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A few minutes later, Sonora and Ian heard a noise at the glass doors behind them. Blake was rushing toward them, panic in his face.

"Ian," he said, "There are men here. Men that I believe are from the place I told you about. A place I would not wish on my worst enemy and definitely not my old friend. You need to leave. Leave now."

Ian looked from Blake to Sonora, his arm tightened around her.

In a hurried tone, Sonora said, "Ian, if you are in danger, you have to go." She looked at her grandfather. "We can sort this all out later.

Ian stood and pulled Sonora up out of her chair, holding her to him. He brought a gentle hand to her face a tipped it toward him, gazing into her eyes.

Sonora felt a shift somewhere near her heart and her brows creased as she tried to understand what she was feeling. By the time she'd figured it out, Ian had jumped onto the railing of the balcony and dove into the ocean.

She rushed to the balcony, her stomach clutching at his sudden departure over its side. Then she felt the anxiety nudged away by exhilaration. His exhilaration. A look of wonder came over her face and brightened her eyes. She smiled.

So this is what it feels like.


The woman had watched him walk in. He'd caught her attention from the moment he hit the door, as he had everyone in the room. Tall to the point of imposing, confident is a way he shouldn't be in a roomful of people he didn't know, attractive in a way one rarely sees.

He reminded her of someone. Someone she didn't like remembering.

That is why the woman continued to watch him. Watched him as he'd strode straight toward the girl. Watched as he took her in his arms as if he had a right to do so. Watched as they walked to the balcony.

When he removed his jacket, her suspicions were confirmed. If she looked closely enough, she could see the light shimmer through the material of his shirt.

The woman clamped her jaw. No.

She had seen Sonora's face, heard the girl gasp as her eyes had lit on him. The surprised shock and the slow happiness.

I remember that--I've felt that too. Once. He couldn't stay away from me either, came back time after time until I wanted to be with him. Until he filled my whole life. Then he left.

Anger began to build inside her, not an instant flame, but the slow deliberate start of a fire one has carefully laid out and tended. I'm not going to let that happen to her.

She pulled out her cell phone and dialed. When he answered the call, there was no preamble, there didn't need to be. She said the only words she needed to, "I've got one."


Blake had been sitting alone at his table when the men entered the reception hall. There was no mistaking their kind. Bullies dressed in suits, hands hovering around their waists where, no doubt, a gun was attached to their belt.

The men had stopped and scanned the room. They were looking for someone. It took no time at all for Blake to know who.

Casually, Blake had risen from the table and made his way around the full dance floor. When he made it to the sliding glass door of the patio, he quickly stepped out and told Sonora and Ian of the danger. But not before his heart sank as he took in the couple holding each other.

After Ian was gone, Blake grabbed Sonora's hand and pulled her down a flight of stairs that went along the outside of the building.

"We can't let them catch us," he said.

Panic was in Sonora's voices as she kept up with Blake. "But Grandpa, they don't know about us too, do they?"

"I don't know what they know. But my guess is that they are after Ian, but I'm not taking any chances."

At the bottom of the stairs, they had two choices. Head for the large open parking lot or the restrooms.

Blake shoved Sonora into the Women's and said, "Stay put!"

Sonora leaned her back against the door, catching her breath. It was quiet for a few minutes. Then she heard the scrape of additional footsteps. The low rumble of male voices sounded. Her grandfather saying, "I'm waiting for my granddaughter."

More rumbling. Were the thugs giving grandpa trouble? She felt sick. Sonora's eyes roamed the room as she searched her mind for something that could help her grandfather.

She went to the sink and turned it on high, letting it splash against her dress. She patted more water on her face, then went to the door and grabbed the handle.

Sonora threw open the bathroom door, and stepping out, she put a hand to the brick wall and slightly bent at her waist.

"Whoa, Grandpa, I think I chucked a small animal in there," she said, holding one arm around her stomach, "musta been those shrimp. You all didn't have any shrimp, did you?"

The men's emotionless gaze took her in and dismissed her.

"Or, I don't know," she continued, "maybe I have a fever." She felt her forehead as she stepped closer to her grandfather and the men. "Do you think I have a fever?"

"Oh wait," Sonora half-turned back to the restroom and clenched her stomach. "Oh no, false alarm. I'm fine."

She went back to Blake and took his arm, hanging onto it for dear life. Sonora made sure to breathe in the men's direction and wipe at her mouth before holding her hand out to shake theirs. "Hi. Are you friends of grandpa's?"

The men looked Sonora and Blake over before one of them said, "Nothing here." They turned and ran back up the stairs.

Once the thugs were out of earshot, Blake proudly whispered, "Good thinking."

"I'm not sure it took that much thinking" Sonora giggled. "My nerves are shot, and with their dead fish eyes, they were making me nauseous anyway."

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