Sylvia Chatsworth was a bitch. Unfortunately, it was one thing to suspect it about yourself and another to hear it proclaimed publicly. Trapped in a bathroom stall at the hot new San Francisco club, known paradoxically as Ice, humiliation made her chest ache. “Didn’t you hear?” hissed an eager female. Sylvia recognized the voice, the daughter of one of the honchos at First California Bank. “Rory Campbell never cared a whit about an alley cat like Sylvia; he was just using her while moving in on his future wife.” Sylvia’s bronzed skin flushed; her scarlet nails sliced crescents in her palms. Rory had been married for ages, months anyway, but these cretins couldn’t let it go. It was all she could do not to rush out and start throwing punches and pulling hair like she was in fourth grade. Back then, she’d cooled her heels in detention for fi stfi ghting when the boys said she had cooties . . . another tidbit gleaned from gossip in the girls’ room. While the women outside the stall continued throwing verbal darts, Sylvia’s vision of the elementary grades shifted to her preteen years when she had started what her Southern-bred mother called “maturing.” Ahead of the game, with well-formed breasts overflowing training bras, and ample red lips that suggested she was breaking the no-lipstick rule when she swore up and down she wasn’t . . . all earned her the ostracism of less-endowed female classmates. And late-night crying sessions she made sure no one suspected. Looking down at her strappy sandals, a match to her vermilion leather sheath, Sylvia realized the gossip wasn’t idle. One look under the stall at the distinctive footwear and her attacker had to know who was in here.