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Authors: Erica Spindler

Chances Are

BOOK: Chances Are
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Chances Are

 

by

 

Erica Spindler

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Please Note

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

The reverse engineering, uploading, and/or distributing of this eBook via the internet or via any other means without the permission of the copyright owner is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.

 

Copyright 1989, 2012 by Erica Spindler. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.

 

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Thank You.

 

 

 

 

Mom,

for your strength and courage,

for your unconditional love,

for showing me a woman can be anything she wants to be,

this and all my successes are for you.

 

 

 

 

Prologue

 

New Orleans, Louisiana

 

The graveside was quiet, the stillness broken only by the priest's murmured eulogy and the occasional sound of a passing car. The aboveground tombs caught the late afternoon sun, and long, stark shadows were cast on the manicured grass and neatly tended walkways.

A tall wrought-iron fence circled the small cemetery in the heart of the New Orleans Garden District. Lining the fence were azalea bushes in full bloom; the profusion of magenta and pink flowers was an affirmation of life in a place reserved for death.

The old man stood just outside the cemetery gate. His complexion was pasty, and his hand shook as he reached up to push away the thatch of still-thick silver hair that fell across his forehead. He looked down at his light blue suit, one corner of his mouth lifting in wry amusement—it figured, his wife had always liked this suit better than he had.

With a heavy sigh, he pushed open the gate and walked through, remembering too late that he didn't have to worry about opening doors or gates anymore. He approached the group gathered around the casket, stopping only when he was close enough to see their faces. Everyone was there, respectfully outfitted in both garb and expression. He supposed he should be honored that so many had come for him today, but it was difficult to feel appreciated when the society editor from the
Times Picayune
was also in attendance and taking notes.

The old man's watery-blue eyes regarded the mourners. There were three people here today whose lives were about to change drastically. If they didn't, he was lost.

Almost unwittingly his gaze went to a wizened man with eyes as sharp and clear as a twenty-year-old's. Jerome Delacroix was ruthless and a tyrant. The old man's shoulders slumped as he wished he could have seen in life what he saw in death.

Regrets. He'd done a lot of bad things in his life. He'd been given one last chance to make them right. Lifting his eyes heavenward, he wished for a cigar, then reminded himself that he was supposed to be mending his ways—all of them.

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Veronique Delacroix wore dime-store sunglasses with zebra-striped frames; her boots, like her jeans, were red. Her one concession to propriety was a black suede jacket made of the softest kid. She shoved her hands into its pockets and stared at the four black limousines in front of the Rhodes mansion. She hated these society gatherings and usually avoided them like the plague. But her mother had asked for her company, so here she was.

BOOK: Chances Are
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