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From the Heart

From the Heart

Titel: From the Heart
Autoren: Nora Roberts
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    I t was dusk, that strange, almost mystical interlude when light and dark are perfectly balanced. Within moments the soft blue would be transformed by the fiery colors of sunset. Shadows were lengthening; birds were quieting.
    Kasey stood at the foot of the steps leading to the Taylor mansion. She glanced up at the massive white pillars and old rose brick with huge expanses of plate glass. Three stories. Here and there lights shone dimly through drawn drapes. There was a monied dignity about the place. Old money, inherent dignity.
    Intimidating, she thought, letting her eyes roam up and down again. But it did have a certain style. Under the cover of dusk the house looked serene.
    Lifting a large brass knocker, she thudded it against the thick oak door. The noise boomed into the twilight. She smiled at the sound, then turned to watch the colors bleed slowly into the sky. Already it was more night than day. Behind her the door opened. Turning back, Kasey saw a small, dark woman dressed in a black uniform and white apron.
    Just like the movies, she decided, and smiled again. This just might be an adventure after all.
    “Good evening, ma’am.” The maid spoke politely and stood in the center of the doorway like a palace guard.
    “Good evening,” Kasey said, amused. “I believe Mr. Taylor’s expecting me.”
    “Miss Wyatt?” Dubiously, the maid scanned her. She made no move to admit her. “I believe Mr. Taylor is expecting you tomorrow.”
    “Yes, well, I’m here tonight.” Still smiling, she strode past the maid and into the main hall. “You might want to let him know I’m here,” she suggested and turned to stare at a three-tiered chandelier that dripped light onto the carpet.
    Watching Kasey warily, the maid shut the door. “If you would just wait here.” She indicated a Louis XVI chair. “I’ll inform Mr. Taylor of your arrival.”
    “Thank you.” Her attention was already caught by a Rembrandt self-portrait. The maid moved soundlessly away.
    Kasey studied the Rembrandt and went on to the next painting. Renoir. The place is like a museum, she decided, then continued to move idly down the hall, viewing paintings as she would in an art gallery. To Kasey, such works of art were public property—to be respected, admired and most of all, seen. I wonder if anybody really lives here, she thought and flicked a finger over a thick, gold frame.
    The murmur of voices caught her attention. Instinctively, she drifted toward the sound.
    “She is one of the leading authorities on American Indian culture, Jordan. Her last paper was highly acclaimed. Being only twenty-five, she’s rather a phenomenon in anthropological circles.”
    “I’m well aware of that, Harry, or I wouldn’t have agreed with your suggestion that she collaborate with me on this book.” Jordan Taylor swirled a pre-dinner martini. He drank slowly, contemplatively. The drink was dry and perfect, with only a hint of vermouth. “I do find myself wondering how we’re going to get on over the next few months. Professional spinsters are intimidating, and not my favorite companions.”
    “You’re not looking for a companion, Jordan,” the other man reminded him and plucked the olive from his own glass. “You’re looking for an expert on American Indian culture. That’s what you’re getting.” He swallowed the olive. “Companions can be distracting.”
    With a grimace, Jordan Taylor set down his glass. He wasrestless without knowing why. “I hardly think I’ll find your Miss Wyatt a distraction.” He slipped his hands into the pockets of his perfectly tailored slacks and watched his companion polish off the martini. “I have a composite picture: mud-colored hair scraped back from a bony face, thick glasses with three-inch lenses perched on a prominent nose. Sensible suits to accent her lack of shape, and size ten orthopedic shoes.”
    “Size six.”
    Both men turned to the doorway and stared.
    “Hello, Mr. Taylor.” Kasey entered. Crossing the room, she extended her hand to Jordan. “And you must be Dr. Rhodes. We’ve done quite a bit of corresponding over the past weeks, haven’t we? I’m glad to meet you.”
    “Yes, well. I . . .” Harry’s thick brows lowered.
    “I’m Kathleen Wyatt.” She gave him a dazzling smile before turning back to Jordan. “As you can see, I don’t scrape back my hair. It probably wouldn’t stay scraped back if I tried.” She tugged on one of the loose curls that
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