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“Do you think that I’m being unfaithful, Bianca?” Madeleine toys with the spoon in her cappuccino. “If I don’t tell Alex?”

A mid-winter storm blows against the windows, but the fire between us crackles merrily. The corner table in the coffee shop is cozy, secluded—perfect for private conversations.

Uncertainty stains her cheeks. This public friendship is new, despite the intimacy of our prior acquaintance. “Do your lovers know?”

“Madeleine.” I fix her with a flirtatiously stern look.

She is asking if her stash of toys is something unsavory, because she doesn’t yet want to share with her new lover. For a woman whose word is law in many boardrooms, whose decisions are commandments from her 27th floor office, her understanding of the heart and its dark twin, lust, is seriously lacking.

And of course, she is conveniently forgetting that she has been my lover.

Yes, my lovers know.

Her blush makes my skin tingle. She is still so very lovely, all tawny hair, an iron-willed pixie with bedhead. I know what the pulse at her throat tastes like. I know how to snap her control, to make her beg, though all that is behind us now.

I sip from a chai latte, holding her gaze. I can feel the connection we share like a fog in the air. A fog scattered by an interrupting voice.

“Good morning, Ms. Perrault.” The café has filled in, there is only a single seat at a small table next to where we are nestled next to the fireplace. The young man addressing her hovers near the chair, posture wildly uncomfortable.

“Danny.” The words are both an acknowledgement and a dismissal from Madeleine. He can only be an employee.

I don’t know why I look up, but the eyes I meet are wide with stunned wonder. They are eyes I recall gone hazy with desire, fluttering closed while I moved down his body.

His gaze flits from me to Madeleine, assessing, guessing, and I have to assume fantasizing. Madeleine is inscrutable; I give this young man a Sphinx’s smile.

Yes. My lovers know.

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