#SampleSunday – A Cutthroat Business

Last year sometime, I went to a book club meeting with a bunch of ladies from Hillwood Presbyterian Church, who had been reading A Cutthroat Business for their selection that month. (Thanks again, Carmen!) One of them, a sweet little blue-hair in her sixties, made me mark this section of her book and autograph it, since she thought the sexual tension in this certain paragraph (below) was the best part of the entire story. Enjoy!

Rafe shrugged. “Can’t fault a man for looking.”

“I can,” I said.

He grinned. “That why you’re wearing those clothes? So I wouldn’t look?”
I opened my mouth, but before I could deny that such a thought had crossed my mind, the waiter appeared. He whisked Rafe’s plate away. I gave him mine, too. I’d eaten as much as I decently could without looking like a glutton.

“Would sir and madam like some dessert?”

He looked from one to the other of us. Rafe turned to me, questioningly. I shook my head. “None for me, thanks. Though you may want to try the chocolate raspberry cheesecake. Todd had it yesterday, and it looked good.”

He nodded. “One of them, then.”

I added, “And some coffee, please. Black.”

The waiter took himself and our used plates off, and Rafe returned his attention to me. An arched brow invited me to pick up where I’d left off. I said, reluctantly, “As a matter of fact, Todd asked me not to wear anything revealing.”

“You told him about tonight? Afraid you wouldn’t make it back home again?”

I shook my head. “It was yesterday. Last night, after you left. He said he didn’t like the way you looked at me, and would I please not wear anything provocative in front of you again.“

“You think he’d approve of that getup?” His eyes wandered over me, what he could see above the table.

“It’s not provocative,” I said.

He grinned. “That depends, darlin’.”

“On what?” What was provocative about a long sleeved, primly buttoned blouse and a chignon so severe my eyebrows were elevated, for goodness’ sake?

“I s’pose on what’s underneath. And what it’d take for someone to get to it.”

He smiled, but the eyes that met mine were intent. I opened my mouth, but found I had no words. Rafe didn’t speak, either. Leisurely, his gaze snagged on my lips for a moment before moving south. As the seconds ticked by, the curve of his mouth softened and his eyes turned hot. I had a hard time catching my breath. I felt the way you do when you jump into cool lakewater and all the air gets slammed out of your lungs. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think, and for the life of me, I couldn’t look away. The sounds around me receded, until all I could hear was a faint buzzing, as if from a bumblebee trapped in a jam-jar. The drumming of my own heartbeat sounded uncomfortably loud in my ears.

The return of the waiter broke the spell, and I accepted my cup of coffee with hands that weren’t entirely steady. My voice wasn’t, either. “I don’t know why I ordered this. Could I have a glass of water, please? With ice?”

The waiter didn’t react, but of course Rafe did. “Have the cheesecake, too, darlin’. You look hungry.”

A choking noise came from the table next to us, and one of the women buried her face in her napkin. I opened my mouth to protest, but the waiter was already lowering the plate, and I didn’t want to argue in front of him. I waited until he was out of earshot before I hissed, “I told you I didn’t want any dessert.”

“That was before,” Rafe said.

“Before what?”

“Before I got you so hot and bothered you ordered ice water to cool down.”

“I am not hot and bothered!” I denied. “And I don’t want any cheesecake.” I pushed the plate away. For what might have been the first time in my life, cheesecake held absolutely no appeal.

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So there you have it. A #SampleSunday excerpt from A Cutthroat Business. How did you like the super-sexy paragraph? (If that guy was looking at me, I might feel the need for a little ice water myself. Just sayin’…)
Check back next week for another #SampleSunday snippet. I think I might throw up a little teaser for Hot Property, Cutthroat Business Mystery #2, coming soon to a Kindle (or Nook) near you!