Lost & found

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Lost & found
One
    It is never wise to become emotionally involved with a client," Vesta Briggs said.
    "I'm not involved with Mack Easton." Cady cradled the phone against her shoulder and tugged off first one high heel and then the other. "Not in the way you mean. I'm just consulting for him. I thought I made that clear."
    There was a short, terse silence on the other end of the line. Cady sighed silently and sank down onto the sofa. The phone had been ringing a moment ago when she had come through the door. She had lunged for it on the off chance that it was Fantasy Man.
    It had not been Mack Easton. It had been her great-aunt.
    "There's something in your voice when you talk about him," Vesta said. Icicles of disapproval hung on each word. "I get the impression that you are interested in him in a personal way."
    "He's just a voice on the phone."
    But what a voice. Every time she heard it, a thrill of awareness zinged through each nerve ending. Her vivid imagination did the rest, conjuring blatantly erotic fantasies out of thin air.
    It was a voice that had begun to whisper in her dreams but she saw no reason to mention that to her rigid great-aunt. Vesta Briggs was not a romantic.
    Cady slipped off one silver earring and set it down on the glass-topped coffee table.
    Probably not a good idea to tell Vesta that in addition to being a voice on the phone, Easton had also become a frequent e-mail correspondent, she thought. He seemed to enjoy locating arcane bits and pieces of information relating to the art world on-line and forwarding them on to her. Lately, she could have sworn that he had begun to flirt with her via computer.
    She saved all of his on-line correspondence in a special folder labeled "Fantasy Man." She had gotten into the habit of checking her computer first thing each morning to see if he had paid her an on-line visit during the night. She didn't want to use the word "obsessive" to describe her new routine, but she was aware that some people might view it as a tad compulsive.
    Of course, if there was anyone who would understand obsession, it was Vesta, she thought.

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    She glanced at the row of family photographs arranged on one wall. Her gaze fell on the woman with dark hair and enigmatic eyes. It had been taken some fifty years ago when her great-aunt was in her thirties, shortly after she had founded Gallery Chatelaine. There was a withdrawn, remote quality about the image. Vesta looked as if she was listening to a conversation that only she could hear, one that had taken place in the distant past.
    As far as anyone knew, the only thing Vesta had ever cared about was Chatelaine's. There had been no room in her life for love or marriage or children. For five decades she had single-handedly controlled the fate of the business she had created. With unflinching determination, skill and vision she had brought her gallery to its current respected position in the art

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