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apartment. He glanced at his watch. 9:30. He shrugged and decided to try
She answered his knock almost at once, smiling him into the front room.
For a moment, he allowed his eyes to finger her body, letting them spear
through the wrap around robe and the flimsy nightgown to where warm
flesh ebbed and flowed against the sigh of silk. Her brown hair was
bed-tangled and most of the makeup was gone from her face, but Beth
Danson was a woman who had the unconscious ability to look beautiful
under any circumstances. Nolan felt a thunder in his veins as he tossed
his hat on the sofa.
"Coffee, Nolan?" she asked.
He nodded and they went into the kitchen. "We found the Peters' kid, so
that ends another case." He dropped to a chair and watched her fixing
the coffee. "You're up early, Beth."
A shadow crossed her face momentarily. "I had a dream, Nolan. A bad
She nodded and set a cup of coffee before him. The tears were close
again, but Brice hadn't seen them fall over Nick for a long while. It
was ridiculous the way she mooned over the guy, but there was no
"You ought to stop dwelling on him, honey," Nolan told her. "It doesn't
do any good."
"He's alive," she said, softly.
"You know better than that. If he was alive, we'd have found him. Men
just do not drop out of sight in the Twentieth Century."
Beth lifted a hand to brush her hair into place and sat down to sip at
her coffee. Nolan studied her. She actually believed that her husband
was alive and that he would return to her. He hoped not. It was a
selfish thing to think about, but he was in love with her; he'd have had
her long ago if it wouldn't have been for Nick and his dark good looks.
He mouthed a swallow of coffee and settled the cup in its saucer. She
was looking at him.
"Is there any news, Nolan?"
"About Nick? No." He touched her arm. "They've given up ... and so
should you. Honey, you're young, beautiful. Hell, another woman would
have gone out and had a ball.
"Listen, there's a lousy show on down in Everett. Want to go?"
She smiled. "Thanks, but you're probably tired from hunting for the
"I feel fine."
She shook her head. "Nolan, I know how you feel about me. I'm very
flattered. But ... but I have to accustom to his loss in my own way. I'm
Nolan forced a smile. "That's the way the mop flops," he mused. "I'll be
around, when you are." He finished his coffee in silence. "Well, I have
to get moving, make out a report and all. Thanks for the coffee, Beth."
She nodded, but remained staring into her cup. Nolan went into the front
room, picked up his hat and went out into the morning to climb into his
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