Document 105197

fo r
K at h ry n H a rv e y
“A steamy story of violence, sin and corruption.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
—New York Daily News
“Glamour, wickedness and passion . . . A vivid, imaginative tale . . . Builds
to a dramatic and unexpected conclusion.”
—Publishers Weekly
“Pacing that hurtles you through the pages.”
—Washington Post Book World
“Erotic . . . An immensely readable yarn.”
—Chicago Tribune
“Gripping . . . Builds in intensity until the dramatic denouement that is not
easy to forget.”
—Rave Reviews
O t h e r B ook s B y
Private Entrance
B ook s B y
Virgins of Paradise
The Dreaming
Green City in the Sun
Soul Flame
Vital Signs
The Watch Gods
Night Trains
Yesterday’s Child
Curse This House
Hounds and Jackals
The Divining
Turner Publishing Company
200 4th Avenue North • Suite 950
Nashville, Tennessee 37219
445 Park Avenue • 9th Floor
New York, New York 10022
Copyright © 2012 Barbara Wood. All rights reserved.
This book or any part thereof may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form
or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or
by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing
from the publisher.
Cover design by Gina Binkley
Interior design by Mike Penticost
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Harvey, Kathryn.
Butterfly / Kathryn Harvey.
p. cm.
ISBN 978-1-59652-872-7
I. Title.
PS3558.A7185B88 2012
Printed in the United States of America
12 13 14 15 16 17 18—0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
To my fellow player in The Game, Annie Draper
(You draw the “all night long” card . . .)
ac k now l e d g m e nts
I would like to say thanks to Anne Samstag, Joyce Wallach, and
Mitchell Maher for their very valuable help. An extra-special thank you
goes to Shawn Wilds and Dr. Ted Brannen.
t could have been any island in any green sea in
the world. A white villa stood at the top of a sheer cliff, overlooking aquamarine depths and crashing waves. An eighty-foot
yacht rode at anchor, its crew in smart uniforms, keeping the boat ready for
the whim of the man and woman up on the cliff. There was an exotic swimming pool behind the white villa; a woman swam in it, reveling in the pure
air and silence of her retreat. A feast had been set out under a gently flapping canopy: bowls of iced caviar, chilled lobster and crab, fruit frosted in
sugar, cheeses imported from all over the globe, four kinds of wine standing
in coolers. No one waited in attendance. The two lovers wanted to be alone.
She got out of the marble pool, climbing up the curved white steps and
going between two Corinthian pillars to where chaise longues covered in
plush velour towels waited in the sun.
She moved languidly. She felt hot and sweet and ready for sex.
She didn’t remove her bathing suit. He would do that for her. Instead
she stretched out in the heat and settled her eyes upon the television set that
kathryn harvey
stood in the shade of the striped canopy. It was on. It was always on. She was
waiting for something.
A moment later he emerged from the house, the shimmering water of
the pool reflected in the lenses of his Ray-Bans. His long white bathrobe
was open; he was naked underneath. She gazed at him as he walked slowly
toward her. He was tall and lithe, with sinewy muscles and strong thighs; he
walked with the stride of an Olympic gold medalist.
He came alongside her chaise longue. She reached up with a lazy hand.
The waves of heat rising mirage-like from the white walls of the villa seemed
to melt her bones. She stirred on the thick towel, relishing the sensation of
its creamy plush pile against her bare skin.
He knelt beside her. She felt strong hands lightly touch her legs. He
toyed with the string of her bathing suit. He kissed the inside of her thighs.
But when his hand traveled up, his fingers exploring beneath the Spandex, she suddenly stopped him.
He looked at her, trying to read her expression behind her enormous
sunglasses. He saw that her gaze was fixed on the television set.
He looked at the screen. And here it was at last, the thing she had been
waiting for—a news broadcast from the other side of the earth, via satellite.
It was showing two funerals. One was in Houston, the other in Beverly
Hills. Funerals important enough to be broadcast globally.
She put her hand gently on his head, and stroked him almost absentmindedly as she stared at the solemn processions—one backdropped by
California palm trees with people arriving in stretch limos, the hearse white
because they were burying a woman; the other beneath a hard Texas sun,
attended by men in Stetsons who lifted the coffin of a man from the black
hearse. For the moment, she wasn’t on this craggy, remote island and about
to experience a sublime sexual idyll. She was back . . . back there, at the beginning of the incredible road that had terminated at last in the two funerals
taking place on the same day, fifteen hundred miles apart . . .
r. Linda Markus was sitting at the dressing table, her
arm raised, about to brush her hair, when she heard a sound.
Her hand froze. On her wrist there was a gold chain from
which a charm—a butterfly—was suspended. As she sat suddenly still, listening to the night, the butterfly trembled on its delicate chain, glinting in
the lamplight.
She searched the bedroom reflected behind her in the mirror. Nothing
appeared to be out of the ordinary. There was the king-size bed on its dais;
the satin canopy hangings and mattress ruffle—all a delicate peach color.
On the bed lay her white hospital coat, her blouse and skirt, the medical bag
she had tossed down after a tiring day in surgery. Italian leather shoes lay on
the carpet next to the tan pool of her pantyhose.
She listened. But all was silent.
She resumed brushing her hair.
It was difficult to relax. There was so much to think about, so much demanding her attention: that patient in the Intensive Care Unit; the meeting
of the Surgical Review Board in the morning; the speech she had yet to write
for the annual County Medical Association dinner.
And then, most puzzling, the phone calls she was getting from that TV
producer Barry Greene—rather insistent, and not a medical problem, his
messages said. She had yet to find time to return his calls.
There was that sound again! A sly, sort of surreptitious sound, as if
someone were outside, trying to get in, trying not to be heard . . .
Slowly lowering her hairbrush and placing it among the cosmetics and
perfumes on the vanity table, Dr. Markus drew in a breath, held it, and
turned around.
She stared at the closed drapes. Had the sound come from the other side
of the windows?
Dear God, were the windows locked?
She trembled. She stared at the heavy velvet drapes. Her pulse started
to race.
Minutes seemed to pass. The ornate Louis XV clock over the marble
fireplace ticked, ticked, ticked.
The drapes moved.
The window was open!
Linda caught her breath.
A cold breeze seemed to flood the room as the drapes began to part. A
shadow fell across the champagne carpet.
Linda shot to her feet and without thinking ran to the dressing room.
Pulling the door shut behind herself, she was plunged into darkness; she
groped along the wall for the secret drawer.
There was supposed to be a revolver in it.
Finding the drawer, Linda frantically pulled it open and reached inside.
The cold metal felt obscene in her hand; it was long and hard and heavy.
Would it fire? Was it even loaded?
Returning to the door of the dressing room she pressed her ear to it
and listened. Subtle sounds crept through the spacious bedroom: the creak
of a lead-paned window, the whisper of disturbed drapes, the soft hush of
rubber-soled shoes on the carpet.
He was in there. He was in the bedroom.
kathryn harvey
Linda swallowed hard and tightened her grip on the gun. What did she
think she was going to do with it? Shoot him, for God’s sake? She started to
shake. Her heart was pounding.
What if he had a gun too?
She listened. She could hear him moving about. She reached down,
grasped the doorknob, and inched the door open. At first she saw only an
empty room. Then—
There he was. At the far wall, moving aside a painting and contemplating the combination lock of the small safe.
She studied him. Her trained physician’s eye saw beneath the tightly fitted black turtleneck sweater and pants the body of a man who kept himself
in shape. She couldn’t guess his age—a black knitted ski mask covered his
face and hair—but he was wiry. Finely shaped buttocks and thighs moved
beneath black fabric.
Linda didn’t move, she didn’t breathe, as she watched him expertly open
the safe and reach inside.
Then he turned suddenly, as if he had felt her watching him. He stared at
the dressing room door; she saw two dark eyes peer warily through the ski
mask; a grim mouth and square jaw were outlined in black knit.
She backed away from the door, holding the gun at arm’s length with
her trembling hands. The single beam of light that spilled into the tiny room
caught on the shivering platinum butterfly that hung from her wrist; it shot
silvery reflections over the camisole and nylon slip she was wearing.
She inched back as far as she could and then stood her ground, watching the door, her finger on the trigger.
The door swung slightly at first, as if he were testing it. Then it swung
all the way open, and his black silhouette stood against the softly lighted
He looked down at the gun, then at her face. Although his features were
masked, Linda sensed uncertainty about him, thought she detected indecision flicker in his dark eyes.
He took another step toward her, coming into the dressing room. Then
another step, and another.
“No closer,” she said.
“I’m unarmed,” he said. His voice was surprisingly gentle and refined,
the distinguished voice of a stage actor. He had spoken only two words and
yet in them she had heard a trace of vulnerability.
“Get out,” she said.
He continued to stare at her. There were only a few feet between them
now; Linda could see the curve of biceps beneath the tight sweater, the calm
rise and fall of his chest.
“I mean it,” she said, aiming. “I’ll shoot if you don’t get out.”
Black eyes in a hidden face studied her. When he spoke again there was
a trace of incredulousness in his tone, as if he had just discovered something. “You’re beautiful,” he said.
He took another step closer. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I had no idea I was
intruding into a lady’s house.”
Her voice came out in a whisper: “Stop.”
He looked down at the necklace in his hand, the thing he had just taken
out of the wall safe. It was a long rope of pearls, knotted at the end.
“I have no right to take this,” the intruder said, lifting it up. “It belongs
to you. It belongs on you.”
Unable to move, Dr. Markus stared up into dark eyes as black-gloved
hands lifted the necklace over her head, slipped it under her hair, and
brought it to rest on her bare chest, just above the lace of her camisole.
The night silence seemed to intensify as the thief slowly removed his
gloves, keeping his eyes locked on hers, then took the pearl-knot in his
hands and adjusted it so that it lay between her breasts.
At his touch, Linda caught her breath.
“I hadn’t meant to frighten you,” he said in a quiet, intimate tone. His
masked face was inches from hers. Black eyes were framed by black lashes
and the black knit of his mask. She could see his mouth, the thin straight
lips and white teeth. He bent his head and said more quietly, “I had no right
to frighten you.”
“Please,” she whispered. “Don’t—”
He raised a hand and touched her shoulder. She felt the strap of her
camisole start to slide down. “If you truly want me to go,” he said, “I will.”
kathryn harvey
Linda stared up into his gaze. As the two straps of her camisole fell from
her shoulders, her arms lowered and the gun dropped to the thick carpet.
His hands moved as slowly and expertly as when they had opened the wall
safe, feeling her feverish skin, seeming to savor the way she trembled. When
lace and satin came away from her breasts, Linda closed her eyes.
“I have never met a woman as beautiful as you,” he said. His hands gently explored her. He knew where to touch, where to pause, where to hold
her. “Tell me to leave,” he said again, bending his head so that his mouth was
nearly upon hers. “Tell me,” he said.
“No,” she breathed. “Don’t go . . . ”
When his lips touched hers, Linda felt a shock go through her body.
Suddenly she wanted this man, desperately. Here and now.
He drew her into his arms. She felt the coarse knit of his sweater against
her naked breasts. His hands stroked her back, then went lower, sliding under the elastic waistband of her slip. Linda could hardly breathe. His kisses
smothered her. His tongue filled her mouth. Her thighs pressed urgently
against him; she felt his hardness.
Is it possible? she wondered in desperation. Is it possible that, after all
these years, finally, with this stranger I could—
And then a sound broke the silence. It was a rude, insistent bleat, coming from the bedroom.
He brought his head up. “What’s that?”
“My beeper. Damn!”
Linda pushed past him, ran to her purse, grabbed the little box and
silenced it. “I have to make a phone call. Is that telephone real?” she asked,
pointing to the boudoir-style instrument on the nightstand. “Can I call out
on it?”
He came to stand in the doorway of the dressing room, folding his arms
and leaning against the doorframe. “Just pick it up. The girl will give you an
outside line.”
As she dialed a number Linda glanced at him, at the gorgeous body in
black, and felt her irritation rise. She had taken a gamble; she had had no
other choice. The odds had been that she would be able to snatch a couple
of hours of peace before having to go back to the hospital, but the odds had
turned against her. “His pressure’s dropped,” the Intensive Care nurse now
told her over the phone. “Dr. Cane thinks he’s got a bleeder.”
“Okay. Get him back up to surgery. Tell Cane to open him up. I’m in
Beverly Hills. It’ll take me about twenty minutes to get there.”
She hung up, having made the call without once saying her name—the
ICU nurses knew Linda’s voice—and turned to the stranger in the ski mask.
“Sorry,” she said, hastily removing the pearl necklace and reaching for her
clothes. “Can’t be helped.”
“Hey, it’s okay. I’m sorry, too.”
She looked at him. She couldn’t see his face, but his voice sounded genuinely sorry. But she knew it was an act. He was paid to humor her.
After she was dressed, she grabbed her hospital coat and medical bag
and hurried to the door. Linda paused to smile at him, a little sadly, thinking
about what might have been. Then she reached into her purse, pulled out a
hundred-dollar bill, and laid it on the table by the door. He would have gotten it afterward. It wasn’t his fault that they were interrupted.
“But I didn’t do anything,” he said quietly.
“Make it up to me next time.”
Linda stepped out into a corridor that could have belonged to an elegant,
tastefully discreet hotel. She hurried along, past closed doors, and checked
her watch. She really shouldn’t have risked coming to Butterfly this afternoon, not with a patient in ICU. But she had been looking forward for
weeks to coming here, had already put it off several times because of medical emergencies.
When she turned the corner, Linda was met by an attendant, a young
woman in black skirt and white blouse with a butterfly embroidered in
gold thread on the pocket. “Is everything all right, madam?” she asked.
The attendant did not know Dr. Markus’s name; all of Butterfly’s members
were anonymous.
“I’ve been called away.”
“Was the companion all right?”
They reached the elevator. “He was perfect. I’d like to reschedule. But
I’ll have to call.”
“Very well, madam. Good afternoon.”
kathryn harvey
When the doors whispered closed, Linda quickly removed the black
harlequin mask from her face and folded it into her purse. She rubbed her
cheeks, in case it had left any lines there.
The elevator brought Dr. Markus down to the street level and opened
upon the brass and mahogany elegance of Fanelli, one of Beverly Hills’ most
prestigious men’s clothing stores. She hurried through to the glass doors
that opened onto Rodeo Drive and stepped into the glare of a sharp January
afternoon. Linda put on her oversized sunglasses and signaled to the parking valet. It was a beautifully clear Southern California day—a citrus-grove
kind of a day, Linda thought, and wished she had someone special to share
it with.
But there was no one, and there probably never would be. She had come
to accept that now, at age thirty-eight and after two failed marriages and
numerous unsuccessful relationships.
Although, she thought as she looked up at the plain, unassuming façade
of Butterfly, although there in fact was someone to share such a spectacular
day with . . . but she had to be at the hospital, and he had other women to
The valet brought her red Ferrari around, she tipped him generously
and joined the rushing traffic on Wilshire Boulevard. Opening her windows
and letting the crisp wind blow through her blond hair, Linda felt herself
smile, and then laugh. “I’ll be back,” she said out loud to the monstrous Beverly Hills traffic. “Come hell or high water, Butterfly. I’ll be back!”