With her hallmark blend of sparkling style and wit, intricate suspense, and steamy passion, Jayne Ann Krentz is truly one of a kind. One of today's premier storytellers, she has more than twenty-three million copies of her novels in print. Now the phenomenal New York Times bestselling author spins her latest scintillating tale: a story of two people bound together by that most binding of ties--a business contract.
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May 15, 2005
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Excerpt from Soft Focus by Jayne Ann Krentz
Between midnight and dawn, Wednesday morning
HE WAITED FOR HER AT THE REAR OF THE PARKING lot, huddled against the brick wall, shivering in the light windbreaker. The streetlamp wasn't working right. It cast a faltering, sickly glow that did little to dispel the shadows. There were only a handful of cars left in the lot. Pioneer Square was quiet at this hour. The nightclubs and the taverns were closed. Other than the drunk he'd tripped over in the alley, he'd seen no one else. That was a good thing, because the kind of folks who did show up in this part of town at this time of night were usually quite scary.
It was raining, a relentless mist that drove the predawn chill deeper into his bones. But he knew it wasn't just the night air that made him feel so cold. It was the fact that he hadn't kept his twice-daily date with Madam Lola this evening. He hadn't been able to afford her tonight, and now he was paying the price.
He'd first met Madam L. back in grad school. He had been a good student in those days. Everyone had said he had a bright future in chemical engineering. Probably would have held a few patents by now if he hadn't met Madam Lola. It was a woman, a student in one of his classes, who'd introduced him to Lola. She'd assured him that sex was great after just one dose. She'd been right. But Lola soon became more interesting than sex. More interesting than getting a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. More interesting than the successful future he'd once planned for himself.
Lola had taken over his life, and the lady was a harsh mistress. She demanded his obedient attendance twice a day. If he missed even one dose, he felt like that stuff on the parking lot pavement that he'd stepped in a few minutes ago. And he also felt cold. Very, very cold.
But she would be here soon, and she would bring the money she had promised to pay him and he would buy some more time with Madam L. and everything would be okay again. He could maintain pretty good when he kept up with his twice-daily appointments. Good enough to hold a job. For a while, at any rate. Balancing work and Lola was never easy. He could usually get by for a few months, and then something always went wrong. Either he failed a drug test or he started taking too many sick days. Or something.
He hoped he could last a while longer in his present job. He sort of liked it. Sometimes when he was working at Excalibur he pretended that he really had finished that doctorate; that he was a respected member of the research team like Dr. Page, maybe, not just a lowly lab tech. He felt bad about what he'd done tonight. But he hadn't had a choice. His salary at Excalibur was good, but it wasn't good enough to pay for the amount of time he had to spend with Lola these days. His other employer was very generous, though.
And she would be here soon. With lots of cash for Lola.