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Heather Graham is a bestselling author of more than 150 romance, suspense, and historical novels that have sold seventy-five million copies worldwide. Raised in Florida, Graham went to college for theater arts, and spent several years acting, singing, and bartending before she devoted herself to writing. Her first novel, When Next We Love, was published in 1982. Although she became famous as an author of romance novels, Graham has since branched out into supernatural horror, historical fiction, and suspense, with titles such as Tall, Dark, and Deadly (1999), Long, Lean, and Lethal (2000), and Dying to Have Her (2001). In 2003 the Romance Writers of America, whose Florida chapter Graham founded, granted her a lifetime achievement award. She lives, writes, and scuba dives in Florida with her husband and five children.
Ten years ago Kathryn was a sulty-voiced superstar of a legendary rock group and the wife of bass player Jordan Treveryan. In the aftermath of a murder, she took their daughters and walked away. Now the band is planning a reunion tour, and Kathryn returns to Florida, and to Jordan, only to find his life is in danger. Author media. Original.
Nearly ten years later ...
It was strange, the way life could move along according to a set of coincidental circumstances. She hadn't been thinking about the past at all, just thrusting an old volume back into the bookcase when the album suddenly seemed to fall as if pushed out by some unseen force. The bookcase was just too jammed, that was all, but all the same it seemed strange when that album fell.
She didn't want to open it at first. It had been nearly ten years since she had seen him, since she had changed her own life so radically, and yet the pain remained. Something nostalgic, something so strong, it hurt all over again. It had been right, the breakup had been right. They hadn't been good for one another anymore. It didn't matter. Being right just didn't ease that awful, annoying, creeping pain that could still sweep over her, just upon occasion, just when she was taken off guard. Like now. When the stinking album had jumped from the shelves, and into her hands.
The damned pages flew open on their own—she was quite certain she hadn't touched them. Nor did she remember sitting on purpose, going through them. First page, there he was. They must have been fourteen, building sandcastles on the beach. He was already acquiring that long, lean, yet well-muscled, build which was to become part of the legendary man. The photograph was black and white; somehow, she could still see the cool lime green color of his eyes, the sun-streaked sandy shade of his hair. And that face. Firm chin, high cheekbones, strong as the chin, handsomely configured. His face hadn't changed. Well, she didn't think it had. Oh, hell, she knew it hadn't, no matter how she lied. She had seen him often enough in magazine pages and the occasional "live" appearance when he was caught by a television camera going in or out of a restaurant, a theater, or the like.
She flipped a page. There she was with Jordan, at the junior prom on one side, at the senior prom on the other. She ran a finger along the side of the picture, almost as if she could touch the past by doing so, go back a bit. They had been beautiful then, both of them. Jordan so tall and handsome, she with her deep auburn hair swept up, her amber eyes aglow like fire with excitement. She flipped another page. There they were with the group. She and Jordan and the others. Larry Haley, with his mile-long blond hair, good-looking hair at that; Shelley Thompson, already a petite but elegant beauty with wide eyes and golden hair; Keith Duncan, dark, handsome, brooding; Miles Reeves, freckled and redheaded; and Derrick Flanaghan, tall, broad-shouldered, becoming a big man. And Derrick's wife, Judy, was there. Judy had never played an instrument or sung a single note, but she'd been with them all forever. Their hardest and best critic. Tall, slim, no-nonsense Judy. She lacked any kind of musical talent but she recognized someone with potential in a flash and she kept them looking at the realistic picture at all times, reminding them that bills had to be paid no matter what.
The picture must have been taken maybe five or six years after their college graduation, Kathy thought. They were all still together, they were sprawled out on a lawn somewhere, there were glasses of wine or champagne in their hands, raised to the photographer, and everyone was still young enough to be smiling with a great deal of hope, confidence, and enthusiasm. Jordan's hair was longish again, so it had to have been a while after he had come home from the service.
And everyone was still alive.
Her fingers trembled suddenly. It must have been another five years after that photo had been taken that Keith had died. And even if she and Jordan had gone on a few months after that, it had never been the same. For Jordan had changed. Something had bothered him terribly, and he had closed off. Jealousies, suspicions. Shadows unspoken. Maybe they had all closed off to one another. But Kathy had lost whatever it was that had kept her and Jordan together—believing, trusting, no matter what chaos came from the outside world. She hadn't actually realized it at the time. They'd all been in agony. Numbed, stunned, pained by the loss. But the thread that bound them had been lost with Keith.
She flipped the page.
The funeral. They were all there again, except for Keith. Actually, Keith was there. He was the one in the box. The photographer had managed to get in a shot in which the coffin was to the left, nearly ready to be lowered to its final resting place. Keith's family was immediately behind it, their heads lowered. Judy Flanaghan had an arm slipped around Keith's mother's shoulders. And then they—Blue Heron, the group, and his very best friends, co-workers, and associates—were all lined up as well.
This photo, taken with color film, was a study in black.
Jordan was in a black suit; Kathy in a black dress. He had his hands on her shoulders. She was fairly tall for a woman, an even five-eight, but he rose high behind her. His steady gaze upon the coffin was not just sad, but wary, pensive. Even in the photo, she could see the tension in his knuckles, and was aware of the protective way he had been holding her. That had been nice. That was something she had missed very badly; it had been part of the feeling she had never found again, anywhere, with anyone. It had always given her an incredibly secure feeling. Perhaps because among his very good qualities were a certain integrity and courage. Had she ever been in danger, she knew he would have risked his own life for hers.
But she hadn't been in danger. He had. Threatened by the slings and arrows of the press and media. Maybe she still wasn't seeing it entirely clearly. Perhaps they had all been threatened. Because things had begun to change then.
She started to close the album, but just as it had seemed to fly from the bookshelf, it suddenly seemed to jump from her fingers and land on the floor. When she picked it up, it had opened again. She started; she had never seen the picture of him that now rested upon one of the later pages. It was a recent photograph, a good one. Alexandria had probably taken the shot, she was becoming a very good photographer, capable of capturing the special essence that made a person unique.
She had certainly captured her father well.
At forty-six, Jordan was exactly five days younger than Kathy was herself. When they'd been very young, friends had loved to tease them about her being the "older" woman. Hmmm. At times now she did feel darned old. Forty-six was treating Jordan well. He wasn't the perfect young thing he'd once been; he was ... better. The years had added a very special fascination to his face—character, she thought—and his daughter had illuminated it well. Silver threads streaked through his once-sandy hair, and yes, she thought—not without just a twinge of malicious pleasure—it was thinning. But whether he had a headful of blond hair, a half-headful of graying tresses, or a shining pate, Jordan was and would be a handsome man. His face, masculine, strong, classic, hinted at intriguing traits. Like a Sean Connery or Yul Brynner, each year he seemed to become more attractive.
He was seated at the piano. He had seldom played keyboard when performing; he liked to move on stage and so preferred the guitar. He could play almost any musical instrument. He had been born with a gift, and in return for that he loved music passionately and with his whole heart—to listen to, to play. He treated every instrument with reverence. His fingers were long and agile, made to stroke strings and keys ...
And a woman.
Or women, she corrected herself, clenching her teeth together. He was currently seeing a young model-sometimes-actress, she had heard. More power to him. He meant nothing to her.
Bull. It hurt like hell.
But he wasn't part of her life anymore. She had a good life now. She liked it.
Still ... It was so strange seeing this photograph. One taken by his daughter, who loved him very much. Alex had captured a strikingly handsome, mature man with incredible character. Nothing detracted. He hadn't actually changed so very much in the ten years since she had seen him. Strange. He'd changed more when they'd been young, after the first photographs. Between college ... and Keith's funeral. But again, maybe they had all lost some of their youth when they had lost Keith. Naivete, innocence. The belief that they had been immortal, indomitable. That love could last forever. She didn't really know.
And she was growing morose. She wasn't going to allow that. The past was over. Gone. Determinedly, Kathy rose and thrust the album back onto the bookshelf. Even while she was trying to cram it into a space without injuring any of the other volumes the phone began to ring. She swore softly, finished with the album, and hurried toward the white pseudoantique model on her desk, then decided to let the machine take the call. She heard her own voice give the message, then Jeremy's voice.
"Pick up, Kathryn. I know you're there, and I don't care how busy you are—come over here and pick up the receiver and talk to me. Okay, okay, I can just go on and on. I'll just call back. I know you're there, because you're supposed to be here! You missed our session. And I'm dying to talk to you. I have to find out if what they're saying in the newspapers is true—"
She'd been grinning. She would have picked up the receiver in a minute anyway, but this last intrigued her. She plucked it up instantly.
"If what is true?"
"I shouldn't tell you," Jeremy said. "You let me sit here chatting away to myself as minute after minute ticked by."
"That wasn't even a full sixty seconds!"
"A very long time when you're aimlessly talking to an answering machine."
"If what's true?"
"Why aren't you here?"
She sighed. She hadn't realized she'd been asking for a third parent when she'd signed up with Jeremy. She loved going to the gym. She really did. Though it had seemed a dreaded necessity at the time, she'd been amazed to discover that she really had more energy for the rest of the day after a good workout, but she'd never imagined what a friendship she might form with Jeremy when she'd decided to go with a "personal trainer." He could be a cruel taskmaster. She almost felt as if she needed a note for the teacher when she missed a session with him, even though he was paid whether she showed up or not. Which was good. He did care about her.
"I'm sorry. Really sorry. I forgot. I was on deadline with a project. So busy—"
"Listen to those excuses!" he moaned theatrically. "A busy life is all the more reason to look after yourself," he scolded.
"Ummm. You're right, of course. But—"
"You couldn't care less about your health or my lectures at the moment, right? You just want to know about what they're saying in the newspapers, right?"
"Jeremy, what are they saying?"
"That you're getting back together."
Her heart didn't just skip a beat; it stopped. She was certain of it.
"That you're getting back together. You heard me correctly. Your hearing isn't going yet."
"Jeremy, I'm forty-six. A person's hearing doesn't necessarily go bad in his or her forties."
"It's just the eyesight, right?"
"Jeremy," she said sweetly. "You are crawling higher and higher in the thirties, aren't you?"
"Well, not that high ..."
"The eyesight will go any day," she promised.
"Ouch. Better be nice to me. Want me to tell you what you haven't read or not?"
"Yes, I want you to tell me. Who's getting back together?"
"Group?" she echoed with a whisper. "I never had a group."
He sighed with a great deal of exasperation. "Kathy honey, I know you stayed in the background, that you tried to avoid the press, that you've become a very respected editor of fine literature—well, some of it is fine, anyway—and that you've been living the life of a dignified schoolmarm, but you were part of one of the most legendary bands of this century. And you were married to Jordan Treveryan—you're the only one with who he's ever had children—"
"Whom," she corrected automatically.
"Whom!" Jeremy agreed impatiently. "You are the mother of his—"
"Great. I feel like the dowager queen."
He ignored that. "And since they're doing the movie—"
"Yes, Kathy, get your nose out of your books and read something, will you, please?"
"Oh, Kathy! Jordan Treveryan announced that he's having a get-together at his Star Island estate because of all this. He wants to give the band members a chance to meet the scriptwriters and vice versa. He'd been approached by MoonGlow productions—they can do this with or without anyone's approval, you know, if they choose. But anyway, according to what I read, it seems Jordan decided he liked the group determined to make this movie and felt he might have more control over what went into the film if he cooperated. The papers are saying the real group will get together again for a benefit performance, the proceeds to go to local hospitals and drug-awareness groups. You mean you didn't know any of this?"
She sat suddenly on the chair behind her desk.
"Well, at least you weren't holding out on me."
"No, I wasn't. When does he plan to do all this?"
"At the end of the month."
"The end of the month!"
"Yeah. You are going, aren't you?"
"I hadn't heard a word about this until you called. I'm not sure I'm even invited. And if I am—"
"You have to go! And you know you'll be invited."
"I don't have to be there," she said stubbornly. She couldn't believe this. It was shocking, numbing. All this in print, and she hadn't heard a damned thing. Although she hadn't talked to Jordan Treveryan directly in almost ten years, she was the mother of his children. Surely, if this was true, the girls would have said something to her.
"Oh!" She could hear the absolute frustration in Jeremy's voice. "You've got to go. It will be the best party of the year!"
"I've never been much of a party person."
"Your daughter is quoted as saying she'll be there, and she's looking forward to her parents speaking again."
"Which daughter?" Kathy demanded indignantly.
The girls did know something about this?
She stared blankly at the sheet-glass windows that encircled part of her condo and gave her a beautiful view of the Brooklyn Bridge from her dining room, bedroom, and office. It was a wonderful place to live. So very different from what she had known before. New York. Moving at a thousand-mile-an-hour pace. And her job at the publishing house had provided her with endless hours of work, into which she had plunged happily, grateful for many years not to have the time to think back.
"Alex!" Jeremy informed her. "Her twenty-first birthday falls during the same week. She says, I quote—I am reading directly from the paper right now—'Spending the day with both of them—together—will be the best present in the world!' Unquote. How could you deny such a sweet child this wonderful present?"
"Ummm. Such a manipulative child, Jeremy. And just what rag are you reading, because—"
"The New York Times," he interrupted with a chuckle.
The Times. Damn Alex! She let her head crash lightly down upon the desk, and would have groaned if she hadn't been afraid Jeremy might read something into the sound. Alex, the older of her two daughters, the supposedly levelheaded one who loved photography, knew what she wanted out of life, and exactly where she was going. The mature one who had understood the divorce. Now Bren might have said such a thing. She was an incurable romantic, always slipping Kathy some information about her father whether Kathy wanted it or not.
Amazing. Bren had somehow managed not to slip information this time!
Excerpted from For All of Her Life by Heather Graham. Copyright © 1995 Heather Graham Pozzessere. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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