Chapter One
    Grace slept through the alarm the following morning, which meant she was half an hour late for the meeting with her friend Fran, who had written the play Grace was hoping to put on by the end of the year. Their meeting was in a small hired studio at Covent Garden, and she grabbed a doughnut and plastic beaker of coffee on her way in.
    Luckily Fran had the key, and was sitting on a black plastic chair looking decidedly fed up when Grace finally burst into the room. “I was about to phone you,” she said by way of greeting. “You did suggest ten this morning didn’t you? It’s now ten-thirty and my backside is numb from sitting on this horrible chair!”
    “Sorry,” apologized Grace, “I overslept.”
    “Busy weekend?”
    Grace’s mind flashed back to the moment Laura had brought her to a shattering climax, and she felt the blood rush to her cheeks. “It was rather. Now…”
    “Were you with your rich financier boyfriend?” asked Fran.
    “What do you mean?”
    “Oh come on, David White, who could give us enough money to put my play on at the Young Vic if he wanted to. Only he wouldn’t want to, because he doesn’t understand the problems facing artistic people, especially in a recession.”
    Grace was so taken aback she didn’t know how to respond. “What does it matter to you who I go out with?” she asked, after a pause to muster her thoughts.
    “It doesn’t really, but I’m a bit shocked. He’s the polar opposite of all we believe in. I only know you’re going out with him because you were mentioned in a tabloid gossip column yesterday.”
    “What did it say?”
    “Something about the incongruous pairing of an up-and-coming, groundbreaking stage director and her rich financier boyfriend, and it named you both. At least it means you’re getting yourself noticed I suppose.”
    “Not that it’s any of your business, but he happens to be a patron of the arts. That’s how I met him, at a fundraising event for the new Going Places theater company.”
    “You are naive,” said Fran. “It’s almost certainly a useful tax dodge for him. Anyway, it won’t matter. You should be careful not to get too emotionally involved. The article said he’s fiercely private and has never shown any interest in settling down.”
    “Settling down sounds so boring and conventional it’s not something I’d want to do either,” she retorted.
    Fran looked surprised. “My goodness, you really must like him to be that defensive. Is he good in bed? Men like that are usually total control freaks and pretty selfish that way, or so I’m told. I’ve never been out with one.”
    “No, you haven’t, so you don’t know a thing about him or people like him. Let’s leave the gossip and get on with the work shall we?” snapped Grace.
    “Oh come on, there’s no need to be so intense about it all. You haven’t been going out with him long have you? Apparently he went out with that actress Isla Roberts last year. Mind you, rumor has it she’s never got over him, so he must be good at something!”
    Grace wasn’t aware that David even knew Isla Roberts, let alone that he’d taken her out and wondered if the tall, willowy redhead had ever visited the Dining Club. She tried to picture her being pleasured by Laura’s clever tongue, but her imagination failed her. Isla had always struck her as being very shy, as many actors were when they weren’t performing.
    “Hello!” said Fran loudly. “Turning up late is bad enough, but daydreaming once you arrive is even worse. Drink your coffee and then perhaps you can tell me your thoughts on who would be right for the two leading roles, providing you can concentrate, that is!”
    Taking a deep breath, Grace pushed the images of Isla at the Dining Club that were rushing into her mind firmly away. “I’m sorry, I just had a heavy weekend. I thought perhaps Mark Lewis might be good if he’s available by the time we get a venue.”
    “Mark Lewis? He’s tall and

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