Chapter Four

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Zander Deming rolled over, looking for comfort in the form of his shapely wife. But when he reached out for the warm skin of his wife, he found her side of the sheets cold and empty. He quickly sat up in bed. Across the suite, he studied her silhouette against the large picture window. Seeing her there reminded him of the first time he'd locked eyes on her, looking just as beautiful now as she did years before.

He didn't speak for a long time as he tried to read her body language. It was becoming common practice, he considered. Many nights he'd wake to find that she'd disappeared sometime during the night. Well, he couldn't really say many. The nights they spent together were sporadic at best. Zander's grip on the world of finance kept him plane hopping on a regular basis. And his wife's success in world of publishing created a hectic schedule as well.

His eyes focused on her slender frame, draped in pale blue French silk. He'd purchased the peignoir on his last trip to Paris, knowing it would look incredible on her. Seeing her form against the moonlit window, his intuition was more than confirmed. No other woman had ever made his heart race. Not the way Holly did. There was something about her quiet confidence that made him want her. Sadly, he knew their relationship was more or less one-sided. He'd known it from the beginning. The nature of their careers only compounded the problem. He needed her much more than she needed him. There'd never been a true level of security in their relationship. The jealousy he felt when it came to the roving eyes of other men reared its bright green head on many occasions. He'd made a conscious effort to relax and loosen up on the reigns a bit. On the few occasions he'd quieted his jealousy with a bottle, the nights always ended in a shouting match. Tonight had been no exception. The drive from the polo club to the hotel had been a filled with a string of angry words, fueled by a fair quantity of bourbon that still pulsed through his veins. To say it was a fight wouldn't even be an accurate description. He'd yelled. She'd stayed silent. That's how it was when Zander was clearly in the wrong...and obviously drunk.

He joined her at the window. His arms encircled her waist but she didn't move, keeping her eyes focused on the world beyond the window.

"I'd ask you what's wrong, but I already know the answer." He rested his chin on her shoulder, drinking in the familiar scent of her hair.

She took a deep breath, letting it out slowly.

"If I could take it all back..." he started.

"But you can't."

"And therein lies the problem." He released her and returned to the bed. "Because the word forgive doesn't exist in your vocabulary."

"Why should I? It was a dance. One dance, Zan."

"You can't even count. It was three dances," he corrected. "And then you didn't even have the courtesy to come back to our table. I stood there like a complete idiot while my wife-"

"We waited in line at the bar to get something to drink." She interrupted. "With at least five five other couples. You make it sound like we took a cab back to his hotel. I was never even out of eye-shot. By the time our drinks arrived, you were already standing beside me saying goodnight."

"Well, you don't know Jack Steele. If he thought he could, he would've had you in a cab as soon as he--"

"If you didn't want me to dance with him, then you should have--"

"What? Said no? And just how would that have looked?"

"Since when have you ever worried about what others think of you?" she countered. "And I'll tell you exactly how it would have looked. It would have looked like a man wanting to spend time with his wife instead of letting another man babysit her on the dance floor."

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