It was just about midnight and there were still lights on in the dining room of Llanview’s Palace Hotel.  Owner Renee Divine, formerly Mrs. Asa Buchanan, sat at one of the empty tables reviewing the numbers from that night’s business and adding up the columns with ease.  The hotel and restaurant turned a nice profit for her, but the money they brought in was nothing compared to the cash she once generated as an upscale high-priced madam.

The hushed murmur of a male voice drew Renee’s attention to the other side of the dining room.  Her grandson Kevin Buchanan sat quietly entertaining a beautiful female guest.  Technically Kevin was her step-grandson, but Renee had been in and out of Asa’s life for so long that she considered all the Buchanan children her grandchildren.

Kevin’s choice of companions made her happy.  Renee knew, though, that after his last disastrous relationship he would not be receptive to any suggestions she might make on the subject.  Still, she would do everything in her power to foster Kevin’s growing friendship with attorney Evangeline Williamson.

Renee laid her pencil down and made her way across the room.  Kevin and Evangeline took one look at her and began to apologize profusely.  “That’s enough, you two!” Renee gently chided the pair.  “I didn’t come over here to throw you out.  I just wanted to ask about Clint.”

“He’s fine,” Kevin replied.  “He wasn’t in London when the terrorist attack occurred.  He and Dallas had gone away for the week.”

“That’s why no one could reach him at home,” Renee realized.  “Well, now that you know your father is safe you can relax a while.”  The older woman turned to Evangeline.  “Evangeline, can I rely on you to make my grandson take a few moments for himself?”

Evangeline flashed Kevin a beautiful smile.  “You can count on me, Renee.  I know how to handle his kind.”

“Oh, you do, huh?”

Renee left the pair exchanging playful insults.  She doubted that either Evangeline or Kevin realized that they were firmly on the road to something magical happening between them.  They had both been so badly burned by dysfunctional partners that neither one could even hear the word ‘relationship’ without running for cover.

~Wyndemere, 4 days after the attack ~


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