What would you do if you hit the jackpot?
Private investigator Jessie Huell has always eschewed girlie things for the tools of her trade. She'd swap Jimmy Choos for a nightscope any day. But when she arrives as a guest on a popular Atlanta sex show, Jessie is unexpectedly reunited with high school crush and producer Cole Crawford--multi-million dollar lottery winner, igniter of panties...and bad, bad news for her.
Now Jessie is the official spokesperson for fling-havers everywhere--Cole and Jessie are doing hot, naughty things in the very same places she swore she'd avoid. As each incredible second explodes by, Jessie finds herself in deep trouble: if she's not careful she'll break the first rule of flingdom and it'll turn serious...which means she'll have to find the real dirt on Cole Crawford...because this man's too good to be true!
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October 31, 2007
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Excerpt from Tall, Dark and Filthy Rich by Jill Monroe
"Ever think maybe you're in the wrong line of
work?" Dana, the reporter from the Atlanta Daily News, asked in a bored tone as she flipped a Skittle into her mouth.
"No. Why?" Jessica Huell shrugged. So much for the great article the reporter planned to write about Atlanta's Most Interesting Professionals. Clearly, Jessie's execution of her current job was proving to be a dud, and she'd really hoped the exposure from the proffered feature in the newspaper would swing a little more business her way.
Movement caught her eye. "Wait, get down," Jessie said, as she pushed Dana's head below the dashboard.
Both women scrunched low, toward the floor-board of Jessie's car, which was littered with sacks of fast food they'd eaten earlier that night.
Jessie listened. They'd cracked the windows for a little air and to hear the night sounds more easily. At two in the morning, this residential street in Atlanta was quiet. She easily heard the clap of high-heeled shoes on the sidewalk. The opening and closing of a car door. The turning of an engine.
After counting to ten, Jessie poked her head up over the steering wheel. The blue car. Bingo. She watched as it drove down the street, then turned left. She counted another ten seconds and then slowly took the same path.
Dana sat up in her seat and rubbed the muscles of her neck. "This wrecks that 'female private investigators are cool' thing I was going for."
Good. Jessie curled her fingers around the steering wheel in satisfaction. Being an investigator could be dangerous and exciting, but when people were drawn to the job for those qualities, that's when folks started getting hurt. Her job entailed hard work, long nights and little sleep. With "boring" thrown in to smooth out the rough edges. A whole lot of boring.
"Whew, I'm glad that's over," Dana said as she rummaged in her purse for something, obviously ready for her one night of undercover to be over. "I don't know how much longer I could stand being in this car."
"Well, we still have a ways to go."
The reporter stopped applying her lip gloss. "Why? You already have the picture of him with the woman."
Jessie dropped back farther from the car she was trailing. Even in a big city like Atlanta, a car closely following another would be suspicious after 2:00 a.m. "A picture tells only part of the story. We don't know who the woman is. What her relationship is to Mr. Roberts."
Dana scoffed. "She hugged him, then stayed in his home for over three hours. I don't think she was the maid. Not with those shoes."
Those were some pretty sexy stilettos. Not that Jessie was much of a shoe person. Not much call for high-heeled sling-backs in her line of work, in spite of the Hollywood image.
Smiling, she kept an eye on the sedan several car lengths ahead. They were back on side streets, where only an occasional streetlight or neon sign broke the darkness. They'd be hitting a residential neighborhood soon. She gave a silent plea that the car would lead her to a house with an address rather than to an apartment complex. Those were the worst. A lot of effort wasted on a dead end.
Yes! The owner of the nonmaid shoes was pulling into a paved driveway. Jessie held back, waiting for the woman to enter her home before driving past.
Then she slowly moved forward, looking as casual as she could. Just an insomniatic neighbor out for a drive. Or maybe a desperate mother hoping to get her baby to sleep. Whatever. Blending in. Appearing like someone who belonged there. That was her strength; she'd never been one to stand out. She hated flash, and unlike the reporter beside her, Jessie had never applied lip gloss in a moving vehicle. She wouldn't even know how to take care of a highlight.
With a subtle glance at the number on the front of the house, Jessie was on her way.
"That was a little more fun. It was the closest we've come to getting caught," Dana said, her voice slightly breathless.
"We weren't anywhere near getting caught," Jessie told her dryly. She was all for exaggeration, but not if it made her come across as less than professional.
"No need to get irritated. I just meant it was the first bit of excitement we've had since blondie showed up in the first place. When I still thought this night would be interesting," Dana said with a wink. "What now?"
Dare she tell her? Jessie wondered. Dana was a reporter, after all. The woman dealt with facts. Hopefully.
Actually, Jessie herself should be delving only in facts. Conjecture shouldn't be part of her professional world. But in the lonely hours after midnight, The Speculation Game was often the only thing that kept her awake. And interested. Maybe Dana was right; maybe she needed a different line of work.