Autumn Adams never planned to follow in her mother's footsteps as Chicago's answer to Martha Stewart--she can't cook, doesn't clean, and would rather play soccer than discuss the joys of white bathtub grout. Then some lunatic starts sending her threats in the mail and Audie finds herself under the protection of simmering, sexy Detective Stacey Quinn, a man determined to examine her every nook, cranny, and ex-boyfriend in his effort to find the stalker. A disarming combination of macho cop and sweet charmer, Quinn is hard to resist. But with Audie's bad luck at finding and holding on to Mr. Right, she think it's best to keep her distance...
Quinn soon discovers that the real Audie is an alluring blend of fantasy babe and tender-hearted female all wrapped up in what he can only hope is leopard-print underwear. She's not what he's always pictured for himself, but could she be everything he'll ever need?
Digging through Audie's many layers could turn out to be the hottest, craziest, sexiest bit of detective work Quinn has ever attempted...if it doesn't kill him first.
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Susan Donovan's novels are witty, sexy, and entertaining―"brain candy for smart women," as she puts it. Her books include Not That Kind of Girl, The Night She Got Lucky and Ain't Too Proud to Beg. Susan is a former newspaper journalist with degrees from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and has worked as a reporter in Chicago, Albuquerque, and Indianapolis. Her other jobs have included fine arts fundraiser, freelance journalist, painted furniture artist, horse stall mucker, proposal writer, and aide to a U.S. Senator. Susan lives in rural Maryland with her family and dogs.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Detective Stacey Quinn stood in the shadows of the television studio and watched her. She glowed in a proper pink suit jacket that reminded him of frosting on a party cupcake. Her hands were folded primly on the desk in front of her.
That voice, however, came from a full, luscious mouth that was anything but prim and proper, and he listened to the flow of it—honey-smooth, rich, and god-awful sexy.
With those lovely lips, she spoke of the best way to remove water spots from glassware, and the detective felt his pulse quicken.
Could it be that here she was at last—the woman of his fantasies, the woman his brothers claimed could not possibly exist? Could it be that this woman under the studio lights was one part Martha Stewart to one part Carmen Electra?
“Unfortunately, the spots may be tiny pits in the glass itself.” She smiled sadly, sharing the heartbreak of scratched stemware with her fans. “So if this trick doesn’t work, then I assure you, nothing will.”
Detective Quinn swallowed hard.
With a little tilt of her head and a friendly grin, she held the camera’s gaze. “And as always, thank you, viewers, for another wonderful week of handy comments and suggestions.”
“And thank you, Helen! We’ll have more Homey Helen next Monday. Stay with us, Chicago. We’ll be right back after the break.”
The anchorwoman flashed a smile until they were off the air, then turned to her guest. “Nice segment, Audie. Good luck tonight. Who’re you playing?”
“The Sun-Times, and we’re gonna kick some serious butt, let me tell you.” She unclipped the tiny microphone from her lapel. “What time is it?”
“Crap!” She popped up from behind the long curved desk, jumped off the platform, and ran across the studio, shouting good-bye to the news anchor and crew.
The detective watched as she did a header over a cable and landed flat on her face, giving him ample opportunity to notice that Autumn Adams—“Homey Helen” to the rest of the world—wasn’t wearing a skirt with that jacket.
She wore a pair of baggy black soccer shorts, shin guards, thick socks, and cleats.
The detective looked down. OK, so maybe she wasn’t exactly the fantasy, but she’d just skidded to a stop spread-eagled, her nose at the tip of his polished tassel loafer, the soccer shorts riding up her rather extraordinary bottom.
“Watch out for that loose wire,” he whispered.
Autumn let her forehead fall to the floor and closed her eyes, pausing to gather her wits and what remained of her pride. She had a feeling she’d need both when she met the owner of that gravelly, smug voice.
“Need a hand?” He reached for her, and Autumn looked up, scanning him from the tips of his fingers, up the long arm, all the way to the green eyes sparkling with suppressed amusement.
The face was just as smug as the voice.
“No thanks.” Autumn hoisted herself up and gave an indelicate yank on her shorts. With a huff she began to walk past the man, but he placed a hand on her arm.
“Miss Adams, I’m Chicago Police Violent Crimes Detective Stacey Quinn. I believe you were expecting me.”
Autumn’s mouth fell open and she snorted. “But that’s a woman’s name! They said Stacey—I was expecting a woman!”
Detective Quinn was unfazed. “Yeah? And I expected you’d be wearing a skirt. We’ll call it even.”
She blinked at him, stunned. watching as a corner of the policeman’s mouth curled up in delight. It was completely involuntary, but she smiled back.
“OK. Mister Detective Stacey.” she said. laughing. “You get twenty minutes, but you have to take a ride with me because I’m late. Can you drive a stick?”
Detective Quinn followed the pink suit jacket through the lobby of the WBBS-TV station. but his eyes were riveted to the woman beneath it. Two parts of her, to be exact: the nape of Autumn Adams’s slender neck, where delicate question-mark curls clung to the damp skin under a neat twist of hair, and the identical globes of her butt, swooshing full and firm beneath the soccer shorts.
They walked through the double glass doors, out onto the sidewalk, and into the sweltering parking lot. She suddenly turned to him. and Stacey Quinn got his first real close look at her face.
She looked like she would be nice to touch. Silky. Her hair and her eyes were the exact same shade of rich brown—smooth like milk chocolate or coffee with cream. Her skin was a dark peach, and those lips—Holy God, those lips!—they looked plump and juicy and he bet they tasted like some kind of rich, sweet fruit.
The little pink jacket didn’t suit her at all, he decided. She should be in leopard print underwear. In his bed. To hell with spotted stemware.
“Here. Drive.” Autumn tossed him the keys while she grabbed a gym bag from the trunk of the Porsche convertible. “Lakeview High School, Irving Park, and—”
“I know where it is.” He got behind the wheel. “But why am I driving?”
Autumn plopped down in the passenger side and smiled at him. “Don’t you want to drive my Porsche? I was under the impression that all men like Porsches.”
He turned the ignition and felt the sports car rip and rumble to life beneath him. As he pulled onto Walton Street, he retrieved his shades from inside his sport coat and slipped them on one-handed.
“I didn’t say I minded driving, Miss Adams. I just asked why.”
Autumn shrugged indifferently. “I need to change my shirt in the car.”
She began pulling pins from her chic French twist and tossed them one-by-one into the ashtray. She used her fingers to ruffle up her shoulder-length waves.
Next, Autumn Adams yanked off her pink suit jacket, wadded it into a ball, and shoved it under the car seat.
Quinn laughed as he turned north onto Lake Shore Drive. “I hope you got a secret way to get wrinkles out of linen.”
“As a matter of fact, I do. It’s called the dry cleaner.” Autumn leaned her head back and turned her face to the evening sun. “God, I love Chicago in the summer. Don’t you?” She was in the middle of a long sigh when she suddenly shot him a suspicious glance. “Hey, how did you know it was linen?”
“I notice things.”
She’d noticed a few things herself—like how Detective Quinn didn’t talk much or fidget at all. She got the feeling he was saving up for later—for what, she had no idea.
Autumn ran her fingers through her hair and let her arms rise above her in the wind, her sleeveless white blouse rippling around her ribs. She always seemed to be rushing somewhere. There was never enough time just to be—like this—the sun on her face and the air on her skin.
She sighed deeply and pulled the blouse up over her head.
It was safe to say that when he woke up that morning, Stacey Quinn never imagined he’d be behind the wheel of a Porsche convertible while a gorgeous. rich, and famous woman stripped to a sports bra in the seat next to him. That’s what he liked about this job. Quinn thought—something different every day.
He risked a quick glance at her. “I could arrest you for indecent exposure.”
Her face opened up in laughter just as she pulled a soccer jersey down over her head, and her chuckle was muffled by the red mesh fabric.
“Please, Detective. More of me is on display every time I go to Oak Street Beach.” She abruptly thrust out her hips to tuck in the shirt, then reached down to adjust her shin guards. “Go ahead and ask your questions, Mister Stacey. I’ve only got a couple minutes.”
Quinn was wondering how he’d manage to get out to Oak Street Beach more often when he saw her bend and twist in her seat again. Now what? Didn’t the woman sit still for a second?
She surfaced with an elastic band and haphazardly bunched and twirled her thick hair into a heap at the back of her head. Those little damp curls appeared on her neck again, and he had to turn away.
“I read all of the letters you dropped off, Miss Adams. Sixteen notes in all, beginning last summer, right?”
“Unless I got another one today. I haven’t been to the office to check my mail.” Autumn crossed her arms over her chest and looked out at the calm summer-blue water of Lake Michigan.
“All were sent to your office on Chestnut Street, is that correct?”
“Right—which I don’t make public. I tell readers to write in care of the Banner.” Autumn jolted up again and rooted around in the gym bag at her feet. She produced a little pot of lip balm and dipped her finger inside. With eyes heavy-lidded in concentration, she ran a slick pinkie over lips that formed a perfect O of wet, soft flesh.
Quinn couldn’t watch. His chest hurt. “And you reported that before the letters there were other incidents? Slashed tires, the delivery of dead flowers?”
“Yep. Dead roses. Creepy. It started right after my mom died last spring.”
“And you have no idea who is doing this to you?”
She tossed the lip balm into the gym bag and gave him a sassy shake of her head. “That’s your job, isn’t it? I tell people about one hundred and one uses for dryer lint. You solve crimes.”
The dark cop sunglasses hid his expression, but Autumn could see his face strain to suppress an outright smile.
“You know, Miss Adams, you’re not exactly what I expected.”
She groaned. She’d heard that one before.
Wrigley Field now loomed over them and Autumn turned...
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Buchbeschreibung St Martins Pr, 01.11.2002., 2002. Buchzustand: Sehr gut. Auflage: St Martin's PB.. 320 Seiten kleine Lagerspuren am Buch, Inhalt einwandfrei und ungelesen 423861 Sprache: Englisch Gewicht in Gramm: 185 17,0 x 10,4 x 2,8 cm, Taschenbuch. Artikel-Nr. 139876