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Even she couldn’t buy that lie. Sex with Liam had been mind-blowing. So how come she was feeling miserable now? Was it because she was too emotionally involved?

Duh! Of course it was. She guessed she wasn’t a very modern woman, after all. To say she was conflicted was an understatement. What was the matter with her? She didn’t want or need a commitment from Liam. Maybe she just wanted the sex to have meant something to him and for him to tell her so. Obviously for him it had just been a couple of enjoyable hours getting rid of tension. He had probably already moved on.

She didn’t get to sleep until almost two in the morning, but by then she had figured it all out. Liam had been an impulsive distraction from her goals, and she couldn’t allow that to happen again. She had too many other things to concentrate on. When she wasn’t working at the cyber unit, she wanted to focus on the program she had built-there was still a bit of tweaking that needed to be done. She couldn’t let Liam mess with her head, and the only way to accomplish that was to stay away from him. Thank goodness he was going to make it easy for her. He was probably getting ready to get on a plane to God knew where even then.

She slept until ten, then dressed in jeans and a T-shirt and sat cross-legged on the sofa with her laptop to catch up on her e-mails. It had been well over a week since she’d last checked them.

Scrolling through the dozens of messages, some requiring responses, others nuisance promotions to be deleted, she found two reminders that Father Basher was being honored tonight for his service to the university at a cocktail party given by some of the alumni at the Hamilton Hotel. Only seniors, staff members, and a few close friends of the Jesuit professor were invited. There was also an invitation to a reception for him next week so that everyone at the college could say good-bye to him, and though attendance for both events wasn’t mandatory, it was strongly encouraged that everyone attend. She made a note in her calendar about the second event. One simply didn’t ignore the Jesuits. Besides, everyone admired Father Basher. He was one of the best in his field, and she hated to see him retire. He had taught her to love the Renaissance painters. After taking a required course from him, she had signed up to take another as an elective but had to wait three semesters for an opening. He was going to be sorely missed at the university, and she was happy to see he was being given the recognition he deserved.

At twelve o’clock Charlotte called. "Sorry I didn’t phone any sooner," she began.

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"Why are you sorry? I didn’t expect you to call."

A long, drawn-out sigh let Allison know how frustrated her sister was. "You didn’t read your e-mails, did you?" 

"I was just checking them now. It’s been a busy week."

"You’re always on your laptop. How could you not look at your e-mails?"

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Allison set her computer aside as she listened to her sister’s complaints. When she unfolded her legs, an aching twinge shot down to her feet and she realized she had been sitting too long in one spot. She got up and stretched before heading to the kitchen. Charlotte was getting testy and obviously needed to vent. Allison let her.

She finally interrupted her sister’s lecture on communication. "What’s going on with you? Why are you so hyper?" she asked as she rummaged through her cabinets for a snack.

"I’m in Boston."

"What? You’re here? What are you doing in Boston?"

"I know I told you that Oliver was attending a conference here. Don’t you remember?"

No, she didn’t remember, but she wasn’t going to admit it and listen to another lecture. "Sure, I do," she said instead. She found a potato chip bag with a few crumbs in the bottom and emptied them into her mouth before scrunching the bag and tossing it into the trash.

"At the last minute I got the time off and decided to come with him. Aren’t you happy I’m here?"

"Of course I am. I’m just surprised, that’s all. I’ve missed you," she said, and she meant it. "Do you and Oliver want to stay with me? I’ll take the sofa and you two can have my bed."

"No, thanks," Charlotte answered. "The law firm is putting us up at the Four Seasons. It’s very fancy."

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"I’ll stay with you, then," Allison said, laughing.

"You know you could."

"I’m just teasing."

"You don’t mind that we aren’t staying with you, do you?"

"I’m relieved. I’d have to go to the grocery store and change my sheets." She opened the refrigerator door, peered inside, and moved the water bottles out of the way in search of something more substantial. She found a blueberry yogurt cup in the back and reached for it, checking the expiration date before opening the drawer for a spoon.

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