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On the sixth day...

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"Looks like quite a fuss down there," Duncan commented.

"Really? I hadn't noticed," Amanda said.

"Mm." Duncan swirled his wine glass and looked down into the next street. Police lights colored the brick and reflected off the store windows.

Beside him, her bare feet resting on the balcony rail, Amanda was reading one of those women's novels with the pink covers. Not one of the kind with torn bodices, but the other kind, with martinis. "Good book?" Duncan asked.

"Mm-hm."

"Good, good." Duncan glanced down at his newspaper. "Gina and Robert are back from their honeymoon. I thought I might cross the Channel this weekend to see them."

"Have fun," Amanda said.

"I thought you might like to come with me." The police were spreading up and down the street below them.

"Oh, no, I'll catch up with them later. I have plans in London."

"I'll bet." Amanda arrived at his door with nothing but her purse, heels, and that rather nice little black dress he'd hung up in the closet. Duncan raised an eyebrow and picked up her purse from the table between them. Bigger than her normal, but then, she'd had that hardcover book in there.

"What are you doing?" Amanda asked.

"Trying to figure out what you stole," Duncan replied, searching her purse. Passport, wallet, perfume, spare panties, lock pick, small emerald earrings. Nothing too big. And nothing in the liner, either, that he could feel.

"Duncan." She pouted prettily.

"Amanda."

"How long have we known each other?"

"Too long."

"Don't you think that by now, I would know how to hide my loot from even you?" Amanda raised her eyebrow.

Duncan raised his and mugged back at her. She smiled and looked down at her book.

Duncan got up and went back into the room to check out the dress again--and while he was at it, the shoes. But the shoes were spike-heeled with no hidden lining or anything else, and the dress was silk and wouldn't hide anything.

So he checked the purse again, flipping through the passport and wallet. "All right," he said finally, "you win."

He leaned over and dropped a kiss on top of her head. Then he looked over her shoulder at her book.

"'There was so much attachment to Captain Wentworth in all of this, and such a bewitching charm in a degree of hospitality so uncommon, so unlike the usual style of give-and-take'--" Amanda turned and cut him off with a kiss.

Duncan slipped the cover off the book, revealing a calf cover embossed with six golden geese--someone's private crest. The book was a hundred years old at the minimum. He'd need his reference books to be sure of the date and value. "For shame," he said.

"Oh, hush. You had fun." And she kissed him again.

THE END.

 

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