A Taste of Temptation [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Carrie Alexander
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: After a mysterious lust potion works its sexy magic on her pals, gossip columnist Zoe Aberdeen wants to know the story behind it. Could the potion be the real thing, or just a hoax? When she asks her neighbor Donovan Shane for help, he's not interested. He's a crime scientist---he's interested only in solving real mysteries, not some weird mojo! But Zoe doesn't like to take no for an answer, and what Zoe wants, Zoe gets. So she decides to "persuade" Shane in her own special way, and soon he's testing the potion and acting out his every fantasy with the sassy redhead...
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Blaze
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2006
4 Reader Ratings:
WHILE THE NEWSROOM BUZZED, clattered and even swirled around her, Zoe Aberdeen sat at her desk with her head in her hands. Her chin was three inches above the oversize calendar blotter she used as backup to her BlackBerry and spiral-bound notebook. If she didn't pull herself together, she'd drool on December ninth, where she'd written Caballero y Salsa @ La Casa in red marker. With two exclamation points.
"Need some hair of the dog?" asked a sympathetic British voice from behind her.
Zoe didn't swivel. Even shaking her head was too daunting to attempt. Her pickled brain would slosh around in her skull like the jar of dills that had sat at the back of her fridge for two years, ever since she'd settled in San Diego.
"Mmmph." She sucked her lower lip. "Got champagne?"
"There's no sense checking the kitchen. We only have hazelnut creamer and Red Bull." The rasp of Ethan Ramsey rubbing his jaw magnified to sandpaper on wood in Zoe's ears. "I can try to get a mimosa from Zanzibar."
"Good luck," Zoe mumbled. The local bar and grill delivered, but not alcohol and not so early in the day.
"Drinking on the job will get you fired," said another familiar voice. A concerned Kathryn Walters peeked over the edge of one of the cork-lined partitions that enclosed the colorfully decorated cubicle. At five eleven, she didn't have to stand on her toes to do it.
Zoe squinted to lessen the riotous glare of her dance club invitations, glitter-encrusted fairy wand and pink straw cowboy hat. "Never mind that drinking is my job."
She exaggerated. A major component of her work as a gossip columnist for the San Diego Times was to attend every club opening, charity ball and yacht launching that floated down the pipe. Despite her reputation as the Times columnist most likely to dance on tabletops, she tried to be mindful of overimbibing at the affairs she attended in a professional capacity. Even when she was off the clock and out with her friends, her high spirits didn't come from alcohol. Not completely.
The past night had been something else altogether….
"Where were you last night?" Kathryn asked.
"A very select holiday benefit for the symphony. They decorated with gold-leaf branches and twinkle lights and served the most expensive, delicious champagne I've ever tasted. But the evening was so dull, I—" Zoe stopped and swallowed the sour taste in her mouth. After she'd made notes about the chichi guest list and the dazzling decor, she'd had nothing left to do at the zero-exclamation-point-worthy soiree. Other than fend off questions from a pair of transplanted Bostonians who had known Zoe's family when they were prominent, accomplished and alive.
She pried her tongue off the roof of her mouth. "I overindulged."
"Clearly." Kathryn's voice was crisp.
"I can get you a headache remedy," Ethan said as he stepped into the cubicle. He was the Times' top crime reporter, a raffish Englishman who hadn't lost his taste for Inspector Dalgliesh and MI-5 despite an intense working knowledge of the somewhat less urbane San Diego legal and penal systems.
"Thanks, but I already popped a couple of pills." Zoe wagged a finger toward the variety of cure-alls she kept at hand in a brandy snifter on her desk. M&M's and breath mints mixed with one-dose packets of ibuprofen and NoDoz.
Kathryn sent a look toward Ethan. "What kind of pills?"
Zoe's eyeballs rolled. Luckily they kept to their sockets. "Strictly over-the-counter, if that's what you're thinking."
Kathryn's reputation was as arrow-straight as Zoe's was loosey-goosey. That is, until the buttoned-up book editor had reviewed an erotic thriller, fiddled with a counterfeit lust potion and gained the attention—to say the least—of Coyote Sullivan, a former coworker so overtly and indecently sexy that he could unsnap women's bras with merely a look.
Zoe's smile made her head wobble. Coyote was almost worth wearing a bra for. Lucky Kathryn.
"Steady on, Zoe," Ethan said. "Keep your profile low for the next few hours. Barbie—" Barbara Bitterman, their managing editor "—is on the warpath, looking for chinks in the staff's armor."
"If you can hold out, we'll treat you to lunch," offered Kathryn. "Food will help."
"Lunch seems a lifetime away." Zoe took a deep breath. With an effort, she shifted her head, balancing it very carefully until the room stopped whirling.
"But I will survive," she added, wincing inside at the retro familiarity of the phrase. She'd been to too many discos and experienced too much loss for one lifetime. Barbara Bitterman was only a mosquito of annoyance in the dark, tangled jungle of Zoe's psyche.
Nine years ago, Zoe's parents and older brother had been killed in a car accident on the way to her college graduation ceremony. She'd been twenty, on the verge of becoming a newly minted magna cum laude with a master's degree in comparative literature, destined to fulfill her Aberdeen destiny. At the funeral, she'd been told by an endless stream of intellectuals and potentates that she must survive—and thrive—to carry on the esteemed family name.
Afterward, when the shock wore off, Zoe had realized that she no longer wished to live a life of duty and boredom. Instead she'd abandoned the education that had meant so much to her parents, seized control of her trust fund and struck out on a series of desperately madcap jet-set adventures heretofore unknown to the stodgy, intellectual, old-money Aberdeen clan.
"Of course you'll survive," Kathryn soothed.
Zoe plastered on a carefree smile. "Yep. If I can live through a surfeit of yacht parties in Ibiza, ski trips to Aspen and Christmas holidays at a Thai beach resort, I can make it through one measly hangover."
Copyright © 2006 by Carrie Antilla.