Heat Wave [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Stephanie Bond & Leslie Kelly & Heidi Betts
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: A little con.... Investigator Lucy Bell is looking for a runaway groom. Fortunately, the almost-best-man (who's tastier than a double chocolate cheesecake) likely knows where he is. All Lucy needs is a little deception--and a whole lot of hot 'n' sweaty persuasion! A little magic.... Single mom Allie Cavanaugh has played nice with others for too long. Then Allie finds herself kissing a powerfully magnetic hypnotist at a carnival--in front of an audience! Sure, maybe she's mesmerized, or maybe the 'real' Allie is finally waking up.... And a little late-night mischief!.... Abby Weaver abandons the cool haven of her pharmaceutical basement for a girls-only week of sun, sand and fruity drinks. That was the plan--until Abby finds herself going solo. But the beach is a funny place--you never know just what (or who!) will wash up onshore....
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Special Edition
Fictionwise Release Date: July 2007
6 Reader Ratings:
"NO, I'M NOT there yet." Lucinda Belvedere winced into her cell phone, wryly noting how much her phone conversation with her client, Eugenia Sampson, resembled her pillow talk with her last bed partner.
"Where in Florida are you?" Eugenia asked.
"I'm just leaving Fort Myers, so I'll be on Captiva Island within the hour. The weather's nice." Lucinda glanced up at the postcard-perfect sky, wishing she could have afforded to rent a convertible for this surveillance job. But a private investigator had to be prepared to live in her vehicle. Her five-year-old mini SUV, with a nondescript beigy gold paint job, allowed her to blend in with traffic, while offering plenty of space for storing clothes, wigs and other props—and for sleeping on the air mattress she kept in the floorboard for emergencies. Besides, a car rental would eat a big hole in her profit…and she didn't plan to be here long enough to enjoy the weather.
"It's raining here in Orlando," Eugenia said morosely.
Granted, the woman had a right to be morose—her bridegroom had left her at the altar three weeks ago and had since disappeared into thin air. Lucinda had tracked missing girlfriends, wives, boyfriends and husbands countless times, but runaway groom Michael Gaines had proved to be elusive. When she'd discovered that his best man, Rex McCormick, owned a second home on Captiva Island, she'd decided to see if Gaines was hiding out there.
"Cheer up," Lucinda said. "Maybe I'll have news for you soon."
Eugenia made a disparaging noise. "If you see Michael, will you shoot him?"
Lucinda laughed. "Only with a camera."
"Oh, come on, I know you have a pistol."
"Only for protection and emergencies."
"This is an emergency, Lucinda. I can't get on with my life until I know why Michael did what he did. And Rex McCormick told me he doesn't know where Michael is. If he's lying, you can shoot him, too."
"I will," Lucinda promised in mock solemnity. "And if Michael isn't visiting his friend, then I'll figure out a way to get Mr. McCormick to tell me what he knows."
"Good luck. You'll have to hypnotize Rex to get him to tell you where his lousy best friend has slunk off to."
"You leave that to me," Lucinda said in her most assuring voice.
Eugenia made a disparaging noise. "To be honest, Lucinda, I'm not just mad…I'm worried, too. Michael has a tendency to party too much. What if he was in an accident and is lying somewhere in a coma?"
"Eugenia," Lucinda said gently, "the first check I ran was on John Does in area hospitals and morgues."
"I know," Eugenia moaned. "But I can hope, can't I?"
Lucinda pursed her mouth—in her experience, there were no limits to how far a lovesick person would go to justify another person's disappearance. "Just keep thinking good thoughts, Eugenia, okay? By the way, do you know what kind of women McCormick likes?"
"Michael said once that Rex has a thing for redheads, if that's what you mean."
"Thanks. I'll check in as soon as I have anything to report."
She disconnected the call and shook her head. Why Eugenia wanted to spend so much money to track down a man who didn't want to marry her, Lucinda didn't know. In hindsight, she wished that she or her ex-husband had had the courage to flee their wedding—it would've saved them two years of grief and a heap of legal fees. The only thing that Lucinda had gotten out of the short, ill-fated marriage was discovering that she had a flair for investigating. The pictures that she'd taken of her ex cheating were still legendary in the county court system where she'd filed for divorce.
As she entered Captiva Island and located the high-rise in which she'd booked a one-bedroom condo, Lucinda focused her thoughts on one Rex McCormick, mentally reviewing the details in his file. The man was a land developer in Atlanta and had appeared on Most Eligible Bachelors Under 40 lists in a couple of magazines. His pet cause was the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on nearby Sanibel Island. And he spent most weekends at his beachfront home here in Captiva.
Was he also harboring a wedding fugitive?
Before checking into the rental unit, Lucinda asked to tour it alone, barely registering the brightly hued decor as she walked through the small living area and out onto the covered balcony that offered a northwesterly view. She removed binoculars from her purse and scanned until she located a modern three-story blue-gray house that was mostly glass and clearly afforded its occupant a spectacular view. Thank heavens for Internet aerial maps.
Lucinda whistled low under her breath. Rex McCormick was pulling down some serious jack to afford that kind of a spread on one of the most expensive stretches of land in the continental United States.
As she watched, a man dressed in dark swim trunks and holding a longneck beer walked out onto the uppermost balcony to the edge of the railing and turned his attention to the expanse of the Gulf of Mexico that was the house's front yard. Her pulse skipped higher. Rex McCormick was taller and bulkier than his picture had led her to believe, and he carried his athletic body in a way that told her he spent less time behind a desk than she imagined a land developer would.
The tip of her tongue slid out to whisk away the salty perspiration on her upper lip. The intense heat of south Florida in July was getting to her, but better the heat than the man who was her target—she couldn't afford any mental distractions. It was a good thing that she was immune to the charms of charmers.
Copyright © 2007 by Stephanie Bond Hauck.