Here’s a peek at the main characters’ first meet up in since their break up two years ago, told from the hero’s point of view. Ben stood behind the richly embroidered drapes at the condo’s living room window and discreetly watched Sterling walk to the car as he shuffled paperwork through his fingers. Her petite frame, dressed in a slim gray suit, pulled his attention as though he had no control. That’s the way it was with her. He hadn’t seen her for two years, but all during that time he’d been unable to will her out of his thoughts for very long. Seeing her up close and feeling her presence today had stirred up old feelings inside him. After they’d gotten together, the terrible aloneness he’d grown to live with had vanished. It hadn’t mattered that before she’d come along he’d had no one, no family, because she’d completely filled the emptiness in his gut. Then when she left, he’d felt all the more alone for having known but lost her. Sterling’s straight, chestnut-colored hair had grown longer, brushing gently against her slim shoulders. He liked it. And the two years apart had worn beautifully on her fine-boned face. She looked even lovelier than he remembered. In the brief moments he’d stood next to her, he’d taken in everything: her shapely curves, her intense, blue-green eyes, her sensuously curved lips the color of a rich Merlot wine.
Ben’s stomach tightened. It had to happen sooner or later, he thought to himself. Even though Sterling had left his life, it seemed inevitable that they’d run into each other sometime while working a case. He’d like to think it meant their destinies were intimately intertwined. That even though their paths might occasionally diverge and meander, they were actually headed in the same direction. She’d been emphatic at their breakup that there was no future for the two of them—that they wanted different things in life—but he just didn’t believe it. He believed in possibilities, and though in the interim he’d given Sterling her space, the hope remained strong in him that eventually, along the way, they would come together again, perhaps even stronger than before.
Ben watched Sterling drive away and couldn’t help himself. Was it too much to hope maybe
this time it could be different?