A Christmas Wish
Chapter 1

Copyright© 2014 by A.A. Nemo

May 2014 London

"Hi sweetheart how you doing?"

"Ready for you to come home."

"I know honey. I'll be home tomorrow and then no trips for a while. Are you and Anwen being good for your Aunt Victoria?"

"Dad, we're thirteen, not six!" He could picture his daughter Jessamy rolling her eyes as she answered. He knew what was coming next,

"So why can't we just stay at home anyway. It's not like we can't take care of ourselves."

"I don't know ... I just have this vision of you and your sister running amok at home, having a wild party drinking all the booze, driving the Rolls around town, picking up boys ... You know like in that John Hughes' movie 'Sixteen Candles.'"

"Dad, that film is so old it's probably on TCM by now ... and last time I checked we had an Acura SUV in the garage."

"Oh yeah. Well then I would worry ... so let's leave it at that for now okay?"

"Well okay, you're the dad." He could hear the smile in her voice.

"So is Victoria around?"

"She's right here. See you tomorrow dad. I love you."

"I love you too sweetheart, and give my love to Anwen."

"Hi William, how's London. Meet any hot chicks?"

"Victoria, I thought that was your job to fix me up, I didn't know I was supposed to be working on the 'hot chicks' department on my own!" He laughed.

"There has got to be at least one woman in London who might be interested!" It was her turn to laugh.

"Well let's see ... I've been here five days and so far no luck and time is running out – I'm on the plane home in the morning."

"Well, how about this, instead of wasting your time sleeping tonight, why don't you get out there and look. I mean what time's it there?

"Oh, a little after ten-thirty."

"The night is still young!" she laughed.

Changing the subject he asked, "How are the girls doing?"

"Good as gold as always. But they do miss you."

"I know. I miss them too... "Well, that's all from this side of the pond." He gave a dramatic sigh and continued, "Guess I'll take your advice and spend the next several hours looking for a woman who wants to trade exciting London, and a life of clubs and parties for being a soccer mom in Lake Forest Illinois."

Your girls don't play soccer."

"What? When did that happen?"

She laughed. "See you tomorrow William. I love you, despite the fact you thwart my good intentions at every turn."

William Fitzhugh (Fitz) Jamison smiled as he ended the call to his sister. Just eighteen months apart they had always been close. After three days as a guest speaker at a medical conference, and then two days of meetings at various hospitals in and around London to discuss a new procedure he had developed to treat pediatric head trauma, what he wanted was to grab a few hours sleep before heading back to Chicago in the morning.

He thought about Victoria's suggestion he go out tonight looking for women. She was always trying. He did love his sister though and she did mean well. He'd been a widower for five years and was just now getting to the point where he could walk into their house after a day or a night at the hospital and not automatically want to call out to Naomi to tell her he was home.

He'd just returned from dinner with a number of his professional friends from the UK. The food and wine and company had been very pleasant and intellectually stimulating, but at this point he just wanted to get home to his girls. In his mind he spent too much time away from them, even though he usually cleared his calendar to make it to all of their sporting events. They were just growing up too fast and he didn't want to miss a moment of it.

Were it not for the dinner he'd be in the air over the Atlantic right now. He was happy enough he hadn't been hosting and picking up the tab for the dozen or so people who attended, but he knew a reciprocal dinner would be on his dime one of these days in Chicago.

As soon as good manners allowed he had said his farewells, declining an invitation to extend the evening at an exclusive London club, and escaped to his hotel. According to Victoria he should have joined them, but somehow he doubted he would find the new love of his life at some club, exclusive or not. He really wasn't sure he wanted a new love of his life anyway. The loss of Naomi to cancer had devastated him.

He set his phone on the desk and turned his attention to his schedule for tomorrow. He grabbed the room service menu and ordered the 'Full American Breakfast' to be delivered by six in the morning. The Queen Anne was a boutique hotel which catered to a high-end clientele, and they really knew how to prepare breakfasts. Despite a well-regarded chef in the restaurant downstairs, that was the only meal he'd ever eaten there. Lunches and dinners were always out someplace and ran the gamut from the rubber chicken at the conference to upscale restaurants with colleagues, to a local pub near some neighborhood children's clinic.

Fortunately he didn't have to do it often because these trips from Chicago, across the pond to London, or across the country to Seattle or San Francisco got old in a hurry. 'Across the Pond'- that phrase was certainly a misnomer, probably invented by someone in the travel business, who actually never had to travel. It made the trip sound like a pleasant excursion across some small body of water. The reality was something quite different - like getting up at zero dark thirty, fighting congestion getting to O'Hare, being hassled at security, despite his frequent flyer 'trusted traveler' identity, then being stuck in a large metal tube for hours on end, even in business class or first class, and then the crowds at Heathrow, even when someone wasn't on strike. And then a couple of days later he'd do it all over again, just in reverse.

He wondered how his friend and attorney, David Ryan dealt with the constant back and forth to Dublin. Well actually he did know, Fitz had attended David's wedding to Teresa Flaherty last year. She was a gem and they were now expecting their first child.

He had also known David's ex, Keri for more than twenty years and he thought she was beautiful, smart and focused. He'd liked her a lot and they seemed happy. She had gone out of her way to welcome him and Naomi to their home on numerous occasions, and he was most grateful especially when he was a struggling med student. And it was Keri who Naomi turned to for advice when one, or both of their girls, was having problems. It was a shame they'd split up, although it appeared that it was Keri who split them up. Naomi would have been devastated. They had become close friends and David and Keri were Godparents to his daughters. A shame.

Fitz opened his door to hang the menu on the handle when he heard loud voices from down the hallway. He stepped out and first saw a tall, very attractive twenty-something with dark red hair. She was wearing a black cocktail dress that hugged her slim body perfectly and came just to her knees. Her long legs were amazing and her wavy shoulder-length hair framed high cheekbones and a pert nose.

He almost laughed as he imagined asking the beautiful young woman if she'd like to audition for the part of soccer mom in Lake Forest. Smiling, he shook his head.

He was a forty-two year old widower with twin teen daughters and she was most likely fifteen years his junior or more. He didn't have time for romantic entanglements anyway. Naomi's picture was still the first thing he saw when he powered up his phone. He still regretted all the time his schooling and practice had stolen from their time together. The girls, blonde like their mother were now thirteen and he devoted all his free time to them and their activities, although of late even they were getting less than subtle in their hints that he should have some kind of a social life. He was sure those hints were aided and abetted by Victoria.

"William." She was one of the few who actually called him anything but 'Fitz.' "It's time you had a woman in your life again." Like tonight on the phone, they'd had that conversation many times over the last couple of years and so a stream of young lovelies would parade through Victoria's home at Thanksgiving, backyard cookouts, or any other social event she could organize and drag him to.

The girls spent a lot of time with their aunt and uncle and three cousins who lived only about a half-hour away. But he wasn't ready. Anytime he saw an attractive woman and his thoughts wandered in that direction he'd feel guilty – guilty of betraying Naomi's memory.

So he didn't date, and he had lost the art of flirting if he ever had it, and responded to many invitations from the medical center staff – primarily female, who wanted to fix him up or present themselves as the next Mrs. Fitz Jamison, with a smile and a plea for understanding that his surgery schedule and his girls kept him too busy for most outside social activities. Of course he couldn't avoid Victoria's blatant attempts to 'fix him up.'

And he was dismayed to discover he was still grist for the rumor mill at the medical center. He just accepted it and was a nice to everyone as he could be but still tried to keep his surgeon's aloofness. It was hard to do since he was working on sick children. As a parent his heart went out to the kids and their families, especially to those families when the best of medical science couldn't save their child.

Lost in thought he somehow found himself in the hallway heading in the direction of the striking red head. For the first time he concentrated on the man who appeared to have her pinned to her hotel room door. She was not literally pinned there, but the man in the expensive gray suit facing her was definitely well into her personal space as she pressed her back against the door. She had her bare arms crossed across her chest and was shaking her head, obviously telling him what he didn't want to hear.

His face was red and his posture threatening. It was interesting that he had to look up at her. In heels she was probably close to six feet tall. Her nemesis on the other hand, was short with dark hair, and reminded Fitz of Joe Pesci, at least the odious character Pesci played in 'Goodfellas.' As he approached her he heard American accents. Was this just a case of a dinner date gone wrong with misunderstandings about how the evening would end? Maybe he should just turn around and go back to his room.

As he got closer his gaze turned back to her. She really was lovely and the fire in her deep blue eyes was very real, but it was her lips that suddenly drew his attention – they were soft looking and seemed perfectly formed. Kissable? Most definitely. Angelina Jolie would be envious. He shook away those thoughts again. He really didn't have the time or inclination to have a woman in his life.

He did decide since he was almost on top of them already – although neither had apparently noticed him yet, he would see if she needed help. Fitz was a sucker for anyone in distress, dogs, cats, kids and now apparently damsels.

"Excuse me miss, is this man bothering you?" he heard himself say in a very upper class 'BBC' accent.

That wasn't hard since his mother came from the UK and he'd listened to her accent all his life. In fact it had proven a definite advantage as an amateur thespian during his awkward high school years, and was a way to get girls to pay attention to him. Why he was using this bit of deception on the two arguing Americans he didn't quite know, perhaps it seemed right in light of the wine he'd consumed with dinner.

Both parties turned to look at him. For a second he got lost in those eyes. On closer examination they were violet. She did look awfully young.

He was jolted from his trance by the man's loud drunken command, "Buzz off fucker!" and a stare that was meant to intimidate.

Considering Fitz was two inches over six feet and a tri-athlete and, grew up in a tough neighborhood in south Chicago, with a middle name like Fitzhugh, thanks to his mother's ancestry, he had learned to handle himself in a fight. Also during what he liked to describe to others as his 'misguided youth, ' he had spent four hard years as a medical corpsman with the Marines. Considering all of that, plus the man facing him was drunk, his demand and shift to a fighting stance was ludicrous. Fitz stifled a grin, and out of the corner of his eye he thought he also detected a smirk from the mystery woman.

Cassandra Wallace was having a wonderful day which capped a wonderful week in London. Now on the eve of her departure for home, to her disgust she'd finally been cornered, by Tom Greeley Jr., partner at the law firm where she worked. She'd been pretty successful all week staying away from him, but the law of averages was probably against her. The week in London at a conference had been a dream come true - a city she'd wanted to visit since her childhood.

Tom Greeley Jr. or "Greedy," as he was called by others behind his back was a junior partner in the large law firm in Chicago where she had worked the past five years since her graduation from Northwestern School of Law. He was an obnoxious, overeducated aspiring lothario, and an all-around dickhead. No woman at the firm felt safe one-on-one with the guy, especially any woman who was younger and subordinate. Cassandra didn't know about his success rate, but she knew that he had driven two of her brilliant classmates to join the fairly new David Ryan firm at a lower salary rather than put up with his bullshit. So how did he make partner early and why was such a pig still with the firm? Easy answer – he brought in boatloads of money. He was a mergers and acquisitions guru and had put together deals thought impossible by others. Rainmaking that lined the partners' pockets trumped most kinds of misconduct and Tom Greeley knew it. And now he was after Cassandra.

Originally she and another woman from the firm had been slated to attend the conference – a conference on international business practices. Cassandra had come to specialize in international trade and markets, although so far her practice dealt mostly with trade between the US and Canada, but she and her firm, 'Stevens and Broach, ' had hoped to do more. At the last minute the woman who was going was replaced by Greely. Cassandra wondered about that at first, but since she'd had no chance to talk to her before departure she eventually put it out of her mind. It did make her a little uncomfortable that Greely would be attending the same conference but since they were in different divisions of the firm she hoped that he would spend his time in different sessions. That proved to be mostly true and each day at lunch she'd make sure she was at a table filled with new acquaintances.

Tonight was hardly different and she'd been invited to dine with new friends. The problem was as she came into the lobby on her way to the elevators she had to pass the pub in the hotel. Just as she did so a drunk Tom Greely stepped out and slid his oily way into the empty elevator with her. She tried her best to ignore him after a brief acknowledgement as he got on but he seemed oblivious to the cold shoulder she was giving him. When he got off the elevator on her floor she began to worry. He wasn't staying on her floor she knew, and when he followed her down the hall she saw trouble brewing.

Finally she stopped in front of her door, key in hand ready to try to get in the door, but unfortunately he was too quick – maybe not as drunk as she thought and he grabbed the key from her.

She simply looked at him, hoping her stare would turn him to stone, but he ignored her look and said,

"Just a little nightcap Cassandra and you'll get you key back." He said it with a leer.

She almost laughed since if this was the best he could do he was pathetic. Did he have any luck with this gambit? Then she saw the malevolent look in his eyes and suddenly she was afraid. Maybe the rumors around the firm were true that he'd been blacklisted from the top escort agencies in Chicago because he was violent with the escorts.

One thing was for sure, she was not going into the room with him and if he tried to force her she'd fight him and scream. She also realized her rejection of him would cost her her job when they got back to Chicago. That fear was certainly what he was counting on.

"Look Greely, you're drunk and there's no way in hell I'm inviting you into my room."

He moved closer, her back was now pressed against the door. She was ashamed that she was trembling.

"Look bitch, you've been leading me a merry chase for the past week and I'm tired of putting up with your teasing. You're just a cock-tease and someone needs to teach you a lesson!" He was all but shouting at that point.

Cassandra crossed her arms and said with some heat, "I've been avoiding you all week because you're an asshole and a pervert. I don't give a shit what kind of rainmaker you are for the firm, to me you're just one more boy who never grew up and you spend too much time thinking with your miniscule dick."

He moved a little closer and just smiled, "I'll get that miniscule dick so far up you little cock-tease pussy, you'll be begging for it from now on!"

At that point she was ready to plant a knee right into his balls when she noticed a tall and decidedly handsome sandy-haired man appear. Where'd he come from? She'd not noticed him approach, but of course her attention had been on Greely. Maybe he was a hotel ghost who appeared to help damsels in distress. The Queen Anne was certainly old enough to have a ghost or two. He did seem substantial enough. It was hard to tell his age but maybe late thirties or early forties. He wore an expensive dark blue suit, maybe not bespoke, but he certainly had a good tailor somewhere, with a blue button down oxford cloth shirt and a red and blue striped rep tie.

In what she considered a very sexy British accent he said, "Excuse me miss, is this man bothering you?"

His eyes were light gray like a soft summer rain cloud and she had a hard time looking away to study the rest of his face. Eventually she saw a strong handsome face that held a touch of amusement. That face was punctuated by a long but faded scar that started on his cheek bone just under his left eye and extended almost to his ear. Maybe a dueling scar she mused. Received while defending a lady's honor? She almost giggled at the thought. That last bottle of wine shared with dinner was probably too much, but it did amuse her that this man with a scar had materialized out of nowhere just as she needed a bit of assistance. He appeared trim and toned with well-defined shoulder muscles that his suit couldn't hide and he looked to have the hard body of an athlete, but his eyes were so different. God she could just get lost in the softness of his eyes.

To her dismay her reverie was interrupted when Greely practically shouted, "Buzz off fucker!" His words seemed very loud in the quiet hotel hallway.

Cassandra noticed Greely had taken a step back and was half-turned toward the mystery man, who'd not responded to Greely's challenge.

"Who the fuck are you anyway? Mind your own fuckin business ... this is between her and me."

"I'm Fitzhugh Williams and I'm hotel security. Are you a guest of this hotel sir?"

"Fuck you! I don't have to answer your questions!"

"Perhaps you should calm yourself and return the key to the lady and return to your own room, if indeed you are staying with us. You've already had too much to drink, and the lady appears to want nothing more to do with you."

Cassandra saw the violence building in Greely. She wanted to warn the man but then she saw the color of his eyes change. They were now the gray of the Great Lakes in the winter, full of the power and ice cold bleakness that had sent sailors to their doom. His scar seemed to color.

Greely didn't see any of that or the momentary shifting of the stranger's stance as he swung a roundhouse right. In the blink of an eye the stranger stepped inside the punch and grasped Greely's wrist and elbow and used Greely's momentum to slam him into the wall across the hall face first. He collapsed like a deflating balloon.

The man turned to Cassandra and said, "I'm sorry miss." He really didn't look sorry at all and his eyes had returned to the placid gray of summer clouds. His smile made her heart flutter. It was accompanied by another reaction that was lower down. Maybe he should be the one she should ask in for a nightcap.

While she was processing all that had just happened, and her physical reaction to the mystery man, he turned and with little effort pulled Greely to his feet. Greely held his hand to the side of his face. She was surprised there was no blood from the broken nose she expected. He must have turned his head just before impact. Regardless, all the fight was out of him. He looked rather pathetic, but she also knew that her future with the firm was now going to be measured in days. She'd seen his humiliation and he measured everyone by his standards which meant he thought Cassandra would tell everyone what had happened, even though that was completely untrue.

Propping a very unsteady Greely against the wall the tall man reached down and retrieved Cassandra's key from the carpeted hallway floor, and as he handed it to her their fingers touched for a second, and she could have sworn sparks flew.

As he smiled at her she noticed it was a warm smile and his gray eyes captivated her. He seemed to enjoy the contact too and after a few moments he said, "I apologize miss. I hope you are not too distressed. Before I take this person to his room is there anything I can do for you?"

Casandra's mind was filled with erotic images that involved the mystery Englishman making love to her for the rest of the night.

Regretfully, she shook her head. "Thank you Mr.?" In the excitement she'd forgotten his name.

"That's Fitzhugh Williams, miss. Think nothing of it. Just happy you weren't harmed."

She watched him turn away and pat Greely's pockets until he came up with a room key. Greely covered the injured side of his face with his hand. It had to have been hurting. The Queen Anne still had old fashioned metal room keys with the room number embossed on a copper disc attached to the key.

He gave her one last smile before he marched Greely down the hall toward the elevators, one hand firmly grasping Greeley's elbow. Greely seemed to be in pain from the touch and kept trying without success to pull away from the Mr. William's grip.

Cassandra unlocked her door and on unsteady legs dropped into one of the overstuffed chairs in the room. She sat for a long time thinking about her rescuer, Greely, and the law firm in Chicago. It was time to look for a new job. She smiled as she briefly wondered if she could find a position in London.

Fitz watched the beautiful young woman stride across the lobby, expensive-looking leather messenger bag over one shoulder, most likely headed for a taxi. He was seated in one of the upholstered chairs off to the side and she didn't see him. Of course she had her gazed fixed on the screen of her cellphone as so many busy people did. He wondered what her reaction would be if she did see him. Would she be grateful or embarrassed? Also how would she react to his 'hotel security' ruse if that ever came to light? What had he been thinking, especially with the English accent? He chalked it up again to too much wine and perhaps a reversion to his boyhood when mild pranks had been his forte and his brief flirtation with the theater before he discovered his love of medicine. Of course he hadn't been a boy for a long time, certainly since his tour of duty in Iraq as a medical corpsman with the Marines. That had certainly knocked the boyishness right out of him - it also knocked some sense into him as the tough kid from the south side of Chicago had finally grown up.

He knew her name now, it was Cassandra Wallace and she was an attorney from Chicago. Maybe he would contact her when he got back. He quickly rejected that idea. She was much too young.

He smiled at the thought of Cassandra Wallace, soccer mom, driving an SUV through Lake Forest loaded with giggling teen girls.

Watching her move with the fluid grace of a cat, even though it was still before eight in the morning, she was as fresh looking as if she'd been on vacation. She looked even younger than last night. Of course last night she'd had her 'evening out' makeup on and this morning she wore a fresh-scrubbed all-American girl look, looking closer to twenty than thirty. Her dark red hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she wore skinny jeans, a deep blue cashmere sweater which was just tight enough to show she had nice breasts, and a pair medium heel black ankle boots.

Ah youth. He stifled a yawn as he remembered the night before. He had frog-marched Greely back to his room keeping pressure on the point just inside his elbow that would cause pain and keep him docile. Greely had muttered about how he was going to 'fix that cock-teasing bitch, ' so it seemed he knew her, but he didn't figure it out until he had found the business cards.

When he got Greely's room open he maneuvered the fast-fading Greely to the bed and dumped him on it. At that point he spotted some business cards on the desk. One expensive card with raised lettering said, 'Tom Greely Jr., Attorney at Law, ' and it listed him as a partner in the firm of Stevens and Broach. He seemed pretty young to be a partner but Fitz's experience with the sharks of Chicago was limited to David Ryan and his firm. His friend and mentor David had represented him for years and Fitz happily switched to David's new firm when he left the old one. Of course David had told him about how his old Chicago firm self-destructed and how much happier he was running his own show. Fitz had heard both sides of David's split with Keri and he felt bad for both of them and their girls, but he had also seen first-hand how happy David was with his new wife Teresa.

There was another card on the desk and it said, 'Cassandra Wallace' also from the Stevens firm. From his actions tonight he thought he knew why a predator like Greely had it. Fitz was glad he had stepped in although something about Cassandra Wallace told him that Mr. Tom Greely might have sustained more damage at her hands than he's suffered from Fitz.

He slipped the card into his jacket pocket. As he was leaving the now snoring Greely he had another moment of, as Sister Mary Catherine would say, 'devilment.' He slipped off one of Greely's expensive shoes and took it with him to the hallway where he tossed it down the laundry chute. Sure it was childish but the idiot had taken a swing at him and bothered a beautiful young woman. Let him wonder what had happened to his other shoe. Of course, Greely was going to have to explain how he'd received the large bruise on his cheek and certainly a black eye, when he got back to Chicago. Fritz hoped his actions tonight would be the cause of a great deal of embarrassment for Mr. Tom Greely, Attorney at Law.

Soon his cell phone chimed with a message that the hotel car was waiting out front to take him to the airport. He gathered up his small soft leather hold-all and walked to the door of the hotel. He was dressed casually in a white button down shirt and dark slacks and his all-purpose light gray fine wale corduroy sport coat. For a change it wasn't raining and the spring day promised to be sunny. Regardless he was glad to be heading home.

As he walked down the steps outside the hotel escorted by the driver who had his suitcase, he glanced up and spotted Cassandra in a taxi just across the narrow street. His heart beat a little faster, but he knew he should put her out of his mind. He watched her for a few moments as she appeared to be sending a message on her phone. Suddenly she looked up as if she could feel his eyes on her. She seemed shocked to see him standing there, obviously watching her. He couldn't help smiling and as the taxi pulled away he raised his hand in farewell. She turned in her seat to watch him as the taxi headed down the street, and he thought, but maybe it was his imagination, that she raised her hand in return.

Cassandra had slept pretty well and when her wakeup call came she was in the middle of an erotic dream where it was Fitzhugh Williams who was standing with her at her door and he had her room key in his hand and they were kissing.

"Damn." She muttered. "Just getting to the good part."

She lay there for a short while remembering the night before. She decided that her decision to leave Stevens and Broach was a foregone conclusion. From this point on, Greely would make her life miserable. On the plane ride home she'd work on updating her resume, and she'd give notice as soon as she got back. If she was asked her reasons for leaving she'd tell the truth. She had some money in the bank and no responsibilities and she could probably keep a roof over her head for several months while she searched, and as much as she hated the idea of leaving Chicago she would be willing to relocate. Maybe she'd try the left coast – the weather would be a damn-site better that was for sure!

As she showered and dressed and packed, her mind kept going back to Fitzhugh Williams. She wondered what had brought him to the position of hotel security. She certainly didn't see Mr. Williams as a former cop, although now that she thought about it his bearing and that scar said 'military.' Her oldest brother carried himself that way. He'd been an Army Ranger. She wondered what hotel security paid. Mr. Williams certainly dressed well. Maybe he was independently wealthy and just did security to rescue damsels in distress!

"Stop it!" she said aloud. "I'm obsessing about a man I've known for about five minutes and he's here in London and I'm in Chicago, and if by some chance in a million we got together I'd probably have to support him!" No, she thought; when she remembered those gray eyes she knew she'd never have to support Fitzhugh Williams.

She sighed. There was no man in her life at present – not that she felt like there needed to be. She had a great circle of friends, but that circle would dry up a bit once she left the firm. She'd been engaged for a while her last year of law school but a couple of months after graduation they broke it off. They both seemed to recognize about the same time that there was no long tern future for their relationship. Sometimes when she was feeling lonely she wondered if that was the right decision. But there was no going back now. Her former fiancé was married, living in Seattle, and had a couple of kids.

Cassandra dressed casually for the flight to Chicago, putting on little makeup. She called down to the desk and asked for a taxi to Heathrow.

After checking out she paused at the concierge desk and spoke to the pretty dark-haired woman there, "I'm Cassandra Wallace, would you please relay my thanks to Mr. Williams for his help last night?"

The woman looked puzzled. "Mr. Williams?"

"Yes, Fitzhugh Williams, you know hotel security ... he showed up in the nick of time while I was being bothered by another guest ... well one of my coworkers. Anyway please express my thanks."

The woman still looked a little uncertain. Casandra watched her make a note on some hotel stationary. She guessed the girl was probably new and didn't know all the staff, particularly those on the night shift.

"Yes miss, I certainly will."

"Thank you."

She slipped her bomber jacket on against the morning chill and as she waited for the cab her mind was still formulating plans about her job search. She pulled out her phone and sent a couple of carefully worded messages to colleagues testing the waters. The cab arrived and she got in the back and reviewed her contact list. Suddenly she had an uncanny feeling she was being watched. She looked up and there he was, that wonderful man Fitzhugh Williams with those wonderful gray eyes. He was even more handsome in the morning light.

He was dressed casually, maybe just off work, and he was standing near the hotel car with some luggage. Was he helping out? Was he going on vacation? He watched her notice him and he smiled wistfully, his gray eyes mesmerizing. She was paralyzed. She wanted to jump out of the cab and grab him and ask him to take her with him wherever he was going. She felt foolish. She didn't even know if he was married. He raised his hand acknowledging her. The cab started away and she turned and watched through the back window and finally had the presence of mind to raise her hand to acknowledge him.

She watched him until they turned the corner trying to memorize anything and everything about him. Finally she sat back in the seat heart fluttering, chiding herself for a silly schoolgirl crush, but at the same time she had a warm feeling inside from the memory of his gaze.

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