Sometimes Moms know best, even if they are ghosts. Two meddlesome mamas scheme to get their much-loved but imperfect children together, and a chance meeting sends a wake-up call to the libidos of the dedicated doctor and the ex-almost Olympic swimmer. Two parts ghostly intervention, two parts strong wills, serve it up with a generous portion of steaming sex: a love arranged in heaven that really turns up the Dallas Heat. Publisher's Note: Dallas Heat is a major rewrite of Arranged in Heaven, written by Ann Jacobs as Sara Jarrod, originally released by Berkley Publishing Group. Review quotes for Dallas Heat by Ann Jacobs "Ms. Jacobs skillfully weaves a heartwarming story between these two injured souls." Michelle Nauman, Just Erotic Romance Reviews Newsletter
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Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc.
September 07, 2003
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Excerpt from Dallas Heat by Ann Jacobs
For nearly two weeks Dan had pictured Gayla, imagined what she'd wear and how she'd fix her satiny sable hair for the banquet. The reality of her in shimmering deep red silk that hugged every tantalizing inch of her from shoulder to ankles, except for a side slit that gave glimpses of one long, silky leg, nearly took his breath away when she let him into her apartment.
"I'm almost ready. Let me get my shoes. Would you like a drink or something?"
Her smile faltered a little, as if she were no more used to going to the glitzy kind of banquet Frank had sentenced them to for the evening than he was. "I'm okay," he told her, wishing he could get out of this monkey suit, strip off her dress, pull those glittering pins out of her elegantly upswept hair, and haul her into the small bedroom he could see from her living room.
"Do you do this often?" she asked after they had driven into the city and Dan handed his keys to an attendant at the downtown hotel where the banquet was being held.
He took her hand, as much to reassure himself as to guide her. "No. I'm here because someone bewitched the chief of our group into believing we can reel in enough donations here so we can keep helping patients who can't afford rehabilitative surgery or therapy. Given the choice, I'd be taking you somewhere quiet--private. How about you?"
Dan felt Gayla's almost imperceptible shudder as she glanced around the ballroom. "It's been years since I've gone to an affair like this one."
"Smile, princess. We'll make this fun." In the ballroom now, Dan searched for familiar faces. His hand at Gayla's waist, he maneuvered her through the crush of elegantly clad guests, making his way to the table.
Introductions went quickly, and before long it seemed Gayla was right at home with Dan's colleagues. Her self-deprecating humor, the easy way she fit in with the members of the team--the twinkle in her dark brown eyes when she looked at him--combined to help him have fun and ignore the serious reason he'd come.
Gayla squeezed Dan's hand as they walked onto the dance floor. He made being back among the Dallas medical community seem easy. Resting her cheek against the crisp black wool of his tuxedo jacket, she let herself move with him, in time with the slow, dreamy song the combo was playing. She liked the partners he'd introduced as his family, and felt as if she belonged when they included her in their irreverent, shamelessly self-serving conversation about finding donors to placate the hospital and keep their program alive.
"I like your friends," she murmured as she watched Jim and Kelly showing off with intricate dance patterns. "Especially Michelle. Frank doesn't seem comfortable, though." The striking blond who looked more like a pro football player than a doctor had uttered maybe ten words other than when he was wooing a potential contributor.
"This is even less Frank's kind of party than it is mine. Since his wife left and took their little boy to California, his whole life is our rehab program. Nothing other than the threat of losing hospital backing could drag him to a function like this."
"Then he and Michelle aren't..."
"He more or less ordered Michelle to come with him. Since she's part of the group, she had to be here anyhow. Frank swore off women after Erica walked out." Dan increased the pressure of his hand at Gayla's back, and instinctively she snuggled closer.
He moved with an easy, natural rhythm that made her melt inside. With him she felt beautiful...protected from the spirits of her past that she'd thought would haunt her tonight.
As they walked back toward their table, the most fearsome of those ghosts appeared, and it looked as though he was heading their way. She grasped Dan's hand a little harder. Maybe, if she concentrated hard enough, she could call on his strength as well as her own.
"It'll be all right, princess." Obviously Dan was as aware of her father as she was. Gayla wasn't sure if the tension that radiated from his hand all the way to her constricted throat was all her own.
She forced a smile and made herself look at the man she'd idolized--the one who had bitterly denounced and disowned her, she reminded herself when she suddenly had the urge to run to her father and throw her arms around him. "Dad," she murmured when they came within arms' length of each other.
"Newman." Her father gruffly acknowledged Dan's presence but not hers. The lump in her throat grew.
Dan squeezed her hand as if he knew she needed the contact to realize she wasn't alone. "Dr. Harris. It's good to see you."
"It would seem that my wayward daughter has surfaced."
Her father looked not at her but straight through her. When had been the first time she'd turned his stern features icy cold like this? Gayla couldn't remember. All she knew was that this encounter was almost more than she could bear. If Dan hadn't been at her side, an anchor in this emotional storm, she'd have turned and run as far and as fast as she could.
Dan cleared his throat. "If you'll excuse us, sir, we'll go back to our table."
"I want to talk to you, Newman. Alone." Her father locked gazes with Dan, making Gayla shudder again as she turned to walk away.
After she sat down at the table beside Michelle and Frank, Gayla watched her father herd Dan into a secluded alcove. Her father's angry gesticulations and Dan's horrified expression gave her a good idea that she was the subject of the tirade. When Dan came back to the table, he seemed shell-shocked.
"I'm sorry about that, princess. I'd have liked to tell your father we'd have to postpone that talk, but with the power he has as chief of surgery, I didn't dare. Shall we dance?" he asked, his expression so earnest she wanted nothing more than to feel his strong arms around her again.
She couldn't, though. She couldn't put him in a position where her father would want to destroy him. "Please get me out of here, Dan." She tried to suck in a breath despite the excruciating tightness in her throat.