What A Girl Wants (Harlequin Blaze)(7)

By: Jamie Sobrato



“Sometimes.”

“Hear the lady was on this morning, crazy broad that wrote that Sex Factor book?”

Jane sunk down in her seat. “Um, no?”

“Aw, you missed a good one! All these guys was calling in, giving her hell. Man alive, it was funny.”

“Hmm.” Jane kept her expression neutral, not particularly interested in implicating herself as the crazy broad in question.

“I tell you, that woman deserves what she got. Anybody write a book that claims sex is bad for you needs to be taught a lesson, if you ask me.”

She couldn’t help but ask, “What sort of lesson?”

The cabby laughed. “Aw, you know, nothing a good roll in the hay couldn’t show her.”

All the saliva evaporated from Jane’s mouth. She slid her hand into the pocket of her blazer and withdrew the card Jax had given her.

Lucas Nicoletti, Personal Security Specialist. This was her future life—self-defense lessons, a high-tech home security system and some guy named Lucas to tell her how far apart the bars on her windows should be.

Jane eyed the creepy cabby, pulled out her cell phone, and dialed the number on the card.





2




Men like to think of themselves as useful and in control. Women must decide exactly how a man can be useful in her life, and exactly how much control she will let him believe he wields.



—Jane Langston, from Chapter One of The Sex Factor





“I NEED YOUR HELP,” a low, sultry female voice said from the other end of the phone line.

“Who is this?” Luke Nicoletti asked, but received no immediate answer.

He tried to place the woman’s voice. It resonated deep in his belly and made him think of hot, slow sex on a summer night. Vaguely familiar, he couldn’t think where he’d heard it before. There was barely a hint of a Texas accent, suggesting a woman who was a transplant or who had either accidentally or purposely learned to speak without it. Having spent most of his life moving back and forth between Texas and South Florida himself, Luke knew all about losing his accent.

“Hello?” he asked, growing impatient.

The honk of a car’s horn in the background clued him in that she might be calling on a cell phone or a pay phone.

She finally spoke again. “M-my name is Jane, and I need to discuss your services with you.” A pause. “As soon as possible.”

His services? She made it sound like something clandestine, which led him to wonder who was listening in on her conversation, and what she had to be afraid of.

“Okay, Jane.” That name was obviously an alias, and not even a creative one. “Are you in any danger right now?”

“I don’t think so, no.”

“Are you at home?”

“I will be in fifteen minutes.”

Luke looked down at the calendar on his desk. The afternoon schedule was empty, because he’d set aside the time to organize files, sort through paperwork—the sort of stuff he always put off doing. But the sound of this woman’s voice instantly appealed to him, and he never could resist a damsel in distress. He knew without thinking twice that he was interested, whatever her problem might be.

“You’re in luck,” he said. “I can meet you in a half hour, if you want.”

“That would be great,” she said, breathing what sounded like a sigh of relief.

“I just have one question—how did you hear about me?”

Another pause. “My sister, Michael Bell’s fiancée, referred me to you.”

Michael Bell was Luke’s cousin and childhood playmate. He’d met the fiancée, and if this woman was anything like her sister, she was a real dingbat. But some quality of her voice told him she was different.

Luke copied down the directions to Alias Jane’s house and hung up the phone. In another ten minutes, he was out of the house and on his way to the suburban neighborhood she’d described, about a twenty-minute drive from where he lived.

When he reached her neighborhood, he consulted the directions she’d given, memorized the next three turns, and tossed the paper back onto the passenger seat.

Three stop signs later, Luke turned onto her street and started looking for house numbers. The street was lined with town houses and upscale apartments. He could tell by the assortment of luxury SUVs, Saabs and BMWs parked in the driveways that the neighborhood was probably occupied by overpaid yuppies who spent way too much money on things like balsamic vinegar and aromatic face massages.

He spotted her corner residence and turned into the driveway. Parked there was an ancient white Mercedes, probably twenty years old and in need of some TLC. He’d bet Alias Jane had inherited the car as a teenager from Daddy and never bothered to buy a new one.

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