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Drive Me Wild
By Vicki Thompson
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAs long as Alec Masterson kept driving down the Connecticut Turnpike, he'd pick up his client exactly on time. That meant ignoring the ancient silver Caddy listing to one side on the shoulder up ahead. Now was not the time to play Good Samaritan.
Then a frail old man climbed from behind the wheel and tottered back to the shredded rear tire. Alec groaned and glanced at the clock set into the Lincoln Town Car's leather dash. Nope, couldn't stop. He slowed down, though, hoping somebody else would get out of the Caddy, a teenage grandson, maybe.
If Alec was late, Molly would miss her train into New York, and she'd already told him this trip was important. She hadn't told him why, of course. Molly liked to keep her secrets. His buddy Josh was convinced she starred in X-rated videos. Josh had a wild imagination, but his theory would explain her constant trips to L.A., and she did have an incredible body.
Alec was damn curious but he didn't pry. He was the guy she requested whenever she called the car service, so she must like him. He liked her, too. Lusted after her, in point of fact.
Her red-gold hair seemed designed to fan out on a pillow and her green eyes flashed the kind of fire that gave guys wet dreams. Nevertheless, there was a sweetness, an almost innocent quality to her. If Josh was right about her profession, she was one hell of an actor.
If Alec had met Molly any other way than being her chauffeur, he probably would have asked her out. He had to say probably because he really shouldn't take time for a girlfriend right now, and when it came to Molly, he couldn't imagine stopping with one date. But he was her chauffeur, and he couldn't risk losing his job with Red Carpet Limousine.
He'd been playing student for more than ten years, testing out premed, electrical engineering, architecture, accounting. Law school was his last-ditch attempt to find something he loved, and he was determined to finish. The chauffeur's job was perfect - decent money and flexible hours. Plus he could study while he waited for a client.
As Alec passed the Caddy, he checked in the rearview mirror, still hoping to see some able-bodied passenger get out of the car to help the old guy. But no, a tiny, white-haired woman in a pink dress appeared and wobbled to the back of the car. She wore white shoes and carried a white pocketbook. Alec knew that women of her generation called them pocketbooks instead of purses because that was the word his granny used.
Oh, hell. He pulled to the side of the road and backed down the shoulder until he was a couple of yards in front of the Caddy. So he would be late.
Molly Drake paced the worn oak floor while keeping an eye on the antique wall clock. Alec was never late, so why now, when this meeting with her agent could mean a new beginning for her? If she missed her eleven-thirty appointment, she wouldn't get in to see Benjamin today. He was a busy man, and she wasn't high enough on the food chain to think he'd squeeze her in somewhere else.
Damn it, where was Alec? She should have learned to drive when she moved to Connecticut. She'd intended to, but Dana had insisted now was not the time, when she was in an unfamiliar place. More protective than Molly's own mother, Dana paid for the car service and told Molly to use it whenever she needed a ride. Privately Molly had planned to learn to drive, anyway, but then Red Carpet Limousine had sent her Alec. Getting a license would have meant giving up Alec, and that was totally unacceptable.
She was positive she wouldn't have written the lust-filled novel sitting on her agent's desk if Alec hadn't come into her life. He'd inspired her to fantasize a grand sexual adventure in which her heroine, Krysta, explored her sensual urges in the primitive jungle setting of Brazil. Molly hadn't ever combed her fingers through Alec's thick brown hair, but Krysta had. Krysta had gazed into his brown eyes while she slowly unbuttoned his silk shirt and rubbed her hands over his muscular chest.
And if he didn't show up in the next two minutes, Molly was going to wring his gorgeous neck. The appointment with Benjamin meant the end of waiting for his reaction to her book. She'd mailed it to him three months ago - three of the most agonizing months of her life. Then last week, his assistant had called to set up this meeting to talk about the book.
Molly was prepared for Benjamin to say he couldn't get her a big advance. Big advances went to Hollywood stars like Dana Kyle, who had astounded Tinseltown by writing a series of clever mysteries. That's what Publishers Weekly called them - clever and well plotted.
Molly devoured each review and mailed copies to her parents in L.A. They were the only people besides Benjamin who knew that Molly had ghost-written every word of those mysteries for her dear friend Dana. Dana was thrilled with the recognition, and Molly was happy for her.
But the more famous Dana became, the more she craved participation in the creative process, including face-to-face "brainstorming sessions" with Molly. Molly's brain felt stormed, all right. Dana's ideas were mostly terrible, and Molly had to find diplomatic ways to get out of using them. The process was exhausting, and ended with Dana's name huge on the cover and Molly still invisible. It was time for Molly Drake to appear in print.
Missing this meeting wouldn't be a good beginning. Maybe if Benjamin thought the manuscript was a blockbuster, he might forgive her. She'd had fantasies of that kind of success, of course, but she tried not to get carried away.
Finally she gave in to her impatience, grabbed her large shoulder bag and went outside to wait on the porch. She'd save a couple of minutes if Alec didn't have to knock on the door. She locked up, to save another minute, and sat on the porch swing Grandma Nell used to love so much.
This cottage in Old Saybrook felt more like home than the Beverly Hills mansion where she'd grown up. Even so, she hadn't accepted her grandma's offer of coming to live here because the one-bedroom cottage was so obviously suited for one person and crowded with two.
Maybe she should have come anyway and slept on the couch. At least then she could have spent more time with Grandma Nell before she died. That thought still brought a lump to Molly's throat, but she could think about her grandmother without crying now. The first week she'd lived here, she'd nearly moved away because of the teary spells, but the flood had eased, and now she loved being surrounded by her grandma's antiques, chintz and lace.
Molly nudged the porch floor with her foot and set the swing to moving while she listened for the sound of an engine. Keeping her eye on the spot in the winding road where she'd first be able to see the Town Car's pewter hood, she hoped nothing had happened to Alec. Damn, that hadn't occurred to her until now, and the worry made her stomach twist.
Late was one thing. An accident - well, she didn't even want to think about that. It was a good thing the Town Car was heavy. She'd given her hero a Lincoln, but of course her hero actually owned it, whereas Alec only drove one for Red Carpet. Alec owned an old Blazer, although she'd never seen it.
She willed the Town Car to shove its elegant nose around the bend in the tree-lined road. No such luck. She stopped pumping the swing when she realized how fast she was doing it, as if swinging harder would make him show up. Dreading to see the time, she finally peeked at her watch and panicked. No way would they make it to the station, but that was the least of her worries. Alec wouldn't be this late unless something had happened.
Excerpted from Drive Me Wild by Vicki Thompson Copyright © 2003 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.