The Cop [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Cara Summers
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Off-duty detective Nik Angelis is the first on the scene at a wedding gone very, very wrong. The only witness is the caterer, a fiery redhead named J. C. Riley, who's eager to make her statement. So eager, in fact, Nik can't help thinking of other things she could do with her mouth--Sassy, smart-mouthed J.C. is in serious danger, and she knows it. She needs Nik's protection. But what she wants is his rock-hard body. Nik aims to be professional, but "Bodyguard with Benefits"? A man can take only so much....
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Blaze
Fictionwise Release Date: July 2007
17 Reader Ratings:
THE ANGRY SHOUTS began just as J.C. Riley was finessing the bride into the spun sugar gazebo on the top of the wedding cake. Startled by the raised voices, she dropped the figurine, then watched in horror as it ricocheted off a pink butter-cream rose and nose-dived to the floor.
Dammit! She'd spent five full minutes fashioning that rose. Not only was the flower ruined, but the little plastic bride now wore a pink veil. As she stooped to pick it up, the shouting grew louder and J.C. heard a loud thump. Years of experience growing up with four brothers told her that it was the sound of a body crashing into a wall.
A door slammed. More thumping followed, punctuated by muffled grunts.
Maybe she ought to think about rescuing the real bride. Striding to the door of the rectory dining room, she peered down the hall to the covered walkway that connected Father Mike's residence to St. Peter's Church. The door to the church sacristy was shut. Strange—it had been open when she'd brought the cake in from her van.
So far, the whole wedding had been strange. Father Mike had ordered cake and champagne for five people—the bride and groom, two witnesses and himself. That made it the smallest wedding that J.C. had catered at St. Peter's, and the first one where she'd yet to meet either the bride or the groom. Father Mike hadn't even given her their last names. He'd called them by their first names only once—Juliana and Paulo. Then he'd seemed upset that he'd let the names slip and had asked her not to mention them. A very secret wedding, he'd explained. If word got out, there could be…consequences.
Maybe that was what was going on now in the sacristy—consequences. She glanced back at the table she'd just finished arranging. The cake—now minus a rose and a bride—was in the center. An arrangement of white flowers flanked it on one side, along with linen napkins, crystal plates and silver forks. At the other end, candlelight flickered off of a silver bucket and champagne flutes. Scattered along the whole length of the table were little bowls of sugar-coated almonds.
Moving to them, J.C. popped an almond into her mouth. She'd made them, adding a chocolate layer just to please herself. She always got so hungry when she was nervous.
None of her business. Besides, she had to get the plastic bride into the gazebo. She figured Father Mike had been talked into marrying a pair of minor celebrities. With all the reality and become-a-star TV shows, fifteen-minutes-of-fame people were popping up all over the place. Father Mike had become a minor celebrity himself. A few months back the Sunday paper had run a feature article on the hip priest who'd turned St. Peter's into a very popular church for young people in the area who wanted to get married. Since then, St. Peter's had become the "in" place to have your wedding—which was working out very well for her fledgling catering business.
J.C. glanced at the door, then popped another almond into her mouth. The extreme secrecy of tonight's wedding reminded her a bit of Romeo and Juliet. So did the continuing sounds of a fight in the sacristy. Hadn't it been a stupid fight that had spun events out of control for Shakespeare's lovers?
Enough. J.C. strode through the door of the dining room and down the hall. Someone had to do something, and she had more than a little experience in breaking up fights. The sacristy was a small room, about the size of a boxing ring, but it was certainly not meant to be used that way. Most of the space in the room was taken up with cupboards, the largest of which stored Father Mike's vestments. Whoever was rolling around in there on the floor ought to be ashamed of themselves. They were probably scaring the bride to death.
Stepping into the covered walkway, she picked up her pace. She'd caught a glimpse of the young bride and a woman who was probably her maid of honor when a taxi had dropped them off in the parking lot about ten minutes ago. Five minutes later, when she'd been unloading the champagne and the flutes, the groom had arrived with his driver. At least she figured the younger man was the groom and the big, burly man who'd driven the car was some kind of a chauffeur. But he'd looked more like a bodyguard.
If the happy couple were celebrities, J.C. hadn't recognized them. Of course, they were young, and she didn't think she was up-to-date on all the latest tween and teen idols.
The only one who'd seemed familiar was the man who'd arrived alone just moments ago. She'd figured him for the best man. He was tall and good-looking, probably in his late twenties or early thirties, and she was sure she'd seen him before.
She was halfway across the walkway that joined the rectory to the church when there was another thump and a cry. "Roman! No!"
A gunshot sounded. Another.
J.C. stopped in her tracks, her heart beating frantically in her throat.
"Get out of here! Now!" shouted another voice.
Two male voices. And the name Roman had jogged an elusive memory into place. The man who'd seemed familiar was Roman Oliver, whose family had been loyal supporters of her father during his last two campaigns for mayor of San Francisco. The Oliver family had also been in the news lately because of some big land deal they were competing for.
Was it Roman Oliver who'd just fired those shots? Where was the bride? And Father Mike? Grabbing her cell phone out of her pocket, she punched 911 as she raced toward the sacristy door.
Copyright © 2007 by Carolyn Hanlon.