A blazing hot June gave way to a sultry, humid July. When, on the second of that month, exactly a month after the first fateful meeting in George's office, Alanis received a late-afternoon call from Brody suggesting that she fly out to his chateau in the South of France to familiarize herself with the house and grounds, she found she could answer with only a trace of breathlessness in her voice.

“Of course. I was going to suggest something like that myself within the next week or two. I think we're just about ready for the next stage now, and it would be good to meet the French caterers face to face and settle every detail there.”

“Very well, then.”

          Brody's voice was remote, almost expressionless.

“I'll come with you, Alanis. There are certain points I want to pick up on myself, and it might be useful if I'm there to smooth the way in the preliminaries.”


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