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Maxine arched her eyebrows and tapped the newspaper with one long red fingernail. “How long has it been since you’ve seen him?”

“Not since the wedding,”

Maxine didn’t have to ask which wedding Amanda meant. Folks had talked about it for five years afterward. Some of them were still talking.

“I’ll never forget the way Tanner Donovan looked when you walked down that aisle with his best friend.”

Neither would Amanda, but she certainly didn’t want to dredge up the past.

“It’s ancient history.”

“Not as ancient as you might think. Just last week I overheard a group of young men at Doe’s Restaurant talking about the way Tanner stormed down that aisle and lifted you in his arms when the preacher asked if anyone knew any reason why you and Claude shouldn’t be joined in marriage. They even quoted exactly what he said, ‘I know because she’s still in love with me.’ That story is legend around here. The local kids love it.”

Amanda’s knuckles turned white as she clutched the edge of her desk. She closed her eyes as the memory washed over her. Tanner, sweeping her into his arms, challenging her with fierce quicksilver eyes to deny his words; and Claude, standing loyally by, as he always had; Claude, representing stability and children and a home; Claude, loving her, always loving her. She’d loved him too—but it hadn’t been enough. The memory of Tanner was always there between them.

Looking back now, it amazed her that they’d stayed married for six years. She’d wondered a hundred times since that fateful day what her life would have been like if she’d kept quiet, if she’d let Tanner abduct her.

“You’re bound to hear all sorts of things if you eavesdrop,” she said now.

Maxine chuckled. “If I didn’t eavesdrop, what would we talk about at bridge club? Besides, that’s all I have to do since I’m temporarily between husbands.” She looked down at the photograph of Tanner Donovan. “That man’s enough to set the old motor revving. While he’s home for the holidays I might take a crack at him myself. That is, if you don’t have plans for him.”

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