It had been at the Magnolia Falls College reunion last summer when he'd first seen her again. She was standing out on the veranda, leaning over the stone banister, looking down on the grounds of Mossy Oak Inn's expansive gardens. Her dress was a shimmering white, sleeveless and flowing, the long skirt petaled out around her like the magnolia blossoms glistening in the trees just beyond the stone terrace. She had her hair pulled up, the light-brown curls cascading around a sparkling jeweled hair clasp. Parker could almost smell her perfume, even though he stood across the elegant dining room near the staircase. Should he go and say hi to Kate? No, he thought, bitterness cloaking him, making him shrink back against the staircase. He looked down at the pearl-handled cane resting in the crook of his arm, the glimmer of the marbled white mother-of-pearl contrasting sharply with the jet black of his tailor-made tuxedo. No, he couldn't go and speak to Kate. He'd rather stand here longing, remembering how he'd sat behind her in advanced economics class their senior year of college, drawing sketches of her. He'd almost failed that class, simply because he spent most of his time with his eyes closed, enjoying the gardenia scent of Kate's perfume. And when his eyes were open, well, that was a different matter. He'd seen a lot; but no one had seemed to notice him back then. It was as if he'd been invisible. But not to Kate, never to pretty Kathleen Brooks--now Kathleen Sinclair. Kate always had a smile for everyone. Even a nobody like Parker Buchanan. And now he was rich and famous and everyone noticed him to the point of being intrusive, which was why he'd almost skipped tonight. Except, he wanted to see Kate again. He wanted to see that pretty smile. He wanted to close his eyes and remember that smile. A hand on his arm stopped him. "Parker?" Parker turned to find an elegant blonde grinning at him. "Stephanie?" Steff Kessler's grin turned into a becoming smile as she brushed back her bobbed hair. "Yes, it's me. Parker, I'm so glad you changed your mind and decided to come tonight. How are you?" Parker took the hand she offered, glad to see a familiar face even if he and Stephanie Kessler hadn't been very close in college. "I'm okay. A bit nervous, I guess." Steff nodded, seeming just as awkward as he felt. "Well, so am I, only because I want this night to be perfect. But I guess you're nervous because you might be afraid of too many adoring fans, right? Since you've been back in Magnolia Falls, I've heard only good things about your success." She leaned close and whispered, "In case you don't know this, you have a certain reputation--you're rumored to be a bit of a recluse." Parker looked at the woman out on the terrace. He didn't listen to rumors. "Yeah, you could say that. Work keeps me busy." Steff glanced toward where Parker was looking. "Well, from what I hear, kids love your comic books." She let out a dainty sigh. "What's that like, writing about superheroes all the time?" Parker tore his gaze away from Kate. "It pays the rent." "In a big way apparently," she replied, grinning again. "We all thought it was so great when you bought Magnolia Hall." "I just always liked the house," Parker replied with a shrug, reluctant to discuss his wealth or his personal life. What did it matter? He was still all alone. Telling himself he liked things that way, he turned to face Steff again. "I think I'll go find something to drink." Steff nodded. "Please do. We have freshly squeezed lemonade and anything else you might want to drink. And get something to eat, too. I don't want all this food to go to waste." Then she glanced around. "And I'd better get back to making sure things are running smoothly. I can't wait to see the old gang again." "I suppose that's the plan," Parker responded. "After you." He didn't miss the way Steff glanced at his cane. So he saved her the embarrassment of askingWorth, Lenora is the author of 'A Face in the Shadows' with ISBN 9780373442904 and ISBN 0373442904.