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He had everything he ever wanted. Plenty of money. A successful business. A sprawling, custom-built home in the Sonoran Desert north of Scottsdale filled with pricey, original works of art. He had a sailboat in San Diego, wore custom-made suits, and had a woman in his bed anytime he felt the urge. Which was often.
Devlin Raines had it all. Yet lately he had begun to feel dissatisfied.
And he had no idea how the hell that could be.
Soaking up the rays of early-October sunshine, the best time of year in Arizona, Dev adjusted his wraparound sunglasses and stretched out on the chaise lounge beside the swimming pool. The sound of water cascading over the rock waterfall at the opposite end began to soothe him. He had almost drifted off when his friend and employee, Townsend Emory, shoved open the sliding glass door.
"Sorry to bother you, boss. There's a woman here to see you. She's damned insistent." Town was a big, black, former tackle for the Arizona Cardinals. A neck injury had ended his career fourteen years ago, but Town had stayed in Phoenix and worked for a number of security firms, including Raines Security, before his old injuries had put him completely out of commission.
Fortunately, the man had brains as well as brawn and now worked at the house, handling Dev's personal affairs. Along with Aida Clark, the housekeeper, Town managed the household and just about anything else that came along.
Dev pushed his sunglasses up on his head and frowned at his friend, who took up a good portion of the doorway. He had a standing rule: none of the women he dated came to the house without calling first. It saved a lot of embarrassment if another woman happened to be there. In his no-strings relationships, the rule had worked fairly well.
Swinging his long legs to the ground beside the chaise, he stood up, wondering who it was and why she so urgently wanted to see him.
"Hey wait a minute!" he heard Town say as a tall, shapely brunette sailed past him out the door onto the patio. "You can't just barge in here!"
The woman ignored him and just kept walking. "You must be Devlin Raines." She flashed him a bright, self-assured smile and extended a slender hand with nicely manicured, hot-pink nails. She was around five-nine, with very dark, jaw-length hair streaked with red. She was wearing skinny jeans and a pair of strappy, open-toed red spike heels.
He'd never seen her before. She wasn't wearing a wedding ring. And she was sexy as hell.
"I'm Raines." He flicked a glance at Town, telling him the situation was under control, and the big man slipped silently back inside the house. "What can I do for you, Ms .?"
"Delaney. Lark Delaney. I came here to hire you, Mr. Raines. I'm hoping you'll be able to help me."
She was more than just sexy. She was a bombshell. Just not in the usual sense. This woman oozed energy and purpose. She was flashy yet somehow stylish with her big silver hoop earrings and oversize pewter-trimmed, paisley purse.
She wasn't the sort of woman he preferred: a pretty little bit of arm candy who did whatever he told her. Yet he felt the pull of attraction as he hadn't in a very long time.
He lifted his short-sleeved Tommy Bahama shirt off the back of a patio chair and shrugged it on, covering his bare chest and a portion of the navy-blue trunks he was wearing, probably a good idea considering his train of thought and what was happening to his body.