ken strained his eyes, focusing on the figures in the corner of the pavilion. It only took him a moment to confirm the object of Jack's desire...and he laughed when he identified the woman in question.

"What's so funny?"

"You." Ken replied.

"How am I funny?" Jack questioned.

"Because you're so damn predictable, that's why."

"I point out a gorgeous woman and that makes me predictable?"

"You could have any woman you want under this tent and you hone on the one woman you can't have. It's classic stuff."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means take a good, long look Jack, 'cause that's all you're gonna get." Ken downed the last of his highball. "Because she belongs to someone else. In fact, I'm surprised you don't recognize her."

"Who is she?" Jack asked.

"Holly Mitchell."

"Holly Mitchell?" His head snapped sharply in Ken's direction. "As in the Holly Mitchell? The reporter?

"Holly' Mitchell, as in property of Alexander Deming. You should see the rock on her hand.

"Yeah, right." Jack spoke sarcastically.

"I'm not kidding. She's his missus."

"How do you know?"

"Because I was introduced to them last year at some fundraising dinner. The revitalization of Harlem or the starving artists of Soho. I can't remember. But they are Mr. and Mrs."

"Holly Mitchell is Holly Deming?" Jack questioned once more, turning his eyes back in her direction.

"Ladies and gentleman, he's smarter than he looks." Ken teased, turning toward the bar and trying again to secure the bartender's attention.

"I don't believe it." Jack shook his head in denial. "How did an arrogant sonuvabitch like Deming land a woman like that?"

"How does any arrogant sonuvabitch land any woman? No one knows, but somehow they all do. Maybe she likes to play rough." Ken teased.

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