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Sexy, enigmatic entrepreneur Harrison Trent had secrets. And Jamie Bellman knew the biggest one—his current whereabouts. Because she'd kidnapped him.
Ordinarily the multimillionaire wouldn't object to being held captive by a beautiful woman, but the mysterious Jamie had another thing coming if she thought he would submit to her demands.
Going missing was the perfect ploy since Harrison's many secrets—and enemies—were coming back to threaten his life. But when a determined killer targeted them both, Harrison knew he had to make Jamie reveal her motives and who she really was...even if he had to kiss her senseless to find the truth.
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The graceful young woman danced her way to the table and performed an indecent bump and grind right before his eyes. Slowly, in time to the hot beat of the driving music, the blonde slipped the first button from its hole on her whiter than white shirt and tossed her head. A thick cascade of pale wheat hair shimmered under the light.
"Hasn't anyone told these women sun worship is out?" Harrison Trent murmured softly.
Artie Van Wheeler chortled in response. "You have to admit that getup wouldn't look the same against bleached white skin."
While their friends cheered and egged the dancer on, the woman continued to strip, up close and personal. Harrison took a tentative swallow from his glass and let his gaze skim over the lavishly decorated room and the tacky signs that wished the groom-to-be a lot of things, most of them humorous, all of them wicked. Artie and Carter Hughes had gone to great lengths to decorate the party room. Helium-filled condoms hung from crepe paper festooned with naked body parts. Harrison didn't want to know where his friends had found that particular crepe paper. The ice sculptures on either end of the bar were also graphic and drew Harrison's gaze right to where it had no business returning.
Tall and slender enough to pass for a man in her black tuxedo, with a cap of short, dark, unruly hair and elfin features, the bartender had drawn his attention the moment he walked into the room. He was struck by the way she surveyed the crowd with an odd intensity. Her eyes were never still and he found himself wondering what color they were.
Now, there was a woman who might be worth watching disrobe, music optional. Unlike those of the mostly naked dancers circulating in the room, the form beneath that tuxedo made him think of a sleek predator.
He watched her bend to mix another drink. She moved with an economy of motion that was unconscious grace. Maybe she was a dancer after all. Unlike his much shorter bride-to-be, she was a woman he'd be able to dance cheek to cheek with if he wanted. And he shouldn't be thinking along those lines.
Harrison forced his attention back to the performers. There were some stunning women in the room, yet something about the bartender kept drawing his gaze back to her.
He found himself watching her from the corner of his eye. Her unruly hair was definitely in need of a good stylist. It looked as if she'd taken scissors to it herself. And from where he was sitting, it appeared as if she wasn't wearing an ounce of makeup. Not that her flawless skin needed any enhancement, but that in itself made her stand out. There was a subtle intensity about her, a hint of something dangerous. He was fascinated.
"I've got to say, she is gorgeous," Artie murmured. "And she certainly can move those hips."
Harrison yanked his attention back to the enthusiastic dancer who, even as he watched, reached for the zipper of those tight, white leather shorts that barely covered a thing. The button at her tiny waist was already undone. Smooth golden skin trailed suggestively downward, yet he couldn't summon any enthusiasm. He probably wouldn't have been able to even if she'd been the first dancer of the evening.
His temples were starting to throb in time to the music and his vision was beginning to blur. He would have blamed this on the alcohol, but he was still on his first glass despite repeated toasts.
Harrison lifted the heavy Waterford crystal and took a more generous swallow of the tepid liquid. Maybe if he finished the drink he could get up and find out if the bartender was as interesting up close as she was from a distance. He wondered what sort of voice went with that face and if her eyes were dark blue or brown like his own.
The flying shorts that whistled past his head and into the cheering crowd brought his attention back to the dancer. She was really up close now and a little too personal for his taste. She was also down to a miniscule G-string and a couple of tasseled pasties. The smile plastered on her too-red lips was directed right at him.
At Artie's nudge, Harrison pasted an answering smile on his own lips. After all, the groom and his best man were the center of attention tonight even if Harrison didn't want to think about the coming wedding. What would this roomful of well-meaning friends say if they knew the bride-to-be was showing signs of second thoughts and was pregnant with another man's child?
Were they making a mistake?
He forced the thought aside. From the start, Zoe had been more than a hired assistant. Liking and respect had quickly matured into the sort of friendship that generally took years to form. He trusted Zoe the way he trusted Artie and Carter. They were family to him, and family took care of their own.
It was bad enough that Zoe had watched her baby's father shot down in front of her, but now his killer wanted her dead as well. Harrison was not going to let that happen. By marrying Zoe, he could offer her the protection of his wealth and see to it that her child was not born a bastard as he had been. It was the right thing to do. The only thing to do.
The dancer reached out, lifted his glass from the table and turned it to place her lips exactly where his had been a moment before. She took a small sip and smiled seductively. The room cheered as she bent down, tassels shaking, and kissed his forehead.
He managed a wink and she giggled.
The other men called out suggestions. Even Carter unbent from his formidable lawyer persona to look mildly amused. Harrison kept his smile pasted in place and wished for a speedy end to the evening. The dancer turned her attention to Artie. He dutifully reached out to put more money in her G-string. In the process, her elbow caught Harrison's glass and it tipped. The liquid splashed across the table.
One of the scantily clad servers appeared to mop up the damage, fluttering eyelashes that nature had never designed. His gaze drifted to the bar. He had the distinct impression that his bartender was disgusted. Their gazes locked briefly in sympathetic accord before she turned away and handed a new drink to one of the servers. The woman promptly headed in his direction.
Harrison abruptly realized what he should have known from the start. The woman wasn't merely a bartender. He'd stake good money she was one of Artie's rent-a-cops for the evening. That explained her constant scrutiny of the crowd. The only way security could mingle was to pose as one of the bartenders, waiters or dancers. Of that group, only the bartenders and Artie's live-in housekeeper were fully clothed.
Harrison surveyed the room with a more jaundiced eye before gazing at his new drink with disfavor. What did Artie think was going to happen in here? With all his little security gadgets, his place was like Fort Knox.
A glance toward the bar found the dark-haired bartender intently focused on him with an expression he couldn't decipher. He picked up the drink, tipped it in her direction and pretended to take a sip. She inclined her head in acknowledgment and he immediately lowered the untouched glass to the table. When he looked back a few minutes later, she was gone.
Harrison straightened up. The blond dancer shook a tassel against his ear. Whatever had been holding the tassel in place lost the battle. He hoped he hadn't sighed out loud.
The trilling of his cell phone pulled Harrison from a dream he couldn't remember. More asleep than awake, he swiped at the insect biting his forearm as he tried to roll over to answer the summons. A muffled curse brought him all the way out of sleep.
An ominous shadow loomed over him, backlit by the light flooding in through the open bedroom door, which he clearly remembered closing. He had a second to make out an indistinct outline before a slim, firm hand clamped over his mouth.
"Be quiet," a silken voice urged. "I'mnot going to hurt you."
Harrison threw his weight against the body behind that hand even as his cell phone stopped its musical demand.
"Help me!" the feminine voice demanded.
A second person surged forward, cursing the cell phone and the person on the other end. There was a crunch followed by a harsh expletive as the other person grabbed for his legs. Together, they attempted to press him into the mattress.
"I stepped on the damn syringe and broke it!"
"Never mind. Hold him down."
A knot of fear spiked through him. A syringe, not an insect. Even as he registered that both of his attackers were women, he realized they were making no attempt at silence. Something was very wrong. Numbness was taking hold of his extremities. A dark cloud fogged the edges of his mind.
They'd drugged him!
Panic lent him strength despite the weakness flooding his body. He swung his hands at the shadowy shape nearest his head, feeling only momentary satisfaction as he connected. The woman inhaled sharply, but didn't release him. She fell across his torso, effectively blocking him from taking another swing.
Harrison bucked hard. His legs tangled in the thin blanket and sheet. Wooziness spread with devastating speed.
"Stop fighting!" the woman ordered. "We're not going to hurt you!"
"Yes. Give it a minute."
He swore, struggling all the harder, fighting the drunken feeling as much as his captivity.
"How long does this stuff take?" the second voice demanded.
"I don't know. Hold him still!"
The first woman sprawled across his bare chest as the sheet and blanket slipped lower. She was trying to use her weight to pin him to the bed. Her skin gave off the faintest scent of coconuts. He shook his muzzy head, bucking harder. One bare leg came free of the tangled sheets. The second woman let go as he managed to kick her in the face.
More curses filled the room as she swore viciously. Her light-colored hair swung about her face.
"That hurt! He'd better not have left a bruise. I've got a job on Monday."
"Will you hold him still!"
With the last of his fading strength, Harrison jerked his body hard to the side and rolled. He carried the first woman and the sheets and blanket to the floor with them. They bounced off the nightstand, sending the lamp and alarm c...
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Book Description Hardback. Condition: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Seller Inventory # GOR006642187
Book Description Harlequin Mills & Boon Ltd (Larg, 2010. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Posted from the UK, daily. Seller Inventory # mon0000385486