The bell above the door jangled. Astrid sucked in a breath. The man who entered was definitely her type. His rugged features, muscular body and tousled dark hair impacted her senses with sledge hammer blows. Who is he? Her smile faded when she saw the petite blonde who followed him.
Clive sauntered toward the couple. "Duncan, Lorna, thought you were headed to the shore."
"Heard about Lloyd and wanted to see if there was anything I could do." His deep voice vibrated through Astrid.
The woman glided toward Clive. "Told him to leave Lloyd to the doctors." She ran her tongue over her bottom lip. "But you know Duncan. Thinks he can handle everything."
A picture of a preening cat popped into Astrid's head. The woman's slanted eyes were the blue of Aunt Sarah's Persian cat. The rings on the blonde's fingers glittered as she reached for Clive's hands.
The man strode toward Astrid. His smile was volcanic. Heat collected low in her abdomen. What fires would his hands raise as they caressed her skin? Whoa. She wrenched her gaze away.
"So Antiquities is yours to play with, Clive," the woman crooned. "Now you can show me the goodies in the vault."
Astrid stepped toward the pair. "The gallery isn't Clive's."
The blonde pursed her lips. "And who are you?"
Clive released her hands. "Lloyd's daughter. Lorna Stinit and Duncan Garrett. They're excellent customers."
Lorna Stinit pushed strands of hair from her face. "So you're Lloyd's daughter. Duncan, stop staring and ask about her father. Then we can leave."
Duncan took Astrid's hands between his. "Your father's mentioned you many times. How is he?"
"Responding to treatment." She met his gaze. His hazel eyes held her fast. She wondered if he felt the heat between them. Stop it. He's taken.
"Duncan, come see these marvelous Egyptian pieces," Lorna called. "I want them." She held the necklace that had sent Astrid on a wild trip into an ancient land.
Duncan's eyes narrowed. He looked from Lorna to Clive. Tension built. What was going on?
Paula glared at the woman. "You ruined my picture."
"You can always take another. How about with me wearing them?"
"Beautiful, but not for you," Duncan said.
Lorna pouted. "Why not? The lapis would enhance my eyes. I'd change the carnelians for sapphires."
"And ruin the value." Duncan took the collar. "This necklace calls for a tall woman." He turned to Astrid. "Let me show her what I mean."
As he draped the piece around Astrid's neck, his fingers brushed her nape. Her body responded. For a moment, the room shimmered and she feared falling into the past to re-live love and death once more. Duncan's deep voice kept her anchored to the present.
"See what I mean." He removed the necklace. "Clive, I'll buy the set if Astrid agrees to model them at the gala for the local opera company."
"Really, Duncan," Lorna said. "Shouldn't you check with me? Aren't I your co-sponsor?"
Astrid met Lorna's icy glare. "I'll be too involved with Dad to attend. And, the necklace isn't for sale until Dad agrees."
Duncan leaned closer. "I always get what I want."
She met the challenge in his eyes. "And what is that?"
"When I decide, I'll let you know."
His words held a threat to her emotions. "Don't bother."
Lorna laughed. "See, my dear, you can't always have everything."
"We'll see." Duncan arched a brow. "Clive, let's see some of the other new things. The pectoral with the hawk interests me. Same time frame as these?"
Clive shook his head. "Later. We should have some new items next week."
As they moved away, Astrid released her breath. She didn't know what was happening, but she felt on edge. As she left, she thought about her odd adventure. She had been Seshat, a woman betrayed by her lover.
Had the dream been a warning?