New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich praised bestselling author Rhonda Pollero's first mystery Knock Off as "a great read with plenty of attitude!" Now paralegal Finley Anderson Tanner (F.A.T. to her enemies) is back for another sizzling adventure under the West Palm Beach sun...
Finley knows it can't be good news when she's awakened at 5:40 a.m. by someone knocking on her door. Her hunch proves correct. Finley's pal Jane is hysterical and clad only in a negligee. It all started when Jane went out on a blind date the previous night with a hunk named Paolo--and ended when she woke up next to his corpse. Finley knows Jane wouldn't hurt a fly, especially one with a zipper. Too bad the police don't agree...
Having survived her own ordeal of questioning and criminally bad coffee at the local cop shop, Finley's got to post bail and hire an attorney for Jane. But with most of her cash tied up in credit card debt, she knows she has to do the unthinkable: hit her mother up for money. As if attempting to thaw out the Ice Queen isn't hard enough, there's the unthinkable, part II: resisting McGarrity. Yes, dangerously sexy P.I. Liam McGarrity has offered his services...for a discounted rate. To prove her theory that Jane and Paolo were drugged by the real killer, Finley will have to buckle down and work with Liam. She'll just have to remind herself that she already has the perfect boyfriend in her FedEx pilot Patrick.
But this case is booby-trapped with more serious pitfalls than wicked temptation. For starters, there's the fact that two knives were used to kill Paolo. Then there's a suspicious string of robberies. And when someone tries to run Finley's car off the road, she's got to act quick to find a killer who wants to see her underground...
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February 25, 2008
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Excerpt from Knock Em Dead by Rhonda Pollero
I was having an erotic dream about a seriously hot guy with blue eyes, and black hair--not Liam McGarrity, a so-wrong-for-me man who can turn me into a quivering pile of hormones with a single glance--and definitely not my perfect-in-every-way boyfriend, Patrick, when the knocking started. It was loud and insistent.
Some impatient someone wanted my attention at this ungodly hour of--I slitted bleary eyes at the bedside clock-- five-twenty A freaking M. On a Sunday, no less. This better be good.
I groaned heavily, missing my thousand-thread-count sheets even before I'd tossed them aside. Patrick was just back in town, so I was dressed in a cotton tee and matching boxers. No sense wasting the good stuff when I'd spent the previous evening watching the What Not to Wear marathon I'd been storing up on my new DVR. A gadget I'd only been able to afford after Visa upped my credit limit.
Bam. Bam. Bam.
"I'm coming, damn it!" Three-quarters asleep, I pulled on my robe and started out of the bedroom, stubbing my toe against the bed frame in the process while whoever the idiot was at my door kept right on knocking. Like I hadn't heard the first ninety-nine knocks. Me and all my neighbors.
I winced, hopped, and cursed, not necessarily in that order. The banging on my front door became more urgent. In the few seconds it took me to hobble through my darkened apartment, flipping light switches along the way, I mentally ran through some possibilities.
Could be Sam, my upstairs neighbor and friend. Soon to be former friend if he was the one on the other side of the door.
Patrick was a more remote possibility. He flew cargo for FedEx and often arrived and/or departed at off hours. But we were two years into our relationship and he knew me well enough to know I wouldn't appreciate an early morning drop-in. Not when I'm at my most visually vulnerable, pre-shower, -hair, and -makeup.
Definitely not my mother. Even if she needed me urgently, she'd send a messenger before she'd break protocol. She doesn't even use the telephone other than during the socially acceptable hours of 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
I got up on tiptoes to peer through the peephole. Though the figure was silhouetted by backlighting from the parking area, I recognized my friend Jane Spencer instantly.
Fumbling with the safety chain and flipping the dead bolt's lever, I yanked open the door so fast that Jane's balled fist caught me square in the center of the forehead.
I stumbled backward, my head now throbbing along with my toe. "Jesus, Jane! What the f--"
"Ohgodohgodohgod," she babbled, closing the door and gripping me by the shoulders as I teetered.
I'd met Jane at the gym almost six years ago. Though we were total strangers, we'd agreed to pretend to be friends in order to take advantage of the gym's two-for one special. I don't like to think of it as a scam so much as the broadest interpretation of the term friend.
My friendship with Jane quickly became a reality and we get together whenever possible. My attendance at the gym is spotty at best. Jane, on the other hand, works out religiously, hence the reason her accidental blow had me seeing stars.
"I'm okay," I lied, shrugging off her hold. Moderately pissed, but okay. Then my vision cleared and I looked at her. Really looked at her.
Her dark brown eyes were red, puffy, and filled with a kind of abject terror I'd never seen in my calm, reasonable, rational friend. Though she looked a lot like one of the Pussycat Dolls, Jane was an accountant and investment broker. A geek in sex kitten clothing.
She was covered in deep crimson blood.
Wet deep crimson blood.
It was matted in her hair and soaked through the right side of her thigh-skimming, aqua La Perla negligee. The streaks of partially dried blood continued down the side of one leg to her bare foot.
My brain dealt with the blood first. Why she was outside, in the middle of the night, in her nightie, could wait for later. "What happened? Did you have an accident?"
Jane's fingers trembled as they snagged in the crusting blood in her hair.
I followed her as she walked stiffly into my living room, leaving single-footed, reddish brown marks on my tile and carpet as she moved, her hands hugging her bare, blood- streaked arms.
"He's dead. There was so much blood . . ."
My initial hope that maybe she'd picked up some run over animal or something evaporated. "He who?"