[BookStrand Romantic Suspense, HEA]
As reigning queen of Toronto’s talk radio, Lacy Monroe has found the venue to rise above her questionable past without stifling her natural tendency to speak freely. Until the media dubs her "Loose Lacy," and a fan crosses the line from "caller" to telephone stalker.
When her apartment is broken into, Lacy grows desperate to discover the identity of her caller. Could it be Mark, the ex-boyfriend who dumped her because he felt she’d prostituted herself for her job? Johnny Rock, the sexist drive-time DJ at the station where she works? Or could the caller be firefighter Reid Walker, the winner of her Dream Date contest? Reid believes the subject matter of her show should be censored, yet he doesn’t seem to mind setting her sheets ablaze.
Lacy searches for answers and discovers the past she thought she’d escaped has everything to do with her present problems.
A BookStrand Mainstream Romance
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The rapid way she regained her composure proved she was comfortable in her role as a public figure, a pro to the bitter end, even when pushed. He wished that didn’t impress him so much. “Sure. Why’d you choose the letter?”
He heard her sharp intake of breath. A transparent play of responses raced across her expressive face. Her eyes shot downward and to the left, and her hands were restless on her sweating drink. He figured he was about to hear a lie, but something changed her mind. She wiped her fingers on the corner of her cocktail napkin and clasped her hands, impaling him with a direct gaze that made him forget his own name.
“I was practically engaged…”
“What the hell is practically engaged?” Shit! He’d interrupted her. Again. His years of lonely marriage and social exile really had wreaked havoc with his manners. “I mean, either you have a ring, or you don’t.”
She accepted his ill manners with grace. “Precisely. Which is why it’s past tense. Anyway, he objected to my radio persona and tried to enforce his own image of me on me.”
Again a delicate shoulder lifted. He was dumbstruck by the way her smooth skin seemed to shimmer. A trick of the light he assumed. He propped his dark glasses on his head, hoping clearer vision would clear his foggy thoughts. When her eyes met his, a sucker-punch of awareness raced through him and he wanted to yank the glasses back in place.
“I was intrigued by the concept of someone secure enough to let me be comfortable in my sexuality and take the lead. By the notion that ruling passions isn’t just a myth.”
The hint of pink in her cheeks ceased his respiration. She looked just as she sounded, like hot lovin’ in heels and a halter dress. His sudden lack of self-control disgusted him. He silently cursed his so-called best friend Mitchell for sending the letter, the radio station, and himself for his helpless compulsion to tune in to Up Late with Lacy. She’d drained his brain. He was ready to have a nuclear meltdown in a busy bar, like some horny teenager.
Thankfully, the notion was quashed by her next question. “Now you know why I picked the letter. Why’d you write it?”
“I didn’t.” She looked so crestfallen, he hastened to add, “But I agreed with the, ah, concept, or I wouldn’t be here.”
She appeared genuinely confused. “Do you want to do this?”
“Who planned it?”
“My assistant and the PR guys. I didn’t have a lot of say in it to tell the truth.”
He wasn’t sure if he should be relieved or disappointed. He’d come hoping to meet a tramp who had basically prostituted herself to promote her career, so he could get over listening to her nightly—and the hopeless fantasies listening spurred. Instead, he’d met a sexy lady he wanted to know way more about. Her lack of enthusiasm was a letdown. “Is this something you wanted to do?”
She shrugged. He wondered why a shoulder shift was suddenly as provocative as any striptease.
“It’s your call. I already got what I wanted out of this.”
He knew he should have been relieved for the reprieve, but he no longer wanted out. If the letter intrigued her, she intrigued the hell out of him. Spending an evening with her wouldn’t be a hardship. He aimed for nonchalance. “I have no other plans, and the guys at the firehouse will be disappointed if I don’t have a story for them.”
“You could make something up.”
“Fiction isn’t my bag. I told you, I didn’t write that letter.”
One dark brow rose on her smooth forehead. “You think it’s fiction?”
“I guess it was real enough to get my friend laid when he and his wife wrote the letter.”
Her second brow followed the first and her wide mouth tightened. “And you assume because I speak freely about things of a sexual nature on my show, it will do the same for you?”
“Sorry. That was crude. Jesus, I’m making a mess of this.”
She tossed back the remains of her pink frothy drink and stood. “Reid, it’s obvious you don’t like me.” She pointed to a dark-haired imp of a girl watching them like they were the main feature. “That’s Jessica, my assistant. She’ll take you to the boat. As I understand it, they have quite a spread there for you. I hope you enjoy your evening.”
He was rooted to his chair. Stunned by his ignorant behavior and equally bewildered by her abrupt departure. When she swung through the door, he leapt up to follow.
Her athletic stride had already carried her a good way along the sidewalk and he sprinted to catch up. Hot damn! She was as nice on departure as she was on arrival. “Perverted asshole,” he mumbled. It also struck him that although she had donned the classic Marilyn Monroe sex kitten wardrobe, she lacked the true vamp attitude. There was something too energetic and natural about her.
She didn’t look like the sort of girl you’d ply with champagne and furs. She looked like she’d enjoy a snowball fight, or a tumble in dry leaves. Like someone physically healthy enough to comfortably kick back without props, and mentally comfortable enough to beat him effortlessly in a match of wits. He groaned at the mental images his wandering mind had conjured.
She paused but didn’t turn around. He was left gazing at her shoulder, mesmerized by the fine lines of a Chinese symbol. He couldn’t resist tracing an index finger over it. He felt a tremor quake through her before she jerked away.