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Evelyn snapped open her purse and withdrew a photograph. It was of a handsome man in his midtwenties. She handed it to Nick.

"His name's Matthew."

"Your husband?" Nick asked.

"Brother. He was captured by the Nazis seven months ago."

Nick felt an unwelcome relief at the word "brother."

"I said he was captured. Not killed. There are two ways my brother is coming home. One is if we find him and put him on a plane to the States. The other is if we end this war as soon as humanly possible. The first is my reason for going into the field. The second is the reason I'm willing to follow orders. Any other questions?"

"I can't protect you out there. When it comes to a choice between you and the mission, I'll save the mission."

Though he didn't know it at the time, it was the first of many lies he told himself when it came to Evelyn Bishop.

"Make you a deal," she said. "If you can get me in a hold I can't break, I'll walk out of this office and you'll never see me again."

"I don't want to hurt you," Nick said.

"You won't."

Tentatively Nick stepped up behind her and wrapped his arm around her neck.

"That the best you got?"

He pulled her close until she was pressed against him. "Better?" he asked.

She pulled his thumb back at the same time she brought her heel down on his instep. With her other arm, she rammed her elbow into his sternum and he bent over in pain, releasing her. There was a knock on the door and General Gibson entered. He glanced at Nick, catching his breath, and then at Evelyn, who still looked impeccable.

"Getting acquainted?" General Gibson asked.

"I think this'll work out just fine," Evelyn said brightly.

"What's the worst that can happen?" Nick asked, resigned.

The worst was that in their three years of working together, he fell in love. Heart and soul, body and mind. All of it was hers.

Los Angeles, 1948

At first glance, Nick looked the same as when Evelyn last saw him. The frequently broken nose tilted at a familiar angle and his broad shoulders still made him seem taller than six feet. Upon closer inspection, his eyes were shadowed with exhaustion and the edges of his mouth were set in rigid lines. His clothes were shabby, as if the effort of laundry eluded him. This was closer to the man she found at 70 Grosvenor all those years ago than the one she remembered at the end of the war.

"I see you haven't lost a step," Nick said.

"It's been two and a half years."

"Two years, eight months, and seventeen days."

"I can't do this," she said, slipping back into her shoes. Pushing past him, she threw open the door to Ciro's.

Nick followed her. "Evie, wait!"

"You should know better than to chase women down alleys at night."

"I didn't think you'd stop for me."

"I wouldn't have," she said.

Nick grabbed her arm and wheeled her around. The darkness of the hallway shielded them from the main room. Behind them, couples danced and the band played Louis Armstrong. It felt like forever since they danced together at the USO, him pressed against her, their breath in harmony. She remembered looking into his eyes and feeling like she could see the whole trajectory of her life.

Now the air between them was irrevocably changed.

"I didn't know you were back in Los Angeles," she said.

"Carl got me a job at the LAPD."

Evelyn raised her eyebrows in surprise. The three of them served together during the war, often behind enemy lines. Risking death on a regular basis meant trusting each other and being vulnerable in a way they had never been before, nor would ever likely be again. It made them family. When Evelyn came home to Los Angeles, feeling like an exposed nerve, Carl was the first person she looked up. Late at night, when neither could sleep, they went out for drinks and talked about the old times. It was too painful to ask about Nick, and Carl never volunteered information. Yet, somehow, she thought she would have known if Nick was here.

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