July 15, 1878
“Well, if it isn’t ‘Diamond Lil’ Marcone.” Hearing a name that she had more or less left behind when she married Nathaniel Morgan pulled Lillian from her quiet daydreams as she watched midwestern wheatfields roll by out the train window.
She turned to face the clean-cut man standing in the aisleway. She had met him before, but it was some time ago. If memory served, he had brothers and the three of them were loosely associated with Mina Devlin. “A pleasure to see you again Mr. …”
“Mayfair, Davion Mayfair.” The man flashed Lillian a winning smile.
“That’s right, Mr. Mayfair. But I prefer my married name now, Lillian Morgan.”
Davion considered this for a moment, “As in Nathaniel Morgan? The one with that big ranch out west?”
“The very same. Nathaniel is my recently departed husband.”
“I’m sorry to hear of your loss. My brother recently died during the freak storm that swept through California. That was the area you and your husband were in, correct?”
“Yes, the Gomorra Valley, but Nathan passed before that.” Lillian made a small dismissive gesture, Davion picked up that she didn’t care to discuss further.
“So what brings you back east?”
“A few meetings and a paternity claim,” Lillian realized that she sounded more weary than she intended.
“Well, if you get the chance you should pay a visit to Mina.” Davion’s tone darkened suddenly. “I know she doesn’t like it when her contacts stop responding to her telegrams. And she especially didn’t like asking me to track you down.”
Lillian was speechless for a moment, steadying herself before responding. “I will take that under advisement.”
“You do that, ‘Lil,’ ” he whispered. “You may be sole proprietor of the most prized beef in America … but don’t ever forget how you got there.” Davion gave her a charming grin and walked away slowly.
Lillian was reminded of a line from Shakespeare. A rose by another name… She could never escape who she had been, but nothing could stop who she was going to become.