The Big Heat [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Jennifer LaBrecque
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: This big, bad bounty hunter can handle anything. Or can he? Cade Stone can't believe Sunny Templeton. How did one sexy woman manage to get into so much trouble? Okay, so maybe she tried to take out a politician with her car. Who wouldn't do the same thing? But now it's landed her in jail, and the local media is out for blood. He's got to help her. That's just the kind of guy he is... Sunny thinks being in the slammer is bad ... until she's bailed out by tall, dark and dangerous Cade Stone. The bounty hunter has starred in her nightly fantasies for weeks--and now he's offering to take her home? He might call it "protective custody," but for Sunny, it's an invitation to see if this bad man is as good as she thinks he is...
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Blaze
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2007
4 Reader Ratings:
"SUNNY TEMPLETON needs a decent man," Marlene announced as Cade Stone stepped through the door of AA Atco Bail Bond.
The office manager pinned him with a speculative look, causing Cade to consider turning around and walking right back out. He had no interest in being slotted into the decent man role, even if it was Sunny Templeton. His brother, Linc, had fallen into that trap and he'd wound up engaged. Not just no, but hell no.
Cade tracked down FTAs—failures to appear—those folks who decided, for whatever reason, to skip their court dates. Once he found them, he hauled them back to jail. They weren't always nice and they were never glad to see him. But if he could handle them, he could certainly handle Marlene…even if she was in matchmaking mode. The glass door finally swung shut behind him, muffling the noise of Memphis traffic along Poplar Street.
"Perfect timing," Linc said with a smirk from where he stood propped in his office doorway.
"Don't look at me," Cade said. "I don't have a decent bone in my body."
"Ha! You've got more decency in your little finger than some people have in their entire body," Marlene said. "Have you seen this?" She waved a flyer at him.
"It's Cecil. He's playing dirty." Linc nodded toward the flyer, looking uncharacteristically sheepish. He held up his hand. "I know. I got us into it and it was a bad idea."
The hair on the back of Cade's neck stood up at the mention of Cecil Meeks, incumbent city council member. Cade possessed excellent people instincts and those instincts had not been happy when he met Cecil. Unfortunately, he hadn't met the man until after Linc had cut a deal to endorse the city councilman in his reelection campaign.
When competition in the form of True Blue American Bail Bonds had moved in down the street, AAAtco's business had taken a sizeable hit. Linc's fiancée, Georgia, had suggested billboard ads featuring Linc and Cade. According to Georgia, they were hot, good-looking guys, and it didn't hurt that they'd brought in top dollar at a bachelor charity auction they'd been roped into the year before last.
Since it was mostly women bailing men out of jail, it didn't take a rocket scientist to follow her reasoning. Unfortunately, with business down, they didn't have the money to buy the billboard space…and that was where Meeks came in.
Cecil Meeks was a media whore whose face was everywhere. And while AA Atco wasn't looking at the political side of it, they definitely needed the exposure. A couple of cable-TV ads and four huge billboards that caught commuter traffic later, they'd gotten it. There had definitely been a change in their bottom line thanks to the publicity. But Cade hadn't liked Cecil from the minute he'd met him. There hadn't been anything specific, just a general dislike and mistrust.
So, Linc's announcement that Cecil was playing dirty didn't surprise Cade in the least.
Unlike Cecil, though, Marlene was good people. She'd been a classy addition to AA Atco when she'd taken on the job of office manager six months prior, following her husband's midlife crisis with a Vegas showgirl and their subsequent divorce.
"Just take a look at this," Marlene said, bristling with outrage.
Cade took the offered sheet of paper. Ever since they'd done the ads with Cecil, Cade had followed the city council race and the candidates. Sunny Templeton had an impressive record. She'd brought a lot of energy and good ideas to the various committees she'd served on in the past couple of years and was campaigning on the same. As of yesterday she'd pulled slightly ahead of Cecil in the polls.
A red banner across the top of the flyer shouted, "Do you want this party girl for city council?" The rest was obviously a page lifted directly from a singles' Web site. A quarter-page picture of a blonde in a bikini holding what appeared to be a mixed drink in her hand smiled at the camera with the most startling, amazing eyes.
At that moment, Cade felt as if he'd just been jolted with a stun gun, the impact ricocheting through him all the way to the soles of his feet in his black flak boots. It was as if she stared straight into him, through him. And every protective instinct he possessed—and that was more than a few—was roused.
"Where'd you get this?" he asked, putting the flyer back on Marlene's desk.
Linc pushed away from the doorjamb. "I met Georgia at the mall during her lunch hour to look at china patterns—"
"China patterns? You were looking at dishes?" Cade stared at Linc. A month ago, the man would've gouged out his eyes before he went to look at china patterns.
Linc shrugged nonchalantly. "Hey, if it makes Georgia happy…"
That his brother had been reduced to this was just…sad. Cade was at a loss. His siblings were obviously losing their respective minds. In the span of three months both his sister, Gracie, and Linc had gotten engaged. The office had become damn wedding central.
Lately, too, he'd caught Gracie and Marlene looking at him like his single status was a problem to be solved. No, thanks. He'd stick with the dating rule they'd picked up from their father. Keep it light, keep it simple and never date a woman for more than four weeks.
It wasn't the wedding part that was so bad, but the falling in love business. Gracie he could almost understand, she'd only been eight when their mother died. But he didn't know what the hell had happened to Linc. Linc knew better. He'd been twelve, old enough. He'd seen the way their father had been crushed when their mother died in a car accident. If Cade hadn't stepped up to the plate, God knows what would've happened to them while Martin spent three months buried in a bottle. It'd been a harsh lesson that love could damn near destroy you and Cade had tried his best to watch out for Gracie and Linc over the years. All he could do now was shake his head over Linc doing something as stupid as falling in love. He worried about both of them leaving themselves so vulnerable.
Copyright © 2007 by Jennifer LaBrecque.