By Lynn Emery

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They had recognized each other, two kids who hated going home most days, Derrick because of his father and Talia because of her mother. Talia nodded, then sat straight again. The tough girl returned. “I can weather the storm. ” Derrick smiled. “You’re a lot more like her than you think. ” Talia scowled at him. “I let you off easy for showing up unannounced. ” Derrick wrapped his fingers around her wrist. “That was a compliment. ” Without thinking he lifted her hand and pressed his lips to the back of it.

Derrick held up one palm to cut off another retort. ” “No, Derrick. ” Talia stared into her empty wineglass for several sec- 34 Lynn Emery onds. She waved down the passing waitress. ” He watched her without speaking. There was no use arguing with Talia about Monette. The facts were not in Monette’s favor anyway. Talia seemed to turn inward. She drew invisible circles on the red linen tablecloth. When the waitress brought a full glass of wine, she took a long drink from it. Derrick waited patiently.

He touched her arm, then pointed to an icon on the monitor. 48 Lynn Emery “That switches to another report. ” Derrick’s voice deepened. “I modified the database with the help of the group that designed it when we got it about a year ago. ” Talia could hardly breathe with him so close. As if to intensify his assault, he moved closer. Derrick smiled at her. “Long way from down the bayou, baby girl. ” Talia rose and walked to the table in a seating area near the window. She poured herself a glass of water from an insulated carafe.

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All I Want Is Forever by Lynn Emery
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