Cole Cameron's Revenge(9)

By: Sandra Marton






"I don't ever want him to know about Peter," she'd said. "Promise me that, Ted."

Ted had promised, though reluctantly. "It's wrong," he'd say. "A man has the right to know he's a father."

Now, turning onto Main Street and pulling into the lot behind Sam Jergen's law office, Faith thought again, as she had so often in the past, that fathering a child was easy. Raising one was the hard part although the truth was, Ted hadn't been all that involved in raising Peter. He had his own life but he'd always been good to her and to her son. Thanks to that goodness, she could look forward to a fresh start for the two of them.

Damn. There was a car, a shiny black Jaguar, parked under the only shade tree. It gave her a jolt to see it, considering the memories swirling through her head. When Cole daydreamed about their future, he used to say that someday he'd trade his Harley for a Jaguar...

She shut off the engine.

Why was she wasting time thinking about Cole this morning? The past was dead. The future was all that mattered.

The day was heating up. She could feel the asphalt give under her shoes as she walked across the parking lot. A merciful blast of frigid air enveloped her as she stepped inside the marble foyer of the old building. Five to nine, said the big clock on the wall. She was right on time.

The cool air evaporated as she made her way up the steps to the third floor and down the corridor to Sam Jergen's office. Faith could feel her hair curling, her blouse wilting. She paused outside the office, wiped her hand down her skirt, tugged at her jacket, patted her hair...

"Just stop it," she said under her breath, and she opened the door and stepped inside.

The empty reception area was hot, almost airless. Faith glanced at her watch. It was precisely nine o'clock. Where was the iron-jawed secretary who normally sat at the desk?

"Hello?" she said, after a couple of minutes crept past.

There was no reply. Faith sat down on the sofa, put her leanly muscled frame. His feet were slightly spread and his hands were in his trouser pockets.

His stance was casual but something about it suggested that he knew he owned the world.

Faith's heartbeat slowed to a sluggish crawl. She forced her eyes from the man to Jergen's secretary.

"Why don't I come back later?" she said in a breathless voice that didn't sound a bit like her own. "Say, at ten? Or this afternoon? I mean, I thought I had a nine o'clock appointment but obviously-"

"You do. Mr. Jergen had to step out for a minute. He asked you to wait for him in his office."

"No! I can wait in the reception area-"

The woman took her arm. Faith wanted to grab for the wall and hang on but the secretary drew her forward, through the door and into the office.

"No," she said again, but it was too late. The man turned from the window and looked at her.

"Hello, Faith," Cole said.

And everything went black.





CHAPTER TWO



COLE had wondered how Faith would react when she saw him.

He'd thought about it through the long flight home-not that Georgia was home anymore. He had offices in Caracas, London and New York, a condo in Aspen and a penthouse in

New York but when the news of Ted's death reached him, he was deep in the Orinoco basin. It had taken him more than a week just to get back to civilization.

She was such a clever actress. Who knew what routine she'd try and pull?

He'd imagined her offering a cool smile and a handshake.

Hello, Cole, she'd say, as if he'd never left. As if there'd never been anything between them. As if they'd never made love on a soft summer night.

Or she might try the ingenue act again. He'd fallen for it years ago. So had his brother. Why wouldn't she stick with something that had been successful? Sweet Faith. Innocent Faith. Oh yeah. That had always worked.

Maybe she'd play the grieving widow. Stare at him through big eyes, weep as if her heart were breaking. Actually, he'd doubted she'd be foolish enough to try that. She had to realize that he, of all men, would know she didn't have a heart.

A swoon was the last thing he'd figured but that was exactly what she did. Looked at him, rolled up her eyes and went down in a heap. Cole cursed, moved fast, and caught her just before she hit the floor.

"Get some cold water," he snapped at Sam Jergen's secretary.

The woman flew down the hall. Cole headed in the other direction, elbowed open the conference room door and unceremoniously deposited Faith on the couch. He looked at her dispassionately and wondered if he might have walked past her on the street. The girl he'd known had lived her life in shorts and T-shirts. The woman he was looking at was dressed in designer silk.

"I suppose you know all about your brother's marriage," Jergen had said carefully, when the call had finally reached him. "That he and Faith Davenport..."

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