Date with a Devil

Date with a Devil

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by Anne Stuart, Muriel Jensen, Cherry Adair
     
 

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A spy should know better, but this spy gets stuck on a blind-date assignment with the ex-partner who broke her heart. A lot of making up can get done between scaling rooftops and dodging bullets.

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Overview

A spy should know better, but this spy gets stuck on a blind-date assignment with the ex-partner who broke her heart. A lot of making up can get done between scaling rooftops and dodging bullets.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780373835973
Publisher:
Harlequin
Publication date:
01/01/2004
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
3.96(w) x 6.96(h) x 0.90(d)

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Date With A Devil


By Anne Stuart Cherry Adair Muriel Jensen

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-373-83597-3


Chapter One

Gideon ran his fingers over the piano keys, his mind only half on his task. As far as hell went, he'd been in worse ones. The three hundred and forty-seventh level wasn't bad at all, and his assignments weren't particularly onerous. He spent his time at the piano, letting his long fingers dance over the pure ivory keys, and if there were screams of torment from his fellow damned, he couldn't hear them.

It wasn't the first place he'd landed after his unfortunate demise at the hands of someone's angry boyfriend. For some reason there'd always been a piano for him, and the heat had varied from suffocating to mildly tropical. Here on the three hundred and forty-seventh level it was practically balmy.

Ralph wasn't a bad host, all things considered. Right now he was looking more like a Wall Street shark than a ruler of a level of hell, but in the end Gideon wasn't certain if there was that great a difference between the two.

Then again, he wasn't certain of anything, including his years on earth. He knew why he was in hell, though. He'd had an insatiable craving for women. He'd adored them, all of them, the tall, the short, the plump, the scrawny, old and young, sweet and sour. He just liked women. Which would probably have been fine, but he'd loved sex as well, and made it his goal to be the most inventive, astonishing lover. Maybe that wouldn't have damned him either, except it had been his own pride and pleasure that had driven him, not altruistic feelings toward the women he'd bedded. He'd wanted them so blissed-out that any man who followed him would never measure up. And that had added up to a lot of men with inadequacy complexes, since he had never stayed with a woman for long.

No, he'd signed his own contract with hell early on, whether he'd known it or not. Married, single, involved or even a holy nun, it had made no difference to him who the woman was. It was little wonder that sooner or later some jealous lover had caught up with him.

He could remember the pain of the knife carving into him, but he couldn't remember the place, the time or the man who'd done it. It could have been seventeenth century Venice - there was every possibility he could have been Casanova himself. Or it could have been the courts of Salzburg. The only thing that remained in his memory and in his hands was the piano, and when he tried to guess what kind of life he'd lived, he liked the idea of being a womanizing piano prodigy, like Liszt. Except when he played Liszt from memory he played it badly. Almost as badly as he played Chopin.

For all he knew he could have been a child of the twentieth century. Or the twenty-first - time had no place on the three hundred and forty-seventh level of hell. At least playing piano was better than shoveling coal into the vast boilers that ran the pits of eternal damnation.

There were times when he wondered if there even was a heaven. The bureaucracy of hell was so varied, obtuse and complex that even after eons, maybe centuries, Gideon had no notion of how it was organized. Every time he thought he was coming a little closer to understanding, he'd be whisked off to another level, his mind wiped clean of everything, only his fingers still remembering what they could do with the keys of a piano.

As far as imps of Satan went, Ralph wasn't bad. He had a snarky sense of humor but a real affection for Gideon's music, and he tended to leave him mostly alone. Except for the unexpected summons that had materialized on top of the piano. A summons Gideon knew better than to ignore.

He made his way through the dingy corridors, humming beneath his breath. He was reasonably content where he was, despite or maybe because of the total lack of women. There was no one to tempt him into his old ways, and celibacy had its own charms. And if the three hundred and forty-seventh level had an unfortunate resemblance to a decrepit military school dormitory he was hardly in a position to expect white palaces and cloudless vistas. He was in hell, after all, and deservedly so.

Ralph had a vain streak and a weakness for theatricality. The first time Gideon had met him he'd been sitting on a white throne, surrounded by androgynous creatures draped all over him, and it had reminded him of some bad biblical epic. Today he was in an office on a lower floor of the dormitory, a battered steel desk in front of him, the curtains closed, lights off so that the room was flooded with darkness. Gideon could barely make out his form from behind the desk.

"Nice hair," he said dryly. Despite the darkness, he couldn't miss Ralph's unexpected spiky mane of orange and blue hair that fell over one side of his face - he changed his hair almost as often as he changed his face and body. Only his eyes remained constant, watchful.

"I like variety," he said with a faint Russian accent. He changed his accents just as often, delighting in how long it took Gideon to identify his latest choice. But he didn't seem in a playful mood today.

"Have a seat," he added, not moving out of the darkness.

"Mind if I turn on a light?"

"Yes."

Gideon hooked his foot around the steel leg of the office chair and pulled it under him, stretching back to survey his ... He never could quite figure out what Ralph was. His boss? His friend? His mentor? His god?

"Fiend from hell pretty much covers it," Ralph said out loud.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Date With A Devil by Anne Stuart Cherry Adair Muriel Jensen Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Cherry lives in western Washington and collects teapots and books. Lots of books. With their two grown daughters out of the nest, Cherry and husband David have lived under the dominance of their feline T.C. (Temporary Cat), for 10 years, and have recently acquired a schnauzer puppy.

Cherry owned an interior design business before discovering that writing was even more fun than decorating. When not glued to her computer or reading, the former RITA Award finalist can be found puttering around her flower garden.

She loves to hear from readers.

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4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
THEMANDIB More than 1 year ago
I feel this way after I read any of Cherry Adair's short stories, I WANT MORE!!! I don't want to go too much into detail since it's a short story but, I will tell you that you will love this book and you will most likely love Mia and Jack!!!
Maguire1199 More than 1 year ago
Cherry's books are all great books.  This story though ended too soon.  Like all of Cherry's books it had the wildness to it, "WILD MONKEY SEX part. but I wish she could have made this story longer.
sharon1JT More than 1 year ago
Quick read. This short story was fun to read. The interaction between the main characters is quick and humorous. No matter what the genre of Ms. Adair books, be it romance, mystery, suspense, or even paranormal, it’s always something more. I thoroughly enjoyed this short story, wish it was longer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A GREAT BOOK I couldnt put it down