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Thea Mitchell has everything—almost. On the dance floor
the gorgeous model-turned-dance-instructor abandons
herself to the sensuous throb of the tango and her
imagination. But reality's a different matter. A disastrous
affair has left her with cold feet in the bedroom and no
juicy tidbits about her love life to serve up to her worried
Supper Club friends. Until Brady McMillan tempts her to
believe that the perfect partner really does exist and
proves that his moves—on and off the dance floor—are as
hot as she can handle!
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Portland, Oregon, 2007
"You're going to Seattle for the weekend to drink beer?"
Brady McMillan looked up from the steel keg he was washing out in the pub's microbrewery and grinned at his older brother. "Pour beer, Michael" he corrected, resting a hand against one of the gleaming copper tanks lined up behind him. "It's a brewer s' festival. I'll be bonding with the masses, making a good impression for McMillan s', comparing notes with my fellow brewmasters—"
"—and drinking beer," Michael finished.
Brady's lips twitched as he lifted the keg to drain onto the concrete floor. Water streamed down to the grates below the funnel-shaped bottoms of the tanks. "It's a difficult job but someone's got to do it. I'm willing to suffer to give McMillan s'the best beer possible." Five feet away, on the other side of the low wooden barrier, lay the warm golden oak and leather of their flagship brewpub. Here behind the barrier was Brady's territory of malts and worts, hops and hoses.
Michael folded his arms over his barrel chest. "Some people just use message boards."
"There's no substitute for face-to-face contact.""Or mouth to glass."
"The taste, the aroma, the mouth feel—"
"What? I can't hear you over the noise of all the people out in the pub drinking my beer." Brady blinked guilelessly and set the keg upright. "Good thing I go to these festivals to stay on top of the trends."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. So it's the beer that brings them back, but it's the atmosphere in the pubs that gets 'em here in the first place."
"No doubt. Lucky we're both good at our jobs, isn't it?" Michael was burly where Brady was lanky, darkhaired where Brady was blond, and Michael thrived on the business side of things whereas for Brady it was all about the beer and the people, in roughly that order.
"I think you could start offloading some of your brewing work and pitch in on the pubs some more. Like the Odeon Theater property. We need to go over some of the numbers. The deal's supposed to close week after next and we've got to talk about the closing costs and go over some construction figures—"
"Oh, hey, look, the beer needs me," Brady said quickly, lips twitching. "Wow. Bad timing. Wish I could help."
Michael's brows lowered. "You're not making beer, you're washing kegs."
"Sterilizing," Brady corrected.
"Whatever. This whole theater thing was your idea. You can at least pretend to be interested in the remodel."
"I'm the beer guy and the idea man, remember? You're the pub guy."
"I'm willing to share the pub guy part.""Hah." Brady held out his hand, pointing to a thin white scar on the side of his forefinger. "See that?"
"That's from the time you attacked me with your letter opener when I tried to open up QuickBooks."
Michael took a closer look and snorted. "You got that playing mumblety-peg with Elliot Bingenheimer in third grade."
"Oh, you can tell yourself that if it makes you feel better." Brady flexed his hand meditatively. "They tell me I'll be able to play Parcheesi again someday."
"Yeah, that's why you went rock climbing last week."
"It's physical therapy. Face it, Michael, you're a control freak. You say you want to share your pub guy thing but you know you don't."
"Unlike you, say, who's happy to delegate—oh, gee, that's right, nothing," he said lightly. "You know, you might be able to keep up brewing at four pubs, but when we add the new place, even you're going to have to let go of some things. At least if you want to keep up with your kayaking and mountain biking schedule.We should hire a brewmaster for each place."
"My name's on it," Brady said stubbornly. "I want to be sure it's my beer."
"Now who's the control freak?"
Humor glimmered in Brady's eyes. "All right." He set the keg aside. "Even though I am just the beer and idea guy, let's talk about your theater."
"My theater? My theater, Mr. "This Is A One Of A Kind Property And We Have To Buy It Now'? Our theater," Michael corrected. "Or it will be."
Brady wiped off his hands and settled his ball cap more firmly on his head. "Yep. That it will."
SOME BIRTHDAYS WERE rites of passage, Thea thought as she washed her hands in the blue glass basin in the bathroom of the L.A. restaurant. She discarded the drying napkin then stopped, staring at herself in the mirror. She wasn't given to primping—she habitually skinned her hair back in a ponytail or braid, rarely bothered with cosmetics. With clever makeup and the right hairstyle, her full mouth and wideset eyes could take on a singular beauty—or so said the fashion editors and designers who'd paid a thousand dollars an hour for her time during the three years she'd modeled. Without the hair and makeup, Thea thought her features just looked overstated to the point of caricature on her angular face.
The bee-stung lips and soft gray-blue eyes came from her mother. The angular facial structure and sharp jaw came from her father, though his was always tight with bitterness or poised to deliver some cutting comment. She'd have preferred to look at herself and see nothing of either of them, but they were part of her physical makeup. Ingrained in her emotional makeup, too, no matter how hard she might battle to erase them.
No, she wasn't given to primping anymore. So why was she standing here now, looking at herself, searching for a remnant of the excited young girl she'd been all those birthdays before? At twelve, bursting with anticipation in the days before the birthday that would make her a teenager. At seventeen, sitting on the cusp of adulthood, desperate to move out and escape her overbearing father.
The next significant milestone, twenty-one, didn't bear thinking about, lost at a time she'd lost herself. And shecouldn't really say she'd ever found herself again in the fog of time that had passed since.
With an impatient noise, she turned for the door. There was a cake on the table when she got back to it, glimmering with candles. Nine more of them than at the last milestone. Nine years— And where had they left her now?
Sabrina glanced up with laughter in her dark eyes. "About time you got back. We thought you'd drowned."
"It was a near thing, but I made it to shore."
"You should have yelled if you were in trouble," Kelly said. "We could have sent in our sexy waiter to rescue you."
"Hey, expectant mothers and soon-to-be brides aren't supposed to notice other guys," Trish reminded her.
"Other guys who aren't their intended," Paige clarified, pushing a smooth wing of blond hair behind one ear.
"I was only being descriptive," Kelly said with dignity, taking a drink of the mango juice she'd ordered. "We writers do that."
"Zat so?" Thea sat down and pulled in her chair.
"Well, you've got to admit, he is sexy. I suppose I could have said hot. That's a synonym. We writers use those, too."
"Glad you clarified that for me." Thea glanced at the waiter across the room. She'd spent so long consciously shutting off that line of thought, not thinking about men, how they looked, how they acted, whether she might want them in her life.
Whether they might want her.
The waiter glanced over and their gazes met for a moment, the quick connection like the flash of light from the revolving lantern of a lighthouse. Such a circumscribed life she led, so few people she touched—the Supper Club andthe acquaintances she'd made at tango class—so few people she even made eye contact with. She'd forgotten what it was like.
"Time for wishes and resolutions," Trish announced.
"And cake," Delaney added.
"Hurry up. I'm suffering a chocolate deficiency," Kelly said. "It can't be good for the baby."
"Don't rush her," Trish scolded. "Take your time, Thea."
"I'll have to. I've got to come up with something pretty good to keep up with what all the rest of you guys have done this year."
"You don't have to worry about keeping up." Thea grinned. "I couldn't if I wanted to." Not with this group of friends: Trish, who'd made her dream of being a Hollywood screenwriter a reality; Cilla, now a sought-after clothing designer and retail entrepreneur; Sabrina, who'd turned her fascination with cameras into a documentary filmmaking career; Kelly, a top reporter at the biggest film industry daily. Even Paige and Delaney had done well, if less publicly, Paige with her own interior design business and Delaney moving up at her marketing firm.
Only Thea was no further along with her life than she'd been when they'd met at eighteen, save for the robust investment accounts that were her only tangible souvenirs of her time in New York.
It was definitely enough to make a person think. "So what's your birthday resolution?" Cilla asked. "No cake until you tell us."
"To get my life in gear." The words were out before Thea knew she was going to say them.
And she swore everyone at the table stilled for an instant."Well, how about that?" Sabrina said finally. "You don't take on the small stuff, do you?"
"So what does getting your life in gear mean?" That was Paige—figure out your goal and set about accomplishing it.
"I don't know," Thea confessed. "I just want something—different."
The table erupted in conversation. "Different is great." Cilla stared at her with a broad grin. Had it been that obvious that she'd been going through the motions, Thea wondered.
"You could go back to school, finish your degree," Trish suggested.
"Do you want to get into film?" Sabrina asked. "I have an opening for a production assistant."
Paige nodded. "Or you could start your own business." "Why would she need the headaches?" Delaney took a sip of her Cosmopolitan. "She's got all the money she could want socked away in the bank. You ask me, she should only do what she wants to do."
"And what is that?" Sabrina asked.
If she only knew, Thea thought. "Right now, it's having cake." For the rest, she had time. She leaned in to blow out the candles.
"Don't forget to make your wish," Kelly reminded her. Just to be happy, finally. It was time, Thea thought, looking around the table of glowing faces. Things had changed for her friends in more than the career department. All of them were in love. All of them, save unrepentantly single Delaney, had found their soul mates.
Not that Thea was looking for that. When it came to men, she didn't trust her judgment a lick. She didn't trust the whole breed, for that matter, though her Supper Club friends seemed happy with their husbands and lovers sofar. She needed to take it slowly, start with getting her life rolling again.
She took a breath and blew.
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Book Description Harlequin Blaze, 2007. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0373793111
Book Description Harlequin Blaze, 2007. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110373793111
Book Description Harlequin, 2007. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0373793111
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STRM-0373793111