“You’re frowning.”

Justine looked at her husband, and all she could see was his love. She didn’t want that to change, not ever. “I hope you’ll always love me, Seth,” she whispered.

“Jussie, how can you say such a thing?” he asked, “I’ll draw my last breath loving you.”


“With my very heart,” he said, gathering her into his arms.

“I don’t want what happened to my parents to happen to us.”

Seth kissed her brow. “It won’t. We won’t let it.”

Her parents’ divorce had taken place a long time ago; nevertheless, Justine remained affected by it. She knew she must sound insecure and emotionally needy, and blamed the fact that she was so tired. Seeing her parents together, laughing and chatting with their guests at the wedding reception, had reminded Justine of the happy life they’d all shared before Jordan’s death.

“I miss my family,” Justine whispered.

“I’m sorry James couldn’t be here.”

Her brother was in the Navy, stationed in San Diego, and had been unable to attend the reception. “I wish he could’ve come, too.”

“But it wasn’t your brother you were talking about, was it?”

“No. I so badly want everything to go back the way it was before the summer of 1986.” She paused, swallowing hard. “I remember how furious I was at Jordan that morning for reading my diary. And…and then that afternoon my twin brother was dead and my parents—my entire family was never the same again.” Justine turned to look at her husband, tears in her eyes. “None of us ever got over it.”

“I know.” Seth rubbed her cheeks softly with his thumb, catching the first tears. He continued to hold her close. “I’ll always love you,” he promised again.

Raising her head, she sought his mouth. Their kisses quickly deepened, taking on an urgency that was growing familiar.

Seth lifted her into his arms as though she weighed next to nothing. He carried her into the bedroom and helped her remove her dress before stripping out of his own clothes.

Their lovemaking was slow and emotional, and they clung to each other for a long time afterward.

“Will it always be this good?” she asked, kissing her husband’s shoulder.

“I hope so,” Seth teased.



“What do you think about children?”

“Children? You mean, as in us having a baby?”

“Yes.” That was exactly what she meant.



“How soon?” he asked.

She took a moment to mull over the question. “I was hoping very soon, say in nine or ten months. If you agree.” She let her smooth, silky leg stroke his.

“You once told me you didn’t want children.”

“I changed my mind. How do you feel about a child—or two?”

“I’d be thrilled, but only if you’re sure.”

“I’m sure.”

Seth kissed her neck and let his lips travel over her collarbone and then lower. Justine arched her back and moaned softly as he gently sucked her nipple.

Seth moved from one breast to the other, pausing in between. “One question.”

“Anything,” she whispered, panting and eager for him to make love to her again.

“Do twins run in your family?”

Justine laughed. “Every generation.”

Seth gave an exaggerated groan. “I was afraid of that.”

“If we happen to have a boy…” she murmured as he continued to explore her body. She ran her hands over his broad shoulders and sighed at the exquisite sensations she experienced.


“I’d like to name him after my brother.”

Seth raised his head so that their eyes met in the moonlit room. “So would I.”

“I think Jordan would be honored to have our son carry his name.”

Seth’s eyes seemed to glisten. “I think we should start on this baby project now, don’t you?”

A moment later, he moved over her, and Justine opened her body and her heart to receive his love. Her life could never return to the way it was before that summer afternoon sixteen years ago. Yet for the first time since that day, she felt truly free to create a new happiness. Hers and Seth’s.


Now that Justine and Seth’s wedding reception was over, Olivia could concentrate on Thanksgiving. Sitting in chambers after a day spent working out legal solutions in family court, she flipped the pages of her calendar and was dismayed to see that the holiday was almost upon her. Where had the days gone? She could barely remember when she’d last seen Jack. Was that her fault or—No, he was the one avoiding her, she decided. Olivia shook her head; she didn’t want to dwell on her on-again, off-again relationship with Jack Griffin.

There was a polite knock on the door. A tap Olivia instantly recognized as her mother’s. Charlotte enjoyed sitting in Olivia’s courtroom from time to time. She claimed she got her best knitting done while listening to Olivia’s cases. Only rarely did she visit Olivia while she was in chambers, and then it was usually because she had a strong opinion on one of her daughter’s cases. Charlotte usually managed to convey her views in a direct and unequivocal manner.

“Come in, Mom,” Olivia called.

“How’d you know it was me?” Charlotte asked, stepping into the room. She carried her knitting bag, which was twice as large as her not insignificant purse. Her mother gazed approvingly at the dark mahogany bookcases, which lined three walls.

Olivia swallowed a smile. “What’s on your mind, Mom?”

Charlotte set her knitting bag on the green leather sofa and sank into its thick cushions. “Do you realize it’s almost Thanksgiving?”

“Just now. I swear I don’t know what happened to this month.”

“I was just thinking we should invite Jack over this year. How do you feel about that?”

Actually, Olivia felt fine about it. Regardless of who’d been avoiding whom, an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner might go a long way toward healing the breach. “That’s a marvelous idea.”

Her mother glowed with pleasure.

“His son is still living with him, so we’ll want to include Eric, too,” Olivia reminded her.

“Of course,” Charlotte readily agreed.

“What about Cliff Harding? Will he be alone?”

Charlotte picked up her knitting bag and rested it on her knees. “I talked to him just the other day, and he’s flying to the East Coast to join his daughter and her family.”

“How nice.” Olivia was fond of Cliff, and she especially liked the patient way he dealt with Charlotte—and with Grace, too. She was pleased that he’d accepted the invitation to attend Justine and Seth’s wedding reception. His presence had obviously made the event that much more pleasurable for Grace, especially since he’d spent most of the afternoon at her side. Grace seemed more like her old self when Cliff was around. It was touching to see her respond to a man’s attention. When Dan disappeared, Grace had assumed she must be lacking in some way. For months, she’d blamed herself, although Olivia was certain the blame couldn’t be hers.

“I’ll do the pies,” Charlotte said. “Mincemeat, apple, pumpkin and pear. I do love a good pear pie.”

“What about the dinner rolls?” Olivia asked hopefully. Her mother’s homemade rolls were a treat not to be forgotten.

“Of course. That’s understood.”

They completed the menu—who’d be bringing what. Olivia was responsible for the turkey, dressing and all the trimmings. Olivia would ask Justine to provide the fruit salad and whatever else she wanted to contribute. Jack and Eric would be their guests.

As soon as her mother left, Olivia reached for the phone and punched in Jack’s number at the newspaper office. She was connected to his line right away.

“Griffin,” he barked, sounding preoccupied.

“Lockhart,” Olivia returned.

“Olivia.” His voice softened. “Hi.”

“Hi, yourself. What are you doing?”

“Tell me what you’re wearing first.” That teasing quality was back in his voice.

“Jack! I’m at the courthouse.”

“Okay, what do you have on under your robe?”

“Would you stop?”

He sighed as if restraint demanded a lot of effort. “What’s up? Miss me, do you?”

“I called to invite you and Eric to Thanksgiving dinner with Mom, Justine, Seth and me.”

“You are? I mean, sure. Great. We’d love it.”

“You didn’t have any other plans?”

“Nope,” Jack told her. “Well, I was going to get a frozen turkey-in-a-box out of the freezer department and bake that. This’ll be something to look forward to. It’d be perfect if only…” He hesitated.

“If what?” she asked.

“Would you mind inviting one other person?”


“There’s this other woman I’ve been dating for the last few weeks who’s lonely and—”


“You don’t believe me?”

“Not for a moment.” Olivia was having a hard time not laughing out loud. She’d been worried about their relationship, but everything seemed back to normal.

“I’m serious about inviting someone else,” he said, and the teasing left his voice. “Would you mind terribly if I asked Shelly Larson to join us?”

“Eric’s girlfriend? The one he thinks is pregnant with someone else’s baby?” Olivia frowned.

“I’m desperate for those two to reconcile,” Jack told her. “My son is miserable without her. He loves Shelly, and I think if they were to meet on neutral ground they just might be able to patch things up. Yes, it’ll take some adjusting on Eric’s part, but he’s willing if Shelly is, too.”

Olivia didn’t want to get caught in the middle of this conflict, but she realized that Jack was at his wits’ end. Eric and Shelly were obviously at an impasse—and Eric showed no sign of moving out of Jack’s house.

“Would you do that, Olivia?” Jack pleaded. “For the sake of my sanity.”

And their relationship, Olivia added silently. “On one condition.” She said. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to spring this on Eric, or on Shelly, for that matter. You have to tell Eric I’m inviting her.”

“Done,” he promised. “But will you talk to Shelly for me? Please? I don’t want to sound like I’m meddling.”

“But you are,” Olivia pointed out.

“Yes, but I don’t see any other alternative. They can’t seem to resolve this on their own.”

“All right, give me her phone number,” she said with a sigh. She wrote it down and then made little squiggly lines around the numbers while they continued to talk.