She’s not coming.
Gabe Moreau scanned the packed ballroom for the hundredth time since he’d arrived ten minutes ago,hile attempting to feign interest in Rhonda Peterson’s incessant blathering.Rhonda nodded toward a tall, balding man Gabe didn’t recognize, and whom he probably hadn’tspoken two words to back in high school. “And Howard Tibbs has his own plumbing supply storehere in Briarfield. Well, it was his father’s business, but his dad retired to Boca. Speaking of goinginto Daddy’s business—did I hear you were made a partner?”Rhonda grinned, displaying a mouthful of big capped teeth lined up like marble tombstones. Gabecarefully avoided staring at the speck of spinach lodged between her incisors.He nodded. “That’s right.”“And Andrea, too.” Her eyes glittered with curiosity as she glanced across the room at the lady inquestion, now sharing a laugh with Mike Ames, if Gabe wasn’t mistaken. He’d heard Mike had doneell for himself in commercial real estate. Obviously Andrea had heard the same thing.That was all Gabe needed—Rhonda the class busybody spreading more rumors about himself andAndrea Pittman. Despite the passage of fifteen years, he suspected Rhonda Peterson was the samecompulsive gossipmonger she’d been back in high school.He watched Andrea for a moment, doing what she always did at social functions, diligently workingthe room, now ferreting out former classmates who’d done well for themselves and might be in themarket for legal services. The woman had a bloodhound’s nose for money, and the bullheadeddetermination required to steer that money into the firm. Every day, in every way, she made her daddy —and his—so very proud.“We both made partner at the same time,” he said.“The two of you really lucked out, with both your dads being founding partners of such a prestigiouslaw firm.”Gabe stopped scrutinizing the crowd and gave Rhonda his full attention. “I prefer to think luck didn’thave much to do with it.”“Well… I just meant… I didn’t mean to imply you didn’t deserve to—”“Of course not. I’m sure you realize that Moreau Pittman didn’t get to be one of the top firms on WallStreet by practicing blind nepotism. Andrea is one hell of a lawyer.” Hardworking, ruthless, anddriven, she would have excelled in any firm. But like him, she’d chosen to direct her efforts towardthe family business. It was what they’d both wanted since they were children.