"I'm sorry," Dara apologized once more. "It's just that what you told me is so . . ."

"I understand," Florence Taggert said. "And that will probably be most people's reaction when the news about Marcus and Sonny becomes public knowledge." The older woman ceased her pacing to grasp Dara's hands in her own. "I don't care about any of that. I came to you, Dara, because I know that you are Marcus' friend. And he needs a friend right now. Even if he won't admit it."

The Assistant District Attorney shook her head. "Your son will not be happy that you've shared this with me, Mrs. Taggert."

"You won't let that keep you from being there for him, will you?" she challenged.

"Of course not. I will be there for Marcus. Don't worry."

"Thank you." Florence Taggert gathered up her bag and moved to Dara's front door. "Marcus," she turned and said, "has convinced himself that he doesn't care that Mike is dead. But one day he will have to deal with the reality of that. I just don't want him alone when he does."

Dara closed the door behind her. She was still reeling from the shock of Florence Taggert's story.

Mike Corbin was Marcus' father. More importantly, Sonny was Marcus' half-brother. She rubbed her forehead. 'What a mess.'


The penthouse door opened onto an unnatural silence. Francis stood aside as Jason moved slowly into the room. His keen blue eyes took in every detail of the damage that now marred Sonny's home.

With no outward reaction, he began to straighten up. He righted the overturned chairs before walking into the kitchen for a broom and dustpan. Methodically Jason swept up the broken glass that littered the floor.

"Should I get Johnny to come give a hand?" Francis offered softly.

"No. I have it covered." Jason dismissed the worried bodyguard back to his post and shut the door after him. His bright blue eyes searched the floor for any remaining glass. At the same time, his mind raced with details of things he would handle on Sonny's behalf.

Satisfied that the normally spotless penthouse was once again in its usual state, Jason grabbed the portable phone from Sonny's desk and began to make calls. His eyes stayed trained on the penthouse stairs as he watched and waited.


Dara started as the old grandfather clock in the hallway chimed eight o'clock. If she didn't get up and moving, she would arrive late at work for the first time in her career. She had just lost track of the time thinking about what Marcus' mother had disclosed.

Ruefully Dara realized that she had been too shocked by Florence's revelation to offer her any comfort or sympathy. The woman had borne a child for Mike Corbin. She must have had some kind of feelings for him.

"My God," Dara whispered. If she was feeling this confused and disbelieving about it all, then she could only imagine how Marcus was feeling.

His mother was right. Marcus Taggert needed someone in his corner right now. And even though they weren't together any more, Dara knew that she was that person.

Back | Next