2 Bodies for the Price of 1 (Body Movers, Book 2)

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9780778326069: 2 Bodies for the Price of 1 (Body Movers, Book 2)
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Body Movers: 2 Bodies For The Price Of 1 by Stephanie Bond released on Jun 17, 2008 is available now for purchase.

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About the Author:

Stephanie Bond grew up in eastern Kentucky, but traveled to distant lands through Harlequin romance novels. Years later, the writing bug bit her, and once again she turned to romance. Her writing has allowed her to travel in person to distant lands to teach workshops and promote her novels. She’s written more than forty projects for Harlequin, including a romantic mystery series called Body Movers. To learn more about Stephanie Bond and her novels, visit www.stephaniebond.com.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

"Sweetheart, it's me...Daddy."

Carlotta Wren stepped off the up escalator in the Atlanta Neiman Marcus department store where she worked, so shocked by the sound of the voice on the other end that she dropped her cell phone. It landed on the shiny, waxed f loor with a smack, bounced and skidded away. With her heart in her stomach, she frantically scrambled after the f leeing phone, the baritone of her long-lost fugitive father ringing in her ears.

Was it really him calling after ten years of silence? Ten years during which she'd put her life on hold to finish raising herself and her younger brother Wesley after her parents had skipped bail—and town—on investment fraud charges. Ten years of feeling alone and abandoned after her friends and even her f iancé had withdrawn their affection in light of the scandal.

The tiny phone spun away like a mouse scurrying for cover. Carlotta gulped air as she clambered after it, brushing the shoulders of people in her path, darting between racks of clothing. The foot of a striding customer struck the phone and sent it spinning in another direction. Carlotta hurtled after it, feeling her father slip farther from her grasp with every agonizing second that passed. She was practically hyperventilating when she fell to her knees, curled her f ingers around the elusive phone and jammed it to her ear. "Hello? Daddy?"

Dead air. If it had been Randolph Wren on the other end of the line, he was gone.

A sob welled up in her chest. "Daddy, can you hear me?"

She couldn't bring herself to hang up, unwilling to sever the only connection she'd had with her father in over a decade. Then she realized that he might be trying to call her back and stabbed the disconnect button. Sitting under a rack of beaded bathing-suit sarongs, Carlotta stared at the phone, willing it to ring again, thinking how ridiculous she would seem to an onlooker—an almost thirty-year-old woman sitting on the f loor waiting for a call back from her long-lost daddy.

Somewhere between her nonexistent career goals, her brother's legal problems, their hulking debt to loan sharks and her confused love life, she'd made the transition from pitiful to pathetic.

Suddenly she remembered the callback feature and realized with a surge of excitement that she'd at least be able to see what number he'd called from. She stabbed at buttons on the phone, but was rewarded with a rather sick-sounding tone and noticed with dismay that the display was interrupted by a hairline crack. Liquid gathered in one corner, much like when Wesley had broken his Etch-a-Sketch when he was little.

"You can't be broken," Carlotta pleaded, blinking back tears. What would she tell Wesley? That their father had f inally made contact and she'd hung up on him? Wesley still believed that their father was innocent and that he and their mother would return some day to clear his name and unite their shattered family. Carlotta felt less forgiving, especially toward her mother Valerie, who hadn't been charged with a crime, yet had chosen a life on the lam over her own children.

"Ring," she whispered, hoping that only the display had been compromised. She sat on her heels for f ive long minutes, her thumb hovering over the answer button, perspiration wetting her forehead. A shadow fell over her. When she looked up, she winced inwardly to see the general manager, Lindy Russell, standing with her eyebrows raised.

Minus ten points.

Next to Lindy stood a tall, narrow blonde, conservatively coiffed down to her upper class hair f lip and wearing a haughty expression. Carlotta recognized her from sales meetings; she was new and worked in accessories next to the shoe department where Carlotta's friend Michael Lane worked. Patricia somebody or another.

"Carlotta, is there a problem?" Lindy asked.

Carlotta pushed to her feet and straightened her clothing. During the dash for her phone she'd lost a shoe. "No."

"Glad to hear it. You know you're not supposed to be using your cell phone while you're working the f loor."

"Yes," Carlotta said, her throat closing. "But this is a— an emergency."

"Oh?" Lindy crossed her arms in front of her chest. "Are you on an organ-donor list?"

"No."

"The phone-a-friend for a contestant on a national trivia show?"

"No."

"Waiting to hear back from your next employer?"

Patricia snickered and Carlotta swallowed. "N-no."

Lindy extended her hand. "Hand it over. You can pick it up at the end of your shift."

"But—"

"No buts, Carlotta. You're already skating on thin ice around here."

Carlotta bit her tongue. Lindy had been more than fair to give her a get-out-of-jail-free card for buying clothes on her employee discount, wearing them to crash upscale parties, then returning the fancy outfits for full credit. Ditto when she had been involved in a knock-down drag-out fight with a customer right here in the store—and been implicated in that customer's subsequent murder. That particular misunderstanding had since been cleared up, but Carlotta's once-stellar sales record had slipped badly in the interim. It hadn't helped that the murdered woman had been a high-volume customer.

She was lucky that she hadn't been canned weeks ago, and since she and Wesley depended on her paycheck for little things like paying the mortgage...with a shaky smile, she handed the phone to Lindy.

"Carlotta, have you met Patricia Alexander?"

"Not formally." She extended her hand to the blonde. "Hello."

The woman's hand was just as cold as her smile. "Hello."

"Patricia is number one in sales this week," Lindy said.

"Congratulations," Carlotta murmured, stinging with the knowledge that not too long ago, she had owned that number one spot.

"Thanks," Patricia said, then laughed—a sound that reminded Carlotta of a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. "No hard feelings, I hope."

"Why should there be?"

The woman angled her head. "Because I plan to break your sales record. Better watch your back." Her frosty smile didn't match her breezy tone.

Lindy gave Carlotta a pointed look, then dropped the phone into her jacket pocket. Carlotta watched the women walk away, along with all hopes of talking to her father today.

Had it really been him? And if so, would he think she'd hung up on him purposely, that she didn't want to talk to him? Worrying her lower lip, she wondered—did she?

If anyone had asked what she would do if her father called out of the blue, Carlotta would've sworn that she would hang up on him. Over the years her anger had grown into an almost tangible mass, like a tumor. Yet at the sound of his voice, she had regressed to Daddy's little girl—the entitled, spoiled teenager she'd been when he'd disappeared, the naive, young woman who couldn't conceive that her parents would desert her and her nine-year-old brother. With a mere four words uttered from his mouth, she'd been ready to accept his explanation and his apology...as-suming he'd had either to offer.

She covered her mouth to suppress the aching wail that lodged in her throat. Knowing that her father still had that much power over her made her feel even less in control than usual. How dare he dive-bomb back into their lives like that?

Perilously close to losing it, Carlotta backtracked to find her shoe, but was blinded by tears of frustration. She wiped at her eyes angrily and swore under her breath.

"Is this what you're looking for?"

She winced, then turned at the unmistakable noise of Detective Jack Terry's voice. She blinked away the moisture to f ind him studying her red Dior stiletto-heel slide with the same intensity that she'd seen him study evidence at crime scenes. Wesley's job as a body mover had thrown her and the detective into close proximity at a couple of crime scenes, with abrasive results. Jack Terry was the one person she didn't want to see right now—the brute had recently reopened her father's case.

"Yes," she snapped, snatching the shoe out of his big hand. "What are you doing here?"

"Irritating you, apparently." Then he suddenly looked sheepish and she realized he was dressed too casually to be on duty. He cleared his throat. "If you must know, I need a monkey suit for a bigwig department dinner and I could use your...uh...help...picking out something."

Her anger receded. He had no idea what had just transpired. And wouldn't know unless she told him...or unless he'd made good on his threat to put a trace on her and Wesley's phones. He wasn't convinced that a handful of postcards was the only contact they'd had with their missing parents.

He gestured over his shoulder. "Maybe I should just go to the place where I usually shop."

"I didn't realize that Dick's Sporting Goods sold formal wear," she said dryly.

"This was a bad idea." He turned to go.

"No, Jack. Wait." He stopped and Carlotta wondered if he realized it was the f irst time she'd called him anything other than Detective Terry—or one of the several unsavory nicknames she had uttered privately. But recently he—and one of her collectible Judith Leiber breastplate necklaces, circa mid-1980s—had saved her from the bullet of a murderer, and in the aftermath, something electric had passed between them. She felt that confusing jolt now, at a loss to explain why she would be attracted to this good old Southern boy who—between arresting her brother for hacking into the Atlanta courthouse records, resurrecting her father's case and grilling her about her customer's murder—seemed to have made her family's lawlessness his pet project.

"What?" His nose f lared and she sensed that he too felt the unwelcome sexual energy bouncing between them.

To break the moment, she narrowed her eyes. "No way are you going to deny me the pleasure of seeing you buttoned into a tux."

Jack frowned. "Sadist."

She smiled and dropped her shoe, trying to compose herself as she pushed her bare foot inside. Her father would call back...of course he would. She wobbled and Jack reached out to steady her.

He gave a little laugh, his gold-colored ...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780989042987: 2 Bodies for the Price of 1 (Body Movers)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0989042987 ISBN 13:  9780989042987
Publisher: Stephanie Bond, Incorporated, 2013
Softcover

9780778324843: 2 Bodies for the Price of 1 (Body Movers, Book 2)

MIRA, 2007
Softcover

9781848455627: Body Movers: 2 Bodies For The Price Of 1

MIRA, 2016
Softcover

9780778304753: Body Movers: 2 Bodies for the Price of 1

Harlequin, 2011
Softcover

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