What A Girl Wants (Harlequin Blaze)(8)

By: Jamie Sobrato



Luke eyed the windows, the entry and the access to the rear of the town house. Securitywise, prefab places like this were usually in poor shape, with cheap alarm systems slapped in as a selling point. No doubt he could help, if he chose to take the case.

He rang the doorbell, and moments later he spotted the movement of curtains in the front window, and then a woman asked, “Who is it?” from the other side of the door.

“Luke Nicoletti, the security specialist you called.”

A dead bolt clicked, and the door opened.

There stood a woman of average height, with a wild mop of chestnut curls draping her shoulders, and intelligent brown eyes. She was pretty in a nondescript sort of way, with even features and a nice figure as far as he could tell. The sort of woman who could be prettied up or uglied down without too much effort, but left alone she could blend into the crowd. That was definitely a plus for security.

“Mr. Nicoletti, thank you for coming on such short notice.” She stepped aside and let him in.

“No problem.” The inside of the apartment was dark from drawn curtains. The scent of a fruity-smelling candle burning nearby gave the place a sense of hominess, but when Luke’s eyes adjusted to the dark, he could see that the walls were empty and several moving boxes littered the entryway.

“Moving somewhere?” he asked.

“Actually I’ve just moved in but haven’t finished unpacking. Can I get you a drink?”

“Water, please.”

“Have a seat in the living room and I’ll be right in.”

Luke stepped into the room she’d indicated and surveyed his surroundings. Plush butter-yellow leather sofas and mahogany tables so new he expected to see tags hanging from them, stacks of books everywhere, and half-filled bookshelves were more evidence of her settling-in efforts. And judging from the high quality of the furniture, he’d guess she’d also just come into some money.

Her footsteps sounded on the wood floors as she came down the hallway and entered the room. When she turned away from him to place their glasses on the coffee table, he took the opportunity to give her figure a closer inspection.

Nice. She had real curves, everything in moderation, and in all the right places. The slim-fitting faded jeans and red sweater set she wore accentuated her curves without revealing any flesh, which he found intriguing. She turned back to him, and Luke pretended to be inspecting the room.

Not that he had any reason to be ogling a potential client. He tried not to mix business and pleasure, and in his business, that usually wasn’t much of a challenge.

“Please, have a seat.” She motioned to the couch, and then she took a seat on a nearby armchair.

“What do you do for a living?” Luke asked.

“I write about relationship issues. Maybe you’ve seen my advice column in Excess magazine?”

Excess magazine? Relationship issues? A memory from that morning appeared then. Luke had been listening to The Jax Reed Show and there had been that Sex Factor woman catching hell from the male callers. Her name had been Jane something-or-other.

Wait a minute.

“You write that column….” He occasionally read it for laughs, just to see what outrageous responses the smart-aleck columnist would write to the guys who asked for her advice. “And you’re the author of The Sex Factor, right?”

She crossed her arms over her chest. “That’s me.”

So she was the one.

Luke’s last girlfriend had dumped him after reading that book. She’d claimed he’d been suppressing her female power and not acknowledging her emotional needs, or some crap like that. Apparently they had been substituting sex for emotional intimacy, and she wasn’t going to tolerate another minute of multiple orgasms.

“You don’t look like I pictured you.”

“How’s that?”

“More puritanical, with a permanent frown from your lousy sex life.”

Jane laughed, and Luke admired the way her face blossomed. She could go from pretty to stunning in an instant.

“I heard you on The Jax Reed Show this morning,” he said. Which explained why her voice had sounded familiar to him when she called.

Her cheeks lost their color. “Not one of my finer moments.”

“It was kind of funny, up until the end there.” Luke remembered the last caller had been a whack-job, probably the kind of guy who lived with his mother and got a little too excited by the underwear models in the Sears catalog. “I can see why you need a security specialist.”

“Jax Reed is the one who gave me your number. My sister only seconded his recommendation.”

Luke nodded. Jax was one of his clients.

“I’m not quite clear on what it is you do, exactly.”

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