She slammed the door shut and locked it just as the man tried opening the door. His face was only inches from the glass and he looked furious, as if he had been cheated out of a prize. He slapped his hand against the glass and Leana recoiled.

The cab wasn’t moving. Leana looked at the driver and saw that he was waiting for a break in traffic. “He’s got a gun!” she shouted. “Get me out of here!”

The cabbie looked at the man, saw the rage on his face and punched the accelerator, nearly causing an accident as he cut into traffic and raced toward Washington Square.

Leana looked out the back window. The man was on the sidewalk, his camera hanging around his neck, his arms at his side.

“I didn’t know you were in trouble,” the cabbie said. “Are you okay? Do you want me to take you to the police?”

She considered it, but thought better of it. “By the time we turn the corner, he’ll be gone.” She leaned against the cab’s torn vinyl seat. “Just drop me off at the new Redman International Building on Fifth and 49th. My car’s there.”

“I wouldn’t count on it.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You’ve gotta be kidding me.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Doesn’t anyone pay attention to the news anymore?” He spoke slowly. “This morning, three bombs exploded on top of the building.”

Leana’s face paled. Her father and sister were there today, preparing for tonight’s party. “Was anyone hurt?”

“A few people. One guy would have died if it wasn’t for Celina Redman. She saved his life.”

Leana’s jaw tightened. “How?”

“Through quick thinking, the guy on the radio said. She’s a hero.”

“What she is is a fucking bitch.”

The cabbie stopped for a red light and glanced at her in the rearview mirror, not quite sure he heard her right. “You know the Redmans, or something?”

Leana wondered again why she had been so concerned for her family’s safety. After all the times her parents ignored her, after all the times they chose Celina over herself, how could she possibly have any feelings for them besides contempt?

“No,” she said. “I don’t know them at all.”


High above Fifth Avenue, Louis Ryan sat in his corner office, his back to a wall of windows and the new Redman International Building that towered in the near distance.

He was at his desk and gazed at the frosted letters carved into the glass that covered it: Manhattan Enterprises. The company he founded thirty-one years ago was now one of the world's leading conglomerates.

Only Redman International surpassed it.

Earlier that day, Louis' private war against George Redman had begun-Leana Redman was harassed, the spotlights exploded as planned. And now, the gala opening of The Redman International Building was about to begin.

Louis looked up Fifth Avenue, toward the activity surrounding Redman International's red-carpeted entrance. Judging by the crowd of reporters and the string of limousines that snaked down the avenue, one would think that every influential man and woman in the world had come to show their support for George Redman. The fact that Louis did business with many of these men and women made him turn away in disgust.

He looked across the desk at the black-and-white photograph of his wife.

In its heavy silver frame, the photo had faded over the years since Anne's death, but her beauty shined through.

Louis studied her face and thought back to the few years they had shared together. She had been his first love, his champion and best friend. She had given him his best memories. She also had given him a son and, although he and Michael had their differences, whenever Louis saw him, he was reminded, through Michael's features alone, of his beloved Anne.

The wife George Redman robbed him of.

Louis thought about all that was coming Redman’s way. The time was now. At last, George Redman was vulnerable. When Anne died, Louis promised that both he and Michael would make Redman pay for what he had done to her. He promised to destroy George Redman, his family, the Redman empire. He would make them all feel the pain he had felt for years.

He glanced down at the front page of the Wall Street Journal. The banner headline read:


Well, that’s too bad, Louis thought.

He opened a desk drawer and reached for the latest issue of People magazine. On the cover was his son, Michael Archer, the movie star and bestselling novelist. Even as he aged, it was clear Michael inherited his looks from his mother, from the dark hair to the cobalt-blue eyes. There wasn't the slightest resemblance of himself in Michael.

As he studied his son's face, Louis wondered how Michael would react when he learned that George Redman murdered his mother. He had been only three when it happened. To save his son the pain and anger he had to endure, Louis raised Michael thinking his mother's death was an accident. But despite the tragedy that should have brought them closer together, it had driven them apart because Louis needed to devote his time to Manhattan Enterprises in an effort to secure their futures.

They never had been close. In fact, until last week, Louis hadn't seen or heard from Michael in sixteen years.

And all because of George Redman, he thought.

He put the magazine down and turned to watch the limousines inch their way down the avenue. He wondered which one his son was in. Last week, when Michael came unannounced to his office, Louis was surprised by the change in him. Michael seemed older to him in person than on film. His eyes had hardened over the years, erasing his former look of innocence. Perhaps struggling in Hollywood had been good for him. Maybe he finally had grown up.

But, of course, he hadn't.

When Michael explained the predicament he was in, that his life was in danger, Louis listened, feeling the same sense of shame and anger he felt when Michael left home for Hollywood at the age of eighteen. Even now, Louis could hear Michael asking him for help. Even now, he could see the look of surprise on Michael's face when told he would only get the help he needed if he went to the opening of Redman International and met Leana Redman.

In his father's ash-gray Lincoln limousine, Michael Archer looked through the tinted window at the glittering New York skyline and thought he’d rather be anywhere else than here.

He wasn’t happy to be back. He hated what he saw. He left this place once and hadn’t looked back until a few weeks ago, when he had no choice.

All around him was his father, from Louis' towering office and condominium complexes on Fifth to the lavish hotels he’d passed earlier on Park and Madison. Even if no one knew he was Louis’ son, the idea that his father’s ego had spread like a disease over this city embarrassed him.

It was ironic, he thought, that now he was being thrust back into a life he had once run from. More ironic, still, that his father was the only person who could help him.

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