By: Brenda Jackson

KIM HEARD HER NAME being called the moment she reentered the ballroom. She glanced over and saw Sherri heading toward her. She was so excited for her best friend and truly believed she and Terrence would be happy together.

“And just where did you slip off to?” Sherri was asking. “I’ve been looking for you.”Kim threw her head back and laughed. “You mean your husband finally let you out of his sight? Unbelievable.”

She and Sherri shared a smile and then Sherri said, “Yes, but only for a minute.” Her expression turned serious. “Promise me that you’re going to celebrate your good news.”

Kim thought about the official letter she had received a couple of days ago. The one informing her she’d been accepted into medical school. “I promise that I will celebrate.”

She’d always wanted to become a doctor, but her parents had split in her senior year of high school, which made money tight. Out of spite, her poor excuse for a father had emptied the savings account her mom had set up to defray the cost of college. As a result Kim had to resort to student loans and eventually had to settle on a master’s degree in nursing.

She found being a nurse rewarding and was dedicated to the profession, but now it was time to move on and pursue her dream to become a doctor.

Her gaze shifted from Sherri as she caught sight of Duan across the room. Just like she’d told him earlier, he looked good in his tux. On some men a tuxedo looked only so-so, but on Duan it was spine-tingling sexy. Definitely eye candy of the sweetest kind. As if he felt her watching him, he glanced over at her and she tilted her head and smiled.

Sherri noticed the exchange and lifted a brow. “Now, isn’t that strange?”

Kim broke eye contact with Duan and turned back to Sherri. “What is?”

“Terrence was searching for Duan at the same time I was looking for you. Imagine that.”

Kim shrugged, trying to keep a straight face. “Yes, imagine that.”

“You know what I think?” Sherri was grinning.

“Haven’t a clue.”

Her friend gave her an assessing glance. “I think you’ve started celebrating already.”

DUAN STOOD OFF to the side and watched the newlyweds leave amidst a shower of rice and well-wishes. He took a long drink of his champagne and kept his gaze on Kim, while at the same time pretending interest in the conversations going on around him.

He had already turned down an invitation from Lucas McCoy and Stephen Morales, Terrence’s close friends from his college days, to join them and their wives for a night out on the town. And as predicted, the Westmorelands were hosting a poker game in one of their suites.“You sure you don’t want to join us later, Duan?” Stone Westmoreland asked. Duan and Stone had been in the same softball league while growing up and had played football together in high school.

“I’m positive,” he said, noting the exact moment Kim began walking toward an exit door. “I had a rough week and need to get to bed early.”

Most of what he said was true. No one needed to know that the bed he would be getting into wasn’t his.

He exchanged conversation with Stone and the other Westmorelands for a few minutes and then bid everyone a farewell and a safe return home. Like him, most of them would be checking out of the hotel sometime tomorrow. Placing his empty champagne glass on a table, he picked up his pace as he headed toward the elevators.

KIM GLANCED AROUND her hotel room and saw the bottle of champagne Sherri had ordered earlier sitting in a bucket of ice. She hadn’t told anyone but Sherri about her acceptance into medical school at the University of California, San Francisco.

She had a couple months to accept their offer. She had applied to three other universities and would wait to hear from them before making a decision.She smiled as she kicked off her shoes. She was very much aware that Duan had been watching her when she’d left the reception, which meant he was probably on his way up. The quickie earlier had relieved some of the sexual tension between them but not all of it. She had issued the invitation to complete what they’d started, so she had no problem with him taking her up on it.

She liked him, and after what happened earlier, she liked him even more. Even with a limited amount of time he hadn’t been a selfish lover. She couldn’t say the same for the last guy she’d dated, a surgeon at the hospital. He’d left a lot to be desired.

Kim walked over to the window to take in the view of Lake Michigan. Several small fishing vessels were out on the lake, as well as a number of other boats in various sizes. It was so beautiful she could just stand there a while and watch. Her mother had planned to come to the wedding with her, but had called two days ago and said something had come up and she wouldn’t be able to make it. She would have enjoyed being here.