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Hot City Nights : Summer in the City Back to You Forgotten Lover
In New York a billionaire remembers the beautiful stranger with whom he'd shared a kiss--a kiss that burned them both to the soul. Now he's a desperate new father, and she's suddenly the only woman who can help him!In Sydney a woman comes face-to-face with the man she swore would never hurt her again. But when they agree to an intense, no-strings fling, she wonders if she's gotten in way over her head...and her heart!In Atlanta a woman lies in a hospital bed after a serious accident. But when the hospital calls her emergency contact--her ex-lover--she's horrified. Why doesn't she remember him? Worse still, she might be falling for him...again!
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July 07, 2008
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Excerpt from Hot City Nights by Sandra Marton
Rio de Janeiro, April
Carnaval had ended almost two months ago, but Rio didn't seem to know it.
Lincoln Aldridge wasn't surprised. He'd been to Rio before. The city could be an endless party, especially for a man with money, rugged good looks and connections.
Linc had all three but he wasn't in a partying mood. He'd been on the go for almost two weeks, first flying to Argentina, then Colombia, then Brazil. His business meetings had gone well, but he had a more important matter on his mind.
Too much time had gone by since he'd heard from his sister. Kathryn and her husband, married five months, were on what she'd called a belated honeymoon, seeing the world.
New York City was part of the world, Linc had said wryly, and he damned well expected that Kath and the husband he'd never met intended to make it part of their trip.
"Absolutely," she'd answered, sounding almost like the kid he still thought of her as being. "We're going to stop there last so we can spend some time with you. And, Linc? Get ready for a wonderful surprise!"
The best surprise would be seeing her again. Kath was twenty-two and he'd all but raised her. Now she lived in L.A., where she'd met Mark and eloped to Vegas. Linc, ten years her senior, would have felt better if he'd laid eyes on the guy before the wedding, but at least he would meet him soon.
It was why he was eager to get home.
First, though, he had to finalize the deal he'd made with entrepreneur Hernando Marques. They'd shaken hands on it but Marques wanted to sign the contract at his home. An odd request, maybe, but when a man was about to spend twenty-five million bucks a year giving Aldridge Inc. full responsibility for the security of all his residential and commercial properties, an odd request was okay.
"This is my poker night, Lincoln," Marques had said. "I spend it with a few old friends whose company I am sure you would enjoy. Please. Join us."
So Linc had smiled and said he looked forward to it.
A little before eight, his taxi glided through the massive iron gates that guarded the Marques estate.
Force of habit made Linc check the perimeter. One of his teams had installed the latest security systems a couple of weeks ago. Electric eyes. Hidden cameras. Sensors. He couldn't spot them all, which was as it should be, but what he saw looked perfect.
The taxi stopped at the foot of wide stone steps. His host flung the door open before Linc could ring the bell.
"Lincoln!" Marques grinned and extended his hand. "I was afraid you might have forgotten my invitation, meo amigo."
"Traffic," Linc said with a quick smile, even as he wondered at his host's reaction. Brazilians were a friendly people but Marques seemed to be taking things to a new level.
Marques led him to a leather-walled game room where a dozen or so men stood chatting in small groups near an expansive buffet laid out on a mile-long table.
"Come and meet my friends, Lincoln."
Linc shook hands, smiled, said hello and how are you to men he'd met before and others he knew by reputation. This was a gathering of some of the wealthiest men in South America. Eight years ago, when he'd started Aldridge Inc. with nothing but guts and his Special Forces experience, he'd have given anything to have been invited to an evening like this.
Now, it was Marques's guests who expressed pleasure at meeting him.
He moved from group to group, eating a little, drinking hardly at all, wondering when he could get away. No one seemed in a hurry to play cards.
At last, Marques sought him out again. He was smiling but tiny drops of sweat stood out on his forehead. Something was wrong. Had the man decided against the deal despite the binding handshake?
"Hernando," he said pleasantly. "I was just going to look for you. This is great but--"
"But you have had a long day and you wish for an early night."
"I'm glad you understand."
"I do. So perhaps--perhaps, now, we might adjourn to the library to--to--"
"To sign the contract," Linc said, his eyes on the other man's.
"Certainly. To sign the contract." Marques hesitated. "And to talk."
The library was big and leather-paneled like the game room. A pair of French doors graced the far end; a fire blazed on the hearth of a stone fireplace to ward off the faint chill of the night.
Marques offered brandy. A cigar. Coffee. Linc said no to all three.
"Something's on your mind, Hernando." Linc's tone was polite but cool. "I'd appreciate it if you'd just get to it."
His host nodded. Licked his lips. Fussed at the logs on the hearth with a poker before finally looking at Linc.
"This is difficult for me, Lincoln."
"But there is something I must ask." A quick laugh. "I am not good at asking for favors. Not that this is a favor, exactly. I mean, it is something that will surely benefit you, as well as me."
Here it comes, Linc thought, folding his arms over his chest. A request to change the terms of their agreement?